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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 sank, 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, (shield Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might 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 '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 (shriek’d, Environ'd thee; some howld, some yell’d, some Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou

Sat'st unappall'd in calm and sinless peace !
Thus passed the night so foul, till morning fair
Came forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice grey;
Who with her radiant finger stillid the roar
Of thunder, chas'd the clouds, and laid the winds,
And grisly spectres, which the fiend had rais'd
To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
But 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 beheld more fresh and green,
After a night of storm so ruinous,


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, Desperate of better course, to vent his rage And mad despite to be so oft repellid. 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 wrack, As earth and sky would mingle; but myself Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear As dangerous to the pillar'd frame of heaven, [them

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;
Yet, as being ofttimes noxious where they light
On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in the 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 nowhere 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 talk'd he, while the Son of God went on And stayed not, but in brief him answer'd thus:

"Me worse than wet thou find’st not; other barm

Those terrors, which thou speak’st of, did me none;
I never fear'd they could, though noising loud
And threatening nigh: what they can do, as sigus
Betokening, or ill boding, I contemn
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 would'st be thought my
And storm'st refus'd, thinking to terrify [God;
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, replied: “Then hear, 0 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 the 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'd 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 or 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
In some respect far higher so declard:
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;
By parl or composition, truce or league,
To win him, or win from him what I can:
And opportunity I here have had
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee
Proof against all temptation, as a rock
Of adamant, and, as a centre, firm;
To the 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 heaven,
Another method I must now begin.”

So saying, 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, topp'd with golden spires:

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