Книга Paradise Regained. Содержание - THE FOURTH BOOK

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 indorsed with towers

Of archers; nor of labouring pioners

A multitude, with spades and axes armed,

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.

Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp,

When Agrican, with all his northern powers,

Besieged Albracea, as romances tell,

The city of Gallaphrone, from thence to win

The fairest of her sex, Angelica,

His daughter, sought by many prowest knights,

Both Paynim and the peers of Charlemane.

Such and so numerous was their chivalry;

At sight whereof the Fiend yet more presumed,

And to our Saviour thus his words renewed:-

"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 shew

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 used, what it predicts revokes.

But say thou wert possessed 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.

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 dispersed:

The sons of Jacob, two of Joseph, lost

Thus long from Israel, serving, as of old

Their fathers in the land of Egypt served,

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 Caesar not need fear."

To whom our Saviour answered thus, unmoved:-

"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 shewn 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 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 the idolatries of heathen round,

Besides their other worse than heathenish crimes;

Nor in the land of their captivity

Humbled themselves, 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,

And God with idols in their worship joined.

Should I of these the liberty regard,

Who, freed, as to their ancient patrimony,

Unhumbled, unrepentant, unreformed,

Headlong would follow, and to their gods perhaps

Of Bethel and of Dan? 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 Promised Land their fathers passed.

To his due time and providence I leave them."

So spake Israel's true King, and to the Fiend

Made answer meet, that made void all his wiles.

So fares it when with truth falsehood contends.


Perplexed and troubled at his bad success

The Tempter stood, nor had what to reply,

Discovered in his fraud, thrown from his hope

So oft, and the persuasive rhetoric

That sleeked his tongue, and won so much on Eve,

So little here, nay lost. But Eve was Eve;

This far his over-match, who, self-deceived

And rash, beforehand had no better weighed

The strength he was to cope with, or his own.

But-as a man who had been matchless held

In cunning, over-reached where least he thought,

To salve his credit, and for very spite,

Still will be tempting him who foils him still,

And never cease, though to his shame the more;

Or as a swarm of flies in vintage-time,

About the wine-press where sweet must is poured,

Beat off, returns as oft with humming sound;

Or surging waves against a solid rock,

Though all to shivers dashed, the assault renew,

(Vain battery!) and in froth or bubbles end-

So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse

Met ever, and to shameful silence brought,

Yet gives not o'er, though desperate of success,

And his vain importunity pursues.

He brought our Saviour to the western side

Of that high mountain, whence he might behold

Another plain, long, but in breadth not wide,

Washed by the southern sea, and on the north

To equal length backed with a ridge of hills

That screened the fruits of the earth and seats of men

From cold Septentrion blasts; thence in the midst

Divided by a river, off whose banks

On each side an Imperial City stood,

With towers and temples proudly elevate

On seven small hills, with palaces adorned,

Porches and theatres, baths, aqueducts,

Statues and trophies, and triumphal arcs,

Gardens and groves, presented to his eyes

Above the highth of mountains interposed-

By what strange parallax, or optic skill

Of vision, multiplied through air, or glass

Of telescope, were curious to enquire.

And now the Tempter thus his silence broke:-

"The city which thou seest no other deem

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