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Of Savage hunger, or of Savage heat? COMUS

ELD. BRO. Peace brother, be not over exquisite A Maske

To cast the fashion of uncertaine evils,
For grant they be so, while they rest unknowne
What need a man forestall his date of griefe
And run to meet what he would most avoid?
Or if they be but false alarms of Feare
How bitter is such selfe-delusion?
I doe not thinke my sister so to seeke
Or so unprincipl'd in vertues book
And the sweet peace that goodnesse bosoms ever
As that the single want of light, and noise
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)
Could stir the constant mood of her calme thoughts
And put them into mis-becomming plight.
Vertue could see to doe what vertue would
By her owne radiant light, though Sun and Moon
Were in the flat Sea sunck, and Wisdoms selfe
Oft seeks to sweet retired Solitude
Where with her best nurse Contemplation
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all to ruffl'd, and sometimes impair'd.
He that has light within his owne cleere brest
May sit i' th center, and enjoy bright day,
But he that hides a darke soule, and foule thoughts
Benighted walks under the mid-day Sun,
Himselfe is his owne dungeon.
SEC. BRO. 'Tis most true
That musing meditation most affects
The Pensive secrecie of desert cell
Farre from the cheerefull haunt of men, and heards,
And sits as safe as in a Senat house
For who would rob an Hermit of his weeds
His few books, or his beades, or maple dish,
Or doe his gray hairs any violence?
But beautie like the faire Hesperian tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard

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COMUS Of dragon watch with uninchanted eye
A Maske To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.
You may as well spread out the unsun'd heaps
Of misers treasure by an outlaws den
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will winke on opportunitie
And let a single helplesse mayden passe
Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding wast.
Of night, or lonelynesse it recks me not
I feare the dred events that dog them both,
Lest some ill greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned sister.
ELD. BRO. I doe not brother
Inferre, as if I thought my sisters state
Secure without all doubt, or controversie:
Yet where an equall poise of hope, and feare
Does arbitrate th' event, my nature is
That I encline to hope, rather then feare
And gladly banish squint suspicion.
My sister is not so defencelesse lest
As you imagine, she has a hidden strength
Which you remember not.
SEC. BRO. What hidden strength
Unlesse the strength of heav'n, if meane that?
ELD. BRO. I meane that too, but yet a hidden strength
"Which if heav'n gave it, may be term'd her owne:
'Tis chastitie, my brother, chastitie:
She that has that, is clad in compleat Steele,
And like a quiver'd nymph with arrowes keene
May trace huge forrests, and unharbour'd heaths
Infamous hills, and sandy perillous wilds
Where through the sacred rays of chastitie
No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaneere
Will dare to soyle her virgin puritie
Yea there, where very desolation dwells
By grots, and caverns shag'd with horrid shades
She may passe on with unblench't majestie

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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 Faerie 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

COMUS The divine propertie of her first being.

A Maske 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 Philosophic!

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. BRO. Heav'n keepe my sister, agen agen and neere,

Best draw, and stand upon our guard.

ELD. BRO. He hallow,

If he be friendly he comes well, if not

Defence is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.


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. Whatf ears good Thyrsis? prethee briefly shew.

SPIRIT. He tell you, 'tis not vaine, or fabulous

(Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance)

"What the sage Poets taught by th' heav'nly Muse

Storied of old in high immortall verse

Of dire Chimera's and inchanted lles

And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to hell,

For such there be, but unbeliefe is blind.

jHfH "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

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