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(So may we hold our place and these mild seats Without new trouble,) such an enemy

Is risen to invade us, who no less

Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell;
I, as I undertook, and with the vote

Consenting in full frequence was impower'd,
Have found him, view'd him, tasted him ; but find
Far other labour to be undergone

Than when I dealt with Adam, first of Men,

Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell,
However to this Man inferiour far;

If he be Man by mother's side, at least

With more than human gifts from Heaven adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,

And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am return'd, lest confidence
Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
Of like succeeding here: I summon all
Rather to be in readiness, with hand
Or counsel to assist; lest I, who erst
Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd

So spake the old Serpent, doubting; and from all With clamour was assured their utmost aid

At his command: when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest Spirit that fell,

The sensuallest, and, after Asmodai,

The fleshliest Incubus; and thus advis'd.

Set women in his eye, and in his walk,
Among the daughters of men the fairest found:
Many are in each region passing fair

As the noon sky; more like to Goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues
Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild

And sweet allay'd, yet terrible to approach,
Skill'd to retire, and, in retiring, draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the power to soften and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, and resolutest breast,
As the magnetick hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguil'd the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,
And made him bow, to the Gods of his wives.
To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd.
Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st
All others by thyself; because of old
Thou thyself doat'st on womankind, admiring
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such


Before the Flood thou with thy lusty crew,

False titled sons of God, roaming the earth

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Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men,
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Have we not seen, or by relation heard,
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st,
In wood or grove, by mossy fountain side,
In valley or green meadow, to way-lay
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene,
Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,

Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more

Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd, Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan

Satyr, or Faun, or Sylvan? But these haunts

Delight not all: among the sons of men,

How many have with a smile made small ac


Of Beauty and her lures, easily scorn'd

All her assaults, on worthier things intent!
Remember that Pellean conquerour,

A youth, how all the beauties of the East
He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass'd;
How he, surnam'd of Africa, dismiss'd,
In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full

Of honour, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state;
Thence to the bait of women lay expos'd:
But he, whom we attempt, is wiser far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,

Made and set wholly on the accomplishment
Of greatest things. What woman will you find,
Though of this age the wonder and the fame
On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye
Of fond desire? Or should she, confident,
As sitting queen ador'd on Beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To enamour, as the zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell;
How would one look from his majestick brow,
Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill,
Discountenance her despis'd, and put to rout
All her array; her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe! for Beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds

Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy,

At every sudden slighting quite abash'd.
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
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;

And now I know he hungers, where no food
Is to be found, in the wide wilderness :

The rest commit to me; I shall let pass

No advantage, and his strength as oft assay.

He ceas'd, and heard their grant in loud acclaim;

Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band

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:
Then to the desart takes with these his flight;
Where, still from shade to shade, the Son of God
After forty days fasting had remain'd,

Now hungering first, and to himself thus said. Where will this end? four times ten days I've pass'd

Wandering this woody maze, and human food

Nor tasted, nor had appetite; that fast

To virtue I impute not, or count part
Of what I suffer here; if nature need not,
Or God support nature with repast

Though needing, 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 hunger still remain; so it remain
Without this body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm:
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed
Me hungering more to do my Father's will.

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