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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 scepter get fast hold; 480
Whereof this ominous night that clos'd thee round,
So many terrors, voices, prodigies
May warn thee, 'as á sure fore-going 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 terrors which thou speak’st of did me none; I never feard they could, though noising loud And threatning 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, 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 refus'd, 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 reply'd. Then hear, O son of David, Virgin-born; 500 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 510
Flock to the Baptist, I among the rest,
Though not to be baptiz’d, by voice from Heav'n
Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God beloy'd.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art callid
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 ons of God; yet thee I thought 520
In some respect far bigher 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 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. 500
And opportunity I here have had
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found they
Proof against all temptation, as a rock
Of adamant, and as a centre firm,
To th' 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 Heav'n,
Another method I must now begin.
540 So say’ing
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. 550
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, [best, 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, l'est 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 staitten with amazement féll.
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 570
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;
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 strait 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 up-bore
As on a floating couch through the blithe air,
Then in a flow'ry valley sat 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, 590
That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd
What hunger, if aught hunger had impair’d
MILTON VOL. III.
Or thirst; and as he fed, angelic quires
Sung heav'nly 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 Heav'n, inshrin'd
In fleshly tabernacle, and human form,
Wand'ring the wilderness, whatever place, 600
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with God-like force indued
Against th' 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 610
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 light'ning thou shalt fall from Heav'n, trod down
Under his feet: for proof, ere this thou feel'st 621
Thy wound, yet not thy last and deadliest wound,