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(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst),
Soon as the potion works, their human countenance,
The express resemblance of the gods, is changed
Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,
Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
All other parts remaining as they were ;
And they, so perfect in their misery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more comely than before ;
And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.
Therefore when any, favoured of high Jove,
Chances to pass through this adventurous glade,
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star
I shoot from heaven, to give him safe convoy,
As now I do ; but first I must put off
These my sky robes spun out of Iris' woof,"
And take the weeds and likeness of a swain,
That to the service of this house belongs,
Who, with his soft pipe and smooth-dittied song,
Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar,
And hush the waving woods ; nor of less faith,
And in this office of his mountain watch,
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
Of hateful steps ! I must be viewless now.
[Comus enters with a charming rod in one hand, his glass in the other ; with
him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but other
wise like men and women, their apparel glistering ; they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with their torches in their hands.]
The star that bids the shepherd fold,
Now the top of heaven doth hold;
And the gilded car of day
His glowing axle doth allay
In the steep Atlantic stream ;
And the slope sun his upward beam
Shoots against the dusky pole,
Pacing toward the other goal 6
Of his chamber in the east.
Meanwhile welcome joy and feast,
Midnight shout and revelry,
Tipsy dance and jollity.
Braid your locks with rosy twine,
Dropping odours, dropping wine.
Rigour now is gone to bed,
And advice with scrupulous head.
Strict age, and sour severity,
With their grave saws in slumber lie
We, that are of purer fire,
Imitate the starry quire ;
Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
Lead in swift round the months and years.
The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove,
By dimpled brook, and fountain brim,
The wood-nymphs, decked with daisies trim,
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep ;
What hath night to do with sleep ?
Night hath better sweets to prove,
Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
Come, let us our rites begin ;
'Tis only daylight that makes sin,
Which these dun shades will ne'er report.
Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
Dark-veiled Cotytto!? to whom the secret flame
Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame,
That ne'er art called, but when the dragon womb
Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom,
And makes one blot of all the air ;
Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat, and befriend
Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end
Of all thy dues be done, and none left out;
Ere the blabbing eastern scout,
The nice morn, on the Indian steep
From her cabined loophole peep,
And to the tell-tale sun descry
Our concealed solemnity.
Now to the moon in wavering morrice move;
And, on the tawny sands and shelves,
Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves.