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All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought
Good reason then, if I before-hand seek
To win him, or win from him what I can :
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee Proof against all temptation, as a rock
Of adamant, and, as a centre, firm:
To the utmost of mere man both wise and good, Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory, Have been before contemn'd, and may again. Therefore, to know what more thou art than man, Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heaven, Another method I must now begin."
So saying he caught him up, and, without wing Of hippogrif, bore through the air sublime, Over the wilderness and o'er the plain, Till underneath them fair Jerusalem, The holy city, lifted high her towers, And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd Her pile, far off appearing like a mount Of alabaster, topt with golden spires: There, on the highest pinnacle, he set The Son of God; and added thus in scorn.
"There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright
Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house [best : Have brought thee, and highest plac'd: highest is Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,
Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God:
But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell.
Who on their plumy vans receiv'd him soft
"True image of the Father; whether thron'd
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou,
A Saviour, art come down to re-install,
Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be, Of tempter and temptation without fear.
But thou, infernal serpent! shalt not long Rule in the clouds like an autumnal star, Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod down Under his feet: for proof, ere this thou feel'st Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest wound,) By this repulse receiv'd, and hold'st in Hell No triumph: in all her gates Abaddon rues Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe To dread the Son of God: he, all unarm'd, Shall chase thee, with the terrour of his voice, From thy demoniac holds, possession foul, Thee and thy legions: yelling they shall fly And beg to hide them in a herd of swine, Lest he command them down into the deep, Bound, and to torment sent before their time. Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds, Queller of Satan! on thy glorious work Now enter; and begin to save mankind.'
Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refresh'd, Brought on his way with joy; he, unobserv'd, Home to his mother's house private return''.
A DRAMATIC POEM.
ARISTOT. Poet. cap. 6.
Tragedia est imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per misericordiam et metum perficiens talium affectuum lustrationem.
Of that sort of Dramatic Poem which is called
TRAGEDY, as it was anciently composed, hath been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other poems: therefore said by Aristotle to be of power by raising pity and fear, or terrour, to purge the mind of those and such like passions, that is, to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind of delight, stirred up by reading or seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion: for so, in physic, things of melancholic hue and quality are used against melancholy, sour against sour, salt to remove salt humours. Hence philosophers and other gravest writers, as Cicero, Plutarch, and others, frequently cite out of tragic poets, both to adorn and illustrate their discourse. The Apostle Paul himself thought it not unworthy