Billeder på siden

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 beasts, but otherwise like men and women, their apparel glistering; they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their hands.

Comus. The star that bids the
shepherd fold,

Now the top of heaven doth hold;
And the gilded car of day
His glowing axle doth allay
In the steep Atlantic stream;
And the slope sun his upward beam
Shoots against the dusky pole,
Pacing toward the other goal
Of his chamber in the east.
Meanwhile welcome Joy, and Feast,
Midnight Shout and Revelry,
Tipsy Dance and Jollity.
Braid your locks with rosy twine,
Dropping odors, dropping wine.
Rigor now has gone to bed.
And Advice with scrupulous head,
Strict Age, and sour Severity,
With their grave saws in slumber lie.
We that are of purer fire
Imitate the starry quire,

Who in their nightly watchful spheres

Lead in swift round the months and

[blocks in formation]

That ne'er art called, but when the dragon womb

Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom,

And makes one blot of all the air;
Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
Wherein thou rid'st with Hecate, and

Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,

Ere the babbling eastern scout,
The nice Morn, on the Indian steep
From her cabined loophole peep,
And to the telltale sun desery
Our concealed solemnity.

Come, knit hands, and beat the ground

In a light fantastic round.


Break off, break off, I feel the different pace

Of some chaste footing near about this ground.

Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees;

Our number may affright: Some virgin sure

(For so I can distinguish by mine art)

Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms,

And to my wily trains; I shall ere long

Be well stocked with as fair a herd as grazed

About my mother Circé. Thus I hurl

My dazzling spells into the spungy air,

Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,

And give it false presentments, lest the place

And my quaint habits breed astonishment,

And put the damsel to suspicions flight,

Which must not be, for that's against my course:

I, under fair pretence of friendly ends,

And well-placed words of glozing

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

This way the noise was, if mine ear be true,

My best guide now; methought it was the sound

Of riot and ill-managed merriment, Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe

Stirs up among the loose unlettered hinds,

When for their teeming flocks, and granges full,

In wanton dance, they praise the bounteous Pan,

And thank the Gods amiss. I should be loath

To meet the rudeness, and swilled insolence

Of such late wassailers; yet O! where else

Shall I inform my unacquainted feet In the blind mazes of this tangled wood?

My brothers, when they saw me wearied out

With this long way, resolving here to lodge

Under the spreading favor of these pines,

Stepped, as they said, to the next

thicket side

To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit

As the kind, hospitable woods provide.

They left me then, when the gray

hooded Even,

Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed, Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus' wain.

But where they are, and why they came not back,

Is now the labor of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest

[blocks in formation]

Turn forth her silver lining on the night,

And casts a gleam over this tufted


I cannot halloo to my brothers, but Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest

I'll venture, for my new enlivened spirits

Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.


Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen

Within thy airy shell, By slow Meander's margent green, And in the violet-embroidered vale,

Where the love-lorn nightingale Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well;

Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
That likest thy Narcissus are?
O, if thou have

Hid them in some flowery cave,
Tell me but where.
Sweet queen of parley, daughter of
the sphere!

So mayst thou be translated to the skies,

And give resounding grace to all heaven harmonies.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Who, as they sung, would take the prisoned soul,

And lap it in Elysium; Scylla wept, And chid her barking waves into attention,

And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause:

Yet they in pleasing slumber lulled the sense,

And in sweet madness robbed it of itself;

But such a sacred and homefelt 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 Silvan, 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 praise

That is addressed to unattending

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Or if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is such self-delusion!
I do not think my sister so to seek,
Or so unprincipled in virtue's book,
And the sweet peace that goodness
bosoms ever,

As that the single want of light and noise

(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)

Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,

And put them into misbecoming plight.

Virtue could see to do what virtue would

By her own radiant light, though sun and moon

Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self

Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,

[blocks in formation]

From the rash hand of bold incontinence.

You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps

Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den,

And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope Danger will wink on opportunity, And let a single helpless maiden pass Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste.

Of night, or loneliness, it recks me not;

I fear the dread events that dog them both.

Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person

Of our unowned sister.

1 Br. I do not, brother, Infer, as if I thought my sister's

[blocks in formation]
« ForrigeFortsæt »