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Their sumptuous gluttonies, and gorgeous feasts,
On citron tables or Atlantic stone,
(For I have also heard, perhaps have read,)
Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne,
Chios, and Crete, and how they quaff in gold,
Crystal and myrrhine cups, emboss'd with gems
And studs of pearl; to me shouldst tell, who thirst
And hunger still: then embassies thou show'st
From nations far and nigh; what honour that,
But tedious waste of time, to sit and hear
So many hollow compliments and lies,
Outlandish flatteries? Then proceed'st to talk
Of th' emperor, how easily subdued,
How gloriously. I shall, thou say'st, expel
A brutal monster: what if I withal
Expel a devil who first made him such?
Let his tormentor conscience find him out :
For him I was not sent; nor yet to free
That people, vietor once, now vile and base,
Deservedly made vassal, who once just,
Frugal and mild, and temp'rate, conquer'd well,
But govern ill the nations under yoke,
Peeling their provinces, exhausted all
By lust and rapine? first ambitious grown
Of triumph that insulting vanity;
Then eruel, by their sports to blood inur'd
Of fighting beasts, and men to beasts expos'd;
Luxurious by their wealth, and greedier still,"
And from the daily scene effeminate.
What wise and valiant man would seek to free
These thus degenerate, by themselves enslav'd
Or could of inward slaves make outward free?
Know therefore, when my season comes to sit
On David's throne, it shall be like a tree
Spreading and overshadowing all the earth;
Or as a stone that shall to pieces dash
All monarchies besides throughout the world;
And of my kingdom there shall be no end:
Means there shall be to this; but what the means,
Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell."
To whom the tempter impudent replied:
"I see all offers made by me how slight
Thon valuest, because offer'd, and reject'st;
Nothing will please thee difficult and nice,
Or nothing more than still to contradict:
On th' other side know also thou, that I
On what I offer set as high esteem,
Nor what I part with mean to give for nought;
All these, which in a moment thou behold'st,
The kingdoms of the world to thee I give
(For given to me, I give to whom I please)
No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else,
On this condition, if thou wilt fall down,
And worship me as thy superior lord,
Easily done, and hold them all of me;
For what can less so great a gift deserve?"
Whom thus our Saviour answer'd with disdain :
"I never lik'd thy talk, thy offers less,
Now both abhor, since thou hast dar'd to utter
Th' abominable terms, impious condition;
But I endure the time, till which expir'd,
Thou hast permission on me.
The first of all commandments, Thou shalt worship
The Lord thy God, and only him shalt serve;'
And dar'st thou to the Son of God propound
To worship thee accurs'd, now more accurs'd
For this attempt, bolder than that on Eve,
And more blasphemous? which expect to rue.
The kingdoms of the world to thee were given,
Permitted rather, and by thee usurp'd;
Other donation none thou canst produce.
If given, by whom, but by the King of kings,
God over all supreme? if given to thee,
By thee how fairly is the giver now
Repaid! But gratitude in thee is lost
Wert thou so void of fear or shame,
As offer them to me, the Son of God,
To me my own, on such abhorred pact,
That I fall down and worship thee as God?
Get thee behind me; plain thou now appear'st
That evil one, Satan for ever damm'd."
To whom the fiend, with fear abash'd, replied:
"Be not so sore offended, Son of God,
(Though sons of God both angels are and men,)
If I, to try whether in higher sort
Than these thou bear'st that title, have propos'd
What both from men and angels I receive,
Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth,
Nations besides from all the quarter'd winds,
God of this world invok'd, and world beneath:
Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold
To me so fatal, me it most concerns.
The trial bath indamag'd thee no way,
Rather more honour left and more esteem;
Me nought advantag'd, missing what I aim'd.
Therefore let pass as they are transitory,
The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more
Advise thee; gain them as thou caust, or not.
And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclin'd
Than to a worldly crown, addicted more
To contemplation and profound dispute,
As by that early action may be judg'd,
When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st
Alone into the temple; there was found
Among the gravest Rabbies, disputant
On points and questions fitting Moses' chair,
Teaching, not taught. The childhood shows the man
As morning shows the day. Be famous then
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend,
So let extend thy mind, o'er all the world
In knowledge, all things in it comprehend:
All knowledge is not couch'd in Moses' law,
The Pentateuch, or what the prophets wrote;
The Gentiles also know, and write and teach
To admiration, led by Nature's light;
And with the Gentiles much thou must converse,
Ruling them by persuasion, as thou mean'st;
Without their learning how wilt thou with them
Or they with thee, bold conversation meet?
How wilt thou reason with them, how refute
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes?
Error by his own arms is best evinc'd.
Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount,
Westward, much nearer by south-west; behold
Where on th' Ægean shore a city stands
Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil,
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts.
And eloquence, native to famous wits
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,
City' or suburban, studious walks and shades;
See there the olive grove of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the attic bird
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;
There flowery hill Hymettus, with the sound
Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites
To studious musing; there Illissus rolls
His whisp'ring stream: within the walls then view
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world;
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:
There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power.
Of harmony, in tones or numbers hit
By voice or hand, and various-measur'd verse,
Eolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,.
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer call'd,
Whose poem Phoebus challeng'd for his own.
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In chorus or iambic, teachers best
Of moral prudence, with delight receiv'd
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life;:
High action, and high passions best describing..
Thence to the famous orators repair,
Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce democratie,
Shook th' arsenal, aud fulmin'd over Greece,
To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne.
To sage philosophy next lend thine ear,
From heaven descended to the low-roof'd house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspir'd the oracle pronounc'd
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth.
Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools
Of Academics old and new, with those
Surnam'd Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe:
These here revolve, or, as thou lik'st, at home,
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight:
These rules will render thee a king complete
Within thyself; much more with empire join'd."
To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied:
"Think not but that I know these things; or think
I know them not, not therefore am I short
Of knowing what I ought: he who receives
Light from above, from the fountain of light,
No other doctrine needs, though granted true;
But these are false, or little else but dreams,
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all profess'd
To know this only, that he nothing knew;
The next to fabling fell and smooth conceits;
A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense;
Others in virtue plac'd felicity,
But virtue join'd with riches and long life;
In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease:
The Stoic last in philosophic pride,
By him call'd virtue; and bis virtuous man,
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing,
Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he can;
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas! what can they teach, and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell,
Degraded by himself, on grace depending?
Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none :
Rather accuse him under usual names,
Fortune and fate, as one regardless quite
Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these