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When Agrican, with all his northern powers,
Besieged Albracca, as romances tell,
The city of Gallaphrone, from thence to win
The fairest of her sex, Angelica,
His daughter, sought by many prowest knights,
Both Paynim and the peers of Charlemain.
Such and so numerous was their chivalry ;
At sight whereof the fiend yet more presumed,
And to our Saviour thus his words renewed :-

“That thou may'st know I seek not to engage
Thy virtue, and not every way secure
On no slight grounds thy safety, hear and mark
To what end I have brought Thee hither, and show
All this fair sight. Thy kingdom, though foretold
By prophet or by angel, unless Thou
Endeavour, as thy father David did,
Thou never shalt obtain: prediction still
In all things, and all men, supposes means;
Without means used, what it predicts revokes.
But say Thou wert possessed of David's throne
By free consent of all, none opposite,
Samaritan or Jew; how couldst Thou hope
Long to enjoy it quiet and secure
Between two such enclosing enemies,
Roman and Parthian? Therefore one of these
Thou must make sure Thy own : the Parthian first,
By my advice, as nearer, and of late
Found able by invasion to annoy
Thy country, and captive lead away her kings,
Antigonus and old Hyrcanus, bound,
Maugre the Roman. It shall be my task
To render Thee the Parthian at dispose,
Choose which Thou wilt, by conquest or by league.
By him Thou shalt regain, without him not,
That which alone can truly reinstall Thee
In David's royal seat, his true successor
Deliverance of thy brethern, those ten tribes


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Whose offspring in his territory yet serve
In Habor, and among the Medes dispersed :
Ten sons of Jacob, two of Joseph, lost
Thus long from Israel, serving, as of old
Their fathers in the land of Egypt served,
This offer sets before Thee to deliver.
These if from servitude Thou shalt restore
To their inheritance, then, nor till then,
Thou on the throne of David in full glory,
From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond,
Shalt reign, and Rome or Cæsar not need fear."

To whom our Saviour answered thus, unmoved :-
“Much ostentation vain of fleshly arm
And fragile arms, much instrument of war,
Long in preparing, soon to nothing brought,
Before Mine eyes thou hast set, and in My ear
Vented much policy, and projects deep
Of enemies, of aids, battles, and leagues,
Plausible to the world, to Me worth naught.
Means I must use, thou say'st; prediction else
Will unpredict, and fail Me of the throne !
My time, I told thee (and that time for thee
Were better farthest off), is not yet come.
When that comes, think not thou to find Me slack
On My part aught endeavouring, or to need
Thy politic maxims, or that cumbersome
Luggage of war there shown Me-argument
Of human weakness rather than of strength.
My brethren, as thou call'st them, those ten tribes,
I must deliver, if I mean to reign
David's true heir, and his full sceptre sway
To just extent over all Israel's sons !
But whence to thee this zeal? Where was it then
For Israel, or for David, or his throne,
When thou stood'st up his tempter to the pride
Of numbering Israel—which cost the lives
Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites


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By three days' pestilence? Such was thy zeal
To Israel then, the same that now to Me.
As for those captive tribes, themselves were they
Who wrought their own captivity, fell off
From God to worship calves, the deities
Of Egypt, Baal next and Ashtaroth,
And all the idolatries of heathen round,
Besides their other worse than heathenish crimes;
Nor in the land of their captivity
Humbled themselves, or penitent besought
The God of their forefathers, but so died
Impenitent, and left a race behind
Like to themselves, distinguishable scarce
From Gentiles, but by circumcision vain,
And God with idols in their worship joined.
Should I of these the liberty regard,
Who, freed, as to their ancient patrimony,
Unhumbled, unrepentant, unreformed,
Headlong would follow, and to their gods perhaps
Of Bethel and of Dan? No; let them serve
Their enemies, who serve idols with God.
Yet He at length, time to Himself best known,
Remembering Abraham, by some wondrous call
May bring them back, repentant and sincere,
And at their passing cleave the Assyrian flood,
While to their native land with joy they haste,
As the Red Sea and Jordan once He cleft,
When to the Promised Land their fathers passed.
To His due time and providence I leave them.'

So spake Israel's true King, and to the fiend
Made answer meet, that made void all his wiles.
So fares it when with truth falsehood contends.


440 BOOK IV.


Satan, persisting in the temptation of our Lord, shows Him imperial Rome in its greatest splendour, and tells Him that He might, with the greatest ease, expel Tiberius, restore the Romans to their liberty, and make Himself master not only of the Roman empire, but, by so doing, of the whole world, and inclusively of the throne of David. " Our Lord, in reply, expresses His contempt of grandeur and worldly power, and notices the luxury, vanity, and profligacy of the Romans, declaring how little they merited to be restored to that liberty which they had lost by their misconduct. Satan, now desperate, to enhance the value of his proffered gifts, professes that the only terms on which he will bestow them, are our Saviour's falling down and worshipping him. Our Lord expresses a firm but emperate indignation at such a proposition, and rebukes the tempter. Satan then assumes a new ground of temptation, and, proposing to Jesus the intellectual gratifications of wisdom and knowledge, points out to Him the celebrated seat of ancient learning, Athens, its schools, and other various resorts of learned teachers and their disciples. Jesus replies, by showing the vanity and insufficiency of the boasted heathen philosophy. Satan, irritated at the failure of all his attempts, upbraids the indiscretion of our Saviour in rejecting his offers : and, having foretold the sufferings that our Lord was to undergo, carries Him back into the wilderness, and leaves Him there. Night comes on : Satan raises a tremendous storm, and attempts further to alarm Jesus with frightful dreams, and terrific threatening spectres. A calm, bright, beautiful morning succeeds to the horrors of the night. Satan again presents himself to our blessed Lord ; and takes occasion, once more, to insult Him with an account of the sufferings which He was certainly to undergo. This only draws from our Lord a brief rebuke. Satan, now at the height of his desperation, confesses that he had frequently watched Jesus from His birth, purposely to discover if He was the Messiah, and assiduously followed Him, in hopes of gaining some advantage over Him, which would most effectually prove that He was not really that Divine Person destined to be his “fatal enemy. In this he acknowledges that he has hitherto failed; but still determines to make one more trial. Accordingly he conveys Him to the Temple at Jerusalem ; and, placing Him on a pointed eminence, requires Him to prove His divinity either by standing there, or casting Himself down with safety. Our Lord reproves the tempter, and manifests His own divinity by standing on this dangerous point. Satan, amazed and terrified, instantly falls, and repairs to his infernal compeers to relate the bad success of his enterprise. Angels convey our blessed Lord to a beautiful valley, and, while they minister to Him a repast of celestial food, celebrate His victory in a triumphant hymn

PERPLEXED and troubled at his bad success,
The tempter stood, nor had what to reply,
Discovered in his fraud, thrown from his hope
So oft, and the persuasive rhetoric


That sleeked his tongue, and won so much on Eve
So little here, nay lost.

But Eve was Eve;
This far his over-match, who, self-deceived
And rash, beforehand had no better weighed
The strength he was to cope with, or his own.
But—as a man who had been matchless held

Іо In cunning, over-reached where least he thought, To salve his credit, and for very spite, Still will be tempting him who foils him still, And never cease, though to his shame the more; Or as a swarm of flies in vintage-time, About the wine-press where sweet must is poured, Beat off, returns as oft with humming sound; Or surging waves against a solid rock, Though all to shivers dashed, the assault renew, (Vain battery !) and in froth or bubbles endSo Satan, whom repulse upon repulse Met ever, and to shameful silence brought, Yet gives not o'er, though desperate of success, And his vain importunity pursues. He brought our Saviour to the western side Of that high mountain, whence He might behold Another plain, long, but in breadth not wide, Washed by the southern sea, and on the north To equal length backed with a ridge of hills That screened the fruits of the earth and seats of men 30 From cold septentrion blasts; thence in the midst Divided by a river, of whose banks On each side an imperial city stood, With towers and temples proudly elevate On seven small hills, with palaces adorned, Porches and theatres, baths, aqueducts, Statues and trophies, and triumphal arcs, Gardens and groves, presented to His eyes Above the height of mountains interposedBy what strange parallax, or optic skill

40 Of vision, multiplied through air, or glass

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