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Break off, break off, I feel the different pace
Of some chaste footing near about this ground.
Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees;
Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms,
Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
Which must not be, for that's against my course ;
I, under fair pretence of friendly ends,
And well-placed words of glozing courtesy,
Baited with reasons not unplausible,
Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
And hug him into snares. When once her eye
I shall appear some harmless villager,
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear.
And hearken, if I may, her business here.
[The LADY enters.]
My best guide now: methought it was the sound
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe,
As the kind hospitable woods provide.
They left me then, when the grey-hooded even, Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus' wain. But where they are, and why they came not back, Is now the labour of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest They had engaged their wandering steps too far; And envious darkness, ere they could return,
Had stole them from me; else, O thievish Night!
Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious end,
To the misled and lonely traveller?
This is the place, as well as I
Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire,
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
By a strong siding champion, Conscience.
Oh, welcome, pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hope,
Thou hovering angel girt with golden wings,
And thou, unblemished form of chastity!
I see ye visibly, and now believe
That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,