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Benighted walks under the midday sun; Himself is his own dungeon.


'Tis most true,

That musing meditation most affects

The pensive secrecy of desert cell,

Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds,

And sits as safe as in a senate-house;

For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,

His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,

Or do his grey hairs any violence?

But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree

Laden with blooming gold, hath need the guard

Of dragon-watch with unenchanted eye,

To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit

From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.

You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps

Of misers' treasure by an outlaw's den,
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will wink on opportunity,
And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste.
Of night, or loneliness, it recks me not;

I fear the dread events that dog them both,

Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person

Of our unowned sister.


I do not, brother,

Infer, as if I thought my sister's state
Secure without all doubt or controversy;
Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear
Does arbitrate the event, my nature is
That I incline to hope rather than fear,

And gladly banish squint suspicion.

My sister is not so defenceless left

As you imagine: she has a hidden strength


you remember not.


What hidden strength,

Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that?


I mean that too; but yet a hidden strength,

Which, if Heaven gave it, may be termed her own;

'Tis chastity, my brother, chastity:

She that has that is clad in cómplete steel,

And, like a quivered nymph with arrows keen,
May trace huge forests, and unharboured heaths,
Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds;
Where, through the sacred rays of chastity,
No savage fierce, bandit, or mountaineer,
Will dare to soil her virgin purity:

Yea there, where very Desolation dwells,

By grots and caverns shagged with horrid shades,
She may pass on with unblenched majesty,
Be it not done in pride or in presumption.
Some say no evil thing that walks by night,
In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen,
Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost
That breaks his magic chains at curfew time,
No goblin, or swart fairy of the mine,
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.


ye believe me yet? or shall I call Antiquity from the old schools of Greece

To testify the arms of chastity?

Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow,

Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste,

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Wherewith she tamed the brinded lioness

And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought

The frivolous bolt of Cupid; gods and men

Feared her stern frown, and she was queen o' the woods.

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