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Meanwhile the rural dirties were not mute, It was that fatal and perfidious bark,
100 Temper'd to the oaten fute ;
Built in the eclipse, and rigg d with curses dark, Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fawns with cloven heel That sunk so low that sacred head of thine. From the glad sound would not be absent long; Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, And old Dametas lov'd to hear our song.
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, But, О the heavy change, now thou art gone, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Now thou art gone, and never must return! Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe. Thee, shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves “ Ah! who hath reft" (quoth he) With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown,
pledge ?" And all their echoes, mourn:
40 Last came, and last did go, The willows, and the hazel copses green,
The pilot of the Galilean lake; Shall now no more be seen
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain, 110 Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays. (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain,) As killing as the canker to the rose,
He shook his miter'd locks, and stern bespake : Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
“ How well could I have spared for thee, young Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,
swain, When first the white-thorn blows;
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake
Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast,
hold Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream: That to the faithful herdman's art belongs ! 121 Ay me! I fondly dream!
What recks it them? What need they? They are Had ye been there—for what could that have
sped; done ?
And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw; The Muse herself, for her enchanting son, The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, Whom universal Nature did lament,
60 But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they When, by the rout that made the hideous roar,
draw, His gory visage down the stream was sent, Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread : Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore ? Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Alas! what boots it with incessant care Daily devours apace, and nothing sed : To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade, But that two-handed engine at the door 130 And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." Were it not better done, as others use,
Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse, Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise Their bells, and flowerets of a thousand hues. (That last infirmity of noble mind)
71 Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use To scorn delights and live laborious days; Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, On whose fresh lap the swart-star sparely looks; And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Throw hither all your quaint enamell’d eyes, Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, That on the green turf suck the honied showers, And slits the thin-spun life. • But not the praise," And purple all the ground with vernal flowers. Phæbus replied, and touch'd my trembling ears; Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, 142 “ Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine, Nor in the glietering foil
The white pink, and the pansy freak'd with jet, Set off to the world, nor in broad rumor lies : The glowing violet, But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes, The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine, And perfect witness of all-judging Jove; 81 With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head, As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears : Of so much fame in Heaven expect thy meed.” Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed, O fountain Arethuse, and thou honor'd flood, And daffadillies fill their cups with tears, 150 Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown’d with vocal reeds! To strew the laureate herse where Lycid lies. That strain I heard was of a higher mood : For, so to interpose a little ease, But now my oat proceeds,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise ; And listens to the herald of the sea
Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas That came in Neptune's plea ;
90 Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurlid. He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds, Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain ? Where thou, perhaps, under the whelming tide. And question'd every gust of rugged wings Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world; That blows from off each beaked promontory : Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, They knew not of his story;
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
160 And sage Hippotades their answer brings, Where the great vision of the guarded mount That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd; Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold; The air was calm, and on the level brine Look homeward, angel now, and melt with ruths Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd. And, 0 ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth
Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more, To lay their just hands on that golden key, For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
opes the palace of Eternity: Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor; To such my errand is; and, but for such, So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds And yet anon repairs his drooping head, 169 With the rank vapors of this sin-worn mould. And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: Of every salt flood, and each ebbing stream, So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove 20 Through the dear might of him that walk'd the Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles, waves ;
That, like to rich and various gems, inlay Where, other groves and other streams along, The unadorned bosom of the deep: With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, Which he, to grace his tributary gods, And hears the unexpressive nuptial song, By course commits to several government, In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns, There entertain him all the saints above,
And wield their little tridents: but this isle, In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
The greatest and the best of all the main, That sing, and, singing in their glory, move, He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities ; And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes. And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun 30 Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more; 180 A nobler peer of mickle trust and power Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore, Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide In thy large recompense, and shalt be good An old and haughty nation, proud in arms : To all that wander in that perilous flood. Where his fair offspring, nurs'd in princely lore, Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and Are coming to attend their father's state, rills,
And new-intrusted sceptre: but their way
What never yet was heard in tale or song,
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
After the Tuscan mariners transformid,
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
On Circe's island fell : (Who knows not Circe, 50 THE PERSONS.
The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup THE ATTENDANT Spirit, afterwards in the habit of Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape, THYRSIS.
And downward fell into a grovelling swine ?) COMus, with his crew.
This nymph, that gaz'd upon his clustering locks THE LADY.
With ivy berries wreath'd, and his blithe youth, First BROTHER.
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son Second BROTHER.
Much like his father, but his mother more, SABRINA, the Nymph.
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus nam’d:
Who, ripe and frolic of his full-grown age, The chief persons, who presented, were Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,
And, in thick shelter of black shades embower'd,
Offering to every weary traveller
To quench the drought of Phæbus; which as they The first Scene discovers a wild wood.
(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst :) The ATTENDANT Spirit descends or enters.
Soon as the potion works, their human countenance,
The express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear, 70 My mansion is, where those immortal shapes Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat, Of bright aerial spirits live inspher'd
All other parts remaining as they were ; In regions mild of calm and serene air, And they, so perfect is their misery Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot, Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, Which men call earth; and, with low-thoughted care But boast themselves more comely than before ; Confin'd and pester'd in this pinfold here,
And all their friends and native home forget, Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, To roll with pleasure in a sensual stye. Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives, Therefore when any, favor'd of high Jove, After this mortal change, to her true servants, 10 Chances to pass through this adventurous glade, Amongst the enthron'd gods on sainted seats. Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star
80 Yet some there be, that by due steps aspire I shoot from Heaven, to give him safe convoy,
As now I do: but first I must put off
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
Break off, break off, I feel the different pace Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar, of some chaste fooling near about this ground. And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith,
Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees; And in this office of his mountain watch
Our number may affright: some virgin sure Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid 90
(For so I can distinguish by mine art)
149 Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms, Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now.
And to my wily trains : I shall ere long
Be well-stocked with as fair a herd as graz'd Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his About my mother Circe. Thus 1 hurl
glass in the other ; wilh him a rout of monsters, My dazzling spells into the spungy air,
And put the damsel to suspicious flight;
Which must not be, for that's against my course :
I, under fair pretence of friendly ends, 160 The Star, that bids the shepherd fold,
And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy Now the top of Heaven doth hold;
Baited with reasons not unplausible, And the gilded car of day
Wind me into the easy-hearted man, His glowing axle doth allay
And hug him into snares. When once her eye In the steep Atlantic stream;
Hath met the virtue of this magic dust, And the slope Sun his upward beam
I shall appear some harmless villager, Shoots against the dusky pole,
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear Pacing towards the other goal
But here she comes; I fairly step aside,
And hearken, if I may, her business here.
THE LADY enters.
This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 170 Dropping odors, dropping wine.
My best guide now; methought it was the sound Rigor now is gone to bed,
of riot and ill-manag'd merriment, And Advice with scrupulous head.
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe, Strict Age and sour Severity,
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds; With their grave saws, in slumber lie. 110 When for their teeming flocks, and granges full, We, that are of purer fire,
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, Imitate the starry quire,
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
To meet the rudeness, and swill'd insolence, Lead in swift round the months and years. Of such late wassailers; yet, O! where else The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, Shall I inform my unacquainted feet
180 Now to the Moon in wavering morrice move; In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ? And, on the tawny sands and shelves,
My brothers, when they saw me wearied out Trip the pert faeries and the dapper elves, With this long way, resolving here to lodge By dimpled brook and fountain brim,
Under the spreading favor of these pines, The wood-nymphs, deck'd with daisies trim, 120 Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side, Their merry wakes and pastimes keep;
To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit What hath night to do with sleep?
As the kind hospitable woods provide. Night hath better sweets to prove,
They left me then, when the gray-hooded Even, Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,
189 Come, let us our rites begin;
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phæbus' wain. "Tis only daylight that makes sin,
But where they are, and why they came not back, Which these dun shades will ne'er report: Is now the labor of my thoughts ; 'tis likeliest Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
They had engag'd their wandering steps too far; Dark-veil'd Cotytto! to whom the secret flame And envious darkness, ere they could return, Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame, 130 Had stole them from me: else, O thievish Night, That ne'er art call'd, but when the dragon woom Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end, Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars, And makes one blot of all the air ;
That Nature hung in Heaven, and fill'd their Stay the cloudy ebon chair,
lamps Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend With everlasting oil, to give due light Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end
To the misled and lonely traveller ?
200 Of all thy dues be done, and none left out; This is the place, as well as I may guess, Ere the babbling eastern scout,
Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth The nice Morn, on the Indian steep
Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear; From her cabin'd loop-hole peep,
140 Yet nought but single darkness do I find. And to the tell-tale Sun descry
What this might be? A thousand fantasies Our conceal'd solemnity
Begin to throng into my memory,
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
Com. What chance, good lady, hath bereft you I see ye visibly, and yow believe
thus ? That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill Lad. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth. Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering Would send a glistering guardian, if need were,
guides? To keep my life and honor unassail'd.
220 Lad. They left me weary on a grassy turf. 280 Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
Lad. To seek i' the valley some cool friendly I did not err, there does a sable cloud
spring. Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady? And casts a gleam over this tufted grove:
Lad. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick I cannot halloo to my brothers, but Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest Com. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. I'll venture ; for my new-enliven'd spirits
Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit! Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off. Com. Imports their loss, beside the present need ?
Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose. Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom ?
289 SWEET Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv’st unseen Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Within thy aery shell,
231 Com. Two such I saw, what time the labor'd ox By slow Meander's margent green,
In his loose traces from the furrow came
And the swink'd hedger at his supper sat;
I saw them under a green mantling vine,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots ; That likest thy Narcissus are ?
Their port was more than human, as they stood :
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
300 Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere! And play i’ the plighted clouds. I was awe-struck,
So may'st thou be translated to the skies, And, as I past, I worshipt; if those you seek, And give resounding grace to all Heaven's harmo- It were a journey like the path to Heaven, nies.
To help you find them.
What readiest way would bring me to that place ?
Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's Lad. To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose, mould
In such a scant allowance of star-light,
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And if your stray attendants be yet lodg'd, 315
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades,
From her thatch'd pallet rouse; if otherwise, Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs; I can conduct you, lady, to a low Who, as they sung, would take the prison'd soul, But loyal cottage, where you may be safe And lap it in Elysium : Scylla wept,
Till further quest. And chid her barking waves into attention,
Shepherd, I take thy word
With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls
In courts of princes, where it first was nam'd 325 Such sober certainty of waking bliss,
And yet is most pretended : in a place I never heard till now.—I'll speak to her,
Legs warranted than this, or less secure, And she shall be my queen.-Hail, foreign wonder! I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial Unless the goddess that in rural shrine
To my proportion'd strength -Shepherd, lead on. Dwell'st here with Pan, or Sylvan; by blest song
(Exeunt) of dragon-watch, with unenchanted eye, 391 Enter The Two BROTHERS.
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit, El. Br. Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fair From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. Moon,
You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps That wont'st to love the traveller's benison, Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den, Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
Danger will wink on Opportunity, In double night of darkness and of shades; 335 And let a single helpless maiden pass Or, if your influence be quite damm'd up Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding waste. With black usurping mists, some gentle taper, Of night, or loneliness, it recks me not; Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole I fear the dread events that dog them both, 405 Of some clay habitation, visit us
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person With thy long-levell'd rule of streaming light; Of our unowned sister. And thou shall be our star of Arcady,
I do not, brother,
Infer, as if I thought my sister's state
Secure, without all doubt or controversy ;
What hidden strength, Where may she wander now, whither betake her Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean From the chill dew, among rude burs and thistles ?
that? Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
El. Br. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength, Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm Which, if Heaven gave it, may be term'd her Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad
355 "Tis Chastity, my brother, Chastity: What, if in wild amazement and affright? She, that has that, is clad in complete steel ; Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp And, like a quiver'd nymph with arrows keen, Of savage hunger, or of savage heat?
May trace huge forests, and unharbor'd heaths, El. Br. Peace, brother: be not over-exquisite Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds; To cast the fashion of uncertain evils :
Where, through the sacred rays of Chastity, 425 For grant they be so, while they rest unknown, No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer, What need a man forestall his date of grief, Will dare to soil her virgin purity : And run to meet what he would most avoid ? Yea there, where very Desolation dwells, Or, if they be but false alarms of fear,
By grots and caverns shagg’d with horrid shades, How bitter is such self-delusion!
365 She may pass on with unblench'd majesty, I do not think my sister so to seek,
Be it not done in pride, or in presumption. Or so unprincipled in Virtue's book,
Some say, no evil thing that walks by night And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever, In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen, As that the single want of light and noise Blue meager hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not,) That breaks his magic chains at Curseu time, 435 Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, No goblin, or swart faery of the mine, And put them into misbecoming plight.
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.
Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call
376 Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow,
And spotted mountain-pard, but set at nought Were all-to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. The frivolous bolt of Cupid ; gods and men He that has light within his own clear breast, Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen o' the May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
woods. But he, that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts, What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield, Benighted walks under the mid-day Sun; That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin, Himself is his own dungeon.
385 Wherewith she freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone Sec. Br. 'Tis most true, But rigid looks of chaste austerity,
450 That musing Meditation most affects
And noble grace, that dash'd brute violence The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
With sudden adoration and blank awe?
That, when a soul is found sincerely so,
And, in clear dream and solemn vision,
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear . Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard Till oft converse with heavenl; habitants