« AnteriorContinua »
MEANWHILE the new baptiz'd, who yet re Hail highly favour'd, among women bless'd! main'd
While I to sorrows am no less advanc'd, At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
And fears as eminent, above the lot
70 Him whom they heard so late expressly call'd Of other women, by the birth I bore, Jesus, Messiah, Son of God declar'd,
In such a season born, when scarce a shed And on that high authority had believ'd, 5 Could be obtain'd to shelter him or me And with him talk'd, and with him lodg'd, (I mean From the bleak air; a stable was our warmth, Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
A manger his; yet soon enforc'd to fly
75 With others, though in holy writ not nam'd,) Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king Now missing him, their joy so lately found,
Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fill'd So lately found, and so abruptly gone,
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem : Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
From Egypt home they return'd, in Nazareth And as the days increas'd, increas'd their doubt: Hath been our dwelling many years; his life 80 Sometimes they thought he might be only shown, Private, unactive, calm, contemplate, And for a time caught up to God, as once
Little suspicious to any king; but now Moses was in the mount, and missing long; 15 Full grown to man, acknowledg'd, as I hear, And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels By John the Baptist, and in public shown, Rode up to heaven, yet once again to come. Son own'd from heaven by his Father's voice; 85 Therefore as those young prophets then with care I look'd for some great change: to honour? no, Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these
But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold, Nigh to Bethabara; in Jericho,
20 That to the fall and rising he should be The city of Palms, Ænon and Salem old,
Of many in Israel, and to a sign Machærus, and each town or city wallid
Spoken against, that through my very soul 90 On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
A sword shall pierce; This is my favour'd lot, Or in Perea; but return'd in vain.
My exaltation to afflictions high : Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek, 25 Atflicted I may be, it seems, and bless'd . Where winds with reeds and osiers whisp'ring play, I will not argue that, nor will repine: Plain fishermen, no greater men them call, But where delays he now ? some great intent 95 Close in a cottage low together got,
Conceals him. When twelve years he scarce had Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreath'd : I lost him, but so found, as well I saw (seen,
He could not lose himself; but went about “ Alas, from what high hope to what relapse 30 His Father's business; what he meant I mus'd. Unlook'd for are we fallen! our eyes beheld
Since understand; much more his absence now 100 Messiah certainly now come, so long
Thus long to some great purpose he obscures. Expected of our fathers; we have heard
But I to wait with patience am inur'd; His words, his wisdom, full of grace and truth; My heart hath been a store-house long of things Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand, 35
And sayings laid up, portending strange events" The kingdom shall to Israel be restor d : Thus we rejoic'd, but soon our joy is turn'd
Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind 105 Into perplexity and new amaze:
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd For whither is he gone, what accident
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts Hath wrapp'd him from us? will he now retire 40 Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling : After appearance, and again prolong
The while her Son tracing the desert wild, Our expectation? God of Israel,
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,
110 Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;
Into himselt descended, and at once Behold the kings of th' earth how they oppress All his great work to come before him set, Thy chosen, to what height their power unjust 45 How to begin, how to accomplish best They have exalted, and behind them cast
His end of being on earth, and mission high;
For Satan with
115 Thy glory, free thy people from their yoke.
Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone But let us wait; thus far he hath perform'd, Up to the middle region of thick air, Sent his anointed, and to us reveald him, 50 Where all his potentates in council sat ; By his great Prophet, pointed at and shown
There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy, In public, and with him we have convers'd ; Solicitous and blank, he thus began :
120 Let us be glad of this, and all our fears Lay on his Providence; he will not fail,
“Princes, heaven's ancient sons, ethereal thrones, Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall, 55 Demonian spirits now, from th' element Mock us with his bless'd sight, then snatch him Each of his reign alotted, rightlier call'd hence;
Powers of fire, air, water, and earth beneath,
Without new trouble; such an enemy
60 I, as I undertook, and with the vote Others return'd from baptism, not her son,
Consenting in full frequence was impower', 1.30 Nor left at Jordan tidings of him none, [pure, Have found him, view d him, tasted him, but find Within her breast though calm, her breast, though Far other labour to be undergone Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd (clad: Than when I dealt with Adam, first of men. Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell,
However to this man inferior far,
135 “O what avails me now that honour high If he be man by mother's side at least, To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute,
With more than human gifts from heaven adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise; And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds :
Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wreck'd; Therefore I ain return'd, lest confidence 140 Or that which only seems to satisfy Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Lawful desires of nature, not beyond :
230 Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
And now I know he hungers where no food Of like succeeding here; I summon all
Is to be found, in the wide wilderness : Rather to be in readiness, with hand
The rest commit to me, I shall let pass Or counsel to assist; lest I, who erst
145 No advantage, and his strength as oft assay." Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd."
He ceasd, and heard their grantin loud acclaim; So spake th' old Serpent doubting, and from all Then forth with to him takes a chosen band 236 With clamour was assur'd their utmost aid
Of spirits likest to himself in guile
150 If cause were to unfold some active scene The sensualest, and after Asmodai,
Of various persons; each to know his part; 240 The fleshliest incubus, and thus advis'd:
Then to the desert takes with these his tlight;
Where still from shade to shade the Son of God “Set women in his eye, and in his walk,
After forty days' fasting had remain'd, Among daughters of men the fairest found; Now hungering first, and to himself thus said: Many are in each region passing fair
155 As the noon sky; more like to goddesses
“Where will this end? Four times ten days l've Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet, Wand'ring this woody maze, and hurnan food
(pass'd Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues Nor tasted, nor had appetite; that fast Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
To virtue 1 impute not, or count part
Or God support Nature without repast, 250 Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Though needing, what praise is it to endure ?
Though hunger still remain; so it remain 255 At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
Without this body's wasting, I content me, As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
And from the sting of famine fear no harm, Women, when nothing else, beguil'd the heart Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed Of wisest Solomon, and made him build, 170 Me hung'ring more to do my Father's will." And made him bow to the gods of his wives."
It was the hour of night, when thus the Son 260 To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd: Commun'd in silent walk, then laid him down, " Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st Under the hospitable covert nigh All others by thyself; because of old
Of trees thick interwoven; there he slept, Thou thyself doat dst on womankind, admiring 175 And dream'd, as appetite is wont to dream, Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace, Of meats and drinks, Nature's refreshment sweet; None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys. Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood, 266 Before the flood, thou with thy lusty crew,
And saw the ravens with their horny beaks False titled sons of God, roaming the earth, Food to Elijah bringing even and morn, [brought: Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, 180 Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they And coupled with them, and begot a race.
He saw the prophet also how he fled
270 Have we not seen, or by relation heard,
Into the desert, and how there he slept
He found his supper on the coals prepard,
And eat the second time after repose,
275 Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,
The strength whereof suffic'd him forty days; Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more:
Sometimes that with Elijah he partook, Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd, Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse. Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,
190 Thus wore out night; and now the herald lark Satyr, or Faun, or Sylvan? But these haunts Left his ground nest, high tow'ring to descry 280 Delight not all; among the sons of men,
The Morn's approach, and greet her with his song: How many have with a smile made small account As lightly from his grassy couch up rose Of beauty and her lures, easily scorn'd
Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream, All her assaults, on worthier things intent? 195 Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting wak'd Remember that Pellean conqueror,
Up to a hill anon his steps he rear'd,
285 A youth, how all the beauties of the east
From whose high top to ken the prospect round, He slightly view'd, and slightly overpassid:
If cottage were in view, sheep-cote or herd; How he surnam'd of Africa, dismiss'd,
But cottage, herd, or sheep-cote, none he saw; In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid. 200 Only in a bottom saw a pleasant grove, For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full
With chant of tuneful birds resounding loud : 290 Of honour, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond Thither he bent his way; determin'd there Higher design than to enjoy his state;
To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade Thence to the bait of woman lay expos'd :
High rooft, and walks beneath, and alleys brown, But he whom we attempt is wiser far
205 That open'd in the midst a woody scene: Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Nature's own work it seem'd, (Nature taught Art,) Made and set wholly on th' accomplishment And to a superstitious eye the haunt
296 Of greatest things: what woman will you find, Of wood-gods, and wood-nymphs: he view'd it Though of this age the wonder and the fame, When suddenly a man before him stood; (round, On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye 210 Not rustic, as before, but seemlier clad, Of fond desire? or should she, confident,
As one in city, or court, or palace bred, 300 As sitting queen ador'd on beauty's throne, And with fair speech these words to him address'd: Descend with all her winning charms begirt To enamour, as the zone of Venus once
“ With granted leave officious I return, Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell; 215 But much more wonder that the Son of God How would one look from his majestic brow In this wild solitude so long should bide Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill,
Of all things destitute, and well I know 305 Discount'nance her despis'd, and put to rout Not without hunger. Others of some note, All her array; her female pride deject,
As story tells, have trod this wilderness; Or turn to reverent awe? for beauty stands 220 The fugitive bond-woman with her son, In th' admiration only of weak minds
Outcast Nebaioth, yet found here relief Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes By a providing angel; all the race
310 Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy,
Of Israel here had famish'd, had not God At every sudden slighting quite abash'd :
Rain'd from heaven manna; and that prophet bold, Therefore, with manlier objects we must try 225
Native of Thebez, wand'ring
here, was fed His constancy, with such as have more show Twice by a voice inviting him to eat:
of thee these forty days none hath regard, 315 What I can do or offer is suspect; Forty and more deserted here indeed."
Of these things others quickly will dispose, 400
Whose pains have earn d the far fet spoil. With To whom thus Jesus: “ What conclud'st thou Both table and provision vanish'd quite (that hence?
With sound of harpies' wings, and talons heard ; They all had need, as I thou seest have none.” Only th' importune Tempter still remain'd,
And with these words his temptation pursu'd: 405 “How hast thou hunger then ?" Satan repried:
Tell me if food were now before thee set, 320 “By hunger, that each other creature tames, Wouldst thou not eat?" “ Thereafter as I like Thou art not to be harm'd; therefore, not mov'd: The giver," answer'd Jesus. “Why should that Thy temperance invincible besides, Cause thy refusal ?" said the subtle fiend.
For no allurement yields to appetite, “ Hast thou not right to all created things?
And all thy heart is set on high designs, 410 Owe not all creatures by just right to thee 325 High actions; but wherewith to be achiev'd ? Duty and service, not to stay till bid,
Great acts require great means of enterprise ; But tender all their power Nor mention I
Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth, Meats by the law unclean, or offer'd first
A carpenter thy father known, thyself To idols, those young Daniel could refuse;
Bred up in poverty and straits at home, 415 Nor protier'd by an enemy; though who 330 Lost in a desert here, and hunger-bit : Would scruple that, with want oppress'd? Behold Which way or from what hope dost thou aspire Nature asham'd, or better to express,
To greatness? whence authority deriv'st? Troubled, that thou shouldst hunger, hath purvey'd What followers, what retinue, canst thou gain, From all the elements her choicest store
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,
120 To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord 335 Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost? With honour, only deign to sit and eat."
Money brings honour, friends, conquest, and
What rais'd Antipater, the Edomite, (realms. He spake no dream; for as his words had end, And his son Herod plac'd on Juda's throne, Our Saviour, lifting up his eyes, beheld
(Thy chrone) but gold, that got him puissant In ample space, under the broadest shade,
425 A table richly spread, in regal mode,
340 Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive, With dishes pil'd, and meats of noblest sort
Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap, And savour, beasts of chase, or fowl of game, Not difficult, if thou hearken to me: In pastry built, or from the spit, or boild,
Riches are mine, Fortune is in my hand; Gris amber steam'd: all fish from sea or shore, They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain, 430 Freshet, or purling brook, of shell or fin, 315 While Virtue, Valour, Wisdom, sit in want." And exquisitest name, for which was drain'd Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast.
To whom thus Jesus patiently replied : Alas! how simple, to these cates compard,
“ Yet wealth without these three is impotent Was that crude apple that diverted Eve!
To gain dominion, or to keep it gain'd. And at a stately side-board, by the wine, 350 Witness those ancient empires of the earth, 435 That fragrant smell diffus'd, in order stood
In height of all tneir flowing wealth dissolv'd: Tall stripling youths, rich clad, of fairer hue
But men endu'd with these have oft attain'd Than Ganymede or Hylas; distant more
In lowest poverty to highest deeds; Under the trees now tripp'd, now solemn stood, Gideon and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad, Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades 355 Whose offspring on the throne of Judah sat 440 With fruits and flowers from Amalthea's horn. So many ages, and shall yet regain And ladies of th' Hesperides, that seem'd, 361 That seat, and reign in Israel without end. Fairer than feign'd of old, or fabled since
Among the Heathen, (for throughout the world Of fairy damsels met in forest wide
To me is not unknown what hath been done By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,
Worthy of memorial) canst thou not remember 445 Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Pellenore:
Quintiús, Fabricius, Cureus, Regulus ? And all the while harmonious airs were heard For I esteem those names men so poor Of chiming strings, or charming pipes; and winds Who could do mighty things, and could contemn Of gentlest gale Arabian odours fann'd
Riches though offer'd from the hand of kings. From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells. And what in me seems wanting but that I 450 Such was the splendour, and the Tempter now 366 May also in this poverty as soon His invitation earnestly renewid.
Accomplish what they did, perhaps, and more?
Extol not riches then, the toil of fools, “ What doubts the Son of God to sit and eat? The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare, more apt These are not fruits forbidden; no interdict
To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,
455 Defends the touching of these viands pure; 370 Than prompt her to do ought may merit praise. Their taste no knowledge works at least of evil, What if with like aversion I reject But life preserves, destroys life's enemy,
Riches and realms; yet not for that a crown, Hunger, with sweet restorative delight.
Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns, All these are spirits of air, and woods, and springs, Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights, Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay 375 To him who wears the regal diadem,
461 Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord : When on his shoulders each man's burden lies; What doubt'st thou, Son of God? sit down and eat." For therein stands the office of a king,
His honour, virtue, merit, and chief praise, To whom thus Jesus temp'rately replied: That for the public all this weight he bears. 465 “ Said'st thou not that to all things I had right? Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules And who withholds my power that right to use: Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king; Shall I receive by gift what of my own, 381 Which every wise and virtuous man attains: When and where likes me best, I can command ? And who atiains not, ill aspires to rule I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou,
Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes, 477 Command a table in this wilderness,
Subject himself to anarchy within,
But to guide nations in the way of truth
To know, and knowing, worship God aright, 475 And with my hunger what hast thou to do?
Is yet more kingly: this attracts the soul, Thy pompous delicacies I contemn,
Governs the inner man, the nobler part; And count thy specious gifts no gifts, but guiles." That other o'er the body only reigns,
And oft by force, which to a generous mind To whom thus answer'a Satan malcontent: So reigning, can be no sincere delight. 480 " That I have also power to give thou seest; Besides, to give a kingdom hath been thought If of that power I bring thee voluntary 394 Greater and nobler done, and to lay down What I might have bestow'd on whom I pleas'd, Far more magnanimous than to assume. And rather opportunely in this place
Riches are needless then, both for them selves, Chose to impart to thy apparent need,
And for thy reason why they should be soughé, 48€ Why shouldst thou not accept it? But I see To gain a sceptre, oftest better miss'd.”
END OF BOOK SECOND.
SO spake the Son of God, and Satan stood
“I see thou know'st what is of use to know, What best to say canst say, to do canst do; Thy actions to thy words accord, thy words 9
To thy large heart give utterance due, thy heart Contains of good, wise, just, the perfect shape. Should kings and nations from thy mouth consult, Thy counsel would be as the oracle Urim and Thummim, those oraculous gems On Aaron's breast; or tongue of seers old, 15 Infallible: or wert thou sought to deeds That might require th' array of war, thy skill Of conduct would be such, that all the world Could not sustain thy prowess, or subsist In battle, though against thy few in arms. 20 These godlike virtues wherefore dost thou hide, Affecting private life, or more obscure In savage wilderness? wherefore deprive All earth her wonder at thy acts, thyself The fame and glory, glory the reward
25 That soul excites to high attempts, the flame Of most erected spirits, most temper'd pure Ethereal, who all pleasures else despise, All treasures and all gain esteem as dross, And dignities and powers all but the highest ? 30 Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe; the son of Macedonian Philip had ere these Won Asia, and the throne of Cyrus held
his dispose ; young Scipio had brought down The Carthaginian pride : young Pompey quell'd 35 The Pontic king, and in triumph had rode. Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature, Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment. Great Julius, whom now all the world admires, The more he grew in years, the more inflam'd' 10 With glory, wept that he had liv'd so long Inglorious: but thou yet art not too late."
To whom our Saviour calmly thus replied:
The just man, and divulges him through heaven
65 As thou to thy reproach. may'st well remember,
He ask'd thee, Hast thou seen my servant Job ?
borne, Made famous in a land and times obscure; Who names not now with honour patient Job ? 95 Poor Socrates, (who next more memorable?) By what he taught, and suffer'd for so doing, For truth's sake suffering death unjust, lives
now Equal in fame to proudest conquerors. Yet, if for fame and glory ought be done, 100 Ought suffer'd; if young African for fame His wasted country freed from Punic rage, The deed becomes unprais'd, the man at least, And loses, though but verbal, his reward. Shall I seek glory then, as vain men seek, 105 Oft not deser v'd? I seek not mine, but his Who sent me, and thereby witness whence I am."
To whom the Tempter murm'ring thus replied : " Think not so slight of glory; therein least Resembling thy great Father: he seeks glory, 110 And for his glory all things made, all things Orders and governs; nor content in heaven, By all his angels glorified, requires Glory from men, from all men, good or bad, Wise or unwise, no difference, no exemption; 115 Above all sacrifice, or hallow'a gift, Glory he requires, and glory he receives Promiscuous from all nations, Jew, or Greek, Or barbarous, nor exception hath declar'd: From us his foes pronounc'd glory he exacts."
. 120 To whom our Saviour fervently replied : “ And reason; since his word all things produc'd, Though chiefly not for glory as prime end, But to show forth his goodness, and impart His good communicable to every soul
125 Freely; of whom what could he less expect Than glory and benediction, that is, thanks, The slightest, easiest, readiest recompense From them who could return him nothing else, And not returning that, would likeliest render 130 Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy ? Hard recompense, unsuitable return
For so much good, so much beneficence.
1 (Whose ire I dread more than the fire of hell,) 220 But why should man seek glory, who of his own A shelter, and a kind of shading cool Hath nothing, and to whom nothing belongs, 135 Interposition, as a summer's cloud. But condemnation, ignominy', and 'shame?
If I then to the worst that can be haste, Who, for so many benefits receiv'd,
Why move thy feet so slow to what is best, Turn'd recreant to God, ingrate and false,
Happiest both to thyself, and all the world, 225 And so of all true good himself despoil'd;
That thou who worthiest art shouldst be their Yet sacrilegious, to himself would take 140
King? That which to God alone of right belongs;
Perhaps thou linger'st in deep thoughts detain'd Yet so much bounty is in God, such grace,
Of th' enterprise so hazardous and high; That who advance his glory not their own,
No wonder; for though in thee be united Them he himself to glory will advance."
What of perfection can in man be found,
Or human nature can receive, eonsider So spake the Son of God: and here again 145
Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent Satan had not to answer, but stood struck
At home, scarce view'd the Galilean towns, With guilt of his own sin, for he himself,
And once a year Jerusalein, few days Insatiable of glory, had lost all,
Short sojourn; and what thence couldst thou obYet of another plea bethought him soon.
The world thou hast not seen, much less her glory, “ Of glory, as thou wilt," said he," so deem; 150 Empires, and monarchs, and their radiant courts, Worth or not worth the seeking, let it pass:
Best school of best experience, quickest insight But to a kingdom thou art born, ordain'd
In all things that to greatest actions lead. To sit upon thy father David's throne:
The wisest, unexperienc'd will be ever 240 By mother's side thy father : though thy right Timorous and loath, with novice modesty, Be now in powerful hands, that will not part 155 (As he who seeking asses found a kingdom) Easily from possession won with arms:
Irresolute, unhardy, unadvent'rous : Judea now, and all the promis'd land,
But I will bring thee where thou soon shalt quit Reduc'd a province under Roman yoke,
Those rudiments, and see before thine eyes
245 Obeys Tiberius: nor is always rul'd
The monarchies of th' earth, their pomp and With temp'rate sway; oft have they violated, 160
state, The temple, oft the law with foul affronts,
Sufficient introduction to inform Abominations rather, as did once
Thee, of thyself so apt in regal arts, Antiochus: and think'st thou to regain
And regal mysteries, that thou may'st know Thy right by sitting still or thus retiring ?
How best their opposition to withstand." 250 So did not Maccabæus: he indeed
165 Retir'd into the desert, but with arms;
With that (such power was given him then) he And o'er a mighty king so oft prevailid,
The Son of God up to a mountain high. (took That by strong hand his family obtain'd,
It was a mountain at whose verdant feet Tho' priests, the crown, and David's throne usurp'd, A spacious plain, outstretch'd in circuit wide, With Modin and her suburbs once content. 176 Lay pleasant; from his side two rivers flow'd, 255 If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zeal Th' one winding, th' other straight, and left be. And duty; zeal and duty are not slow;
tween But on occasion's forelock watchful wait,
Fair champain, with less rivers interven'd, They themselves rather are occasion best,
Then meeting join'd their tribute to the sea : Zeal of thy Father's house, duty to free
Fertile of corn the glebe, of oil and wine; Thy country from her heathen servitude;
With herds the pastures throng'd, with flocks the So shalt thou best fulfil, best verify
260 The prophets old, who sung thy endless reign; Huge cities and high tower'd, that well might seem The happier reign the sooner it begins:
The seats of mightiest monarchs; and so large Reign then; what canst thou better do the The prospect was, that here and there was room while ?"
For barren desert, fountainless and dry. 264
To this high mountain top the Tempter brought To whom our Saviour answer thus return'd: Our Saviour, and new train of words began: “ All things are best fulfill'd in their due time, And time there is for all things, truth hath said: “Well have we speeded, and o'er hill and dale, If of my reign prophetic writ hath told
Forest, and field, and flood, temples and towers, That it shall never end, so when begin 185 Cut shorter many a league; here thou behold'st The Father in his purpose hath decreed,
Assyria and her empire's ancient bounds, 270 He in whose hand all lines and seasons roll.
axes and the Caspian lake; thence on What if he hath decreed that I shall first
As far as Indust east, Euphrates west,
190 And inaccessible th' Arabian drouth : Contempts and scorns, and snares, and violence, Here Nineveh, of length within her wall 27 Suffering, abstaining, quietly expecting,
Several days' journey, built by Ninus old, Without distrust or doubt, that he may know Of that first golden monarchy the seat. What I can suffer, how obey? Who best
And seat of Salmanassar, whose success Can suffer, best can do; best reign, who first 195 Israel in long captivity still mourns; Well hath obey'd : just trial ere I merit
There Babylon, the wonder of all tongues,
280 My exaltation without change or end.
As ancient, but rebuilt by him who twice But what conoerns it thee when I begin
Judah and all thy father David's house My everlasting kingdom, why art thou
Led captive, and Jerusalem laid waste, Solicitous, what moves thy inquisition ? 200 Till Cyrus set them free; Persepolis Know'st thou not that my rising is thy fall, His city there thou geest, and Béctra there; 285 And my promotion will be thy destruction" Ecbatana her structure vast there shows,
And Hecatompylos her hundred gates; To whom the Tempter, inly rack'd, replied: There Susa by Choaspes, amber stream, "Let that come when it comes; all hope is lost The drink of none but kings : of later fame, of my reception into grace; what worse? 205
Built by Emathian, or Parthian hands, 290 For where no hope is left, is left no fear:
The great Selucia, Nisibis; and there If there be worse, the expectation more
Artaxata, Teredon, Ctesiphon, Of worse torments me than the feeling can.
Turning with easy eye thou may'st behold, I would be at the worst; worst is my port,
All these the Parthian, now some ages past, My harbour, and my ultimate repose, 210
By great Arsaces led, who founded first" 295 The end I would attain, my final good.
That empire, under his dominion holds, My error was my error, and my crime
From the luxurious kings of Antioch won. My crime; whatever for itself condemn'd,
And just in time thou com'st to have a view And will alike be punish'd, whether thou
Of his great power; for now the Parthian king Reign or reign not; though to that gentle brow
In Ctesiphon hath gather'd all his host 300 Willingly I could fly, and hope thy reign, 216 Against the Scythian, whase incursions wild From that placid aspect and meek regard,
Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid Rather than aggravate my evil state,
He marches now in haste; see, though from far, Would stand between me and thy Father's ire, His thousands, in what martial equipage