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For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full
Of honor, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond
Higher defign than to enjoy his state;
Thence to the bait of women lay expos'd:
But he whom we attempt is wifer far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and fet wholly on th' accomplishment
Of greatest things; what woman will you find,
Though of this age the wonder and the fame,
On whom his leifure will vouchsafe an eye
Of fond defire? or fhould the confident,
As fitting queen ador'd on beauty's throne,
Defcend with all her winning charms begirt
T'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,
Discount'nance her defpis'd, and put to rout
All her array; her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe? for beauty ftands
In th' admiration only of weak minds
Led captive; ceafe to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat and fhrink into a trivial toy,
At every fudden flighting quite abash'd :
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His conftancy, with fuch as have more fhow
Of worth, of honor, glory', and popular praise;
Rocks whereon greatest men have ofteft wreck'd;
Or that which only feems to satisfy
Lawful defires of nature, not beyond;
And now I know he hungers where no food
Is to be found, in the wide wilderness ;
The reft commit to me, I fhall let pafs
No'advantage, and his ftrength as oft assay.
He ceas'd, and heard their grant in loud acclame;
Then forthwith to him takes a chofen band







Of Spirits likeft to himself in guile
To be at hand, and at his beck appear,
If caufe were to unfold fome active scene
Of various perfons, each to know his part;
Then to the defert takes with these his flight;
Where ftill from fhade to fhade the Son of God
After forty days fafting had remain'd,
Now hungring firft, and to himself thus faid.
Where will this end? four times ten days I've pafs'd
Wand'ring this woody maze, and human food 246
Nor tafted, nor had appetite; that fast
To virtue I impute not, or count part
Of what I fuffer here; if nature need not,
Or God fupport nature without repast
Though needing, what praise is it to indure?
But now I feel I hunger, which declares
Nature hath need of what she asks; yet God
Can fatisfy that need fome other way,
Though hunger ftill remain: fo it remain
Without this body's wafting, I content me,
And from the fting of famin 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 260 Commun'd in filent walk, then laid him down Under the hofpitable covert nigh

Of trees thick interwoven; there he flept,
And dream'd, as appetite is wont to dream,
Of meats and drinks, nature's refreshment fweet;
Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith ftood 266
And faw the ravens with their horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing ev'n and morn, [brought:
Though ravenous, taught t'abstain from what they
He faw the prophet alfo how he fled
Into the defert, and how there he slept
Under a juniper; then how awak'd,






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He found his fupper on the coals prepar'd,
And by the Angel was bid rife and eat,
And eat the fecond 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 pulfe.
Thus wore out night, and now the herald lark
Left his ground-neft, high tow'ring to defcry 280
The morn's approach, and greet her with his song;
As lightly from his graffy couch up rofe
Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream,
Fafting he went to fleep, and fafting wak'd.
Up to a hill anon his steps he rear'd,
From whofe high top to ken the prospect round,
If cottage were in view, fheep-cote or herd;
But cottage, herd, or sheep-cote none he saw,
Only' in a bottom faw a pleafant grove,
With chaunt of tuneful birds refounding loud; 290
Thither he bent his way, determin'd there
To reft at noon, and enter'd foon the fhade
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) 295
And to a fuperftitious eye the haunt




Of Wood-Gods and Wood-Nymphs; he view'd it
When fuddenly a man before him ftood,
Not ruftic as before, but feemlier 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 deftitute, and well I know,
Not without hunger. Others of fome note,
As ftory tells, have trod this wilderness;
The fugitive bond-woman with her fon




Out-caft Nebaioth, yet found here relief
By a providing Angel; all the race
Of Ifrael 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 thefe forty days none hath regard,
Forty and more deserted here indeed.


To whom thus Jefus. What conclud'st thou hence ? They all had need, I as thou feest have none. How haft thou hunger then? Satan reply'd. Tell me if food were now before thee fet, Would't thou not eat? Thereafter as I like The giver, anfwer'd Jefus. Why fhould that Caufe thy refufal? faid the fubtle Fiend. Haft thou not right to all created things? Owe not all creatures by juft right to thee Duty and fervice, 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, thofe young Daniel could refuse; Nor proffer'd by an enemy, though who Would fcruple that, with want opprefs'd? Behold Nature afham'd, or better to exprefs, Troubled that thou should'st hunger, hath purvey'd From all the elements her choiceft ftore


To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord 335
With honor, only deign to fit and eat.

He fpake no dream, for as his words had end,
Our Saviour lifting up his eyes beheld
In ample space under the broadeft fhade
A table richly spread, in regal mode,
With dishes pil'd, and meats of noblest fort
And favor, beafts of chase, or fowl of game,
In paftry built, or from the fpit, or boil'd,
Gris-amber-fteam'd; all fish from fea or thore,





Frefhet, or purling brook, of fhell or fin,
And exquisitest name, for which was drain'd
Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coaft.
Alas how fimple, to these cates compar'd,
Was that crude apple that diverted Eve!
And at a stately fide-board by the wine
That fragrant smell diffus'd, in order stood
Tall ftripling youths rich clad, of fairer hue
Than Ganymed or Hylas; distant more
Under the trees now tripp'd, now folemn stood
Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades
With fruits and flow'rs from Amalthea's horn,
And ladies of th' Hefperides, that feem'd
Fairer than feign'd of old, or fabled since
Of faery damfels met in foreft wide
By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,
Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Pellenore :
And all the while harmonious airs were heard
Of chiming ftrings, or charming pipes, and winds
Of gentleft gale Arabian odors fann'd


From their foft wings, and Flora's earliest smells. 365
Such was the fplendor, 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; Their taste no knowledge works at least of evil, But life preferves, destroys life's enemy, Hunger, with fweet restorative delight. All these are Spirits of air, and woods, and springs, Thy gentle minifters, who come to pay 375 Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord: What doubt'ft thou Son of God? fit down and eat, To whom thus Jefus temp'rately reply'd. Said'st thou not that to all things I had right? And who withholds my pow'r that right to use? 380


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