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In what degree or meaning thou art calld
The Son of God; which bears no single sense.
The Son of God I also am, or was;
And if I was, I am ; relation stands;
All men are Sons of God; yet thee I thought
In some respect far higher so declar'd :
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour,
And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild;
Where, by all best conjectures, I collect
Thou art to be
fatal enemy : Good reason then, if I before hand seek To understand my adversary, who And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent; By parl or composition, truce or league, To win him, or win from him what I can: And opportunity I here have had To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee Proof against all temptation, as a rock Of adamant, and, as a center, firm; To the 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, topt with golden spires :
There, on the highest pinnacle, he 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,
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 up lift 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
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,
Receiving from his mother Earth new strength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,
Throttled at length in the air, expir'd and fell;
So, after many a foil, the Tempter proud,
Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride, Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall : And as that Theban monster, that propos'd Her riddle, and him who solv'd it not devour'd, That once found out and solv’d, for grief and spite Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep; So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the Fiend, And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought (Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,) Ruin, and desperation, and dismay, Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God. So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe Of Angels on full sail of wing flew nigh, Who on their plumy vans receiv'd him soft From his uneasy station, and upbore, As on a floating couch, through the blithe air; Then, in a flowery valley, set him down On a green bank, and set before him spread A table of celestial food, divine Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life, And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink, That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair’d, What hunger, if aught hunger, had impair'd Or thirst ; and, as he fed, angelick quires
ng heavenly anthems of his victory Over Temptation and the Tempter proud.
True image of the Father; whether thron'd In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, enshrin'd
In fleshy tabernacle, and human form,
Wandering the wilderness; whatever place,
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with God-like force endued
Against the attempter of thy Father's throne,
And thief of Paradise ! Him long of old
Thou didst debel, and down from Heaven cast
With all his army; now thou hast aveng'd
Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing
Temptation, hast regain'd lost Paradise,
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent.
He never more henceforth will dare set foot
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke:
For, though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd,
A fairer Paradise is founded now
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou,
A Saviour, art come down to re-install,
Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be)
Of Tempter and Temptation without fear.
But thou, infernal Serpent! shalt not long
Rule in the clouds ; like an autumnal star,
Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod down
Under his feet : for proof, ere this thou feel'st
Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest wound,)
By this repulse receiv'd, and hold'st in Hell
No triumph: in all her gates Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe
To dread the Son of God: He, all unarm’d,
Shall chase thee, with the terrour of his voice,
From thy demoniack holds, possession foul,
Thee and thy legions ; yelling they shall fly,
And beg to hide them in a herd of swine,
Lest he command them down into the deep,
Bound, and to torment sent before their time.-
Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds,
Queller of Satan! On thy glorious work
Now enter; and begin to save mankind.
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. 638
THE END OF PARADISE REGAINED.