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If I to try whether in higher sort

Whose poem Phæbus challeng'd for his own. Than these thou bear’st that title, have proposd Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught What both from men and angels I receive,

In Chorus or lambic, teachers best Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth

Of moral prudence, with delight receiv’d Nations besides from all the quarter'd winds, In brief sententious precepts, while they treat God of this world invok'd and world beneath; Of fate, and chance, and change in human life ;

then thou art, whose coming is foretold High actions, and high passions best describing : To me so fatal, me it most concerns.

Thence to the famous orators repair, The trial hath indamag'd thee no way;

Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Rather more honour left and more esteem;

Wielded at will that fierce democratie,
Me nought advantag'd, missing what I aim'd. Shook th' arsenal, and fulmin'd over Greece,
Therefore let pass, as they are transitory,

To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne:
The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more

To sage philosophy next lend thine ear,
Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not. From Heav'n descended to the low-rooft house
And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclin'd

Of Socrates; see there his tenement,
Than to a worldly crown, addicted more

Whom well inspir’d the oracle pronounc'd To contemplation and profound dispute,

Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth As by that early action may be judg’d,

Melifluous streams that water'd all the schools
When slipping from thy mother's eye thou went'st Of Academics old and new, with those
Alone into the temple; there wast found

Surnam’d Peripatetics, and the sect
Among the gravest Rabbies disputant

Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;
On points and questions fitting Moses' chair, These here revolve, or, as thou lik’st, at home,
Teaching, not taught; the childhood shews the man, Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight ;
As morning shews the day. Be famous then These rules will render thee a king complete
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend,

Within thyself, much more with empire join'd.
So let extend thy mind o'er all the world
In knowledge, all things in it comprehend:
All knowledge is not couch'd in Moses' law,
The Pentateuch, or what the Prophets wrote;

COMUS, A MASK. The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach

THE FIRST SCENE DISCOVERS A WILD WOOD. To admiration, led by Nature's light; And with the Gentiles much thou must converse,

The attendant Spirit descends or enters. Ruling them by persuasion as thou mean’st;

Before the starry threshold of Jove's court, Without their learning, how wilt thou with them, My mansion is, where those immortal shapes Or they with thee hold conversation meet?

Of bright aerial spirits live inspher'd How wilt thou reason with them, how refute In regions mild of calm and serene air, Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes ?

Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot, Error by his own arms is best evinc'd.

Which men call earth, and with low thoughted care Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount, Confin’d, and pester'd in this pin-fold here, Westward, much nearer by southwest, behold Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, Where on the Ægean shore a city stands

Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil,

After this mortal change to her true servants Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts

Amongst the enthron'd gods on sainted seats. And eloquence, native to famous wits

Yet some there be that by due steps aspire Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,

To lay their just hands on that golden key City or suburban, studious walks and shades;

That opes the palace of eternity: See there the olive grove of Academe,

To such my errand is; and but for such, Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird

I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long; With the rank vapors of this sin-worn mould. There flowery hill Hymettus with the sound

But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway Of bees' industrious murmur oft invites

Of every salt-food, and each ebbing stream,
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls

Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove
His whisp'ring stream: within the walls then view Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles,
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred

That like to rich and various gems inlay
Great Alexander to subdue the world,

The unadorned bosom of the deep, Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:

Which he to grace his tributary Gods There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power By course commits to several government, Of harmony in tones and numbers hit

And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns, By voice or hand, and various-measured verse, And wield their little tridents: but this isle, Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,

The greatest and the best of all the main, And his who gave them breath, but higher sung, He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities; Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer callid,

And all this track that fronts the falling sun

A noble peer of mickle trust and power

Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his Has in his charge, with temper’d awe to guide glass in the other; with him a rout of monsters, An old and haughty nation proud in arms :

headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but otherWhere his fair offspring nurs’d in princely lore wise like men and women, their apparel glittering ; Are coming to attend their father's state,

they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, And new-entrusted sceptre; but their way

bearing torches in their hands. Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood, Comus. The star that bids the shepherd fold, The nodding horror of whose shady brows

Now the top of Heav'n doth hold,
Threats the forlorn and wand'ring passenger; And the gilded car of day,
And here their tender age might suffer peril

His glowing axle doth allay
But that by quick command from sov’reign Jove In the steep Atlantic stream,
I was dispatch'd for their defence and guard;

And the slope sun his upward beam And listen why, for I will tell you now

Shoots against the dusky pole, What never yet was heard in tale or song,

Pacing toward the other goal
From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.

Of his chamber in the east;
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape Meanwhile, welcome Joy and Feast,
Crush'd the sweet poison of mis-used wine,

Midnight shout and revelry,
After the Tuscan mariners transform’d,

Tipsy Dance, and Jollity. Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,

Braid your locks with rosy twine, On Circe's island fell: (Who knows not Circe

Dropping odours, dropping wine. The daughter of the Sun ? whose charmed cup

Rigour now is gone to bed,
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape,

And Advice with scrupulous head,
And downward fell into a grovelling swine) Strict Age, and sour Severity,
This nymph that gaz’d upon his clust'ring locks,

With their grave saws in slumber lie.
With ivy berries wreath'd, and his blythe youth,

We that are of purer fire Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son

Imitate the starry quire, Much like his father, but his mother more,

Who, in their nightly watchful spheres, Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus nam’d, Lead in swift round the months and years. Who ripe, and frolic of his full grown age,

The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,

Now to the moon in wavering morrice move; At last betakes him to this ominous wood,

And on the tawny sands and shelves And in thick shelter of black shades imbower'd

Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves. Excels his mother at her mighty art,

By dimpled brook and fountain brim, Offering to every weary traveller

The wood-nymphs deck'd with daisies trim,
His orient liquor in a crystal glass,

Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:
To quench the drouth of Phæbus, which as they taste, What hath night to do with sleep?
(For most do taste thro' fond intemperate thirst) Night hath better sweets to prove,
Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance, Venus who wakes, and wakens love.
Th’ express resemblance of the Gods, is chang'd Come let us our rites begin,
Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,

Tis only day-light that makes sin,
Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,

Which these dun shades will ne'er report. All other parts remaining as they were;

Hail goddess of nocturnal sport, And they, so perfect is their misery,

Dark-veil'd Cotytto, ť' whom the secret flame Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,

Of midnight-torches burns; mysterious dame, But boast themselves more comely than before, That ne'er art call'd, but when the dragon womb And all their friends and native home forget, Of Stygian darkness spits her thickest gloom, To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.

And makes one blot of all the air, Therefore, when any favour'd of high Jove

Stay thy cloudy ebon chair.
Chances to pass through this advent'rous glade, Whereiu thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star

Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end
I shoot from Heav'n to give him safe convoy, Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
As now I do: but first I must put off

Ere the babbling eastern scout,
These my sky robes, spun out of Iris' woof,

The nice morn on the Indian steep And take the weeds and likeness of a swain,

From her cabin'd loophole peep,
That to the service of this house belongs,

And to the tell-tale sun descry
Who with his soft pipe, and smooth-dittied song, Our conceal'd solemnity.
Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar, Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith, In a light fantastic round.
And in this office of his mountain watch,

The Measure.
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread

Break off, break off, I feel the different pace Of hateful steps. I must be viewless now. Of some chaste footing near about this ground.

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SONG.

Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees ; Of calling shapes, and beck’ning shadows dire, Our number may affright: some virgin sure And airy tongues, that syllable men's names (For so I can distinguish by mine art)

On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses. Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms, These thoughts may startle well, but not astound And to my wily trains, I shall ere long

T'he virtuous mind, that ever walks attended Be well stock'd with as fair a herd as graz’d By a strong siding champion, Conscience. About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl

O welcome pure-ey'd faith, white-handed hope, My dazzling spells into the spongy air,

Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings,
Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion, And thou, unblemish'd form of chastity;
And give it false presentments, lest the place I see ye visibly, and now believe
And my quaint habits breed astonishment,

That he, the Supreme Good, t whom all things ill And put the damsel to suspicious flight,

Are but as slavish officers of vengeance, Which must not be ; for that's against my course; Would send a glist'ring guardian, if need were I under fair pretence of friendly ends,

To keep my life and honour unassail'd. And well plac'd words of glozing courtesy,

Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud Baited with reasons not unplausible,

Turn forth her silver lining on the night? Wind me into the easy hearted man,

I did not err; there does a sable cloud And hug him into snares. When once her eye

Turn forth her silver lining on the night, Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,

And casts a gleam over this tufted grove. I shall appear some harmless villager,

I cannot halloo to my brothers, but Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear.

Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest But here she comes; I fairly step aside,

I'll venture ; for my new enliven'd spirits
And hearken, if I may, her business here.

Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.
The Lady enters.
This way the noise was, if mine ear be true,

Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen My best guide now; methought it was the sound

Within thy airy shell, Of riot and ill-managed merriment,

By slow Meander's margent green, Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe

And in the violet embroider'd vale,
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds,

Where the love-born nightingale
When for their teeming flocks, and granges full, Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well;
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
And thank the Gods amiss. I should be loth

That likest thy Narcissus are?
To meet the rudeness and swill'd insolence

O if thou have Of such late wassailers; yet oh, where else

Hid them in some flow'ry cave, Shall I inform my unacquainted feet

Tell me but where, In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ?

Sweet queen of Parly, daughter of the sphere, My brothers, when they saw me wearied out

So may'st thou be translated to the skies, With this long way, resolving here to lodge And give resounding grace to allHeav'n's harmonies. Under the spreading favour of these pines, Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side

Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit

Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment? As the kind hospitable woods provide.

Sure something holy lodges in that breast, They left me then, when the grey hooded even, And with these raptures moves the vocal air Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,

To testify his hidden residence : Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phæbus' wain. How sweetly did they float upon the wings But where they are, and why they came not back, Of silence, through the empty vaulted night, Is now the labour of my thought ; 'tis likeliest At every fall smoothing the raven down They had engag'd their wand'ring steps too far, Of darkness till it smil'd! I have oft heard And envious darkness, ere they could return, My mother Circe, with the Sirens three, Had stole them from me ; else, O thievish night, Amidst the flow’ry-kirtled Naiades Why wouldst thou, but for some felonious end, Culling their potent herbs, and baleful drugs, In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars, Who, as they sung, would take the prison'd soul, That nature hung in Heav'n, and fill'd their lamps And lap it in Elysium; Scylla wept, With everlasting oil, to give due light

And chid her barking waves into attention, To the misled and lonely traveller?

And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause: This is the place, as well as I may guess,

Yet they in pleasing slumber lull’d the sense, Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth

And in sweet madness robb'd it of itself; Was rife and perfect in my list’ning ear;

But such a sacred and home-felt delight, Yet nought but single darkness do I find.

Such sober certainty of waking bliss, What might this be? A thousand fantasies

I never heard till now. I'll speak to her, Begin to throng into my memory,

And she shall be my queen. Hail foreign wonder,

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Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
Unless the Goddess that in rural shrine

With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls Dwell’st here with Pan, or Sylvan, by blest song And courts of princes, where it first was nam'd, Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog

And yet is most pretended: in a place To touch the prosp'rous growth of this tall wood. Less warranted than this, or less secure,

Lady. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. That is address'd to unattending ears;

Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift

To my proportion'd strength. Shepherd, lead on. How to regain my sever'd company,

The two Brothers.
Compell’d me to awake the courteous echo
To give me answer from her mossy couch. [thus ? E. Bro. Unmuffle ye faint stars, and thou fair moon,

Comus. What chance, good lady, bath bereft you That wont'st to love the traveller's benizon,
Lady. Dim darkness and this leafy labyrinth. Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
Comus. Could that divide you from near-usher- And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
ing guides?

In double night of darkness and of shades;
Lady. They left me weary on a grassy turf. Or if your influence be quite damm'd up
Comus. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why?

With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,
Lady.To seek i’th’valley some cool friendly spring. Though a rush candle from the wicker hole
Comus. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady? Of some clay habitation, visit us
Lady. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick

With thy long levellid rule of streaming light,

[them. And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Comus. Perhaps forestalling night prevented

Or Tyrian Cynosure.
Lady. How easy my misfortune is to hit! (need ?

Y. Bro. Or if our eyes
Comus. Imports their loss, besides the present

Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear
Lady. No less than if I should my brothers lose.

The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cotes, Comus. Were they of manly prime, or youthful

Or sound of past'ral reed with oaten stops,
bloom

Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Lady. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips.

Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
Comus. Two such I saw,what time the labour'dox

"Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering In his loose traces from the furrow came,

In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs. And the swinkt hedger at his supper sat;

But O that hapless virgin, our lost sister, I saw them under a green mantling vine

Where may she wander now, whither betake her, That crawls along the side of yon small hill,

From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles ? Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots ; Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now, Their port was more than human, as they stood;

Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm I took it for a faëry vision

Leans her unpillow'd head fraught with sad fears. Of some gay creatures of the element,

What if in wild amazement and affright, That in the colours of the rainbow live,

Or, while we speak, within the direful

grasp And play i'th' plighted clouds. I was awe-struck,

Of savage hunger, or of savage heat? And as I pass'd I worshipt; if those you seek,

E. Bro. Peace, brother, be not over-exquisite It were a journey like the path to Heav'n,

To cast the fashion of uncertain evils : To help you find them.

For grant they be so, while they rest unknown, Lady. Gentle villager,

What need a man forestall his date of grief, What readiest way would bring me to the place? And run to meet what he would most avoid ?

Comus. Due west it rises from this shrubby point. Or if they be but false alarms of fear,
Lady. To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose,

How bitter is such self-delusion?
In such a scant allowance of star-light,

I do not think my sister so to seek, Would over-task the best land-pilot's art,

Or so unprincipled in Virtue's book, Without the sure guess of well practis'd feet. And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever, Comus. I know each lane, and every alley green,

As that the single want of light and noise Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,

(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not) And every bosky bourn from side to side,

Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood; And put them into misbecoming plight. And if your stray-attendants be yet lodg’d,

Virtue could see to do what virtue would Or shroud within these limits, I shall know By her own radiant light, though sun and moon Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark

Were in the flat sea sunk. And wisdom's self From her thatched pallat rouse ; if otherwise Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, I can conduct you, lady, to a low

Where with her best nurse Contemplation But loyal cottage, where you may be safe

She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings, Till further quest.

That in the various bustle of resort
Lady. Shepherd, I take thy word,

Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair’d. And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,

He that has light within his owo clear breast

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Instead shall double ours upon our heads.

Humbly their faults, and pardon begg'd with tears No more be mention'd then of violence

Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness,

Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
That cuts us off from hope, and savours only Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.
Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,
Reluctance against God and his just yoke
Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild

SENTENCE PRONOUNCED ON ADAM

AND EVE.
And gracious temper he both heard and judg'd
Without wrath or reviling; we expected

Meanwhile
Immediate dissolution, which we thought

To re-salute the world with sacred light
Was meant by death that day, when lo, to thee Leucothea wak'd, and with fresh dews imbalm'd
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,

The earth, when Adam, and first matron Eve
And bringing forth, soon recompens'd with joy, Had ended now their orisons, and found
Fruit of thy womb: on me the curse aslope

Strength added from above, new hope to spring
Glanc'd on the ground; with labour I must earn Out of despair, joy, but with fear yet link'd;
My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse; Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd:
My labour will sustain me; and lest cold

Eve, easily may faith admit, that all Or heat should injure us, his timely care

The good which we enjoy from Heav'n descends; Hath unbesought provided, and his hands

But that from us aught should ascend to Heaven Cloth'd us unworthy, pitying while he judg’d; So prevalent as to concern the mind How much more, if we pray him, will his ear Of God high-blest, or to incline his will, Be open, and his heart to pity incline,

Hard to belief may seem ; yet this will prayer, And teach us further by what means to shun Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow? Ev'n to the seat of God. For since I sought Which now the sky with various face begins By pray’r th' offended Deity to appease, To shew us in this mountain, while the winds Kneel'd and before him humbled all my heart, Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks Methought I saw him placable and mild, Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish That I was heard with favour; peace return'd Our lips benumb’d, ere this diurnal star

Home to my breast, and to my memory Leave cold the night, how we his gather'd beams His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe; Reflected, may with matter sere foment,

Which then not minded in dismay, yet now Or by collision of two bodies grind

Assures me that the bitterness of death The air attrite to fire, as late the clouds

Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee, Justling or push'd with winds rude in their shock Eve rightly call’d Mother of all Mankind, Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame driven Mother of all things living, since by thee Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine, [down Man is to live, and all things live for man. And sends a comfortable heat from far,

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanor meek. Which might supply the sun: such fire to use, Ill worthy I such title should belong And what may else be remedy or cure

To me transgressor,

who for thee ordain'd To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought, A help, became thy snare; to me reproach He will instruct us praying, and of grace

Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise: Beseeching him, so as we need not fear

But infinite in pardon was my Judge, To pass commodiously this life sustain'd

That I who first brought death on all, am grac'd By him with many comforts, till we end

The source of life; next favourable thou, In dust, our final rest and native home.

Who highly thus t entitle me vouchsaf'st, What better can we do, than to the place

Far other name deserving. But the field Repairing where he judg'd us, prostrate fall To labour calls us now with sweat impos'd, Before him reverent, and there confess

Tho'after sleepless night; for see the morn, Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears All unconcern'd with our unrest, begins Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air Her rosy progress smiling; let us forth, Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign I never from thy side henceforth to stray, Of sorrow unfeign'd, and humiliation meek? Where'er our day's work lies, though now injoin'd Undoubtedly he will relent and turn

Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell, From his displeasure ; in whose look serene, What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks? When angry most he seem'd and most severe, Here let us live, tho' in fall’n state, content. What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone? So spake, so wish'd much humbled Eve, but Fate So spake our Father penitent, nor Eve

Subscrib'd not; Nature first gave signs, impress'd Felt less remorse: they forth with to the place On bird, beast, air, air suddenly eclips'd Repairing where he judg’d them, prostrate fell After short blush of morn ; nigh in her sight Before him reverent, and both confess'd

The bird of Jove stoop'd from his airy tour,

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