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Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine, Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel
And fat regorged of bulls and goats,

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 nly 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,
Revives, teflourishes, then vigorous most And ever best found in the close.
When most unactive deemed;

Oft he seems to hide his face,
And, though her body die, her fame survives But unexpectedly returns,
A secular bird ages of lives.

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
Nor much more cause ; Samson hath quit himself His uncontrollable intent:
Like Samson, and heroicly hath finished His servants he, with new acquist
A life heroic: on his enemies

Of true experience, from this great event Fully revenyed, 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.

Com us

A MASK,

PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1643, BEFORE

JOHN, EARL OF BRIDGEWATER,

THEN PRESIDENT OF WALES.

care

* TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

Of bright aërial spirits live insphered
JOHN LORD VISCOUNT BRACKLEY, In regions mild of calm and serene air,
Son and Heir.Apparent to the Earl of Bridgewater, &c. Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,
MY LORD,

Which men call Earth; and, with low-thoughted 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, 6 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

crowns,

And wield their little tridents: but this Isle,
THE PERSONS.

The greatest and the best of all the main,
The Attendant Spirit, afterwards in the habit of Thyrsis.
Comus with his Creu.

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

wood, COMUS.

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.

Second Brother.

Warton.

Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, In the steep Atlantic stream;
On Circe's island fell: (who knows not Circe, And the slope sun his upward beam
The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup Shoots against his dusky pole,
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape, Pacing toward the other goal
And downward fell into a groveling swine ?) Of his chamber in the East.
This nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks Meanwhile welcome Joy, and Feast,
With ivy berries wreath'd, and his blithe youth, Midnight Shout and Revelry,
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son Tipsy Dance, and Jollity.
Much like his father, but his mother more, Braid your locks with rosy twine,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus Dropping odours, dropping wine.
nam'd:

Rigour now is gone to bed,
Who, ripe and frolic of his full grown age, And Advice with scrupulous head.
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,

Strict Age and sour Severity,
At last betakes him to this ominous wood; With their grave saws, in slumber lie.
And, in thick shelter of black shades imbower'd, We, that are of purer fire,
Excels his mother at her mighty art,

Imitate the starry quire,
Offering to every weary traveller

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,
The express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd The wood nymphs, deck'd with daisies triin,
Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear, Their merry wakes and pastimes keep.
Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat, What hath night to do with sleep?
All other parts remaining as they were; Night hath better sweets to prove;
And they, so perfect is their misery,

Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, Come, let us our rites begin;
But boast themselves more comely than before: 'Tis only daylight that makes sin,
And all their friends and native home forget, Which these dun shades will ne'er report.
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.

Hail, goddess of noctural sport,
Therefore when any, favour'd of high Jove, Dark-veil'd Cotytto! to whom the secret flame
Chances to pass through this adventurous glade, Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame,
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star

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;
These my sky robes spun out of Iris' woof, Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
And take the weeds and likeness of a swain Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend
That to the service of this house belongs, Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end
Who with his soft pipe, and smooth-dittied song, Of all thy dues be done, and none left out;
Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar, Ere the babbling eastern scout,
And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith, The nice morn, on the Indian steep
And in this office of his mountain watch From her cabined loop-hole peep,
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid And to the tell-tale sun descry
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread

Our concealed solemnity.-
Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now. Come, knit hands, and beat the ground,

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

THE MEASURE sorts of wild beasts, 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

SONG.

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 Whom tarift keeps up about his country gear. Turn forth her silver lining on the night? But here she comes. I fairly step aside,

I did not err: there does a sable cloud
And hearken, if I may, her business here. Turn forth her silver lining on the night,

And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.
The Lady enters.

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 moftal 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,
I never heard till now. I'll speak to her, Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
And she shall be my queen. Hail, foreign wonder! Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, From her thatched pallet rouse; if otherwise,
Unless the goddess that, in rural shrine,

I can conduct you, Lady, to a low
Dwell'st here with Pan, or Sylvan, by bless'd song But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
Forbidding every bleak, unkindly fog

Till further quest.
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood. Lad. Shepherd I take thy word,

Lad. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise, And trust thy honest offered courtesy,
That is addressed to unattending ears:

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, Stocp 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
Com. Perh aps forestalling night prevented them. With black usurping mists, some gentler taper,
Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit! Through a rush-candle from the wicker hole
Com. Imports their loss, beside the present need? Of some clay habitation, visit us
Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose. With thy long-levelled rule of streaming light,
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
bloom?

Or Tyrian Cynosure.
Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Sec. Br. Or, if our eyes

Com. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox Be barred that happiness, might we but hear
In his loose traces from the furrow came, The folded flocks penned in their wattled cotes,
And the swinked hedger at his supper sat. Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops,
I saw them under a green mantling vine, Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
That crawls along the side of yon small hill, Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots. 'Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering,
Their port was more than human, as they stood: In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
I took it for a fairy vision

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!

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