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How durst thou then thyself approach so near, As to make this relation ? Spi. Care and utmost shifts How to secure the lady from surprisal, Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd In every virtuous plant, and healing herb, That spreads her verdant leaf to th’ morning ray: He lov'd me well, and oft would beg me sing, Which when I did, he on the tender grass Would sit, and hearken even to extasy, And in requital ope his leathern scrip, And shew me simples of a thousand names, Telling their strange and vigorous faculties: Among the rest a small unsightly root, But of divine effect, he cull'd me out; The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it, But in another country, as he said, Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil: Unknown, and like esteem’d, and the dull swain Treads on it daily, with his clouted shoon ; And yet more med'cinal is it than that moly That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave ; He call'd it hemony, and gave it me, And bade me keep it as of sov’reign use 'Gainst all inchantments, mildew, blast, or damp, Or ghastly furies' apparition. I purs'd it up, but little reck'ning made, Till now that this extremity compell'd: But now I find it true; for by this means I knew the foul enchanter, though disguis'd, Enter'd the very lime-twigs of his spells, And yet came off; if you have this about you, (As I will give you when we go) you may Boldly assault the necromancer's hall; Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood And brandish’d blade rush on him, break his glass And shed the luscious liquor on the ground, But seize his wand; though he and his curs'd crew Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high, Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke, Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink. E. Bro. Thyrsis, lead on apace, I’ll follow thee, And some good angel bear a shield before us.

The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all manner of deliciousness: soft music, tables spread with all dainties. Comus appears with his rabble, and the lady set in an inchanted chair, to whom he offers his glass, and which she puts by, and goes about to rise.

Comus. Nay, lady, sit; if I but wave this wand, Your nerves are all chain’d up in alabaster, And you a statue, or as Daphne was Root-bound, that fled Apollo.

Lady. Fool, do not boast. Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind, With all thy charms, although this corporal rind Thou hast immanacl’d, while Heav'n sees good.

Comus. Why are you vext, lady? Why do you

frown?

Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates

Sorrow flies far: see here be all the pleasures That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts, When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns Brisk as the April buds in primrose season. And first behold this cordial julep here, That flames and dances in his chrystal bounds, With sp'rits of balm and fragrant syrups mix’d, Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thone, In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena, Is of such power to stir up joy as this, To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst. Why should you be so cruel to yourself, And to those dainty limbs which nature lent For gentle usage and soft delicacy * But you invert the covenants of her trust, And harshly deal like an ill borrower With that which you receiv'd on other terms, Scorning the unexempt condition By which all mortal frailty must subsist, Refreshment after toil, ease after pain, That have been tir’d all day without repast, And timely rest have wanted; but, fair virgin, This will restore all soon. Lady. 'Twill not, false traitor; "Twill not restore the truth and honesty That thou hast banish'd from thy tongue with lies. Was this the cottage, and the safe abode Thou told'st me of What grim aspects are these, These ugly-headed monsters? Mercy guard me ! Hence with thy brew'd inchantments, foul deceiver; Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence With visor'd falsehood, and base forgery And would'st thou seek again to trap me here With liquorish baits fit to insnare a brute? Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets I would not taste thy treasonous offer; none But such as are good men can give good things, And that which is not good is not delicious To a well-govern'd and wise appetite. Comus. O foolishness of men! that lend their To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur, [ears And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, Praising the lean and sallow abstinence. Wherefore did nature pour her bounties forth With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks, Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable, But all to please and sate the curious taste? And set to work millions of spinning worms, That in their green shops weave the smooth-hair’d To deck her sons, and that no corner might [silk, Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins She hutch'd th’ all worship'd ore, and precious To store her children with: if all the world [gems Should in a pet of temp'rance feed on pulse, Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze, Th' All-giver would be unthank'd, would be unprais'd; Not half his riches known, and yet despis'd, And we should serve him as a grudging master, As a penurious niggard of his wealth, And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons,

Who would be quite surcharg'd with her own
And strangled with her waste fertility. [weight,
Th’ earth cumber'd, and the wing’d air darkt with
plumes,
The herds would over-multitude their lords;
The sea o'erfraught would swell; and th’ unsought
diamonds
Would so imblaze the forehead of the deep, w
And so bestud with stars, that they below
Would grow inur'd to light, and come at last
To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows.
List, lady, be not coy, and be not cozen'd
With that same vaunted name virginity.
Beauty is nature's coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current, and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
Unsavoury in th' enjoyment of itself;
If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
It withers on the stalk with languish'd head.
Beauty is nature's brag, and must be shewn
In courts, in feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship;
It is for homely features to keep home;
They had their name thence; coarse complexions,
And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply
The sampler, and to tease the housewife's wool.
What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn:
There was another meaning in these gifts,
Think what, and be advis'd, you are but young yet.
Lady. I had not thought to have unlock'd my lip
In this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler
Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,
Obtruding false rules, prankt in reason's garb.
I hate, when vice can bolt her arguments,
And virtue has no tongue to check her pride.
Impostor, do not charge most innocent nature,
• As if she would her children should be riotous
With her abundance; she, good cateress,
Means her provision only to the good,
That live according to her sober laws,
And holy dictate of spare temperance:
If every just man that now pines with want,
Had but a moderate and beseeming share
Of that which lewdly-pamper'd luxury
Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
Nature's full blessings would be well dispens'd
In unsuperfluous even proportion,
And she no whit encumber'd with her store;
And then the giver would be better thank'd,
His praise due paid; for swinish gluttony
Ne'er looks to Heav'n amidst his gorgeous feast,
But with besotted base ingratitude
Crams, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on?
Or have I said enough To him that dares
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words,
Against the sun-clad pow'r of chastity,
Fain would I something say, yet to what end?
Thou hast nor ear nor soul to apprehend
The sublime notion, and high mystery,
That must be utter'd to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of virginity,

And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
More happiness than this thy present lot.
Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,
That hast so well been taught her dazzling fence,
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc'd;
Yet should I try, the uncontrouled worth
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
That dumb things would be mov’d to sympathize,
And the brute earth would lend her nerves, and
shake,
*Till all thy magic structures, rear'd so high,
Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head.
Comus. She fables not; I feel that I do fear
Her words set off by some superior power;
And though not mortal, yet a cold shudd'ring dew
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove
Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus
To some of Satan's crew. I must dissemble,
And try her yet more strongly. Come, no more,
This is mere moral babble, and direct
Against the canon laws of our foundation;
I must not suffer this, ’tis but the lees
And settlings of a melancholy blood:
But this will cure all strait; one sip of this
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.

The Brothers rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass out of his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make sign of resistance, but are all driven in; the attendant Spirit comes in.

Spirit. What, have you let the false inchanter scape!

O ye mistook, ye should have snatch'd his wand,
And bound him fast; without his rod revers'd,
And backward mutters of dissevering power,
We cannot free the lady that sits here,
In stony fetters fix’d, and motionless:
Yet stay, be not disturb’d; now I bethink me,
Some other means I have, which may be us'd,
Which once of Meliboeus old I learnt,
The soothest shepherd that e'er pip'd on plains.

There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure; [stream,
Whilome she was the daughter of Locrine,
That had the sceptre from his father Brute.
She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit
Of her enraged stepdame Guendolen,
Commended her fair innocence to the flood,
That stay’d her flight with his cross-flowing course.
The water-nymphs that in the bottom play'd,
Held up their pearled wrists, and took her in,
Bearing her strait to aged Nereus' hall,
Who, piteous of her woes, rear'd her lank head,
And gave her to his daughters to imbathe
In nectar'd lavers strow'd with asphodil,
And through the porch and inlet of each sense
Dropt in ambrosial oils, till she reviv'd
And underwent a quick immortal change,
Made Goddess of the river; still she retains

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Sabrina fair,
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;
Listen for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the Silver Lake.
Listen and save;
Listen and appear to us,
In name of great Oceanus;
By th’ earth-shaking Neptune's mace
And Tethys' grave majestic pace;
By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look,
And the Carpathian wizard's hook;
By scaly Triton's winding shell,
And the old soothsaying Glaucus' spell;
By Leucothea's lovely hands,
And her son that rules the strands;
By Thetis' tinsel-slipper'd feet
And the songs of Syrens sweet;
By dead Parthenope's dear tomb;
And fair Ligea's golden comb,
Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks
Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
By all the Nymphs that nightly dance
Upon thy streams, with wily glance;
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head
From thy coral-paven bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.
Listen and save.

Sabrina rises, attended by Water-nymphs, and

sings.

By the rushy-fringed bank, where grows the willow and the osier dank, My sliding chariot stays, Thick set with agate, and the azure sheen Of turkis blue and emerald green, That in the channel strays; Whilst from off the waters fleet Thus I set my printless feet O'er the cowslip's velvet head,

That bends not as I tread; Gentle swain, at thy request, I am here. Spi. Goddess dear, We implore thy powerful hand To undo the charmed band Of true virgin here distrest, Through the force, and through the wile Of unblest inchanter vile. Sab. Shepherd, 'tis my office best To help insnar'd chastity: Brightest lady, look on me; Thus I sprinkle on thy breast Drops that from my fountain pure I have kept of precious cure, Thrice upon thy finger's tip, Thrice upon thy rubied lip; Next this marble venom'd seat, Smear'd with gums of glutinous heat, I touch with chaste palms moist and cold: Now the spell hath lost his hold; And I must haste ere morning hour To wait on Amphitrite's bower.

Sabrina descends, and the Lady rises out of her seat.

Spi. Virgin, daughter of Locrine,
Sprung from old Anchises' line,
May thy brimmed waves for this
Their full tribute never miss
From a thousand petty rills,
That tumble down the snowy hills:
Summer drouth, or singed air,
Never scorch thy tresses fair,
Nor wet October's torrent flood
Thy molten chrystal fill with mud;
May thy billows roll ashore
The beryl, and the golden ore;
May thy losty head be crown'd
With many a tower and terras round,
And here and there thy banks upon
With groves of myrrhe, and cinnamon.

Come, lady, while Heav'n lends us grace,
Let us fly this cursed place,
Lest the sorcerer us entice
With some other new device.
Not a waste, or needless sound,
Till we come to holier ground;
I shall be your faithful guide
Through this gloomy covert wide,
And not many furlongs thence
Is your father's residence,
Where this night are met in state
Many a friend to gratulate
His wish'd presence, and beside
All the swains that near abide,
With jigs and rural dance resort;
We shall catch them at their sport,
And our sudden coming there
Will double at their mirth and cheer.
Come let us haste, the stars grow high,
But night sits monarch yet in the mid sky!

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Spi. To the ocean now I fly, And those happy climes that lie Where day never shuts his eye, Up in the broad fields of the sky: There I suck the liquid air, All amidst the gardens fair Of Hesperus, and his daughters three, That sing about the golden tree: Along the crisped shades and bowers Revels the spruce and jocund spring, The Graces, and the rosy-bosom'd Hours, Thither all their bounties bring; That there eternal summer dwells, And west-winds with musky wing About the cedarn alleys fling Nard and cassia's balmy smells. Iris there with humid bow Waters the odorous banks, that blow Flowers of more mingled hue Than her pursled scarf can shew, And drenches with Elysian dew (List mortals, if your ears be true) Beds of hyacinths and roses, Where young Adonis oft reposes, Waxing well of his deep wound In slumber soft, and on the ground Sadly sits th’ Assyrian queen; But far above in spangled sheen Celestial Cupid her fam'd sou advanc'd, Holds his dear Psyché sweet intranc'd, After her wand'ring labours long, Till free consent the gods among Make her his eternal bride,

And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.
But now my task is smoothly done,
I can fly, or I can run
Quickly to the green earth's end,
Where the bow’d welkin slow doth bend,
And from thence can soar as soon
To the corners of the moon.
Mortals that would follow me,
Love virtue, she alone is free,
She can teach you how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;
Or if virtue feeble were,
Heav'n itself would stoop to her.

ON SHAKESPEAR, 1630. What needs my Shakespear for his honour’d bones The labour of an age in piled stones, Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid Under a star-ypointing pyramid Dear son of memory, great heir of fame, What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name? Thou in our wonder and astonishment Hast built thyself a live-long monument. For whilst to the shame of slow endeavouring art Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book Those Delphic lines with deep impression took ; Then thou our fancy of itself bereaving, Dost make us marble with too much conceiving; And so sepulcher'd, in such pomp dost lie, That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

SONNETS. To the Nightingale. O nightingale, that on yon blos'my spray Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still, Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill, While the jolly hours lead on propitious May. Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day, First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill, Portend success in love; O if Jove's will Have link'd that amorous power to thy soft lay, Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh; As thou from year to year hast sung too late For my relief, yet hadst no reason why: Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate, Both them I serve, and of their train am I.

On his being arriv'd at the Age of Twenty-three. How soon hath time, the subtle thief of youth, Stol'n on his wing my three and twentieth year ! My hasting days fly on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth, That I to manhood am arriv'd so near, And inward-ripeness doth much less appear, That some more timely happy spirits*.

Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow, It shall be still in strictest measure even To that same lot, however mean or high, Toward which time leads me, and the will of Heav'n ; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great task-master's eye.

To Mr. H. Lauces, on his Airs.

Harry, whose tuneful and well-measur’d song
First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent, not to scan
With Midas' ears, committing short and long;
Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
With praise enough for envy to look wan;
To after-age thou shalt be writ the man [tongue.
That with smooth air could'st humour best our
Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her
wing
To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire,
That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn or story.
Dante shall give fame leave to set thee higher
Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing
Met in the milder shades of purgatory.

To the Lord General Fairfax.

Fairfax, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze,
And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings;
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their hydra heads, and the false North displays
Her broken league to imp their serpent wings.
O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
(For what can war, but endless war still breed )
Till truth and right from violence be freed,
And public faith clear'd from the shameful brand
Of public fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed,
While Avarice and Rapine share the land.

To the Lord General Cromwell.

Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith, and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd,
And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursued,
WhileDarwenstream with blood of Scotsimbrued,
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud,
And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much remains
To conquer still ; Peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war: new foes arise
Threat'ning to bind our souls with secular chains:
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.

To Sir Henry Vane the younger.

Vane, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better senator ne'er held
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms repell'd

The fierce Epirot and the African bold,

Whether to settle peace, or to unfold

The drift of hollow states hard to be spell'd, Then to advise how War may best upheld Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, In all her equipage: besides to know Both spiritual power and civil, what each means, What severs each, thou'st learn'd, which few have done: The bounds of either sword to thee we owe; Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.

On the late Massacre in Piemont.

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
Ev’n them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worship'd stocks and stones,
Forget not; in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that roll’d
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all th' Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who having learn'd thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

On his Blindness.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
Doth God exact day labour, light denied,
I fondly ask? but patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke,they serve him best: his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

To Mr. Laicrence.

Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won,
From the hard season gaining Time will run
On smoother, till Favanius re-inspire
The frozen ocean, and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air:
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.

To Cyriac Skinner.

Cyriac, whose grandsire on the royal bench Of British Themis, with no mean applause

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