« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Yet to that hideous place not so confined
390 I gain'd 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, 395 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,
400 That fellowship in pain divides not smart,
366. Job i. 6.
See 1 Kings xxii. 19.
Nor lightens Ought each man's peculiar load.
To whom our Saviour sternly thus reply'd :
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 Heav'n. 420 But thou art serviceable to Heav'n's King. Wilt thou impute t' obedience what thy fear Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites ? What but thy malice moved thee to misdeem Of righteous Job, then cruelly to' affic: 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
430 By thee are given, 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, 43
402. The word man here, is not enoployed by Satan in connexion with his own person, but so as to make the passage bear the following meaning: I now know by experience, that men by suffering in multitudes have not the less sense of suffering, and therefore that if joined with me, they could not alleviale mine.
417. Imports, in several editions. 424. The ambiguity of the ancient oracles in the answers they gave is well known, and it is most probable that Satan worked the destruction of his votarics as often as their success. It is supposed by several writers on the subject that when true answers were returned, a good angel was sent by God to preside : 10 line 447.
Which they who ask’d have seldom understood,
To 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 ceased, And thou no more with pomp and sacrifice Shalt be inquired 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 Spirit 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 urged me hard with doings, which not will But misery hath wrested from me: where 170 Easily canst thou find one miserable, And not enforced 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 placed above me, thou art Lord, 475 From thee I can, and must, submiss endure
458. Delphos was the seat of the most celebrated oracle
Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape so quit.
pure, Suffers the hypocrite, or atheous priest, To tread his sacred courts, and minister About his altar, handling holy things, Praying or vowing, and vouchsafed his voice 490 To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet Inspired; 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 grey dissimulation, disappear'd Into thin air diffused : 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 roan),
THE ARGUMENT. The disciples of Jesus, uneasy at his long absence, resson amongst themselves concerning ít. Mary also gives vent to her maternal anxiety; in the expression of which she recapitulates many circumstances respecting the birth and early life of her son. Satan again meets his infernal council, repoi ts the bad success of his first temptation of our blessed Lord, and calls upon them for council and assistance. Belial proposes the tempting of Jesus with women. Satan rebukes Belial for his dissoluteness, charging on him all the proficacy of that kind ascribed by the poets to the heathen gods, and rejects his proposal as in no respect likely to succeed. Satan then suggests Other modes of temptation, particularly proposing to avail himself of the circumstance of our Lord's hungering; and, taking a band of chosen spirits with him, returns to resunie his enter rise. Jesus hungers in the desert. Night comes on; the manner in which our Saviour passes the night is described. Morning advances. Satan agiin appears to Jesus, and, after expressing wonder that he should be so entirely neglected in the wilderness, where others had been miraculously fed, tenipts him with a sumptuous banquet of the most luxurious kind. This he rejects, and the banquet vanishes. Satan, finding our Lord not to be assailed on the ground of appetite, tempts him again by offering him riches, as the nieans of acquiring power: this Jesuis also rejects, producing many instances of great actions performed by persons under virtuous poverty, and specifying the danger of riches, and the cares and pains inseparable from power and greatness.
Mean while the new-baptized, who yet remain'd At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen Him whom they heard so late expressly call’d Jesus Messiah, Son of God declared, And on that high authority had believed,
5 And with him talk'd, and with him lodged, I mean Andrew and Simon, famous after known, With others, though in Holy Writ not named, Now missing him their joy so lately found, So lately found, and so abruptly gone,
10 Began to doubt, and doubted many days, And as the days increased, increased their doubt : Sometimes they thought he might be only shewn,
1. The almost only variety in the work is in the commencement of this book, but it is very slight, and can hardly save the poem from the charge of being too unitorm in its narrative and in the unornamented style of its language
4. Warburton has observed," that Muton is under error here, as the people could only have learnt from what John had said, tinut Jesus was a great prophet.