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Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allay'd, yet terrible t’ approach, 160
Skill'd to retire, and in retiring draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the pow'r to soft'n and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'lt brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve, · 165
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 return’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'st, but taken with such toys.
Before the flood thou with thy lufty 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 mosly 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,
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 firnam'd of Africa dismiss’d
In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he liv'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:
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 210
Of fond desire ? or should she confident,
As sitting queen ador’d on beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
T'enamour, as the zone of Venus once



Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell; 215
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 220
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 abash'd :
Therefore with manlier objects we must try 225
His constancy, with such as have more show
Of worth, of honor, glory', and popular praise;
Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wreck’d;
Or that which only seems to satisfy
Lawful desires of nature, not beyond ; 230
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; 240 Then to the desert takes with these his flight; Where still from shade to shade the Son of God

E 2


After forty days fasting had remain’d,
Now hungring first, and to himself thus said.

Where will this end? four times ten days I'vepass’d
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 repaft 250
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 satisfy that need some other way,
Though hunger still remain : so it remain 255
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 Commun’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; 265 Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood And saw the ravens with their horny beaks Food to Elijah bringing ev'n and morn, (brought: Though ravenous, taught t'abstain from what they He saw the prophet also how he fled


Into the desert, and how there he slept
Under a juniper; then how awak'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, 275
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-nest, high tow'ring to descry 280
The morn's approach, and greet her with his song:
As lightly from his grasly couch up rose
Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream,
Fasting he went to sleep, and fafting wak’d.
Up to a hill anon his steps he rear’d, 285
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 saw a pleasant grove,
With chaunt of tuneful birds resounding loud; 290
Thither he bent his way, determin'd there
To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade
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 superstitious eye the haunt (round,
Of Wood-Gods and Wood-Nymphs; he view'd it
When suddenly a man before him stood,


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