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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 Île
The greatest, and the best of all the main
He quarters to his blu-bair'd deities,
And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun
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 bis 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 borror of whose shady brows
Threats the forlorn and wandring Passinger.
And here their tender age might suffer perill,
But that by quick command from Soveran Jove
I was dispatcht for their defence, and guard;
And listen why, for I will tell ye now
What never yet was beard 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 Circe
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 bis clustring locks,
With Ivy berries wreath'd, and bis blithe youth,
Had by bim, ere he parted thence, a Son
Much like bis Father, but bis 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,
At last betakes bim to this ominous Wood,
And in thick shelter of black shades imbowr'd,
Excells bis Mother at ber mighty Art,
Offring to every weary Travailer,

His orient liquor in a Crystal Glasse,

To quench the drouth of Phoebus, which as they taste (For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst) Soon as the Potion works, their buman count'nance, Th' express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd Into som brutish form of Woolf, or Bear, 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, 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 bush the waving Woods, nor of lesse faith,
And in this office of his Mountain watch,
Likeliest, and neerest to the present ayd
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.

Comus. The Star that bids the Shepherd fold,
Now the top of Heav'n doth bold,
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 gole
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 soure Severity,

With their grave Saws in slumber ly.
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,
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:
What bath night to do with sleep?
Night bath 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 Dame
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,

And to the tel-tale Sun discry
Our conceal'd Solemnity.

Com, knit bands, and beat the ground,
In a light fantastick round.

The Measure.

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,
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 burl
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,
And well plac't words of glozing courtesie
Baited with reasons not unplausible
Wind me into the easie-hearted man,
And bugg 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 bearken, if I may, her busines here.

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