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Of riot and ill-managed merriment,
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe,
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds,
When for their teeming flocks and granges full,

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In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan,
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth
To meet the rudeness, and swill’d insolence
Of such late wassailers; yet, O! where else
Shall I inform my unacquainted feet

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In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ?
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,

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To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit
As the kind hospitable woods provide.
They left me then, when the gray-hooded Even,
Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus' wain.
But where they are, and why they came not back,
Is now the labour of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest
They had engaged their wandering steps too far;
And envious darkness, ere they could return,
Had stole them from me: else, O thievish Night, 195
Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious end,
In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars,
That Nature hung in heaven, and fill’d their lamps
With everlasting oil, to give due light
To the misled and lonely traveller?

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This is the place, as well as I may guess,
Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth
Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear;
Yet naught but single darkness do I find.
What might this be? A thousand fantasies

205 Begin to throng into my memory,

Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, 177. Amiss. How much is expressed peare in “ As you Like it," and Fletcher in this one little worl!

in the “Faithful Shepherdess," with fre178. Swille insolence, &c. In some quent and even unavoidable opportuni. parts of England it is still customary for ties of rural delineation, and that of the a company of mummers to go about, in most romantic kind. But Milton has had the evening of the Christinas-holidays, auditional advantages: his forest is not carousing from house to house, who are ouly the residence of a magician, but is called wussuilers. In Macbeth, “wine exhibited under the gloom of midnight.and wassel" mean, in general terms, T. WARTOX. feasting and drunkenness.-T. WARTOX. 195. Thierish night. In the present Swill d insolence is similar to flown with age, would Milton have introduced this insolence. Par. Lost, i. 502. To swill, is passage, where thievish Night is supto «Irink gro-sly or greedily; and hence posel, for some felonious purpose, to swilld in solence is insolence caused by shut up the stars in her dark lantern ? intemperate drinking.

Certainly not. But in the present a e, 187. Hospitable woods. By laying the correct and rational as it is, had * Comus" scene of his Mask in a wild forest, Mil- been written, we should not perhaps ton secured to himself a perpetual fund have had some of the greatest beautieg of picturesque description, which, result- of its wild and romantic imagery.-T. ing from situation, was always at band. WARTOR. The same happy choice of scene sup- 207. Calling shapes, &c. The old books plied Sophocles in “ Philoctetes," Shaks- of voyages and travels, in which Milton

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And aery tongues that syllable men's names
On sands, and shores, and desart wildernesses.
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
By a strong-siding champion, Conscience.-
0, welcome, pure-eyed Faith; white-handed Hope,
Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings;
And thou, unblemish'd form of Chastity!
I see ye visibly, and now believe
That ře, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were,
To keep my life and honour unassail'd.
Was I deceived, 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,
I'll venture; for my new-enliven'd spirits
Prompt me: and they perhaps are not far off.

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SONG.

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Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
Within thy aery

shell,
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet-embroider'd vale,

Where the love-lorn nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well;
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair

That likest thy Narcissus are?

0, if thou have
Hid them in some flowery cave,

Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere!

So mayst thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all IIeaven's harmonies.

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delighted, were filled with superstitious | tiful compound epithet, and the combistories.

nation of the two words that compose 208. Syllable, to pronounce distinctly. it, natural and easy.-J. WARTOX. 214. Hocering. This word is here ap- 234. Love-lorn, deprived of her mate. plied with peculiar propriety to the an- 241. Daughter of the sphere. Milton gel Hope, in sight, on the wing.-T. has given her a much bolder and more WARTOX.

poetical original than any of the ancient 223. There does a sable cloud. The re- mythologists. He supposes her to owe petition arising from the conviction and her first existence to the reverberation of confidence of an unaccusing conscience, the music of the spheres; in consequence is inimitably beautiful. When all suo of which he had just before called the hocour seems lost, Heaven unexpectedly rizon ber aery shell. And from the gods presents the silver lining of a sable cloud (like other celestial beings of the classito the virtuous.-T. WARTON.

cal order) she came down to men.-WAR231. Shell. Hurd and Warburton ob- BURTOX. Berve that shell means the horizon, the 213. Give, dc. What an exquisite fancy hollow circumference of the heavens. this of echo in heaven redoubling the di233. Violet embroider'd. This is a beau- vine music!

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Enter Comus.
Com. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould
Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment?

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Sure something holy lodges in that breast,
And with these raptures moves the vocal air
To testify his hidden residence.
How sweetly did they float upon the wings
Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night,

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At every fall smoothing the raven down
Of darkness, till it smiled! I have oft heard
My mother Circe with the sirens three,
Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades,
Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs;
Who, as they sung, would take the prison’d soul,
And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept,
And chid her barking waves into attention,
And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause:
Yet they in pleasing slumber lull’d the sense,

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And in sweet 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 Sylvan, by bless'd song
Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood.

Lad. 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,
Compell’d me to awake the courteous Echo

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To give me answer from her mossy couch.
Com. What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you

thus?
LAD. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth.
Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering guides?
Lad. They left me weary on a grassy turf.

Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? 254, Flowery-kirtled, so called, because | Greek, he would speak as Plato has writthey were employed in collecting flowers. ten, so we may say of this language of Newton remarks here, that kirtle is a Milton, that if Jupiter were to speak woman's gown.

English, he would express himself in 256. Would take the prison'd soul. The this manner. The passage is exceedingly mermaidens of modern tale and story beautiful in every respect; but all realinherit all the powers of the sirens of ers of taste will acknowledge that the classic song: they are described as women style of it is much raised by the expres. to the waist, and fair, with bright eyes, sion, unless the goddess, an elliptical and locks which they are continually expression, unusual in our language, braiding; and they are represented as though common enough in Greek and having great power to charm every bo Latin. But if we were to fill it up, and holder.

say, "unless thou beest the godidess," 207. Unless the goddess. Comus' address how flat and insipid would it make the to the lady is in a very high style of clas- composition, compared with what it is. sical gallantry. As Cicero says of Plato's LORD MONBODDO. language, that if Jupiter were to speak

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Lad. To seek in the valley some cool friendly spring.
Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, Lady?
LAD. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick return.
Com. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them.
Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit!
Com. Imports their loss, beside the present need?
Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose.
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
Lad. 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'd 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 faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colours of the rainbow live,
And play in the plighted 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 heaven,
To help you find them.
LAD.

Gentle villager,
What readiest way would bring me to that place?

Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point.

Lad. 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-practised feet.

Com. I know each lane, and every alley green,
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And every bosky bourn from side to side,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;
And if your stray attendance be yet lodged,
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
From her thatch'd pallet rouse; if otherwise,
I can conduct you, Lady, to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
Till further quest.
LAD.

Shepherd, I take thy word,
And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds

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291. What time, a pure Latinism, quo braided or embroidered clouds, in which tempore; and this notation of time is in certain airy elemental beings are most the pastoral manner of Virgil and Ho poetically suppored to sport, thus prorace.

ducing a variety of transient and daz293. Swink'd, tired, fatigued.

zling colours. I may observe that the 209. Element, used for the sky.

modern word is "plaited."-T. WARTON. 301. Plighted douds. The lustre of 313. Bosky bourn. Bosky is, woody or Milton's brilliant imagery is half ob rather bushy, and a bourn is a winding, scured, while plighted remains unex. deep, and narrow valley, with a rivulet plained. We are to understand the at the bottom.

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With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls
And courts of princes, where it first was named,
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 the Two BROTHERS.
El. Br. Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fair moon,
That wont'st to love the traveller's benison,
Stoop thy pale visage through 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-levell’d rule of streaming light;
And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Or Tyrian cynosure.
Sec. BR.

Or, if our eyes
Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral 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 innumerous boughs.
But, O, that hapless virgin, our lost sister!
Where may she wander now, whither betake her
From the chill dew, among rude burs and thistles?
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
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?

El Br. Peace, brother; be not over-exquisite
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils:
For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
What need a man forestall 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 self-delusion!

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340. With thy long-levell'd rule of stream- Helice, and her son Areas into the lesser, ing light. What a perfect, as well as called also Cynosura, by observing which picturesque, description of a beam of the Tyrians and Sidonians steerd their light!

course, as the Grecian mariners did by the 341. Our star of Arcady, &c. Our other.- NEWTON, greater or lesser bear-star. Calisto, the 360. To cast the fashion: so in astmdaughter of Lycaon, King of Aretulia, was logy " to cast a nativity”-to predict, to changed into the greater bear, called also prefigure, to compute.-T. WARTON.

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