« AnteriorContinuar »
He found his supper on the coals prepard,
With granted leave officious I return,
Out-cast Nebaioth, yet found here relief
310 of Israel here had familh’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 these forty days none hath regard, 315 Forty and more deserted here indeed.
Towhom thus Jefus. What conclud'st thou hence ? They all had need, as thou seest have none.
How halt thou hunger then ? Satan reply'd. Tell me if food were now before thee fet, 320 Would'st thou not eat? Thereafter as I like The giver, answer'd Jesus. Why should that Cause thy refusal ? said the subtle Fiend. Halt thou not right to all created things ? Owe not all creatures by just right to thee 325 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 first To idols, those young Daniel could refuse ; Nor proffer'd by an enemy, though who 330 Would scruple that, with want oppress’d? Behold Nature asham'd, or better to express, Troubled that thou should'st hunger, hath purvey'd From all the elements her choicest store To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord 335 With honor, only deign to fit and eat.
He spake no dream, for as his words had end, Our Saviour lifting up
Freshet, or purling brook, of shell or fin, 345
355 With fruits and flow'rs from Amalthea's horn, And ladies of th’Hesperides, that seemd Fairer than feign'd of old, or fabled since Of faery damsels met in forest wide By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,
360 Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Pellenore : And all the while harmonious airs were heard Of chiming ftrings, or charming pipes, and winds Of gentlest 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; 370 Their taste no knowledge works at least of evil, But life preserves, destroys life's enemy, Hunger, with sweet restorative delight. All these are Spi'rits of air, and woods, and springs, Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay 375
Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord : What doubt ft thou Son of God? sit down and eat.
To whom thus Jesus 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,
390 And count thy fpecious gifts no gifts but guiles.
To whom thus answer'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 shouldlt thou not accept it? but I see What I can do or offer is suspect ; Of these things others quickly will dispose, 400 Whose pains have earn'd the far fet spoil. With that Both table and provision vanish'd quite With found of harpies wings, and talons heard ; Only th' importune Tempter still remain'd, And with these words his temptation pursu'd. 405
By hunger, that each other creature tames, Thou art not to be harm'd, therefore not moy'd ; Thy temperance invincible besides, For no allurement yields to appetite, And all thy heart is set on high designs, 410 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, 415 Lolt in a desert here and hụnger-bit ;
Which way or from what hope dost thou aspire
420 Longer than thou canst feed them on thy, cost ? Money brings honor, friends, conquest, and realms: What rais'd
Antipater the Edomite, And his son Herod plac'd on Juda's throne, 424 (Thy throne) but gold that got him puissant 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, wisdom sit in want.
To whom thus Jesus 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, 435 In highth of all their flowing wealth diffolv'd : But men indued with these have oft attain'd In lowest poverty to highest deeds ; Gideon, and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad, Whose ofspring on the throne of Judah sat 449 So many ages, and shall yet regain That seat, and reign in Israel without end. Among the Heathen, (for throughout the world To me is not unknown what hath been done Worthy' of memorial) canst thou not remember 445 Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus ? For I esteem those names of men so poor Who could do mighty things, and could contemn Riches though offer'd from the hand of kings. And what in me seems wanting, but that I 450 May also in this poverty as soon Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more ?