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Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
In double night of darkness and of shades ; 335
Or if your influence be quite damm’d up
With black usurping milts, fome gentle taper,
Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
Of some clay habitation, visit us
With thy long level'd rule of streaming light, 349
And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Or Tyrian Cynosure.

2 BRO. Or if our eyes
Be barr’d that happiness, might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their watled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops, 345
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
'Twould be some solace yet, some little chearing
In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
But O that hapless virgin, our loft Sister, 350
Where

may she wander now, whither betake her From the chill dew, amongit rude burs and thistles ? Perhaps fome cold bank is her bolster now, Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm Leans her unpillow'd head fraught with fad fears. 355 What if in wild amazement, and affright, Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp Of savage hunger, or of savage heat?

1 Bro. Peace, Brother, be not over-exquisite To cast the fashion of uncertain evils : For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,

What

360

K 3

What need a man forestall his date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid ?
Or if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is such self-delusion !

365 I do not think my Sister so to seek, Or so unprincipled in virtue's ok, And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever, As that the single want of light and noise (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)

370 Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, And put them into mif-becoming plight. Virtue could see to do what virtue would By her own radiant light, though sun and moon Were in the flat sea funk. And wisdom's self

375 Oft seeks to fweet retir'd folitude, Where with her best nurse contemplation She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings, That in the various bustle of resort Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair’d. He that has light within his own clear breaft May sit i’th center, and enjoy bright day: But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts, Benighted walks under the mid-day fun; Himself is his own dungeon. 2 Bro. Tis most true,

385 That musing meditation most affects The pensive fecrecy of desert cell, Far from the chearful haunt of men and herds, And sits as safe as in a senate house; For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,

390

380

His

400

His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
Or do his

gray
hairs
any

violence ?
But beauty, like the fair Hefperian tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
Of dragon-watch with uninchanted eye,

395
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
From the rash hand of bold incontinence.
You may as well fpread out the unsunn'd heaps
Of misers' treasure by an out-law's den,
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will wink on opportunity,
And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding waste.
Of night, or loneliness it recks me not;
I fear the dread events that dog them both, 405
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned Sister.

I BRO. I do' not, Brother, Infer, as if I thought my Sister's state Secure without all doubt, or controversy: Yet where an equal poise of hope and fear Does arbitrate th’ event, my nature is That I incline to hope, rather than fear, And gladly banish squint suspicion. My Sister is not fo defenseless left As you imagin; she’ has a hidden strength 415 Which you remember not.

2 Bro. What hidden strength, Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that? 1 BRO. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength; K4

Which

410

Which if Heav'n gave it, may be term’d her own : 'Tis chastity, my Brother, chastity:

420 She that has that, is clad in complete steel, And like a quiver'd nymph with arrows keen May trace huge forests, and unharbour'd heaths, Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds, Where, through the sacred rays of chastity, 423 No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaneer Will dare to foil her virgin purity: Yea there, where very desolation dwells, By grots, and caverns shagg’d with horrid shades, She may pass on with unblench'd majesty, 430 Be it not done in pride, or in presumption. Some say no evil thing that walks by night, In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen, Blue meager hag, or stubborn unlaid gholt, That breaks his magic chains at Curfeu time, 433 No goblin, or swart faery of the mine, Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity. Do

ye believe me yet, or shall I call Antiquity from the old schools of Greece To testify the arms of Chastity?

440 Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow, Fair Silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste, Wherewith she tam’d the brinded lioness And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought The frivolous bolt of Cupid; Gods and men Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen o'th' woods. What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield, That wife Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin,

Wherewith

445

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Wherewith the freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone,
But rigid looks of chaste austerity,
And noble grace that dash'd brute violence
With sudden adoration, and blank awe?
So dear to Heay'n is saintly chastity,
That when a soul is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried Angels lacky ber,

455
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
And in clear dream, and folemn vision,
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
Till oft converse with heav'nly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on th’ outward shape, 460
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
And turns it by degrees to the foul's essence,
Till all be made immortal : but when lust,
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by leud and lavish act of fin,

465 Lets in defilement to the inward parts, The soul grows clotted by contagion, Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose The divine property of her first being. Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp 4.70 Oft feen in charnel vaults, and sepulchers, Lingering, and fitting by a new-made grave, As loath to leave the body that it lov’d, And link'd itself by carnal sensuality To a degenerate and degraded state.

475 2 Bro. How charming is divine philosophy ! Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, But musical as is Apollo's lute,

And

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