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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
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 6 [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, He 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,
COMUS Farre other arms, and other weapons must
A Maske Be those that quell the might of hellish charms,
He with his bare wand can unthred thy joynts
And crumble all thy sinewes.
ELD. BRO. Why prethee shepheard
How durst thou then thy selfe approach so neere
As to make this relation?
SPIRIT. Care and utmost shifts
How to secure the Ladie from surprisall
Brought to my mind a certaine shepheard lad
Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd
In every vertuous plant, and healing herbe
That spreds her verdant leafe to th' morning ray,
He lov'd me well, and oft would beg me sing,
Which when I did, he on the tender grasse
Would sit, and hearken even to extasie,
And in requitall ope his leathern scrip,
And shew me simples of a thousand names
Telling their strange, and vigorous faculties,
Amongst the rest a small unsightly root,
But of divine effect, he cull'd me out;
The leafe was darkish, and had prickles on it,
But in another Countrie, as he said,
Bore a bright golden flowre, but not in this soyle:
Unknowne, and like esteem'd, and the dull swayne
Treads on it dayly with his clouted shoone,
And yet more med'cinall is it then that Moly
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave,
He call'd it Haemony, and gave it me
And bad me keepe it as of soveraine use
'Gainst all inchantments, mildew blast, or damp
Or gastly furies apparition;
I purs't it up, but little reck'ning made
Till now that this extremity compell'd,
But now I find it true, for by this means
I knew the foule inchanter though disguis'd,
Enter'd the very lime twigs of his spells,
And yet came off, if you have this about you
(As I will give you -when wee goe) you may COMUS
Boldly assault the necromancers hall, A Maske
Where if he be, with dauntlesse hardihood
And brandish't blade rush on him, breake his glasse,
And shed the lushious liquor on the ground
But sease his wand, though he and his curst crew
Feirce signe of battaile make, and menace high,
Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoake,
Yet will they soone retire, if he but shrinke.
ELD. BRO. Thyrsis lead on apace He follow thee,
And some good angell beare a sheild before us.
The Scene Changes to a stately palace set out with all manner of deliciousnesse, soft musicke, tables spred with all dainties. Comus appeares with his rabble, and the Ladie set in an inchanted chaire to whom he offers his glasse, which she puts by, and goes about to rise.
COMUS. Nay Ladie sit; if I but wave this wand,
Your nerves are all chain'd up in alabaster,
And you a statue; or as Daphne was
Root bound that fled Apollo.
LADIE. Foole doe not boast,
Thou canst not touch the freedome of my mind
With all thy charms, although this corporall rind
Thou hast immanacl'd, while heav'n sees good.
COMUS. Why are you vext Ladie, why doe you frowne?
Here dwell no frowns, nor anger, from these gates
Sorrow flies farre: see here be all the pleasurs
That fancie can beget on youthfull thoughts
When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns
Brisk as the April buds in primrose season.
And first behold this cordial julep here
That flames, and dances in his crystall bounds
With spirits of balme, and fragrant syrops mixt.
Not that Nepenthes which the wife of Thone
In Jigypt gave to Jove borne Helena
Is of such power to stirre up joy as this,
To life so friendly, or so coole to thirst.
COMUS Why should you be so cruell to your selfe,
A Maske And to those daintie limms which nature lent
For gentle usage, and soft delicacie?
But you invert the cov'nants of her trust,
And harshly deale like an ill borrower
With that which you receiv'd on other termes,
Scorning the unexempt condition,
By which all mortall frailty must subsist,
Refreshment after toile, ease after paine,
That have been tir'd all day without repast,
And timely rest have wanted, but faire virgin
This will restore all soone.
LADIE. T'will not false traitor,
T'will not restore the truth and honestie
That thou hast banish't from thy tongue with lies,
Was this the cottage, and the safe abode
Thou told'st me of? what grim aspects are these,
These ougly-headed monsters? Mercie guard me!
Hence with thy brewd inchantments foule deceiver,
Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence
With visor'd falshood, and base forgerie,
And wouldst thou seek againe to trap me here
With lickerish baits fit to ensnare a brute?
Were it a draft for Juno when she banquets
I would not tast thy treasonous offer; none
But such as are good men can give good things,
And that which is not good, is not delicious
To a wel-govern'd and wise appetite.
COMUS. 0 foolishnesse of men! that lend their eares
To those budge doctors of the Stoick furre,
And fetch their precepts from the Cynick tub,
Praising the leane, and sallow Abstinence.
Wherefore did Nature powre her bounties forth
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks
Thronging the seas with spawne innumerable
But all to please, and sate the curious tast?
And set to work millions of spinning worms,