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Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honoured lady, your dear sister.
Amazed I stood, harrowed with grief and fear:
And oh, poor hapless nightingale, thought I,
How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!
Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste,
Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place
Where that damned wizard, hid in sly disguise
(For so by certain signs I knew), had met
Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
The aidless innocent lady, his wished prey,
Who gently asked if he had seen such two,
Supposing him some neighbour villager.
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guessed
Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found you here,
But further know I not.
O night and shades. How arc ye joined with Hell in triple knot Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin
Yes, and keep it still; Lean on it safety; not a period Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats Of malice, or of sorcery, or that power Which erring men call chance, this I hold firm: Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt,25 Surprised by unjust force, but not enthralled; Yea, even that which mischief meant most harm, Shall in the happy trial prove most glory: But evil on itself shall back recoil, And mix no more with goodness; when at last, Gathered like scum, and settled to itself, It shall be in eternal restless change, Self-fed, and self-consumed : 26 if this fail, The pillared firmament27 is rottenness, And earth's base built on stubble. But come, let's on. Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven May never this just sword be lifted up! But for that damned magician, let him be girt With all the grisly legions that troop Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms
Alas! good venturous youth,
Why prythee, shepherd, How durst thou then thyself approach so near, As to make this relation?
Care and utmost shifts
How to secure the lady from surprisal,