« PreviousContinue »
Bacchantes, - - -
Bacchanals, Naiads, Spirits, £f t.
Sabrina and Pastoral Nymph,
'Bacchanals, Naiads, Spirits, &c.
Thefirst Attendant Spirit enters.
"Before the starry threshold of Jove's court "My mansion is, where those immortal shapes "Of bright aerial spirits live inspher'd "In regions mild of calm and serene air, "Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot "Which men call earth, and with low-thoughted care "Confin'd and pester'd in this pinfold here "Strive to keep up a frail and fev'rish being, "Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives, "After this mortal change, to her true servants 10 "Amongst the enthron'd gods on sainted seats. "Yet some there are that by due steps aspire "To lay their just hands on that golden key "That opes the palace of Eternity; "To such my errand is j and but for such "I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
"With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould
"But whence yon' slanting stream of purer light
"Which streaks the midnight gloom, and hither darts
"Its beamy point? Some messenger from Jove 20
"Commission'd to direct or share my charge,
"And if I ken him right a spirit pure
"As treads the spangled pavement of the sky,
"The gentle Philadcl: but swift as thought
"The second Attendant Spirit descends.
"Declare on what strange errand bent
S. Spi. "On no appointed task thou seest me now; "But, as returning from Elysian bow'rs 30 "(Whither from mortal coil a soul I wafted) "Along this boundless sea of waving air "I steer'd my flight, betwixt the gloomy shade "Of these thick boughs thy radiant form I spy'd, "Gliding as streams the moon thro' dusky clouds; "Instant I stoop'd my wing, and downward sped "To learn thy errand, and with thine to join
My kindred aid, from mortals ne'er withheld "When Virtue on the brink of peril stands.
F. Spi. "Then mark th' occasion that demands it here. 40 "Neptune, I need not tell, besides the sway "Of ev'ry salt C.ood and each ebbing stream, "Took in by lot, 'twist high and nether Jove,
"Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles
** That, like to rich and various gems, inlay
"The unadorned bosom of the deep;
"Which he, to grace his tributary gods,
"By course commits to sev'ral government,
"And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns,
"And wield their little tridents; but this isle, 50
"The greatest and the best of all the main,
"He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities;
"And all this track that fronts the falling sun.
"A noble peer of mickle trust and pow'r
"Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide
"An old and haughty nation proud in arms.
5. Spi. "Does any danger threat his legal sway "From bold sedition or close-ambush'd treason?
F. Spi. "No danger thence; but to his lofty seat, "Which borders on the verge of this wild vale, 60 "His blooming offspring, nurs'd in princely lore, "Are coming to attend their father's state "And new entrusted sceptre, and their way "Lies thro' the perplex'd path of this drear wood, "The nodding horror of whose shady-brows "Threats the forlorn and wand'ring passenger; "And here their tender age might suffer peril, "But that by quick command from sov'reign Jove "I was dispatch'd for their defence and guard.
S. Spi. "What peril can their innocence assail 70 "Within these lonely and unpeopled shades?
F. Spi. "Attend my words. No place but harbours d-nger;