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Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere,

So may'st thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all Heav'n's harmonies.

COMUS.

Can
any

mortal mixture of earth's mould
Breathe such divine inchanting 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 smil'd! I have oft heard
My mother Circe with the Sirens three,
Amidst the flow'ry-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 wonder,
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,
Unless the Goddess that in rural shrine
Dwell'st here with Pan, or Silvan, by blest song
Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
To touch the prosp’rous growth of this tall wood.

LADY.

Nay gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise
That is address'd to unattending ears;
Not

any boast of skill, but extreme shift
How to regain my sever'd company,
Compelld me to awake the courteous Echo
To give me answer from her

mossy

couch.

COMUS.

What chance, good lady, hath bereft you thus?

LADY.
Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth.

COMUS.

Could that divide you from near-ushering guides?

LADY.

They left me weary on a grassy turf.

COMUS.
By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why?

LADY!
To seek it’h’ valley some cool friendly spring.

COMUS.

And left your fair side all unguarded, lady?

LADY. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick return.

COMUS.

Perhaps fore-stalling night prevented them.

LADY.
How easy my misfortune is to hit!

COMUS.
Imports their loss, beside the present need?

LADY.
No less than if I should my brothers lose.

COMUS.
Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?

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 swinkt 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 fairy vision

Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colours of the rainbow live,
And play i'th' plighted clouds. I was awe-struck,

I
And as I past, I worshipt; if those you seek,
It were a journey like the path to Heaven,
To help you find them.

LADY.

Gentle villager, What readiest way would bring me to that place?

COMUS.

Due west it rises from this shrubby point.

LADY.

To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose,
In such a scant allowance of star-light,
Would overtask the best land-pilot's art,
Without the sure guess of well-practis'd feet.

COMUS.

I know each lane, and every alley green,
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood,
And every bosky bourn from side to side,
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;
And if your stray-attendance be yet lodg’d,
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
From her thatcht pallet rouse; if otherwise

I can conduct you, lady, to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe

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 tap’stry halls And courts of princes, where it first was nam’d, 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.

THE TWO BROTHERS.

ELDER BROTHER.

Unmuffle

ye

faint Stars, and thou fair Moon, That wont'st to love the traveller's benizon, 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,

VOL. III.

2

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