National Epics
By Kate Milner Rabb

Presented by

Public Domain Books

Selection From Paradise Regained


Satan, meeting the Savior in the wilderness, tempted him to change the stones to bread, and then, after endeavoring to awake in him a longing for wealth and power, appealed to his ambition by leading him to a mountain top, and displaying to him the kingdoms of the earth.

  With that (such power was given him then), he [Satan] took
  The Son of God up to a mountain high.
  It was a mountain at whose verdant feet
  A spacious plain outstretched in circuit wide
  Lay pleasant; from his side two rivers flowed,
  The one winding, the other straight, and left between
  Fair champaign, with less rivers interveined,
  Then meeting joined their tribute to the sea.
  Fertile 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 seem
  The seats of mightiest monarchs; and so large
  The prospect was that here and there was room
  For barren desert, fountainless and dry.
  To this high mountain-top the Tempter brought
  Our 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’st
  Assyria, and her empire’s ancient bounds,
  Araxes and the Caspian lake; thence on
  As 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 wall
  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,
  As ancient, but rebuilt by him who twice
  Judah and all thy father David’s house
  Led captive, and Jerusalem laid waste,
  Till Cyrus set them free; Persepolis,
  His city, there thou seest, and Bactra there;
  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,
  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
  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 power; for now the Parthian king
  In Ctesiphon hath gathered all his host
  Against the Scythian, whose incursions wild
  Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid
  He marches now in haste. See though from far,
  His thousands, in what martial equipage
  They 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.”


Preface  •  The Râmâyana  •  The Story of the Râmâyana  •  Selections From the Râmâyana  •  The Story of the Mahâ-Bhârata  •  Selections From the Mahâ-Bhârata  •  The Iliad  •  The Story of the Iliad  •  Selections From the Iliad  •  The Story of the Odyssey  •  Selections From the Odyssey  •  The Kalevala  •  The Story of the Kalevala  •  Selections From the Kalevala  •  Selection From the Aeneid  •  Beowulf  •  The Story of Beowulf  •  Selection From Beowulf  •  Selections From the Nibelungen Lied  •  The Story of the Song of Roland  •  Selections From the Song of Roland  •  The Story of the Shah-Nameh  •  Selections From the Shah-Nameh  •  The Story of the Poem of the Cid  •  Selections From the Poem of the Cid  •  The Divine Comedy - The Hell  •  The Story of the Divine Comedy - The Hell  •  The Divine Comedy - The Purgatory  •  The Story of the Divine Comedy - The Purgatory  •  The Divine Comedy - The Paradise  •  The Story of the Divine Comedy - The Paradise  •  Selections From the Divine Comedy - Count Ugolino  •  Selection From the Orlando Furioso  •  The Lusiad  •  The Story of the Lusiad  •  Selections From the Lusiad  •  The Jerusalem Delivered  •  The Story of the Jerusalem Delivered  •  Selection From the Jerusalem Delivered  •  The Story of Paradise Lost  •  Selections From Paradise Lost  •  Apostrophe to Light  •  The Story of Paradise Regained  •  Selection From Paradise Regained  •