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With that same vaunted name, Virginity.
Beauty is Nature's coin, must not he 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 languish'd 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 huswife's wool.
What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Morn?
There was another meaning in these gifts;
Think what, and be advis'd; you are but young yet.
Lady. I had not thought to have unloek'd my lips
In this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler
Would think to charm my judgement, as mine eyes,
Obtruding false rules prank'd 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 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-pamper'd Luxury
Now heaps upon some few, with vast excess,
Nature's full blessings would be well dispens'd
In unsuperfluous even proportion,
And she no whit incumber'd with her store;
And then the Giver would be better thank'd,
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 on?
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 utter* d to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of Virginity;
And thou art worthy that thou should'st not know
More happiness than this thy present lot.
Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetorick,
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc'd:
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 mov'd to sympathize,
And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and
Till all thy magick structures, rear'd so high,
Were shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head.
Comus. She fables not; I feel that I do fear Her words set off by some superiour power; And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus, To some of Saturn's crew. I 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 this 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 swords drawn, wrest his glass out of his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make sign of resistance, but are all driven in. The Attendant Spirit comes in.
And, O poor hapless nightingale, thought I,
How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!
Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste,
Through paths and turnings often trod hy day,
Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place,
Where that damn'd wisard, hid in sry disguise,
(For so by certain signs I knew,) had met
Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
The aidless innocent Lady, his wish'd prey;
Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two,
Supposing him some neighbour villager.
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess'd
Ye where the two she meant; with that I sprang
Into swift flight, till I had found you here;
But further know I not.
Second Brother. O night, and shades!
How are ye join'd with Hell in triple knot
Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin,
Alone, and helpless! Is this the confidence
ifou gave me, Brother?
Elder Brother. Yes, and keep it still;
Lean on it safely; not a period
Shall be unsaid for me: Against the threats
Of malice, or for sorcery, or that power
Which erring Men call Chance, this I hold firm;—
Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt,
Surpriz'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd;
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; when at last
Gather'd like scum, and settled to itself,
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and self-aonsum'd; If this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
And earth's base built on stubble. But come,
Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven
May never this just sword be lifted up!
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the 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.
Spirit. Alas! good venturous Youth,
I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise;
But here thy sword can do thee little stead;
Far other arms and other weapons must
Be those, that quell the might of hellish charms:
He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints,
And crumble all thy sinews.
Elder Brother. Why pr'ythee, Shepherd,
How durst thou then thyself approach so near,