Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

450

Idolatrous. But when his purpose is
Among them to declare his providence
To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth,
But from him or his angels president
In ev'ry province ? who, themselves disdaining
T'approach thy temples, give thee in command
What to the smallest tittle thou shalt say
To thy adorers; thou with trembling fear,
Or like a fawning parasite, obey'st;
Then to thy self 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
Into the world to teach his final will,
And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell
In pious hearts, and 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 urg'd me hard with doings, which not will, But misery, hath wrested from me; where 470 Easily canst thou find one miserable,

[ocr errors]

456 ceasd] Juv. Sat. vi. 554.

• Delphis oracula cessant.

Dunster.

480

And not enforc'd ofttimes to part from truth;
If it may stand him more in stead to lie,
Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure ?
But thou art plac'd above me, thou art Lord; 475
From thee I can, and must, submiss endure
Check or reproof, and glad to escape so quit.
Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk,
Smooth on the tongue discours’d, pleasing to th’ ear,
And tuneable as sylvan pipe or song;
What wonder then if I delight to hear
Her dictates from thy mouth? most men admire
Virtue, who follow not her lore: permit me
To hear thee when I come, (since no man comes,)
And talk at least, though I despair to attain. 485
Thy Father, who is holy, wise, and pure,
Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest
To tread his sacred courts, and minister
About his altar, handling holy things,
Praying or vowing, and vouchsaf'd his voice
To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet
Inspir'd; 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
Permission from above; thou canst not more.

490

[ocr errors]

478 Hard] Sil. Ital. iv. 605.

- perque aspera duro Nititur ad laudem virtus interrita clivo.' Dunster. 487 atheous] Cicero, speaking of Diagoras, ' Atheos qui dictus est.' De Nat. D. i. 23. • Atheal is not uncommon in old English. Dunster, Todd.

He added not; and Satan, bowing low His gray dissimulation, disappear’d Into thin air diffus'd: for now began Night with her sullen wings to double-shade 500 The desart ; fowls in their clay nests were couch’d; And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.

[ocr errors]

PARADISE REGAINED.

BOOK II.

MEANWHILE the new-baptiz'd, 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 declar'd, And on that high authority had believ'd, And with him talk'd, and with him lodg'd; I mean Andrew and Simon, famous after known, With others though in holy writ not nam’d, 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 increas’d, increas'd their doubt: Sometimes they thought he might be only shown, And for a time caught up to God, as once Moses was in the Mount, and missing long; And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels Rode up to heav'n, yet once again to come.

6 mean] See this expression in Harington's Ariosto, xxxi. 46. · I mean Renaldo's House of Montalbane ; and st. 55. • I mean the cruel Pagan Rodomont.' Newton. 13 shown] Virg. Æn. vi. 870.

Ostendent terris hunc tantum fata.'

Therefore as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara ; in Jericho

20
The city of palms, Ænon, and Salem old,
Macharus, and each town or city wall'd
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peræa; but return'd in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,
Where winds with reeds and osiers whisp’ring play,
Plain fishermen, (no greater men them call,
Close in a cottage low together got,
Their unexpected loss and plaints out breath’d.
Alas, from what high hope to what relapse 30
Unlook'd for are we falln! our eyes beheld
Messiah certainly now come, so long
Expected of our fathers; we have heard
His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth :
Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand, 35
The kingdom shall to Israel be restord:
Thus we rejoic'd, but soon our joy is turn'd
Into perplexity and new amaze :

Unlookiam what high hand plaints out

23 broad] · Broad' is not opposed to long, but means "large ;' in this sense it is often used by the old English poets; and thus their modern imitator, 'He knew her of broad lands the heir. Marmion, c. ï. st. xxvii. The lake of Genezaret is eighteen miles long, and only five broad.

25 Jordan] Giles Fletcher's Christ's Victorie and Triumph, ed. 1632, p. 49:

Or whistling reeds, that rutty Jordan laves. A. Dyce. 27 no greater] Spenser in the beginning of Sheph. Cal.

"A shepherd's boy, no better do him call.' Newton. 30 what] So first edition; in most others, “that.' Newton.

« ПредишнаНапред »