Enter COMUS.

Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment? Sure something holy lodges in that breast, And with these raptures moves the vocal air To testify his hidden residence. How sweetly did they float upon the wings Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night, At every fall smoothing the raven-down Of darkness, till it smil'd! I have oft heard My mother Circe with the Syrens three, Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs; Who, as they sung, would take the prison'd soul, And lap it in Elysium : 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 sweet madness robb’d it of itself; But such a sacred and home-felt delight, Such sober certainty of waking bliss, I never heard till now. I'll speak to her, And she shall be my queen. Hail, foreign wonder! Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Unless the Goddess that in rural shrine Dwell'st here with Pan, or Sylvan ; by blest song

Forbidding every bleak unkindly, fog
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood.
Lady. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that

That is address’d to unattending ears :

any boast of skill, but extreme shift How to regain my sever'd company, Compelli'd me to awake the courteous Echo To give me answer from her mossy

couch. Comus. What chance, good Lady, hath bereft

you thus ?

Lady. Dim darkness, and his leafy labyrinth. Comus. Could that divide you from near usher

ing guides ? Lady. They left me weary on a grassy turf. Comus. By falshood, or discourtesy, or why? Lady. To seek i’ the valley some cool friendly

spring Comus. And left your fair side all unguarded,

Lady? Lady. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick

return. Comus. Perhaps forestalling night prevented

them, Lady. How easy my misfortune is to bit! Comus. Imports their loss, beside the present Lady. No less than if I should my Brothers lose. Comus. Were they of manly prime, or youthful


bloom? Lady. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Comus. Two such I saw, what time the la

bour'd ox
In his loose traces from the furrow came,
And the swink'd dedger at his supper sat;
I saw them under a green mantling vine,
That crawls along the side 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 faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colours of the rainbow live,
And play i' the plighted clouds. I was aw-struck,
And, as I past, I worshipt; if those you seek,
It were a journey like the path of Heaven,
To help you find them.

Gentle Villager,
What readiest way would bring me to the place ?

Comus. Due west it rises from this shrubby point.

Lady. To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose In such a scant allowance of star-light, Would overtask the best land pilot's art, Without the sure guess of well-practis'd feet.

Comus. I know each lane, and every alley green, Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,


And every bosky bourn from side to side,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood ;
And if your stray attendance be yet lodg'd,
Or shroud within this limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
From her thatch'd pallet rouse; if otherwise,
I can conduct you, Lady, to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
Till further quest.

Shepherd, I take thy word
And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
With smoaky rafters, than in tap’stry halls
In courts of princes, where it first was nam’d,
And yet is most pretended; In a place
Less 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.


Enter the two BROTHERS.
Elder Brother. Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and

thou, fair moon,
That wont'st to love the traveller's benison,
Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
In double night of darkness and of shades;

Or, if your influence be quite damm’d-up
With black ušurping mists, some gentle taper,
Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
Of some clay habitation, visit us
With thy long-levell’d rule of streaming light;
And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Or Tyrian Cynosure.
Second Brother.

Or, if our eyes
Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops,
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
'Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering,
In this close dungeon of innumerable boughs.
But, О that hapless virgin, our lost Sister !
Where may she wander now, whither betake her
From the chill dew, among rude burs and thistles?
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad fears.
What, if in wild amazement and affright?
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
Of savage hunger, or of savage heat?
Elder Brother. Peace, Brother ; be not over-

exquisite To cast the fashion of uncertain evils : For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,

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