poems, poetry, quotes
Inspirational Stories – Quotes – Proverbs
So spake the Son of God; and Satan stoodA while as mute, confounded what to say,What to reply, confuted and convincedOf his weak arguing and fallacious drift;At length, collecting all his serpent wiles,With soothing words renewed, him thus accosts:-- "I see thou know'st what is of use to know,What best to say canst say, to do canst do;Thy actions to thy words accord; thy wordsTo thy large heart give utterance due; thy heart Contains of good, wise, just, the perfet shape.Should kings and nations from thy mouth consult,Thy counsel would be as the oracleUrim and Thummim, those oraculous gemsOn Aaron's breast, or tongue of Seers oldInfallible; or, wert thou sought to deedsThat might require the array of war, thy skillOf conduct would be such that all the worldCould not sustain thy prowess, or subsistIn battle, though against thy few in arms. These godlike virtues wherefore dost thou hide?Affecting private life, or more obscureIn savage wilderness, wherefore depriveAll Earth her wonder at thy acts, thyselfThe fame and glory—glory, the rewardThat sole excites to high attempts the flameOf most erected spirits, most tempered pureAEthereal, who all pleasures else despise,All treasures and all gain esteem as dross,And dignities and powers, all but the highest? Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe. The sonOf Macedonian Philip had ere theseWon Asia, and the throne of Cyrus heldAt his dispose; young Scipio had brought downThe Carthaginian pride; young Pompey quelledThe Pontic king, and in triumph had rode.Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature,Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment.Great Julius, whom now all the world admires,The more he grew in years, the more inflamed With glory, wept that he had lived so longIngloroious. But thou yet art not too late." To whom our Saviour calmly thus replied:—"Thou neither dost persuade me to seek wealthFor empire's sake, nor empire to affectFor glory's sake, by all thy argument.For what is glory but the blaze of fame,The people's praise, if always praise unmixed?And what the people but a herd confused,A miscellaneous rabble, who extol Things vulgar, and, well weighed, scarce worth the praise?They praise and they admire they know not what,And know not whom, but as one leads the other;And what delight to be by such extolled,To live upon their tongues, and be their talk?Of whom to be dispraised were no small praise—His lot who dares be singularly good.The intelligent among them and the wiseAre few, and glory scarce of few is raised.This is true glory and renown—when God, Looking on the Earth, with approbation marksThe just man, and divulges him through HeavenTo all his Angels, who with true applauseRecount his praises. Thus he did to Job,When, to extend his fame through Heaven and Earth,As thou to thy reproach may'st well remember,He asked thee, 'Hast thou seen my servant Job?'Famous he was in Heaven; on Earth less known,Where glory is false glory, attributedTo things not glorious, men not worthy of fame. They err who count it glorious to subdueBy conquest far and wide, to overrunLarge countries, and in field great battles win,Great cities by assault. What do these worthiesBut rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslavePeaceable nations, neighbouring or remote,Made captive, yet deserving freedom moreThan those their conquerors, who leave behindNothing but ruin wheresoe'er they rove,And all the flourishing works of peace destroy; Then swell with pride, and must be titled Gods,Great benefactors of mankind, Deliverers,Worshipped with temple, priest, and sacrifice?One is the son of Jove, of Mars the other;Till conqueror Death discover them scarce men,Rowling in brutish vices, and deformed,Violent or shameful death their due reward.But, if there be in glory aught of good;It may be means far different be attained,Without ambition, war, or violence— By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,By patience, temperance. I mention stillHim whom thy wrongs, with saintly patience borne,Made famous in a land and times obscure;Who names not now with honour patient Job?Poor Socrates, (who next more memorable?)By what he taught and suffered for so doing,For truth's sake suffering death unjust, lives nowEqual in fame to proudest conquerors.Yet, if for fame and glory aught be done, Aught suffered—if young African for fameHis wasted country freed from Punic rage—The deed becomes unpraised, the man at least,And loses, though but verbal, his reward.Shall I seek glory, then, as vain men seek,Oft not deserved? I seek not mine, but HisWho sent me, and thereby witness whence I am." To whom the Tempter, murmuring, thus replied:—"Think not so slight of glory, therein leastResembling thy great Father. He seeks glory, And for his glory all things made, all thingsOrders and governs; nor content in Heaven,By all his Angels glorified, requiresGlory from men, from all men, good or bad,Wise or unwise, no difference, no exemption.Above all sacrifice, or hallowed gift,Glory he requires, and glory he receives,Promiscuous from all nations, Jew, or Greek,Or Barbarous, nor exception hath declared;From us, his foes pronounced, glory he exacts." To whom our Saviour fervently replied:"And reason; since his Word all things produced,Though chiefly not for glory as prime end,But to shew forth his goodness, and impartHis good communicable to every soulFreely; of whom what could He less expectThan glory and benediction—that is, thanks—The slightest, easiest, readiest recompenseFrom them who could return him nothing else,And, not returning that, would likeliest render Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy?Hard recompense, unsuitable returnFor so much good, so much beneficience!But why should man seek glory, who of his ownHath nothing, and to whom nothing belongsBut condemnation, ignominy, and shame—Who, for so many benefits received,Turned recreant to God, ingrate and false,And so of all true good himself despoiled;Yet, sacrilegious, to himself would take That which to God alone of right belongs?Yet so much bounty is in God, such grace,That who advances his glory, not their own,Them he himself to glory will advance." So spake the Son of God; and here againSatan had not to answer, but stood struckWith guilt of his own sin—for he himself,Insatiable of glory, had lost all;Yet of another plea bethought him soon:— "Of glory, as thou wilt," said he, "so deem; Worth or not worth the seeking, let it pass.But to a Kingdom thou art born—ordainedTo sit upon thy father David's throne,By mother's side thy father, though thy rightBe now in powerful hands, that will not partEasily from possession won with arms.Judaea now and all the Promised Land,Reduced a province under Roman yoke,Obeys Tiberius, nor is always ruledWith temperate sway: oft have they violated The Temple, oft the Law, with foul affronts,Abominations rather, as did onceAntiochus. And think'st thou to regainThy right by sitting still, or thus retiring?So did not Machabeus. He indeedRetired unto the Desert, but with arms;And o'er a mighty king so oft prevailedThat by strong hand his family obtained,Though priests, the crown, and David's throne usurped,With Modin and her suburbs once content. If kingdom move thee not, let move thee zealAnd duty—zeal and duty are not slow,But on Occasion's forelock watchful wait:They themselves rather are occasion best—Zeal of thy Father's house, duty to freeThy country from her heathen servitude.So shalt thou best fulfil, best verify,The Prophets old, who sung thy endless reign—The happier reign the sooner it begins.Rein then; what canst thou better do the while?" To whom our Saviour answer thus returned:—"All things are best fulfilled in their due time;And time there is for all things, Truth hath said.If of my reign Prophetic Writ hath toldThat it shall never end, so, when beginThe Father in his purpose hath decreed—He in whose hand all times and seasons rowl.What if he hath decreed that I shall firstBe tried in humble state, and things adverse,By tribulations, injuries, insults, Contempts, and scorns, and snares, and violence,Suffering, abstaining, quietly expectingWithout distrust or doubt, that He may knowWhat I can suffer, how obey? Who bestCan suffer best can do, best reign who firstWell hath obeyed—just trial ere I meritMy exaltation without change or end.But what concerns it thee when I beginMy everlasting Kingdom? Why art thouSolicitous? What moves thy inquisition? Know'st thou not that my rising is thy fall,And my promotion will be thy destruction?" To whom the Tempter, inly racked, replied:—"Let that come when it comes. All hope is lostOf my reception into grace; what worse?For where no hope is left is left no fear.If there be worse, the expectation moreOf worse torments me than the feeling can.I would be at the worst; worst is my port,My harbour, and my ultimate repose, The end I would attain, my final good.My error was my error, and my crimeMy crime; whatever, for itself condemned,And will alike be punished, whether thouReign or reign not—though to that gentle browWillingly I could fly, and hope thy reign,From that placid aspect 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) A shelter and a kind of shading coolInterposition, as a summer's cloud.If I, then, to the worst that can be haste,Why move thy feet so slow to what is best?Happiest, both to thyself and all the world,That thou, who worthiest art, shouldst be their King!Perhaps thou linger'st in deep thoughts detainedOf the enterprise so hazardous and high!No wonder; for, though in thee be unitedWhat of perfection can in Man be found, Or human nature can receive, considerThy life hath yet been private, most part spentAt home, scarce viewed the Galilean towns,And once a year Jerusalem, few days'Short sojourn; and what thence couldst thou observe?The world thou hast not seen, much less her glory,Empires, and monarchs, and their radiant courts—Best school of best experience, quickest in sightIn all things that to greatest actions lead.The wisest, unexperienced, will be ever Timorous, and loth, with novice modesty(As he who, seeking asses, found a kingdom)Irresolute, unhardy, unadventrous.But I will bring thee where thou soon shalt quitThose rudiments, and see before thine eyesThe monarchies of the Earth, their pomp and state—Sufficient introduction to informThee, of thyself so apt, in regal arts,And regal mysteries; that thou may'st knowHow best their opposition to withstand." With that (such power was given him then), he tookThe Son of God up to a mountain high.It was a mountain at whose verdant feetA spacious plain outstretched in circuit wideLay pleasant; from his side two rivers flowed,The one winding, the other straight, and left betweenFair champaign, with less rivers interveined,Then meeting joined their tribute to the sea.Fertil of corn the glebe, of oil, and wine;With herds the pasture thronged, with flocks the hills; Huge cities and high-towered, that well might seemThe seats of mightiest monarchs; and so largeThe prospect was that here and there was roomFor barren desert, fountainless and dry.To this high mountain-top the Tempter broughtOur 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 shorter many a league. Here thou behold'stAssyria, and her empire's ancient bounds, Araxes and the Caspian lake; thence onAs far as Indus east, Euphrates west,And oft beyond; to south the Persian bay,And, inaccessible, the Arabian drouth:Here, Nineveh, of length within her wallSeveral days' journey, built by Ninus old,Of that first golden monarchy the seat,And seat of Salmanassar, whose successIsrael in long captivity still mourns;There Babylon, the wonder of all tongues, As ancient, but rebuilt by him who twiceJudah and all thy father David's houseLed captive, and Jerusalem laid waste,Till Cyrus set them free; Persepolis,His city, there thou seest, and Bactra there;Ecbatana her structure vast there shews,And Hecatompylos her hunderd gates;There Susa by Choaspes, amber stream,The drink of none but kings; of later fame,Built by Emathian or by Parthian hands, The great Seleucia, Nisibis, and thereArtaxata, Teredon, Ctesiphon,Turning with easy eye, thou may'st behold.All these the Parthian (now some ages pastBy great Arsaces led, who founded firstThat empire) under his dominion holds,From the luxurious kings of Antioch won.And just in time thou com'st to have a viewOf his great power; for now the Parthian kingIn Ctesiphon hath gathered all his host Against the Scythian, whose incursions wildHave wasted Sogdiana; to her aidHe marches now in haste. See, though from far,His thousands, in what martial equipageThey issue forth, steel bows and shafts their arms,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 looked, and saw what numbers numberless The city gates outpoured, light-armed troopsIn coats of mail and military pride.In mail their horses clad, yet fleet and strong,Prauncing their riders bore, the flower and choiceOf many provinces from bound to bound—From Arachosia, from Candaor east,And Margiana, to the Hyrcanian cliffsOf Caucasus, and dark Iberian dales;From Atropatia, and the neighbouring plainsOf Adiabene, Media, and the south Of Susiana, to Balsara's haven.He saw them in their forms of battle ranged,How quick they wheeled, and flying behind them shotSharp sleet of arrowy showers against the faceOf their pursuers, and overcame by flight;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 towersOf 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 overlayWith 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 engageThy virtue, and not every way secureOn no slight grounds thy safety, hear and markTo what end I have brought thee hither, and shew All this fair sight. Thy kingdom, though foretoldBy Prophet or by Angel, unless thouEndeavour, as thy father David did,Thou never shalt obtain: prediction stillIn all things, and all men, supposes means;Without means used, what it predicts revokes.But say thou wert possessed of David's throneBy free consent of all, none opposite,Samaritan or Jew; how couldst thou hopeLong to enjoy it quiet and secure Between two such enclosing enemies,Roman and Parthian? Therefore one of theseThou must make sure thy own: the Parthian first,By my advice, as nearer, and of lateFound able by invasion to annoyThy country, and captive lead away her kings,Antigonus and old Hyrcanus, bound,Maugre the Roman. It shall be my taskTo 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 theeIn David's royal seat, his true successor—Deliverance of thy brethren, those Ten TribesWhose offspring in his territory yet serveIn Habor, and among the Medes dispersed:The sons of Jacob, two of Joseph, lostThus long from Israel, serving, as of oldTheir fathers in the land of Egypt served,This offer sets before thee to deliver. These if from servitude thou shalt restoreTo 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 armAnd 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 deepOf enemies, of aids, battles, and leagues,Plausible to the world, to me worth naught.Means I must use, thou say'st; prediction elseWill unpredict, and fail me of the throne!My time, I told thee (and that time for theeWere better farthest off), is not yet come.When that comes, think not thou to find me slackOn my part aught endeavouring, or to needThy politic maxims, or that cumbersome Luggage of war there shewn me—argumentOf human weakness rather than of strength.My brethren, as thou call'st them, those Ten Tribes,I must deliver, if I mean to reignDavid's true heir, and his full sceptre swayTo just extent over all Israel's sons!But whence to thee this zeal? Where was it thenFor Israel, or for David, or his throne,When thou stood'st up his tempter to the prideOf numbering Israel—which cost the lives of threescore and ten thousand IsraelitesBy three days' pestilence? Such was thy zealTo Israel then, the same that now to me.As for those captive tribes, themselves were theyWho wrought their own captivity, fell offFrom God to worship calves, the deitiesOf 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 besoughtThe God of their forefathers, but so diedImpenitent, and left a race behindLike to themselves, distinguishable scarceFrom 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 serveTheir enemies who serve idols with God.Yet He at length, time to himself best known,Remembering Abraham, by some wondrous callMay 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 FiendMade answer meet, that made void all his wiles.So fares it when with truth falsehood contends.