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Reign or reign not; though to that gentle brow 21
Willingly I could fly, and hope thy reign,

From that placid aspéct and meek regard,
Rather than aggravate my evil state,

Would stand between me and thy Father's ire

(Whose ire I dread more than the fire of Hell) 220 A shelter and a kind of shading cool

Interpofition, as a fummer's cloud.

If I then to the worst that can be haste,
Why move thy feet fo flow to what is best,

Happiest both to thyself and all the world,

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That thou who worthiest art should'st be their king?

Perhaps thou linger'ft in deep thoughts detain'd
Of th' enterprise so hazardous and high;
No wonder, for though in thee be united
What of perfection can in man be found,

230

Or human nature can receive, confider

Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent
At home, scarce view'd the Galilean towns,
And once a year Jerufalem, few days

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Short fojourn; and what thence could'ft thou observe?
The world thou haft not seen, much less her glory,
Empires, and monarchs, and their radiant courts,
Best school of beft experience, quickest insight
In all things that to greatest actions lead.
The wisest, unexperienc'd, will be ever
Timorous and loath, with novice modefty,
(As he who seeking asses found a kingdom)

D 3

240

Ir

Irrefolute, unhardy, unadventrous:

But I will bring thee where thou foon shalt quit
Those rudiments, and fee before thine eyes

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The monarchies of th' earth, their pomp and state, Sufficient introduction to inform

Thee, of thyself so apt, in regal arts,

And regal mysteries, that thou may'st know

How beft their oppofition to withstand.

250

With that (such pow'r was giv'n him then) he took The Son of God up to a mountain high.

It was a mountain at whose verdant feet

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A fpacious plain out-ftretch'd in circuit wide
Lay pleasant; from his fide two rivers flow'd,
Th'one winding, th' other ftrait, and left between
Fair champain with less rivers intervein'd,
Then meeting join'd their tribute to the sea:
Fertil of corn the glebe, of oil and wine;
With herds the pastures throng'd, with flocks the hills;
Huge cities and high towr'd, that well might seem
The feats of mightiest monarchs, and so large
The profpect was, that here and there was room
For barren defert fountainless and dry.

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To this high mountain top the Tempter brought 265
Our Saviour, and new train of words began.
Well have we speeded, and o'er hill and dale,
Forest and field and flood, temples and towers,
Cut fhorter many a league; here thou behold'ft
Assyria and her empire's ancient bounds,

270 Araxes

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Araxes and the Cafpian lake, thence on
As far as Indus eaft, Euphrates west,
And oft beyond; to fouth the Persian bay,
And inacceffible th' Arabian drouth:
Here Nineveh, of length within her wall
Several days journey, built by Ninus old,
Of that firft golden monarchy the feat,
And feat of Salmanaffar, whofe fuccefs
Ifrael in long captivity ftill 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 Jerufalem laid waste,
Till Cyrus fet them free; Persepolis

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His city there thou seeft, and Bactra there;
Ecbatana her ftructure vaft there fhows,

285

The

And Hecatompylos her hundred gates;
There Sufa by Choafpes, amber stream,
The drink of none but kings; of later fame
Built by Emathian, or by Parthian hands,
great Seleucia, Nifibis, and there
Artaxata, Teredon, Ctefiphon,
Turning with easy eye thou may'st behold.
All these the Parthian, now fome ages past,
By great Arfaces led, who founded first
That empire, under his dominion holds,
From the luxurious kings of Antioch won.
And just in time thou com'ft to have a view

290

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Of his great pow'r; for now the Parthian king
In Ctesiphon hath gather'd all his hoft
Against the Scythian, whose incurfions wild
Have wafted Sogdiana; to her aid

He marches now in hafte; fee, though from far,
His thousands, in what martial equipage

300

They issue forth, steel bows, and shafts their arms 305
Of equal dread in flight, or in pursuit;

All horsemen, in which fight they most excel;
See how in warlike mufter they appear,

In rhombs and wedges, and half-moons, and wings.
He look'd, and faw what numbers numberless 310
The city gates out-pour'd, light armed troops
In coats of mail and military pride;

In mail their horses clad, yet fleet and strong,
Prauncing their riders bore, the flow'r and choice
Of many provinces from bound to bound;
From Arachofia, from Candaor east,
And Margiana to the Hyrcanian cliffs

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Of Caucafus, and dark Iberian dales,

From Atropatia and the neighb'ring plains
Of Adiabene, Media, and the fouth

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Of Sufiana, to Balfara's haven.

He saw them in their forms of battel rang'd,

How quick they wheel'd, and fly'ing behind them shot
Sharp fleet of arrowy show'rs against the face
Of their purfuers, and overcame by flight;
The field all iron cast a gleaming brown:

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Nor

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Nor wanted clouds of foot, nor on each horn
Cuiraffiers all in fteel for standing fight,
Chariots or elephants indors'd with towers
Of archers, nor of lab'ring 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 thefe, camels and dromedaries,
And waggons fraught with utenfils of war.
Such forces met not, nor fo wide a camp,
When Agrican with all his northern powers
Befieg'd Albracca, as romances tell,

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The city' of Gallaphrone, from thence to win

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The fairest of her fex Angelica

His daughter, fought by many prowest knights,
Both Paynim, and the peers of Charlemain.
Such and fo numerous was their chivalry;
At fight whereof the Fiend yet more prefum'd, 345
And to our Saviour thus his words renew'd.

That thou may'st know I seek not to engage
Thy virtue, and not every way secure

On no flight grounds thy fafety; hear, and mark
To what end I have brought thee hither and shown
All this fair fight: thy kingdom though foretold 351
By Prophet or by Angel, unless thou

Endevor, as thy father David did,

Thou never shalt obtain; prediction ftill

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