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But tender all their power? 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

Would scruple that, with want oppress'd? Behold
Nature asham'd, or better to express,

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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

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With honor, only deign to sit and eat.

He spake no dream, for as his words had end,
Our Saviour lifting up his eyes beheld
In ample space under the broadest shade
A table richly spread, in regal mode,

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With dishes pil'd, and meats of noblest sort
And savor, beasts of chase, or fowl of game,
In pastry built, or from the spit, or boil'd,

Gris amber steam'd; all fish from sea or shore,
Freshet, or purling brook, or shell or fin,
And exquisitest name, for which was drain'd
Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast.
Alas how simple, to these cates compar'd,
Was that crude apple that diverted Eve!
And at a stately side board by the wine
That fragrant smell diffus'd, in order stood
Tall stripling youths rich clad, of fairer hue
Than Ganymed or Hylas; distant more

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Under the trees now tripp'd, now solemn stood
Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades

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With fruits and flow'rs from Amalthea's horn,

And ladies of th' Hesperides, that seem'd
Fairer than fam'd of old, or fabled since
Of fairy damsels met in forest wide

By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,

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Lancelot or Pelleas, or Pellenore:

And all the while harmonious airs were heard

Of chiming strings, or charming pipes, and winds
Of gentlest gale Arabian odors fanr'd

From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells,

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Such was the spendor and the Tempter now
His invitation earnestly renew'd.

What doutbts the Son of God to sit 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 preserves, destroys life's enemy,
Hunger, with sweet restorative delight.

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All these are Spi'rits of air, and woods, and spring,
Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay
Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord :
What doubt'st 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 ?
Shall I receive by gift what of my own,

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When and where likes me best, I can command ?

I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou,

Command a table in this wilderness,

And call swift flights of Angels ministrant

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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 hast thou to do?

Thy pompous delicacies I contemn,

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And count thy specious 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,

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And rather opportunely in this place

Chose to impart to thy apparent need,

Why shouldst thou not accept it? But I see

What I can do or offer is suspect ;

Of these things others quickly will dispose,

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Whose pains have earn'd the far fet spoil. With that,

Both table and provision vanish'd quite

With sound of harpies wings, and talons heard;

Only th' importune Tempter still remain'd.

And with these words his temptation pursu'd.

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By hunger, that each other creature tames,

Thou art not to be harm'd, therefore not mov'd;

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And all thy heart is set on high designs,

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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,
Lost in a desert here and hunger bit :
Which way or from what hope dost thou aspire
To greatness? Whence authority deriv'st?
What followers, what retinue canst thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,

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,

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(Thy throne) but gold that got him puissant friends? 425 Therefore, if at great things thou would'st arrive,

Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap,

Not difficult, if thou hearken to me;

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Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand
They whom I favor thrive in wealth amain,
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,
In height of all their flowing wealth dissolv'd :
But men indued with these have oft attain'd
In lowest poverty to highest deeds;
Gideon, and Jeptha, and the shepherd lad,
Whose offspring on the throne of Judah sat
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
Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus?
For I esteem those names of men so poor

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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
May also in this poverty as soon

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Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more ?

Extol not riches then, the toil of fools,

The wise man's cumbrance if not snare, more apt
To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,

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Than prompt her to do ought may merit praise.
What if with like aversion I reject

Riches and realms; yet not for that a crown,

Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns,

Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights 460
To him who wears the regal diadem,

When on his shoulders each man's burden lies;
For therein stands the office of a king,
His honor, virtue, merit and chief praise,

That for the public all this weight he bears.
Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains :
And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,
Subject himself to anarchy within,

Or lawless passions in him which he serves.
But to guide nations in the way of truth
By saving doctrine, and from error lead
To know, and knowing worship God aright,
Is yet more kingly; this attracts the soul,
Governs the inner man, the nobler part:
That other o'er the body only reigas,
And oft by force, which to a generous mind
So reigning can be no sincere delight.
Besides to give a kingdom hath been thought
Greater and nobler done, and to lay down
Far more magnanimous, than to assume..
Riches are needless then, both for themselves,
And for thy reason why they should be sought,
To gain a scepter, oftest better miss'd.

END OF THE SECOND BOOK.

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480.

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PARADISE REGAIN'D.

BOOK III.

O spake the Son of God, and Satan stood

What to reply, confuted and convinc❜d
Of his weak arguing, and fallacious drift ;
At length collecting all his serpent wiles,
With soothing words renew'd, him thus accosts.
I see thou know'st what is of use to know,
What best to say canst say, to do canst do ;
Thy actions to thy words accord, thy words

To thy large heart give utterance due, thy heart
Contains of good, wise, just, the perfect shape.
Should kings and nations from thy mouth consult,
Thy council would be as the oracle

Urim and Thummin, those oraculous gems
On Aaron's breast; or tongue of seers old
Infallible: Or wert thou sought to deeds.
That might require th' array of war, thy skill
Of conduct would be such, that all the world:
Could not sustain thy prowess, or subsist
In battle, though against thy few in arms.
These Godlike virtues wherefore dost thou hide,
Affecting private life, or more obscure

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In savage wilderness? Wherefore deprive
All earth her wonder at thy acts, thyself

The fame and glory, glory the reward

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That sole excites to high attempts, the flame
Of most erected spirits, most temper'd pure
Ethereal who all pleasures else despise,
All treasures and all gain esteem as dross,
And dignities and pow'rs all but the highest?
Thy years are ripe, and over ripe; the son
Of Macedonian Philip had ere these

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