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Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad,
Of small regard to see to, yet well skilled
In every virtuous plant and healing herb
That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray:
He loved me well,' and oft would beg me sing,
Which when I did, he on the tender grass
Would sit, and hearken even to ecstasy,
And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
And show me simples of a thousand names,
Telling their strange and vigorous faculties:
Amongst the rest a small unsightly root,
But of divine effect, he culled me out;
The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it;
But in another country, as he said,
Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil::
Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon ;3
And yet more med'cinal is it than that moly*
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave;
He called it hæmony, and gave it me,
And bade me keep it as of sovran use
'Gainst all enchantments, mildew, blast, or damp,
Or ghastly furies' apparition.
I pursed it up, but little reckoning made,
Till now that this extremity compelled :
But now I find it true; for by this means
I knew the foul enchanter, though disguised,
Entered the very lime-twigs of his spells,
And yet came off: if you have this about you,
(As I will give you when we go) you may
Boldly assault the necromancer's hall;
Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood,
And brandished blade, rush on him; break his glass,

1 This is perhaps a compliment to the author's friend and school. fellow, Charles Deodati, who had been bred up a physician.

2 Seward would omit “not," and substitute“ light esteemed.” But, as Newton observes, “ unknown and like esteemed" may be taken as equivalent to unknown and unesteemed. *3 So in 2 Henry VI. act 4, sc. 3. Cade says:

“We will not leave one lord, one gentleman;

Spare not, but such as go in clouted shoon." * See Pope's Homer's Odyssey, x. 361 sq. Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxiv. 4, speaks of it highly; but its nature and properties are unknown. Thyer thinks it was the herb called spleenwort.

And shed the luscious liquor on the ground,
But seize his wand; though he and his cursed crew
Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high,
Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke,
Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.

ELDER BROTHER.

Thyrsis, lead on apace, I'll follow thee;
And some good angel bear a shield before us !

[The scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all manner

of deliciousness; soft music, tables spread with all dainties. Comus appears with his rabble, and the LADY set in an en. chanted chair, to whom he offers his glass, which she puts by, and goes about to rise.]

COMUS.

COMUS.

Nay, lady, sit; if I but wave this wand,
Your nerves are all chained up in alabaster,
And you a statue, or, as Daphne was,
Root-bound, that fled Apollo.

LADY.

Fool! do not boast;
Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind
Thou hast immanacled, while Heaven sees good.

Why are you vexed, lady? why do you frown?
Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates
Sorrow flies far: see, here be all the pleasures
That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts,
When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns
Brisk as the April buds in primrose-season.
And first behold this cordial julep here,
That flames and dances in his crystal bounds,
With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mixed.
Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thone
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena,
Is of such power to stir up joy as this,
To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst.
Why should you be so cruel to yourself,

1 An improvement on Romeo and Juliet, act i. sc. 3.

2 Prov. xxiii. 31: “Look not thou to the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.”

See Pope's Odyssey, iv. 301, sq., and the Faërie Queen, iv. 3, 43.

And to those dainty limbs which Nature lent
For gentle usage, and soft delicacy?
But you invert the covenants of her trust,
And harshly deal, like an ill borrower,
With that which you received on other terms,
Scorning the unexempt condition
By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
That have been tired all day without repast,
And timely rest have wanted; but, fair virgin,
This will restore all soon.

LADY

"Twill not, false traitor! 'Twill not restore the truth and honesty That thou hast banished from thy tongue with lies. Was this the cottage, and the safe abode, Thou told'st me of? What grim aspécts are these, These ugly-headed monsters? Mercy guard me! Hence with thy brewed enchantments, foul deceiver! Hast thou betrayed my credulous innocence With visored falsehood, and base forgery? And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here With liquorish baits fit to ensnare a brute ? Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets, I would not taste thy treasonous offer; none But such as are good men can give good things, And that which is not good, is not delicious To a well-governed and wise appetite.

COMUS. Oh, foolishness of men! that lend their ears To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur, And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, Praising the lean and sallow abstinence. Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks, Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable, But all to please and sate the curious taste? And set to work millions of spinning worms, That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired silk To deck her sons; and, that no corner might Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins She hutched the all-worshipped ore, and precious gems To store her children with : if all the world

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