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Araxes and the Caspian lake, thence on
As far as Indus east, Euphrates west,
And oft beyond; to south the Persian bay,
And inaccessible th' Arabian drouth:
Here Nineveh, of length within her wall 275
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,

280
As ancient, but rebuilt by him who twice
Judah and all thy father Dayid's house
Led captive, and Jerusalem laid waste,
Till Cyrus set them free; Persepolis
His city there thou feeft, and Bactra there; 285
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, 290
The great Seleucia, 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

295 That empire, under his dominion holds, From the luxurious kings of Antioch won. And just in time thou com'st to have a view

Of his great pow'r; for now the Parthian king
In Ctesiphon hath gather'd all his host

300
Against the Scythian, whose incursions wild
Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid
He marches now in halte; see, though from far,
His thousands, in what martial equipage
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 muster they appear,
In rhombs and wedges, and half-moons, and wings.

He look'd, and saw 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;

315 From Arachosia, from Candaor east, And Margiana to the Hyrcanian cliffs Of Caucasus, and dark Iberian dales, From Atropatia and the neighb'ring plains Of Adiabene, Media, and the south

320 Of Susiana, to Balsara'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 pursuers, and overcame by flight; 325 The field all iron cast a gleaming brown:

Nor

Nor wanted clouds of foot, nor on each horn
Cuirasliers all in steel for standing fight,
Chariots or elephants indors’d with towers
Of archers, nor of lab’ring pioneers

330
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, 335
And waggons fraught with utensils of war.
Such forces mét 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 340
The fairest of her sex Angelica
His daughter, fought 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, 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 slight grounds thy safety; 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 still

In all things, and all men, supposes means, 355
Without means us’d, what it predicts revokes.
But say thou wert possess’d of David's throne
By free consent of all, none opposit,
Samaritan or Jew; how could'st thou hope
Long to enjoy it quiet and secure,

360
Between two such inclosing 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

365 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. 370 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 ofspring in his territory yet serve, 375 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.

380 These if from servitude thou shalt restore To their inheritance, then, nor till then,

Thou

Thou on the throne of David in full glory,
From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond
Shalt reign, and Rome or Cæsar not need fear. 385

To whom our Saviour answer'd thus unmov'd.
Much oftentation vain of fleshly arm,
And fragil arms, much instrument of war
Long in preparing, soon to nothing brought,
Before mine eyes thou' haft set; and in my ear 390
Vented much policy, and projects deep
Of enemies, of aids, battels and leagues,
Plausible to the world, to me worth nought.
Means I must use thou say'st, prediction else
Will unpredict and fail me of the throne: 395
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 ought endevoring, or to need
Thy politic maxims, or that cumbersome

400 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 scepter sway 405 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'it up his tempter to the pride Of numb'ring Israel, which cost the lives

410 Of

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