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Real or Allegoric, I discern not,

390 Nor when ; eternal sure, as without end, Without beginning; for no date prefixt Directs me in the Starry Rubric set.

So saying, he took, (for still he knew his Pow'r Not yet expir’d) and to the Wildernefs

395 Brought back the Son of God, and left him there, Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rofe, As day-light funk, and brought in lowring night, Her shad'wy offspring, unfubftantial both, Privation meer of light and abfent day.

400 Our Saviour meek and with untroubled mind, After his airy jaunt, though hurry'd fore, Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest, Wherever under fome concourse of Mades, 404 Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might Thield From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head; But shelter'd Nept in vain; for at his head The Tempter watch'd, and soon with ugly dreams Disturb'd his sleep: and either Tropic now 409 'Gan thunder, and both ends of Heav'n. The clouds From many a horrid rift abortive pour'd Fierce rain with lightning mixt, water with fire In ruin reconcild: nor Nept the winds Within their ftony caves, but rush'd abroad From the four hinges of the world, and fell

415 On the vext Wilderness, whose tallest Pines, Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest Oaks Bow'd their stiff necks, loaden with stormy blafts Or torn up fheer : ill wast thou shrouded then, patient Son of God, yet only foodft

420 Un.

Unhaken : nor yet staid the terror there ;
Infernal Ghosts, and Hellish Furies, round
Environ'd thee, fome howl'd, fome yell’d, some

shriek'd,
Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou
Sat'st unappal'd in calm and finless Peace.

425 Thus pass’d the night so foul, till morning fair Came forth with Pilgrim steps in amice gray; Who with her radiant finger still'd the roar Of thunder, chas’d the clouds, and laid the winds, And grisy Spectres, which the Fiend had rais'd, 430 To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire. And now the Sun with more effectual beams Had chear'd the face of Earth, and dry'd the wet From drooping plant, or dropping tree; the birds, Who all things now beheld more fresh and green, After a night of storm so ruinous,

436 Clear'd up their choicest notes in bush and spray To gratulate the sweet return of morn. Nor yet amidst this joy and brightest morn Was absent, after all his mischief done, 440 The Prince of darkness; glad would also seem Of this fair change, and to our Saviour came; Yet with no new device, they all were spent, Rather by this his last affront resolv’d, Desp'rate of better course, to vent his rage, And mad despight to be so oft repell’d. Him walking on a Sunny hill he found, Back'd on the North and West by a thick wood ; Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape, And in a careless mood thus to him said,

450

445

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Fair morning yet betides thee Son of God,
After a dismal night ; I hear'd the rack
As Earth and Sky would mingle ; but myself
Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear

them,
As dang’rous to the pillar'd frame of Heav'n, 455
Or to the Earth's dark bafis underneath,
Are to the main as inconsiderable,
And harmless, if not wholesom, as a sneeze
To man's less universe, and soon are gone :
Yet as being oft-times noxious where they light 460
On man, beast, plant, waftful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in the affairs of men,
Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point,
They oft fore-fignify, and threaten ill.
This Tempest at this Desart most was bent ; 465
of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'it.
Did I not tell thee, if thou didît reject
The perfect season offer'd with my aid
To win thy destin'd 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 rightlieft done, 475
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 Scepter get fast hold ;

Whereof

470

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480

Whereof this ominous night that clos'd theç round,
So many terrors, voices, prodigies
May warn thee as a sure fore-going fign.

So talk'd he ; while the Son of God went on And staid not, but in brief him answer'd thus. 485

Me worse than wet thou find'ft not; other harm Those terrors which thou speak’st of, did me none; I never fear'd they could, though noising loud And threatning nigh: what they can do as figns Betok’ning, or ill boding, I contemn

490 As false portents, not fent from God, but thee; Who knowing I fall reign past thy preventing, Obtrud'It thy offer'd aid, that I accepting At least might seem to hold all pow'r of thee, Ambitious spirit, and wou'dst be thought my God, And storm'ft refus'd, thinking to terrify

496 Me to thy will; defift (thou art discern'd And toil'st in vain) nor me in vain moleft. To whom the Fiend now swoln with rage re

ply'd: Then hear, o Son of David, Virgin-born, soo (For Son of God to me is yet in doubt) Of the Messiah I have heard foretold By all the Prophets ; of thy birth at length Announc'd by Gabriel with the first I knew, And of th’ Angelic Song in Bethlebem field, 505 On thy birth-night, that sung thee Saviour born : From that time feldom have I ceas'd to eye Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth, Thy manhood laft, though yet in private bred ; Till at the Ford of Jordan, whither ali 510

Flock'd

Flock'd to the Baptift, I among the rest,
(Though not to be baptiz’d,) by voice from Heav'n
Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belov’d.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn 5'5
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd
The Son of God, which bcars no fingle 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 520
In some respect far higher fo 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 my fatal enemy...

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Good reason then, if I before-hand seek]
To understand my Adversary, who
And what he is ; his wisdom, pow'r, intént ;
By parl, or compofition, truce or league
To win him, or win from him what I can. 530
An opportunity I here have had
To try thee, lift thee; and confess have found thee
Proof against all temptation as a rock
Of Adamant, and as a Center, firm,
To th’utmost of mere man both wife and good, $35
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 Heav'n,
Another method I must now begin.

540 So saying, he caught him up, and without wing

Of

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