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Shall I receive by gift what of my own,
When and where likes me beft, I can command ?
I can at will, doubt not, as foon as thou,
Command a table in this wilderness,
And call fwift flights of Angels ministrant
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,
And count thy fpecious gifts no gifts but guiles.
To whom thus anfwer'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 beftow'd on whom I pleas'd, 395
And rather opportunely in this place
Chofe to impart to thy apparent need,
Why shouldst thou not accept it? but I fee
What I can do or offer is fufpect;
Of these things others quickly will difpofe,
Whofe pains have earn'd the far fet spoil. With that
Both table and provifion vanish'd quite
With found of harpies wings, and talons heard ;
Only th' impórtune Tempter ftill remain'd,
And with these words his temptation purfu'd. 405
By hunger, that each other creature tames,
Thou art not to be harm'd, therefore not mov'd;
Thy temperance invincible befides,
For no allurement yields to appetite,
And all thy heart is fet on high defigns,
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,
Loft in a defert here and hunger-bit ;
Which way or from what hope doft thou aspire
To greatnefs? whence authority deriv❜st?
What followers, what retinue canft thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy coft?
Money brings honor, friends, conquest, and realms:
What rais'd Antipater the Edomite,
And his fon Herod plac'd on Juda's throne, 424
(Thy throne) but gold that got him puiffant 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, wifdom fit in want.
To whom thus Jefus 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, In highth of all their flowing wealth dissolv'd: But men indued with these have oft attain'd In lowest poverty to highest deeds; Gideon, and Jephtha, and the fhepherd lad, Whofe ofspring on the throne of Judah sat So many ages, and fhall yet regain That feat, and reign in Ifrael without end. Among the Heathen, (for throughout the world To me is not unknown what hath been done Worthy' of memorial) canft thou not remember 445 Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus ? For I efteem thofe names of men fo poor Who could do mighty things, and could contemn Riches though offer'd from the hand of kings. And what in me feems wanting, but that I 450 May alfo in this poverty as foon Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more?
Extol not riches then, the toil of fools,
The wife man's cumbrance if not fnare, more apt To flacken virtue, and abate her edge, 455 Than prompt her to do ought may merit praise. What if with like averfion I reject
Riches and realms; yet not for that a crown,
Golden in fhow, is but a wreath of thorns,
Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and fleepless nights
To him who wears the regal diadem,
When on his shoulders each man's burden lies;
For therein stands the office of a king,
His honor, virtue, merit and chief praise,
That for the public all this weight he bears.
Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules
Paffions, defires, and fears, is more a king ;
Which every wife and virtuous man attains
And who attains not, ill afpires to rule
Cities of men, or head-strong multitudes,
Subject himself to anarchy within,
Or lawless paffions in him which he ferves.
But to guide nations in the way of truth
By faving doctrin, and from error lead
To know, and knowing worship God aright, 475
Is yet more kingly; this attracts the foul,
Governs the inner man, the nobler part;
That other o'er the body only reigns,
And oft by force, which to a generous mind
So reigning can be no fincere delight.
Besides to give a kingdom hath been thought
Greater and nobler done, and to lay down
Far more magnanimous, than to affume.
Riches are needless then, both for themselves,
And for thy reason why they fhould be fought, 485
To gain a scepter, ofteft better mifs'd.
The end of the Second Book.