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So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity,13 That when a soul is found sincerely so, A
thousand liveried angels lackey her, Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
And, in clear dream and solemn vision, Tell her of things that no gross ear can
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 ...
... and emerald green, That in the channel strays ; Whilst from off the waters fleet
Thus I set my printless feet O'er the cowslip's velvet head, That bends not as I
tread ; Gentle swain, at thy request I am hero. SPIRIT. Goddess dear, We implore
A Mask John Milton. SPIRIT. Goddess dear, We implore thy powerful hand To
undo the charmed band. 71.
So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity. Spenser, " Faerie Queene," iii. 8, 29 : — "
See how the Heavens, of voluntary grace, And sovereign favour towards chastity,
Do succour send to her distressed case : So much high God doth innocence ...
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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.