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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,

In rhombs, and wedges, and half-moons, and wings.

He look'd, and saw what numbers numberless 310
The city gates outpour'd, light armed 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

306 flight] Lucan. Phars. i. 229,

'Missa Parthi post terga sagitta.'

Dunster.

315

309 wedges and half-moons] Virgil mentions the 'wedge; Æn. xii. 457. densi cuneis se quisque coactis agglomerant :' and Stat. Theb. v. 145, the half-moon; lunatumque putes agmen descendere.' Dunster.

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310 numbers numberless] For this expression (which was very common in old English Poets anterior to Milton) See Peele's Works, by Dyce, sec. ed. 1829, vol. i. p. 227. A number numberless, appointed well

For tournament.'

and Heywood's Troy, p. 203.

911 gates] Virg. Æn. xii. 121,

plenis

Agmina se fundunt portis.'

Dunster.

914 Prancing] Compare the description in Heliodori Æthiop.

lib. iii. p. 175. ed. Mitscherlich.

Of Caucasus, and dark Iberian dales,
From Atropatia and the neighbouring plains
Of Adiabene, Media, and the south
Of Susiana, to Balsara's haven.

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

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 endors'd with towers
Of archers, nor of labouring pioneers
A multitude with spades and axes arm'd
To lay hills plain, fell woods, or valleys fill,
Or, where plain 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.

54_arrowy] Æn. xii. 284.

325

330

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'Tempestas telorum, ac ferreus ingruit imber.' Dunster. 326 brown] Euripidis Phæn. 296.

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329 endors'd] B. Jonson's Epig. to W. Earl of Newcastle :

Nay, so your seat his beauties did endorse,

As I began to wish myself a horse.'

334 yoke] Eschyli Persæ, 71

Dunster.

Ζυγὸν ἀμφιβαλῶν αυχενί πόντου. Thyer.

Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp,
When Agrican with all his northern powers
Besieg'd Albracca, as romances tell,

The city of Gallaphrone, from thence to win
The fairest of her sex Angelica

340

His daughter, sought by many prowest knights,
Both Paynim, 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.

345

That thou may'st 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 could'st thou hope Long to enjoy it quiet and secure, Between two such enclosing enemies,

Roman and Parthian? therefore one of these

337 Such] Lucan. Phars. iii. 288.

'coiere nec unquam

Tam variæ cultu gentes, tam dissona vulgi

Ora.'

Dunster.

355

360

Thou must make sure thy own, the Parthian first
By my advice, as nearer, and of late
Found able by invasion to annoy

365

375

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.
By him thou shalt regain, without him not,
That which alone can truly reinstall thee
In David's royal seat, his true successor,
Deliverance of thy brethren, those 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 old
Their fathers in the land of Egypt serv'd,
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 Cæsar not need fear.
To whom our Saviour answer'd thus unmov'd.
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

380

387

388 instrument] Totius belli instrumento et apparatu.' Cic. Acad. ii. 1. Dunster.

395

Vented much policy, and projects deep
Of enemies, of aids, battels, 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.

400

405

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 numb'ring Israel, which cost the lives

410

415

Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites
By three days' pestilence? such was thy zeal
To Israel then, the same that now to me.
As 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 th' idolatries of heathen round,
Besides their other worse than heathenish crimes;
Nor in the land of their captivity,

120

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