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What might this be? A thousand fantasies
Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that livest unseen
Within thy aery shell,
By slow Meander's margent green, And in the violet-embroider'd vale
Where the love-lorn nightingale Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well: Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
That likest thy Narcissus are ?
O, if thou have
Tell me but where,
So may'st thou be translated to the skies,
Enter Comus. Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment ? Sure something holy lodges in that breast, And with these raptures moves the vocal air To testify his hidden residence. How sweetly did they float upon the wings Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night, At every fall smoothing the raven-down Of darkness, till it smiled! I have oft heard My mother Circe, with the Syrens three, Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs, Who, as they sung, would take the prison'd soul, And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept, And chid her barking waves into attention, And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause : Yet they in pleasing slumber lull'd the sense, 260 And in sweet madness robb’d it of itself; But such a sacred and home-felt delight, Such sober certainty of waking bliss, I never heard till now. I'll speak to her, And she shall be my queen. Hail, foreign wonder ! Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Unless the goddess that in rural shrine Dwell’st here with Pan, or Sylvan, by blest song
Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog.
Lady. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise
boast of skill, but extreme shift
Comus. What chance, good lady, hath bereft you thus?
return. Comus. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. Lady. How easy my misfortune is to hit! Comus. Imports there loss, beside the present need? Lady. No less than if I should my brothers lose. Comus. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom ?
289 Lady. As smooth as Hebe's, their unrazor'd lips.
Comus. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox 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,
That in the colours of the rainbow live,
Comus. Due west it rises from this shrubby point.
Comus. I know each lane, and every alley green,
320 Till further quest.
Lady. Shepherd, I take thy word, And trust thy honest-offer'd courtesy, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds, With smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls, And courts of princes, where it first was named, And yet is most pretended: in a place Less warranted than this, or less secure, I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial To my proportion’d strength Shepherd, lead on. 330
Enter the Two BROTHERS. First Br. Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fair That wont'st to love the traveller's benison, [moon, Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, And disinherit chaos, that reigns here In double night of darkness and of shades; Or, if your influence be quite damm'd up With black usurping mists, some gentle taper, Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole Of some clay habitation, visit us With thy long-levell'd rule of streaming light, 340 And thou shalt be our star of Arcady, Or Tyrian cynosure. Sec. Br.
Or, if our eyes
may she wander now, whither betake her
First Br. Peace, brother: be not over exquisite