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I'm having trouble understanding the phrase "For no allurement yields to appetite" in the following passage from Milton's Paradise Regained:

"By hunger, that each other creature tames,
Thou art not to be harmed, therefore not moved;
Thy temperance, invincible besides,
For no allurement yields to appetite."

Milton, John. Paradise Regained. 1671. Book II, lines 406–409. Accessed at Project Gutenberg 28 May 2024.

I can understand appetite yielding to allurement, but how can allurement yield to appetite? The OED cites this very phrase as an example of the word "yield" in the regular sense of "submit, surrender, give in etc."

Am I misreading the syntax perhaps? Any help would be much appreciated--thanks guys.

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Imagine I have decided to give up sugar. I might proclaim: I will resist temptation. For no dessert, however appetizing, shall I weaken my resolve.

Something like that is going on here. Satan is saying that Jesus's temperance, his self-restraint, does not yield or surrender to appetite, no matter what allurement is placed before him. Shorn of the anaphora or inversion, the line would be: Besides, thy invincible temperance yields to appetite for no allurement.

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  • Ahh thank you! For some reason my brain didn't connect "temperance" with "yields".
    – Thomas
    Commented May 29 at 5:27

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