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I shoot from heaven to give him safe convoy,
Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his glass in the other ;
with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but otherwise like men and women, their apparel glistering ; they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their hands.
Comus. The star that bids the shepherd fold
83. Spun out of Iris' woof.] 93. The star that bids, fc.] Spun from material which Iris, The evening star. So Shakspeare the goddess of the rainbow, had (Meas. for Meas. iv. 3) says of the dyed. So in Par. Lost, xi. 244, morning star-Look, the un'Iris had dipt the woof.
folding star calls up the shep86. Smooth-dittied.] Smoothly herd.' worded or adapted to words. 97. The steep Atlantic stream.] Ital. detti, words.
The word stream here simply 88. Nor of less faith, &c.] and means flood. So, Par. Lost, i, who is no less faithful; and from 202, 'the ocean stream ;' and his business being to keep watch Shakspeare, Merch. of Venice, i. over the flocks upon the hills, may 1, speaks of the wreck of a ship be supposed most likely to be out scattering all her spices on the at this time, and nearest for the stream.' immediate aid required.
Shoots against the dusky pole,
Braid your locks with rosy twine,
And Advice with scrupulous head,
With their grave saws, in slumber lie.
Imitate the starry_quire,
Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove,
And on the tawny sands and shelves
dancing. 'Splendet tremulo sub
of the months
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Their merry wakes and pastimes keep;
'Tis only day-light that makes sin,
Dark-veiled Cotytto, to whom the secret flame
Wherein thou ridest with Hecate, and befriend
122. What hath night to do.] The infinitive is here used adjectively, describing the objective pronoun what. In the next line the infinitive to prove is adverbial to hath and governs which understood.
125. Rights.] That is, rites. So, in Spenser's Faerie Queene, I. vi. 15, 'Cybele's frantic rights.'
129. Cotytto.] The goddess of licentiousness. The festival of this Thracian divinity resembled that of the Phrygian Cybele. Her rites, and rites similar to hers, were called Cotyttia; and her worshippers were called Baptæ, because when initiated into her mysteries they were sprinkled with warm water. See Juvenal, ii. 91; Horace, Epod. xvii. 56. 131. The dragon womb, &c.] Night is here represented as a Stygian or Tartarean monster producing darkness. Sometimes
Night is supposed to pass over the earth in a dragon car shedding darkness all around her.
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night.
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
135. Hecate.] The goddess or patroness of magic, who was supposed to wander over the earth at night. She is here appropriately referred to by the licentious magician Comus, as riding with Cotytto in an ebon chair or car. Compare Par. Lost, ii. 930, 'As in a cloudy chair ascending rides.' Massinger in The City Madam, v. 1, speaks of an oblation unto Hecate, and wanton Lust, her favourite.'
Of all thy dues be done, and none left out;
The Measure. (
139. The nice morn, &c.] The Compare L'Allegro, 33, prudish or fastidious morn on the Come, and trip it as you go, eastern horizon.
On the light fantastic toe. 140. Cabined loop-hole.] The At this part of the Masque was epithet cabined here seems to introduced a dance; a measure as mean confined or contracted like it is called, because dancing meaa cabin.
sures time with the music. 141. Descry.] Here employed 146. Near about.] The word in the unusual sense of give notice near is adverbial to about this of ; discover. Milton_had in ground, which is adverbial to mind that passage in Fletcher's footing. Faithful Shepherdess, iii. 1. 147. Shrouds.] Retreats, shel
The sooner we begin, ters. The longer ere the day descry our sin.
149. So I can distinguish.] 143. Beat the ground, &c.] So The magician has the sagacity to Horace speaks of beating the distinguish chaste footing' from ground with light and playful the lascivious dancing of his foot: Od. I. xxxvii. 1.
My dazzling spells into the spungy air,
with blear illusion,
THE LADÝ enters.
way the noise was, if mine ear be true My best guide now. Methought it was the sound Of riot and ill-managed merriment,
154. Dazzling.] Beguiling, 161. Glozing.] Feigning, preillusive. The air is called tending, insinuating: spungy, because as
167. Keeps up, &c.] Keeps holds water so the air held in up to this late hour minding his
suspension the magic dust which rustic business. X Comus threw into it.
168. Fairly.] Gently, softly. His wonder far exceeded reason's reach, So Fletcher, The Chances, iii. 4, That he began to doubt his dazzled sight. *We'll ride on fair and softly.'
Spenser, F. Q. II. xi. 40. 155. Blear.] Dim, or rather
171. Methought.] It thought
me, i.e. I thought. In Chaucer dimming.
and other old writers we fre156. Presentments.] Representations. So in Shakspeare's
quently meet with such expres
sions as it thinketh me, it thought Hamlet, iii. 4, 'The counterfeit [i.e. copied] presentment of two
me, or me thinketh, me thought. brothers.'
Madame, quoth he, how thinké you
thereby 157. Quaint habits.] Curious How that me thinketh ? quoth she. dress.
Chaucer's Clerk's Tale.