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• When for their teeming flocks and granges full In wanton dance they praise the bounteouis Pan, 6 And thank the gods amiss." I should be loath To meet the rudeness and swill'd insolence Of such late rioters ; yet oh! where else Shall I inform my unacquainted feet In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ? 249 Comus aside.] I'll ease her of that care, and be her

guide. Lady. My brothers when they saw me wearied out “With this long way, resolving here to lodge “ Under the spreading favour of these pines,” Stepp'd, as they said, to the next thicket side To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit As the kind hospitable woods provide. - They left me then when the grey-hooded Even, “ Like a sad votarist in palmer's weeds,

249 “ Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phæbus' wain ;' But where they are, and why they come not back, Is now the labour of my thoughts : 'tis likeliest They had engag'd their wand'ring steps too far. “ This is the place, as well as I may guess, “ Whence, ev'n now, the tumult of loud mirth “ Was rife, and perfect in my list’ning ear, " Yet nought but single darkness do I find. “ What might this be? A thousand fantasies “ Begin to throng into my memory,

259 “Of calling shapes and beck’ning shadows dire, “ And aëry tongues, that syllable mens' names “ On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses.

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“These thoughts may startle well, but not astound, “The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended

By a strong siding champion, Conscience. “O! welcome pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope, “Thou hov'ring angel, girt with golden wings, “ And thou unblemish'd form of Chastity! “ I see you visibly, and now believe, “That he, the supreme Good( to whom all things ill " Are but as slavish officers of vengeance) 271 “Would send a glist'ring guardian, if need were, “ To keep my life and honour unassail'd. “ Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud “ Turn forth her silver lining on the night ' I did not err ; there does a sable cloud “ Turn forth her silver lining on the night, “ And casts a gleam over this tufted grove." I cannot halloo to my brothers, but Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest 289 l'll venture, for my new enliven'd spirits Prompt me, and they perhaps are not far off.


Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph! thar livist unseen
Within thy aëry cell,
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet-embroider'd vale,
Where the lovelorn nightingale
Nightly to thee ber sad song mourneth well;
Sanst thou not tell me of a gentle pait
That likest thy Narcissus are?

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Oh ! if thou have
Hid them in some flow'ry cave,
Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the Sphere !
So may’st thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all heav'n's harmonies.

Comus aside. ] Can any mortal mixture of earth's

mould Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment ? “ Sure something holy lodges in that breast, “ And with these raptures moves the vocal air 300 “ To testify his hidden residence : “ How sweetly did they float upon

the wings " Of silence through the empty vaulted night, " At ev'ry fall smoothing the raven down " Of darkness till it smil'd! I have oft heard “ My mother Circe, with the Sirens three, “ Amidst the flow'ry-kirtled Naïades, “ Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs, “Who, as they sing, would take the prison'd soul " And lap it in Elysium : Scylla wept,

310 “ And chid her barking waves into attention, “ And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause ; “ Yet they in pleasing slumber lulld the sense, “ And sweet in madness robb’d it of itself; “ But such a sacred and home-felt delight, “ Such sober certainty of waking bliss, “ I never heard till now." -I'll speak to her, And she shall be my queen.--Hail, foreign wonder!

Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,
Unless the goddess that, in rural shrine,

Dwell'st here with Pan or 'Silvan, by bless’d song
Forbidding ev'ry bleak unkindly fog
To touch the prosp'rous growth of this tall wood.

Lady. Nay, gentle shepherd ! ill is lost that praise
That is address'd to unattending ears :
Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift
How to regain my sever'd company,
Compellid me to awake the courteous Echo
To give me answer from her mossy couch. 329

Com. What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you thus?
Lady. Dim darkness and this leafy labyrinth.
Co.Could that divide you from near-ush’ring guides?
Lady. They left me weary on a grassy turf.
Com. “ By falsehood or discourtesy, or why?
Lady.To seek i' th’ valley some cool friendly

spring. Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, Lady! Lady. They were but twain, and purpos’d quick

return. Com. “ Perhaps forestalling night prevented them ? Lady, “ How easy my misfortune is to hit!” 339 Com. Imports their loss beside the present need ! Lady. No less than if I should my brothers lose. Com. Were they of manly prime or youthful bloom ! Lady. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips.

Com. Two such I saw " what time the labour'd ox “ In his loose traces from the furrow came, “ And the swink't hedger at his supper sat;

“ I saw them" under a “green” mantling vine,
That crawls along the side of yon small hill,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots :
Their port was more than human;

as they stood “ I took it for a fairy vision

357 “ Of some gay creatures of the element, “ That in the colours of the rainbow live, “ And play i' th’ lighted clouds. I was awe-struck, “ And as I pass'd I worshipp'd :" if those you

seek It were a journey like the path to heav'n To help you find them.

Lady. Gentle Villager,
What readiest way would bring me to that place?

Com. “Dite west it rises from this shrubby point.

Lady.“ To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose, “ In such a scant allowance of star-light, « Would overtask the best land pilot's art, “ Without the sure guess of well-practis'd feet."

Com. I know cach lane and ev'ry alley green, Dingle or bushy dell, of this wide wood, " And ev'ry bosky bourn from side to side," My laily walks and ancient neighbourhood ; And if your stray attendants be yet lodg'd, Or shroud within these limits, I shall know 379 Ere morrow wake, “or the low-roosted lark “ From her thatch'd pallat rouse : if” otherwise, I can conduct you, Lady, to a low But loyal cottage, where you may be safe Till farther quest.

Laily. Shepherd, I take thy word,


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