« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.
235 Thy father is the Eternal King, who rules All Heaven & Earth, angels and sons of men; A messenger from God foretold thy birth Conceived in me a virgin ; he foretold Thou shouldst be great, and sit on David's throne, 240 And of thy kingdom there shall be no end. At thy nativity a glorious quire Of angels, in the fields of Bethlehem, sung To shepherds watching at their folds by night And told them, the Messiah now was born,
243 Where they might see him ; & to thee they came, Directed to the manger where thou laidst, For in the inn was left no better room : A star, not seen before, in Heaven appearing, Guided the wise men thither from the east,
250 To honour thee with incense, myrrh, and gold; By whose bright course led on, they found the place; Affirming it thy star, new graven in Heaven, By which they knew the king of Israel born. Just Simeon, and prophetic Anna, warn’d
255 By vision, found thee in the temple, and spake Before the altar and the vested priest, Like things of thee, to all that present stood.' This having heard, straight I again revolved The law and prophets, searching what was writ
260 Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes Known partly, & soon found of whom they spake I am ; this chiefly, that my way must lie Through many a hard essay, even to the death, Ere I the promised kingdom can attain,
265 Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins, Full weight, must be transferred upon my head. Yet, neither thus dishearten'd nor dismay'd The time prefix'd I waited; when behold The Baptist, of whose birth I oft had heard,
270 Not knew by sight, now come, who was to come Before Messiah, and his way prepare.
I, as all others, to his baptism came,
So spake our Morning-star, then in his rise;
way he came not having mark’d, return
Perused him, then with words thus utter'd spake. 320
“ Sir, what ill chance hath 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 dropp'd not here His carcass, pined with hunger & with drought. 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, honour'd 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 bither 335 Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek."
“ By miracle he may," replied the swain ; “ What other way I see not; for we here Live on tough roots and stubs, tu thirst inured 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 replied. “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 only, 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 undisguised “ 'Tis true I am that spirit unfortunate, Who leagued with millions more in rash revolt, Kept not my happy station, but was driven,
360 With them, from bliss to the bottomless deep; Yet to that hideous place not so confined By rigour unconniving, but that oft, Leaving my dolorous prison, I enjoy Large liberty to round this globe of earth, 365 Or range in the air ; nor from the Heaven of Heavens
Hath he excluded my resort sometimes.
To whom our Saviour sternly thus replied.
Ejected, emptied, gazed, unpitied, shunn'd,
420 But thou art serviceable to Heaven's king. Wilt thou impute to obedience what thy fear Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites ? What, but thy malice, inoved thee to misdeem Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict him
425 With all inflictions ? 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 thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles
130 By thee are given, & 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, 410 And run not sooner to his fatal snare ? For God hath justly given 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 Shalt be inquir'd at Delphos, or elsewhere; At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute God hath now sent his living oracle