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And, O poor hapless nightirgale, thought I, Telling their strange and vigorous faculties : How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly Amongst the rest a small unsightly root, snare !
But of divine effect, he cull'd me out; 630 Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste, The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it, Through paths and turnings often trod by day, But in another country, as he said, Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place, 570 Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil : Where that damn'd wisard, hid in sly disguise, Unknown, and like esteem'd, and the dull swain (For so by certain signs I knew,) had met Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon : Already, ere my best speed could prevent, And yet more med'cinal is it than that moly, The aidless inuocent lady, his wish'd prey ;
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave ; Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two, He call'd it hæmony, and gave it me, . Supposing him some neighbour villager.
And bade me keep it as of sovran use Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess'd 'Gainst all enchantments, mildew, blast, or damp, Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung Orghastly furies' apparition.
641 Into swift flight, till I had found you bere ; I purs'd it up, but little reckoning made, But further know I not.
Till now that this extremity compellid:
O night, and shades ! 580 But now I find it true; for by this means
(As I will give you when we go) you may El. Br.
Yes, and keep it still ; Boldly assault the necromancer's hall; Lean on it safely; not a period
Where if he be, with dauntless bardihood, 650 Shall be unsaid for me : against the threats And brandish'd blade, rush on him; break bis Of malice, or of sorcery, or that power
glass, Which erring men call Chance, this I bold firm,- And shed the luscious liquor on the ground, Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt,
But seize his wand; though he and his curs'd Surpris'd by unjust force, but not enthralld;590 Yea, even that, which mischief meant most harm, Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high, Shall in the happy trial prove most glory: Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke, But eril on itself shall back recoil,
Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.
And some good angel bear a shield before us.
The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
all manner of deliciousness : soft music, tables And Earth's base built on stubble. --But come, spread with all dainties. Comus appears with let's on.
his rabble, and the Lady set in an enchanted Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven 600 chair, to whom he offers his glass, which ske May never this just sword be lifted up;
puts by, and goes about to rise.
Your nerves are all chain’d up in alabaster, 660
Pool, do not boast; Spir.
Alas! good venturous youth, Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise ; 610 With all thy charms, although this corporal ciud But here thy sword can do thee little stead; Thou hast immanacled, wbile Heaven sees good. Far other arms and other weapons must
Com. Why are you vex'd, lady? Why do you Be those, that quell the might of hellish charms :
frown? He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints, Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates And crumble all thy sinews.
Sorrow flies far : see, here be all the pleasures, El. Br.
Why pr'ythee, shepherd, That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts, How durst thou then thyself approach so near, When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns As to make this relation?
Brisk as the April buds in primrose-season. 671 Spir
Care, and utmost shifts, And first, behold this cordial julep here, How to secure the lady fronı surprisal,
That fames and dances in his crystal bounds, Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, With spirits of balm and fragrant syrops mix'd; Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd 620 Not that nepenthes, which the wife of Thone In every virtuous plant, and healing herb, In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena, That spreads her verdant leaf to th’ morning ray: Is of such power to stir up joy as this, He lov'd me well, and oft would beg me sing ; To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst, Which when I did, he on the tender grass Why should you be so cruel to yourself, Would sit and hearken even to ecstasy,
And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent 650 And in requital ope bis leathern scrip,
For gentle usage and soft delicacy?
And harshly deal like an ill borrower,
It withers on the stalk with languish'd head. With that which you receiv'd on other terms; Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown Scorning the unexempt condition,
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities, By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship; Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
It is for homely features to keep home, That have been tir'd all day without repast, They had their name thence ; coarse complexions, And timely rest have wanted ; but, fair virgin, And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply 750 This will restore all soon.
The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool. Lad.
'Twill not, false traitor ! 690 What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that, Twill not restore the truth and honesty,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Moin? That thou hast banish'd from thy tongue with lies. There was another meaning in these gifts ; Was this the cottage, and the safe abode, Think what, and be advis’d; you are but young Thou toldst me of? What grim aspects are these,
yet. These ugly-headed monsters ? Mercy guard me! Lad. I had not thought to have unlock'd my lips Hence with thy brew'd enchantments, foul de- In this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler[eyes, ceiver !
Would think to charm my judgment, as mine Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence Obtruding false rules prank'd in reason's garb. With visor'd falsehood and base forgery? I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments, 760 And would'st thou seek again to trap me here And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride. With lickerish baits, fit to ensnare a brute? 700 Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature, Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets, As if she would her children should be riotous I would not taste thy treasonous offer ; none With her abundance; she, good cateress, But such as are good men can give good things ; Means her provision only to the good, And that which is not good, is not delicious That live according to her sober laws, To a well governd and wise appetite.
And holy dictate of spare Temperance: Com. O foolishness of men ! that lend their ears If every just man, that now pines with want, To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur,
Had but a moderate and beseeming share And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, Of that which lewdly-pamper'd Luxury 770 Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence.
Now heaps upon some few with vast excess, Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth 710 Nature's full blessings would be well dispens'd With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, In unsuperfluous even proportion, Covering the Earth with odours, fruits, and flocks, And she no wit encumber'd with her store; Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable, And then the Giver would be better thank'd, But all to please and sate the curious taste ? His praise due paid : for swinish Gluttony And set to work millions of spinning worms, Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast, That in their green shops weave the smooth-haird But with besotted base ingratitude silk,
Crams, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on? To deck her sons ; and that no corner might Or have I said enough > To him that dares 780 Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words She hutch'd the all-worshipt ore, and precious Against the sun-clad power of Chastity, gems,
Fain would I something say, yet to what end? To store her children with : if all the world 720 Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend Should in a pet of temperance feed on pulse, The sublime notion, and high mystery, Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but That must be utter'd to unfold the sage frieze,
(prais'd, And serious doctrine of Virginity; The All-giver would be unthank'd, would be un. And thou art worthy that thou should'st not know Not half his riches known, and yet despis'd; More happiness than this thy present lot. And we should serve him as a grudging master, Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric, 790 As a penurious niggard of his wealth;
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence; And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons, Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc'd: Who would be quite surcharg'd with her own Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth weight,
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits And strangled with her waste fertility;
To such a flame of sacred vehemence, The Earth cumber'd, and the wing'd air dark'd That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize, with plumes,
730 And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and The herds would over-multitude their lords,
shake, The sea o'er fraught would swell, and the unsought Till all thy magic structures, rear'd so high, diamonds
Were shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head. Would so imblaze the forehead of the deep, Com. She fables not; I feel that I do fear 800 And so bestud with stars, that they below Her words set off by some superior power; Would grow inur'd to light, and come at last And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering To gaze upon the Sun with shameless brows.
dew List, lady : be not coy, and be not cosen'd Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove With that same vaunted name, Virginity. Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus, Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded, To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble, But must be current; and the good thereof 740 | And try her yet more strongly.-Come, no more; Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
This is mere moral babble, and direct Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself ;
Against the canon-laws of our foundation; If you let slip time, like a neglected rose I must not suffer this: yet ’ris but the less
And settlings of a melancholy blood : 810 | Listen, and appear to us,
By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look, The Brothers rush in with swords drawn, wrest his and the Carpathian wisard's hook,
glass out of his hand, and break it against the By scaly Triton's winding shell,
And her son that rules the strands,
By Tbetis' tinsel-slipper'd feet,
880 And backward mutters of dissevering power, Wherewith she sits on diamond rock, We cannot free the Lady that sits here
Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
From thy coral-paven bed,
There is a gentle nymph not far from hence, Till thou our summons answer'd tare.
Listen, and save. stream, Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure;
SABRINA rises, attended by water-nymphs, and Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
Where grows the willow, and the ozier dank, That staid her flight with his cross-flowing Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen
My sliding chariot stays,
Of turkis blue, and emerald green, The water-nymphs, that in the bottom play'd,
That in the channel strays; Held up their pearled wrists, and took her in,
Whilst from off the waters feet Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall;
Thus I set my printless feet Who, piteous of her woes, rear'd her lank head,
O'er the cowslip's velvet bead, And gave her to his daughters to imbathe
That bends not as I tread ;
Gentle swain, at thy request,
I am here,
840 And underwent a quick immortal change,
Sp. Goddess dear, Made goddess of the river : still she retains
Weimplore thy powerful hand
To undo the charmed band
Of true virgin here distrest,
Through the force, and through the wile, That the shrewd meddling elfe delights to make, Sabr. Shepherd, 'tis my office best
Of unblest enchanter vile. Which she with precious vial'd liquors heals;
To help ensnared chastity:
Brightest lady, look on me;
Thus I sprinkle on thy breast
Drops, that from my fountain pure
I have kept, of precious cure;
Thrice upon thy rubied lip:
Next this marble venom'd seat, If she be right invok'd in warbled song;
Smear'd with gums of glutinous beat, For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold :To aid a virgin, such as was herself,
Now the spell bath lost his bold ; In hard-besetting need; this will I try,
And I must haste, ere morning hour, 920 And add the power of some adjuring verse.
To wait in Amphitrite's bower.
Sabrina descends, and the Lady rises out of her Sabrina fair,
seat. Listen where thou art sitting
860 Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave, Sp. Virgin, daughter of Locrine In twisted braids of lilies knitting
Sprung of old Ancbises' line, The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair; May thy brimmed waves for this Listen for dear bonour's sake,
Their full tribute never miss
From a thousand pretty rills,
That tumble down the snowy bills:
Summer 'drought, or singed air,
There I suck the liquid air
980 Never scorch thy tresses fair,
All amidst the gardens fair Nor wet October's torrent flood
930 Of Hesperus, and his daughters three Thy molten crystal fill with mud;
That sing about the golden tree : May thy billows roll ashore
Along the crisped shades and bowers The beryl and the golden ore;
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring ; May thy lofty head be crown'd
The Graces, and the rosy-bosom'd Hours," With many a tower and terrace round,
Thither all their bounties bring; And here and there thy banks upon
There eternal Summer dwells, With groves of myrrh' and cinnamon.
And west-winds, with musky wing,
990 Come, lady, while Hearen lends us grace, About the cedar'd alleys fling Let us fly this cursed place,
Nard and cassia's balmy smells. Lest the sorcerer us entice
940 Iris there with humid bow With some other new device.
Waters the odorous banks, that blow Not a waste or needless sound,
Flowers of more mingled hew Till we come to holier ground;
Than hér purfled scarf can show ; I shall be your faithful guide
And drenches with Elysian dew Through this gloomy covert wide,
(List, mortals, if your ears be true) And not many furlongs thence
Beds of hyacinth and roses, Is your father's residence,
Where young Adonis oft reposes, Where this night are met in state
Waxing well of his deep wound
1000 Many a friend to gratulate
In slumber soft, and on the ground His wish'd presence; and beside
950 Sadly sits the Assyrian queen : All the swains, that there abide,
But far above in spangled sheen With jigs and rural dance resort ;
Celestial Cupid, her fam'd son, advanc'd, We shall catch them at their sport,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet entranc'd. And our sudden coming there
After her wandering labours long, Will double all their mirth and cheer:
Till free consent the Gods among
Make her his eternal bride,
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy : so Jove hath sworn. The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow lown and the president's castle; then come in country | I can fly, or I can run,
But now my task is smoothly done, dancers, after them the Attendant Spirit, with
Quickly to the green earth's end, the two Brothers and the Lady.
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 Virtue; she alone is free : Sp. Back, shepherds, back ; enough your play,
She cau teach ye how to climb
1020 Till next sun-shine holiday :
Higher than the sphery chime; Here be, without duck or nod,
Or if Virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her.
ORIGINAL VARIOUS READINGS Or Comus.
From Milton's MS, in his own hand.
Stage-DIRECTIONS. “ A guardian spirit or Here behold so goodly grown
dæmon" (enters.] After v. 4, “In regions mild, Three fair branches of your own ;
&c.” These lines are inserted, but crossed. Heaven hath timely tried their youth, 970 Their faith, their patience, and their truth, Amidst thHesperian gardens, on whose banks And sent them here through hard assays
Bedew'd with nectar and celestiall songs, With a crown of deathless praise,
Eternall roses grow, and hyacinth, To triumph in victorious dance
And fruits of golden rind, on whose faire tree O'ér sensual Folly and Intemperance.
The scalie-harnest dragon ever keeps
His unenchanted eye; around the verge The dances [being] ended, the Spirit epiloguizes. And sacred limits of this blissful isle,
The jealous ocean, that old river, windes Sp. To the ocean now I fly,
His farre extended armes, till with steepe fall And those happy climes that lie
Halfe his wast flood the wild Atlantique fills, Where day never shuts his eye,”
And halse the slow unfadom'd slygian poole. Up in the broad 'fields of the sky :
But soft, I was not sent to court your wonder
With distant worlds, and strange removed | Ver. 145. Breake off, breake off, I hear the dif.
climes. Yet thence I come, and oft from thence behold.
Of some chaste footing neere about
this ground; In the third of the preceding lines, “ Eternal
Some virgin sure benighted in these roses yeeld” had been also written, and then
woods, “ bloome ;” buth which are crossed, and grow re
For so I can distinguish by myne art. mains. After stygian poole the following lines,
Run to your shrouds within these braks through which the pen is drawn, occur :
Our number may affright.I doubt me, gentle mortalls, these may seeme This disposition is reduced to the present conStrange distances lo heare and unknowne climes.
text : then follows a Then follows in the margin, But soft, &c.
STAGE-DIRECTION. “ They all scatter." Ver. 5. the smoke and stir of this dim nar- Ver. 151. Now to my trains, row spot.
And to my mother's charmes, After v. 7, "Strive to keep up, &c.” this line Ver. 153. Thus I hurle was inserted, but crossed,
My powder'd spells into the spungic air, Beyond the written date of mortall change.
Of power to cheat the eye with sleight
illusion, Ver. 14. That shews the palace of æternity.
And give it false præsentments, Ver. 18. But to my buisnesse now. Neptune
else the place.
And blind is written for sleight.
Ver. 175. When for their teeming flocks, and Ver. 45. By old or modern bard, in hall or
garners full. bowre.
Ver. 176. they adore the bounteous Pan, Ver. 58. Which therefore she brought up and Praise had been first written and crossed through; nam'd him Comus.
and adore written over it, but also crossed; and In the margin, whome.
a line drawn under to signify that the original Ver. 62. And in thick covert of black shade im- word should be restored. Mr. Whiter in bis bowr'd
learned Specimen of a Commentary on Shakespeare, Excels his mother at her potent art. first noticed this method of emendation, adopted Covert is written first, then shelter.
by the poet. See the Specimen, p. 132-134. Ver. 67. For most doe taste through weake in- Ver. 181. In the blind alleys of this arched temperate thirst.
wood. Ver. 72. All other parts remaining as before. Ver. 190. Rose from the hindmost wheeles of Ver. 90. Neerest and likeliest to give præsent
Phoebus' chaire. aide.
Ver. 193 They had eugag'd thire youthly steps Ver. 92. Of virgin steps. I must be viewlesse
To the soone-parting light, and encious Virgin is expunged for hatefull.
darkness STAGE-DIRECTION. " Goes out.-Comus enters
Had stolne them from me.with a charming rod and glasse of liquor, with Ver. 199. With everlasting oyle to give ikire his rout all headed like some wild beasts; thite
light. garments, some like men's and some like women's. Ver. 208. And ayrie toungs that lure night-uan. They come on in a wild and antic fashion. In
derers. trant Καμάζοντες.»
Ver. 214. Thou flittering angel girt with golden Ver. 97. In the steepe Tartarian streame.
wings, Ver. 99. Shoots against the northern pole.
And thou unspotled forme of Chastity, Dusky is a marginal correction.
I see ye visibly, and while I see yee, Ver. 108. And quick Law with her scrupulous
This duskye hollow is a paradise, head.
And heaven gates ore my head: now I Ver. 114. Lead with swift round the months and
Ver. 219. Would send a glistering cherub, if Ver. 117. And on the yellow sands and shelves.
need were. Yellow is altered to tawny.
Ver. 229. Prompt me; and they perhaps are Ver. 122. Night has better sweets to prove.
not far hence. Ver. 133. And makes a blot in nature.
Ver. 231. Within thy ayrie cell. Again,
Cell is in the margin.
Ver. 243. And give resounding grace, is written And throws a blot ore all the aire.
in the margin of the manuscript ; and the fora Ver. 134. Stay thy polisht ebon chaire
mer part of the line, which regularly concluded Wherein thou ridest with Hecaté, the song, is blotted out with great care; but And favour our close jocundrie. enough, I think, remains to show that the poet, Till all thy dues bee done, and nought and not Lawes, wrote And hold a counterpointe. left out.
Before Comus speaks at v. 244, is this STAGES Ver. 144. With a light and frolick round.
“ Comus looks in and speaks." STAGE-DIRECTION. “ The measure, in a wild, Ver. 252. Of darknesse till she smil'd.ua rude, and wanton antic,”
Ver. 254. Culling their powerfull herbs.