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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
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.
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
Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt. Milton seems to allude to the famous
answer of the philosopher to a tyrant, who threatened him with death, "Thou
mayst kill me, but thou canst not hurt me." — Thyer. 26 P. 50. Self-fed, and self -
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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.