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What need a man forestall his date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid?
Or if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is such self-delusion!
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,)
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
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-to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd.
He, that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i' the center, and enjoy bright day:
But he, that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts,
Benighted walks under the raid-day sun;
Himself is his own dungeon.
Second Brother. 'Tis most true,
That musing Meditation most affects
Elder Brother. I do not, Brother,
Infer, as if I thought my Sister's state
Which you remember not.
Second Brother. What hidden strength,
Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that?
Elder Brother. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength, Which, if Heaven gave it, may be term'd her own "Pis Chastity, my Brother, Chastity: 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, No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer, Will dare to spoil 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, 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 magick chains at Curfeu time, 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? Hence had the huntress Dian her dread brow,
Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste,
The divine property of her first being.
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp,
Oft seen in charnel vaults and sepulchres
Lingering, and sitting by a new made grave,
As loth to leave the body that it lov'd,
And link'd itself by carnal sensuality
To a degenerate and degraded state.
Second Brother. 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.
Elder Brother. List, list; I hear
Some far off holloo break the silent air.
Second Brother. Methought so too; what should it be?
Elder Brother. For certain
Either some one like us night-founder'd here,
Second Brother. Heaven keep my Sister. Again, and near!: Best draw, and stand upon our guard.
Elder Brother.. I'll halloo:
If he be friendly, he comes well; if not,