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120

“ To testify the arms of Chastity ? “ Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow, “ Fair silver-shafied 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 “ Feard her stern frown, and she was Queen o' th'

Woods. What was the snaky-headed Gorgon shield " That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin ! “ Wherewith she freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone, “But rigid looks of chaste austerity “ And noble grace, that dash'd brute violence “ With sudden adoration and blank awe? “ 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 110 gross ear can hear, • Till’oft converse with heav'nly habitants « Eegin 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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“ Imbodies and imbrutes, till she quite lose
" The divine property of her first being.
“Suich are those thick and gloomy shadows damp
s« 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 7. Bro. “How charming is divine philosophy! " Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, “ But musical as is Apollo's lute, And a perpetuat feast of nectar'd sweets, “ Where no crude surfeit reigns.”

E. Bro. 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, Or else some neighbour woodman, or at worst Some roving robber calling to his fellows. 7. Bro. Heav'n keep my sister! Again ! again! and

near!
Best draw, and stand upon our guard.

E. Bro. l'll halloo;
If he be friendly he comes well, if not,
Defence is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.

162

Enter the first Attendant Spirit, habited like a Shepberei. Y. Bro. That halloo I should know-What are you?

speak.

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Come not too near; you fall on iron stakes else."
F" Spi. What voice is that? my young lord ?
Speak again.

170 Y.Bro. O brother, it is my father's shepherd sure. E. Bro. Thyrsis? whose artful strains have oft' de

lay'd
The huddling brook to hear his madrigal,
And sweeten'd ev'ry muskrose of the dale,
How cam’st thou here, good Swain ? has any ram
Slipp'd from the fold, or young kid lost his dam,
Or straggling wether the pent fock forsook ?
How couldst thou find this dark sequestred nook ?

F." Spi, O my lov'd master's heirand his nextjoy! “ I came not here on such a trivial toy

180 “ As a stray'd ewe, or to pursue the stealth “ Of pilf’ring wolf: not all the fleecy wealth - That doth enrich these downs is worth a thought “ To this my errand, and the care it brought. “ But oh !" where is my virgin lady ? where is she? How chance she is not in your company!

E.Bro. To tell thee sadly, Shepherd, without blame Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.

F." Spi. Ah me! unhappy! then my fears are true. E. Bro. What fears, good Thyrsis! prithee briefly shew ?

190 F. Spi. “ I'll tell ye: 't is not vain, nor fabulous, “ (Tho' so esteem’d by shallow ignorance) “ What the sage poets, taught by th’ heav'nly Muse, “ Story'd of old in high immortal verse, “Of dire Chimeras, and enchanted isles,

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“ And rifted rocks, whose entrance leads to hell; " For such there be ; but unbelief is blind. E. Bro. “Proceed, good shepherd ! I am all at

tion." FSpi. Within the navel of this hideous wood, Immur'd in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells, Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus, Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries, And wanton as his father; “And here to ev'ry thirsty wanderer By sly enticements gives his baneful cup, “ With many murmurs mix’d, whose pleasing poison “ The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, “ And the inglorious likeness of a beast “ Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage « Character'd in the face." This have I learnt Tending my dock hard by, “i'th' hilly croft " That brow this bottom glade," whence night by

night He and his monstrous rout are heard to howi “ Like stabled wolves or tigers at their prey, “ Doing abhorred rites to Hecate "In their obscured haunts and inmost bow'rs.” Yęt have they many baits and guileful spells, And beauty's tempting semblance can put on T'inveigle and invite th' unwary sense “ Of them that pass unweeting by the way.” But hark! the beaten trimbrel's jarring sound And wild tumultuous mirth proclaim their presence; Onward they move; " and see! a blazing torch

D

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“ Gleams thro' the shade," and this way guides their

steps. Let us withdraw awhile and watch their motions.

[They retire. Enter Comus Crew revelling, and by turns caressing

each other, till they observe the Two Brothers; then Elder Brother advances and speaks.

E. Bro. Whatare you, speak, that thusin wanton riot And midnight revelry, like drunken Bacchanals, Invade the silence of these lonely shades ? F. Wom. Ye godlike youths ! “whose radiant forms

excel " The blooming grace of Maia's winged son," Bless the propitious star that led you to us; We are the happiest of the race of mortals, Of freedom, mirth, and joy, the only heirs : But you

shall share them with us; This nećtar'd cup, the sweet assurance gives Of present, and the pledge of future bliss.

[Sbe offers them the cup, which they both put by.

for this cup,

SONG. By a Man.
By the gayly circling glass
We can see how minutes pass,
By the hollow cask are told
How the waining night grows old.

Soon, too soon, the busy day
Drives us from our sport and play:
What have we with day to do?
Sons of care 't was made for you.

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