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They issue forth, steel bows and shafts their arms;
Of equal dread in flight, or in pursuit;
All horsemen, in which fight they most excel;
See how in warlike muster they appear, [wings."
In rhombs and wedges, and half-moons, and

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, Prancing their riders bore, the flower and choice Of many provinces from bound to bound:


From Arachosia, from Candaor east,

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From Atropatia, and the neighb'ring plains
Of Adiabene, Media, and the south
Of Susiana, to Balsara's haven.




He saw them in their forms of battle rang'd, [shot
How quick they wheel'd, and flying behind them
Sharp sleet of arrowy showers against the face
Of their pursuers, and overcame by flight;
The field all iron cast a gleaming brown:
Nor wanted clouds of foot, nor on each horn
Cuirassiers all in steel for standing fight,
Chariots or elephants indors'd with towers
Of archers, nor of lab'ring pioneers
A multitude, with spades and axes arm'd
To lay hills plain, fell woods, or valleys fill,
Or where plain was raise hill, or overlay
With bridges rivers proud, as with a yoke;
Mules after these, camels and dromedaries,
And waggons fraught with utensils of war.
Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp,
When Agrican with all his northern powers
Besieg'd Albracca, as romances tell,


The city of Gallaphrone, from whence to win 340
The fairest of her sex Angelica

His daughter, sought by many prowest knights,
Both Paynim, and the peers of Charlemaine.
Such and so numerous was their chivalry;

At sight whereof the fiend yet more presum'd, 345
And to our Saviour thus his words renew'd:

"That thou may'st know I seek not to engage Thy virtue, and not every way secure On no slight grounds thy safety; hear, and mark To what end I have brought thee hither, and shown


Deliverance of thy brethren, those ten tribes
Whose offspring in his territory' yet serve,
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.
These if from servitude thou shalt restore
To their inheritance, then, nor till then,
Thou on the throne of David in full glory,
From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond,
Shalt reign, and Rome or Cæsar not need fear." 385


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David's true heir, and his full sceptre sway
To just extent over all Israel's sons;
But whence to thee this zeal, where was it then
For Israel or for David, or his throne,
When thou stood'st up his tempter to the pride
Of numb'ring Israel, which cost the lives
Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites
By three days' pestilence? such was thy zeal
To Israel then, the same that now to me.
As for those captive tribes, themselves were they
Who wrought their own captivity, fell off
From God to worship calves, the deities
Of Egypt, Baal next and Ashtaroth,
And all th' idolatries of Heathen round,




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All this fair sight: thy kingdom, though foretold
By prophet or by angel, unless thou
Endeavour, as thy father David did,
Thou never shalt obtain; prediction still
In all things, and all men, supposes means;
Without means us'd, what it predicts revokes.
But say thou wert possess'd of David's throne
By free consent of all, none opposite,
Samaritan or Jew; how couldst thou hope
Long to enjoy it quiet and secure,
Between two such enclosing enemies

Humbled themselves, or penitent besought The God of their forefathers; but so died

Impenitent, and left a race behind



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Like to themselves, distinguishable scarce
From Gentiles, but by circumcision vain,
And God with idols in their worship join'd.
Should I of these the liberty regard,
Who freed as to their ancient patrimony,
Unhumbled, unrepentant, unreform'd,
Headlong would follow'; and to their gods perhaps
Of Bethel and of Dan? no, let them serve
Their enemies who serve idols with God.
Yet he at length, time to himself best known,
Rememb'ring Abraham, by some wondrous call
May bring them back repentant and sincere, 435
And at their passing cleave th' Assyrian flood,
While to their native land with joy they haste,
As the Red Sea and Jordan once he cleft,
When to the Promis d Land their fathers pass'd;
To his due time and providence I leave them." 440

So spake Israel's true King, and to the fiend Made answer meet, that made void all his wiles. So fares it when with truth falsehood contends.


In David's royal seat, his true successor,




PERPLEX'D and troubled at his bad success

Moroe Nilotic isle, and more to west,

The Tempter stood, nor had what to reply, Discover'd in his fraud, thrown from his hope So oft, and the persuasive rhetoric

The realm of Bocchus to the Black-moor sea; From th' Asian kings and Parthian among these, From India and the golden Chersonese,

utmost Indian Isle Taprobane,

That sleek'd his tongue, and won so much on Eve, And with white silken turbants wreath'd;



So little here, nay lost; but Eve was Eve;
This far his over-match, who self deceiv'd
And rash, beforehand had no better weigh'd
The strength he was to cope with, or his own:
But as a man who had been matchless held
In cunning over-reach'd where least he thought,
To salve his credit, and for very spite,
Still will be tempting him who foils him still,
And never cease, though to his shame the more;
Or as a swarm of flies in vintage time,

From Gallia, Gades, and the British west; Germans and Scythians, and Sarmathians north, Beyond Danubius to the Tauric pool.


All nations now to Rome obedience pay


To Rome's great emperor, whose wide domain,
In ample territory, wealth and power,
Civility of manners, arts and arms,



About the wine-press where sweet must be pour'd,
Beat off, returns as oft with humming sound;
Or surging waves against a solid rock,
Though all to shivers dash'd, th' assault renew,
Vain batt'ry, and in froth or bubbles end;
So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse
Met ever, and to shameful silence brought,
Yet gives not o'er, though desp'rate of success,
And his vain importunity pursues.
He brought our Saviour to the western side
Of that high mountain, whence he might behold
Another plain, long, but in breadth not wide,
Wash'd by the southern sea, and on the north
To equal length back'd with a ridge of hills,
That screen'd the fruits of th' earth and seats of

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From cold Septentrion blasts, thence in the midst
Divided by a river, of whose banks
On each side an imperial city stood,
With towers and temples proudly elevate
On seven small hills, with palaces adorn'd,
Porches and theatres, baths, aqueducts,
Statues and trophies, and triumphal arcs,
Gardens and groves presented to his eyes,
Above the height of mountains interpos'd;
By what strange parallax, or optic skill
Of vision multiplied through air or glass
Of telescope, were curious to enquire:
And now the Tempter thus his silence broke:

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Above the rest lifting his stately head
On the Tarpeian rock, her citadel
Impregnable; and there Mount Palatine,
Th' imperial palace, compass huge, and high
The structure, skill of noblest architects,
With gilded battlements, conspicuous far,
Turrets and terraces, and glitt'ring spires.
Many a fair edifice besides, more like
Houses of gods (so well I have dispos'd
My airy microscope,) thou may'st behold
Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs,
Carv'd work, the hand of fam'd artificers'
In cedar, marble, ivory or gold.

Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see
What conflux issuing forth, or entering in;

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And long renown, thou justly may'st prefer,
Before the Parthian; these two thrones except, 85
The rest are barb'rous, and scarce worth the sight,
Shar'd among petty kings too far remov❜d:
These having shown thee, I have shown thee all
The kingdoms of the world, and all their glory.
This emp'ror hath no son, and now is old,
Old and lascivious, and from Rome retir'd
To Capræ, an island small, but strong,


On the Campanian shore, with purpose there His horrid lusts in private to enjoy, Committing to a wicked favourite



All public cares, and yet of him suspicious;
Hated of all, and hating; with what ease,
Endu'd with regal virtues, as thou art,
Appearing, and beginning noble deeds,
Might'st thou expel this monster from his throne,
Now made a sty, and in his place ascending,
A victor people free from servile yoke?
And with my help thou may'st: to me the power
Is given, and by that right I give it thee.
Aim therefore at no less than all the world,
Aim at the highest; without the highest attain'd
Will be for thee no sitting, or not long
On David's throne, be prophesied what will."


To whom the Son of God unmov'd replied: "Nor doth this grandeur, and majestic show 110 Of luxury, though call'd magnificence, More than of arms before, allure mine eye, Much less my mind; though thou shouldst add to



Their sumptuous gluttonies, and gorgeous feasts,
On citron tables or Atlantic stone,
(For I have also heard, perhaps have read,)
Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne,
Chios, and Crete, and how they quaff in gold,
Crystal and myrrhine cups, imboss'd with gems
And studs of pearl; to me shouldst tell who thirst
And hunger still: then embassies thou show'st 121
From nations far and nigh; what honour that,
But tedious waste of time, to sit and hear
So many hollow compliments and lies,


Outlandish flatteries? Then proceed'st to talk 125
Of th' emperor, how easily subdu'd,
How gloriously: I shall, thou say'st, expel
A brutish monster: what if I withal
Expel a devil who first made him such?
Let his tormentor conscience find him out;
For him I was not sent; nor yet to free
That people, victor once, now vile and base,
Deservedly made vassal, who once just,
Frugal and mild, and temp'rate, conquer'd well,
But govern ill the nations under yoke,
Peeling their provinces, exhausted all
By lust and rapine? first ambitious grown

Of triumph, that insulting vanity;

Then cruel, by their sports to blood inur'd


Of fighting beasts, and men to beasts expos'd; 140

Luxurious by their wealth, and greedier still,
And from the daily scene effeminate.

What wise and valiant man would seek to free
These thus degenerate, by themselves enslav'd,
Or could of inward slaves make outward free? 145
Know therefore, when my season comes to sit
On David's throne, it shall be like a tree
Spreading and overshadowing all the earth;
Or as a stone that shall to pieces dash

All monarchies besides throughout the world; 150
And of my kingdom there shall be no end:
Means there shall be to this; but what the means,
Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell."

To whom the Tempter impudent replied:
"I see all offers made by me how slight
Thou valuest, because offer'd, and reject'st:
Nothing will please the difficult and nice,
Or nothing more than still to contradict:
On th' other side know also thou, that I
On what I offer set as high esteem,
Nor what I part with mean to give for nought;
All these, which in a moment thou behold'st,
The kingdoms of the world to thee I give;
For given to me, I give to whom I please;
No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else,
On this condition, if thou wilt fall down,
And worship me as thy superior lord,
Easily done, and hold them all of me;
For what can less so great a gift deserve?"


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The studious musing; there Ilissus rolls

His whisp'ring stream: within the walls then view
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world;
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:






There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand, and various-measur'd verse,
Eolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes thence Homer call'd,
Whose poem Phoebus challeng'd for his own.
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In chorus or iambic, teachers best


Of moral prudence, with delight receiv'd
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life; 265
High actions, and high passions best describing.
Thence to the famous orators repair,

Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence

Wielded at will that fierce democratie,

Shook th' arsenal, and fulmin'd over Greece, 270 To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne.

To sage philosophy next lend thine car,

Whom thus our Saviour answer'd with disdain : "I never lik'd thy talk, thy offers less. Now both abhor, since thou hast dar'd to utter Th' abominable terms, impious condition; But I endure the time, till which expir'd, Thou hast permission on me. It is written The first of all commandments, Thou shalt worship


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The Lord thy God, and only him shalt serve;
And dar'st thou to the Son of God propound
To worship thee accurs'd, now more accurs'd
For this attempt, bolder than that on Eve,
And more blasphemous? which expect to rue.
The kingdoms of the world to thee were given,
Permitted rather, and by thee usurp'd;
Other donation thou none canst produce.
If given, by whom, but by the King of kings,
God over all supreme? if given to thee,

Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame,


From heaven descended to the low-roof'd house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspir'd the oracle pronounc'd
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools
Of Academics old and new, with those
Sirnam'd Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe:


As offer them to me, the Son of God,


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Than these thou bear'st that title, have propos'd
What both from men and angels I receive,
Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth
Nations besides from all the quarter'd winds,
God of this world invok'd, and world beneath :
Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold
To me so fatal, me it most concerns.
The trial hath indamag'd thee no way,
Rather more honour left and more esteem;
Me nought advantag'd, missing what I aim'd.
Therefore let pass, as they are transitory,
The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more 210
Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not.
And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclin'd
Than to a worldly crown, addicted more
To contemplation and profound dispute,
As by that early action may be judg'd.
When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st
Alone into the temple; there wast found
Among the gravest Rabbies, disputant


On points and questions fitting Moses' chair, [man
Teaching, not taught; the childhood shows the
As morning shows the day. Be famous then 221
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend,
So let extend thy mind o'er all the world
In knowledge, all things in it comprehend:
All knowledge is not couch'd in Moses' law,
The Pentateuch, or what the prophets wrote;
The Gentiles also know, and write and teach
To admiration, led by Nature's light;


These here revolve, or, as thou lik'st, at home, Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight: These rules will render thee a king complete Within thyself; much more with empire join'd."

To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied: 285 "Think not but that I know these things, or think I know them not; not therefore am I short Of knowing what I ought: he who receives Light from above, from the fountain of light, No other doctrine needs, though granted true; 290 But these are false, or little else but dreams, Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm." The first and wisest of them all profess'd To know this only, that he nothing knew; The next to fabling fell and smooth conceits; 295 A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense; Others in virtue plac'd felicity,



But virtue join'd with riches and long life:
In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease:
The Stoic last in philosophic pride,
By him call'd virtue; and his virtuous man,
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing,
Equals to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he can
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas, what can they teach, and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell,
Degraded by himself, on grace depending?
Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue', and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none,
Rather accuse him under usual names,
Fortune and fate, as one regardless quite




Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these True wisdom, finds her not; or, by delusion

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From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head,
But shelter'd slept 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 heaven, the clouds,
From many a horrid rift abortive, pour'd
Fierce rain with lightning mix'd, water with fire
In ruin reconcil'd: nor slept the winds
Within their stony caves, but rush'd abroad
From the four hinges of the world, and fell
On the vex'd wilderness, whose tallest pines,
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks,
Bow'd their stiff necks, loaden with stormy blasts,
Or torn up sheer; ill wast thou shrouded then,
O patient Son of God, yet only stood'st
Unshaken nor yet stay'd the terror there;
Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round
Environ'd thee; some howl'd, some yell'd, some





Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou
Sat'st unappall'd in calm and sinless peace.
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 grisly 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 cheer'd the face of earth, and dried the wet
From drooping plant, or dropping tree; the birds,
Who all things now behold more fresh and green,
After a night of storm so ruinous,
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,
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 despite 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:




"Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God, After a dismal night: I heard the wreck As earth and sky would mingle; but myself Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear them

As dangerous to the pillar'd frame of heaven, 455 Or to the earth's dark basis underneath,

Are to the main as inconsiderable

And harmless, if not wholesome, as a sneeze
To man's less universe, and soon are gone;

Kingdom nor empire, pleases thee, nor ought
By me propos'd in life contemplative,
Or active, tended on by glory', or fame,
What dost thou in this world? the wilderness
For thee is fittest place; I found thee there,
And thither will return thee; yet remember
What I foretell thee; soon thou shalt have cause
To wish thou never hadst rejected thus
Nicely or cautiously my offer'd aid,
Which would have set thee in short time with


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Yet as being oft times noxious where they light 460
On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in th' affairs of men,
Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point,
They oft fore-signify and threaten ill :
This tempest at this desert most was bent;
Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st.
Did I not tell thee, if thou didst 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 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 clos'd thee round,
So many terrors, voices, prodigies,
May warn thee, as a sure foregoing sign."







So saying, he took (for still he knew his power Not yet expir'd) and to the wilderness Brought back the Son of God, and left him there, Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, As day-light sunk, and brought in lowering night, Her shadowy offspring, unsubstantial both, Privation mere of light and absent day. Our Saviour, meek, and with untroubled mind, After his airy jaunt, though hurried sore, Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest, Wherever, under some concourse of shades, Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might shield,

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

"Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other harm

Those terrors which thou speak'st of did me none; I never fear'd they could, though noising loud, And threat'ning nigh; what they can do as signs Betokening, or ill-boding, I contemn 490 As false portents, not sent from God, but thee, Who knowing I shall reign past thy preventing,


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"Ther hear, O Son of David, Virgin-born;
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 Bethlehem field,
On thy birth-night, that sung thee Saviour born.
From that time seldom have I ceas'd 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 to the Baptist, I among the rest
Though not to be baptiz'd, by voice from heaven
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
In what degree of 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:



All men are sons of God: yet thee I thought 520 In some respect far higher so deciar'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.

Good reason then, if I beforehand seek

To understand my adversary, who

And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent;

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"There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright


Will ask thee skill: I to thy father's house [is best:
Have brought thee', and highest plac'd; highest
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, 560
Tempt not the Lord thy God:" he said, and stood:
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 th' 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 th' Ismenian steep; 575
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. 580
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, 585
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 ought hunger had impair'd,
Or thirst; and as he fed, angelic choirs
Sung 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, inshrin'd In fleshly tabernacle, and human form, Wand'ring the wilderness, whatever place, Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing The Son of God, with godlike force endu'd Against th' attempter of thy Father's throne, And thief of Paradise; him long of old Thou didst debel, and down from heaven cast 605 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-instal, 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

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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 terror of his voice
From thy demoniac 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.


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