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Why should you be so cruel to yourself,
680 And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent

For gentle usage and soft delicacy?
But you invert the covenants of her trust,
And harshly deal, like an ill borrower,

With that which you received on other terms,
685 Scorning the unexempt condition
Ć By which all mortal frailty must subsist,

Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
That have been tired all day without repast,

And timely rest have wanted. But, fair virgin,
Į 690 This will restore all soon.
Lady.

'Twill not, false traitori 'Twill not restore the truth and honesty That thou hast banished from thy tongue with lies, Was this the cottage and the safe abode

Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these, 695 These ugly-headed monsters? Mercy guard me! Hence with thy brewed enchantments, foul de

ceiver!
Hast thou betrayed my credulous innocence
With vizored falsehood and base forgery?

And would'st thou seek again to trap me here 700 With liquorish baits, fit to ensnare a brute?

Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets,
I would not taste thy treasonous offer. None
But such as are good men can give good things;

And that which is not good is not delicious 705 To a well-governed and wise appetite.

Comus. O foolishness of men! that lend their

ears To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur, And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence! Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth 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, 716 That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired

silk, To deck her sons; and, that no corner might Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins She hutched the all-worshiped ore and precious

gems, To store her children with. If all the world 720 Should, in a pet of temperance, feed on pulse, Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but

frieze, The All-giver would be unthanked, would be un

praised, Not half his riches known, and yet despised; And we should serve him as a grudging master, 7 As a penurious niggard of his wealth, And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons, Who would be quite surcharged with her own

weight,

And strangled with her waste fertility: 730 The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked

with plumes, The herds would over-multitude their lords; The sea o’erfraught would swell, and the unsought

diamonds Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep,

And so bestud with stars, that they below
735 Would grow inured to light, and come at last

To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows.
List, Lady; be not coy, and be not cozened
With that same vaunted name, Virginity.

Beauty is Nature's coin; must not be hoarded, 740 But must be current, and the good thereof

Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself.
If you let slip time, like a neglected rose

It withers on the stalk with languished head. 745 Beauty is Nature's 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: coarse complexions 750 And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply

The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool.
What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn?

There was another meaning in these gifts; 755 Think what, and be advised; you are but young yet

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Lady. I had not thought to have unlocked my

lips In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes, Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb. I hate when vice can bolt her arguments, And virtue 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 only 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-pampered Luxury Now heaps upon some few with vast excess, Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed In unsuperfluous even proportion, And she no whit encumbered with her store; And then the Giver would be better thanked, 775 His praise due paid: for swinish gluttony Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast, But with besotted base ingratitude Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go on? Or have I said enough? To him that dares 780 Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words Against the sun-clad power of chastity Fain would I something say;—yet to what end?

Thou hast not ear, nor soul, to apprehend | 785 The sublime notion and high mystery

That must be uttered to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of Virginity;
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know

More happiness than this thy present lot. 790 Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,

That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced.
Yet, should I try, the uncontrollèd worth

Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits 795 To such a flame of sacred vehemence,

That dumb things would be moved to sympathize,
And the brute earth would lend her nerves, and

shake,
Till all thy magic structures, reared so high,

Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head. 800 Comus. She fables not. I feel that I do fear

Her words set off by some superior power;
And, though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove

Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus
805 To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble,

And try her yet more strongly.—Come, no more!
This is mere moral babble, and direct
Against the canon laws of our foundation;

I must not suffer this, yet ’tis but the lees 810 And settlings of a melancholy blood.

But this will cure all straight; one sip of this

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