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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 unpraised,
Not half his riches known, and yet despised;
And we should serve him as a grudging master,
As a penurious niggard of his wealth,
And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons,
Who would be quite surcharged with her own weight,
And strangled with her waste fertility; [plumes,1
The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked with
The herds would over-multitude their lords,
The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought diamonds
Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep,
And so bestud with stars, that they below
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.5
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,3
They had their name thence; coarse complexios,
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?
1 The image is taken from what the ancients said of the air of the northern islands, that it was clogged and darkened with feathers.
» Spenser, F. Q. ii. 12, 75 :—
"Gather therefore the rose, whilst yet is prime,
8 So in the Two Gentlemen of Verona:—
"Home-keeping youths have ever homely wits."
There was another meaning in these gifts;
Think what, and be advised: you are but young yet .
I had not thought to have unlocked my lips1 In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes, Obtruding false rules prankt4 in reason's garb. I hate when vice can bolt3 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 according 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 unsuperfiuous 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 0:1? 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 I 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 doctrine of virginity; And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know More happiness than this thy present lot. Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric, That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence, Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced;
1 The six following lines are spoken aside.—Sympson.
2 Decked, dressed.
3 Sift, or dart, aim. See Newton.
Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
That dumb things would be moved to sympathize,
And the brute earth would lend her nerves, and shake,
Till all thy magic structures, reared so high,
Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head.
She fables not: I feel that I do fear1
[The Brothers rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass ont
What, have you let the false enchanter 'scape?
There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
1 Perhaps it is better to put a semicolon after that, meaning: "I feel that she does not fable," &c.—Sympson. These six lines are also spoken aside.
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure;
1 Locrine, king of the Britons, married Guendolen, the daughter of Corineus, Duke of Cornwall; hut in secret, for fear of Corineus, he loved Estrildis, a fair captive whom he had taken in a battle with Humber, king of the Huns, and had by her a daughter equally fair, whose name was Sabrina. But when once his fear was off, by the death of Corineus, not content with secret enjoyment, divorcing Guendolen, he made Estrildis now his queen. Guendolen, all in rage, departs into Cornwall, and, gathering an army of her father's friends and subjects, gives battle to her husband by the river Sture; wherein Locrine, shot with an arrow, ends his life. But not so ends the fury of Guendolen, for Estrildis and her daughter Sabra she throws into a river; and, to leave a monument of revenge, proclaims that the stream be thenceforth called after the damsel's name, which by length of time is now called Sabrina or Severn. This is the account given by Milton himself in the first book of his History of England; but he here takes some liberties with the story, in order to heighten the character of Sabrina.—Newton.
• Puck, or Eobin Goodfellow.
If she be right invoked in warbled song;
Listen where thou art sitting
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
Listen, and appear to us,
By Leucothea's lovely hands,
1 i.«. Proteus.
2 This tomb was at Naples.
3 One of the sirens, and also a sea-nymph.
Listen, and save
Listen, and save.