Page images




Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs ; he view'd it round,
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 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
Out-cast Nebaioth, yet found here relief
By a providing angel; all the race
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.

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 replied.
Tell me, if food were now before thee set,
Would'st thou not eat? Thereafter as I like
The giver, answerd Jesus. Why should that
Cause thy refusal ? said the subtle fiend.
Hast thou not right to all created things?


320 325

309 here] In Milton's own edition, it is found he relief, perhaps an unnoticed error of the press. Todd.


Owe not all creatures by just right to thee
Duty and service, nor 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
Would scruple that, with want opprest? behold
Nature asham'd, or, better to express,
Troubled that thou shouldst 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 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,
With dishes pild, and meats of noblest sort
And savour, beasts of chase, or fowl of


340 345

game, In pastry-built, or from the spit, or boild, Gris-amber steam'd; all fish from sea or shore,

32 nor] So in Milton's own edition; in most others, 'not.' 334 elements] Juv. Sat. xi. 14.

• Interea gustus elementa per omnia quærunt.' Dunster. 340 A table] «Then dreamt he saw a table richly spread. Whiting's Albino and Bellama, p. 105, (1637.)

340 in regal mode] «Regales Epulæ.' Apulei Metam. Lib. v. p. 143. ed. Delph.

341 dishes pild] Milton's Prose Works, vol. iv. p. 312, (a brief History of Moscovia) .Then followed a number more of strange, and rare dishes piled, boiled, roast, and baked,' &c.

344 Gris-amber] Osborne's Memoirs of James I. vol. ii. p. 157, 'a whole pye, reckoned to my lord at ten pounds, being composed of amber-grece, magisterial of pearl, musk.'


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 simple, to these cates compar'd,
Was that crude apple that diverted Eve!
And at a stately side-board by the wine
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
With fruits and flowers from Amalthea's horn,
And ladies of the Hesperides, that seem'd
Fairer than feign'd of old, or fabled 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

[blocks in formation]


345 Freshet] Brown B. Past. b. ii. s. 3. (1616.)

Now love the freshet, and then love the sea.' Todd. 347 Lucrine] Hor. Epod. ii. 49.

• Non me Lucrina juverint conchylia;' and Sat. ii. iv. 32.

Dunster. 349 diverted] In the latter sense, “ turn aside ;' so Drayton's Owle, 1604.

‘Holla! thou wandering infant of my braine, Whither thus flingst thou; yet divert thy strayne ; Return we back.'

353 Ganymed] “A train of sleek, smooth, beauteous youths ap-

The Ganymedes and Hylasses.

Mountford's Henry II. act iv. sc. 1.

1 1 385 flights] Hamlet, act v. sc. 6.




Of gentlest gale Arabian odours fann'd
From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells.
Such was the splendour, and the tempter now
His invitation earnestly 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 temperately replied.
Said'st thou not that to all things I had right?
And who withholds 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 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 find ?


385 390

• And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.' Newton. 385 ministrant] Cic. Tusc. Disp. 1. c. 26. • Non ambrosia Deos, aut nectare, aut juventute pocula ministrante ;' and Ov. Met. x. 100. Dunster.

[ocr errors]

And with my hunger what hast thou to do?
Thy pompous delicacies 1 contemn,
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 power 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 should'st thou not accept it? but I see
What I can do or offer is suspect ;
Of these things others quickly will dispose,
Whose pains have earn’d the far-fet spoil. With

Both table and provision vanish'd quite
With sound of Harpies' wings and talons heard;
Only the importune tempter still remain’d,
And with these words his temptation pursu'd.

By bunger, 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,




391 no gists) Sophocl. Ajax. 675,

'Εχθρών άδωρα δώρα κ' ουκ ονήσιμα. Νewton. 401 far-fet] 'fet,’ ‘far-fetched,' used by Chaucer, Spenser, &c. see Newton's note. 403 Harpies] ‘Hark! how the Harpies' wings resound.'

Al. Ross Mel Heliconium, p. 64. 404 importune] Spenser, F. Q. i. xii. 16.

• And often blame the too importune fate.' Newton.

« PreviousContinue »