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Only th' importune Tempter still remain's,
410 High actions; but wherewith to be achieved ? Great acts require great means of enterprise ; Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth, A carpenter thy father known, thyself Bred up in poverty and straits at home,
415 Lost in a desert here and hunger-bit : Which way, or from what hope, dost thou aspire To greatness? whence authority derivest ? What followers, what retinue, canst thou gain, Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,
420 Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost ? Money brings honour, friends, est, and realms : What raised Antipater the Edonite, And his son Herod placed on Judah's throne (Thy throne), but gold that got him puissant friends ? Therefore, if at great things thou would'st arrive, 420 Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap, Not difficult, if thou hearken to me; Riches are mine, Fortune is in my hand; They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain, 430 While Virtue, Valour, Wisdom, sit in want.
To whom thus Jesus patiently reply'd : Yet wealth without these three is impotent To gain dominion, or to keep it gain'd. Witness those ancient empires of the earth,
433 In highth of all their flowing wealth dissolved : But men endued with these have oft attain'd In lowest poverty to highest deeds; Gideon, and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad,
420. This verse is elliptical, and requires the verb gain to be understood.
423. Antipater was the father of Herod, whom it is supposed he got raised to the throne of Judea, through the influence of his wcalth.
429. This temptation as well as that of the feast, the reader will recognise as the invention of the poet, and not forming a part of the Scripture parrative.
439. The shephard Ind, David.
Whose offspring on the throne of Judah sat 440
455 Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise. What if with like aversiou I reject Riches and realms ? yet not for that a crown, Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns, Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights, To him who wears the regal diadem,
4161 When on his shoulders each man's burden lies; For therein stands the office of a king, His honour, virtue, merit, and chief praise, That for the public all this weight he bears. 40,5 Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king; Which every wise and virtuous man attains : And who attains not, ill aspires to rule Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,
474 Subject himself to anarchy within, Or lawless passions in him which he serves. But to guide nations in the way of truth By saving doctrine, and from error lead To know, and knowing worship God aright, 475 Is yet more kingly; this attracts the soul,
446. Quintius; Cincinnatis, who was ploughing when called to be the Dictator of Rome. - Fabricius, another Ronan, who, though offered abundant wealth by king Pyrrhus, returned to his home, and lived and died in poverty.--Curins Dentatus, and Regulus, Romans also. The firmer rejected the riches offered both by his comtrymen and foreigners, the latter braved the most frightful törmelits from the Carthaginians, rather than persuade his country to make peace with them
Governs the inner man, the nobler part;
481. The great examples which monarchs have given of abdi cating their thrones were after the time of our Saviour, but it is most probable Milton had Diocletian and Charles V. in his mind. There is a great deal of noble sentiment in the above reply of our Lord; but the noblest morality of philosophy fails of inspiring those particular feelings of awe and trembling expectation with which the scene of Christ's mysterious contest fills ihe mind. Milton's imagination was, if I may use the expression, the imagination of sense, of vision, and material forms; his conception of purely spiritual things was imperfect, and hence his frequent recourse to the set phrases and nioral aphorisnis of the classic philosophers, when it is the exposition of the spirit itself, noi of particular sentiment, which the mind requires. Through out the poem the defect of his genius in this respect is constantly evident; our Saviour speaks through Milton's memory; no thought occurs which shews the God-man, as the one sole being who through eternity has united divinity and humanity, and the answers he makes might be put into the mouth of any virtuous and gifted mortal. The design of Paradise Regained, notwithstanding all commentators may say, was sufficiently large and perfect for a most noble poem, but the author wanted, to make buth a pian successful, a mind more fond of searching into the breat springs of thought aww poner.
THE ARGUMENT. Satan, in a speech of much flattering commendation, endeavours to awaken in Jesus a passion for glory, by particularizing various instances of conquests achieved, and great actions performed, by persons at an early period of life. Our Lord replies, by shewing the vanity of worldly fame, and the improper nieans by which it is generally attained'; and contrasts with it the true glory of religious patience and virtuous wisdom, as exemplited in the character of Job. Satan justifies the love of glory from the example of God himself, who requires it from all his creatures. Jesus detects the fallacy of this argument, by shewing that, as goodness is the true ground on which glory is due to the great Creator of all things, sinful man can have no right whatever to it. Satan then urges our Lord respecting his claim to the throne of David; he tells him that the kingdom of Judea, being at that time a province of Rome, cannot be got possession of without much personal exertion on his part, and presses him to lose no time in beginning to reign. Jesus refers him to the time allotied for this, as for all other things; and, after intimating somewhat respecting bis own previous sufferings, asks Satan why he should be solicitous for the exaltation of one, whose rising was destined to be his fall. Satan replies, that his own desperate state, by excluding all hope, leaves little room for fear; and that, as his ow' punishment was equally doomed, he is not interested in preven:ing the reign of one, for whose apparent benevolence he might rather hope for some interference in his favour. Satan still pursues his former incitenients; and, supposing that the seeming reluctance of Jesus to be thus advanced might arise from his being unacquainted with the world and its glories, conveys him to the summit of a high niouutain, and from thence shews him most of the kingdom of Asia, particularly pointing out to his notice some extraordinary military preparations of the Parthians to resist the incursions of the Scythians. He then informis our Lord, that he shewed him this purposely that he might see low necessary military exertions are to retain the possession of kingdoms, as well as to subdue them at first, and advises him to consider how impossible it was to maintain Judea agains: two such powerful neighbours as the Roinans and Parthians, and how necessary it would be to form an alliance with one or other of them. At the same time he recommends, and engages to secure to him, that of the Parthians; and tells him, that by this means his power will be defended from any thing that Rome or Cæsar might attempt against it, and that he will be able to extend his glory wide, and especially to accomplish what was particularly, necessary to make the throne of Judea really the throne of David, the deliverance and restoration of the ten tribes, still in a state of captivity. Jesus, having briefly noticed the vanity of military efforts, and the weakness of the arm of flesh, says, that when the time comes for his ascending bis allotted throne, he shall not be slack: he remarks on Satan's extraordinary zeal for the deliverance of the Israelites, to whom he had always shewn himself an enemy, and declares their servitude to be the consequence of their idolatry; but adds, that at a future time it may perhaps please God to recall them, and restore them to their liberty and native land.
So spake the Son of God, and Satan stood A while as mute confounded what to say,
What to reply, confuited and convinced
I see thou know'st what is of use to know,
ir Infallible; or wert thou sought to deeds That night require th' array of war, thy skill Of conduct would be such, that all the world Could not sustain thy prowess, or subsist In battle, though against thy few in arms.
20 These godlike virtues wherefore dost thou hide, Affecting private life or more obscure In savage wilderness? wherefore deprive All earth her wonder at thy acts, thyself The fame and glory, glory the reward
25 That sole excites to high attempts, the flame Of most erected spirits, most temper'd pure Ethereal, who all pleasures else despise, All treasures and all gain esteem as dross, And dignities and powers all but the highest ? 30 Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe; the son Of Macedonian Philip had ere these Won Asia, and the throne of Cyrus held At his dispose ; young Scipio had brought down The Carthaginian pride ; young Pompey quell’d 35 The Pontic king, and in triumph had rode. Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature, Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment. Great Julius, whom now all the world admires,
11. Shape, idea, in its most perfect sense. 13. What the Urim and Thummim were is not known. It is supposed, as the words signify light and perfection, that the prophetic virtue inherent in the sacred breast-plate, or in the gems which composed it, is to be understood by them.
31. See Luke iij. 23. 36. The Pontic king, Mitridates, against whom Pompey was ment, but he was then it is believed turped of forty.