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Rather to be in readiness, with hand

Or counsel to assist; lest I who erst 145

Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd.

So spake th'old Serpent doubting, and from all
With clamor was assur'd their utmost aid
At his.command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest spi'rit that fell, 150

The sensualiest, 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 155

As the noon sky; more like to goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, inchanting tongues
Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allay'd, yet terrible to' approach, 160
Skill'd to retire, and in retiring draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the power to soft'n and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve, 185
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguil'd the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build, 170

And made him bow to the gods of his wives.

To whom quick answer Satan thus retum'd: Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st

All others by thyself; because of old

Thou thyself doat'dst on womankind, admiring 175

Their shape, their color, and attractive grace,

None are, thou think'sr, 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, 180

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 185

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, 190

Satir, 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? 195

Remember that Pellean conqueror,

A youth, how all the beauties of the East

He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass'd:

How he sirnam'd of Africa dismiss'd

In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid, zoo

For Solomon, heliv'd at ease, and full

Of honor, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond

Higher design than to enjoy his state;

Thence to the bait of women lay expos'd i

But he whom we attempt is wiser far 205

Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,

Made and set wholly on th' 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 no

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 tellj »jj

How would one look from his majestic brow

Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill,

Discount'nance her despis'd, and put to rout

All her array; her female pride deject,

Or turn to reverent awe; for Beauty stands 22*

In th' 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 atiash'd i

Therefore, with manlier objects we must try 2a 5

His constancy, with such as have more show

Of worth, of honor, glory', and popular praise;

Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wreck'd j

Or that which only seems to satisfy

Lawful desires of Nature, not beyond; 2 3*

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 acclame;
Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band 236
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 hungring first, and to himself thus said.

Where will this end? four times ten days I've
Wand'ring this woody maze, and human food 246
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 250

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 355
Without this body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting 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 Comrnun'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, 166

And saw the ravens with their horny beaks

Food 1o Elijah bringing ev'n and morn, [broughti

Though ravenous, taught to' abstain from what they

He saw the Prophet also how he fled S70

Into the desert, and how there he slept

Under a juniper; then how avvak'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, 27J

The strength whereof sufhc'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 tow'ring to descry 280

The Morn's approach, and greet her with his songi

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 i

Up to a hill anon his steps he rear'd, »gj

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 he saw a pleasant grove,

With chaunt of tuneful birds resounding loud; ago

Thither he bent his way, determin'd there

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