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Not rustic as before, but seemlier clad,
As one in city', or court, or palace bred, 300
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 solitude so long should bide
Of all things destitute, and well I know, .305
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
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, 315 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, 320 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 325 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 330
Would scruple that, with want oppress’d? 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 335
With honor, only deign to fit 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 nobleft fort And favor, beasts of chase, or fowl of game, In pastry built, or from the spit, or boild, Gris-amber-steam'd; all fish from sea or shore, Freshet, or purling brook, of shels or fin, 345 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 Than Ganymed or Hylas; distant more Under the trees now tripp'd, now solemn stood
Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades 355
With fruits and flow'rs from Amalthea'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 Pellenore :
And all the while harmonious airs were heard
Of chiming strings, or charming pipes, and winds
Of gentlest gale Arabian odors fann'd
From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells. 365
Such was the splendor, and the Tempter now
His invitation earnestly renew’d.
What doubts the Son of God to fit and eat?
These are not fruits forbidden ; no interdict
Defends the touching of these viands pure; 370
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 375
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's thou not that to all things I had right? And who withholds my pow'r that right to use? 380 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 38;
Array'd in glory on my cup to attend :
Why shouldst thou then obtrude this diligence,
In vain, where no acceptance it can find ?
And with my hunger what haft 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 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, 395 And rather opportunely in this place Chose to impart to thy apparent need, Why shouldst 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 earn’d the far fet spoil. With that 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. 405
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 straits at home, 415
Loft 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 canst thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude, 420
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
Money brings honor, friends, conquest, and realms:
What rais’d Antipater the Edomite,
And his son Herod plac'd on Juda's throne, 424
(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 favor thrive in wealth amain, 430
While virtue, valor, wisdom fit 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, 435
In highth of all their flowing wealth dissolv'd:
But men indued with these have oft attain'd
In lowest poverty to highest deeds ;