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On fands, and fhores, and defert wildernesses.
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound 210
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
By a strong fiding champion, conscience.---
O welcome pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope,
Thou hovering Angel girt with golden wings,
And thou unblemish'd form of Chastity;
I fee ye visibly, and now believe
That he, the Supreme Good, t'whom all things ill
Are but as flavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glift'ring guardian if need were
To keep my life and honor unaffail'd.
Was I deceiv'd, or did a fable cloud
Turn forth her filver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a fable cloud
Turn forth her filver lining on the night,
And cafts a gleam over this tufted grove.
I cannot hallow to my Brothers, but
Such noise as I can make to be heard fartheft
I'll venture, for my new inliven'd spirits
Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.
By flow Meander's margent green, And in the violet-embroider'd vale,
Where the love-lorn nightingale
WEET Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
Within thy aery shell,
Nightly to thee her fad fong mourneth well;
Canft thou not tell me of a gentle pair
That likeft thy Narciffus are?
O if thou have
Hid them in some flow'ry cave,
Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere,
So may'st thou be translated to the skies,
And give refounding grace to all Heav'n's harmonies.
Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mold
Breathe fuch divine inchanting ravishment? 245
Sure fomething holy lodges in that breast,
And with these raptures moves the vocal air
To teftify his hidden residence:
How sweetly did they flote upon the wings
Of filence, through the empty-vaulted night,
At every fall smoothing the raven down
Of darkness till it fmil'd! I have oft heard
My mother Circe with the Sirens three,
Amidst the flow'ry-kirtled Naiades
Culling their potent herbs, and baleful drugs, 255
Who as they fung, would take the prison'd soul,
And lap it in Elyfium; Scylla wept,
And chid her barking waves into attention,
And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause;
Yet they in pleasing slumber lull'd the sense,
And in fweet madness robb'd it of itself;
But fuch a facred, and home-felt delight,
Such fober certainty of waking bliss
I never heard till now. I'll speak to her,
And she shall be my queen. Hail foreign wonder, 265
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,
Unless the Goddess that in rural shrine
Dwell'ft here with Pan, or Silvan, by bleft fong
Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
To touch the profp'rous growth of this tall wood. 270
Lady. Nay gentle Shepherd, ill is lost that praise
That is addrefs'd to unattending ears;
Not any boast of skill, but extreme fhift
How to regain my fever'd company,
Compell'd me to awake the courteous Echo
To give me answer from her mossy couch.
Com. What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you
Lady. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth.
Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering
Lady. They left me weary on a grassy turf.
Com. By falfhood, or discourtesy, or why?
Lady. To feek i'th'valley fome cool friendly spring.
Com. And left your fair fide all unguarded, Lady?
Lady. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick return.
Com. Perhaps fore-ftalling night prevented them.
Lady. How eafy my misfortune is to hit! 286
Com. Imports their lofs, befide the prefent need?
Lady. No lefs than if I fhould my Brothers lofe.
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
Lady. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. 290
Com. Two fuch I saw, what time the labor'd ox
In his loose traces from the furrow came,
And the swinkt hedger at his supper sat;
I saw them under a green mantling vine
That crawls along the fide 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 faëry vision
Of fome gay creatures of the element,
That in the colors of the rainbow live,
And play i'th' plighted clouds. I was aw-struck,
And as I past, I worshipt; if those
It were a journey like the path to Heaven,
To help you find them. La. Gentle Villager,
What readiest way would bring me to that place? 305
Com. Due weft it rises from this shrubby point.
Lady. To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose,
In such a scant allowance of star-light,
Would overtafk the beft land-pilot's art,
Without the fure guess of well-practic'd feet.
Com. I know each lane, and every alley green,
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And every bofky bourn from fide to fide,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;
And if your ftray-attendence be yet lodg'd,
Or fhroud within these limits, I fhall know
POEMS on Several OCCASIONS. XVI. 229
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roofted lark
From her thatcht pallat rouse; if otherwise
I can conduct you, Lady, to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
Till further queft. La. Shepherd, I take thy word,
And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,
Which oft is fooner found in lowly sheds
With smoky rafters, than in tap'ftry halls
And courts of princes, where it firft was nam'd, 325
is most pretended: In a place
Lefs warranted than this, or less secure,
I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.
Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial
To my proportion'd strength. Shepherd lead on. 330
The two Brothers.
Eld. Bro. Unmuffle ye faint Stars, and thou fair Moon,
That wont'ft to love the traveller's benizon,
Stoop thy pale vifage through an amber cloud,
And difinherit Chaos, that reigns here
In double night of darkness, and of shades;
Or if your influence be quite damm'd up
With black ufurping mists, fome gentle taper,
Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
Of some clay habitation, visit us
With thy long levell'd rule of ftreaming light,
And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Or Tyrian Cynofure. 2. Bro. Or if our eyes