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Fertile of cornrebe, of oil, and winet
With herds the pastures throng'd, with flocks the

Huge cities and high-tower'd, that well might seem
The seats of mightiest monarchs; and so lange I
The prospect was, that here and there was room
For barren desert, fountainless and dry.
To this high mountain too the Tempter brought
Our Saviour, and new train of words began a

"Well have we speeded, and ofer hill and dale
Forest and field and flood, temples and towers,
Cut shorter many a league; here thou behold'st
Assyria, and her empire's ancient bounds,
Araxes and the Caspian lake; thence on
As far as Indus east, Euphrates west,
And oft beyond: to south the Persian bay,
And, inaccessible, the Arabian drought s
Here Nineveh, of length within her wall
Several days' journey, built by Ninus old,
Of that first golden monarchy the seat,
And seat of Salmanassar, whose success
Israel in long captivity still mourns ;
There Babylon, the wonder of all tongues,
As ancient, but rebuilt by him who twice
Judah and all thy father David's house
Led captive, and Jerusalem laid waste,
Till Cyrus set them free; Persepolis,
His city, there thou seest, and Bactra there
Ecbatana her structure vast there shows,
And Hecatompylos her hundred gates;
There Susa by Choaspes, amber stream,
The drink of none but kings: of later fame,
Built by Emathian or by Parthian hands,
The great Sileucia, Nisibis, and there
Artaxata, Teredon, Ctesiphon,

Turning with easy eye, thou may'st behold.
All these the Parthian (now some ages past,
By great Arsaces led, who founded first
That empire) under his dominion holds,

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From the luxurious kings of Antioch won.
And just in time thou com'st to have a view
Of his great power; for now the Parthian king
In Ctesiphon, hath gather'd all his host
Against the Scythian, whose incursions wild
Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid

He marches now in haste; see, though from far,
His thousands, in what martial équipage

They issue forth, steel bows and shafts their arms,
Of equal dread in flight or in pursuit;

All horsemen, in which fight they most excel:
See how in warlike muster they appear, [wings."
In rhombs, and wedges, and half-moons, and
He look'd, and saw what mimbers numberless
The city gates out-pour'd, light-arm'd troops,
In coats of mail and military pride;

In mail their horses clad, yet fleet and strong,
Prancing their riders bore, the flower and choice
Of many provinces from bound to bound;
From Arachosia, from Candaor east,
And Margiana, to the Hyrcanian cliffs
Of Caucasus, and dark Iberian dales;
From Atropatia, and the neighbouring plains
Of Adiabene, Media, and the south
Of Susiana, to Balsara's haven.

He saw them in their forms of battle rang'd,
How quick they wheel'd, and flying behind them


Sharp sleet of arrowy showers against the face
Of their pursuers, and overcame by flight;
The field all iron cast a gleaming brown:
Nor wanted clouds of foot, nor on each horn
Cuirassiers all in steel for standing fight,
Chariots, or elephants indors'd with towers
Of archers; nor of labouring pioneers
A multitude, with spades and axes arm'd,
To lay hills plane, fell woods, or valleys fill.
Or where plane was raise hill, or overlay
With bridges rivers proud, as with a yoke:

Mules after these, camels, and dromedaries,
And waggons, fraught with utensils of war.
Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp,
When Agrican with all his northern power
Besieg'd Albracca, as romances tell,

The city of Gallaphrone, from whence to wi
The fairest of her sex, Angelica,

His daughter, sought by many prowest knights,
Both Paynin, and the peers of Charlemain.
Such and so numerous was their chivalry:
At sight whereof the Fiend yet more presum'd,
And to our Saviour thus his words renew'd:

"That thou mayst know I seek not to engage Thy virtue, and not every way secure

On no slight grounds thy safety; hear and mark, To what end I have brought thee hither, and shown All this fair sight; thy kingdom, though foretold By prophet or by angel, unless thou

Endeavour as thy father David did,

Thou never shalt obtain; prediction still
In all things, and all men, supposes means;
Without means us'd, what it predicts revokes
But say thou wert possess'd of David's throne,
By free consent of all, none opposite,
Samaritan or Jew; how couldst thou hope
Long to enjoy it, quiet and secure,

Between two such enclosing enemies,

Roman and Parthian? Therefore one of these

Thou must make sure thy own; the Parthian first By my advice, as nearer, and of late

Found able by invasion to annoy

Thy country, and captive lead away her kings,
Antigonus and old Hyrcanus, bound,

Maugre the Roman: it shall be my task
To render thee the Parthian at dispose.

Choose which thou wilt, by conquest or by league s
By him thou shalt regain, without him not,
That which alone can truly rein-tal thee
In David's royal seat, his true successor,,

Deliverance of thy brethren, whose ten tribes,
Whose offspring in his territory yet serve,
In Habor, and among the Medes dispers'd:
Ten sons of Jacob, two of Joseph, lost
Thus, long from Israel, serving, as of o2 ́ ́
Their fathers in the land of Egypt serva
This offer sets before thee to deliver

These if from servitude thou shalt restore
To their inheritance, then, nor till then,
Thou on the throne of David in full glory
From Egypt to Euphrates, and beyond,
Shalt reign, and Rome or Casar need hot fear."
To whom our Saviour answer'd thus, unmov'd t
"Much ostentation vain of fleshly arm
And fragile arms, much instrument of war,'
Long in preparing, soon to nothing brought,
Before mine eyes thou hast set; and in my ear
Vented much policy, and projects deep
Of enemies, of aids, battles, and leagues,
Plausible to the world, to me worth naught.
Means I must use, thou say'st, prediction else
Will unpredict, and fail me of the throne:
My time, I told thee, (and that time for thee
Were better farthest off,) is not yet come;
When that comes, think not thou to find me slack
On my part aught endeavouring, or to need
Thy politic maxims, or that cumbersome
Luggage of war there shown me, argument
Of human weakness rather than of strength."
My brethren, as thou call'st them, those ten tribes,
I must deliver, if I mean to reign

David's true heir, and his full sceptre sway
To just extent over all Israel's sons.

But whence to thee this zeal? Where was it then
For Israel, or for David, or his throne,

When thou stood'st up his tempter to the pride
Of numbering Israel, which cost the lives
Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites
By three days' pestilence? Such was thy real

To Israel then; the same that now to me,
A's for those captive tribes, themselves were they
Who wrought their own captivity, fell off
From God to worship calves, the deities
Of Egypt, Baal next and Ashtaroth,
And all the idolatries of heathen round,
Besides their other worse than heathenish crimes 3
Nor in the land of their captivity

Humbled themselve, or penitent besought
The God of their forefathers; but so died
Impenitent, and left a race behind

Like to themselves, distinguishable scarce
From Gentiles, but by circumcision vain 4
And God with idols in their worship join'd.
Should I of these the liberty regard,
Who, freed, as to their ancient patrimony,
Unhumbled, unrepentant, unreform'd,
Headlong would follow; and to their gods perhaps
Of Bethel and of Dau? No, let them serve
Their enemies, who serve idols with God. -
Yet he at length (time to himself best known)
Remembering Abraham, by some wondrous call
May bring them back repentant and sincere,
And at their passing cleave the Assyrian flood,
While to their native land with joy they haste;
As the Red Sea and Jordan once he cleft,
When to the promis'd land their fathers pass'd :
To his due time and providence I leave them."

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So spake Israel's true King, and to the Fiend Made answer meet, that made void all his wiles. Bo fares it, when with truth falsehood contends.

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