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Sec. Br. Or, if our eyes Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cotes, Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops, Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock Count the night watches to his feathery dames, 'Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering, In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs. But, О that hapless virgin, our lost Sister! Where may she wander now, whither betake her From the chill dew, among rude burs and thistles ? Perhaps some cold bank is her boister now, Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad fears, What, if in wild amazement and affright? Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp Of savage hunger, or of savage heat?
El. Br. Peace, Brother; be not over exquisite To cast the fashion of uncertain evils: For grant they be so, while they rest unknown, What need a man forestal 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! I do not think my Sister so to seek, Or so unprincipled in Virtue's book, 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) Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, And put them into misbecoming plight. Virtue could see to do what Virtue would By her own radiant light, though sun and moon Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude ;
Sec. Br. 'Tis most true,
El. Br. I do not, Brother,
Infer, as if I thought my Sister's state
Sec. Br. What hidden strength,
El. Br. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength, Which, if Heaven gave it, may be term'd her own; 'Tis Chastity, my Brother, Chastity: 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, No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer, Will dare to soil her virgin purity : Yea there, where very Desolation dwells, By grots and caverns shaggʻd with horrid shades, She may pass on with unblench'd majesty; 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 meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost That breaks his magic chains at curfew time; 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? Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow,
Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste,
Sec. Br. How charming is divine Philosophy! Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, But musical as is Apollo's lute; And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, Where no crude surfeit reigns.
El. Br. List, list; I hear Some far-off halloo break the silent air. · Sec. B. Methought so too; what should it be?
El. B. For certain *
Sec. B. Heaven keep my Sister! Again, again, and Best draw, and stand upon our guard. (near!
El. B. l'll halloo:
Enter the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, habited like a
That halloo I should know; what are you? speak; Come not too near, you fall on iron stakes else.
Spir. What voice is that? my young Lord; speak
Sec. B. O Brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, sure.
El. B. Thyrsis? Whose artful strains have oft deThe huddling brook to hear his madrigal, [lay'd And sweeten'd every muskrose of the dale? How cam'st thou here, good swain? hath any ram Slipt from the fold, or young kid lost his dam, Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook? How could'st thou find this dark sequester'd nook?
Spir. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy, · I came not here on such a trivial toy