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النشر الإلكتروني

Therefore I am return'd, left confidence
Of my fuccefs with Eve in paradife
Deceive you to perfuafion over-fure
Of like fucceeding here; I fummon all
Rather to be in readiness, with hand
Or counsel to assist; left I who erst
Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd.
So fpake th' old ferpent doubting, and from all
With clamour was affur'd their utmost aid
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the diffolutest spirit that fell,

The fenfualeft, and, after Asmodai,

The fleshliest incubus; and thus advis'd.

Set women in his eye, and in his walk,
Among daughters of men the fairest found;
Many are in each region passing fair
As the noon sky; more like to goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in am'rous arts, enchanting tongues
Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allay'd, yet terrible t' approach,
Skill'd to retire, and in retiring draw
Hearts after them, tangl'd in amorous nets.
Such object hath the pow'r to soft'n and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope diffolve,
Draw out with credulous defire, and lead
At will the manlieft, refolutest breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguil'd the heart
Of wifest Solomon, and made him build,

And made him bow to the gods of his wives.
To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd:
Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st
All others by thy felf, because of old

Thou thy self doat’dst on woman kind, admiring
Their fhape, their colour, and attractive grace.
None are, thou think'st, but taken with fuch toys.
Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew,
Falfe-titled fons of God, roaming the earth,
Caft wanton eyes on the daughters of men,
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Have we not feen, or by relation heard,

In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'dit,
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 layd'ft thy fcapes on names ador'd,

Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,

Satyr, or fawn, ot filvan? but these haunts

Delight not all; among the fons of men,

How many have with a smile made small account

Of beauty and her lures, easily fcorn'd

All her affaults, on worthier things intent?
Remember that Pellean conqueror,

A youth, how all the beauties of the east
He flightly view'd, and slightly overpafs'd;
How he firnam'd of Africa difmifs'd
In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he liv'd at cafe, and full

Of honour, 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 wiser far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and iet 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 should fhe 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 majestick 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 stands
In the admiration ouly of weak minds
Led captive; cease t' admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every fudden flighting quite abasht:
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His conftancy, with fuch as have more shew
Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise,
Rocks whereon greatest men have often wreck'd;
Or that which only feems to fatisfy
Lawful defires of nature, not beyond.

And now I know he hungers where no food
Is to be found, in the wild wilderness;

The rest commit to me, I fhall let pafs

No advantage, and his strength as oft aflay.

He ceas'd, and heard their grant in loud acclaim;
Then forthwith to him takes a chosen 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 defart takes with these his flight;
Where still from shade to fhade the Son of God
After forty days fasting had remain'd,

Now hungring first, and to himself thus faid:

Where will this end? four times ten days I've pafs'd Wandring this woody maze, and human food

Nor tasted, 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 endure?
But now I feel I hunger, which declares
Nature hath need of what the asks; yet God
Can fatisfy that need fome other way,
Tho' hunger ftill remain: fo it remain
Without this body's wafting, I content me,
And from the fting of famine 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
Commun'd in filent walk, then laid him down
Under the hofpitable 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 faw the ravens with their horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing even and morn,

Tho'rav'nous, taught t'abstain from what they brought:
He faw the prophet also how he fled

Into the defart, and how there he slept
Under a juniper; then how awak'd,
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 pulse.

Thus wore out night, and now the herald lark
Left his ground-neft, high tow'ring to descry
The morn's approach, and greet her with his fong:
As lightly from his graffy 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 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 pleasant grove,
With chant of tuneful birds refounding loud;
Thither he bent his determin'd there


To rest at noon, and enter'd foon the shade

High rooft, and walks beneath, and alleys brown,

That open'd in the midst a woody scene;

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