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And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy, “ Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds “With smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls " And courts of princes, where it first was nam'd, “And yet is most pretended.” In a place

381 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' from behind the trees.

SONG. By a Man.
Fly swiftly, ye Minutes! till Comus receive
The nameless soft transports that beauty can give ;
The bowls frolic 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,

391 Ibe most splendid palace grows

dark

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

gave.

as the

CHORUS

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

ACT II.

Ènter the two BROTHERS.

Elder Brother. “Unmuffle, ye faint Stars! and thou, fair Moon! “ That wont'st to love the traveller's benison, “ Stoop thy pale visage thro' an amber cloud, “ And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here “ In double night of darkness and of shades; “ Or if your influence be quite damm’d up “ With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,

Though a rush candle, from the wicker-hole “ Of some clay habitation, visit us “With thy long levellid rule of streaming light, 10 “ And thou shalt be our star of Arcady “ Or Tyrian Cynosure.

Y. Bro. “ Or, if our eyes “ Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear “ The folded Aocks penn’d in their wattled cotes, • Or sound of past’ral reed with oaten stops, “ Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock “ Count the night-watches to his feathery dames, «« 'Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering, “ In this close dungeon of innum'rous boughs. “ But oh! that hapless virgin, our lost sister! “ Where may she wander now, whither betake her “ From thechilldew, amongst rude burs and thistles? “ Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,

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“ Or’gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad fears : " What if in wild amazement and affright? “ Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp “Of savage hunger or of savage heat ?

E. Bro. Peace brother ; be not over exquisite - To cast the fashion of uncertain evils;

31 “ For, grant they be so, while they rest unknown “ What need a man forestal his date of grief, “ And run to meet what he would most avoid ? “Or if they be but false alarms of fear " How bitter is such seif-delusion ! “ I do not think my sister so to seek, “ Or so unprincipled in virtue's book, “ And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever, “ As that the single want of light and noise 40 “(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not) “ Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, “ And put them into misbecoming plight. " Virtue could see to do what Virtue would

By her own radiant light, tho’ sun and moon “ Were in the flat sea sunk; and Wisdom's self “ Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, “ Where with her best nurse, Contemplation, “ She plumes her feathers and lets grow

her wings, “ That in the various bustle of resort

50 “ Were all to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. “He, that has light within his own clear breast,

May sit i’ th' centre and enjoy bright day ; “But he, that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts,

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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, * 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, 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 “ Of misers' treasure by an outlaw's den

71 " 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, “ Iest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person “ Of our unowned sister.

E. Bro. “ I do not, brother, " 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

80 ܪ

90

« 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 not.

Y. Bro. What hidden strength “ 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. “Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call 'Antiquity from the old schools of Greece

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