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And darest thou to the Son of God propound
To worship thee accursed, now more accursed
For this attempt, bolder than that on Eve,
And more blasphemous? which expect to rue.
The kingdoms of the world to thee were given?
Permitted rather, and by thee usurped;
Other donation none thou canst produce.
If given, by whom but by the King of kings
God over all supreme? If given to thee,
By thee how fairly is the giver now
Repaid! But gratitude in thee is lost

Westward, much nearer by south-west, behold,
Where on the Egean shore a city stands,
Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil,
Athens, the eye of Greece, and mother of arts
And eloquence, native to famous wits
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,

City or suburban, studious walks and shades.
See there the olive grove of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;
There flowery hill Hymettus, with the sound

Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame, Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites

As offer them to me, the Son of God?
To me my own, on such abhorred pact,

To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
His whispering stream: within the walls, then

The schools of ancient sages; his, who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,

That I fall down and worship thee as God?
Get thee behind me; plain thou now appearest
That evil one, Satan for ever damned."
To whom the Fiend, with fear abashed, replied: Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:
"Be not so sore offended, Son of God,
Though Sons of God both angels are and men,
If I, to try whether in higher sort

Than these thou bearest that title, have proposed
What both from men and angels I receive,
Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth,
Nations beside from all the quartered winds,
God of this world invoked, and world beneath:
Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold
To me most fatal, me it most concerns.
The trial hath endamaged thee no way,
Rather more honoured left and more esteem;
Me nought advantaged, missing what I aimed.
Therefore let pass, as they are transitory,
The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more
Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not.
And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclined
Than to a worldly crown, addicted more
To contemplation and profound dispute,
As by that early action may be judged,
When slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st
Alone into the temple, there wast found
Among the gravest Rabbies, disputant
On points and questions fitting Moses' chair,
Teaching, not taught; the childhood shows the man
As morning shows the day. Be famous then
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend,
So let extend thy mind o'er all the world
In knowledge, all things in it comprehend.
All knowledge is not couched in Moses' law,
The Pentateuch, or what the Prophets wrote;
The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach
To admiration, led by nature's light,
And with the Gentiles much thou must converse,
Ruling them by persuasion as thou meanest;
Without their learning how wilt thou with them,
Or they with thee, hold conversation meet?
How wilt thou reason with them, how refute
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes?
Error by his own arms is best evinced.

There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand; and various measured verse,
Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer called,
Whose poem Phœbus challenged for this own:
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In Chorus or Iambic, teachers best

Of moral prudence, with delight received
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life,
High actions and high passions best describing:
Thence to the famous orators repair,
Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce democratie,
Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece
To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne:
To sage philosophy next lend thine ear,
From Heaven descended to the low-roofed house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspired the oracle pronounced
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams, that watered all the schools
Of Academics old and new, with those
Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;

These here revolve, or, as thou likest, at home,
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a king complete
Within thyself, much more with empire joined.”
To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied:
"Think not but that I know these things, or think
I know them not; not therefore am I short
Of knowing what I ought: he who receives
Light from above, from the fountain of light,
No other doctrine needs, though granted true:
But these are false, or little else but dreams,
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all professed

Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount, To know this only, that he nothing knew;

The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits;
A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense;
Others in virtue placed felicity,

But virtue joined with riches and long life;
In corporal pleasure he and careless ease;
The Stoic last in philosophic pride,

By him called virtue; and his virtuous man,
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing
Equal to God, oft shams not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he can,
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas! what can they teach, and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell
Degraded by himself, on grace depending?
Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none;
Rather accuse him under usual names,
Fortune and fate, as one regardless quite
Of mortal things: Who therefore seeks in these
True wisdom finds her not; or, by delusion,
Far worse, her false resemblance only meets,
An empty cloud. However, many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superior
(And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere

Uncertain and unsettled still remains,

Deep versed in books, and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys

And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge:
As children gathering pebbles on the shore.
Or, if I would delight my private hours
With music or with poem, where, so soon
As in our native language, can I find
That solace? all our law and story strewed

By light of nature, not in all quite lost.
Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
The top of eloquence; statists indeed,
And lovers of their country, as may seem
But herein to our prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaching
The solid rules of civil government,
In their majestic unaffected style,

Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt,
What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so,
What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat:
These only with our law best form a king."

So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now
Quite at a loss, for all his darts were spent,
Thus to our Saviour with stern brow replied.
"Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor arts,
Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught
By me proposed in life contemplative
Or active, tended on by glory or fame,
What dost thou in this world? the wilderness
For thee is fittest place; I found thee there,
And thither will return thee; yet remember
What I foretell thee, soon thou shalt have cause
To wish thou never hadst rejected thus
Nicely or cautiously my offered aid,

Which would have set thee in short time with ease
On David's throne, or throne of all the world,
Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season,
When prophecies of thee are best fulfilled.
Now contrary, if I read aught in Heaven,
Or Heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars
Voluminous, or single characters,

In their conjunction met, give me to spell,
Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate
Attend thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries,
Violence and stripes, and lastly cruel death;
A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom,
Real or allegoric, I discern not;

Nor when; eternal sure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no date prefixed

With hymns, our psalms with artful terms in- Directs me in the starry rubric set."


Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon
That pleased so well our victors' ear, declare
That rather Greece from us these arts derived;
Ill imitated, while they loudest sing
The vices of their deities, and their own,
In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame.
Remove their swelling epithets, thick laid
As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest,
Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,
Will far be found unworthy to compare
With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling,
Where God is praised aright, and godlike men,
The Holiest of Holies, and his saints,

So saying, he took, (for still he knew his power Not yet expired,) and to the wilderness Brought back the Son of God, and left him there, Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, As daylight sunk, 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, Whose branching arms thick intertwined might


From dews and damps of night his sheltered head; But, sheltered, slept in vain; for at his head

(Such are from God inspired, not such from thee,) The Tempter watched, and soon with ugly dreams Unless where moral virtue is expressed

Disturbed his sleep. And either tropic now

Gan thunder, and both ends of Heaven; the Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st. clouds,

From many a horrid rift, abortive poured

Did I not tell thee, if thou did'st reject
The perfect season offered with my aid

Fierce rain with lightning mixed, water with fire To win thy destined seat, but wilt prolong

In ruin reconciled: nor slept the winds
Within their stony caves, but rushed abroad
From the four hinges of the world, and fell
On the vexed wilderness, whose tallest pines,
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks,
Bowed 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 stayed the terror there;
Infernal ghosts, and hellish furies round
Environed thee, some howled, some yelled, some

Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou
Sat'st unappalled in calm and sinless peace!
Thus passed the night so foul, till morning fair
Came forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice gray,
Who with her radiant finger stilled the roar
Of thunder, chased the clouds, and laid the winds,
And grisly spectres, which the fiend had raised
To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
And now the sun with more effectual beams
Had cheered the face of earth, and dried the wet
From drooping plant or dropping tree; the birds,
Who all things now behold more fresh and green,
After a night of storm so ruinous,

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 no where told?
Thou shalt be what thou art ordained, no doubt;
For angels have proclaimed 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 closed thee

So many terrors, voices, prodigies,
May warn thee as a sure foregoing sign."

So talked he, while the Son of God went on And stayed not, but in brief him answered thus. "Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other


Those terrors which thou speak'st of, did me none;
I never feared they could, though noising loud
And threatening high; what they can do, as signs
Betokening, or ill boding, I contemn

As false portents, not sent from God, but thee;
Who, knowing I shall reign past thy preventing,

Cleared up their choicest notes in bush and spray, Obtrud'st thy offered aid, that I, accepting,

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 resolved,
Desperate of better course, to vent his rage
And mad despite to be so oft repelled.
Him walking on a sunny hill he found,
Backed 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 pillared frame of Heaven,
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 foresignify and threaten ill:
This tempest at this desert most was bent;

At least might seem to hold all power of thee,
Ambitious spirit! and would'st be thought my


And storm'st refused, thinking to terrify
Me to thy will! desist, (thou art discerned,
And toil'st in vain,) nor me in vain molest."

To whom the fiend, now swollen with rage, re


"Then hear, O Son of David, virgin-born,
For Son of God to me is yet in doubt;
Of the Messiah I had heard foretold
By all the prophets; of thy birth at length,
Announced by Gabriel, with the first I knew,
And of the angelic song in Bethlehem field,
On thy birthnight, that sung thee Saviour born.
From that time seldom have I ceased 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 to the Baptist, I among the rest,
(Though not to be baptized,) by voice from


Heard thee pronounced the Son of God beloved.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art called
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 declared:
Therefore I watched thy footsteps from that hour,
And followed 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 parle or composition, truce or league,
To win him, or win from him what I can:
An opportunity I here have had

Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep;
So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the fiend,
And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought
(Joyless triumphals of his hoped success)
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God.
So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe
Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,
Who on their plumy vans received him soft
From his uneasy station, and upbore,

As on a floating couch, through the blithe air;
Then, in a flowery valley, set him down

To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee On a green bank, and set before him spread
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 contemned, 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 reared
Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
Of alabaster, topt with golden spires:
There on the highest pinnacle he set
The Son of God; and added thus in scorn.

A table of celestial food, divine
Ambrosial fruits, fetched from the tree of life,
And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink,
That soon refreshed him wearied, and repaired
What hunger, if aught hunger had impaired,
Or thirst; and, as he fed, angelic choirs
Sung heavenly anthems of his victory
Over temptation and the tempter proud.

"True image of the Father; whether throned
In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, inshrined
In fleshly tabernacle, and human form,
Wandering the wilderness; whatever place,
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with godlike force endued
Against thy attempter of thy Father's throne,
And thief of Paradise! him long of old

Thou did'st debel, and down from Heaven cast

"There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand up- With all his army; now thou hast avenged right

Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house

Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing
Temptation, hast regained lost Paradise,

Have brought thee, and highest placed: highest is And frustrated the conquest fraudulent.


Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,
Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God:
For it is written, 'He will give command
Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands
They shall uplift thee, lest at any time
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.""
To whom thus Jesus. "Also it is written,
'Tempt not the Lord thy God:"" he said, and

But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell.
As when earth's son Antæus (to compare
Small things with greatest) in Irassa strove
With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foiled, still rose,
Receiving from his mother earth new strength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple joined,
Throttled at length in the air, expired and fell;
So, after many a foil, the Tempter proud,
Renewing fresh assaults amidst his pride,
Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall:
And as that Theban monster, that proposed
Her riddle, and him, who solved it not devoured,
That once found out and solved, for grief and spite

He never more henceforth will dare set foot
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke:
For, though that seat of earthly bliss be failed,
A fairer Paradise is founded now

For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou,
A Saviour, art come down to reinstal,
Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be
Of tempter and temptation without fear.
But thou, infernal serpent! shalt not long
Rule in the clouds; like an autumnal star,
Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod

Under his feet; for proof, ere this thou feel'st
Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest wound,)
By this repulse received, and hold'st in hell
No triumph; in all her gates Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe
To dread the Son of God: he, all unarmed,
Shall chase thee with the terror of his voice
From thy demoniac holds, possession foul,
Thee and thy legions; yelling they shall fly
And beg to hide them in a herd of swine,
Lest he command them down into the deep,

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Tragoedia est Imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per misericordiam et metum perficiens talium affectuum lustrationem.


Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Gaza, there to labour as in a common workhouse, on a festival day, in the general cessations from labour, comes forth into the

open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retired, there to sit awhile and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which make the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what they can; then by his old father Manoah, who endeavours the like, and

withal tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; lastly, that this feas vas proclaimed by the Philistines as a day

of thanksgiving for their deliverance from the hands of Samson, which yet more troubles him. Manoah then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistine lords for Samson's redemption; who in the mean-while is visited by other per

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For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade:
There I am wont to sit when any chance
Relieves me from my task of servile toil,
Daily in the common prison else enjoined me,
Where I, a prisoner chained, scarce freely draw
The air imprisoned also, close and damp,
Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends,
The breath of Heaven fresh blowing, pure and

With dayspring born; here leave me to respire. This day a solemn feast the people hold To Dagon their sea idol, and forbid Laborious works; unwillingly this rest Their superstition yields me; hence with leave and lastly by a public officer to require his coming to Retiring from the popular noise, I seek the feast before the lords and people, to play or show his strength in their presence; he at first refuses, dismissing the This unfrequented place to find some ease, public officer with absolute denial to come; at length, per-Ease to the body some, none to the mind suaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the second time with great threatenings to fetch him: the Chorus yet remaining on the place, Manoah returns full of joyful hope, to procure ere long his son's deliverance: in the midst of which discourse an Hebrew comes in haste, confusedly at first, and afterwards more distinctly, relating the catastrophe, what Samson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to himself; wherewith the tragedy ends.



Manoah, the Father of Samson.
Dalila, his wife.

Harapha of Gath.

Public Officer.


Chorus of Danites.

The Scene before the Prison in Gaza.


SAMSON, [Attendant leading him.] A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand To these dark steps, a little further on;

From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm
Of hornets armed, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging, and present
Times past, what once I was, and what am now
O wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold
Twice by an angel, who at last in sight
Of both my parents all in flames ascended
From off the altar, where an offering burned,
As in a fiery column charioting

His godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benefit revealed to Abraham's race?
Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed
As of a person separate to God,

Designed for great exploits; if I must die
Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze,
To grind in brazen fetters under task
With this heaven-gifted strength? O glorious

Put to the labour of a beast, debased
Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoko:

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