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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 All this fair sight; thy kingdom, though foretold 351 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 could'st thou hope Long to enjoy it quiet and secure, Between two such enclosing enemies, Roman and Parthian ? therefore one of these Thou must make sure thy own; the Parthian first By my advice, as nearer, and of late Found able by invasion to annoy Thy country, and captive lead away her kings, Antigonus, and old Hyrcanus bound, Maugre the Roman. It shall be my task To render thee the Parthian at dispose ; Choose which thou wilt, by conquest or by league. 370 By him thou shalt regain, without him not, That which alone can truly reinstall thee In David's royal seat, his true successor, Deliverance of thy brethren, those ten tribes
Whose offspring in his territory yet serve,
To whom our Saviour answer'd thus unmov'd.
my part aught endeavouring, or to need Thy politic maxims, or that cumbersome Luggage of war there shown me, argument Of human weakness rather than of strength.
388 instrument] “Totius belli instrumento et apparatu.' Cic. Acad. ü. 1. Dunster. VOL. II.
My brethren, as thou call'st them, those ten tribes
428 freed] The obscurity of this passage has been remarked; and conjectures and alterations proposed by the critics. I should prefer to read 'unto' for 'as to,' which is the slightest deviation from the established text; and which seems to me to remove all the difficulty ; but Mr. Dunster's note should be consulted.
Unhumbled, unrepentant, unreform’d,
So spake Israel's true king, and to the fiend
PERPLEX'n and troubled at his bad success The tempter stood, nor had what to reply, Discoverd in his fraud, thrown from his hope So oft, and the persuasive rhetoric That sleek'd his tongue, and won so much on Eve, 5 So little here, nay lost: but Eve was Eve; This far his over-match, who, self-deceiv’d And rash, before-hand 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, About the wine-press where sweet must is pour’d, Beat off, returns as oft with humming sound; Or surging waves against a solid rock, Though all to shivers dash'd, the assault renew, Vain batt’ry, and in froth or bubbles end ; So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse