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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 !
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,
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;
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;
So saying, he caught him up, and without wing