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At every sudden slighting quite abash'd:
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His constancy, with such as have more show
Of worth, of honour, 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;
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
Of spirits, likest to himself in guile,
To be at hand, and at his beck appear,
No advantage, and his strength as oft assay.
He ceas'd, and heard their grant in loud acclaim: Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band
Wandering this woody maze, and human food
Nor tasted, nor had appetite: that fast
To virtue I impute not, or count part
Of what I suffer here. If nature need not,
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 hungering first, and to himself thus said.
Where will this end? four times ten days I've pass'd
228 oftest] Milton's own edition, 'oftest;' the others' often.'
232 wide] In most editions falsely printed' wild.' Newton.
Or God support nature without repast
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
Without this body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm,
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed
Me hungering 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 even and morn,
Though ravenous, taught to 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,
262 hospitable] Hor. Od. ii. 3. 9.
'Umbram hospitalem consociare amant
and Virg. Georg. iv. 24. Dunster.
267 horny] Cic. de Nat. Deor. i. 36.
'Aves excelsæ, cruribus rigidis, corneo proceroque rostro.'
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,
The strength whereof suffic'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 towering to descry
The morn's approach, and greet her with his song.
As lightly from his grassy couch up rose
Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream;
Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting waked.
Up to a hill anon his steps he rear'd,
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;
Thither he bent his way, determin'd there
To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade
High roof'd, 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, 205
And to a superstitious eye the haunt
287 cottage] Ap. Rhod. iv. 1247.
ουδέ τιν ̓ ἀρδμὸν
Οὐ πάτον, οὐκ ἀπάνευθε καταυγάσσαντο βοτήρα *Αυλιον, εὐκήλῳ δὲ κατέσχετο πάντα γαλήνῃ.
296 haunt] Lucret. iv. 584.
"Hæc loca capripedes Satyros, Nymphasque tenere
Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs; he view'd it round,
When suddenly a man before him stood,
Not rustic as before, but seemlier 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 solitude so long should bide
Of all things destitute, and well I know,
Not without hunger. Others of some note,
As story tells, have trod this wilderness;
The fugitive bond-woman with her son
Out-cast Nebaioth, yet found here relief
By a providing angel; all the race
Of Israel here had famish'd, had not God
Rain'd from heaven 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,
Forty and more deserted here indeed.
To whom thus Jesus. What conclud'st thou hence? They all had need; I, as thou seest, have none.
How hast thou hunger then? Satan replied.
Tell me, if food were now before thee set,
Would'st thou not eat? Thereafter as I like
The giver, answer'd Jesus. Why should that
Cause thy refusal? said the subtle fiend.
Hast thou not right to all created things?
309 here] In Milton's own edition, it is found he relief,' perhaps an unnoticed error of the press. Todd.
Owe not all creatures by just right to thee
Duty and service, nor to stay till bid,
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 opprest? behold
Nature asham'd, or, better to express,
Troubled that thou shouldst hunger, hath purvey'd
From all the elements her choicest store
To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord
With honour, 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,
With dishes pil'd, and meats of noblest sort
And savour, 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,
326 nor] So in Milton's own edition; in most others, 'not.' 334 elements] Juv. Sat. xi. 14.
'Interea gustus elementa per omnia quærunt.' Dunster. 340 A table] Then dreamt he saw a table richly spread.' Whiting's Albino and Bellama, p. 105, (1637.)
340 in regal mode] 'Regales Epulæ.' Apulei Metam. Lib. v. p. 143. ed. Delph.
341 dishes pil'] Milton's Prose Works, vol. iv. p. 312, (a brief History of Moscovia) 'Then followed a number more of strange, and rare dishes piled, boiled, roast, and baked,' &c.
344 Gris-amber] Osborne's Memoirs of James I. vol. ii. p. 157, whole pye, reckoned to my lord at ten pounds, being composed of amber-grece, magisterial of pearl, musk.'