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But where they are, and why they came not back, Is now the labour of my
thoughts ; 'tis likeliest They had engaged their wandering steps too far ; And
envious darkness, ere they could return, Had stole them from me ; else, O
thievish Night 18 ...
This is the place, as well as I may guess, Whence even now the tumult of loud
mirth Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear ; Yet nought but single darkness do
I find. What might this be ? A thousand fantasies Begin to throng into my memory,
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here In douhle night of darkness and of shades
; Or if your influence be quite dammed up With black usurping mists, some gentle
taper, Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole Of some clay habitation, visit ...
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I much prefer John Kinsella's updated version 'A Dialogic Mask' which, rather engagingly, includes John Milton's original in a beautifully produced hardback. Comus is available from Arc Publications.