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Be it not done in pride, or in presumption. COMUS
Some say no evill thing that walks by night A Maske
In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen
Blew meager hag, or stubborne unlayd ghost
That breaks his magicke chaines at curfeu time
No goblin, or swart Faërie of the mine
Has hurtfull power ore true virginity.
Doe yee beleeve me yet, or shall I call
Antiquity from the old schools of Greece
To testifie the armes of Chastitie?
Hence had the huntresse Dian her dred bow
Faire silver-shafted Queene for ever chast
Wherewith we tam'd the brinded lionesse
And spotted mountaine pard, but set at nought
The frivolous bolt of Cupid, gods and men
Fear'd her sterne frowne, & she was queen oth' woods.
What was that snakie headed Gorgon sheild
That wife Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin
Wherewith she freez'd her foes to congeal’d stone?
But rigid looks of Chast austeritie
And noble grace that dash't brute violence
With sudden adoration, and blancke aw.
So deare to heav'n is saintly chastitie
That when a soule is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried angels lackie her
Driving farre off each thing of sinne, and guilt,
And in cleere dreeme, and solemne vision
Tell her of things that no grosse eare can heare,
Till oft converse with heav'nly habitants
Begin to cast a beame on th' outward shape
The unpolluted temple of the mind
And turnes it by degrees to the souls essence
Till all bee made immortall; but when lust
By unchast looks, loose gestures, and foule talke
But most by leud, and lavish act of sin
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soule growes clotted by contagion,
Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite loose
The divine propertie of her first being.
Such are those thick, and gloomie shadows damp
Oft seene in Charnell vaults, and Sepulchers
Hovering, and sitting by a new made grave
As loath to leave the body that it lov'd,
And link't it selfe by carnall sensualitie
To a degenerate and degraded state.
SEC. BRO. How charming is divine Philosophie!
Not harsh, and crabbed as dull fools suppose,
But musicall as is Apollo's lute,
And a perpetuall feast of nectar'd sweets
Where no crude surfet raigns.
ELD. BRO. List, list I heare
Some farre off hallow breake the silent aire.
SEC. BRO. Me thought so too, what should it be?
ELD. BRO. For certaine
Either some one like us night founder'd here,
Or else some neighbour wood man, or at worst
Some roaving robber calling to his fellows.
SEC. B. Heav'n keepe my sister, agen agen and neere,
Best draw, and stand upon our guard.
ELD. BRO. Ile hallow,
If he be friendly he comes well, if not
Defence is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.
THE ATTENDANT SPIRIT HABITED LIKE A
That hallow I should know, what are you, speake,
Come not too neere, you fall on iron stakes else.
SPIRIT. What voice is that, my yong Lord? speak agen.
SEC, BRO, O brother 'tis my father Shepheard sure.
ELD. BRO. Thyrsis?whose artfull strains have oft delayd
The huddling brook to heare his madrigale,
And sweeten’d every muskrose of the dale,
How cam'st thou here good Swaine, hath any ram
Slip't from the fold, or yong kid lost his dam,
Or straggling weather the pen't flock forsook,
How couldst thou find this darke sequester'd nook?
SPIRIT. O my lov'd masters heire, and his next joy COMUS
I came not here on such a triviall toy A Maske
As a strayd Ewe, or to pursue the stealth
Of pilfering wolfe, not all the fleecie wealth
That doth enrich these downs is worth a thought
To this my errand, and the care it brought.
But 6 [oh] my virgin Ladie where is she,
How chance she is not in your companie?
ELD. BRO. To tell thee sadly shepheard, without blame
Or our neglect, wee lost her as wee came.
SPIRIT. Aye me unhappie then my fears are true.
ELD. BRO. Whatfears good Thyrsis? prethee briefly shew.
SPIRIT. Ile tell you, 'tis not vaine, or fabulous
(Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance)
What the sage Poéts taught by th' heav'nly Muse
Storied of old in high immortall verse
Of dire Chimera's and inchanted Iles
And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to hell,
For such there be, but unbeliefe is blind.
so. Within the navill of this hideous wood
Immur'd in cypresse shades a Sorcerer dwells
Of Bacchus, and of Circe borne, great Comus,
Deepe skill'd in all his mother's witcheries,
And here to every thirstie wanderer
By slie enticement gives his banefull cup
With many murmurs mixt, whose pleasing poison
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
And the inglorious likenesse of a beast
Fixes instead, unmoulding reasons mintage
Character'd in the face; this have I learn't
Tending my flocks hard by i'th hilly crofts
That brow this bottome glade, whence night by night
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howle
Like stabl’d wolves, or tigers at their prey
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate
In their obscured haunts of inmost bowres.
Yet have they many baits, and guilefull spells
T' inveigle, and invite th' unwarie sense
COMUS Of them that passe unweeting by the way.
A Maske This evening late by then the chewing flocks
Had ta'ne their supper on the favourite herbe
Of Knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold
I sate me downe to watch upon a bank - t
With ivie canopied, and interwove
With flaunting hony-suckle, and began
Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy
To meditate my rural minstrelsie
Till fancie had her fill, but ere a close
The wonted roare was up amidst the woods,
And filld the aire with barbarous dissonance
At which I ceas't, and listen'd them a while
Till an unusual stop of sudden silence
Gave respit to the drowsie frighted steeds
That draw the litter of close-curtain'd sleepe.
At last a soft, and solemne breathing sound
Rose like a steame of rich distill'd Perfumes
And stole upon the aire, that even Silence
Was tooke e're she was ware, and wish't she might
Deny her nature, and be never more
Still to be so displac't. I was all eare,
And took in strains that might create a soule
Under the ribs of Death, but 6 [oh]ere long
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honour'd Lady your dear sister.
Amaz'd I stood, harrow'd with griefe and feare,
And Ó [oh] poore haplesse nightingale thought I
How sweet thou sing'st, how neere the deadly snare!
Then downe the lawns I ran with headlong hast
Through paths, and turnings often trod by day
Till guided by my eare I found the place
Where that dam'd wisard hid in slie disguise
(For so by certain signs I knew) had met
Alreadie, ere my best speed could praevent
The aidlesse innocent Ladie his wish't prey,
Who gently ask't if he had seene such two
Supposing him some neighbour villager;
Longer I durst not stay, but soone I guess't COMUS
Yee were the two she mean't, with that I sprung A Maske
Into swift flight till I had found you here,
But farther know I not.
SEC, BRO. O. night and shades
How are yee joyn'd with hell in triple knot
Against th' unarmed weaknesse of one virgin
Alone, and helplesse! is this the confidence
You gave me brother?
ELD. BRO. Yes, and keep it still,
Leane on it safely, not a period
Shall be unsaid for me; against the threats
Of malice or of sorcerie, or that power
Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firme,
Vertue may be assail'd, but never hurt,
Surpriz'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd,
Yea even that which mischiefe meant most harme,
Shall in the happie triall prove most glorie.
But evill on it selfe shall backe recoyle
And mixe no more with goodnesse, when at last
Gather'd like scum, and setl'd to it selfe
It shall bee in eternall restlesse change
Selfe fed, and selfe consum’d, if this faile
The pillar'd firmanent is rottennesse,
And earths base built on stubble. But come let's on.
Against th' opposing will and arme of heav'n
May never this just sword be lifted up,
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the greisly legions that troope
Under the sootie flag of Acheron,
Harpyies and Hydra's, or all the monstrous bugs
"Twixt Africa, and Inde, Ile find him out
And force him to restore his purchase backe
Or drag him by the curles, and cleave his scalpe
Downe to the hipps.
SPIRIT. Alas good ventrous youth,
I love thy courage yet, and bold Emprise,
But here thy sword can doe thee little stead,