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To quench the drought of Phæbus; which asthey | Venus now wakes, and wakens love. taste
[thirst:) Come, let us our rites begin ; (For most do taste through fond intemperate 'Tis only day-light that makes sin, Soon as the potion works, their human counte- Which these dun shades will pe'er report. Dance, Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
198 The express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd Dark-veil'd Cotytto! to whom the secret flame. Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear, 70 Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame, Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
That ne'er art call’d, but when the dragon woom All other parts remaining as they were;
Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, And they, .o perfect is their misery,
And makes one blot of all the air; Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, Stay the cloudy ebon chair, But boast themselves more comely than before; Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat, and befriend And all their friends and native home forget, Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end To roll with pleasure in a sensual stye.
Of all thy dues be done, and bone left out; Therefore when any, favour'd of high Jove, Ere the babbling eastern scout, Chances to pass through this adventurous glade, The nioe Morn, on the Indian steep Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star 80 From her cabin'd loop-bole peep,
140 I shoot from Heaven, to give him safe convoy, And to the tell-tale Sun descry As now 1 do: but first I must put off
Our conceal'd solemnity.-
Of some chaste fuoting near about this ground. Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid 90 Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
trees; Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now,
Our number may affright: some virgin sure
(For so I can distinguish by mine art) 149 Comus enters wilh a charming-rod in one hand, his Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms,
glass in the other; with him a rout of monsters, And to my wily trajns : I shall ere long headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but other- Bę well-stock'd with as fair a herd as graz'd wise like men and women, their apparel glistering;- About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl they come in making a riotous and unruly nuise, My dazzling spells into the spungy air, with torches in their hands.
Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
And give it false presentments, lest the place Comus.
And my quaint habits breed astonishment, The star, that bids the shepherd fold,
And put the damsel to suspicious flight; Now the top of Heaven doth hold;
Which must not be, for that's against iny course : And the gilded car of day
1, under fair pretence of friendly ends,
160 His glowing axle doth allay
And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy In the steep Atlantic stream;
Baited with reasons not unplausible, And the slope Sun his upward beam
Wind me into the easy-hearted man, Shouts against the dusky pole,
And hug him into snares. When once her eye Pacing towards the other goal
100 Hath met the virtue of this magic dust, Of his chamber in the east.
I shall appear some harmless villager, Mean while welcome Joy, and Feast,
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear. Midnight Shout, and Revelry,
But here she comes ; 1 fairly step aside, Tipsy Dance, and Jollity.
And hearken, if I may, her business here. Braid your locks with rosy twine,
The Lady enters.
This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 170 And Advice with scrupulous head.
My best guide now: methought it was the sound Strict Age and sour Severity,
Of riot and ill-manag'd merriment, With their grave saws, in slumber lie, 110 Such as the jocund fute, or gamesome pipe, We, that are of purer fire,
Stirs up ainong the loose unletter d hinds; Imitate the starry quire,
When for their teeming flocks, and granges full, Who, in their nightly watchful spheres, In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, Lead in swift round the months and years, And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, To meet the rudeness, and swill'd insolence, Now to the Moon in wavering morrice move; Of such late wassailers; yet O! mbere else And, on the tawny sands and shelves, 119 Shall I inform my unacquainted feet 150 Trip the pert faeries and the dapper elves, In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ? By dimpled brook and fountain brim,
My brothers, when they saw me wearied out The wood-nymphs, deck'd with daisies trim, With this long way, resolving here to lodge Their merry wakes and pastimes keep;
Under the spreading favour of these pines, What haih night to do with sleep?
Stept, as they said, to the uext thicket side, Night hath better sweets to prove,
To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit
As the kind hospitable woods provide.
At every fall smoothing the raven-down 251 They left me then, when the gray-hooded Even, Of darkness, till it smil'd! I have oft beard Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed, 189 My mother Circe with the Syrens three, Rose from the bindmost wheels of Phoebus' wain. Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, But where they are, and why they came not back, Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs; Is now the labour of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest Who, as they sung, would take the prison'd soul, They had engag'd their wandering steps too far; And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept, And envious darkness, ere they could return, And chid her barking waves into attention, Mad stole them from me: else, o thievish Night, And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause: Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end, Yet they in pleasing slumber lull'a the sense, In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars, And in sweet madness robb'd it of itself; 261 That' Nature hung in Heaven, and filled their But such a sacred and home-felt delight, With everlasting oil, to give due light Clamps Such sober certainty of waking bliss, To the misled and lonely traveller? 200 | I never heard till now. I'll speak to her, This is the place, as well as I may guess, And she shall be my queen.--Hail, foreign wonder!. Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear; Unless the goddess that in rural shrine Yet nought but single darkness do I find. Dwell'st here with Pan, or Sylvan; by blest song What this might be? A thousand fantasies Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog Begin to throng into my memory,
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood, Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, Lad. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that And aery tongues, that syllable mens names 208 That is address'd to unattending ears ; [praise, On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses. Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift These thoughts may startle well, but not astound, How to regain my sever'd company, The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended Compell’d me to awake the courteous Echo 275 By a strong siding champion, Conscience.- To give me answer from her mossy couch. O welcome pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope, Com. What chance, good lady, hath bereft Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings, And thou, unblemish'd form of Chastity ! Lad. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth. I see ye visibly, and now believe
[ill Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things Lad. They left me weary on a grassy turf,
guides ? Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
280 Would send a glistering guardian, if need were,
Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? To keep my life and honour unassail'd. 290 Lad. To seek i the valley some cool friendly Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
spring. Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady? I did not err, there does a sable clond
Lad. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
return. And casts a gleam over this tufted grove:
Com. Perbaps forestalling night prevented them. I cannot halloo to my brothers, but
Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit! Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest Com. Imports their loss, beside the present peed? I'll venture; for my new-enliven'd spirits
Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose, Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
Com. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox Within thy aery shell,
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,
That crawls along the side of yon small hill,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots; Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
Their port was more than human, as they stood: That likest thy Narcissus are?
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
sno Tell me but where,
240 And play i' the plighted clouds. I was aw-struck, Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere! And, as I past, 1 worshipt'; if those you seek,
So may'st thou be translated to the skies, It were a journey like the path to Heaven, And give resounding grace to all Heaven's har. To help you find them, monies.
What readiest way would bring me to that place? Enter Comus.
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 | She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings,
Were all-to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. From her thatch'd pallet rouse ; if otherwise, He that has light within his own clear breast, Ican conduct you, lady, to a low,
May sit i’ the centre, and enjoy bright day:
Benighted walks under the mid-day Sus;
385 And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,
'Tis most true, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds That musing Meditation most affects With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls The pensive secrecy of desert cell, In courts of princes, where it first was nam'd 325 Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds, And yet is most pretended : in a place
And sits as safe as in a scnate-house.;
For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
595 Enter The Two BROTHERS.
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit, El, Rr. 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 misers' 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 disinterit Chaos, that reigns here
Danger will wink on Opportunity, In double night of darkness and of shades ; 355. 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-leveli'd rule of streaming light; Ofour unowned sister, And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
I do not, brother, Or Tyrian Cynosure.
Infer, as if I thought my sister's state Sec. Br.
Or, if our eyes
Secure, without all doubt or controversy;
And gladly banish squint suspicion,
What hidden strength, Where inay 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 bidden Qr 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
[own: Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad which, if Heaven gave it, may be term'd her 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 unbarbour'd heaths, El. Br. Peace, brother : be pot 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 shagy'd with bord 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.
Some say, no evil thing that walks by night
Blue meager hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not,) That breaks his magic chainsat Curfeu time, Could stir the constant mood of her calin thoughts, No goblin, or swart faery of the mine,
436 And put them into misbecoming plight.
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity. Virtue could see to do what Virtue would Do ye believe me yet, or shall I calk By her own radiant light, though Sun and Moon Antiquity from the old schools of Greece Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self To testify the arms of Chastity? Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude ; 376 Hence had the huntress Diap her dread bor, Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation, Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste,
Wherewith she tau'd the brinded lioness How coul'st thou find this dark sequesterid And spotted mountain-pard, but set at nought
500 The frivolous bolt of Cupid ; gods and men Spir. O my lov'd master's heir, and his nextjoy, Fear'd her stern foown, and she was queen o' the I came not here on such a trivial toy woods.
As a stray'd ewe, or to pursue the stealth What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield, Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth, That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin,
That doth enrich these downs, is worth a thought Wherewith she freez!d her foes to congenlid To this my errand, and the care it brought.. stone,
But, O my virgin lady, where is she? But rigid looks of chaste anterity,
How chance she is not in your company? And noble grace, that dash'd brute violence El. B. To tell thee sadly, shepherd, without With sudden adoration and blank awe?
blame, Su dear to Heaven is saintly Chastity,
Or our neglect, we lost her as we came. 510 That, when a soul is found sincerely so,
Spir. Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true A thousand liveried angels lackey her,
El. B. What fears, good Thyrsis ? Prythee Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt;
briefly show. And, in clear dream and solemn vision,
Spir. I'll tell ye; 'tis not vain or fabulous, Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear; (Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance,) Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
What the sage poets, taught by the heavenly Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape, Storied of old in high immortal verse, [Muse, The unpolluted temple of the mind,
Of dire chimeras, and enchanted isles, And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence, 460 | And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell; Till all be made immortal : but when Lust, For such there be, but unbelief is blind. By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, Within the navel of this hideous wood, 520 But most by lewd and lavish act of sin,
Immur'd in cypress shades a sorcerer dwells, Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus, Tle soul groas clotted by contagion,
Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries;
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup, (poison
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage And link'd itself by carnal sensuality
Character'd in the face : this have I learnt 550 To a degenerate and degraded state.
Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts, Sex. Br. How charming is divine philosophy ! That brow this bottoin-glade; whence night by Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,
night But musical as is Apollo's lute,
Ile and tis monstrous rout are heard to howl, And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey, Where no crude surfeit reigns.
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate El. Br.
List, list; I hear in their obscured haunts of inmost bowers. Some far off halloo break the silent air. 481 Yet have they many baits, and guileful spells, Sec. B. Methought so tov; what should it be? To inveigle and invite the unwary sense El. B.
For certain Of them that pass unweeting by the way. Either, some one like us night-founder'd here, This evening late, by then the chewing flocks Or else some neighbour woodman, or, at worst, Had ta'en their supper on the savoury herb 541 Some ruving robber, calling to his fellows. Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold, See. B. Heaven keep my sister. Again, again, I sat me down to watch upon a bank and near !
With ivy canopied, and interwove Best draw, and stand upon our guard.
With flaunting boney-suckle, and began, El. B.
I'll halloo: Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, If he be friendly, he comes well ; if not,
To meditate my rural minstrelsy, Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us. Till Fancy had her fill; but, ere a close,
The wonted roar was up amidst the woods, [Ender the Attendant Spirit, hubited like a shep- And fill'd the air with barbarous dissonance; 550 herl]
At which I ceas'd, and listen’d them a while, That halloo I should know ; what are you? Till an unusual stop of sudden silence speak ;
490 Gave respite to the drowsy frighted steeds, Come not too near, you fall on iron stakes else. That draw the litter of close-curtain's Sleep; Spir. What voice is that? my young lord ? At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound speak again.
Rose like a steam of rich distillid perfumes, Sec. B. O brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, And stole upon the air, that even Silence
Was took ere she was ware, and wish'd she might El. B. Thyrsis? Whose artful strains have oft Deny her nature, and be never inore, delay'd
Still to be so displac'd. I was all ear, 560 The huddling brouk to hear his madrigal, And touk in strains that might create a soul And sweeten'd every muskrose of the dale? Under the ribs of Death: but O ! ere long, How cam'st thou here, good swain? hath any ram Too well I did perceive it was the voice Slipt from the fold, or young kid lost his dam, Of my most honour'd lady, your dear sister. Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook ? Amaz’d I stood, barrow'd with grief and fear,
And, O poor hapless nightingale, thought I, Telling their strange and vigorous faculties : How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly Amongst the rest a small unsightly root, snare!
But of divine effect, he culld me out; Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste, The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it, Through paths and turnings often trod by day, But in another country, as he said, Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place, 570 Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soll : Where that damn'd wisard, hid in sly disguise, Unknown, and like esteem'd, and the dull swain (For so by certain signs I knew,) had met Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon : Already, ere my best speed could prevent, And yet inore med'cinal is it than that moly, The aidiess inuocent lady, his wish'd prey ;
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave; Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two, He call'd it hæmony, and gave it me, Supposing him some neighbour villager.
And bade me keep it as of sovran use Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess'd 'Gainst all enchantments, mildew, blast, or damp, Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung Orghastly furies' apparition.
641 Into swift flight, till I had found you here ; I purs'd it up, but little reckoning made, But further know I not.
Till now that this extremity compellid : Sec. Br.
O night, and shades! 580 But now I find it true; for by this means How are ye join'd with Hell in triple knut I knew the foul enchanter though disguis'd, Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin, Enter'd the very lime-twigs of his spells, Alone and helpless ! Is this the confidence And yet came off: if you have this about you, You gave me, brother?
(As I will give you when we go) you may El. Br.
Yes, and keep it still ; Boldly assault the necromancer's hall; Lean on it safely; not a period
Where if he be, with dauntless bardihood, 650 Shall be unsaid for me : against the threats And brandish'd blade, rush on him; break bis Of inalice, or of sorcery, or that power
glass, Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm,— And shed the luscious liquor on the ground, Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt,
But seize his wand; though he and his curs'd Surpris'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd;590 Yea, even that, which mischief meant most harm, Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high, Shall in the happy trial prove most glory : Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke, But evil on itself shall back recoil,
Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink. And mix no more with goodness; when at last El. Br. Thyrsis, lead on apace, I'll follow thee; Cather'd like scum, and settled to itself,
And some good angel bear a shield before us. It shall be in eternal restless change Self-fed, and self-consumed: if this fail,
The Scene changes to a stately palace, set oul aith The pillar'ı firmament is rottenness,
all manner of deliciousness : soft music, tables And Earth's base built on stubble.—But come, spreal with all dainties. Corpus appears with let's on.
his rabble, and the Lady set in an enchanted Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven 600 chair, to whom he offers his glass, wkich she May never this just sword be lifted up;
puts by, and goes about to rise. But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt With all the grissly legions that troop
Comus. Under the sooty flag of Acheron, Harpies and Hydras, or alithe monstrous forms Nay, lady, sit ; if I but wave this wand, Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
Your nerves are all chain'd up in alabaster, 660 And force him to return his purchase back, And you a statue, or, as Daphne was, Or drag hinn by the curls to a foul death, Root-bvand, that fled Apollo. Cursd as his life.
Fool, do not boast; Spir.
Alas! good venturous youth, Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise; 610 With all thy charms, although this corporal rind But here thy sword can do thee little stead; Thou hast immapacled, while Heaven sees good. Far other arins and other weapons must
Com. Why are you vex'd, lady? Why do you Be those, that quell the might of hellish charms :
frown? He with his bare wand cau unthread thy joints, Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates And crumble all thy sinews.
Sorrow flies far : see, here be all the pleasures, El. Br.
Why pr'ythee, shepherd, That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts, How durst thou then thyself approach so near, When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns As to make this relation ?
Brisk as the April buds in primrose-season. 671 Spir.
Care, and utmost shifts, And first, behold this cordial julep here, How to secure the lady from surprisal,
That fames and dances in his crystal bannds, Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, With spirits of balm and fragrant syrops mix'd ; Of small regard to see to, yet well skilld 620 Not that nepenthes, wbich the wife of Thone In every virtuous plant, and healing herb, In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena, That spreads her verdant leaf to th’ morning ray: Is of such power to stir up joy as this, He lov'd mę weil, and oft would beg me sing ; To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst. Which when I did, he on the tender grass Why should you be so cruel to yourself, Would sit and hearken even to ecstasy,
And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent 650 And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
For gentle usage and soft delicacy?