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And trust thy honest offer'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, 380 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, bless'd Providence, and square my trial To my proportion'd strength-Shepherd, lead on.

[Exeunt.

Enter ComUS' Crew from behind the trees.

SONG. By a Man.
Fly swiftly, ye Minutes! till Comus receive
The nameless soft transports that beauty can give;
The bowl's frolick joys let him teach her to prove,
And she in return yield the raptures of love.
Without love and wine, wit and beauty are vain,
All grandeur insipid, and riches a pain,
The most splendid palace grows

dark

grave : Love and wine give, ye Gods, or take back what you gave.

391

as the

CHORUS

Away, away, away,
To Comus court repair;
There night outshines the day,
There yields the melting fair.

397

“ Benighted walks under the mid-day sun; “ Himself is his own dungeon.

r. Bro. "'Tis most true “ That musing Meditation most affects “ The pensive secrecy of desert cell, " Far from the chearful haunt of men and herds, 60 “ And sits as safe as in a senate house ; “ For who would rob a hermit of his weeds, “ His few books, or his beads, or maple dish, “ Or do his grey hairs any violence ? “ But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree “ Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard. “ Of dragon watch with unenchanted eye, 6. 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 70 “ Of misers' treasure by an outlaw's den " 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; “ I fear the dread events that dog them both, “ Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person “ Of our unowned sister. E. Bro. “ I do not, brother,

80 “ 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.

My sister is not so defenceless left As you imagine ; she has a hidden strength “ Which you remember nọt. Y. Bro. “ What hidden strength

90 “ Unless the strength of Heav'n? if you mean that. E. Bro. “I mean that too; but yet a hidden

strength, " Which, if Heav'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 “ May trace huge forests and unharbour'd heaths, “ Infamous hills and sandy perilous wilds, « Where thro' the sacred rays of chastity “ No savage fierce, bandit, or mountaineer, “ Will dare to soil her virgin purity; “ Yea, there where very 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 “ In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen, Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost, “ That breaks his magick chains at curfew time, “No goblin, or swart Fairy of the mine, “ Hath hurtful pow'r o'er true virginity.

ye believe me yet, or shall I call Antiquity from the old schools of Greece

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“ 'To testify the arms of Chastity ? “ Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow, “ Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste ! " Wherewith she tam'd the brinded lioness “ And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought “ The friv’lous bolt of Cupid : gods and men “ Fear'd her stern frown, and she was Queen o'th'

Woods. " What was the snaky-headed Gorgon shield «That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin! 6. Wherewith she freez'd her foes to congeald stone, “ But rigid looks of chaste austerity “ And noble grace, that dash'd brute violence " With sudden adoration and blank awe? o. So dear to Heav’n is saintly chastity, “ That, when a soul is found sincerely so, “ A thousand livery'd angels lacquey her, Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt, 130 “ And in clear dream and solemn vision “ 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 turn it by degrees to the soul's essence, « Till all be made immortal. « But when lust “ By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, “ But most by lewd and lavish act of sin, “ Lets in defilement to the inward parts, “ The soul grows clotted by contagion,

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140

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7. Bro.

"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 sepulchres,
Ling’ring and sitting by a new-made grave,
“As loath to leave the body that it lov’d,
" And link'd itself in carnal sensuality
“To a degen’rate and degraded state.

150 “How charming is divine philosophy! “Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, “But musical as is Apollo's lute, “And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, “Where no crude surfeit reigns.”

-List, list! I hear
Some far-off halloo break the silent air.
Y. Bro. Methought so to; what should it be?

E. Bro. For certain
Either some one like us night-founder'd here, 160
Or else some neighbour woodman, or at worst
Some roving robber calling to his fellows.
Y. Bro. Heav'n keep my sister! Again! again! and

near! Best draw, and stand upon our guard.

E. Bro.

E. Bro. I'll halloo;

If he be friendly he comes well; if not,
Defence is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.
Enter the first Attendant Spirit, habited like a Shepherd.
7. Bro. That halloo I should know-What are you?

speak.

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