Page images

All her assaults, on worthier things intent?

Remember that Pellean Conqueror, A Youth, how all the Beauties of the East He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass’d; How he firnam'd of Africa dismiss’d In his prime youth the fair Iberian Maid. For Solomon he liy'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 th’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 fitting Queen ador'd on Beauty's Throne, Descend with all her winning charms begirt T'enamour, as the Zone of Venus once Wrought that effect on Jove, so Fables cell ; How would one look from his Majestick brow Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill,



Discount'nance her defpis'd, and put to rout,
All her array; her female pride deject,
Or turn to rev'rent awe? for Beauty stands
In th’admiration only of weak minds
Led captive; cease t'admire, and all her Plumes
Fall fat and fhrink into a trivial toy,
At ev'ry sudden slighting quite abalhe:
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His constancy, with such as have more shew
Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise ;
Rocks whereon greatest Men have often wreckdy
Or that which only seems to satisfie
Lawful desires of Nature, not beyond;
And now I know he hungers where no food
Is to be found, in the wild 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 fhade to shade the Son of God
After forty days fasting had remain’d,
Now hungring first, and to himself thus said.

Where will this end; four times ten daysľve pass'd
Wandring 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 without 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 satisfie that need some other way,
Though hunger still remain: so it remain
Without this body's wafting, I content me,
And from the sting of Famine fear no harm,
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts that feed
Me hungring more to do my Father's will..

It was the hour of night, when thus the Son
Commun'd in silent walk, then laid him down
Under the hospitable covert nigh
Of trees thick interwoven; there he slept,
D 2


And dream’d, as appetite is wont to dream,
Of meats and drinks, Nature's refreshment sweet;
Him thought, he by the Brook of Cherith stood
And saw the Ravens with their horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing Even and Morn,
Though ray’nous, taught t'abstain from what they
He saw the Prophet also how he fled

Into the Defart, and how there he slept
Under a Juniper; then how awak’d,
He found his Supper on the coals prepar'd,
And by the Angel was bid rise and eat,
And eat the second time after repose,
The strength whereof fuffic'd him forty days;
Sometimes that with Elijah he partook,
Or as a guest with Daniel at his Pulse.
Thus wore out 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 graslie couch up

Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream,
Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting wak’d.
Up to a hill anon his steps he rear'd,
From whose high top to ken the prospect round,

If Cottage were in view, Sheep-cote or Herd;
But Cottage, Herd, or Sheep-cote none he saw,
Only in a bottom saw a pleasant Grove,
With chaunt of tuneful Birds resounding loud;
Thither he bent his way, determin’d 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
Of Wood-Gods and Wood-Nymphs; he vicw'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,
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 folitude 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
Out-cast Nebaioth, yet found here relief


D 3

« PreviousContinue »