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COMUS In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan,
A Maske And thanke the gods amisse. I should be loath
To meet the rudenesse, and swill'd insolence
Of such late Wassailers; yet 6 [oh] where else
Shall I informe my unacquainted feet
In the blind mazes of this tangled wood?
My Brothers when they saw me wearied out
With this long way, resolving here to lodge
Under the spreading favour of these Pines
Stept as they se'd to the next Thicket side
To bring me Berries, or such cooling fruit
As the kind hospitable woods provide.
They left me then, when the gray-hooded Ev'n
Like a sad Votarist in Palmer weeds
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus waine.
But where they are, and why they came not back
Is now the labour of my thoughts, 'tis likeliest
They had ingag'd their wandring steps too far,
And envious darknesse, e're they could returne,
Had stolne them from me, else 6 [oh] theevish Night
Why shouldst thou, but for some fellonious end
In thy darke lanterne thus close up the Stars,
That nature hung in Heav'n, and fill'd their lamps
With everlasting oile to give due light
To the misled, and lonely Travailer.
This is the place, as well as I may guesse
Whence even now the tumult of loud Mirth
Was rife, and perfect in my listening eare,
Yet nought but single darknesse doe I find,
What might this be? a thousand fantasies
Begin to throng into my memorie
Of calling shapes, and beckning shadows dire,
And ayrie tongues, that syllable mens names
On Sands, and Shoars, and desert Wildernesses.
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound
The vertuous mind, that ever walks attended
By a strong siding champion Conscience.—
O welcome pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope

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Thou flittering Angel girt with golden wings, COMUS

And thou unblemish't forme of Chastitie A Maske

I see yee visibly, and now beleeve

That he, the Supreme good, t' whom all things ill

Are but as slavish officers of vengeance

Would send a glistring Guardian if need were

To keepe my life, and honour unassail'd.

Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud

Turne forth her silver lining on the night?

I did not erre, there does a sables cloud

Turne forth her silver lining on the night

And casts a gleame over this tufted Grove.

I cannot hallow to my Brothers, but

Such noise as I can make to be heard fardest

He venter, for my new enliv'nd spirits

Prompt me; and they perhaps are not farre off.


Sweet echo, sweetest Nymph that liv'st unseene
Within thy ayrie shell

By slow Meander's margent greene,
And in the violet-imbroider'd vale

Where the love-lorne Nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad Song mourneth well.

Canst thou not tell me of a gentle Paire
That likest thy Narcissus are?

O if thou have
Hid them in some flowrie Cave,
Tell me but where
Sweet Queene of Parlie, Daughter of the Sphare,
So maist thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all Heav'ns Harmonies.

COMUS. Can any mortall mixture of Earths mould
Breath such Divine inchanting ravishment?
Sure something holy lodges in that brest,
And with these raptures moves the vocal aire
To testifie his hidden residence;


COMUS How sweetly did they float upon the wings
A Maske Of Silence, through the emptie-vaulted night
At every fall smoothing the Raven downe
Of darknesse till she smil'd: I have oft heard
My mother Circe with the Sirens three
Amidst the flowrie-kirtl'd Naiades
Culling their Potent hearbs, and balefull drugs
Who as they sung, would take the prison'd soule
And lap it in Elysium, Scylla wept,
And chid her barking waves into attention,
And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause:
Yet they in pleasing slumber lull'd the sense
And in sweet madnesse rob'd it of it selfe,
But such a sacred, and home-felt delight,
Such sober certainty of waking blisse
I never heard till now. He speak to her
And she shall be my Queene. Haile forreine wonder
Whom certaine these rough shades did never breed
Unlesse the Goddesse that in rurall shrine
Dwell'st here with Pan, or Silvan, by blest Song
Forbidding every bleake unkindly Fog
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood.
LADIE. Nay gentle Shepherd ill is lost that praise
That is addrest to unattending Eares,
Not any boast of skill, but extreame shift
How to regaine my fever'd companie
Compell'd me to awake the courteous Echo
To give me answer from her mossie Couch.
COMUS. What chance good Ladie hath bereft you thus?
LADIE. Dim darknesse, and this leavie Labyrinth.
COMUS. Could that divide you from neer e-ushering guides?
LADIE. They left me weary on a grassie terfe.
COMUS. By falsehood, or discourtesie, or why?
LADIE. To seeke i'th vally some coole friendly Spring.
COMUS. And left your faire side all unguarded Ladie?
LADIE. They were but twaine, & purpos'd quick return.
COMUS. Perhaps fore-stalling night prevented them.
LADIE. How easie my misfortune is to hit!

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COMUS. Imports their losse, beside the praesent need? COMUS

LADIE. No lesse then if I should my brothers lose. A Maske

COMUS. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?

LADIE. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips.

COMUS. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd Oxe

In his loose traces from the furrow came,

And the swink't hedger at his Supper sate;

I saw them under a greene mantling vine

That crawls along the side of yon small hill,

Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots,

Their port was more then humaine; as they stood,

I tooke it for a faerie vision

Of some gay creatures of the element

That in the colours of the Rainbow live

And play i'th plighted clouds, I was aw-strooke,

And as I past, I worshipt; if those you seeke

It were a journey like the path to heav'n

To helpe you find them.

LADIE. Gentle villager

"What readiest way would bring me to that place?

COMUS. Due west it rises from this shrubbie point.

LADIE. To find out that good shepheard I suppose

In such a scant allowance of starre light

"Would overtask the best land-pilots art

Without the sure guesse of well-practiz'd feet.

COMUS. I know each lane, and every alley greene

Dingle, or bushie dell of this wild wood,

And every boskie bourne from side to side

My daylie walks and ancient neighbourhood,

And if your stray attendance be yet lodg'd

Or shroud within these limits, I shall know

Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted larke

From her thach't palate rowse, if otherwise

I can conduct you Ladie to a low i

But loyall cottage, where you may be safe

Till further quest.'

LADIE. Shepheard I take thy word,

And trust thy honest offer'd courtesie,

COMUS Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
A Maske With smoakie rafters, then in tapstrie halls,

And courts of Princes, where it first was nam'd,

And yet is most praetended: in a place

Lesse warranted then this, or lesse secure

I cannot be, that I should feare to change it,

Eye me blest Providence, and square my triall

To my proportion'd strength. Shepheard lead on.—


ELD. BRO. Unmuffle yee faint stars, and thou fair moon
That wontst to love the travailers benizon
Stoope thy pale visage through an amber cloud
And disinherit Chaos, that raigns here
In double night of darknesse, and of shades;
Or if your influence be quite damm'd up
With black usurping mists, some gentle taper
Though a rush candle from a wicker hole
Of some clay habitation visit us
With thy long levell'd rule of streaming light
And thou shalt be our starre of Arcadie
Or Tyrian Cynosure.
SEC. BRO. Or if our eyes
Be barr'd that happinesse, might we but heare
The folded flocks pen'd in their watled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops,
Or whistle from the Lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his featherie Dames,
T would be some solace yet, some little chearing
In this close dungeon of innumerous bowes.
But 6 [oh] that haplesse virgin our lost sister
Where may she wander now, whether betake her
From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles?
Perhaps some cold banke is her boulster now
Or 'gainst the rugged barke of some broad Elme
Leans her unpillow'd head fraught with sad fears.
What if in wild amazement, and affright
Or while we speake within the direfull graspe

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