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Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
Com. What chance, good lady, hath bereft you I see ye visibly, and now believe
thus ? That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill Lad. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth. Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering Would send a glistering guardian, if need were,
guides ? To keep my life and honor unassail'd.
220 Lad. They left me weary on a grassy turf. 280 Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
Lad. To seek i' the valley some cool friendly I did not err, there does a sable cloud
spring. Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady? And casts a gleam over this tufted grove :
Lad. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick I cannot halloo to my brothers, but Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest Com. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. I'll venture; for my new-enliven'd spirits
Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit! Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off. Com. Imports their loss, beside the present need?
Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose.
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful SONG.
289 Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Within thy aery shell,
231 Com. Two such I saw, what time the labor'd ox By slow Meander's margent green,
In his loose traces from the furrow came
And the swink'd hedger at his supper sat;
I saw them under a green mantling vine,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots; That likest thy Narcissus are ?
Their port was more than human, as they stood : O, if thou have
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
300 Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere! And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-struck,
So may'st thou be translated to the skies, And, as I past, I worshipt; if those you seek, And give resounding grace to all Heaven's harmo- It were a journey like the path to Heaven, nies.
To help you find them.
What readiest way would bring me to that place ?
Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's Lad. To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose, mould
In such a scant allowance of star-light,
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And if your stray attendants be yet lodg'd, 315
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades,
From her thatch'd pallet rouse ; if otherwise, Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs ; I can conduct you, lady, to a low Who, as they sung, would take the prison'd soul, But loyal cottage, where you may be safe And lap it in Elysium : Scylla wept,
Till further quest. And chid her barking waves into attention,
Shepherd, I take thy word And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause : And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy, Yet they in pleasing slumber lulld the sense, 260 Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds And in sweet madness robb'd it of itself; With smoky rafters, than in tap’stry halls But such a sacred and home-felt delight,
In courts of princes, where it first was nam'd 325 Such sober certainty of waking bliss,
And yet is most pretended : in a place I never heard till now.—I'll speak to her, Less warranted than this, or less secure, And she shall be my queen.—Hail, foreign wonder ! I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial Unless the goddess that in rural shrine
To my proportion'd strength-Shepherd, lead on. Dwell'st here with Pan, or Sylvan; by blest song
[Exeunt ) of dragon-watch, with unenchanted eye, 399 Enter The Two BROTHERS.
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit, El. Br. Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fair From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. Moon,
You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps That wont'st to love the traveller's benison, Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den, Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
Danger will wink on Opportunity, In double night of darkness and of shades; 335 And let a single helpless maiden pass Or, if your influence be quite damm’d up Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding waste. With black usurping mists, some gentle taper, Of night, or loneliness, it recks me not; Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole I fear the dread events that dog them both, 405 Of some clay habitation, visit us
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person With thy long-levell d rule of streaming light; of our unowned sister. And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
I do not, brother,
Infer, as if I thought my sister's state
Secure, without all doubt or controversy ;
What hidden strength, Where may she wander now, whither betake her Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean From the chill dew, among rude burs and thistles ?
that? Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
El. Br. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength, Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm Which, if Heaven gave it, may be term'd her Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad
own ; fears.
355 'Tis Chastity, my brother, Chastity : What, if in wild amazement and affright? She, that has that, is clad in complete steel; Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp And, like a quiver'd nymph with arrows keen, Of savage hunger, or of savage heat?
May trace huge forests, and unharbor'd heaths, El. Br. Peace, brother: be not over-exquisite Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds ; To cast the fashion of uncertain evils :
Where, through the sacred rays of Chastity, 425 For grant they be so, while they rest unknown, No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer, What need a man forestall his date of grief, Will dare to soil her virgin purity : And run to meet what he would most avoid ? Yea there, where very Desolation dwells, Or, if they be but false alarms of fear,
By grots and caverns shagg‘d with horrid shades, How bitter is such self-delusion!
365 She may pass on with unblench'd majesty, I do not think my sister so to seek,
Be it not done in pride, or in presumption. Or so unprincipled in Virtue's book,
Some say, no evil thing that walks by night And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever, In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen, As that the single want of light and noise Blue meager hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not,) That breaks his magic chains at Curfeu time, 435 Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,] No goblin, or swart faery of the mine, And put them into misbecoming plight.
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.
Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call
376 Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow,
And spotted mountain-pard, but set at nought Were all-to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. The frivolous bolt of Cupid ; gods and men He that has light within his own clear breast, Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen o' the May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
woods. But he, that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts, What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield, Benighied walks under the mid-day Sun; That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin, Himself is his own dungeon.
385 Wherewith she freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone Sec. Br.
"Tis most true,
450 That musing Meditation most affects
And noble grace, that dash'd brute violence The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
With sudden adoration and blank awe?
That, when a soul is found sincerely so,
And, in clear dream and solemn vision,
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear , Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape, Within the navel of this hideous wood, 520 The unpolluted temple of the mind,
Immur’d in cypress shades a sorcerer dwells, And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence, 460 Or Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus, Till all be made immortal : but when Lust, Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries ; By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, And here to every thirsty wanderer But most by lewd and lavish act of sin, By sly enticement gives his baneful cup, Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
With many murmurs mix’d, whose pleasing poison The soul grows clotted by contagion,
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose And the inglorious likeness of a beast The divine property of her first being.
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp, Character'd in the face: this have I learnt 530 Oft seen in charnel vaults and sepulchres 471 Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts, Lingering, and sitting by a new-made grave, That brow this bottom-glade; whence night by As loth to leave the body that it lov'd,
night And link'd itself by carnal sensuality
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl, To a degenerate and degraded state.
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey,
Yet have they many baits, and guileful spells, And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
To inveigle and invite the unwary sense Where no crude surfeit reigns.
Of them that pass unweeting by the way. EL Br.
List, list; I hear This evening laie, by then the chewing flocks Some far-off halloo break the silent air. 481 Had ta'en their supper on the savory herb 541
Sec. Br. Methought so too; what should it be? Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold,
For certain I sat me down to watch upon a bank
Till fancy had her fill; but, ere a close,
The wonted roar was up amidst the woods, El Br.
I'll halloo : And fill'd the air with barbarous dissonance; 550 If he be friendly, he comes well; if not,
At which I ceas'd, and listen'd them a while, Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us. Till an unusual stop of sudden silence [Enter the Attendant Spirit, habited like a shepherd.) That draw the litter of close-curtain'd Sleep;
Gave respite to the drowsy frighted steeds, That halloo I should know; what are you? speak; At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound Come not too near, you fall on iron stakes else. Rose like a steam of rich distillid perfumes, Spir. What voice is that? my young lord? speak And stole upon the air, that even Silence again.
492 Was took ere she was 'ware, and wish'd she might Sec. Br. O brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, sure. Deny her nature, and be never more, El. Br. Thyrsis? Whose artful strains have oft Still to be so displac'd. I was all ear,
And cook in strains that might create a soul The huddling brook to hear his madrigal,
Under the ribs of Death ; but O! ere long, And sweeten'd every musk-rose of the dale ? Too well I did perceive it was the voice How cam'st thou here, good swain? hath any ram Of my most honor'd lady, your dear sister. Slipt from the fold, or young kid lost his dam, Amaz'd I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear, Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook ? And, O poor hapless nightingale, thought I, How could’st thou find this dark sequester'd nook? How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly Spir. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy,
snare! I came not here on such a trivial toy 502 Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste, As a stray'd ewe, or to pursue the stealth Through paths and turnings often trod by day, Of pilfering wolf: not all the fleecy wealth, Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place, 570 That doth enrich these downs, is worth a thought Where that damn'd wisard, hid in sly disguise, To this my errand, and the care it brought. (For so by certain signs I knew,) had met But, O my virgin lady, where is she ?
Already, ere my best speed could prevent, How chance she is not in your company?
The aidless innocent lady, his wish'd prey ; El. Br. To tell thee sadly, shepherd, without Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two, blame,
Supposing him some neighbor villager.
Spir. Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true. Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung El. Br. What fears, good Thyrsis? Priythee Into swift flight, till I had found you here; briefly show.
But further know I not. Spir. I'll tell ye: 'tis not vain or fabulous. Sec. Br.
O night, and shades ! 580 (Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance) How are ye join'd with Hell in triple knot What the sage poets, taught by the heavenly Muse, Against the unarm'd weakness of one virgin, Storied of old in high immortal verse,
Alone and helpless! Is this the confidence Of dire chimeras, and enchanted isles,
You gave me, brother? And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell; El. Br.
Yes, and keep it still; For such there be, but unbelief is blind.
Lean on it safely; not a period
Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats And shed the luscious liquor on the ground,
But seize his wand; though he and his curs'd
Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high, Surpris'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd : 590 Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke, Yea, even that, which mischief meant most harm, Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink. Shall in the happy trial prove mose glory :
El. Br. Thyrsis, lead on a pace, I'll follow thee Bat evil on itself shall back recoil,
And some good angel bear a shield before us. And mix no more with goodness; when at last Gather'd like scum, and settled to itself, it shall be in eternal restless change
The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with Self-fed, and self-consum'd: if this fail,
all manner of deliciousness: soft music, tables spread The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
with all dainties. Comus appears with his rabble, And Earth's base built on stubble.-But come,
and the Lady set in an enchanted chair, to whom let's on.
he offers his glass, which she puts by, and goes about
Nay, lady, sit; if I but wave this wand,
Your nerves are all chain'd up in alabaster,
660 Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms And you a statue, or, as Daphne was, "Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
Root-bound, that fled Apollo. And force him to return his purchase back,
Fool, do not boast; Or drag him by the curls to a foul death, Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind Curs d as his life.
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind Spir.
Alas! good venturous youth, Thou hast immanacled, while Heaven sees good. I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise ; 610 Com. Why are you vex’d, lady? Why do you But here thy sword can do thee little stead;
frown? Far other arms and other weapons must
Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates Be those, that quell the might of hellish charms: Sorrow flies far: see, here be all the pleasures, He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints, That fancy can beget on youthful thoughits, And crumble all thy sinews.
When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns El. Br.
Why pr’ythee, shepherd, Brisk as the April buds in primrose-season. 671 How durst thou then thyself approach so near, And first, behold this cordial julep here, as to make this relation ?
That flames and dances in his crystal bounds, Spir.
Care, and utmost shifts, With spirits of balm and fragrant syrops mix'd ; Ilow to secure the lady from surprisal,
Not that nepenthes, which the wife of Thone Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena, Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd 620 Is of such power to stir up joy as this, In every virtuous plant, and healing herb, To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst. That spreads her verdant leaf to th' morning ray: Why should you be so cruel to yourself, He lov'd me well, and oft would beg me sing; And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent 680 Which when I did, he on the tender grass For gentle usage and soft delicacy? Would sit and hearken even to ecstasy,
But you invert the covenants of her trust, And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
And harshly deal like an ill borrower And show me simples of a thousand names, With that which you receiv'd on other terms; Telling their strange and vigorous faculties : Scorning the unexempt condition, Amongst the rest a small unsightly root, By which all mortal frailiy must subsist, But of divine effect, he cullid me out; 630 Refreshment afier toil, ease after pain, The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it, That have been tir'd all day without repast, But in another country, as he said,
And timely rest have wanted; but, fair virgin, Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil : This will restore all soon. l'nknown, and light esteem'd, and the dull swain Lad.
"Twill not, false traitor! 690 Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon: "Twill not restore the truth and honesty, And yet more med'cinal is it than that moly, That thou hast banish'd from thy tongue with lies That llermes once to wise Ulysses gave;
Was this the cottage, and the safe abode, He call'd it hæmony, and gave it me,
Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these. And bade me keep it as of sovran use
These ugly-headed monsters? Merey guard me! Gainst all enchantments, mildew, blast, or damp, Hence with thy brew'd enchantments, foul de Or ghastly furies' apparition.
ceiver ! I purs'd it up, but little reckoning made, Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence Tiil now that this extremity compellid :
With visor'd falsehood and base forgery? But now I find it true: for by this means
And would'st thou seck again to trap me here I knew the foul enchanter though disguis'd, With lickerish baits, fit to ensnare a brute ? 700 Enterd the very lime-twigs of his spells, Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets, and yet came off: if you have this about you, I would not taste thy treasonous offer; none As (I will give you when we go) you may But such as are good men can give good things; Boldly assault the necromancer's hall;
And that which is not good, is not delicious Where if lie be, with dauntless hardihood!, 630 To a well-govern'd and wise appetite. And brandisliu blade, rush on him; breal his glass, i Com. O foolishness of men! that lend their cars To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur,
If every just man, that now pines with want, And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, Had but a moderate and beseeming share Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence. of that which lewdly pamper'd Luxury 770 Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth 710 Now heaps upon some few with vast excess, With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, Nature's full blessings would be well dispens'd Covering the earth with odors, fruits, and flocks, In unsuperfluous even proportion, Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable, And she no whit encumber'd with her store; But all to please and sate the curious taste ? And then the Giver would be better thank'd, And set to work millions of spinning worms, His praise due paid : for swinish Gluttony That in their green-shops weave the smooth-hair'd Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast silk,
But with besotted base ingratitude To deck her sons; and that no corner might Crams, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on? Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins
Or have I said enough? To him that dares 780 She hutch'd the all-worshipt ore, and precious Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words gems,
Against the sun-clad power of Chastily, To store her children with: if all the world 720 Fain would I something say, yet to what end ? Should in a pet of temperance feed on pulse, Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but The sublime notion, and high mystery, frieze,
That raust be uttered to unfold the sage The All-giver would be unthank'd, would be un- And serious doctrine of Virginity; prais'd,
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know Not half his riches known, and yet despis'd : More happiness than this thy present lot. And we should serve him as a grudging master, Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,
790 As a penurious niggard of his wealth ;
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence; And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons, Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc'd: Who would be quite surcharg’d with her own Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth weight,
of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits And strangled with her waste fertility;
To such a name of sacred vehemence, The Earth cumber'd, and the wing d air dark’s That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize, with plumes,
730 And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and The herds would over-multitude their lords,
shake, The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought Till all thy magic structures, rear'd so high, diamonds
Were shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head. Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep,
Com. She fables not; I feel that I do fear 800 And so bestud with stars, that they below Her words set off by some superior power; Would grow inur'd to light, and come at last And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew To gaze upon the Sun with shameless brows.
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove List. lady: be not coy, and be not cosen'd Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus, With that same vaunted name, Virginity.
To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble, Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded, And try her yet more strongly.—Come, no more ; But must be current; and the good thereof 740 This is mere moral babble, and direct, Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
Against the canon-laws of our foundation ; Unsavory in the enjoyment of itself;
I must not suffer this : yet 'tis but the lees If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
And settlings of a melancholy blood: 810 It withers on the stalk with languish'd head. But this will cure all straight: one sip of this Beauty is nature's brag, and must be shown Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight, In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste. Where most may wonder at the workmanship; It is for homely features to keep home,
The Brothers rush in with swords drawn, wrest his They had their name thence; coarse complexions,
glass out of his hand, and break it against the And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply 750
ground; his rout make sign of resistance; but are The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool.
all driven in. The Attendant Spirit comes in. What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that, Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Morn?
Spirit. There was another meaning in these gifts ; Think what, and be advis'd; you are but young What, have you let the false enchanter 'scape ? yet.
Oye mistook, ye should have snatch'd his wand, Lad. I had not thought to have unlock'd my lips And bound him fast; without his rod revers'd, Din this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler And backward mutters of dissevering power, Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes, We cannot free the Lady that sits here Obtruding false rules prank'd in reason's garb. In stony fetters fix'd, and motionless :
819 I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments, 760 Yet stay, be not disturbid; now I bethink me, And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride.- Some other means I have which may be us’d, Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature, Which once of Melibeus old I learnt, As if she would her children should be riotous The soothest shepherd that e'er pip'd on plains. With her abundance; she, good cateress,
There is a gentle nymph not far from hence, Means her provision only to the good,
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn That live according to her sober laws,
stream, And holy dictate of spare Temperance ·
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure;