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Nor sleeping him nor waking harm'd; his walk
The fiery serpent fled, and noxious worm,
The lion and fierce tiger glar'd aloof.
But now an aged man in rural weeds,
Following, as seem'd, the quest of some stray ewe, 315
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serve
Against a winter's day, when winds blow keen,
To warm him wet return'd from field at ere,
He saw approach, who first with curious eye
Perus'd him, then with words thus uttered spake. 320

“Sir, what ill chance bath brought thee to this place
So far from path or road of men, who pass
In troop or caravan? for single none
Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His carcase, pin’d with hunger and with drouth. 325
I ask the rather, and the more admire,
For that to me thou seem'st the man, whom late
Our new baptizing Prophet at the ford
Of Jordan honourd so, and call'd thee Son
Of God: I saw and heard, for we sometimes 330
Who dwell this wild, constrain’d by want, come forth
To town or village nigh, (nighest is far,)
Where aught we hear, and curious are to hear,
What happens new; fame also finds us out.”

To whom the Son of God. “Who brought me hither, Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek.” 336

“ By miracle he may,” reply'd the swain, What other way I see not; for we here Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inur'd More than the camel, and to drink go far, 340 Men to much misery and hardship born: But, if thou be the Son of God, command That out of these hard stones be made thee bread, So shalt thou save thyself, and us relieve With food, whereof we wretched seldom taste." 345

He ended, and the Son of God reply'd. " Think’st thou such force in bread? Is it not written, (For I discern thee other than thou seem'st,) Man lives not by bread nly, but each word Proceeding from the mouth of God, who fed 350

Our fathers here with manna ? in the mount
Moses was forty days, nor eat, nor drank;
And forty days Elijah, without food,
Wander'd this barren waste ; the same I now:
Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust, 355
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art ?"
Whom thus answer'd the Arch-Fiend, now undis.

guis'd.
6 'Tis true, I am that Spirit unfortunate,
Who, leagu'd with millions more in rash revolt,
Kept not my happy station, but was driv'n

360 With them from bliss to the bottomless deep, Yet to that hideous place not so confin'd By rigour unconniving, but that oft, Leaving my dolorous prison, I enjoy Large liberty to round this globe of earth, 365 Or range in th' air; nor from the Heav'n of Heav'ns Hath he excluded my resort sometimes. I came among the Sons of God, when he Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job To prore him, and illustrate his high worth; 370 And, when to all his Angels he propos'd To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud That he might fall in Ramoth, they demurring, I undertook that office, and the tongues of all his flattering prophets glibb’d with lies 375 To his destruction, as I had in charge; For what he bids I do. Though I have lost Much lustre of my native brightness, lost To be belov'd of God, I have not lost To love, at least contemplate and admire, 380 What I see excellent in good, or fair, Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense : What can be then less in me than desire To see thee and approach thee, whom I know Declar'd the Son of God, to hear attent

385 Thy wisdom, and behold thy godlike deeds? Men generally think me much a foe To all mankind : why should 1? they to me Never did wrong er violence; by them

395

I lost not what I lost, rather by them

390 I gaind what I have gain'd, and with them dwell, Copartner in these regions of the world, If not disposer ; lend them oft my aid, Oft my advice by presages and signs, And answers, oracles, portents, and dreams, Whereby they may direct their future life. Envy they say excites me, thus to gain Companions of my misery and woe. At first it may be; but, long since with woe Nearer acquainted, now I feel, by proof, That fellowship in pain divides not smart, Nor lightens aught each man's peculiar load. Small consolation then, were man adjoin'd: This wounds me most, (what can it less ?) that man, Man fall’n shall be restord, I never more.” 405

To whom our Saviour sternly thus reply'd. " Deservedly thou griev'st, compos'd of lies From the beginning, and in lies wilt end; Who boast'st release from Hell, and leave to come Into the Heav'n of Heav'ns: thou com’st indeed, 410 As a poor miserable captive thrall Comes to the place where he before had sat Among the prime in splendour, now depos'd, Ejected, emptied, gaz'd, unpitied, shund'd, A spectacle of ruin, or of scorn,

415 To all the host of Heav'n: the happy place Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy; Rather inflames thy torment; representing Lost bliss, to thee no more communicable, So never more in Hell than when in Heaven. 420 But thou art serviceable to Heav'n's King. Wilt thou impute to' obedience what thy fear Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites ? What but thy malice mov'd thee to misdeem of righteous Job, then cruelly to' afflict him 425 With all intlictions ? but his patience won. The other service was thy chosen task, To be a liar in four hundred mouths ; For lying is thy sustenance, thy food.

Yet thon pretend'st to truth; all oracles

430 By thee are giv'n, and what confess'd more true Among the nations? that hath been thy craft, By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies. But what have been thy answers, what but dark, Ambiguous, and with double sense deluding, 435 Which they who ask'd have seldom understood, And not well understood as good not known? Who ever by consulting at thy shrine Return'd the wiser, or the more instruct, To fly or follow what concern'd him most, 440 And run not sooner to his fatal snare? For God hath justly giv'n the nations up To thy delusions; justly, since they fell Idolatrous: but, when his purpose is Among them to declare his providence

445 To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth, But from him, or his Angels president In every province? who, themselves disdaining T'approach thy temples, give thee in command What, to the smallest tittle, thou shalt say 450 To thy adorers ? thou, with trembling fear, Or like a fawning parasite, obey'st ; Then to thyself ascrib'st the truth foretold. But this thy glory shall be soon retrench'd; No more shalt thou by oracling abuse

455 The Gentiles; henceforth oracles are ceas'd, And thou no more with pomp and sacrifice Shall be inquir'd at Delphos, or elsewhere; At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute. God hath now sent his living oracle

460 Into the world to teach his final will, And sends his Spi'rit of truth henceforth to dwell In pious hearts, an inward oracle To all truth requisite for men to know.”

So spake our Saviour; but the subtle Fiend, 465 Though inly stung with anger and disdain, Dissembled, and this answer smooth return'd.

“ Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke, And urg'd me bard with doings, which not will

But misery hath wrested from me. Where 470
Easily canst thou find one miserable,
And not enforc'd oft-times to part from truth,
If it may stand him more in stead to lie,
Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure,
But thou art plac'd above me, thou art Lord; 475
From thee I can, and must submiss, endure
Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape so quit.
Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk;
Smooth on the tongue discours’d, pleasing to th' ear,
And tuneable as sylvan pipe or song;

480
What wonder then if I delight to hear
Her dietates from thy mouth? most men admire
Virtue, who follow not her lore : permit me
To bear thee when I come, (since no man comes.)
And talk at least, though I despair to attain. 485
Thy father, who is holy, wise, and pure,
Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest
To tread his sacred courts, and minister
About his altar, handling holy things,
Praying or vowing; and vouchsaf'd his voice 490
To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet
Inspir'd: disdain not such access to me."

To whom our Saviour, with unalter'd brow. “ Thy coming hither, though I know thy scope, I bid not, or forbid; do as thou find'st

495 Permission from above; thou canst not more."

He added not; and Satan, bowing low His gray dissimulation, disappeard Into thin air diffus'd: for now began Night with her sullen wings to double-shade 500 The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couch'd ; And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.

END OF THE FIRST BOOK,

Vol. II,

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