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Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel
Honour hath left, and freedom, let but them Chanting their idol, and preferring
Find courage to lay hold on this occasion; Before our living Dread who dwells
To himself and father's house eternal fame; In Silo, his bright sanctuary:
And, which is best and happiest yet, all this Among them he a spirit of phrenzy sent, With God not parted from him, as was feared, Who hurt their minds,
But favouring and assisting to the end. And urged them on with mad desire
Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail To call in haste for their destroyer ;
Or knock the breast ; no weakness, no contempt, They, only set on sport and play,
Dispraise, or blame; nothing but well and fair, Unweetingly importuned
And what may quiet us in a death so noble. Their own destruction to come speedy upon them. Let us go find the body, where it lies So fond are mortal men,
Soaked in his enemies' blood; and from the stream Fallen into wrath divine,
With lavers pure, and cleansing herbs, wash off As their own ruin on themselves to invite, The clotted gore. I, with what speed the while, Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,
(Gaza is not in plight to say us nay,) And with blindness internal struck.
Will send for all my kindred, all my friends, 2 Semichor. But he, though blind of sight, To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend Despised and thought extinguished quite With silent obsequy and funeral train, With inward eyes illuminated,
Home to his father's house; there will I build him His fiery virtue roused
A monument, and plant it round with shade From under ashes into sudden flame,
Of laurel evergreen, and branching palm, And as an evening dragon came,
With all his trophies hung, and acts enrolled Assailant on the perched roosts
In copious legend, or sweet lyric song. And nests in order ranged
Thither shall all the valiant youth resort, Of tame villatic fowl; but as an eagle
And from his memory inflame their breasts His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads. To matchless valour, and adventures high: So virtue, given for lost,
The virgins also shall, on feastful days, Depressed, and overthrown, as seemed,
Visit his tomb with flowers; only bewailing Like that self-begotten bird
His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice, In the Arabian woods embossed,
From whence captivity and loss of eyes. That no second knows nor third,
Chor. All is best, though we oft doubt, And lay ere while a holocaust,
What the unsearchable dispose From out her ashy womb now teemed,
Of highest Wisdom brings about,
Oft he seems to hide his face,
And to his faithful champion hath in place Man. Come, come; no time for lamentation Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns, now,
And all that band them to resist
Of true experience, from this great event Fully revenged, hath left them years of mourning, with peace and consolation hath dismissed And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor And calm of mind all passion spent.
PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1643, BEFORE
JOHN, EARL OF BRIDGEWATER,
THEN PRESIDENT OF WALES.
* TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
Of bright aërial spirits live insphered
Which men call Earth; and, with low-thoughted MY LORD,
This poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, Confined and pester'd in this pin-fold here, and much honour from your own person in the Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, performance, now returns again to make a final Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives, dedication of itself to you. Although not openly After this mortal change, to her true servants, acknowledged by the author, # yet it is a legitimate Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats. offspring, so lovely and so much desired, that the Yet some there be, that by due steps aspire often copying of it hath tired my pen to give my To lay their just hands on that golden key, several friends satisfaction, and brought me to a That opes the palace of Eternity: necessity of producing it to the public view; and To such my errand is; and, but for such, now to offer it up in all rightful devotion to those I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds fair hopes, and rare endowments of your much pro- With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould. mising youth, which give a full assurance, to all But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway that know you, of a future excellence. Live, Of every salt flood, and each ebbing stream, sweet Lord, to be the honour of your name, and Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove receive this as your own, from the hands of him, Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles, who hath by many favours been long obliged to That, like to rich and various gems, inlay your most honoured parents, and as in this repre- The unadorn'd bosom of the deep: sentation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all/ Which he, to grace his tributary gods, real expression, your faithful and most humble By course commits to several government, servant,
H. LAWES. And gives them leave to wear their sapphire
And wield their little tridents: but this Isle,
The greatest and the best of all the main,
He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities; The Lady.
And all this tract that fronts the falling sun First Brother.
A noble Peer of mickle trust and power
Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide Sabrina, the Nymph.
An old and haughty nation, proud in arms: THE CHIEF PERSONS, WHO PRESENTED, WERE Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore, The Lord Brackley.
Are coming to attend their father's state, Mr. Thomas Egerton, his brother.
And new-entrusted sceptre: but their way The Lady Alice Egerton.
Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear
The nodding horror of whose shady brows
Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; The first scene discovers a wild Wood.
And here their tender age might suffer peril,
But that by quick command from sovereign Jove THE ATTENDANT Spirit descends or enters, I was despatch'd for their defence and guard:
And listen why; for I will tell you now BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
What never yet was heard in tale or song, My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape • This is the dedication to Lawes's edition of the Mask, 1637. + The first Brother in the Mask.
Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine, • It never appeared under Milton's name, till the year 1645. | After the Tuscan mariners transform'd.
Comus with his Crewo.
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, In the steep Atlantic stream;
Pacing toward the other goal
Rigour now is gone to bed,
Strict Age and sour Severity,
Imitate the starry quire,
Who, in their nightly watchful spheres, His orient liquor in a crystal glass,
Lead in swift round the months and years. To quench the drouth of Phæbus; which as they The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, taste,
Now to the moon in wavering morrice move: (For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst) And, on the tawny sands and shelves, Soon as the potion works, their human counte- Trip the pert faeries and the dapper elves. nance,
By dimpled brook and fountain brim,
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep.
Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
Hail, goddess of noctural sport,
That ne'er art call?d, but when the dragon womt I shoot from heaven, to give him safe convoy, Of Stygian darkness spits her thickest gloom, As now I do: but first I must put off
And makes one blot of all the air ;
Our concealed solemnity.-
In a light fantastic round. Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his glass in the other; with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wild beastą, but otherwise like men and women, their apparel glistering; they come in making a riotous Break off, break off: I feel the different pace and unruly noise, with torches in their hands.
Of some chaste footing near about this ground.
Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees; COMUS.
Our number may affright: some virgin, sure, The star that bids the shepherd fold,
(For so I can distinguish by my art) Now the top of heaven doth hold;
Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms, And the gilded car of day
And to my wily trains; I shall, ere long His glowing axle doth allay
Be well stock'd with as fair a herd as graz’d
About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl
On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses. My dazzling spells into the spongy air,
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound, Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion, The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended And give it false presentinents, lest the place By a strong siding champion, Conscience. And my quaint habits breed astonishment, O welcome, pure ey'd Faith, white handed Hope, And put the damsel to suspicious flight; Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings Which must not be, for that's against my course: And thou, unblemish’d form of Chastity! 1, under fair pretence of friendly ends,
I see ye visibly, and now believe And well placed words of glozing courtesy, That He, the Supreme Good, to whom all things Baited with reasons not unplausible,
ill Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance, And hug him into snares. When once her eye Would send a glistening guardian, if need were, Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,
To keep my life and honour unassail'd. I shall appear some harmless villager,
Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.
I can not halloo to my brothers, but Lady. This way the noise was, if mine ear be Such noise as I can make, to be heard farthest, true,
I'll venture; for my new-enlivened spirits My best guide now. Methought it was the sound Prompt me; and they, perhaps, are not far off. Of riot and ill managed merriment, Such was the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe, Stirs up among the loose, unlettered hinds; Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st, unseen, When from their teeming flocks, and granges full, Within thy airy shell, In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, By slow Meander's margent green, And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth And in the violet-embroider'd vale, To meet the rudeness and swilled insolence
Where the love-lorn nightingale Of such late wassailers; yet O! where else, Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well; Shall I inform my unacquainted feet,
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair, In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ?
That likest thy Narcissus are? My brothers, when they saw me wearied out
O, if thou have With this long way, resolving here to lodge,
Hid them in some flowery cave, Under the spreading favour of these pines,
Tell me but where, Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side, Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere! To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit So may'st thou be translated to the skies, As the kind hospitable woods provide.
And give resounding grace to all Heaven's har They left me then, when the gray-hooded Even, monies. Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed, Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phæbus' wain:
Enter ComuS. But where they are, and why they came not back, Comus. Can any mottal mixture of earth's Is now the labour of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest
mould They had engaged their wandering steps too far; Breathe such divine, enchanting ravishment? And envious Darkness, ere they could return, Sure something holy lodges in that breast, Had stole them from me: else, O thievish Night, And with these raptures moves the vocal air Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end, To testify his hidden residence. In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars, How sweetly did they float upon the wings
That Nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps Of silence, through the empty vaulted night, With everlasting oil, to give due light
At every fall smoothing the raven down To the misled and lonely traveller?
Of darkness, till it smiled! I have oft heard This is the place, as well as I may guess, My mother Circe, with the Syrens three, Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear; Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs; Yet nought but single darkness do I find.
Who, as they sung, would take the prisoned soul, What might this be? A thousand fantasies And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept, Begin to throng into my memory,
And chid her barking waves into attention, Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause: And airy tongues, that syllable men's names Yet they in pleasing slumber lull’d the sense,
And in sweet madness robbed it of itself: And every bosky bourn from side to side, But such a sacred and home-felt delight, My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood; Such sober certainty of waking bliss,
And if your stray attendance be yet lodged,
Till further quest.
Lad. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise, And trust thy honest offered courtesy,
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift With smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls How to regain my sever'd company,
In courts of princes, where it first was named, Compelled me to awake the courteous Echo, And yet is most pretended: in a place To give me answer from her mossy couch. Less warranted than this, or less secure, Com. What chance, good lady, hath bereft you I can not be, that I should fear to change it,thus?
Eye me, blessed Providence, and square my trial Lad. Dim darkness and this leafy labyrinth. To my proportioned strength.-Shepherd, lead on, Com. Could that divide you from near ushering
(Exeunt. guides? Lad They left me weary on a grassy turf.
Enter the Two BROTHERS. Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? El. Br. Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fai: Lad. To seek i' the valley some cool friendly moon, spring
That wont'st to love the traveller's benison, Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, Lady?
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here Lad. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick In double night of darkness and of shades; return.
Or, if your influence be quite dammed up
Or Tyrian Cynosure.
Com. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox Be barred that happiness, might we but hear
But, О that hapless virgin, or lost Sister! Of some gay creatures of the element,
Where may she wander now, whither betake her That in the colours of the rainbow live, From the chill dew, among rude burs and thistles? And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-struck, Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now, And, as I pass’d, I worshipp'd: if those you seek, Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm It were a journey like the path to Heaven, Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad fears. To help you find them.
What, if in wild amazement and affright? Lad. Gentle villager,
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp What readiest way would bring me to that place? Of savage hunger, or of savage heat ?
Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point. El. Br. Peace, Brother; be not over exquisite
Lad. To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose, To cast the fashion of uncertain evils: In such a scant allowance of star-light, For grant they be so, while they rest unknown, Would overtask the best land-pilot's art, What need a man forestall his date of grief, Without the sure guess of well-practised feet. And run to meet what he would most avoid?
Com. I know each lane, and every alley green, Or if they be but false alarms of fear, Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood, How bitter is such self-delusion!