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By all the Prophets; of thy birth at length
Announc'd by Gabriel with the first I knew,
And of th' angelic song in Bethlehem field, 505
On thy birth-night, that sung thee Saviour born.
From that time seldom have I ceas'd to eye
Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth,
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred;
Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all
Flock to the Baptist, I among the rest,
Though not to be baptiz’d, by voice from Heaven
Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belov’d.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower fcrutiny, that I might learn S15
In what degree or meaning thou art callid
The Son of God, which bears no single sense ;
The Son of God I also am, or was,
And if I was, I am; relation stands;
All men are Sons of God; yet thee I thought 520
In some respect far higher so declar'd.
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour,
And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild;
Where by all best conjectures I collect
Thou art to be my fatal enemy.
525 Good reason then, if I before-hand seek To understand
my adversary, who And what he is; his wisdom, pow'r; intent;. By parl, or composition, truce, or league, To win him, or win from him what I can. 530 And opportunity I here have had To try thee, lift thee, and confefs have found thee
Proof against all temptation, as a rock
Of adamant, and as a center, firm,
To th' utmost of mere man both wise and good, $35
Not more; for honors, riches, kingdoms, glory,
Have been before contemn'd, and may again :
Therefore to know what more thou art than man,
Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heaven,
Another method I must now begin.
So say’ing he caught him up, and without wing
Of hippogrif bore through the air sublime
Over the wilderness and o'er the plain;
Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,
The holy city, lifted high her towers,
$45 And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd Her pile, far off appearing like a mount Of alabaster, topt with golden spires : There on the highest pinnacle he set The Son of God, and added thus in scorn.
550 There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright, Will ask thee skill; I tò thy Father's house Have brought thee', and highest plac’d, highest is bett, Now show thy progeny; if not to stand, Çaft thyself down; fafely, if Son of God : For it is written, He will give command Concerning thee to his Angels, in their hands They fall up lift thee, lest at any time Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.
To whom thus Jesus; Also it is written, 560 Tempt not the Lord thy God: he said, and stood : But Satan smitten with amazement fell,
As when earth's son Antæus (to compare
Small things with greatest) in Irassa ftrove
With Jove's Alcides, and oft foild still rose, 565
Receiving from his mother earth new strength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,
Throttled at length in th' air, expir’d, and fell ;
So after many a foil the Tempter proud,
Renewing fresh assaults, amidft his pride
Fell whence he stood to see his vi&tor fall.
And as that Theban monster that propos'd
Her riddle', and him who folv'd it not, devour'd,
That once found out and solv’d, for grief and spite
Calt herself headlong from th' Ismenian steep; 575
So struck with dread and anguish fell the Fiend,
And to his crew, that fat consulting, brought
Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,
Who durft so proudly tempt the Son of God. 580
So Satan fell; and strait a fiery globe
Of Angels on full fail of wing flew nigh,
Who on their plumy vans receiv'd him soft
From his uneasy ftation, and upbore
As on a floting couch through the blithe air, 585
Then in a flow'ry valley set him down
On a green bank, and set before him fpread
A table of celestial food, divine,
Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life,
And from the fount of life ambrosial drink, 590
That foon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd
What hunger, if ought hunger had impair'd,
Or thirst; and as he fed, angelic quires
Sung heav'nly anthems of his victory
Over temptation, and the Tempter proud.
True image of the Father, whether thron'd
In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Conceiving, or remote from Heav'n, inshrin'd
In fleshly tabernacle, and human form,
Wand'ring the wilderness, whatever place, 600
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with God-like force indued
Against th' attempter of thy Father's throne,
And thief of Paradise; him long of old
Thou didst debel, and down from Heaven caft
605 With all his army, now thou hast aveng'd Supplanted Adam, and by vanquishing Temptation, haft regain'd loft Paradise; And frustrated the conquest fraudulent: He never more henceforth will dare set foot 610 In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke: For though that seat of earthly bliss be failid, A fairer Paradise is founded now For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou A Saviour art come down to re-install Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be, Of Tempter and temptation without fear. But thou, infernal Serpent, shalt not long Rule in the clouds; like an autumnal star Or lightning thou shalt fall from Heav'n, trod down Under his feet: for proof, ere this thou feel'ft Thy wound, yet not thy last and deadliest wound,
By this repulse receiv'd, and hold it in Hell
No triumph; in all her gates Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt; hereafter learn with awe 629
To dread the Son of God: he all unarm’d
Shall chace thee with the terror of his voice
From thy demoniac holds, possession foul,
Thee and thy legions; yelling they shall fly,
And beg to hide them in a herd of fwine, 630
Left he command them down into the deep
Bound, and to torment fent before their time.
Hail, Son of the moft high, heir of both worlds,
Queller of Satan, on thy glorious work
Now enter, and begin to save mankind.
Thus they the Son of God our Saviour meek
Sung victor, and from heavenly feast refresh'd
Brought on his way with joy; he unobserv'd
Home to his mother's house private return'd.
END OF PARADISE REGAIN'D.