Page images

Com.Were they of manly prime, oryouthful bloom?
Lady. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'dlips. 2 90
Com. Two such I saw, what time the labor'd ox
In his loose traces from the furrow came.
And the fvvinkt hedger at his supper sat;
I saw them under a green mantling vine
That crawls along the side of yon small hill, 295
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots;
Their port was more than human, as they stood:
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colors of the rainbow live, 300

And play i' th' plighted clouds. I was aw-struck,
And as I past, I worships, if those you seek,
It were a journey like the path to Heaven,
To help you to find them. La. Gentle Villager,
What readiest way would bring'me to that place?
Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point. 306
Lady. To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose,
In such a scant allowance of star-light,
Would over-task the best land-pilot's art,
Without the sure guess of well-practic'd feet. 310

Com. I know each lane, and every alley green,
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And every bosky bourn from side to side,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;
And if your stray-attendence be yet lodg'd, 315
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know

Ere Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark

From her thatcht pallat rouse; if otherwise

I can conduct you, Lady, to a low

But loyal cottage, where you may be safe 320

Till further quest. La. Shepherd, I take thy word,

And trust thy honest ofler'd courtesy,

Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds

With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls

And courts of princes, where it first was nam'd, 325

And yet is most pretended: In a place

Less warranted than this, or less secure,

I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.

Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial

To my proportioned strength. Shepherd leadon. 330

The two Brothers.

El. Bro, Unmuffle ye faint Stars, and thou fair Moon,
That wont'st to love the traveller's benizon,
Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
In double night of darkness, and of fhades; 335
Or if your influence be quite damm'd up
With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,
Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
Of some clay habitation, visit us
With thy long levell'd rule of streaming light, 340
And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Or Tyrian Cynosure. 2. Bro. Or if our eyes


Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their watled cotes,
Or sound of past'ral reed with oaten stops, 345
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
'Twould be some solace yet, some little chearing
In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
But O that hapless virgin, our lost Sister, 350

Where may she wander now, whither betake her
From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles?
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
Or, 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
Leans her unpillow'd head fraught with fad fears. 355
What if in wild amazement, and affright,
Or, while we speak, within the dire grasp
Of savage hunger, or of savage heat?

Eld. Bro. Peace, Brother, be not over-exquisite To cast the fashion of uncertain evils; 360

For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
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? 365

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) 370


Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,

And put them into mis-becoming 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 375

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 too ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. 380

He that has light within his own clear breast

May sit i'th'center, and enjoy bright day:

But he that hides a dark foul, and foul thoughts,

Benighted walks under the mid-day fun;

Himself is his own dungeon. 385

2. Bro. 'Tis most true,
That musing meditation most affects
The pensive secrefy of desert cell,
Far from the chearful haunt of men and herds,
And sits as safe as in a senate house; 390

For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,
His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
Or do his gray hairs any violence?
But beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard 395
Of dragon-watch with unihchanted eye,
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
From the rash hand of bold incontinence.


You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps
Of misers treasure by an out-law's den, 400

And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will wink on opportunity,
And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding waste.
Of night, or loneliness it recks me not; 405

I fear the dread events that dog them both,
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned Sister.

Eld. Bro. I do not, Brother,
Infer, as if I thought my Sister's state 410

Secure without all doubt, or controversy:
Yet where an equal poise of hope and fear
Does arbitrate th' event, my nature is
That I incline to hope, rather than fear,
And gladly banifh squint suspicion. 415

My Sister is not so defenseless left
As you imagin; fhe' has a hidden strength
Which you remember not.

2. Bro. What hidden strength, 4ig

Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that?

El. Bro. I mean thattoo,butyet a hidden strength, Which if Heav'n gave it, may be term'dherown: 'Tis chastity, my brother, chastity: She that has that, is clad in complete steel, And like a quiver'd nymph with arrows keen 425 May trace huge forests, and unharbor'd heaths,

« PreviousContinue »