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With such consort as they keep,
But let my due feet never fail
And may at last my weary age
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
Over some wide-water'd shore,
But, O sad virgin, that thy power
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
LYCIDAS. Yer once more, O ye laurels, and once more, Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never-sere, I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude: And, with forc'd fingers rude, Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year : Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear, Compels me to disturb your season due: For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer : Who would not sing for Lycidas ? he knew 10 Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. He must not float upon his watery bier Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, Without the meed of some melodious tear.
Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well, That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring; Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string. Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse: So may some gentle Muse With lucky words favour my destin'd urn; 20 And, as he passes, turn And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nurs'd upon the self-same hill, Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill. Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd Under the opening eye-lids of the Morn, We drove afield, and both together heard What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn, Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night, Oft till the star, that rose, at evening bright, SO Toward Heaven's descent had slop'd his westering wheel.
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, It was that fatal and perfidious bark,
100 Temper’d to the oaten flute;
Built in the eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark, Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fawns with cloven heel That sunk so low that sacred head of thine. From the glad sound would not be absent long; Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, And old Damætas lov'd to hear our song.
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, But, О the heavy change, now thou art gone, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Now thou art gone, and never must return! Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe. Thee, shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves “ Ah! who hath reft” (quoth he) “my dearest With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown,
pledge?" And all their echoes, mourn :
40 Last came', and last did go, The willows, and the hazel copses green,
The pilot of the Galilean lake; Shall now no more be seen
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain, 110 Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays. (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain,) As killing as the canker to the rose,
He shook his miter'd locks, and stern bespake: Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
“ How well could I have spared for thee, young Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,
swain, When first the white-thorn blows;
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherds' ear.
Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold? Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless of other care they little reckoning make, deep
Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas? 51 And shove away the worthy bidden guest; For neither were ye playing on the steep,
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie,
hold Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least Nor yet where Dera spreads her wizard stream : That to the faithful herdman's art belongs ! 121 Ay me! I fondly dream!
What recks it them? What need they? They Had ye been there. for what could that have
are sped; done?
And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw; The Muse herself, for her enchanting son,
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fer, Whom universal Nature did lament,
60 But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they When, by the rout that made the hideous roar,
Daily devours apace, and nothing sed :
130 And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more. Were it not better done, as others use,
Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse, Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise Their bells, and flowerets of a thousand hues. (That last infirmity of noble mind)
71 Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use To scorn deliglits and live laborious days;
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks, But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, On whose fresh lap the swart-star sparely looks; And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Throw hither all your quaint enamellid eyes, Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, That on the green turf suck the honicd showers, And slits the thin-spun life. “ But not the praise," And purple all the ground with vernal flowers Phæbus replied, and touchi'd my trembling ears; Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, 142 “ Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine, Nor in the glistering foil
The white pink, and the pansy freak'd with jet, Set off' to the world, nor in broad rumour lies : The glowing violet, But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
The musk-rose, and the well-attired wood-bine, And perfect witness of all-judging Jove; 81 With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head, As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears: Of so much faine in Heaven expect thy meed." Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed, O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood, And datladillies fill their cups with tears, 150 Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocal reeds ! | To strew the laureat herse where Lycid lies, That strain I heard was of a higher mood :
For, so to interpose a little ease, But now my oat proceeds,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise ; And listens to the herald of the sea
Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas That came in Neptune's plea;
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd, He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds, Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, What hari inishap hath doom'd this gentle swain? Where thou, perhaps, under the whelming tide, And question’ıl every gust of rugged wings Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world ; That blows from off cach beaked promontory: Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, They knew rot of his story;
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
160 And sage Hippotades their answer brings,
Where the great vision of the guarded mount That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd; Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold; The air was calm, and on the level brine
Look homeward, angel, now, and melt with ruth : Sleck Panope with all her sisters play'd.
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.
Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more, 1 To lay their just hands on that golden key,
That opes the palace of Eternity :
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove
That, like to rich and various gems, inlay
Which he, to grace his tributary gods,
By course commits to several government, • In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns, There entertain him all the saints above,
And wield their little tridents : but this isle, In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
The greatest and the best of all the main, That sing, and, singing in their glory, move, He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities; And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more;
180 A noble peer of mickle trust and power llenceforth thou art the genius of the shore, Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide In thy large recompense, and shalt be good An old and haughty nation, proud in arins: To all that wander in that perilous flood.
Where his fair offspring, nurs’d in princely lore, Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and Are coming to attend their father's state, rills,
And new-entrusted sceptre : but their way
And listen why ; for I will tell you now
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine,
After the Tuscan mariners transform’d,
On Circe's island fell : (Who knows not Circe, 50 THE ATTENDANT Spirit, afterwards in the habit of The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup THYRSIS.
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape,
And downward fell into a grovelling swine ?) Comus, with his crew.
This nymph, that gaz'd upon his clustering locks THE LADY.
With ivy berries wreath'd, and his blithe youth, FIRST BROTHER.
Ilad by him, ere he parted thence, a son Second BROTHER.
Much like his father, but his mother more, Sabrina, the Nymph.
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus nam’d:
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,
Otiering to every weary traveller
To quench the drought of Phæbus; which as they
(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst :) Tlie ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters.
Soon as the potion works, their human countenance,
The express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,
70 My mansion is, where those immortal shapes Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat, Of bright aëreal spirits live inspher'd
All other parts remaining as they were ; In regions mild of calm and serene air,
And they, so perfect is their misery, Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,
Not once perceive their foul disfigureinent, Which men call earth ; and, with low-thoughted care But boast themselves more comely than before ; Confin’d and pester'd in this pin-fold here,
And all their friends and native home forget, Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, To roll with pleasure in a sensual stye. Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives, Therefore when any, favour'd of high Jove, After this mortal change, to her true servants, 10 Chances to pass through this adventurous glade, Ar the enthron'd gods on sainted seats. Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star
SO he, that by due steps aspire
I shoot from Heaven, to give him safe convoy,
As now I do: but first I must put off
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
Of some chaste footing near about this ground. And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith,
Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees; And in this office of his mountain watch
Our number may affright : some virgin sure Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid 90
(For so I can distinguish by mine art) 149 Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
Benighted in these woods Now to my charms, Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now.
And to my wily trains: I shall ere long
Be well-stocked with as fair a herd as graz’d Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his About my mother Circe. Thus I huri
glass in the other ; with him a rout of monsters, My dazzling spells into the spungy air, headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but otherwise of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion, like men and women, their apparel glistering; they and give it false presentments, lest the place come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with | And my quaint habits breed astonishment, torches in their hands.
And put the damsel to suspicious flight;
Which must not be, for that's against my course :
160 The star, that bids the shepherd fold,
And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy Now the top of Heaven doth hold;
Baited with reasons not unplausible, And the gilded car of day
Wind me into the easy-hearted man, His glowing axle doth allay
And hug him into snares. When once her eye In the steep Atlantic stream;
Hath met the virtue of this magic dust, And the slope Sun his upward beam
I shall appear some harmless villager, Shoots against the dusky pole,
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear. Pacing towards the other goal
100 But here she comes; I fairly step aside, Of his chamber in the east.
And hearken, if I may, her business here.
THE LADY enters.
This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 170 Dropping odours, dropping wine.
My best guide now; methought it was the sound Rigour now is gone to bed,
Of riot and ill-manag'd merriment, And advice with scrupulous head.
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe, Strict Age and sour Severity,
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds; With their grave saws, in slumber lie.
110 When for their teeming flocks, and granges full, We, that are of purer fire,
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, Imitate the starry quire,
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
To meet the rudeness, and swill'd insolence, Lead in swift round the months and years.
Of such late wassailers; yet, O! where else The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, Shall I inform my unacquainted feet
180 Now to the Moon in wavering morrice move; In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ? And, on the tawny sands and shelves, 119 My brothers, when they saw me wearied out Trip the pert faeries and the dapper elves,
With this long way, resolving here to lodge By dimpled brook and fountain brim,
Under the spreading favour of these pines, The wood-nymphs, deck'd with daisies trim, Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side, Their merry wakes and pastimes keep;
To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit What hath night to do with sleep?
As the kind hospitable woods provide. Night hath better sweets to prove,
They left me then, when the gray-hooded Even, Venus now wakes, and wakens love.
Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,
189 Come, let us our rites begin ;,
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus' wain. 'Tis only day-light that makes sin,
But where they are, and why they came not back, Which these dun shades will ne'er report: - Is now the labour of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
128 They had engag'd their wandering steps too far; Dark-veil'd Cotytto! to whom the secret flame And envious darkness, ere they could return, Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame, Had stole them from me: else, O thievish Night, That ne'er art call’d, but when the dragon woom Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end, Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars, And makes one blot of all the air ;
That Nature hung in Heaven, and fill'd their Stay the cloudy ebon chair,
lamps Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend With everlasting oil, to give due light Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end
To the misled and lonely traveller ?
200 Of all thy dues be done, and none left out;
This is the place, as well as I may guess, Ere the babbling eastern scout,
Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth The nice Morn, on the Indian steep
Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear; From her cabin’d loop-hole peep,
140 Yet nought but single darkness do I find. And to the tell-tale Sun descry
What this might be? A thousand fantasies Our conceal'd solemnity.
Begin to throng into my memory,
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
How to regain my sever'd company,
Com. What chance, good lady, hath bereft you I see ye visibly, and now believe
thus ? That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things Lad. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth. ill
Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
guides? Would send a glistering guardian, if need were, Lad. They left me weary on a grassy turf. 280 To keep my life and honour unassail'd.
220 Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
Lad. To seek i' the valley some cool friendly Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
spring I did not err, there does a sable cloud
Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady? Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
Lad. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick And casts a gleam over this tufted grove : I cannot halloo to my brothers, but
Com. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit ! I'll venture ; for my new-enliven'd spirits
Com. Imports their loss, beside the present need ? Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off. Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose.
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom ?
289 Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Within thy aery shell,
Com. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox 231
In his loose traces from the furrow came,
And the swink'd hedger at his supper sat ;
I saw them under a green mantling vine,
That crawls along the side of yon small hill,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots ;
Their port was more than human, as they stood :
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
300 Tell me but where,
240 Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere !
And play i' the plighted clouds. I was aw-struck, So may'st thou be translated to the skies,
And, as I past, I worshipt; if those you seek, And give resounding grace to all Heaven's har- It were a journey like the path to Heaven,
To help you find them. monies.
What readiest way would bring me to that place ?
Com. Due west it rises from this shrubby point. Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's Lad. To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose, mould
In such a scant allowance of star-light, Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment ? 245 Would overtask the best land-pilot's art, Sure something holy lodges in that breast,
Without the sure guess of well-practis'd feet. 310
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And if your stray attendants be yet lodg'd, 315
Ere morrow wake, or the low roosted lark
From her thatch'd pallet rouse ; if otherwise
Till further quest.
Shepherd, I take thy word And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause : And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy, Yet they in pleasing slumber lull’d the sense, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds And in sweet madness robb’d it of itself ; 261 With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls But such a sacred and home-felt delight,
In courts of princes, where it first was nam'd 325 Such sober certainty of waking bliss, I never heard till now. - I'll speak to her,
And yet is most pretended : in a place
Less warranted than this, or less secure, And she shall be my queen. - Hail, foreign wonder! I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial is that in rural shrine
To my proportion'd strength. – Shepherd, lead on. or Sylvan; by blest song
Unless the goditi