Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

MASK

1

PRESENTED

At LUD LOW-CASTLE, 1634.

The first Scene discovers a wild Wood.

The attendant Spirit defcends or enters.

Efore the starry threshold of Jove's Court,

My mansion is, where those immortal B

Shapes

Of bright aereal Spirits live infphear'd
In regions mild of calm and serene Air,
Above the smoak and stir of this dim spot,
Which Men call Earth, and with low-thoughted care
Confin'd, and pester'd in this pin-fold here,
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish Being,
Unmindful of the Crown that Virtue gives,

After

I 3,

3

After this mortal change, to her true-Servants
Amongst th' enthroned Gods on fainted feats.
Yet fome there be, that by due feps aspire
To lay their juft hands on that Golden Key,
That opes the Palace of Eternity :
To such my errand is; and but for such
I would not foil these pure Ambrofial Weeds
With the rank Vapours of this Sin-worn Mould.

But to my task. Neptune, befides the fway
Of er'ry falt Flood, and each ebbing Stream,
Took in by lot 'twixt high and neather fove,
Imperial rule of all the Sea girt ines,
That like to rich and various Gems inlay
The unadorned bofom of the Deep,
Which he, to grace his tributary Gods,
By course commits to several Governments,
And gives them leave to wear their Saphire Crowns,
And wield their little Tridents ; but this Isle,
The greatest and the best of all the Main,
He quarters to his blue-hair'd Deities;
And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun
A nobler Peer of mickle trust and power
Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide
An old, and haughty Nation, proud in Arms :
Where his fair offspring, nurs’d in princely lore,
Are coming to attend their Father's ftate,
And new-entrusted Scepter, but their way
Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear Wood,
The nodding horror of whose fhady brows
Threats the forlorn and wand'ring Pallenger ;
And here their tender age might suffer peril,

But

But that by quiek command from Sovereign Jove
I was dispatcht for their defence and guard :
And listen why ; for I will tell ye now
What never yet was heard in Tale or Song,
From old or modern Bard, in Hall or Bow'r.

Baccbus, that first from out the purple Grape
Crusht the fweet poison of mis-used Wine,
After the Tuscan Mariners transform'd,
Coasting the Tyrrbene fhore, as the winds listed,
On Circe's Hand fell ; (Who knows not Circe,
The Daughter of the Sun; whose charmed Cup
Whoever tafted, loft his upright fhape,
And downward fell into a groveling Swine ?)
This Nymph, that gaz'd upon bis clustring locks,
With Ivy-Berries wreath'd, and his blithe youth,
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a Son
Much like his father, but his Mother more,
Whom therefore the brought up, and Comus namd :
Who ripe, and frolick of his full grown age,
Roving the Céltick and Iberian fields,
At last betakes him to this ominous Wood,
And in thick shelter of black shades imbowrid,
Excels his Mother at her mighty Art,
Oføring to every weary Traveller
His orient Liquor in a Crystal Glass, [taste,
To quench the drouth of Pbebus, which as they
(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirt)
Soon as the Portion works, their human count'nance,
Th’express resemblance of the Gods, is chang'd
Into some brutish form of Wolf, or Bear,
Or Ounce, or Tiger, Hog, or bearded Goat,

[ocr errors]

All other parts remaining as they were ; And they, so perfect is their misery, Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, But boast themselves more comely than before, And all their friends and native home forget, To roll with pleafure in a sensual stie. Therefore, when any favour'd of high Jove, Chances to pass through this advent'rous glade, Swift as the Sparkle of a glancing Star I shoot from Heav'n, to give him safe convoy ; As now I do : But first I must put off These my skie robes (pun out of Iris' Wooff, And take the weeds and likeness of a Swain, That to the Service of this house belongs, Who with his foft Pipe, and smooth dittied Song, Well knows to fill the wild winds when they roar, And hush the waving Woods ; nor of less faith, And in this office of his Mountain watch Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid: Of this occasion. But I hear the tread Of hateful fteps ; I must be viewless now. Comus enters with a Charming-Rod in one hand,

bis Glass in the other ; witb bim a rout of Monfters beaded like fundry sorts of wild Beasts, but orberwise like Men and Women, their Ap-, parel gliftering ; they come in making a riotous,

and unruly noise, with Torches in their bands, Comus. The Star, that bids the Shepherd fold, Now the top of Heav'n doth hold, And the gilded Car. of Day

His glowing Axle doth allay
In the steep Atlantic stream,
And the Nope Sun his upward bcam
Shoots against the dutky Pole,
Pacing toward the other goal
Of his Chamber in the East.
Mean while welcome Joy, and Feart,
Midnight Mout, and revelry,
Tipfie dance, and Jollity :
Braid your Locks with rosie Twine,
Dropping Odours, dropping Wine,
Rigour now is gone to bed,
And Advicc with scrupulous head,
Stri& Age, and sour Severity;
With their grave Saws in Number lie.
We, that are of purer fire,
Imitate the Starry Choir,
Who in their nightly watchful Sphears,
Lead in swift round the Months and Years.
The Sounds and Seas, with all their finny drove,
Now to the Moon in wavering Morrice move,
And on the tawny Sands and Shelves,
Trip the pert Fairies, and the dapper Elves ;
By dimpled Brook, and Fountain brim,
The Wood-Nymphs, deckt with Daisies trim,
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep :
What hath Night to do with neep?
Night hath better sweets to prove;
Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
Come, let us our rites begin ;
'Tis only day-light that makes Sin,

Which

[ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »