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And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
Where no crude surfeit reigns.
1 Bro. Lift, lift, I hear

480 Some far off hallow break the silent air.

2 Bro. Methought so too ; what should it be ?

I Bro. For certain
Either some one like us night-founder'd here,
Or else some neighbour wood-man, or, at worst,
Some roving robber calling to his fellows.

485 2 Bro. Heav'n keep my Sister! Again, again, and Best draw, and stand upon our guard.

[near; i Bro. I'll hallow; If he be friendly, he comes well; if not, Defense is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.

The attendent Spirit, habited like a shepherd.

That hallow I should know, what are you ? speak; 490
Come not too near, you fall on iron stakes else.
Spi. What voice is that? my young Lord ? speak

again. 2 Bro. O brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, sure. 1 Bro. Thyrsis ? whose artful strains have oft de

lay'd The huddling brook to hear his niadrigal, 495 And sweeten'd every mulkrose of the dale. How cam'st thou here, good Swain ? hath Slipt from the fold, or young kid loft his dam, Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook ? How could'st thou find this dark sequester'd nook ? 500 Spi. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy, I came not here on such a trivial toy As a stray'd ewe, or to pursue the stealth Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth That doth enrich these downs, is worth a thought 505 To this my errand, and the care it brought. But, O my virgin Lady, where is he? How chance she is not in your company ?

any ram

1 Bro. To tell thee fadly, Shepherd, without blame, Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.

510 Spi. Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true.

Bro. What fears, good Thyrfis ? Pr’ythee briefly Spi. I'll tell you ; 'tis not vain or fabulous, [shew. (Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance) What the sage poets, taught by th' heav'nly Mufe, 515 Story'd of old in high immortal verse, Of dire chimera's and inchanted iles, And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell; For such there be, but unbelief is blind. Within the navel of this hideous wood,

520 Immur'd in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells, Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus, Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries, And here to every thirsty wanderer By lly enticement gives his baneful cup,

525 With many murmurs mix’d, whose pleasing poison The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, And the inglorious likeness of a beast Fixes instead, unmolding reason's mintage Charácter'd in the face ; this have I learnt 530


Tending my Accks hard by i'th' hilly crofts,
That brow this bottom glade, whence night by night
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey,
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate

In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers.
Yet have they many baits, and guileful spells,
To’inveigle and invite th’unwary sense
Of them that pass unweeting by the way.
This evening late, by then the chewing flocks

540 Had ta’en their supper on the favory herb Of knot-grafs dew-beferent, and were in fold, I sat me down to watch upon a bank With ivy canopied, and interwove With flaunting honey-suckle, and began,

545 Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, To meditate my rural minstrelsy, Till fancy had her fill, but ere a close The wonted roar was up amidst the woods, And fill'd the air with barbarous dissonance ; 550 At which I ceas'd, and listen'd them a while, Till an unusual stop of sudden filence Gave respit to the drousy-fighted steeds, That draw the litter of close-curtain'd sleep; At last a soft and folemn breathing found

555 Rofe like a steam of rich distill’d perfumes, And stole upon the air, that even Silence Was took ere she was ware, and wish'd she might Deny her nature, and be never more, Still to be fo displac’d. I was all ear,

560 And

And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of death : but o ere long
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honor'd Lady, your dear Sister.
Amaz’d I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear, 565
And O poor hapless nightingale, thought I,
How sweet thou sing'ft, how near the deadly snare !
Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste,
Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
Till guided by mine ear I found the place, 570
Where that damn'd wisard hid in sly disguise
(For so by certain signs I knew) had met
Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
The aidless innocent Lady his wish'd prey,
Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two, 575
Suppofing him fome neighbour villager.
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess'd
Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found you here,
But further know I not.

2 Bro. O night and shades,
How are ye join'd with Hell in triple knot,
Against th' unarmed weakness of one virgin
Alone, and helpless! Is this the confidence
You gave me, Brother ?

i Bro. Yes, and keep it still, Lean on it safely ; not a period

585 Shall be unsaid for me : against the threats Of malice or of sorcery, or that power Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm,


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Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt,
Surpris'd by unjust force, but not inthrallid; 590.
Yea even that which mischief meant most harm,
Shall in the happy trial prove

most glory :
But evil on itself shall back recoil,
And mix no more with goodness, when at last,
Gather'd like scum, and settled to itself,

It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and self-consumed: if this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
And earth's base built on stubble. But come let's on.
Against th' opposing will and arm of Heaven 600
May never this just sword be lifted up;
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the grisly legions that troop
Under the footy flag of Acheron,
Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms
'Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
And force him to restore his purchase back,
Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
Curs'd as his life.

SPI. Alas! good ventrous Youth,
I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise ; 610
But here thy sword can do thee little stead ;
Far other arms, and other weapons, must
Be those that quell the might of hellish charms:
He with his bare wand can unthred thy joints,
And crumble all thy sinews.

1 Bro. Why pr’ythee, Shepherd,
How durst thou then thyself approach so near,




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