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To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade
Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs; he vierf'd it
And with fair speech to him these words address'd.
With granted leave officious I return,
Of Israel here had famish'd, had not God
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,
With dishes pil'd, and meats of noblest sort
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?
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;
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
And his son Herod plac'd on Judah's throne,
To whom thus Jesus patiently reply'd.