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... that liv'st unseen Within thy airy shell,8 By slow Meander's margent green, And
in the violet-embroidered vale, Where the love-lorn nightingale Nightly to thee
her sad song mourneth well ; Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair That likest thy
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Unless the goddess that in
rural shrine Dwell'st here with Pan, or Sylvan ; by blest song Forbidding every
bleak unkindly fog Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise That is 20 COMUS.
Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise That is addressed to unattending ears ;
Not any boast of skill, hut extreme shift How to regain my severed company,
Compelled me to awake the courteous Echo To give me answer from her mossy
Gentle villager, What readiest way would bring me to that place ? Due west it
rises from this shrubby point. To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose, In such
a scant allowance of star-light, Would overtask the best land-pilot's art, Without
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.