« IndietroContinua »
Where by all best conjectures I collect
Good reason then, if I beforehand seek
And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent;
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee
Of adamant, and as a centre, firm,
To th' utmost of mere man both wise and good, Not more; for honours, 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 saying, 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, And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd Her pile, far off appearing like a mount Of alabaster, topp'd with golden spires: There on the highest pinnacle be set The Son of God, and added thus in scorn:
"There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright Will ask thee skill: I to thy Father's house Have brought thee', and highest plac'd; highest is Now show thy progeny; if not to stand, [best: Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God: For it is written, He will give command Concerning thee to his angels; in their hands They shall uplift thee, lest at any time Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.'' To whom thus Jesus: "Also it is written, 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 strove
With Jove's Alcides, and oft foil'd still rose,
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God..
As on a floating couch, through the blithe air.
Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life,
Thou didst debel, and down from heaven cast:
With all his army; now thou hast aveng'd
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou,
Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be,
Or lightning, thou shalt fall from heaven, trod down
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 REGAINED.
Samson made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Gaza, there to labour as in a common work-house, on a festival day, in a general cessation from labour, comes forth into the open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retired, there to sit awhile and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which makes the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what they can; then by his old father Manoah, who endeavours the like, and withal tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; lastly, that this feast was proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of thanks. giving for their deliverance from the hands of Samson, which yet more troubles him. Manoah then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistian hords for Samson's redemption; who in the meanwhile is visited by other persons; and lastly, by a public officer to require his coming to the feast before the lords and people, to play and show his strength in their pre.. sence: he at first refuses, dismissing the public officer with ab solute denial to come; at length persuaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the second time with great threatenings to fetch him: the Chorus yet remaining on the place, Manoah returns full of joy. ful hope, to procure erelong his son's deliverance: in the midst of which discourse an Hebrew comes in haste, confusedly at first, and afterward more distinctly relating the catastrophe, what Samson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to himself; wherewith the tragedy ends.