Sivut kuvina

As a poor miserable captive thrall
Comes to the place where he before had sat
Among the prime in splendor, now depos'd,
Ejected, emptied, gaz’d, unpitied, shunn'd,
A spectacle of ruin or of scorn

To all the host of Heav'n: the happy place
Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy,
Rather inflames thy torment, representing
Loft bliss, to thee no more communicable,
So never more in Hell than when in Heaven.

420 But thou art serviceable to Heav'n's King. Wilt thou impute t' obedience what thy fear Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites? What but thy malice moy'd thee to misdeem Of righteous Job, then cruelly to' afflict him 425 With all inflictions? but his patience won. The other service was thy chosen task, To be a liar in four hundred mouths; For lying is thy sustenance, thy food. Yet thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles 430 By thee are giv’n, and what confess’d more true Among the nations? that hath been thy craft, By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies. But what have been thy answers, what but dark, Ambiguous and with double sense deluding, 435 Which they who ask'd have seldom understood, And not well understood as good not known? Who ever by consulting at thy shrine



. 21 Return'd the wiser, or the more instruct To fly or follow what concern'd him moft, 440 And run not sooner to his fatal snare? For God hath justly giv’n the nations up To thy delusions; justly, since they fell Idolatrous: but when his purpose is Among them to declare his providence

445 To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth, But from him or his Angels president In every province? who themselves disdaining T'approach thy temples, give thee in command What to the smallest tittle thou shalt say 450 To thy adorers; thou with trembling fear, Or like a fawning parasite obey'st; Then to thyself ascrib'st the truth foretold. But this thy glory shall be foon 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

460 Into the world to teach his final will, And sends his Spi'rit of truth henceforth to dwell In pious hearts, an inward oracle To all truth requisite for men to know.

So spake our Saviour; but the subtle Fiend, 465 Though inly ftung with anger and disdain,

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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,
And not enforc'd oft-times to part from truth;
If it

stand him more in stead to lie,
Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure?
But thou art plac'd above me, thou art Lord;
From thee I can and must submiss indure
Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape 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 vouchsafd 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,


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I bid not or forbid; do as thou find'st

495 Permission from above; thou canst not more.

He added not; and Satan bowing low His gray

dissimulation, disappear'd Into thin air diffus'd: for now began Night with her fullen wings to double-shade 500 The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couch’d; And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.

The end of the First Book.

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