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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 fun and moon
Were in the flat fea sunk. And wisdom's self 375
Oft seeks to sweet retired folitude,
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 fit i’th'center, and enjoy bright day:
But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts,
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
Himself is his own dungeon.
385 2. Bro. 'Tis most true, . That musing meditation most affects The pensive fecresy 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 unińchanted 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
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 banish squint suspicion.
415 My Sister is not so defenseless left As you imagin; she' has a hidden strength Which you remember not.
2. Bro. What hidden strength, Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that?
El. Bro. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength, Which if Heay’n gave it, may be term’d her own: '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,
Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds,
Where through the sacred rays of chastity,
No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaneer
Will dare to soil her virgin purity:
Yea there, where every 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, 435
In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,
Blue meager hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magic chains at Curfeu time,
No goblin, or swart faery of the mine,
Hath hurtful pow'r o'er true virginity. 440
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 bow,
Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste, 445
Wherewith she tam'd the brinded lioness
And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought
The frivolous bolt of Cupid; Gods and men
Fear’dherstern frown, and shewasqueen o'th'woods.
What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield, 450
That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin,
Wherewith she freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone,
But rigid looks of chaste austerity,
And noble grace that dash'd brute violence
With sudden adoration, and blank awe ? 455
So dear to Heav'n is saintly chastity,
That when a soul is found sincerely fo, .
A thousand liveried Angels lacky her,
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
And in clear dream, and folemn vision, 460
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
Till oft converse with heav'nly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on th' outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence, 465
Till all be made immortal: but when lust,
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by leud and lavish act of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soul grows clotted by contagion, 470
Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose
The divine property of her first being.
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp
Oft seen in charnel vaults, and sepulchers,
Ling'ring, and fitting by a new made grave, 475
As loath to leave the body that it lov’d,
And link'd itself by carnal sensuality
To a degenerate and degraded state.
2. Bro. How charming is divine philosophy!
Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, 480
But musical as is Apollo's lute,
And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
Where no crude surfeit reigns. Eld. Bro. List, list, I Some far-off hallow break the filent air. (hear 2. Bro. Methought so too; what should it be? 485
Eld. Bro. For certain Either some one like us night-founder'd here, Or else some neighbour wood-man, or, at worst, Some roving robber calling to his fellows. 489
2. Bro. Heav'n keep my Sister. Again, again, and Best draw, and stand upon our guard. (near;
Eld. Bro. I'll hallow; If he be friendly, he comes well; if not, Defense is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.
The attendent Spirit habited like a Mhepherd. That hallow I should know, what are you? speak; Come not too near, you fall on iron stakes else. 496 Spir. What voice is that? my young Lord? speak
again. 2. Bro. O brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, sure. Eld. Bro. Thyrsis ? whose artful strains have oft
The huddling brook to hear his madrigal 500
And sweeten'd every muskrose of the dale.
How cam'st thou here, good Swain? hath any ram
Slipt from the fold, or young kid loft his dam,
Or ftraggling weather the pent flock forsook ? 504
How could'st thou find this dark sequester'd nook ?
· Spir. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy,
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