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Above the height of mountains interposed:
By what strange parallax or optic skill
Of vision, multiplied through air, or glass
Of telescope, were curious to inquire;
And now the tempter thus his silence broke:
The city which thou seest no other deem

Than great and glorious Rome, queen of the earth,
So far renown'd, and with the spoils enrich'd
Of nations; there the capitol thou seest
Above the rest lifting his stately head
On the Tarpeian rock, her citadel
Impregnable, and there Mount Palatine,
The imperial palace, compass huge, and high
The structure, skill of noblest architects,
With gilded battlements conspicuous far,
Turrets, and terraces, and glittering spires.
Many a fair edifice besides, more like
Houses of gods, so well I have disposed
My aëry microscope, thou mayest behold
Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs,
Carved work, the hand of famed artificers
In cedar, marble, ivory, or gold.

Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see
What conflux issuing forth, or entering in,
Prætors, proconsuls to their provinces
Hasting, or on return, in robes of state;

Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power,

Legions and cohorts, turms of horse and wings;
Or embassies from regions far remote,

In various habits, on the Appian road,

Or on the Emilian, some from farthest south,
Syene, and where the shadow both way falls,
Meroe, Nilotic isle, and more to west,

The realm of Bocchus to the Blackmoor sea;

From the Asian kings, and Parthian, among these,

From India, and the Golden Chersonese,

And utmost Indian isle Taprobane,

Dusk faces with white silken turbans wreath'd;
From Gallia, Gades, and the British west,

Germans, and Scythians, and Sarmatians, north
Beyond Danubius to the Tauric pool.

All nations now to Rome obedience pay,
To Rome's great emperor, whose wide domain,
In ample territory, wealth, and power,

Civility of manners, arts, and arms,

And long renown, thou justly mayest prefer
Before the Parthian; these two thrones except,
The rest are barbarous, and scarce worth the sight,
Shared among petty kings too far removed.
These having shown thee, I have shown thee all
The kingdoms of the world, and all their glory.
This emperor hath no son, and now is old,

Old and lascivious, and from Rome retired
To Capreæ, an island small but strong
On the Campanian shore, with purpose there
His horrid lusts in private to enjoy,
Committing to a wicked favourite

All public cares, and yet of him suspicious,
Hated of all, and hating. With what ease,
Endued with regal virtues as thou art,
Appearing and beginning noble deeds,
Mightst thou expel this monster from his throne,
Now made a sty, and, in his place ascending,
A victor people free from servile yoke?
And with my help thou mayest; to me the power
Is given, and by that right I give it thee.
Aim therefore at no less than all the world,
Aim at the highest, without the highest attained
Will be for thee no sitting, or not long,
On David's throne, be prophesied what will.
To whom the Son of God unmoved replied:
Nor doth this grandeur and majestic show
Of luxury, though call'd magnificence,
More than of arms before, allure mine eye,

Much less my mind; though thou shouldst add to tell

Their sumptuous gluttonies and gorgeous feasts

On citron tables or Atlantic stone,

For I have also heard, perhaps have read,
Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne,
Chios, and Crete, and how they quaff in gold,
Crystal and myrrhine cups emboss'd with gems
And studs of pearl, to me shouldst tell who thirst
And hunger still. Then embassies thou show'st
From nations far and nigh. What honour that,
But tedious waste of time to sit and hear
So many hollow compliments and lies,
Outlandish flatteries? then proceed'st to talk
Of the emperor, how easily subdued,
How gloriously; I shall, thou sayest, expel
A brutish monster; what if I withal
Expel a devil who first made him such?
Let his tormentor conscience find him out;
For him I was not sent, nor yet to free
That people, victor once, now vile and base,
Deservedly made vassal, who, once just,
Frugal, and mild, and temperate, conquer'd well,
But govern ill the nations under yoke,
Peeling their provinces, exhausted all
But lust and rapine; first ambitious grown
Of triumph, that insulting vanity;
Then cruel, by their sports to blood inured
Of fighting beasts, and men to beasts exposed
Luxurious by their wealth, and greedier still,
And from the daily scene effeminate.

What wise and valiant man would seek to free
These thus degenerate, by themselves enslaved?
Or could of inward slaves make outward free?
Know, therefore, when my season comes to sit
On David's throne, it shall be like a tree
Spreading and overshadowing all the earth;
Or as a stone that shall to pieces dash
All monarchies besides throughout the world,
And of my kingdom there shall be no end.
Means there shall be to this, but what the means
Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell.

To whom the tempter impudent replied:
I see all offers made by me how slight
Thou valuest, because offer'd, and rejectest;
Nothing will please the difficult and nice,
Or nothing more than still to contradict.
On the other side know also thou, that I
On what I offer set as high esteem,
Nor what I part with mean to give for nought
All these which in a moment thou beholdst,
The kingdoms of the world to thee I give ;
For, given to me, I give to whom I please,
No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else,
On this condition, if thou wilt fall down,
And worship me as thy superior lord,
Easily done, and hold them all of me;
For what can less so great a gift deserve?

Whom thus our Saviour answer'd with disdain :

I never liked thy talk, thy offers less,

Now both abhor, since thou hast dared to utter
The abominable terms, impious condition;
But I endure the time, till which expired,
Thou hast permission on me. It is written,
The first of all commandments, Thou shalt worship
The Lord thy God, and only him shalt serve;
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 usurp'd,
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

Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame, As offer them to me, the Son of God,

To me my own, on such abhorred pact,

That I fall down and worship thee as God?

Get thee behind me; plain thou now appearest
That evil one, Satan for ever damn'd.

To whom the fiend, with fear abash'd, replied: 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 bear'st that title, have proposed
What both from men and angels I receive,
Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth
Nations besides from all the quarter'd winds,
God of this world invoked, and world beneath;
Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold
To me so fatal, me it most concerns.
The trial hath indamaged thee no way,
Rather more honour left and more esteem;
Me nought advantaged, missing what I aim'd
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
Amongst the gravest rabbis 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 couch'd 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 mean'st;
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.

Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount,
Westward, much nearer by south-west, behold,

Where on the Ægean shore a city stands,

Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil;

Athens, the eye of Greece, 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
Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites

To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls

His whispering stream; within the walls then view
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next :

There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit

By voice or hand, and various-measured verse,
Eolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,

And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer call'd,
Whose poem Phoebus challenged for his 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 democracy,

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-roof'd house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,

Whom well inspired the oracle pronounced
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams, that water d 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 join'd.

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 profess'd
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 join'd with riches and long life;

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