صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Into the defert, 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 second time after repose,
The ftrength 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 defcry 280
The morn's approach, and greet her with his fong:
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 whose high top to ken the prospect round,
If cottage were in view, fheep-cote or herd;
But cottage, herd, or fheep-cote none he faw,
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 feem'd (nature taught art) 295
And to a fuperftitious eye the haunt (round,
Of Wood-Gods and Wood-Nymphs; he view'd it
When fuddenly a man before him stood,



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 story tells, have trod this wilderness ;
The fugitive bond-woman with her font
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'ft thou hence? They all had need, I as thou seest have none.

How haft thou hunger then? Satan reply'd.
Tell me if food were now before thee fet,
Would'ft thou not eat? Thereafter as I like
The giver, anfwer'd Jefus. Why should that
Cause thy refusal? said the subtle Fiend.
Haft thou not right to all created things?
Owe not all creatures by juft right to thee
Duty and service, not to stay till bid,





But tender all their pow'r? nor mention I
Meats by the Law unclean, or offer'd firft
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 fhould'ft hunger, hath purvey'd
From all the elements her choiceft ftore

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


He spake no dream, for as his words had end, Our Saviour lifting up his eyes beheld



In ample space under the broadeft shade
A table richly spread, in regal mode,
With dishes pil'd, and meats of nobleft fort
And favor, beafts of chase, or fowl of game,
In pastry built, or from the fpit, or boil'd,
Gris-amber-fteam'd; all fifh from fea or fhore,
Frefhet, or purling brook, of fhell or fin,
And exquifiteft 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 food
Tall ftripling youths rich clad, of fairer hue
Than Ganymed or Hylas; diftant more
Under the trees now tripp'd, now folemn ftood


[ocr errors]

Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades

With fruits and flow'rs from Amalthea's horn,
And ladies of th' Hefperides, that seem'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 strings, or charming pipes, and winds
Of gentleft gale Arabian odors fann'd

From their soft 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 sweet restorative delight.



All these are Spi'rits of air, and woods, and springs,
Thy gentle minifters, who come to pay
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
Shall I receive by gift what of my own,
When and where likes me best, 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 miniftrant
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 bestow'd on whom I pleas'd, 395
And rather opportunely in this place
Chose 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, 400
Whose pains have earn'd the far fet spoil. With that
Both table and provifion vanifh'd quite
With found of harpies wings, and talons heard;
Only th' importune 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,


[ocr errors]

410 High

« السابقةمتابعة »