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Thou art not to be harm'd, therefore not moved;
Thy temperance invincible besides,
For no allurement yields to appetite,
And all thy heart is set on high designs,
High actions; but wherewith to be achieved?
Great acts require great means of enterprise;
Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth,
A carpenter thy father known, thyself
Bred up in poverty and straits at home,
Lost in a desert here, and hunger-bit:
Which way, or from what hope, dost thou aspire
To greatness? whence authority derivest?
What followers, what retinue canst thou gain?
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
Money brings honour, friends, conquest, and realms.
What raised Antipater the Edomite,
And his son Herod placed on Judah's throne,
Thy throne, but gold, that got him puissant friends?
Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive,
Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap,
Not difficult, if thou hearken to me;
Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand;
They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain,
While virtue, valour, wisdom, sit in want.
To whom thus Jesus patiently replied: Yet weath, without these three, is impotent To gain dominion, or to keep it gain'd. Witness those ancient empires of the earth, In height of all their flowing wealth dissolved. But men endued with these have oft attain'd, In lowest poverty, to highest deeds; Gideon and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad, Whose offspring on the throne of Judah sat So many ages, and shall yet regain That seat, and reign in Israel without end. Among the heathen, for throughout the world To me is not unknown what hath been done Worthy of memorial, canst thou not remember Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus? For I esteem those names of men so poor, Who could do mighty things, and could contemn Riches, though offer'd from the hands of kings. And what in me seems wanting, but that I May also in this poverty as soon Accomplish what they did, perhaps, and more? Extol not riches then, the toil of fools, The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare, more apt To slacken,virtue, and abate her edge, Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise. What, if with like aversion I reject Riches and realms? yet not, for that a crown,
Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns,
Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights
To him who wears the regal diadem,
When on his shoulders each man's burden lies;
For therein stands the office of a king,
His honour, virtue, merit, and chief praise,
That for the public all this weight he bears.
Yet he, who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains;
And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,
Subject himself to anarchy within,
Or lawless passions in him, which he serves.
But to guide nations in the way of truth
By saving doctrine, and from error lead,
To know, and knowing worship God aright,
Is yet more kingly; this attracts the soul,
Governs the inner man, the nobler part;
That other o'er the body only reigns,
And oft by force, which, to a generous mind,
So reigning, can be no sincere delight.
Besides, to give a kingdom hath been thought
Greater and nobler done, and to lay down
Far more magnanimous than to assume.
Riches are needless then, both for themselves,
And for thy reason why they should be sought,
To gain a sceptre, oftest better miss'd.
So spake the Son of God, and Satan stood
I see thou know'st what is of use to know,
In battle, though against thy few in arms.
To whom our Saviour calmly thus replied:
Things vulgar, and, well weigh'd, scarceworth the praise?
By conquest far and wide, to overrun
Large countries, and in field great battles win,
Great cities by assault : what do these worthies,
But rob, and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave
Peaceable nations, neighbouring or remote,
Made captive, yet deserving freedom more
Than those their conquerors, who leave behind
Nothing 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,
Worshipp'd with temple, priest, and sacrifice?
One is the son of Jove, of Mars the other;
Till conqueror Death discovers them scarce men,
Rolling in brutish vices, and deform'd,
Violent or shameful death their due reward.
But if there be in glory aught of good,
It may by means far different be attain'd,
Without ambition, war, or violence;
By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,
By patience, temperance. I mention still
Him, 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 suffer'd for so doing,
For truth's sake suffering death unjust, lives now
Equal in fame to proudest conquerors.
Yet if for fame and glory aught be done,
Aught suffer'd; if young African for fame
His 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 his
Who sent me, and thereby witness whence I am.
To whom the tempter, murmuring, thus replied:
To whom our Saviour fervently replied:
But to show forth his goodness, and impart
So spake the Son of God; and here again
Of glory, as thou wilt, said he, so deem,