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And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets,
Where no erude surfeit reigns.
El. Br. List, list; I hear
Some far-off halloo break the silent air.
Sec. B. Mcthought so too; what should it be?
El. B. For certain
Either some one like us night-founder' d here, Or else some neighbour woodman, or, at worst, Some roving robber calling to his fellows.
Sec. B. Heaven keep my Sister! Again, again,
and near! Uest draw, and stand upon our guard.
El. B. I'II halloo:
If he be friendly, he comes well; if not,
Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us I
Enter the Attkndant Spirit, habited like a thepherd.
That halloo I should know; what are you? speak; Come not too near, you fall on iron stakes else.
Spir. What voice is that? my young Lord; speak again.
See. B. O Brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, sure.
EL B. Thyrsis? Whoso artful strains have oft
The huddling brook to hear his madrigal,
And uweeten'd every nnukrosc of the dalef
How cam'st thou here, good swain? hath any ram
Slipt from the fold, or young kid lost his dam,
Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook?
How could'st thou find this dark sequester'd nook?
Spir. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy,
I came not here on such a trivial toy
Aa a strayed ewe, or to pursue the stealth
Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth,
Tti.U doth enrich these downs, is worth a thought
To this my errand, and the care it brought.
But, O my virgin Lady, where is she7
How chance she is not in your company?
El. B. To tell thee sadly, Shepherd, without
blame, Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.
Spir. Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true.
BL B. What fears, good Thynis? Pr'ythee briefly shew.
Spir. I'll tell ye; 'tis not vain or fabulous,
(Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance)
What the sage poets, taught th' heavenly Muse,
Storied of old in high immortal verse,
Of dire chimeras, and enchanted isles,
And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell;
For such there be, but unbelief is blind.
Within the navel of this hideous wood,
Immur'd in cypress shades a soreerer dwells,
Of Baechus and of Ciree born, great Comus,
Decpskill'd in all his mother's witeheries;
And here to every thirsty wanderer
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup,
With many murmurs mii'd, whose pleasing poison
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
And the inglorious likeness of a beast
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage
Character^ in the face: this have I learnt
Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly erofts,
That brow this bottom-glade; whence night b•
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl,
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey,
Doing abhorred rites to Hecatfi
In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers.
Yet have they many baits, and guileful spells,
To inveigle and invite the unwary sense
Of them that pass unweeting by the way.
This evening late, by them the chewing flocks
Had ta'en their supper on the savoury herb
Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold.
I sat me down to wateh upon a bank
With ivy canopied, and interwove
With flaunting honeysuckle, and began,
Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy,
To meditate my rural minstrelsy
Till Fancy had her fill; but, ere a close,
The wonted roar was up amidst the woods,
And filled the air with barbarous dissonance;
At which I ceased, and listened them a while,
Till an unusual stop of sudden silence
Gave respite to the drowsy frighted Bteeda,
That draw the litter of close-curtain'd Sleep'
At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound
Rose like a steam of rich distill'd perfumes,
And stole upon the air, that even Silence
Was took ere she was ware, and wished she might
Deny her nature, and be never more,
Still to be so displaced. I was all ear,
And took in strains that might ereate a soul
Under the ribs of Death I but O! ere long,
Too well I did pereeive it was the voice
Of my most honoured Lady, your dear Sister.
Amazed I storel, harrowed with grief and fear,
And, O poor hapless nightingale, thought I,
How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly
Then down the lawns I ran with headlong hasto
Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place,
Where that damned wizard, 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 wished prey;
Who gently asked if he had seen such two,
Supposing him some neighbour villager.
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guessed
Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found you here;
But further know I not.
Sec. Br. O night, and shades'
How are ye joined with Hell ir trp>e knot
Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin,
Alone, and hapless! Is this the confidence
You gave me, E rot her?
El. Br. Yes, and keep it still;
Lean on it safely; not a period
Shall be unsaid 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 assailed, but never hurt,
Surprised by unIust force, but not enthralled;
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; what at last
Gathered like scum, and settled to itself.
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and self-consumed: if this fail,
The pillared firmament is rottenness,
And earth's base built on stubble.—But come, let's
Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven
May never this just sword be lifted up;
But for that damned magician, let him be girt
With all the grisly legions that troop
Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms
'Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
And force him to return his purchase back,
Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
Curs'd as his life.
Sniri Alas! good venturous Youth,
I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise;
But here thy sword can do thce little stead;
Far other arms and other weapons must
Be those, that quell the might of hellish charms:
lie, with his bare wand, can unthread thy joints,
And crumble all thy sinews.
El. Br. Why pr'ythee, Shepherd, 11' i u durst thou then thyself approach so hear, As to make this relation?
Snir. Care, and utmost shifts, How to secure the lady from surprisal, Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, > It small regard to see to, yet well skill'd In every virtuous plant, and healing herb, That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray: He loved me well, and oft would beg me sing; Which when I did, he on the tender grass Would sit, and hearken even toeestacy, And in requital ope his leathern serip, And show me simples of a thousand names, Telling their strange and vigorous faculties: Amongst the rest a small unsightly root, But of divine effect, he culled me out; The leal was darkish, and had prickles on it, But in another country, as he said, Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil: Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain it daily with hi s clouted shoon:
And yet more medicinal is it than that Moly,
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave;
He called it Haemony, and gave it me,
And bade me keep it as of sovereign use
'Gainst all enchantments, mildew blast, or damp,
Or ghastly furies' apparition.
I pursed it up, but little reckoning made,
Till now that this extremity compelled:
But now I find it true; for by this means
I knew the foul enchanter though disguised,
Entered the very lime-twigs of his spells,
And yet came off: if you have this about you,
(As I will give you when we go) you may
Boldly assault the neeromancer's hall;
Where if he he, with dauntless hardibood
And brandished blude rush on him; break his
And shed the luscious liquor on the ground.
But seize his wand; though he and his cursed erew
Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high,
Or like the sons of Vulean vomit smoke,
Yet will they soon retire, if he hut shrink.
El. BT. Thyrsis, lead on apace, I'll follow thee; And some good Angel bear a shield before us.
The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all mannes ofdeliciousness: soft musir, tables spread with all dainties. Comus appears with his rabble, and the I.ady set in an en. chanted chair, to whom he offers Lb glass, which she put, by, and goes about to rise.
Nay, Lady, sit; if I but wave this wand,
Your nerves are all chained up in alabaster,
And you a statue, or as Daphne was,
Root-bound, that fled Apollo.
/.>1r/.'/. Fool, do not boast;
Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind
Thou hast immanaeled, while Heaven sees good.
Com, Why are you vexed, Lady? Why do you
Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates
Sorrow flics 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.
And first, behold this cordial julep here,
That flames and dances in his erystal boumln.
With spirits of balm and fragrant sirops mix'd:
Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thonc
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena,
Is of such power to stir up joy as this,
To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst.
Why should you be so eruel to yourself,
And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent
For gentle usage and soft delicacy?
But you invert the covenants of her trust,
And harshly deal, like an ill bostower,
With that which you received ou other term*:
Scorning the unexempt condition,
By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
Refreshment after toil, case after pain,
That have been tired all day without repast,
And timely rest have wanted; but, fair Virgin,
This will restore all soon.
Lady. 'Twill not,false traitor!
'Twill not restore the truth and honesty,
That thou hast banished from thy tongue with lies.
Was this the cottage, and the safe abode,
Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these,
These ugly-headed monsters? Mercy guard me!
Hence with thy brewed enchantments, foul de-
Hast thou betrayed my eredulous innocence
With vinored falsehood and base forg>ry?
And would'st thou seek again to trap me here
With lickerish baits, fit to ensnare a brute?
Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets,
I would not taste thy treasonous offer; none
But such as arc good men can give good things;
And that, which is not good, is not delicious
To a well-governed and wise appetite.
Com. O foolishness of men! that lend their ears
To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur.
And feteh their precepts from the Cynic tub,
Praising the lean and sallow abstinence.
Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand.
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,
But all to please and sate the curious taste?
And set to work millions of spinning worms,
That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired
To deck her sons; and, that no comer might
Bs vacant of her plenty, in her own loins
She huteh'd the all-worshipped ore, and precious
To store her children with: if all the world Should in a pet of temperance feed on pulse, Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but
frieze, The All-giver would be unthanked, would be un
Not half his wishes known, and yet despised;
And we should serve him as a grudging master,
Ana penurious niggard of his wealth;
And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons,
Who would be quite surcharged with her own
And strangled with her waste fertility;
The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked
The herds would over-multitude their lords, The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought diamonds
Would so imblaze the forehead of the deep, And so bestud with (tan, that they below pS
Would grow inured to light, and come at last
To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows.
List, Lady; be not coy, and be not cozened
With that same vaunted name, virginity.
Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current; and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself:
If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
It withers on the stalk with languished head.
Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship;
It is for homely features to keep home,
They had their name thence; coarse complexions
And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply
The sampler and to tease the housewife's wool.
What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn?
There was another meaning in these gifts;
Think what, and be advised; you are but young
yet. Lady I had not thought to have unlocked my
In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler
Would think to charm my judgment, as my eyes,
Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb.
I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments,
And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride.—
Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature,
As if she would her children should be riotous
With her abundance; she, good cateress,
Means her provision only to the good,
That live aceording to her sober laws,
And holy dictate of spare Temperance:
If every just man, that now pines with want,
Had but a moderate and beseeming share
Of that which lewdly-pampered Luxury
Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed
In unsuperfluous even proportion,
And she no whit encumbered with her store
And then the giver would be better thanked,
His praise due paid; for swinish Gluttony
Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast,
But with besotted base ingratitude
Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go onl
Or have I said enough? To him that dares
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
Against the sun-clad power of Chastity,
Fain would 1 something say, yet to what end'
Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend
The sublime notion and high mystery.
That must be uttered to unfold the sage,
And serious doc'rine of virginity;
And thou art worthy that thou should'st noi know,
More happiness than this thy present lot .
Enjoy your dear wit and gay rhetorie,
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fei
Thou r.irt not fit to hear thyself convinced;
Yet, should 1 try, the uncontrolled worth
Of this pure cause, would kindle ray rapt spirits
To such a flame of saered vehemence,
That dumb things would be moved to sympathize,
And the brute Earth would lend her nerves and
Till all thy magic structures, reared Bo high,
Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head.
Com. She fables not: I feel that I do fear
Her words set oft'by some superior power;
And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove
•ipeaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus,
To some of Saturn's erew. 1 must dissemble,
And try her yet more strongly.—Come, no more;
This is mere moral babble, and direct
Against the canon laws of our foundation;
I must not suffer this; yet 'tis but the lees
And settlings of a melancholy blood:
But thia will cure all straight: one sip of this
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight,
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.—
The Brothers rush in with swonis dr.,wn, wrest his glass out of his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make ngn of reststance, but are all driven In. The Attendant Sptrit comes la
What, have you let the false enchanter 'scape?
0 ye mistook, ye should have snatehed his wand,
And bound him fast; without his rod reversed,
And backward mutters of dissevering power,
We can not free the Lady that sits here
In stony fetters fixed and motionless:
Yet stay, be not disturbed: no.v I bethink me,
Some other means I have which may he used,
Which once of Melibeeus old 1 learnt,
The soothest shepherd that e'er piped on plains.
There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure;
Whilom she was the daughter of Loerine,
That had the sceptre from his father Brute.
She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit
Of her enraged stepdame Guendolen,
Commended her fair innocence to the flood,
That staid her flight with his eross-flowing course.
The water-nymphs, that in the bottom played,
Held up their pearled wrists and took her in,
Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall;
Who, piteous of her woes, reared her lank head,
And gave her to hu daughters to imbnthe
Innectared lavers, strewed with asphodel;
And through the porch and inlet of each dense
Dropped in ambrosial oils, till she revived,
A nd underwent a quick immortal change,
Made goddess of the river: still she retains
1 !<t maiden gentleness, and oil at eve
Visits the herds along the twilight meadows,
Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs
That the shrewd meddling elf delights to mat
Which she with precious vialed liquors heals;
For which the shepherds at their festivals
Carol her goodness Ipud in rustic lays,
And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stre
Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils.
And, as the old swain said, she can unlock
The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing sr*
If she be right invoked in warbled song;
For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift
To aid a virgin, such as was herself,
In hard-besetting need; this will I try,
And add the power of some adjuring vert"-
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;
Listen for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,
Listen, and save.
Listen, and appear to us,
In name of great Oceanus;
By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
And Tcthys' grave majeclic pace,
By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look,
And the Carpathian wizard's hook,
By scaly Triton's winding shell.
And old sooth-saying Glaucus' spell,
By Lcucothea's lovely hands,
And her son that rules the strands,
By Thetis' tinsel-slippered feet,
And the songs of Siren's sweet,
By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
And fair Ligea's golden comb,
Wherewith she siUs on diamond rocks,
Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
By all the Nymphs that nightly dance
Upon thy streams with wily glance,
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head,
From thy coral paven bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.
Listen, and save.
Sabrina rises, attended by Water-Nymphs, and sings
By the rushy-fringed bank,
Where grows the willow and the osier dajit,
My sliding chariot stays,
Thick set with agate, and the azure sheen
Of turkis blue, and emerald green,
That in the channel strays;
Whilst from off the waters fleet
Thus I set my printless feet
O'er the cowslip's velvet head,
That bends not as I tread;
dentle Swam, at thy request,
I am here.
Se. Goddess dear,
We implore thy powerful hand
To undo the charmed band
Of true virgin here distressed,
Through the furce and through the wile,
Of unbiassed enchanter vile.
Safer. Shepherd, 'tis my office best
To help ensnared chastity:
Brightest Lady, look on me;
1'lins I sprtnkle on thy breast
Drops, that from my fountain pure
I have kept, of precious cure;
Thrice upon thy finger's tip,
Thrice Uix>n thy rubied lip:
Next this marble venomed seat,
Smeared with .gums of glutinous heat,
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold:—
Now the spell hath lost his hold,
And I must haste, ere morning hour,
To wait ir Ampllitrite's bower.
Sabnni descends, and the I.vly rins oul of her seat.
Sn. Virgin, daughter of Locrine
Sprung of old Anchises' line,
May thy brimmed waves for this
Thetr full tribute never miss
From a thousand petty rills,
That tumble down the snowy hills:
Summer drouth, or singed air, s
Never scorch thy tresses fair,
Nor wet October's torrent flood
Thy molten erystal fill with mud;
May thy billows roll ashore
The beryl and the golden ore;
May thy lofty head be erowned
With many a tower ainl terrace round,
And here and there thy banks upon
With groves of myrrh and cinnamon.
Come, Lady, while Heaven lends us grace,
Let us fly this cursed nlace,
Lest the sorcerer us entice
With some other new device.
Not a waste or needless sound,
Till we come to holier ground;
I shall l," your faithful guide
Through J,is gloomy covert wide,
And not many furlongs thence
!s your Fr.ther's residence,
\Vhrre tliis night are met in state
Many a friend to gratulate
Hi s wwhe,l presence; and beeide
All the s'.v.,m., that there abide,
Wtth jigs and rural dance resort;
We shall cateh them at their sport,
And our sudden coming there
Will double all their mirth and cheer:
Come, let us haste, the stars grow high,
But night sits monarch yet in the mid sky.
The scene changes, presenting Ludlow town and the Pro* dent's castle; then come in Country Dancers, after Jnm the Attendant Spirit, with the two Brothers, and the Lady.
Se. Back, Shepherds, back; enough you play, Till next sun-shine holiday: Here be, without duck or nod, Other trippings to be trod Of lighter toes, and such court guise As Mercury did first devise, With the mincing dryades, On the lawns, and on the leas.
This second Song presents them to their Father anu Motl u.
Noble Lord, and Lady bright,
I have brought ye new delight;
Here behold so goodly grown
Three fair branches of your own;
Heaven hath timely tried their youth,
Their faith, their patience, and their truth,
And sent them here through hanl assays
With a erown of deathless praise,
To triumph in victorious dance
O'er sensual Folly and Intemperance.
The Dances ended, the Spirit epiloguises.
Sp. To the ocean now I fly,
And those happy climes that lie
Where day never shuts his eye,
Up in the broad fluids of the sky:
There I suck the liquid air
All amidst the gardens fair
Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
That sing about the golden tree:
Along the erisped shades and bowers
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring;
The Graces, and the rosy-bosom'd Hours
Thither all their bounties bring;
There eternal Summer dwells,
And West-Winds, with musky wing,
About the cedared alleys fling
Nard and Cassia's balmy smells.
Iris there with humid bow
Waters the odorous banks, that blow
Flowers of more mingled hue
Than the purfled, scarf can shew;
And drenches with Elysian dew
(List, mortals, if your ears be true)
Beds of hyacinth and roses,
Where young Adonis oft repones,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits th' Assyrian queen:
But far above in spangled sheen
Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced,
Holds his dear Psyehe sweet entranced, .