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I do not think my Sister so to seek,
She, that has that, is clad in complete steel; Or so unprincipled in Virtue's book,
And, like a quivered Nymph with arrows keen, And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever, May trace huge forests, and unharboured heaths, As that the single want of light and noise Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds; (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not) Where, through the sacred rays of Chastity, Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, No savage fierce, bandit, or mountaineer, And put them into misbecoming plight.
Will dare to soil her virgin purity;
Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost
To testify the arms of Chastity ? Sec. Br. 'Tis most true,
Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow, That musing Meditation most affects
Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste, The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
Wherewith she tam'd the brinded lioness Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds, And spotted mountain-pard, but set at nought And sits as safe as in the senate-house; The frivolous bolt of Cupid: gods and men For who would rob a hermit of his weeds, Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen o' the His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
woods. Or do his gray hairs any violence ?
What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield, But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree That wise Minerva wore, unconquered virgin, Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard Wherewith she freezed her foes to congealed stone, Of dragon-watch with unenchanted eye, But rigid looks of chaste austerity, To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit, And noble grace, that dashed brute violence From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. With sudden adoration and blank awe? You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps So dear to Heaven is saintly Chastity, Of misers' treasure by an outlaw's den,
That, when a soul is found sincerely so, And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
A thousand liveried Angels lackey her, Danger will wink on Opportunity,
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt ; And let a single helpless maiden pass
And, in clear dream and solemn vision, Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste. Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear; Of night, or loneliness, it recks me not;
Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence, El. Br. I do not, Brother,
Till all be made immortal: but when Lust, Infer, as if I thought my Sister's state
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, Secure, without all doubt or controversy ; But most by lewd and lavish act of sin, Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear Lets in defilement to the inward parts, Does arbitrate th’ event, my nature is
The soul grows clotted by contagion, That I incline to hope, rather than fear, Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose And gladly banish squint suspicion.
The divine property of her first being. My sister is not so defenceless left
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp, As you imagine; she has a hidden strength Oft seen in charnel vaults and sepulchres Which you remember not.
Lingering, and sitting by a new-made grave, Sec. Br. What hidden strength,
As loath to leave the body that it lov'd, Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that? And link'd itself by carnal sensuality El. Br. I mean that too, but yet a hidden To a degenerate and degraded state. strength,
Sec. Br. How charming is divine Philoscphy! Which, if Heaven gave it, may be termed her own: Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, Tis Chastity, my Brother, Chastity;
But musical as is Apollo's lute;
And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets, With many murmurs mix’d, whose pleasing poison Where no crude surfeit reigns.
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, El. Br. List, list ; I hear
And the inglorious likeness of a beast Some far-off halloo break the silent air.
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage Sec. B. Methought so too; what should it be? Character'd in the face : this have I learnt El. B. For certain
Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts, Either some one like us night-founder'd here, That brow this bottom-glade; whence night by Or else some neighbour woodman, or, at worst, night Some roving robber calling to his fellows. He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl, Sec. B. Heaven keep my Sister! Again, again, Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey, and near!
Doing abhorred rites to Hecaté Best draw, and stand upon our guard.
In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers. El. B. I'll halloo:
Yet have they many baits, and guileful spells, If he be friendly, he comes well; if not,
To inveigle and invite the unwary sense Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us! Of them that pass unweeting by the way. Enter the Attendant Spirit, habited like a Had ta’en their supper on the savoury herb
This evening late, by them the chewing flocks shepherd.
Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold. That halloo I should know; what are you? speak; I sat me down to watch upon a bank Come not too near, you fall on iron stakes else. With ivy canopied, and interwove Spir. What voice is that? my young Lord; With flaunting honeysuckle, and began, speak again.
Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, See. B. O Brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, To meditate my rural minstrelsy
Till Fancy had her fill; but, ere a close, El. B. Thyrsis? Whose artful strains have oft The wonted roar was up amidst the woods, delay'd
And filled the air with barbarous dissonance; The huddling brook to hear his madrigal, At which I ceased, and listened them a while, And sweeten'd every muskrose of the dale? Till an unusual stop of sudden silence How cam’st thou here, good swain? hath any ram Gave respite to the drowsy frighted steeds, Slipt from the fold, or young kid lost his dam, That draw the litter of close-curtain'd Sleep: Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook ? At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound How could'st thou find this dark sequester'd nook ? Rose like a steam of rich distill'd perfumes,
Spir. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy, And stole upon the air, that even Silence I came not here on such a trivial toy
Was took ere she was ware, and wished she might As a strayed ewe, or to pursue the stealth Deny her nature, and be never more, Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth, Still to be so displaced. I was all ear, That doth enrich these downs, is worth a thought And took in strains that might create a soul To this my errand, and the care it brought. Under the ribs of Death ! but O! ere long, But, O my virgin Lady, where is she?
Too well I did perceive it was the voice How chance she is not in your company ? Of my most honoured Lady, your dear Sister. El. B. To tell thee sadly, Shepherd, without Amazed I stood, harrowed with grief and fear, blame,
And, O poor hapless nightingale, thought I, Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.
How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly Spir. Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true. snare! El. B. What fears, good Thyrsis ? Pr’ythee Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste, briefly shew.
Through paths and turnings often trod by day, Spir. I'll tell ye; 'tis not vain or fabulous, Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place, (Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance) Where that damned wizard, hid in sly disguise, What the sage poets, taught th' heavenly Muse, (For so by certain signs I knew) had met Storied of old in high immortal verse,
Already, ere my best speed could prevent, Of dire chimeras, and enchanted isles,
The aidless innocent Lady, his wished prey; And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell; Who gently asked if he had seen such two, For such there be, but unbelief is blind, Supposing him some neighbour villager.
Within the navel of this hideous wood, Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guessed
Scc. Br. O night, and shades!
Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin, And yet more medicinal is it than that Moly, Alone, and hapless! Is this the confidence That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave; You gave me, Brother?
He called it Hæmony, and gave it me, El. Br. Yes, and keep it still;
And bade me keep it as of sovereign use Lean on it safely; not a period
'Gainst all enchantments, mildew blast, or damp, Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats Or ghastly furies' apparition. Of malice, or of sorcery, or that power
I pursed it up, but little reckoning made, Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm, - Till now that this extremity compelled : Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt,
But now I find it true; for by this means Surprised by unjust force, but not enthralled; I knew the foul enchanter though disguised, Yea, even that, which mischief meant most harm, Entered the very lime-twigs of his spells, Shall in the happy trial prove most glory: And yet came off: if you have this about you, But evil on itself shall back recoil,
(As I will give you when we go) you may And mix no more with goodness; what at last Boldly assault the necromancer's hall; Gathered like scum, and settled to itself, Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood It shall be in eternal restless change
And brandished blade rush on him; break his Self-fed, and self-consumed: if this fail,
glass, The pillared firmament is rottenness,
And shed the luscious liquor on the gro nd, And earth's base built on stubble.—But come, let's But seize bis wand; though he and his cursed crew on.'
Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high, Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke, May never this just sword be lifted up; Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink. But for that damned magician, let him be girt El. Br. Thyrsis, lead on apace, I'll follow thee; With all the grisly legions that troop
And some good Angel bear a shield before us. Under the sooty flag of Acheron, Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms
The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all manner
of deliciousness: soft music, tables spread with all dainties. "Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
Comus appears with his rabble, and the Lady set in an enAnd force him to return his purchase back,
chanted chair, to whom he offers his glass, which she puts Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
by, and goes about to rise. Curs'd as his life.
Spir. Alas! good venturous Youth,
And you a statue, or as Daphne was,
Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind El. Br. Why pr’ythee, Shepherd,
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind How durst thou then thyself approach so near, Thou hast immanacled, while Heaven sees good. As to make this relation ?
Com. Why are you vexed, Lady? Why do you Spir. Care, and utmost shifts,
frown? How to secure the lady from surprisal,
Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, Sorrow flies far: see, here be all the pleasures, Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts In every virtuous plant, and healing herb, When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray: Brisk as the April buds in primrose-season. He loved me well, and oft would beg me sing; And first, behold this cordial julep here, Which when I did, he on the tender grass That fiames and dances in his crystal bounds, Would sit, and hearken even to ecstacy,
With spirits of balm and fragrant sirops mix'd: And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thone And show me simples of a thousand names, In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena, Telling their strange and vigorous faculties: Is of such power to stir up joy as this, Amongst the rest a small unsightly root, To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst. But of divine effect, he culled me out;
Why should you be so cruel to yourself, The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it, And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent But in another country, as he said,
For gentle usage and soft delicacy? Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil:
But you invert the covenants of her trust, Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain And harshly deal, like an ill borrower, Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon: With that which you received on other terms:
Scorning the unexempt condition,
Would grow inured to light, and come at last By which all mortal frailty must subsist, To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows. Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
List, Lady; be not coy, and be not cozened That have been tired all day without repast, With that same vaunted name, virginity. And timely rest have wanted; but, fair Virgin, Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded, This will restore all soon.
But must be current; and the good thereof Lady. 'Twill not, false traitor!
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss, 'Twill not restore the truth and honesty, Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself: That thou hast banished from thy tongue with lies. If you let slip time, like a neglected rose Was this the cottage, and the safe abode, It withers on the stalk with languished head. Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these, Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown These ugly-headed monsters ? Mercy guard me! In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities, Hence with thy brewed enchantments, foul de- Where most may wonder at the workmanship; ceiver!
It is for homely features to keep home, Hast thou betrayed my credulous innocence They had their name thence; coarse complexions, With visored falsehood and base forgery? And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply And would'st thou seek again to trap me here The sampler and to tease the housewife's wool. With lickerish baits, fit to ensnare a brute? What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that, Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets, Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn? I would not taste thy treasonous offer; none There was another meaning in these gifts; But such as are good men can give good things; Think what, and be advised; you are but young And that, which is not good, is not delicious
yet. To a well-governed and wise appetite.
Lady. I had not thought to have unlocked my Com. O foolishness of men! that lend their ears lips To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur,
In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, Would think to charm my judgment, as my eyes, Praising the lean and sallow abstinence. Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb. Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments, With such a full and unwithdrawing hand. And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride.Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks, Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature, Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable, As if she would her children should be riotous But all to please and sate the curious taste? With her abundance; she, good cateress, And set to work millions of spinning worms, Means her provision only to the good, That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired That live according to her sober laws, silk,
And holy dictate of spare Temperance: To deck her sons; and, that no corner might If every just man, that now pines with want, Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins Had but a moderate and beseeming share She hutch'd the all-worshipped ore, and precious Of that which lewdly-pampered Luxury gems,
Now heaps upon some few with vast excess, To store her children with: if all the world Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed Should in a pet of temperance feed on pulse, In unsuperfluous even proportion, Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but And she no whit encumbered with her store frieze,
And then the giver would be better thanked, The All-giver would be unthanked, would be un- His praise due paid; for swinish Gluttony praised,
Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast, Not half his wishes known, and yet despised; But with besotted base ingratitude And we should serve him as a grudging master, Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go on? As a penurious niggard of his wealth;
Or have I said enough? To him that dares And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons, Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words Who would be quite surcharged with her own Against the sun-clad power of Chastity, weight,
Fain would I something say, yet to what end? And strangled with her waste fertility;
Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked The sublime notion and high mystery, with plumes,
That must be uttered to unfold the sage, The herds would over-multitude their lords, And serious doctrine of virginity; The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the un- And thou art worthy that thou should'st not know, sought diamonds
More happiness than this thy present lot. Would so imblaze the forehead of the deep, Enjoy your dear wit and gay rhetoric, And so bestud with stars, that they below That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced; Visits the herds along the twilight meadows,
Which she with precious vialed liquors heals;
And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream Till all thy magic structures, reared so high, Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils. Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head. And, as the old swain said, she can unlock
Com. She fables not: I feel that I do fear The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing spell, Her words set off by some superior power; If she be right invoked in warbled song; And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove To aid a virgin, such as was herself, Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus, In hard-besetting need; this will I try, To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble, And add the power of some adjuring verse. And try her yet more strongly.-Come, no more; This is mere moral babble, and direct
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;
Listen for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake, The Brothers rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass out
Listen, and save. of his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make Listen, and appear to us, sign of resistance, but are all driven in. The Aitendant
In name of great Oceanus;
By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
And Tethys' grave majectic pace,
And the Carpathian wizard's hook,
By scaly Triton's winding shell, We can not free the Lady that sits here
And old sooth-saying Glaucus' spell,
By Leucothea's lovely hands,
And her son that rules the strands,
By Thetis' tinsel-slippered feet,
And the songs of Siren's sweet,
And fair Ligea's golden comb,
Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
By all the Nymphs that nightly dance Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
Upon thy streams with wily glance,
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head, That had the sceptre from his father Brute.
From thy coral-paven bed, She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.
Listen, and save.
That bends not as I tread;