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By a providing Angel; all the race
Of Israel here had familh'd, had not God
Rain'd from Heav'n Manna, and that Prophet bold
Native of Thebes wandring 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.
To whom thus Jesus; what conclud'st thou hence 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,
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
Duty and service, not to stay 'till bid,
But tender all their pow'r? 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
Would fcruple that, with want opprest? Behold
Nature alham'd, or better to express,
Troubl'd 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 honour, only deign to fit and eat. ·
He spake no dream, for as his words had end, Our Saviour lifting up
his In ample space under the broadest shade A Table richly spred, in Regal mode, With dishes pild, and meats of noblest sort And favour, Beasts of chase, or Fowl of game, In Pastry-built, or from the fpit, or boild, Gris-amber-steam'd; all Fish from Sea or Shore, Freshet, or purling Brook, of shell or fin, And exquisitest name, for which was drain'd Pontus and Lucrine Bay, and Afric Coast. Alas how fimple, to these Cates compard, Was that crude Apple that diverted Eve! And at a stately side-board by the wine That fragrant smell diffusd, in order stood Tall ftripling youths rich clad, of fairer hew Than Ganymed or Hylas, distant more Under the Trees now trip'd, now folemn stood Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades
With fruits and flow'rs from Amalthea's horn,
And Ladies of th’ Hesperides, that seem'd
Fairer than feign'd of old, or fabld since
Of Fairy Damsels met in forest wide
By Knights of Logres, or of Lyones,
Lancelot or Pelleas, or Pellenore,
And all the while harmonious Airs were heard
Of chiming strings, or charming pipes and winds
Of gentlest gale Arabian odours fann'd
From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells.
Such was the splendor, and the Tempter now
His invitation earnesily 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,
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
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 with-holds my pow'r that right to use? 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 foon as thou, Command a Table in this Wilderness, And call swift flights of Angels ministrant Array'd in Glory on my Cup t'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, And count thy specious gifts no gifts but guiles.
To whom thus answer'd Satan malecontent: That I have also pow'r 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 shouldst thou not accept it? but I fee What I can do or offer is suspect ; Of th:se things others quickly will dispose
Whose pains have earn’d the far fet spoil. With that s
Both Table and Provision vanish'd quite
With sound 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,
High actions, but wherewith to be atchiev'd?
Great acts require great means of enterprise,
Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of Birth,
A Carpenter thy Father known, thy self
Bred up in poverty and streights at home;
Loft in a Desart here and hunger-bit:
Which way or from what hope dost thou aspire
To greatness? whence Authority deriv'st,
What Followers, what Retinue canst thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy Multitude,
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
Mony brings Honour Friends, Conquest andRealms;
What rais'd Antipater the Edomite,