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To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade
High rooPd,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 superstitious eye the haunt [round,

Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs; he vierf'd it
When suddenly a man before him stood,
Not rustic as before, but seemlier clad,
As one in city' or court, or palace bred, 309

And with fair speech to him these words 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
Not without hunger. Others of some note.
As story tells, have trod this wilderness;
The fugitive bond-woman with her son
Outcast Nabaioth, yet found here relief
By a providing angel; all the race 310

Of Israel here had famish'd, had not God
Rain'd from Heav'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,
Forty and more deserted here indeed. [hence?

To whom thus Jesus. What conclud'st thou They all had need, I as thou seest have none,

How hast thou hunger then? Satan reply'd: Tell me if food were now before thee set, 320 Would'st thou not cat P 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

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 oppressd? Behold

Nature asham'd, or better to express,

Troubled that thou should'st hunger, hath purvey'd

From all the elements her choicest store

To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord

With honor, 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 pil'd, and meats of noblest sort
And savor, 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,
Freshest, or purling brook, of shell or fin,
And exquisitest name, for which was drain'd
Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast.
Alas how simple, to these cates compar'd,
Was that crude apple that diverted Eve!
And at a stately side-board by the wine 350

That fragrant smell diffus'd, in order stood

Tall stripling youths rich clad, of fairer hue

Then Ganymed or Hylas; distant more

Under the trees now tripp'd, now solemn stood

Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades

With fruits and flower's from Almathea'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 Pelleas, or Pelenore:

And all the while harmonious airs were heard

Of chiming strings, or charming pipes, and windt

Of gentlest gale Arabian odors fann'd

From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells.

Such was splendour, and the Tempter now

His invitation earnestly renew'd.

What doubts the Son of God to sit and eat t These are not fruits forbidden; no interdict Defends the touching of these viands pure; 378 Their taste no knowledge works at least of evil, But life preserves, destroys life's enemy, Hunger, with sweet restorative delight. All these are spi'rits of air, and woods, and springs, Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord s 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? 38& 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 should'st thou then obtrude this diligence,
In vain, where no acceptance it can fmd;
And with my hunger what hast thou to do?
Thy pompous delicacies I contemn, 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 pow'r I bring thee voluntary What I might have bestow'd on whom I pleas'd, And rather opportunely in this place Chose to impart to thy apparent need, Why should'st 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 earu'd the far fet spoil. With that Eoth table and provision vanish'd quite With sounds of Harpies'wings, and talons heard; Only th' importune Tempter still remain'd, And with these words his temptation pursu'd.

By hunger, that each other creature tames, Thou art not to be harm'd; therefore not mov'd; Thy temperance invincible besides, For no allurement yields to appetite, And all thy heart is set on high designs, 410

High actions; but wherewith to be achiev'd?

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 straights at home,
Lost in a desert here and hunger-bit:
Which way, or from what hope dost thou aspire
To greatness? whence authority deriv'st?
What followers, what retinue can'st thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude, 420

Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
Money brings honour, friends, conquest, and
What rais'd Antipater the Edomite, [realms:

And his son Herod plac'd on Judah's throne,
(Thy throne) but gold that got him puissant friends?
Therefore, if at great things.thou would'st 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, 439
While Virtue, Valour, Wisdom sit in want.

To whom thus Jesus patiently reply'd.
Yet wealth 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 dissolv'J:
But men endued with these have oft attain'd
In lowest poverty to highest deeds;
Gideon and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad,
Whose offspring en the throne of Judah sat 440
So many ages, and shall yet regain

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