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The LADY enters.

This way the noise was, if mine ear be true,
My best guide now: methought it was the sound
Of riot and ill-manag'd merriment,
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe,
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds;
When for their teeming flocks, and granges full,
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
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 favour of these pines,
Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side,
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 Phoebus' wain.
But where they are, and why they came not back,
Is now the labour of my thoughts.

SONG.

Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st 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
Hid them in some flowery cave,

Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere !

So may'st thou be translated to the skies, And give resounding grace to all Heaven's har

monies.

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 smild! 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, 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 won.

der ! 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 To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood. Lady. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that

praise That is address'd to unattending ears.

SPIRIT.

There is a gentle nymph not far from hence, That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn

stream, Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure ; Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine, That had the sceptre from his father Brute. She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit Of her enraged stepdame Guendolen, Commended her fair innocence to the flood, That staid her flight with his cross-flowing course. The water-nymphs, that in the bottom play'd, Held up their pearled wrists, and took her in, Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall ; Who, piteous of her woes, rear’d her lank head, And gave her to his daughters to imbathe In nectar'd lavers, strewed with asphodel ; And through the porch and inlet of each sense Dropt in ambrosial oils, till she reviv'd, And underwent a quick immortal change, Made goddess of the river : still she retains

Her maiden gentleness, and oft at eve
Visits the herds along the twilight meadows,
Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs
That the shrewd meddling elfe delights to make,
Which she with precious vial'd liquors heals ;
For which the shepherds at their festivals
Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays,
And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream
Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils.
And, as the old swain said, she can unlock
The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing

spell,
If she be right invok'd in warbled song ;
For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift
To aid a virgin, such as was herself,
In hard-besetting need ; this will I try,
And add the power of some adjuring verse.

SONG.

Sabrina fair,

Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,

In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair ;

Listen for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,

Listen, and save.

Listen, and appear to us,
In name of great Oceanus ;
By the Earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
And Tethys' grave majestic pace,
By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look,
And the Carpathian wizard's hook,

By scaly Triton's winding shell,
And old sooth-saying Glaucus' spell,
By Leucothea's lovely hands,
And her son that rules the strands,
By Thetis' tinsel-slipper'd feet,
And the songs of Syrens sweet,
By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
And fair Ligea's golden comb,
Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks,
Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
By all the nymphs that nightly dance
Upon thy streams with wily glance,
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head,
From thy coral-paven bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answer'd have.

Listen, and save.

*

EXTRACT FROM LYCIDAS. YEt 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 Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. He must not float upon his watery bier

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