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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
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 thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
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,
There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
Sabrina rises, attended by Water-nymphs, and
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,
Come, lady, while Heav'n lends us grace,
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
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
To the Lord General Fairfax.
Fairfax, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
To the Lord General Cromwell.
Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud
To Sir Henry Vane the younger.
Vane, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
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
On his Blindness.
When I consider how my light is spent
To Mr. Laicrence.
Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,
To Cyriac Skinner.
Cyriac, whose grandsire on the royal bench Of British Themis, with no mean applause