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Flamed in my heart, heroic acts; one while
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke;
Then to subdue and quell, o'er all the earth,
Brute violence and proud tyrannic power,
Till truth were freed, and equity restored:
Yet held it more humane, more heavenly, first
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make persuasion do the work of fear;
At least to try, and teach the erring soul,
Not wilfully misdoing, but unaware
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.

These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving,
By words at times cast forth, inly rejoiced,
And said to me apart:-High are thy thoughts,
O Son, but nourish them, and let them soar
To what highth sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high:
By matchless deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For know, thou art no son of mortal man,
Though men esteem thee low of parentage;
Thy Father is the Eternal King who rules
All heaven and earth, angels and sons of men:
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceived in me a virgin; he foretold
Thou shouldst be great, and sit on David's throne,
And of thy kingdom there should be no end.
At thy nativity, a glorious quire

Of angels, in the fields of Bethlehem, sung
To shepherds, watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born,
Where they might see him, and to thee they came,
Directed to the manger where thou lay'st,
For in the inn was left no better room:

A star, not seen before, in heaven appearing,
Guided the wise men thither from the east,
To honour thee with incense, myrrh, and gold;
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy star, new-graven in heaven,
By which they knew the King of Israel born.
Just Simeon and prophetick Anna, warn'd
By vision, found thee in the temple, and spake,
Before the altar and the vested priest,
Like things of thee to all that present stood.-
This having heard, straight I again revolved
The law and prophets, searching what was writ
Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes

Known partly, and soon found, of whom they spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie

241. There should be no end. Luke i. 32. 33.

257. The vested priest. The epithet vested is singularly proper, because the 1

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vestments of the Jewish priest were en joined and particularly described by God himself. Ex. xxviii. 43,

Through many a hard assay, ev'n to the death,
Ere I the promised kingdom can attain,
Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins'
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet, neither thus dishearten'd or dismay'd,
The time prefix'd I waited; when behold
The Baptist, (of whose birth I oft had heard,
Not knew by sight,) now come, who was to come
Before Messiah, and his way prepare!

I, as all others, to his baptism came,

Which I believed was from above; but he

He was well pleased; by which I knew the time
Now full, that I no more should live obscure;
But openly begin, as best becomes,

The authority which I derived from Heaven.
And now by some strong motion I am led
Into this wilderness, to what intent

I learn not yet; perhaps I need not know;
For what concerns my knowledge God reveals.
So spake our Morning Star, then in his rise,
And, looking round, on every side beheld
A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades:
The way he came not having mark'd, return
Was difficult, by human steps untrod;

And he still on was led, but with such thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come
Lodged in his breast, as well might recommend
Such solitude before choicest society.
Full forty days he pass'd, whether on hill
Sometimes, anon on shady vale, each night
Under the covert of some ancient oak
Or cedar to defend him from the dew,

266. Whose sins, &c. Isa. liii. 6. 271. Not knew by sight. Though Jesus and John the Baptist were related, yet they were brought up in different countries, and bad no manner of intimacy or acquaintance with each other. John the Baptist says expressly, (John i. 31,)" and I knew him not." He did not so much as know him by sight till our Saviour came to his baptism; and it does not ap


Straight knew me, and with loudest voice proclaim'd 275
Me him, (for it was shown him so from Heaven)

Me him, whose harbinger he was; and first
Refused on me his baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won:
But, as I rose out of the laving stream,
Heaven open'd her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit descended on me like a dove;
And last, the sum of all, my Father's voice,
Audibly heard from heaven, pronounced me his,
Me his beloved Son, in whom alone

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pear that they ever afterwards conversed together.-NEWTON.

294. Morning star. See Rev. xxii. 16. 306. Dew. Maundrell, in his travels, when within a little more than half a day's journey from this mountain, says, "we were sufficiently instructed by expe rience what the holy Psalmist means by the dew of Hermon,' our tents being as wet with it as if it had rained all night."

Or harbour'd in one cave, is not reveal'd;
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt,
Till those days ended; hunger'd then at last
Among wild beasts: they at his sight grew mild,
Nor sleeping him nor waking harm'd; his walk
The fiery serpent fled and noxious worm,
The lion and fierce tiger glared aloof.
But now an aged man in rural weeds,
Following, as seem'd, the quest of some stray ewe,
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serve
Against a winter's day, when winds blow keen,
To warm him wet return'd from field at eve,
He saw approach, who first with curious eye
Perused him, then with words thus utter'd spake:

Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this place
So far from path or road of men, who pass
In troop or caravan? for single none
Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His carcass, pined with hunger and with drouth.
I ask the rather, and the more admire,

For that to me thou seem'st the man, whom late
Our new baptizing prophet at the ford

Of Jordan honour'd so, and call'd the Son

By miracle he may, replied the swain;
What other way I see not; for we here
Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inured
More than the camel, and to drink go far,
Men to much misery and hardship born:
But, if thou be the Son of God, command
That out of these hard stones be made thee bread;
So shalt thou save thyself, and us relieve
With food, whereof we wretched seldom taste.
He ended, and the Son of God replied:
Think'st thou such force in bread? Is it not written,
(For I discern thee other than thou seem'st)
Man lives not by bread only, but each word
Proceeding from the mouth of God; who fed

310. Wild beasts. Mark i. 13.

314. But now an aged man. As the Scriptures are entirely silent about what personage the Tempter assumed, the Poet was at liberty to indulge his own fancy, and nothing I think could be better conceived for his present purpose, or more likely to prevent suspicion or fraud.-THYER,




Of God: I saw and heard, for we sometimes

Who dwell this wild, constrain'd by want, come forth
To town or village nigh, (nighest is far)
Where aught we hear, and curious are to hear
What happens new; fame also finds us out.

To whom the Son of God:-Who brought me hither, 335
Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek.






330, &c. I saw and heard, &c. All this is finely in character with the assumed person of the Tempter, and tends, at the same time, to give more effect to the preceding descriptions.-DUNSTER.

339. Stubs, (not shrubs as Thyer proposes,) is undoubtedly the right word as connected with roots.

Our fathers here with manna? in the mount
Moses was forty days, nor eat, nor drank;
And forty days Elijah, without food,
Wander'd this barren waste; the same I now:
Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust,
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?

Whom thus answer'd the arch-fiend, now undisguised:-
'Tis true, I am that spirit unfortunate,
Who, leagued with millions more in rash revolt,
Kept not my happy station, but was driven
With them from bliss to the bottomless deep;
Yet to that hideous place not so confined
By rigour unconniving, but that oft,
Leaving my dolorous prison, I enjoy
Large liberty to round this globe of earth,
Or range in the air; nor from the heaven of heavens
Hath he excluded my resort sometimes.
I came among the sons of God, when he
Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job,
Το prove him and illustrate his high worth;
And, when to all his angels he proposed
To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud,
That he might fall in Ramoth; they demurring,
I undertook that office, and the tongues
Of all his flattering prophets glibb'd with lies
To his destruction, as I had in charge;
For what he bids I do: though I have lost
Much lustre of my native brightness, lost
To be beloved of God; I have not lost
To love, at least contemplate and admire,
What I see excellent in good, or fair,
Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense:
What can be then less in me than desire
To see thee and approach thee, whom I know
Declared the Son of God, to hear attent
Thy wisdom, and behold thy godlike deeds?
Men generally think me much a foe
To all mankind: why should I? they to me
Never did wrong or violence; by them
I lost not what I lost, rather by them

I gain'd what I have gain'd, and with them dwell,
Copartner in these regions of the world,
If not disposer; lend them oft my aid,
Oft my advice by presages and signs,
And answers, oracles, portents, and dreams,
Whereby they may direct their future life.
Envy they say excites me, thus to gain

356. Knowing who I am. See line 385. 258. 'Tis true. Satan's instantaneous avowal of himself here, has a great and fine effect. It is consistent with a certain dignity of character which is given










in general, through the whole of Paradise Lost.-DUNSTER.

372. The proud king Ahab. See 1 Kings xxii. 20, 21, and 22.

Companions of my misery and woe.

At first it may be; but, long since with woe
Nearer acquainted, now I feel by proof,
That fellowship in pain divides not smart,
Nor lightens aught each man's peculiar load.
Small consolation then, were man adjoin'd;
This wounds me most; (what can it less?) that man,
Man fallen shall be restored, I never more.

To whom our Saviour sternly thus replied:-
Deservedly thou griev'st, composed of lies
From the beginning, and in lies wilt end;
Who boast'st release from hell, and leave to come
Into the heaven of heavens: thou com'st indeed,
As a poor miserable captive thrall

Comes to the place where he before had sat
Among the prime in splendour, now deposed,
Ejected, emptied, gazed, unpitied, shunn'd,
A spectacle of ruin, or of scorn,

To all the host of heaven: the happy place
Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy;
Rather inflames thy torment; representing
Lost bliss, to thee no more communicable,
So never more in hell than when in heaven.
But thou art serviceable to Heaven's King.
Wilt thou impute to obedience what thy fear
Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites?
What but thy malice moved thee to misdeem
Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict him
With all inflictions? but his patience won.
The other service was thy chosen task,
To be a liar in four hundred mouths;
For lying is thy sustenance, thy food.
Yet thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles
By thee are given, and what confess'd more true
Among the nations? that hath been thy craft,
By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies.
But what have been thy answers, what but dark,
Ambiguous, and with double sense deluding,
Which they who ask'd have seldom understood,
And not well understood as good not known?
Who ever by consulting at thy shrine
Return'd the wiser, or the more instruct,

404. This wounds me most. Very artful: as he could not acquit himself of envy and mischief, he endeavours to soften his crimes by assigning this cause of them.-WARBURTON,

428. In four hundred mouths. See 1 Kings xxii. 6.

435. Double sense. The ancient oracles were famed for giving such answers as could be turned either way. Thus, when Cyrus was about to invade Croesus' dominions, the latter applied to the Oracle

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at Delphi, to know what to do. The oracle gave answer, "If Croesus crosses the Halys" (the eastern boundary of his dominions) "a large kingdom will be destroyed." He interpreted this to mean Cyrus' kingdom, and so crossed the Halys, and gave him battle. But being utterly defeated, he learned too late that the answer of the credit-saving oraclo could be interpreted the other way.

439. Instruct for instructed. So ii. 399. Suspect for suspected.

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