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The perfect season offer'd with my aid
To win thy destined seat, but wilt prolong
All to the push of fate, pursue thy way
Of gaining David's throne, no man knows when,
For both the when and how is no where told?
Thou shalt be what thou art ordain'd, no doubt;
For angels have proclaim'd it, but concealing
The time and means. Each act is rightliest done,
Not when it must, but when it may be best:
If thou observe not this, be sure to find,
What I foretold thee, many a hard assay
Of dangers, and adversities, and pains,
Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold;
Whereof this ominous night, that closed thee round,
So many terrours, voices, prodigies,
May warn thee, as a sure foregoing sign.

So talk'd he, while the Son of God went on
And stay'd not, but in brief him answer'd thus:

Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other harm,
Those terrours, which thou speak'st of, did me none:
I never fear'd they could, though noising loud
And threatening nigh: what they can do, as signs
Betokening, or ill boding, I contemn

As false portents, not sent from God, but thee;
Who, knowing I shall reign past thy preventing,
Obtrud'st thy offer'd aid, that I, accepting,
At least might seem to hold all power of thee,
Ambitious spirit! and wouldst be thought my God;
And storm'st refused, thinking to terrify
Me to thy will! desist, (thou art discern'd,
And toil'st in vain,) nor me in vain molest.

To whom the fiend, now swoln with rage, replied:
Then hear, O Son of David, virgin-born,
For Son of God to me is yet in doubt;
Of the Messiah I had heard foretold
By all the prophets; of thy birth at length,
Announced by Gabriel, with the first I knew;
And of the angelick song in Bethlehem field,
On thy birth-night that sung thee Saviour born.
From that time seldom have I ceased to eye
Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth;
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred;
Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all
Flock'd to the Baptist, I among the rest,
(Though not to be baptized,) by voice from heaven
Heard thee pronounced the Son of God beloved.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd
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;

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All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought
In some respect far higher so declared:
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 my 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 centre, 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

561. He said and stood. The tempter | sets our Saviour on a pinnacle of the temple, and there requires of him a proof of his divinity, either by standing or casting himself down, as he might safely do if he was the Son of God, according to the quotation from the Psalmist. To this our Saviour answers, as he answers in the Gospe's.-"It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," tacitly inferring that his casting himself down would be tempting God.

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Have brought thee, and highest placed: highest is best:
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 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:

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He said, that is, he gave this reason for not casting himself down, and stood. His standing properly makes the discovery, and is the principal proof of his progeny that the Tempter required. Now show thy progeny. His standing convinces Satan. His standing is considered as the display of his divinity, and the immediate cause of Satan's fall; and the grand contrast is formed between the standing of the one, and the fall of the other. NEWTON.

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, expired 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 proposed
Her riddle, and him who solved it not, devour'd;
That once found out and solved, 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 hoped 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 received 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
Sung heavenly anthems of his victory
Over temptation and the tempter proud:

True image of the Father; whether throned
In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Conceiving; or, remote from heaven, enshrined
In fleshly tabernacle, and human form,

564. Irassa or Iresus, a beautiful country of Libya, not far from Cyrene. Jove's Alcides: H cules.

572. Theban monster: The Sphinx, whose riddle (Edipus solved; whereupon she cast herself headlong from the citadel of Thebes-termed the Ismenian steep, from the Ismenus, which ran by Thebes.

583. Him, according to the common construction of language, certainly must refer to Satan, the person last mentioned. The intended sense of this passage cannot indeed be misunderstood; but we grieve to find any inaccuracy in a part of the poem so eminently beautiful.DUNSTER.

585. Blithe air: Glad, merry, cheerful,

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as pleased with its burden: a beautiful figure.

596. True image, &c. All the poems that ever were written must yield, even Paradise Lost must yield to the Regained, in the grandeur of its close. Christ stands triumphant on the pointed eminence. The Demon falls with amazement and terrour, on this full proof of His being that very Son of God whose thunder forced him out of Heaven. The blessed Angels receive new knowledge. They behold a sublime truth established, which was a secret to them at the beginning of the temptation, and the great discovery gives a proper opening to their hymn on the victory of Christ and the defeat of the Tempter.-COLTON.

Wandering the wilderness; whatever place,
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with godlike 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 avenged
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 received, 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, unobserved,
Home to his mother's house private return'd.

619. Autumnal stars, and Sirius in particular, were supposed to produce mischief to mankind. Lightning: see Luke X. 18.

624. Abaddon. The name of the angel |

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of the bottomless pit (Rev. ix. 11) is here applied to the bottomless pit itself.

629. Yelling, &c. See Matt. viii. 28, and Rev. xx. 1, 2, 3.

605. Debel, defeat.

Ir has been observed of almost all the great epic poems, that they fall off, and become languid, in the conclusion. This last book of the "Paradise Regained" is one of the finest conclusions of a poem, that can be produced. They who talk of our author's genius being in the decline when he wrote his second poem, and who therefore turn from it, as from a dry prosaic composition, are, I will venture to say, no judges of poetry. With a fancy such as Milton's, it must have been more difficult to forbear poetic decorations, than to furnish them; and a glaring profusion of ornament would, I conceive, have more decidedly betrayed the poeta senescens, than a want of it. The first book of the "Paradise Lost" abounds in similies, and is, in other respects, as elevated and sublime as any in the whole poem: but here the poet's plan was totally different. Though it may be said of the "Paradise Regained," as Longinus has said of the "Odyssey," that it is the epilogue of the preceding poem; still the design and conduct of it is as different as that of the "Georgics" from the "Eneid." The "Paradise Regained" has something of the didactic character: it teaches not merely by the general moral, and by the character and conduct of its hero; but has also many positive precepts everywhere interspersed. It is written for the most part in a style admirably condensed, and with a studied reserve of ornament: it is nevertheless illuminated with beauties of the most captivating kind. Its leading feature throughout is that "excellence of composition," which, as Lord Monboddo justly observes, so eminently distinguished the writings of the ancients; and in which, of all modern authors, Milton most resembles them.

At the commencement of this book the argument of the poem is considerably advanced. Satan appears hopeless of success, but still persisting in his enterprise: the desperate folly and vain pertinacity of this conduct are perfectly well exemplified and illustrated by three apposite similies, each successively rising in beauty above the other. The business of the temptation being thus resumed, the tempter takes our Lord to the western side of the mountain, and shows to him Italy, the situation of which the poet marks with singular accuracy; and, having traced the Tiber from its source in the Apennines to Rome, he briefly enumerates the most conspicuous objects that may be supposed at first to strike the eye on a distant view of this celebrated city. Satan now becomes the speaker; and, in an admirably descriptive speech, points out more particularly the magnificent public and private buildings of ancient Rome, descanting on the splendour and power of its state, which he particularly exemplifies in the superb pomp with which their provincial magistrates proceed to their respective governments; and in the numerous ambassadors that arrive from every quarter of the habitable globe, to solicit the protection of Rome and the emperor. These are two pictures of the most highly finished kind: the numerous figures are in motion before us; we absolutely see

Prætors, proconsuls to their provinces
Hasting, or on return, in robes of state,

Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power,
Legions and cohorts, &c.

Having observed that such a power as this of Rome must reasonably be preferred to that of the Parthians, which he had displayed in the preceding book, and that there were no other powers worth our Lord's attention; the tempter now begins to apply all this to his purpose: by a strongly drawn description of the vicious and detestable character of Tiberius, he shows how easy it would be to expel him, to take possession of his throne, and to free the Roman people from that slavery in which they were then held. This he proffers to accomplish for our Lord, whom he incites to accept the offer, not only from a principle of ambition, but

"The poet growing old."

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