Front Page Titles (by Subject) A MASKE PRESENTED At Ludlow Castle, 1634: On Michaelmasse night, before the Right Honorable, Iohn Earle of Bridgewater, Vicount Brackly, Lord Præsident of Wales, And one of His Maiesties most honorable Privie Counsell. - The Poetical Works of John Milton
A MASKE PRESENTED At Ludlow Castle, 1634: On Michaelmasse night, before the Right Honorable, Iohn Earle of Bridgewater, Vicount Brackly, Lord Præsident of Wales, And one of His Maiesties most honorable Privie Counsell. - John Milton, The Poetical Works of John Milton 
The Poetical Works of John Milton, edited after the Original Texts by the Rev. H.C. Beeching M.A. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900).
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- Miscellaneous Poems.
- On the Morning of Christs Nativity.
- The Hymn.
- A Paraphrase On Psalm 114.
- Psalm 136.
- The Passion.
- On Time.
- Upon the Circumcision.
- At a Solemn Musick.
- An Epitaph On the Marchioness of Winchester.
- Song On May Morning
- Another On the Same.
- Il Penseroso.
- A Maske Presented At Ludlow Castle, 1634: On Michaelmasse Night, Before the Right Honorable, Iohn Earle of Bridgewater, Vicount Brackly, Lord Præsident of Wales, and One of His Maiesties Most Honorable Privie Counsell.
- Poems Added In the 1673 Edition.
- Anno Aetatis 17. On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough.
- Anno Aetatis 19. At a Vacation Exercise In the Colledge, Part Latin, Part English. the Latin Speeches Ended, the English Thus Began.
- The Fifth Ode of Horace. Lib. I.
- On the New Forcers of Conscience Under the Long Parliament.
- On the Lord Gen. Fairfax At the Seige of Colchester.
- To the Lord Generall Cromwell May 1652.
- To S R Henry Vane the Younger.
- To Mr. Cyriack Skinner Upon His Blindness.
- Psal. I. Done Into Verse, 1653.
- April, 1648. J. M. Nine of the Psalms Done Into Metre, Wherein All But What Is In a Different Character, Are the Very Words of the Text, Translated From the Original.
- Passages From Prose Writings.
- A Collection of Passages Translated In the Prose Writings.
- Joanni Miltoni
- Elegiarum Liber Primus.
- Sylvarum Liber.
- Paradise Lost.
- Book I.
- Book II.
- Book III.
- Book IV.
- Book V.
- Book VI.
- Book VII.
- Book VIII.
- Book IX.
- Book X.
- Book XI.
- Book XII.
- Paradise Regaind. a Poem.
- The First Book.
- The Second Book.
- The Third Book.
- The Fourth Book.
- Samson Agonistes, a Dramatic Poem.
- ( a ): Specimen of Milton’s Spelling, From the Cambridge Autograph Manuscript.
- ( B ): Note of a Few Readings In the Same Manuscript.
- ( C ) Erratum
A MASKE PRESENTED At Ludlow Castle, 1634:
On Michaelmasse night, before theRight Honorable, IohnEarle of Bridgewater, VicountBrackly,Lord Præsident ofWales, And one of His Maiesties most honorable Privie Counsell.
Eheu quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum Perditus ———
Printed for Hymphrey Robinson, at the signe of the Three Pidgeons in Pauls Church-yard. 1637.
To the Right Honourable, John Lord Vicount Bracly, Son and Heir apparent to the Earl of Bridgewater, &c.
This Poem, which receiv’d its first occasion of Birth from your Self, and others of your Noble Family, and much honour from your own Person in the performance, now returns again to make a finall Dedication of it self to you. Although not openly acknowledg’d by the Author, yet it is a legitimate off-spring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often Copying of it hath tir’d my Pen to give my severall friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the publike view; and now to offer it up in all rightfull devotion to those fair Hopes, and rare Endowments of your much-promising Youth, which give a full assurance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live sweet Lord to be the honour of your Name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours been long oblig’d to your most honour’d Parents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all reall expression
Your faithfull, and most humble Servant
The Copy of a Letter writt’n by Sir Henry Wootton, to the Author, upon the following Poem.
From the Colledge, this 13. of April, 1638.
It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here, the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer then to make me know that I wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your father stay in these parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H. I would have been bold in our vulgar phrase to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with your said learned Friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together som good Authors of the antient time: Among which, I observed you to have been familiar.
Since your going, you have charg’d me with new Obligations, both for a very kinde Letter from you dated the sixth of this Month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came therwith. Wherin I should much commend the Tragical part, if the Lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your Songs and Odes, wherunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our Language: Ipsa mollities. But I must not omit to tell you, that I now onely owe you thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly soever) the true Artificer. For the work it self I had view’d som good while before, with singular delight, having receiv’d it from our common Friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late R’s Poems, Printed at Oxford, wherunto it was added (as I now suppose) that the Accessory might help out the Principal, according to the Art of Stationers, and to leave the Reader Con la bocca dolce.
Now Sir, concerning your travels, wherin I may chalenge a little more priviledge of Discours with you; I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way; therfore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord S. as his Governour, and you may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my choice som time for the King, after mine own recess from Venice.
I should think that your best Line will be thorow the whole length of France to Marseilles, and thence by Sea to Genoa, whence the passage into Tuscany is as Diurnal as a Gravesend Barge: I hasten as you do to Florence, or Siena, the rather to tell you a short story from the interest you have given me in your safety.
At Siena I was tabled in the House of one Alberto Scipioni, an old Roman Courtier in dangerous times, having bin Steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with all his Family were strangled, save this onely man that escap’d by foresight of the Tempest: With him I had often much chat of those affairs; Into which he took pleasure to look back from his Native Harbour; and at my departure toward Rome (which had been the center of his experience) I had wonn confidence enough to beg his advice, how I might carry my self securely there, without offence of others, or of mine own conscience. Signor Arrigo mio (sayes he) I pensieri stretti, & il viso sciolto will go safely over the whole World: Of which Delphian Oracle (for so I have found it) your judgement doth need no commentary; and therfore (Sir) I will commit you with it to the best of all securities, Gods dear love, remaining
Your Friend as much at command as any of longer date,
Sir,I have expressly sent this my Foot-boy to prevent your departure without som acknowledgement from me of the receipt of your obliging Letter, having myself through som busines, I know not how, neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where I shall understand you fixed, I shall be glad, and diligent to entertain you with Home-Novelties; even for som fomentation of our friendship, too soon interrupted in the Cradle.
The attendant Spirit afterwards in the habit of Thyrsis.
Comus with his crew.
Sabrina the Nymph.
The cheif persons which presented, were
The Lord Bracly,
Mr. Thomas Egerton his Brother,
The Lady Alice Egerton.
Presented At LUDLOW-Castle, 1634. &c.
The first Scene discovers a wilde Wood.
The attendant Spirit descends or enters.
- Before the starry threshold of Joves Court
- My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
- Of bright aëreal Spirits live insphear’d
- In Regions milde of calm and serene Ayr,
- Above the smoak and stirr of this dim spot,
- Which men call Earth, and with low-thoughted care
- Confin’d, and pester’d in this pin-fold here,
- Strive to keep up a frail, and Feaverish being
- Unmindfull of the crown that Vertue gives
- After this mortal change, to her true Servants10
- Amongst the enthron’d gods on Sainted seats.
- Yet som there be that by due steps aspire
- To lay their just hands on that Golden Key
- That ope’s the Palace of Eternity:
- To such my errand is, and but for such,
- I would not soil these pure Ambrosial weeds,
- With the rank vapours of this Sin-worn mould.
- But to my task. Neptune besides the sway
- Of every salt Flood, and each ebbing Stream,
- Took in by lot ’twixt high, and neather Jove,20
- Imperial rule of all the Sea-girt Iles
- That like to rich, and various gemms inlay
- The unadorned boosom of the Deep,
- Which he to grace his tributary gods
- By course commits to severall government,
- And gives them leave to wear their Saphire crowns,
- And weild their little tridents, but this Ile
- The greatest, and the best of all the main
- He quarters to his blu-hair’d deities,
- And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun30
- A noble Peer of mickle trust, and power
- Has in his charge, with temper’d awe to guide
- An old, and haughty Nation proud in Arms:
- Where his fair off-spring nurs’t in Princely lore,
- Are coming to attend their Fathers state,
- And new-entrusted Scepter, but their way
- Lies through the perplex’t paths of this drear Wood,
- The nodding horror of whose shady brows
- Threats the forlorn and wandring Passinger.
- And here their tender age might suffer perill,40
- But that by quick command from Soveran Jove
- I was dispatcht for their defence, and guard;
- And listen why, for I will tell now
- What never yet was heard in Tale or Song
- From old, or modern Bard in Hall, or Bowr.
- Bacchus that first from out the purple Grape,
- Crush’t the sweet poyson of mis-used Wine
- After the Tuscan Mariners transform’d
- Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
- On Circes Iland fell (who knows not Circe50
- The daughter of the Sun? Whose charmed Cup
- Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape,
- And downward fell into a groveling Swine)
- This Nymph that gaz’d upon his clustring locks,
- With Ivy berries wreath’d, and his blithe youth,
- Had by him, ere he parted thence, a Son
- Much like his Father, but his Mother more,
- Whom therfore she brought up and Comus nam’d,
- Who ripe, and frolick of his full grown age,
- Roaving the Celtick, and Iberian fields,60
- At last betakes him to this ominous Wood,
- And in thick shelter of black shades imbowr’d,
- Excells his Mother at her mighty Art,
- Offring to every weary Travailer,
- His orient liquor in a Crystal Glasse,
- To quench the drouth of Phœbus, which as they taste
- (For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst)
- Soon as the Potion works, their human count’nance,
- Th’ express resemblance of the gods, is chang’d
- Into som brutish form of Woolf, or Bear,70
- Or Ounce, or Tiger, Hog, or bearded Goat,
- All other parts remaining as they were,
- And they, so perfect is their misery,
- Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
- But boast themselves more comely then before
- And all their friends, and native home forget
- To roule with pleasure in a sensual stie.
- Therfore when any favour’d of high Jove,
- Chances to pass through this adventrous glade,
- Swift as the Sparkle of a glancing Star,80
- I shoot from Heav’n to give him safe convoy,
- As now I do: But first I must put off
- These my skie robes spun out of Iris Wooff,
- And take the Weeds and likenes of a Swain,
- That to the service of this house belongs,
- Who with his soft Pipe, and smooth-dittied Song,
- Well knows to still the wilde winds when they roar,
- And hush the waving Woods, nor of lesse faith,
- And in this office of his Mountain watch,
- Likeliest, and neerest to the present ayd90
- Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
- Of hatefull steps, I must be viewles now.
Comus enters with a Charming Rod in one hand, his Glass in the other, with him a rout of Monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wilde Beasts, but otherwise like Men and Women, their Apparel glistring, they com in making a riotous and unruly noise, with Torches in their hands.
- The Star that bids the Shepherd fold,
- Now the top of Heav’n doth hold,
- And the gilded Car of Day,
- His glowing Axle doth allay
- In the steep Atlantick stream,
- And the slope Sun his upward beam
- Shoots against the dusky Pole,
- Pacing toward the other gole100
- Of his Chamber in the East.
- Mean while welcom Joy, and Feast,
- Midnight shout, and revelry,
- Tipsie dance, and Jollity.
- Braid your Locks with rosie Twine
- Dropping odours, dropping Wine.
- Rigor now is gon to bed,
- And Advice with scrupulous head,
- Strict Age, and sowre Severity,
- With their grave Saws in slumber ly.110
- We that are of purer fire
- Imitate the Starry Quire,
- Who in their nightly watchfull Sphears,
- Lead in swift round the Months and Years.
- The Sounds, and Seas with all their finny drove
- Now to the Moon in wavering Morrice move,
- And on the Tawny Sands and Shelves,
- Trip the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves;
- By dimpled Brook, and Fountain brim,
- The Wood-Nymphs deckt with Daisies trim,120
- Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:
- What hath night to do with sleep?
- Night hath better sweets to prove,
- Venus now wakes, and wak’ns Love.
- Com let us our rights begin,
- ’Tis onely day-light that makes Sin
- Which these dun shades will ne’re report.
- Hail Goddesse of Nocturnal sport
- Dark vaild Cotytto, t’ whom the secret flame
- Of mid-night Torches burns; mysterious Dame130
- That ne’re art call’d, but when the Dragon woom
- Of Stygian darknes spets her thickest gloom,
- And makes one blot of all the ayr,
- Stay thy cloudy Ebon chair,
- Wherin thou rid’st with Hecat’, and befriend
- Us thy vow’d Priests, til utmost end
- Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
- Ere the blabbing Eastern scout,
- The nice Morn on th’ Indian steep
- From her cabin’d loop hole peep,140
- And to the tel-tale Sun discry
- Our conceal’d Solemnity.
- Com, knit hands, and beat the ground,
- In a light fantastick round.
- Break off, break off, I feel the different pace,
- Of som chast footing neer about this ground.
- Run to your shrouds, within these Brakes and Trees,
- Our number may affright: Som Virgin sure
- (For so I can distinguish by mine Art)
- Benighted in these Woods. Now to my charms,150
- And to my wily trains, I shall e’re long
- Be well stock’t with as fair a herd as graz’d
- About my Mother Circe. Thus I hurl
- My dazling Spells into the spungy ayr,
- Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
- And give it false presentments, lest the place
- And my quaint habits breed astonishment,
- And put the Damsel to suspicious flight,
- Which must not be, for that’s against my course;
- I under fair pretence of friendly ends,160
- And well plac’t words of glozing courtesie
- Baited with reasons not unplausible
- Wind me into the easie-hearted man,
- And hugg him into snares. When once her eye
- Hath met the vertue of this Magick dust,
- I shall appear som harmles Villager
- Whom thrift keeps up about his Country gear,
- But here she comes, I fairly step aside,
- And hearken,
The Lady enters.
- This way the noise was, if mine ear be true,170
- My best guide now, me thought it was the sound
- Of Riot, and ill manag’d Merriment,
- Such as the jocond Flute, or gamesom Pipe
- Stirs up among the loose unleter’d Hinds,
- When for their teeming Flocks, and granges full
- In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan,
- And thank the gods amiss. I should be loath
- To meet the rudenesse, and swill’d insolence
- Of such late Wassailers; yet O where els
- Shall I inform my unacquainted feet180
167 omitted 1673
168, 9 order inverted 1673
- In the blind mazes of this tangl’d Wood?
- My Brothers when they saw me wearied out
- With this long way, resolving here to lodge
- Under the spreading favour of these Pines,
- Stept as they se’d 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 gray-hooded Eev’n
- Like a sad Votarist in Palmers weed
- Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phœbus wain.190
- But where they are, and why they came not back,
- Is now the labour of my thoughts, ’tis likeliest
- They had ingag’d their wandring steps too far,
- And envious darknes, e’re they could return,
- Had stole them from me, els O theevish Night
- Why shouldst thou, but for som fellonious end,
- In thy dark lantern thus close up the Stars,
- That nature hung in Heav’n, and fill’d their Lamps
- With everlasting oil, to give due light
- To the misled and lonely Travailer?200
- This is the place, as well as I may guess,
- Whence eev’n now the tumult of loud Mirth
- Was rife, and perfet in my list’ning ear,
- Yet nought but single darknes do I find.
- What might this be? A thousand fantasies
- Begin to throng into my memory
- Of calling shapes, and beckning shadows dire,
- And airy tongues, that syllable mens names
- On Sands, and Shoars, and desert Wildernesses.
- These thoughts may startle well, but not astound210
- The vertuous mind, that ever walks attended
- By a strong siding champion Conscience.—
- O welcom pure-ey’d Faith, white-handed Hope,
- Thou hovering Angel girt with golden wings,
- And thou unblemish’t form of Chastity,
- I see ye visibly, and now beleeve
- That he, the Supreme good, t’ whom all things ill
- Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
- Would send a glistring Guardian if need were
- To keep my life and honour unassail’d.220
- 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 hallow to my Brothers, but
- Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest
- Ile venter, for my new enliv’nd spirits
- Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.
- Sweet Echo, sweetest Nymph that liv’st unseen230
- Within thy airy shell
- By slow Meander’s margent green,
- And in the violet imbroider’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?
- O if thou have
- Hid them in som flowry Cave,
- Tell me but where240
- Sweet Queen of Parly, Daughter of the Sphear,
- So maist thou be translated to the skies,
- And give resounding grace to all Heav’ns Harmonies.
- Can any mortal mixture of Earths mould
- Breath such Divine inchanting ravishment?
- Sure somthing holy lodges in that brest,
- And with these raptures moves the vocal air
- To testifie his hidd’n residence;
- How sweetly did they float upon the wings
- Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night250
- At every fall smoothing the Raven doune
- Of darknes till it smil’d: I have oft heard
- My mother Circe with the Sirens three,
- Amid’st the flowry-kirtl’d Naiades
- Culling their Potent hearbs, and balefull 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,260
- And in sweet madnes rob’d it of it self,
- But such a sacred, and home-felt delight,
- Such sober certainty of waking bliss
- I never heard till now. Ile speak to her
- And she shall be my Queen. Hail forren wonder
- Whom certain these rough shades did never breed
- Unlesse the Goddes that in rurall shrine
- Dwell’st here with Pan, or Silvan, by blest Song
- Forbidding every bleak unkindly Fog
- To touch the prosperous growth of this tall Wood.270
- Nay gentle Shepherd ill is lost that praise
- That is addrest 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
- To give me answer from her mossie Couch.
What chance good Lady hath bereft you thus?
Dim darknes, and this leavy Labyrinth.
Could that divide you from neer-ushering guides?
They left me weary on a grassie terf.280
By falshood, or discourtesie, or why?
To seek i’th vally som cool friendly Spring.
And left your fair side all unguarded Lady?
They were but twain, and purpos’d quick return.
Perhaps fore-stalling night prevented them.
How easie my misfortune is to hit!
Imports their loss, beside the present need?
No less then if I should my brothers loose.
Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
As smooth as Hebe’s their unrazor’d lips.290
Two such I saw, what time the labour’d Oxe
- In his loose traces from the furrow came,
- And the swink’t hedger at his Supper sate;
- 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 then human, as they stood;
- I took it for a faëry vision
- Of som gay creatures of the element
- That in the colours of the Rainbow live300
- And play i’th plighted clouds. I was aw-strook,
- And as I past, I worshipt: if those you seek
- It were a journey like the path to Heav’n,
- To help you find them.
- Gentle villager
- What readiest way would bring me to that place?
Due west it rises from this shrubby point.
To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose,
- In such a scant allowance of Star-light,
- Would overtask the best Land-Pilots art,
- Without the sure guess of well-practiz’d feet,310
- I know each lane, and every alley green
- Dingle, or bushy dell of this wilde Wood,
- And every bosky bourn from side to side
- My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood,
- And if your stray attendance be yet lodg’d,
- Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
- Ere morrow wake, or the low roosted lark
- From her thatch’t pallat rowse, if otherwise
- I can conduct you Lady to a low
- But loyal cottage, where you may be safe320
- Till further quest’.
- Shepherd I take thy word,
- And trust thy honest offer’d courtesie,
- Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
- With smoaky rafters, then in tapstry Halls
- And Courts of Princes, where it first was nam’d,
- And yet is most pretended: In a place
- Less warranted then this, or less secure
- I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.
- Eie me blest Providence, and square my triall
- To my proportion’d strength. Shepherd lead on.—330
The Two Brothers.
- Unmuffle ye faint stars, and thou fair Moon
- That wontst to love the travailers benizon,
- Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
- And disinherit Chaos, that raigns here
- In double night of darknes, and of shades;
- Or if your influence be quite damm’d up
- With black usurping mists, som gentle taper
- Though a rush Candle from the wicker hole
- Of som clay habitation visit us
- With thy long levell’d rule of streaming light,340
- And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
- Or Tyrian Cynosure.
- Or if our eyes
- Be barr’d that happines, might we but hear
- The folded flocks pen’d in their watled 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 som solace yet, som little chearing
- In this close dungeon of innumerous bowes.
- But O that haples virgin our lost sister350
- Where may she wander now, whether betake her
- From the chill dew, amongst rude burrs and thistles?
- Perhaps som cold bank is her boulster now
- Or ’gainst the rugged bark of som broad Elm
- Leans her unpillow’d head fraught with sad fears.
- What if in wild amazement, and affright,
- Or while we speak within the direfull grasp
- Of Savage hunger, or of Savage heat?
- Peace brother, be not over-exquisite
- To cast the fashion of uncertain evils;360
- 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?
- I do not think my sister so to seek,
- Or so unprincipl’d in vertues book,
- And the sweet peace that goodnes boosoms ever,
- As that the single want of light and noise
- (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)370
- Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
- And put them into mis-becoming plight.
- Vertue could see to do what vertue would
- By her own radiant light, though Sun and Moon
- Were in the flat Sea sunk. And Wisdoms 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 bussle of resort
- Were all to ruffl’d, and somtimes impair’d.380
- He that has light within his own cleer brest
- May sit i’th center, and enjoy bright day,
- But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts
- Benighted walks under the mid-day Sun;
- Himself is his own dungeon.
- Tis most true
- That musing meditation most affects
- The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
- Far from the cheerfull haunt of men, and herds,
- And sits as safe as in a Senat house,
- For who would rob a Hermit of his Weeds,390
- His few Books, or his Beads, or Maple Dish,
- Or do his gray hairs any violence?
- But beauty like the fair Hesperian Tree
- Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
- Of dragon watch with uninchanted eye,
- To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
- From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.
- You may as well spred out the unsun’d heaps
- Of Misers treasure by an out-laws den,
- And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope400
- Danger will wink on Opportunity,
- And let a single helpless maiden pass
- Uninjur’d in this wilde surrounding wast.
- Of night, or lonelines it recks me not,
- I fear the dred events that dog them both,
- Lest som ill greeting touch attempt the person
- Of our unowned sister.
- I do not, brother,
- Inferr, as if I thought my sisters state
- Secure without all doubt, or controversie:
- Yet where an equall poise of hope and fear410
- Does arbitrate th’event, my nature is
- That I encline to hope, rather then 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.
- What hidden strength,
- Unless the strength of Heav’n, if you mean that?
- 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:420
- She that has that, is clad in compleat steel,
- And like a quiver’d Nymph with Arrows keen
- May trace huge Forests, and unharbour’d Heaths,
- Infamous Hills, and sandy perilous wildes,
- Where through the sacred rayes of Chastity,
- No savage fierce, Bandite, or mountaneer
- Will dare to soyl her Virgin purity,
- Yea there, where very desolation dwels
- By grots, and caverns shag’d with horrid shades,
- She may pass on with unblench’t majesty,430
- Be it not don in pride, or in presumption.
- Som say no evil thing that walks by night
- In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,
- Blew meager Hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
- That breaks his magick chains at curfeu time,
- No goblin, or swart faëry of the mine,
- Hath hurtfull power o’re true virginity.
- Do ye beleeve me yet, or shall I call
- Antiquity from the old Schools of Greece
- To testifie the arms of Chastity?440
- Hence had the huntress Dian her dred bow
- Fair silver-shafted Queen for ever chaste,
- Wherwith she tam’d the brinded lioness
- And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought
- The frivolous bolt of Cupid, gods and men
- Fear’d her stern frown, and she was queen oth’ Woods.
- What was that snaky-headed Gorgon sheild
- That wise Minerva wore, unconquer’d Virgin,
- Wherwith she freez’d her foes to congeal’d stone?
- But rigid looks of Chast austerity,450
- And noble grace that dash’t brute violence
- With sudden adoration, and blank aw.
- So dear to Heav’n is Saintly chastity,
- That when a soul is found sincerely so,
- A thousand liveried Angels lacky her,
- Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
- And in cleer dream, and solemn vision
- Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
- Till oft convers with heav’nly habitants
- Begin to cast a beam on th’outward shape,460
- The unpolluted temple of the mind,
- And turns it by degrees to the souls essence,
- Till all be made immortal: but when lust
- By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
- But most by leud and lavish act of sin,
- Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
- The soul grows clotted by contagion,
- Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite loose
- The divine property of her first being.
- Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp470
- Oft seen in Charnell vaults, and Sepulchers
- Lingering, and sitting by a new made grave,
- As loath to leave the body that it lov’d,
- And link’t it self by carnal
- To a degenerate and degraded state.
- 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 surfet raigns.
- List, list, I hear
- Som far off hallow break the silent Air.481
Me thought so too; what should it be?
- For certain
- Either som one like us night-founder’d here,
- Or els som neighbour Wood-man, or at worst,
- Som roaving Robber calling to his fellows.
- Heav’n keep my sister, agen agen and neer,
- Best draw, and stand upon our guard.
- Ile hallow,
- If he be friendly he comes well, if not,
- Defence is a good cause, and Heav’n be for us.
The attendant Spirit habited like a Shepherd.
- That hallow I should know, what are you? speak;490
- Com not too neer, you fall on iron stakes else.
What voice is that, my young Lord? speak agen.
O brother, ’tis my Shepherd sure.
- Thyrsis? Whose artful strains have oft delaid
- The huddling brook to hear his madrigal,
- And sweeten’d every muskrose of the dale,
- How cam’st thou here good Swain? hath any ram
- Slip’t from the fold, or young Kid lost his dam,
- Or straggling weather the pen’t flock forsook?
- How couldst thou find this dark sequester’d nook?500
- O my lov’d masters heir, and his next joy,
- I came not here on such a trivial toy
- As a stray’d Ewe, or to pursue the stealth
- Of pilfering Woolf, not all the fleecy wealth
- That doth enrich these Downs, is worth a thought
- To this my errand, and the care it brought.
- But O my Virgin Lady, where is she?
- How chance she is not in your company?
- To tell thee sadly Shepherd, without blame,
- Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.510
Ay me unhappy then my fears are true.
What fears good Thyrsis? Prethee briefly shew.
- Ile tell ye, ’tis not vain or fabulous,
- (Though so esteem’d by shallow ignorance)
- What the sage Poëts taught by th’ heav’nly Muse,
- Storied of old in high immortal vers
- Of dire Chimera’s and inchanted Iles,
- And rifted Rocks whose entrance leads to hell,
- For such there be, but unbelief is blind.
- Within the navil of this hideous Wood,520
- Immur’d in cypress shades a Sorcerer dwels
- Of Bacchus, and of Circe born, great Comus,
- Deep skill’d in all his mothers witcheries,
- And here to every thirsty wanderer,
- By sly enticement gives his banefull cup,
- With many murmurs mixt, whose pleasing poison
- The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
- And the inglorious likenes of a beast
- Fixes instead, unmoulding reasons mintage
- Character’d in the face; this have I learn’t530
- Tending my flocks hard by i’th hilly crofts,
- That brow this bottom glade, whence night by night
- He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl
- Like stabl’d wolves, or tigers at their prey,
- Doing abhorred rites to Hecate
- In their obscured haunts of inmost bowres.
- Yet have they many baits, and guilefull spells
- To inveigle and invite th’unwary sense
- Of them that pass unweeting by the way.
- This evening late by then the chewing flocks540
- Had ta’n their supper on the savoury Herb
- Of Knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold,
- I sate me down to watch upon a bank
- With Ivy canopied, and interwove
- With flaunting Hony-suckle, and began
- Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy
- To my rural minstrelsie,
- Till fancy had her fill, but ere a close
- The wonted roar was up amidst the Woods,
- And fill’d the Air with barbarous dissonance,550
- At which I ceas’t, and listen’d them a while,
- Till an unusuall stop of sudden silence
- Gave respit to the drowsie frighted steeds
- That draw the litter of close-curtain’d sleep.
- At last a soft and solemn breathing sound
- Rose like a of rich distill’d Perfumes,
- And stole upon the Air, that even Silence
- Was took e’re she was ware, and wish’t she might
- Deny her nature, and be never more
- Still to be so displac’t. I was all eare,560
- And took in strains that might create a soul
- Under the ribs of Death, but O ere long
- Too well I did perceive it was the voice
- Of my most honour’d Lady, your dear sister.
- Amaz’d I stood, harrow’d with grief and fear,
- And O poor hapless Nightingale thought I,
- How sweet thou sing’st, how neer the deadly snare!
- Then down the Lawns I ran with headlong hast
- Through paths, and turnings oft’n trod by day,
- Till guided by mine ear I found the place570
- Where that damn’d wisard hid in sly disguise
- (For so by certain signes I knew) had met
- Already, ere my best speed could prævent,
- The aidless innocent Lady his wish’t prey,
- Who gently ask’t if he had seen such two,
- Supposing him som neighbour villager;
- Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess’t
- Ye were the two she mean’t, with that I sprung
- Into swift flight, till I had found you here,
- But know I not.
- O night and shades,580
- How are ye joyn’d with hell in triple knot
- Against th’unarmed weakness of one Virgin
- Alone, and helpless! Is this the confidence
- You gave me Brother?
- Yes, and keep it still,
- Lean on it safely, not a period
- Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats
- Of malice or of sorcery, or that power
- Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm,
- Vertue may be assail’d, but never hurt,
- Surpriz’d by unjust force, but not enthrall’d,590
- Yea even that which mischief meant most harm,
- Shall in the happy trial prove most glory.
- But evil on it self shall back recoyl,
- And mix no more with goodness, when at last
- Gather’d like scum, and setl’d to it self
- It shall be in eternal restless change
- Self-fed, and self-consum’d, if this fail,
- The pillar’d firmament is rott’nness,
- And earths base built on stubble. But com let’s on.
- Against th’ opposing will and arm of Heav’n600
- May never this just sword be lifted up,
- But for that damn’d magician, let him be girt
- With all the greisly legions that troop
- Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
- Harpyies and Hydra’s, or all the monstrous forms
- ’Twixt Africa and Inde, Ile find him out,
- And force him to restore his purchase back,
- Or drag him by the curls, to a foul death,
- Curs’d as his life.
- Alas good ventrous youth,
- I love thy courage yet, and bold Emprise,610
- But here thy sword can do thee little stead,
- Farr other arms, and other weapons must
- Be those that quell the might of hellish charms,
- He with his bare wand can unthred thy joynts,
- And crumble all thy sinews.
- Why prethee Shepherd
- How durst thou then thy self approach so neer
- As to make this relation?
- Care and utmost shifts
- How to secure the Lady from surprisal,
- Brought to my mind a certain Shepherd Lad
- Of small regard to see to, yet well skill’d620
- In every vertuous plant and healing herb
- That spreds her verdant leaf to th’morning ray,
- He lov’d me well, and oft would beg me sing,
- Which when I did, he on the tender grass
- Would sit, and hearken even to extasie,
- And in requitall ope his leather’n scrip,
- And shew me simples of a thousand names
- Telling their strange and vigorous faculties;
- Amongst the rest a small unsightly root,
- But of divine effect, he cull’d me out;630
- The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it,
- But in another Countrey, as he said,
- Bore a bright golden flowre, but not in this soyl:
- Unknown, and like esteem’d, and the dull swayn
- Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon,
- And yet more med’cinal is it then that Moly
- That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave;
- He call’d it Hæmony, and gave it me,
- And bad me keep it as of sov’ran use
- ’Gainst all inchantments, mildew blast, or damp640
- Or gastly furies apparition;
- I purs’t it up, but little reck’ning made,
- Till now that this extremity compell’d,
- But now I find it true; for by this means
- I knew the foul inchanter though disguis’d,
- Enter’d the very lime-twigs of his spells,
- And yet came off: if you have this about you
- (As I will give you when we go) you may
- Boldly assault the necromancers hall;
- Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood,650
- And brandish’t blade rush on him, break his glass,
- And shed the lushious liquor on the ground,
- But sease his wand, though he and his curst crew
- Feirce signe of battail make, and menace high,
- Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoak,
- Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.
- Thyrsis lead on apace, Ile follow thee,
- And som good angel bear a sheild before us.
The Scene changes to a stately Palace, set out with all manner of deliciousness; soft Musick, Tables spred with all dainties. Comus appears with his rabble, and the Lady set in an inchanted Chair, to whom he offers his Glass, which she puts by, and goes about to rise.
- Nay Lady sit; if I but wave this wand,
- Your nerves are all chain’d up in Alablaster,660
- And you a statue; or as Daphne was
- Root-bound, that fled Apollo.
- Fool do not boast,
- Thou canst not touch the freedom of my minde
- With all thy charms, although this corporal rinde
- Thou haste immanacl’d, while Heav’n sees good.
- Why are you vext Lady? why do you frown?
- Here dwell no frowns, nor anger, from these gates
- Sorrow flies farr: See here be all the pleasures
- That fancy can beget on youthfull thoughts,
- When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns670
- Brisk as the April buds in Primrose-season.
- And first behold this cordial Julep here
- That flames, and dances in his crystal bounds
- With spirits of balm, and fragrant Syrops mixt.
- Not that Nepenthes which the wife of Thone,
- In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena
- Is of such power to stir up joy as this,
- To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst.
- Why should you be so cruel to your self,
- And to those dainty limms which nature lent680
- For gentle usage, and soft delicacy?
- But you invert the cov’nants of her trust,
- And harshly deal like an ill borrower
- With that which you receiv’d on other terms,
- Scorning the unexempt condition
- By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
- Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
- That have been tir’d all day without repast,
- And timely rest have wanted, but fair Virgin
- This will restore all soon.
- ’Twill not false traitor,690
- ’Twill not restore the truth and honesty
- That thou hast banish’t from thy tongue with lies,
- Was this the cottage, and the safe abode
- Thou told’st me of? What grim aspects are these,
- These oughly-headed Monsters? Mercy guard me!
- Hence with thy brew’d inchantments, foul deceiver,
- Hast thou betrai’d my credulous innocence
- With visor’d falshood, and base forgery,
- And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here
- With lickerish baits fit to ensnare a brute?700
- Were it a draft for Juno when she banquets,
- I would not taste thy treasonous offer; none
FROM THE AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF THE MINOR POEMS PRESERVED IN TRINITY COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE [COMUS, 672-706]
- But such as are good men can give good things,
- And that which is not good, is not delicious
- To a well-govern’d and wise appetite.
- O foolishnes of men! that lend their ears
- To those budge doctors of the Stoick Furr,
- And fetch their precepts from the Cynick Tub,
- Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence.
- Wherefore did Nature powre her bounties forth,710
- With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
- Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
- Thronging the Seas with spawn innumerable,
- But all to please, and sate the curious taste?
- And set to work millions of spinning Worms,
- That in their green shops weave the smooth-hair’d silk
- To deck her Sons, and that no corner might
- Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loyns
- She hutch’t th’all-worshipt ore, and precious gems
- To store her children with; if all the world720
- Should in a pet of temperance feed on Pulse,
- Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but Freize,
- Th’all-giver would be unthank’t, would be unprais’d,
- Not half his riches known, and yet despis’d,
- And we should serve him as a grudging master,
- As a penurious niggard of his wealth,
- And live like Natures bastards, not her sons,
- Who would be quite surcharged with her own weight,
- And strangl’d with her waste fertility;
- Th’earth cumber’d, and the wing’d air dark’t with plumes,
- The herds would over-multitude their Lords,731
- The Sea o’refraught would swell, and th’unsought diamonds
- Would so emblaze the forhead of the Deep,
- And so bestudd with Stars, that they below
- Would grow inur’d to light, and com at last
- To gaze upon the Sun with shameless brows.
- List Lady be not coy, and be not cosen’d
- With that same vaunted name Virginity,
- Beauty is natures coyn, must not be hoorded,
- But must be currant, and the good thereof740
- Consists in mutual and partak’n bliss,
- Unsavoury in th’injoyment of it self
- If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
- It withers on the stalk with languish’t head.
- Beauty is natures brag, and must be shown
- In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities
- Where most may wonder at the workmanship;
- It is for homely features to keep home,
- They had their name thence; course complexions
- And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to play750
- The sampler, and to teize the huswifes wooll.
- What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that
- Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Morn?
- There was another meaning in these gifts,
- Think what, and be adviz’d, you are but young yet.
- I had not thought to have unlockt my lips
- In this unhallow’d air, but that this Jugler
- Would think to charm my judgement, as mine eyes,
- Obtruding false rules pranckt in reasons garb.
- I hate when vice can bolt her arguments,760
- And vertue has no tongue to check her pride:
- Impostor do not charge most innocent nature,
- As if she would her children should be riotous
- With her abundance, she good cateress
- Means her provision onely to the good
- That live according to her sober laws,
- And holy dictate of spare Temperance:
- If every just man that now pines with want
- Had but a moderate and beseeming share
- Of that which lewdly-pamper’d Luxury770
- Now heaps upon som few with vast excess,
- Natures full blessings would be well dispenc’t
- In unsuperfluous eeven proportion,
- And she no whit encomber’d with her store,
- And then the giver would be better thank’t,
- His praise due paid, for swinish gluttony
- Ne’re looks to Heav’n amidst his gorgeous feast,
- But with besotted base ingratitude
- Cramms, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on?
- Or have I said To him that dares780
- Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
- Against the Sun-clad power of Chastity,
- Fain would I somthing say, yet to what end?
- Thou hast nor Eare, nor Soul to apprehend
- The sublime notion, and high mystery
- That must be utter’d to unfold the sage
- And serious doctrine of Virginity,
- And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
- More happiness then this thy present lot.
- Enjoy your deer Wit, and gay Rhetorick790
- That hath so well been taught her dazling fence,
- Thou art not fit to hear thy self convinc’t;
- Yet should I try, the uncontrouled worth
- Of this pure cause would kindle my rap’t spirits
- To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
- That dumb things would be mov’d to sympathize,
- And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake,
- Till all thy magick structures rear’d so high,
- Were shatter’d into heaps o’re thy false head.
- She fables not, I feel that I do fear800
- Her words set off by som superior power;
- And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddring dew
- Dips me all o’re, as when the wrath of Jove
- Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus
- To som of Saturns crew. I must dissemble,
- And try her yet more strongly. Com, no more,
- This is meer moral babble, and direct
- Against the canon laws of our foundation;
- I must not suffer this, yet ’tis but the lees
- And setlings of a melancholy blood;810
- But this will cure all streight, one sip of this
- Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight
- Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.—
The Brothers rush in with Swords drawn, wrest his Glass out of his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make signe of resistance, but are all driven in; The attendant Spirit comes in.
- What, have you let the false enchanter scape?
- O ye mistook, ye should have snatcht his wand
- And bound him fast; without his rod revers’t,
- And backward mutters of dissevering power,
- We cannot free the Lady that sits here
- In stony fetters fixt, and motionless;
- Yet stay, be not disturb’d, now I bethink me,820
- Som other means I have which may be us’d,
- Which once of Melibœus old I learnt
- The soothest Shepherd that ere pip’t on plains.
- There is a gentle Nymph not farr from hence,
- That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream,
- Sabrina is her name, a Virgin pure,
- Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
- That had the Scepter from his father Brute.
- The guiltless damsel flying the mad pursuit
- Of her enraged stepdam Guendolen,830
- Commended her fair innocence to the flood
- That stay’d her flight with his cross-flowing course,
- The water Nymphs that in the bottom plaid,
- Held up their pearled wrists and took her in,
- Bearing her straight to aged Nereus Hall,
- Who piteous of her woes, rear’d her lank head,
- And gave her to his daughters to imbathe
- In nectar’d lavers strew’d with Asphodil,
- And through the porch and inlet of each sense
- Dropt in Ambrosial Oils till she reviv’d,840
- And underwent a quick immortal change
- Made Goddess of the River; still she retains
- Her maid’n gentlenes, and oft at Eeve
- Visits the herds along the twilight meadows,
- Helping all urchin blasts, and ill luck signes
- That the shrewd medling Elfe delights to make,
- Which she with pretious viold liquors heals.
- For which the Shepherds at their festivals
- Carrol her goodnes lowd in rustick layes,
- And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream850
- Of pancies, pinks, and gaudy Daffadils.
- And, as the old Swain said, she can unlock
- The clasping charm, and thaw the numming spell,
- If she be right invok’t in warbled Song,
- For maid’nhood she loves, and will be swift
- To aid a Virgin, such as was her self
- In hard besetting need, this will I try
- And adde the power of som adjuring verse.
- Sabrina fair
- Listen where thou art sitting860
- Under the glassie, cool, translucent wave,
- In twisted braids of Lillies knitting
- The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair,
- Listen for dear honour’s sake,
- Goddess of the silver lake,
- Listen and appear to us
- In name of great Oceanus,
- By the earth-shaking Neptune’s mace,
- And Tethys grave majestick pace,870
- By hoary Nereus wrincled look,
- And the Carpathian wisards hook,
- By scaly Tritons winding shell,
- And old sooth-saying Glaucus spell,
- By Leucothea’s lovely hands,
- And her son that rules the strands,
- By Thetis tinsel-slipper’d feet,
- And the Songs of Sirens sweet,
- By dead Parthenope’s dear tomb,
- And fair Ligea’s golden comb,880
- Wherwith she sits on diamond rocks
- Sleeking her soft alluring locks,
- By all the Nymphs that nightly dance
- Upon thy streams with wily glance,
- Rise, rise, and heave thy rosie head
- From thy coral-pav’n bed,
- And bridle in thy headlong wave,
- Till thou our summons answered have.
Sabrina rises, attended by water-Nymphes, and sings.
- By the rushy-fringed bank,890
- Where grows the Willow and the Osier dank,
- My sliding Chariot stayes,
- Thick set with Agat, and the azurn sheen
- Of Turkis blew, and Emrauld green
- That in the channell strayes,
- Whilst from off the waters fleet
- Thus I set my printless feet
- O’re the Cowslips Velvet head,
- That bends not as I tread,
- Gentle swain at thy request900
- I am here.
- Goddess dear
- We implore thy powerful hand
- To undo the charmed band
- Of true Virgin here distrest,
- Through the force, and through the wile
- Of unblest inchanter vile.
- Shepherd ’tis my office best
- To help insnared chastity;
- Brightest Lady look on me,910
- Thus I sprinkle on thy brest
- Drops that from my fountain pure,
- I have kept of pretious cure,
- Thrice upon thy fingers tip,
- Thrice upon thy rubied lip,
- Next this marble venom’d seat
- Smear’d with gumms of glutenous heat
- I touch with chaste palms moist and cold,
- Now the spell hath lost his hold;
- And I must haste ere morning hour920
- To wait in Amphitrite’s bowr.
Sabrina descends, and the Lady rises out of her seat.
- Virgin, daughter of Locrine
- Sprung of old Anchises line,
- May thy brimmed waves for this
- Their full tribute never miss
- From a thousand petty rills,
- That tumble down the snowy hills:
- Summer drouth, or singed air
- Never scorch thy tresses fair,
- Nor wet Octobers torrent flood930
- Thy molten crystal fill with mudd,
- May thy billows rowl ashoar
- The beryl, and the golden ore,
- May thy lofty head be crown’d
- With many a tower and terrass round,
- And here and there thy banks upon
- With Groves of myrrhe, and cinnamon.
- Com Lady while Heaven lends us grace,
- Let us fly this cursed place,
- Lest the Sorcerer us intice940
- With som other new device.
- Not a waste, or needless sound
- Till we com to holier ground,
- I shall be your faithfull guide
- Through this gloomy covert wide,
- And not many furlongs thence
- Is your Fathers residence,
- Where this night are met in state
- Many a friend to gratulate
- His wish’t presence, and beside950
- All the Swains that there abide,
- With Jiggs, and rural dance resort,
- We shall catch them at their sport,
- And our sudden coming there
- Will double all their mirth and chere;
- Com let us haste, the Stars grow high,
- But night sits monarch yet in the mid sky.
The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow Town and the Presidents Castle, then com in Countrey-Dancers, after them the attendant Spirit, with the two Brothers and the Lady.
- Back Shepherds, back, anough your play,
- Till next Sun-shine holiday,
- Here be without duck or nod960
- Other trippings to be trod
- Of lighter toes, and such Court guise
- As Mercury did first devise
- With the mincing Dryades
- On the Lawns, and on the Leas.
This second Song presents them to their father and mother.
- Noble Lord, and Lady bright,
- I have brought ye new delight,
- Here behold so goodly grown
- Three fair branches of your own,
- Heav’n hath timely tri’d their youth,970
- Their faith, their patience, and their truth.
- And sent them here through hard assays
- With a crown of deathless Praise,
- To triumph in victorious dance
- O’re sensual Folly, and Intemperance.
The dances ended, the Spirit Epiloguises.
- To the Ocean now I fly,
- And those happy climes that ly
- Where day never shuts his eye,
- Up in the broad fields of the sky:
- There I suck the liquid ayr980
- All amidst the Gardens fair
- Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
- That sing about the golden tree:
- Along the crisped shades and bowres
- Revels the spruce and jocond Spring,
- The Graces, and the rosie-boosom’d Howres,
- Thither all their bounties bring,
- That there eternal Summer dwels,
- And West winds, with musky wing
- About the cedar’n alleys fling990
- Nard, and Cassia’s balmy smels.
- Iris there with humid bow,
- Waters the odorous banks that blow
- Flowers of more mingled hew
- Then her purfl’d scarf can shew,
- And drenches with Elysian dew
- (List mortals, if your ears be true)
- Beds of Hyacinth, and roses
- Where young Adonis oft reposes,
- Waxing well of his deep wound1000
- In slumber soft, and on the ground
- Sadly sits th’ Assyrian Queen;
- But far above in spangled sheen
- Celestial Cupid her fam’d son advanc’t,
- Holds his dear Psyche sweet intranc’t
- After her wandring labours long,
- Till free consent the gods among
- Make her his eternal Bride,
- And from her fair unspotted side
- Two blissful twins are to be born,1010
- Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.
- But now my task is smoothly don,
- I can fly, or I can run
- Quickly to the green earths end,
- Where the bow’d welkin slow doth bend,
- And from thence can soar as soon
- To the corners of the Moon.
- Mortals that would follow me,
- Love vertue, she alone is free,
- She can teach ye how to clime1020
- Higher then the Spheary chime;
- Or if Vertue feeble were,
- Heav’n it self would stoop to her.