Page images
PDF
EPUB

Was took ere she was ware, and wish'd she might
Deny her nature, and be never more
Still to be so displac'd. I was all ear, 565
And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of death: but O ere long
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honor'd Lady, your dear Sister:
Amaz’d'I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear, 570
And O poor hapless nightingale thought I,
How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!
Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste,
Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
Till guided by mine ear I found the place, 575
Where that damn’d wisard hid in sly disguise
(For so by certain signs I knew) had met
Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
The aidless innocent Lady his wifh'd prey,
Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two, 580
Supposing him some neighbour villager.
Longer I durft not stay, but soon I guess’d
Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found you here,
But further know I not. 2. Bro. O night and shades,
How are ye join'd with Hell in triple knot, 586
Against th' unarmed weakness of one virgin
Alone, and helpless! Is this the confidence
You gave me, Brother? El. Bro. Yes, and keep it still,
Lean on it safely; not a period

590 Shall

Shall be unfaid 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 assail'd, but never hurt,
Surpris'd by unjust force, but not inthrall’d; 595
Yea even that which mischief meant most harm,
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory:
But evil on itself shall back recoil,
And mix no more with goodness, when at last
Gather'd like scum, and settled to itself, 600
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and self-consum’d: if this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
And earth’s base built on stubble. Butcome let's on.
Against th' opposing will and arm of Heaven 605
May never this just sword be lifted up;
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the grisly legions that troop
Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
Harpyes and Hydra's, or all the monstrous forms
'Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
And force him to restore his purchase back,
Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
Curs d as his life.

Spir. Alas! good ventrous Youth,
I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise ;
But here thy sword can do thee little stead;
Far other arms, and other weapons must

609

615

Be

Be those that quell the might of hellish charms:
He with his bare wand can unthred thy joints, 620
And crumble all thy finews.

Eld. Bro. Why prethee, Shepherd,
How durst thou then thyself approach so near,
As to make this relation?
Spir. Care and utmost shifts

625
How to secure the Lady from surprisal,
Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad,
Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd
In every virtuous plant and healing herb,
That spreads her verdant leaf to th' morning ray:
He lov'd me well, and oft would beg me fing, 631
Which when I did, he on the tender grass
Would sit, and hearken ev’n to exstasy,
And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
And show me simples of a thousand names, 635
Telling their strange and vigorous faculties:
Amongst the rest a small unsightly root,
But of divine effect, he cull'd me out;
The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it,
But in another country, as he said,

640 Bore a bright golden flow'r, but not in this soil : Unknown, and like esteem'd, and the dull swain Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon; And yet more med'cinal is it than that Moly That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave; 645 He call'd it Hæmony, and gave it me,

And

And bad me keep it as of sovran use
'Gainst all inchantments, mildew, blast, or damp,
Or ghastly furies apparition.
I purs'd it up, but little reck’ning made, 650
Till now that this extremity compell’d:
But now I find it true; for by this means
I knew the foul inchanter though disguis’d,
Enter'd the very lime-twigs of his spells,
And yet came off: if you have this about you, 655
(As I will give you when we go) you may
Boldly assault the necromancer's hall;
Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood,
And brandish'd blade rush on him, break his glass,
And shed the luscious liquor on the ground, 660
But feise his wand; though he and his curs'd crew
Fierce sign of battel make, and menace high,
Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke,
Yet will they soon retire, if he but fhrink.

Eld. Bro. Thyrsis, lead on apace, I'll follow thee, 665 And some good Angel bear a shield before us. The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all manner of deliciousness.: Soft music, tables spread with all dainties. Comus appears with his rabble, and the Lady set in an inchanted chair, to whom he offers his glass, which she puts by, and goes about to rise.

Com. Nay, Lady, sit; if I but wave this wand, Your nerves are all chain’d up in alabaster, And you a statue, or as Daphne was

Hh

Root

Root-bound, that fled Apollo.

670 Lady. Fool, do not boast, Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind With all thy charms, although this corporal rind Thou hast immanacld, while Heav'n sees good.

Com. Why are you vext, Lady? why do you frown? Here dwells no frowns, nor anger; from these gates Sorrow flies far: See here be all the pleasures That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts, When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns Brisk as the April buds in primrose-season. 680 And first behold this cordial julep here, That flames, and dances in his crystal bounds, With spi'rits of balm, and fragrant syrups mix’d. Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thone In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena, Is of such pow'r to stir up joy as this, To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst. Why should you be so cruel to yourself, And to those dainty limbs which Nature lent For gentle usage, and soft delicacy? 690 But you invert the covenants of her trust, And harshly deal like an ill borrower With that which you receiv'd on other terms, Scorning the unexempt condition By which all mortal frailty must subsist, 695. Refreshment after toil, ease after pain, That have been tir'd all day without repast,

685

And

« PreviousContinue »