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All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought In some respect far higher so declar'd : "Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour, And follow'd 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 before-hand seek To understand my adversary, who And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent: By parl or composition, truce or league, To win him, or win from him what I can: And opportunity I here have had To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee Proof against all temptation, as a rock Of adamant, and, as a centre, firm: To the utmost of mere man boh wise and good, Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory, Have been before contemn'd, 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 ihrough 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 rear'd 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. “ There stand, if thou wilt stand ; to stand upright

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Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house (best :
Have brought thee, and highest plac'd : highest is
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 up-lift 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

stood :

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 foil'd, still rose,
Receiving from his mother Earth new ength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,
Throttled at length in the air, expir'd 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 propos'd
Her riddle, and him who solv'd it not devour'd,
That once found out and solv'd, for grief and spite
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 hop'd 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 receiv'd 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
On a green bank, and set before him spread
A table of celestial food, divine
Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life,
And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink,
That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd
What hunger, if aught hunger, had impair'd,
Or thirst; and, as he fed, angelic quires
Sung heavenly anthems of his victory
Over temptation and the tempter proud.

“ True image of the Father ; whether thron'd
In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, enshrin'd
In fleshly tabernacle, and human form,
Wandering the wilderness; whatever place,
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with God-like force endued
Against the attempter of thy Father's throne,
And thief of Paradise ! him long of old
Thou didst debel, and down from Heaven cast
With all his army; now thou hast aveng'd
Supplante:d Adam, and, by vanquishing
Temptation, hast regain'd lost Paradise,
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent.
He never more henceforth will dare set foot
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke:
For, though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd,
A fairer Paradise is founded now
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou,

A Saviour, art come down to re-install, 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 down Under his feet : for proof, ere this thou feel'st Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest wound,) By this repulse receiv'd, 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 unarm'd, Shall chase thee, with the terrour 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, Bound, and to torment sent before their time. Hail, Son of the Most High, heir o1 both worlds, Queller of Satan! on thy glorious work Now enter; and begin to save mankind.'

Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refreshid, Brought on his way with joy; he, unobservid, Home to his mother's house private return'c'.

201

SAMSON AGONISTES,

A DRAMATIC POEM.

Aristot. Poet. cap. 6. Τραγωδία μίμησις πράξεως σπεδαίας, κ. τ. λ. Tragedia cst imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per miseri

cordiam et metum perficiens talium affectuum lustrationem.

Of that sort of Dramatic Poem which is called

Tragedy. TRAGEDY, as it was anciently composed, hath been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other poems: therefore said by

Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fear, or terrour, to pırge the mind of those and such like passions, tlnt is, to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind of delight, stirred up by reading or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion : for so, in physic, things of melancholic huc and quality are used against melancholy, sour against sour, salt

remove salt luumours. Hence philosophers and other gravest writers, as Cicero, Plutarch, and others, frequently cite out of tragic poets, both to adorn and illustrate their discourse. The Apostle Paul himself thought it not unworthy

to

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