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. That owned the virtuous ring and glass,

And of the wondrous horse of brass 115 On which the Tartar king did ride;

And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of tourneys, and of trophies hung, tas

Of forests, and enchantments drear,'
120 Where more is meant then meets the ear.

Thus, Night, oft seg me in thy pale career,
Tilifciyil-suited Morn appear,
Not tricked and frounced, as she was wont

With the Attic boy to hunt, 125 But kerchieft in a comely cloud,

While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or ushered with a shower still,
When the gust hath blown his fill,+

Ending on the rustling leaves and minerte 130 With minute-drops from off the eaves.

And, when the sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring
To archèd walks of twilight groves, -

And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves, 135 Of pine, or monumental oak,

Where the rude axe with heavèd stroke
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallowed haunt.

There in close covert, by some brook, 140 Where no profaner eye may look,

Hide me from day's garish eye,

14

150

While the bee with honeyed thigh,
That at her flowery work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such consort as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feathered Sleep.
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings, in airy stream
Of lively portraiture displayed,
Softly on my eyelids laid;
And, as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some Spirit to mortals good,
Or the unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale,
And love the high embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy-proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voiced quire below,
In service high and anthems clear,
As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies,
And bring all Heaven before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage
The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell atudy la

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160

17

about

Of every star that heaven doth shew,
And every herb that sips the dew,
Till old experience do attain

To something like prophetic strain. 175 These pleasures, Melancholy, give;

And I with thee will choose to live.

COMUS

A MASQUE PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1634, BEFORE THE EARL OF BRIDGEWATER, THEN

PRESIDENT OF WALES

THE PERSONS

The ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterwards in the habit of

THYRSIS.
COMUS, with his crew.
THE LADY.
FIRST BROTHER.
SECOND BROTHER.
SABRINA, the Nymph.

The Chief Persons which presented were
The LORD BRACKLEY;
Mr. THOMAS EGERTON, his brother;
The Lady ALICE EGERTON.

The First Scene Discovers a Wild Wood

The ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters

BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
Of bright aerial spirits live insphered
In regions mild of calm and serene air,
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot

66

Which men call Earth, and, with low-thoughted

care,
Confined and pestered in this pinfold here,
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives,
10 After this mortal change, to her true servants
Amongst the enthron’d gods on sainted seats.
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key

That opes the palace of eternity.
* 15 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,:. 20 Took in by lot, 'twixt high and nether jove,

Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles That, like to rich and various gems, inlay The unadorned bosom of the deep; Which he, to grace his tributary gods, 25 By course commits to several government, And gives them leave to wear their sapphire

crowns
And wield their little tridents. But this Isle,
The greatest and the best of all the main,

He quarters to his blue-haired deities;
Bo And all this tract that fronts the falling sun

noble Peer of mickle trust and power
Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide

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