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Made and set wholly on th' accomplishment
Of greatest things; what wozian will you find,
Though of this age the wonder and the fame,
On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye 213
Or fond desire? Or should she, confident,
As sitting queen adored on Beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To' enamour, as the zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on Jove, su fables tell; 215
How would one look from his majestic brow,
Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill,
Discount'nance her despised, and put to rout
All her array; her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe ; for Beauty stands 220
In th' admiration only of weak minds
Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall Hat, and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every sudden slighting quite abash’d:
Therefore with manlier objects we must try

225
His constancy, with such as have more show
Of worth, of honour, glory', and popular praise ;
Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wreck'd;
Or that which only seems to satisfy
Lawful desires of Nature, not beyond ;

230 And now I know he hungers where no food Is to be found, in the wide wilderness : The rest coinmit to me, I shall let pass No advantage, and his strength as oft assay.

He ceased, and heard their grant in loud acclaim; Then forth with to him takes a chosen band 236 Of spirits likest to himself in guile To be at hand, and at his beck appear, If cause were to unfold some active scene Of various persons, each to know his part , 240 Then to the desert takes with these his flight; Where still from shade to shade the Son of God After forty days' fasting had remain's, Now hung'ring first, and to himself thus said:

Where will this end? four times ten days I've pass'd Wand'ring this woody maze, and human food 246 Nor tasted, nor had appetite ; that fast 344. An inaccuracy has been pointed out in this line, as our

Saviour did not now first hunger.

1

To virtue I impute not, or count part
Or what I suffer bere ; if Nature need not,
Or God support Nature without repast

250
Though Deeding, what praise is it to endure !
But now I feel I hunger, which declares
Nature hath need of what she asks ; yet God
Can satisfy that need some other way,
Though hanger still remain: so it remain 235
Without this body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no barm,
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts that feed
Me hung'ring more to do my Father's will.

It was the hour of night, when thus the Son 200
Communed in silent walk, then laid him down
Under the bospitable covert nigh
Of trees thick interwoven ; there be slept
And dream'd as appetite is wont to dream,
Of meats and drinks, Nature's refreshment swee: ;
Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood, 266
And saw the ravens with their borny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing even and morn,
Though ravenous, taught to' abstain from what they
He saw the prophet also how he fied [brought;
Into the desert, and how there he slept

271
Under a juniper; then how awaked
He found his supper on the coals prepared,
And by the angel was bid rise and eat,
ind eat the second time after repose,

278
The strength whereot sufficed him forty days;
Sometimes that with Elijah he partook,
Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse.

Thus wore cut night, and now the herald lark
Left his ground-nest, high tow'ring to descry
The Morn's approach, and greet her with his song :
As lightly from his grassy couch uprose
Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream,
Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting waked :
Up to a hill anon his steps he rear'd,

285
From whose high top to ken the prospect round,
If cottage were in view, sheep-cote or herd;

280

259. Jonn iv. 34. 266. Him thought, as we say, me thought. 1 Klugs xvil. -, el

and xix. 4. Dan. i.

Y

But cottage, herd, or sheep-cote none he saw
Only' in a bottom saw a pleasant grove,
With chaunt of tuneful birds resounding loud; 290
Thither he bent his way, determined there
To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade
High rooft, and walks beneath, and alleys brown,
That open'd in the midst a woody scene ;
Nature's own work it seem'd (Nature taught Art)
And to a superstitious eye the haunt

296
Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs; he view'd it round,
When suddenly a man before him stood,
Not rustic as before, but seemlier clad,
As one in city' or court, or palace bred,

300 And with fair speech these words to him address'd :

With granted leave officious I return,
But much more wonder that the Son of God
In this wild solitude so long should bide
Of all things destitute, and well I know

305
Not without hunger. Others of some note.
As story tells, have trod this wilderness;
The frgitive bond-woman with her son
Outcast Nebaioth, yet found here relief
By a providing angel; all the race

310 of Israel here had famish'd, had not God Rain'a from Hear'n manna ; and that prophet bold Native of Thebez, wand'ring here was fed Twice by a voice inviting him to eat: Of thee these forty days none hath regard, 315 Forty and more deserted here indeed.

To whom thus Jesus: What conclud'st thou hence ? They all had need, 1, as thou seest, have none.

How last thou hunger then? Satan replied: Tell me, if food were now before thee set, 320 Would'st thou not eat? Thereafter as I like The giver, answer'd Jesus. Why should that Cause thy refusal ? said the subtle fiend. Hast thou not right to all created things? Owe not all creatures by just right to thee 325 308. Gen. xvi. 6. Nehaioth was the eldest son of Ishmael,

and it is supposed is here put hy mistake for the latter. 313. Thelez, T'ixhbe, where Elijah was born, hence the allusion. The wilderness in which our Savivur was at this time, was not the same with those in which Hagar, &c. are represented as wanJerius

Duty and service not to stay till bid,
But tender all their power? nor mention I
Meats by the law unclean, or offer'd first
To idols, those young Daniel could refuse;
Nor proffer'd by an enemy, though who

330
Would scruple that, with want oppress'd ? Behold,
Nature ashamed, or, better to express,
Troubled that thou shouldst hunger, hath purvey'd
From all the elements her choicest store
To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord, 325
With honour: only deign to sit and eat.

He spake no dream, for as his words had end,
Our Saviour lifting up his eyes beheld
In ample space under the broadest shade
A table richly spread, in regal mode,

340
With dishes piled, and meats of noblest sort
And savour, beasts of chase, or fowl of game,
In pastry built, or from the spit, or boil'd,
Gris-amber-steam'd ; all fish from sea or shore,
Freshet, or purling brook, of shell or fin,

345 And exquisitest name, for which was drain'd Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast. Alas! how simple, to these cates compared, Was that crude apple that diverted Eve! And at a stately side-board, by the wine

350 That fragrant smell diffused, in order stood Tall stripling youths rich clad, of fairer hue Than Ganymed or Hylas ; distant more Under the trees now tripp'd, now solemn stood, Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades,

355 With fruits and flow'rs from Amalthea's horn, And ladies of th' Hesperides, that seem'd Fairer than feign’d of old, or fabled since Of faery damsels met in forest wide By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,

360 Lancelot, or Pelléas, or Pellenore : And all the while harmonious airs were heard Of chiming strings, or charning pipes, and winds Of gentlest gale Arabian odours fann'd

314. Gris-amber, Ambergris was formerly used to great excest in the Aavouring of certain dishes.

317. The places here mentioned were famous in antiquity for their fish. 349. Diverter, in the Latin sense, turned aside.

From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells. 338
Such was the splendour, and the Tempter now
His invitation earnestly renew'd.

What doubts the Son of God to sit and eat!
These are not fruits forbidden; no interdict
Defends the touching of these viands pure ; 370
Their taste no knowledge works, at least of evil,
But life preserves, destroys life's enemy,
Hunger, with sweet restorative delight.
All these are spirits of air, and woods, and springs,
Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay

375 Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord : What doubt'st thou, Son of God ? sit down and eat.

To whom thus Jesus temp'rately reply'd : Said'st thou not that to all things I had right? And who withholds my power that right to use ? 380 Shall I receive by gift what of my own, When and where likes me best, I can command ? I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou, Command a table in this wilderness, And call swift flights of angels ministrant Array'd in glory on my cup to attend : Why shouldst thou then obtrude this diligence, In vain, where no acceptance it can find ? And with my hunger what hast thou to do? Thy pompous delicacies I contemn,

385

390 And count thy specious gifts no gifts but guiles.

To whom thus answer'd Satan malecontent: That I have also power to give thou seest; If of that power I bring thee voluntary What I might have bestow'd on whom I pleased, 395 And rather opportunely in this place Chose to impart to thy apparent need, Why shouldst thou not accept it? but I see What I can do or offer is suspect; Of these things others quickly will dispose, 400 Whose pains have earn'd the far-fet spoil. With that Both table and provision vanish'd quite With sound of harpies' wings, and talons heard ;

873. Defends; as in Par. Lost, like the French defendre, to forbid. 385. So in Shakspeare's Hamlet, Act , Sc. 6.

401. Fet, instead of fetched, for softness; the word is used by Chaucer, Spenser, &c.

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