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At home, scarce view'd the Galilean towns,
Short sojourn; and.what thence couldst thou ob-
Timorous and loath, with novice modesty,
With that (such power was giv'n him then) he
Fertil of corn the glebe, of oil and wine; 259
With herds the pastures throng'd, with flocks the
hills; Huge cities and high tower'd, that well might seem The seats of mightiest monarchs, and so large
The prospeiT: was, that here and there was room For barren desert fountainless and dry. 264
To this high mountain top the Tempter brought Our Saviour, and new train of words began.
"Well have we speeded, and o'er hill and dale,
Several days' journey, built by Ninus old,
Turning with easy eye thou may'st behold.
All these the Parthian, now some ages past,
By great Arsaces led, who founded first 295
That empire, under his dominion holds,
From the luxurious kings of Antioch won.
And just in time thou com'st to have a view
Of his great power; for now the Parthian king
In Ctesiphon hath gather'd all his host 300
Against the Scythian, whose incursions wild
Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid
He marches,now in haste; see, though from far,
His thousands, in what martial equipage
They issue forth, steel bows, and shafts their arms.
Of equal dread in flight, or in pursuit j 306
All horsemen, in which fight they most excel;
See how in warlike muster they appear,
In rhombs and wedges, and half-moons, and wings.
He look'd, and saw what numbers numberless The city gates out-pour'd, light armed troops 311 In coats of mail and military pride; In mail their horses clad, yet fleet and strong, Prauncing their riders bore, the flower and choice Of many provinces from bound to bound; 315 From Arachosia, from Candaor east, And Margiana to the Hyrcanian cliffs Of Caucasis, and dark Iberian dales, From Atropatia and the neighb'ring plains
Of Adiabene, Media, and the south 320
Of Susiana, to Balsara's haven.
He saw them in their forms of battel rang'd,
How quick they wheel'd, and flying behind them shot
A multitude with spades and axes arm'd
That thou may'st know I seek not to engage
Endevor, as thy father David did,
Thou never shalt obtain; prediction still
In all things, and all men, supposes means, 355
Without means us'd, what it predicts revokes.
But say thou wert possess'd of David's throne
By free consent of all, none opposit,
Samaritan or Jew; how couldst thou hope
Long to enjoy it quiet and secure, 360
Between two such inclosing 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 - 365
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, 371
That which alone can truly reinstall thee
In David's royal seat, his true successor,
Deliverance of thy brethren, those Ten Tribes
Whose offspring in his territory' yet serve, 375
In Habor, and among the Medes dispers'd;
Ten sons of Jacob, two of Joseph lost
Thus long from Israel, serving as of old
Their fathers in the land of Egypt serv'd,
This offer sets before thee to deliver. 3$a
These if from servitude thou shalt restore
To their inheritance, then, nor till then,