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Where no crude furfeit reigns. Eld. Bro. List, list, I hear Some far off hallow break the filent air.
2. Bro. Methought fo too; what should it be? 485 Eld. Bro. For certain
Either fome one like us night-founder'd here,
Or else some neighbour wood-man, or, at worst,
Some roving robber calling to his fellows.
2. Bro. Heav'n keep my Sister. Again, again, and near; Best draw, and stand upon our guard.
Eld. Bro. I'll hallow;
If he be friendly, he comes well; if not,
Defense is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.
The attendent Spirit habited like a fhepherd.
That hallow I should know, what are you? speak; Come not too near, you fall on iron ftakes elfe. 496 Spir. What voice is that? my young Lord? speak again.
2. Bro. O brother, 'tis my father's fhepherd, fure. Eld. Bro. Thyrfis? whose artful ftrains have oft delay'd
The huddling brook to hear his madrigal
And sweeten'd every muskrose of the dale.
How cam'ft thou here, good Swain? hath any ram
Slipt from the fold, or young kid lost his dam,
Or ftraggling weather the pent flock forfook?
How could'st thou find this dark fequefter'd nook? 505
Spir. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy,
I came not here on fuch a trivial toy
As a stray'd ewe, or to pursue the stealth
Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth
That dothenrich these downs, is worth a thought 510
To this my errand, and the care it brought.
But, O my virgin Lady, where is she?
How chance she is not in your company?
Eld. Bro. To tell thee fadly, Shepherd, without blame, Or our neglect, we loft her as we came.
Spir. Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true. Eld. Bro. What fears, good Thyrfis? Prethee briefly Spir. I'll tell ye; 'tis not vain or fabulous, (fhew. (Though fo efteem'd by fhallow ignorance) 519 What the fage poets, taught by th' heav'nly Muse, Story'd of old in high immortal verse,
Of dire chimera's and inchanted iles,
And rifted rocks whofe entrance leads to Hell;
For fuch there be, but unbelief is blind.
Within the navel of this hideous wood,
Immur'd in cypress shades a sorcerer dwells,
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus,
Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries,
And here to every thirsty wanderer
By fly enticement gives his baneful cup,
With many murmurs mix'd, whose pleasing poison
The vifage quite transforms of him that drinks,
And the inglorious likeness of a beast
Fixes instead, unmolding reason's mintage
Character'd in the face; this have I learnt ́
Tending my flocks hard by i'th'hilly crofts,
That brow this bottom glade, whence night by night
He and his monftrous rout are heard to howl
Like ftabled wolves, or tigers at their prey,
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate
In their obfcured haunts of inmoft bowers.
Yet have they many baits, and guileful spells,
To' inveigle and invite th' unwary sense
Of them that pass unweeting by the way.
This evening late, by then the chewing flocks
Had ta'en their fupper on the favory herb
Of knot-grafs dew-besprent, and were in fold,
I fat me down to watch upon a bank
With ivy canopied, and interwove
With flaunting honey-fuckle, and began,
Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy,
To meditate my rural minstrelsy,
Till fancy had her fill, but ere a close
The wonted roar was up amidst the woods,
And fill'd the air with barbarous diffonance;
At which I ceas'd, and listen'd them a while,
Till an unusual stop of sudden filence
Gave refpit to the droufy flighted steeds,
That draw the litter of clofe-curtain'd sleep;
At laft a foft and folemn breathing found
Rose like a steam of rich diftill'd perfumes,
And stole upon the air, that even Silence
Was took ere she was ware, and wish'd she might
Deny her nature, and be never more
Still to be fo difplac'd. I was all ear,
And took in strains that might create a foul
Under the ribs of death: but O ere long
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honor'd Lady, your dear Sifter.
Amaz'd I ftood, harrow'd with grief and fear,
And O poor hapless nightingale thought I,
How fweet thou fing'ft, how near the deadly fnare!
Then down the lawns I ran with headlong hafte,
Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
Till guided by mine ear I found the place,
Where that damn'd wifard hid in fly disguise
(For fo by certain signs I knew) had met
Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
The aidless innocent Lady his wish'd prey,
Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two,
Suppofing him fome neighbour villager.
Longer I durft not stay, but soon I guess'd
Ye were the two fhe meant; with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found
But further know I not. 2. Bro. O night and shades,
How are ye join'd with Hell in triple knot, 586
Against th' unharmed weakness of one virgin
Alone, and helpless! Is this the confidence
You gave me, Brother? Eld. Bro. Yes, and keep it ftill,
Lean on it fafely; not a period
Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats
Of malice or of forcery, or that power
Which erring men call Chance' this I hold firm,
Virtue may be affail'd, but never hurt,
Surpris'd by unjust force, but not inthrall'd;
Yea even that which mischief meant moft harm,
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory:
But evil on itself shall back recoil,
And mix no more with goodness, when at last
Gather'd like fcum, and settled to itself,
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and felf-confum'd: if this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
And earth's bafe built on flubble. But come let's on.
Against th' opposing will and arm of Heaven
May never this juft fword be lifted up;
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the grifly legions that troop
Under the footy flag of Acheron,
Harpyes and Hydra's, or all the monflrous forms 610 'Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
And force him to restore his purchase back,
Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
Curs'd as his life.
Spir. Alas! good ventrous Youth,
I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise;
But here thy fword can do thee little stead;
For other arms, and other weapons must