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Hut that by quick command from sovran Jove I was despatched for their defence
and guard : And listen why ; for I will tell you now What never yet was heard in
tale or song. From old or modern bard, in hall or bower. Bacchus, that first from
I did not err ; there does a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night, And
casts a gleam over this tufted grove : I cannot halloo to my brothers, but Such
noise as I can make to be heard farthest I '11 venture, for my new enlivened
I have oft heard My mother Circe with the Sirens three, Amidst the flowery-kirtled
Naiades Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs, Who, as they sung, would
take the prisoned soul And lap it in Elysium : Scylla wept,9 And chid her barking ...
... Fixes instead, unmoulding Reason's mintage Charactered 20 in the face ; this
have I learnt Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts That brow this bottom
glade ; whence night by night He ami his monstrous rout are heard to howl Like.
He ami his monstrous rout are heard to howl Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their
prey, Doing abhorred rites to Hecate In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers.
Yet have they many baits and guileful spells To inveigle and invite the unwary ...
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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.