Comus. Two such I saw, what time the laboured

In his loose traces from the furrow came,
And the swinked 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,

300 And play i' the 'plignted clouds. I was awe

strook, And, as I passed, I worshiped. If those you seek, It were a journey like the path to Heaven To help you find them. · Lady.

Gentle villager, What readiest way would bring me to that place? 305 Comus. Due west it rises from this shrubby

point. Lady. To find that out, good shepherd, I sup

pose, In such a scant allowance of star-light, Would overtask the best land-pilot's art, Without the sure guess of well-practised feet. 330

Comus. 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;


815 And if your stray attendance be yet lodged,

Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roostecs lark
From her thatched pallet rouse. If otherwise,

I can conduct you, Lady, to a low
320 But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
Till further quest.

Lady. Shepherd, I take thy word,
And trust thy honest-offered courtesy;
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds,

With smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls
325 And courts of princes, where it first was named,

And yet is most pretended. In a place yozess warranted than'his, or less secure,

I cannot be, that I should fear to change it bulle

Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial
330 To my proportioned strength! Shepherd, lead on.

Eld. Bro. Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou.

fair moongid
That won't st to love the traveller's benison,
Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,

And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
335 In double night of darkness and of shades;

Or, if your influence be quite dammed 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 levelled rule of streaming light, 340
And thou shalt be our Star of Arcady,
Or Tyrian Cynosure.
Sec. Bro.

Or, if our eyes
Be barred that happiness, might we but hear
The folded flocks, penned 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, oh, that hapless virgin, our lost sister!
Where may she wander now, whither betake her
From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and

thistles? Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now, Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm Leans her unpillowed head, fraught with sad fears. 355 What if in wild amazement and affright, Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp Of savage hunger, or of sąvage heat? w ines

Eld. Bro. 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, a


marta pripes Or so un principled in virtue's book, And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,

As that the single want of light and noise
370 (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)

Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
And put them into misbecoming plight.
Virtue could see to do what Virtue would

By her own radiant light, though sun and moon 875 Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's 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 bustle of resort,
380 Were all to-ruffled, and sometimes impaired.

He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts

Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
885 Himself is his own dungeon.
Sec. Bro.

'Tis most true
That musi..g meditation most affect's met
The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds,

And sits as safe as in a senate-house;
390 For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,

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



. not able the enchant Of dragon-watch with unenchanted eye

896 To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den, And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope Danger will wink on Opportunity, And let a single helpless maiden pass Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste. Of night or loneliness it recks me not; I fear the dread eyents that dog them both, Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person Of our tnowned sister.

Eld. Bro. I do not, brother, Infer as if I thought my sister's state Secure without all doubt or controversy; Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear 410 Does arbitrate the event, my nature is That I încline to hope rather than fear, And gladly banish squint suspicion. My sister is not so d?fenceless left As you imagine; she has a hidden strength, Which you remember not. T Sec. Bro.

What hidden strength, Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that? Eld. Bro. I mean that too, but yet a hidden

strength, Which, if Heaven gave it, may be termed her own. 'Tis chastity, my brother, chastity:




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