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None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys.
Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew,
False titled sons of God, roaming the Earth,
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men,
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Have we not seen, or by relation heard,
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st,
In wood or grove, by mossy fountain side,
In valley or green meadow, to way-lay
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene,
Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,

Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more

Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd,
Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,

Satyr, or Faun, or Sylvan? But these haunts
Delight not all; among the sons of men,
How many have with a smile made small account
Of Beauty and her lures, easily scorn'd
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, surnam'd of Africa, dismiss'd,
In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he liv'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 the 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 sitting queen ador'd on Beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To enamour, as the zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell;
How would one look from his majestic brow,
Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill,
Discountenance her despis'd, and put to rout
All her array; her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe! for Beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every sudden slighting quite abash'd.
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His constancy; with such as have more show
Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise,
Rocks, whereon greatest men have oftest wreck'd;
Or that which only seems to satisfy

Lawful desires of nature, not beyond;

And now I know he hungers, where no food

Is to be found, in the wide 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 desert takes with these his flight:
Where, still from shade to shade, the Son of God
After forty days fasting had remain'd,
Now hungering first, and to himself thus said.
Where will this end? four times ten days I've

Wandering 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 satisfy that need some other way,
Though hunger still remain: so it remain
Without this body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm;
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed
Me hungering 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,
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, [brought:
Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they
He saw the prophet also, how he fled
Into the desert, 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 suffic'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 towering to descry
The Morn's approach, and greet her with his song:
As lightly from his grassy couch up rose
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 chant of tuneful birds resounding loud:
Thither he bent his way, determin'd there
To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade
High-roof'd, and walks beneath, and alleys brown,
That opened in the midst a woody scene;
Nature's own work it seem'd (Nature taught Art)
And, to a superstitious eye, the haunt [round,
Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs: he view'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

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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 Heaven manna; and that prophet bold,
Natiye of Thebez, wandering 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 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?"

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"Thereafter as I like

"Why should that

The giver," answer'd Jesus.

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, 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 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,
With honour: only deign to sit and eat."

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