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In double night of darkness and of shades j 335

Or if your influence be quite damm'd up

With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,

Though a rush candle from the wicker hole

Of some clay habitation, visit us

With thy long levell'd rule of streaming light, 340

And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,

Or Tyrian Cynasure.

Y. Bro. Or if our eyes
Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their watled cotes,
Or sound of past'ral reed with oaten stops, 3+5
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
"Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering
In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
But O that hapless virgin, our lost sister, 350

Where may she wander now, whither betake her,
From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles?
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
Leans her unpillow'd head fraught with sad fears.
What if in wild amazement, and affright, 356

Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
Of savage hunger, or of savage heat f

E. Bro. Peace, Brother, be not over-exquisite To cast the fashion of unceitain evils i 360

For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
What need a man forestal his date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid?

Or if they be bat false alarms of fear,

How bitter is such self-delusion 1 365

I do not think my sister so to seek,

Or so unprincipled in Virtue's book,

And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,

As that the single want of light and noise

(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not) 370

Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,

And put them into misbecoming plight.

Virtue could see to do what Virtue would

By her own radiant light, though sun and moon

Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self 37*

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 too ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. 380

He that has-light within his own clear breast

May sit i' th' center, and enjoy bright day i

But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts,

Benighted walks under the mid-day sun i

Himself is his. own dungeon.

Y. Bro. 'Tis most true, 385

That nusing Meditation most affects
The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
Farfrom the cheerful haunt of men and herds,
And sits as safe as in a senate house;
For who would rob a hermit of his weeds, 390
His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
Or do his grey hairs any violence?

But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree

Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard

Of dragon-watch, with uninchanted eye, 39s

To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit

From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.

You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps

Of misers' treasure by an outlaw's den,

And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope 400

Danger will wink on Opportunity,

And let a single helpless maiden pass

Uhinjur'd in this wild surrounding waste.

Of night, or loneliness it recks me not;

J fear the dread events that dog them both, 405

Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person

Of our unowned sister.
E. Br.o. I do not, Brother,

Infer, as if I thought my sister's state

Secure without all doubt, or controversy:

Yet where an equal poise of hope and fear 410

Does arbitrate th' event, my nature is

That I incline to hope, rather than fear,

And gladly banish squint Suspicion.

My sister is not so defenceless left

As you imagin; she' has a hidden strength 415

Which you remember not.

Y.bro. What hidden strength,

Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that? E.B R.0.1 mean that too, but yet a hidden streng t ,

Which if Heav'n gave it, may be term'd her own

"Tis Chastity, my brother, Chastity s 420 She that has that is clad in complete steel,

And like a quiver'd nymph with arrows keen

May trace huge forests, and unharbour'd heaths,

Infamous hills and sandy perilous wilds,

Where through the sacred rays of Chastity, 4*5

No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer

Will dare to soil her virgin purity:

Yea there, where very Desolation dwells

By grots, and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades,

She may pass on with unblench' d majesty, 430

Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.

Some say no evil thing that walks by night,

In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,

Blue meager hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,

That breaks his magic chains at curfeu time, 435

No goblin, or swart faery of the mine

Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.

Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call

Antiquity from the old schools of Greece

To testify the arms of Chastity r 440

Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow,

Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste,

Wherewith she tam'd the brinded lioness

And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought

The frivolous boh of Cupid; gods and men 445

Fear'd her stern frown, and she was Queen o' th*

What wasthat snaky.headed Gorgon shield, [ Woods.

That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin,

Wherewith she freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone,

But rigid looks of chaste austerity, 450 And noble grace that dash'd brute violence

With sudden adoration, and blank awe? x

So dear to Heav'n is saintly Chastity^

That when a soul is found sincerely so,

A thousand liveried angels lacky her, 455

Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,

And in clear dream, and solemn vision,

Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,

Till oft converse with heav'nly habitants

Begin to cast a beam on th' outward shape, 460

The unpolluted temple of the mind, •

And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence,

Till all be made immortal: but when Lust,

By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,

But most by leud and lavish act. of sin, 46 5

Lets in Defilement to the inward parts,

The soul grows clotted by contagion,

Imbodies and imbrutes, till she quite lose

The divine property of her first being.

Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp 470

Oft seen, in charnel vaults, and sepulchers,

Lingring, and sitting by a new-made grave,

As loath tp. leave the body that it lov'd,

And link'd itself by carnal sensuality

To a degenerate and degraded state. 475

Y. Bko. How charming is divine philosophy! Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, But musical as is Apollo's lute, And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets. Where no crude surfeit reigns. > w*^" „. •''

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