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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; ** . Gentle swain, at thy request I am here. SPIRIT. 'Goddess dear, We implore thy powerful hand To undo the charméd band Of true virgin here distressed, Through the force, and through the wile, Of unblest enchanter vile. SABRINA. Shepherd, 'tis my office best To help ensnaréd chastity: Brightest lady, look on me; Thus I sprinkle on thy breast Drops, that from my fountain pure I have kept, of precious cure; Thrice upon thy finger's tip, Thrice upon 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 in Amphitrite's bower.
[SABRINA descends, and the LADY rises out of her seat.]
1 For Locrine was the son of Brutus, who was the son of Silvius, he of Ascanius, and Ascanius of Æneas, the son of Anchises. ? i.e. swelling, rising to the brim,
From a thousand petty rills,
[The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow town and the PREst.
1 Banks is the nominative case, as head was in the last line but one. The sense and syntax of the whole is, may thy head be crowned round about with towers, &c., and here and there [may] thy banks [be crowned] upon with groves, &c.—ituaré pouvro got at 3x0ai. The phrase is Greek-Calton.
Here be, without duck or nod,
[This second Song presents them to their Father and Mother.]
Noble lord, and lady bright,
[The dances ended, the SPIRIT epiloguises.]
To the ocean now I fly.”
* Pastures, corn-fields.
“Where the bee sucks, there lurk I.”
Flowers of more mingled hue
1 Flourished, embroided with the needle.
2 Venus, so called, because she was first worshipped by the Assy. rians.
3 “Comus,” observes Hallam, “was sufficient to convince any one of taste and feeling, that a great poet had arisen in England, and one partly formed in a different school from his contemporaries. Many of them had produced highly beautiful and imaginative passages; but none had evinced so classical a judgment, none had aspired to so regular a perfection. Jonson had learned much from the ancients, but there was a grace in their best models which he did not quite attain. Neither his ‘Sad Shepherd,' nor the ‘Faithful Shepherdess' of Fletcher, have the elegance or dignity of ‘Comus.' A noble virgin and her young brothers, by whom this masque was originally represented, required an elevation, a purity, a sort of severity of sentiment which no one in that age could have given but Milton. He avoided, and nothing loth, the more festive notes which dramatic poetry was
[In this monody the author bewails a learned friend, Mr. Edward King, who was unfortunately drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish seas, 1637, and by occasion foretels the ruin of our corrupted clergy, then in their height.]
YET once more, O ye laurels! and once more
wont to mingle with its serious strain. But for this he was compen. sated by the brightest hues of fancy, and the sweetest melody of song. In Comus' we find nothing prosaic or feeble, no false taste in the incidents, and not much in the language, nothing over which we should desire to pass on a second perusal. The want of what we may call personality, none of the characters having names, except Comus himself, who is a very indefinite being, and the absence of all positive attributes of time and place, enhance the ideality of the fiction by a certain indistinctness not unpleasing to the imagination.” * “It has been said, I think very fairly, that Lycidas is a good test of real feeling for what is peculiarly called poetry... Many, or perhaps we might say most readers, do not taste its excellence; nor does it follow that they may not greatly admire Pope and Dryden, or even Virgil and Homer. It is, however, somewhat remarkable, that Johnson, who has committed his critical reputation by the most contemptuous depreciation of this poem, had, in an earlier part of his life, selected the tenth Eclogue of Virgil for peculiar praise; the tenth Eclogue, which, beautiful as it is, belongs to the same class of pastoral