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And downward fell into a groveling fwine)
This Nymph that gaz'd upon his clustering locks,
With ivy berries wreath’d, and his blithe youth, 55
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
Much like his father, but his mother more,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus namid,
Who, ripe, and frolic of his full grown age,
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,

At last betakes him to this ominous wood,
And in thick shelter of black shades imbower'd
Excels his mother at her mighty art,
Offering to every weary traveller
His orient liquor in a crystal glass,
To quench the drouth of Phæbus, which as they taste,
(For moft do taste through fond intemperate thirst)
Soon as the potion works, their human countnance,
Th’express resemblance of the Gods, is chang'd
Into some brutih form of wolf, or bear,

Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
All other parts remaining as they were;
And they, so perfect is their mifery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more comely than before,

And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.
Therefore when any favor'd of high Jove
Chances to pass through this adventrous glade,
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star

I shoot from Heav'n, to give him safe convoy,
As now I do: But firft I must put off


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These my sky robes spun out of Iris' woof,
And take the weeds and likeness of a fwain,
That to the service of this house belongs,
Who with his soft-pipe, and smooth dittied song,
Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar,
And hush the waving woods, nor of less faith,
And in this office of his mountain watch,
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid

go Of this occasion. But I hear the tread Of hateful steps. I must be viewless now.

Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his

glass in the other; with him a rout of monsters, headed like fundry forts 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.

Com. The star that bids the shepherd fold,
Now the top of Heav'n 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.
Mean while welcome Joy, and Feaft,
Midnight Shout, and Revelry,
Tipsy Dance, and Jollity.
Braid your locks with rofy twine,

105 Dropping odors, dropping wine,

100 IIO


Rigor now is gone to bed,
And Advice with scrupulous head,
Strict Age, and sour Severity,
With their grave faws 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 years.
The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, 115
Now to the moon in wavering morrice move;
And on the tawny sands and shelves
Trip the pert faeries and the dapper elves.
By dimpled brook, and fountain brim,
The Wood-Nymphs deck'd with daisies trim,
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:
What hath night to do with sleep?
Night hath better sweets to prove,
Venus now wakes, and wakens love.
Come let us our rites begin,
'Tis only day-light that makes sin,
Which these dun shades will ne'er report.
Hail Goddess of nocturnal sport,
Dark-veil'd Cotytto, t' whom the secret flame
Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame, 130
That ne'er art call’d, but when the dragon womb
Of Stygian darkness fpits her thickest gloom
And makes one blot of all the air,
Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend

135 Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end



Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
Ere the blabbing eastern scout,
The nice morn on th’ Indian steep
From her cabin'd loophole peep,
And to the tell-tale sun descry
Our conceal'd folemnity.
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
In a light fantastic round.


Break off, break off, I feel the different pace

145 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 thefe woods. Now to my charms, 150 And to my wily trains; I shall ere long Be well-stock'd with as fair a herd as graz'd About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl My dazling spells into the spungy air, Of power to cheat the


with blear illusion
And give it false presentments, lest the place
And my quaint habits breed astonishment,
And put the damsel to suspicious flight,
Which must not be, for that's against my course;
I under fair pretence of friendly ends,

And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy
Baited with reasons not unplausible,
Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
And hug him into snares. When once her eye




Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,
I shall appear fome harmless villager,
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear.
But here she comes, I fairly step aside,
And hearken, if I may, her business here.


The LADY enters. This way

the noise was, if mine ear be true, My best guide now; methought it was the found Of riot and ill-manag’d merriment, Such as the jocond flute, or gamesome pipe, Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds, When for their teeming flocks, and granges full, 175 In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, And thank the Gods amiss. I should be loath To meet the rudeness and swill'd insolence Of such late wassailers; yet O where else Shall I inform my unacquainted feet

180 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, Stept, as they said, to the next thicket fide 185 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 Phæbus' wain, 190 But where they are, and why they came not back, Is now the labor of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest


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