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mus had been instructed by his mother Circe. “ 1 Br. Vpon these chalkie cliffs of Albion,"
here called “inchanter vile," as in Comis, . Peele's play opens thus.
907. Anticke, Frolicke, and Fantasticke, three ad. There is another circumstance in this play, Venturers, are lost in a wood, in the night. They taken from the old English Apuleius. It is agree to sing the old song,
where the Old Man every night is transformed
by our magician into a bear, recovering in the “ Three merrie men, and three merrie men, day-time his natural shape. And three merrie men be wee;
Among the inany feats of magic in this play, I in the wood, and thou on the ground, a bride newly married gains a marriage-portion And Jacke sleeps in the tree."
by dipping a pitcher into a well. As she dips,
there is a coice : They hear a dog, and fancy themselves to be near some village. A cottager appears, with a
“ Faire maiden, white and red, lantern: on which Frolicke says, “I perceiue Combe me smoothe, and stroke my head, the glimryng of a gloworme, a candle, or a cats And thou shall haue some cockell bread! eye, &c." They entreat him to show the way: Gently dippe, but not too deepe, utherwise they say, “wee are like to wander For feare thou make the golden beard to weepe! among the owlets and hobgoblins of the forest." “Faire maiden., white and redde, He invites them to his cottage; and orders his Combe me smooth, and stroke my head : wife to lay a crab in the fire, to "rost for lambes And enery haire a sheaue shall be, wool, &c.” They sing
And euery sheaue a golden tree !"
“When as the rie reach to the chin,
With this stage-direction, “ A head comes op /al And chopcherrie, chopcherrie ripe within; of gold; she combes it into her lap." Strawberries swimming in the creame,
I must not omit, that Shakespeare seemns also And schoole-boyes playing in the streame, &c.” to have had an eye on this play. It is in the scene
where “ The Haruest-men enler with a Song." At length to pass the time trimly, it is pro Again, “ Enter the Haruest-men singing with a posed that the wife shall tell “ a merry winters men in their handes.” Frolicke says, “ Who tale," or, “an old wines winters tale," of which have we here, our amourous haruest starres?" sort of stories she is not without a score. She - They sing, begins, There was a king, or duke, who had a most beautiful daughter, and she was stolen “Loe, here we come a reaping a reaping. away by a necromancer, who turning himself To reape our haruest-fruite; into a dragon, carried her in his mouth to his And thus we passe the yeare so long, castle. The king sent out all his men to find And neuer be we mute." his daughter; “at last, all the king's men went out so long, that hir two brothers went to seekeCompare the Mask in the Tempest, 4. i. S. bir.” Immediately the two brothers enter, and where Iris says,
" You sun-burnt sicklemen, of August weary, I Before the starry threshold of Jove's court
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,
Which men call Earth; and, with low-thoughted Where is this stage-direction, “ Enter cerlain
care Reapers, properly habiled: they join with the Confin'd and pester'd in this pin-fold here, nymphs in a graceful dance." The Tempest pro Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, bably did not appear before the year 1612. Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives,
That Milton had his eye on this ancient dra After this mortal change,to her true servants, 10 ma, which might have been the farourite of his Amongst the enthron'd gods on sainted seats. early youth, perhaps it may be at least affirm- | Yet some there be, that by due steps aspire ed with as much credibility, as that he conceiv. To lay their just hands on that golden key, ed the Paradise Lost, from seeing a Mystery at That opes the palace of Eternity: Florence, written by Andreini a Florentine in To such my errand is; and, but for such, 1617, entitled Adamo..
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds In the mean time it must be confessed, that with the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould, Milton's magician Comus, with his cup and But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway wand, is ultimately founded on the fable of Of every salt flood, and each ebbing stream, Circe. The effects of both characters are much Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove 20 the same. They are both to be opposed at first Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles, with force and violence. Circe is subdued by That, like to rich and various gems, inlay the virtues of the herb moly which Mercury The unadorned bosom of the deep : gives to Ulysses, and Comus by the plant hae Which he, to grace his tributary gods, mony which the Spirit gives to the two Bro- | By course commits to several government, thers. About the year 1615, a mask called the | And gives them leave to wear their sapphire Inner Temple Masque, written by William
crowns, Browne, author of Britannia's Pastorals, which I And wield their little tridents: but this isle, have frequently cited, was presented by the | The greatest and the best of all the main, students of the Inner Temple. See Notes on He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities; Com. v. 252, 636, 659. It has been lately | And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun 30 printed from a manuscript in the library of A noble peer of mickle trust and power Emanuel College: but I have been informed, Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide that a few copies were printed soon after the An old and haughty nation, proud in arms: presentation. It was formed on the story of Where his fair offspring, nurs'din princely lore, Circe, and perhaps might have suggested some Are coming to attend their father's state, few hints to Milton. I will give some proofs of And new-entrusted sceptre: but their way parallelism as we go along,
Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear The genius of the best poets is often deter
wood, mined, if not directed, by circumstance and ac- The nodding horrour of whose shady brows cident. It is natural, that even so original a Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; writer as Milton should have been biassed by the And here their tender age might suffer peril, 40 reigning poetry of the day, by the composition most But that by quick command from sovran Jove in fashion, and by subjects recently brought for- I was dispatch'd for their defence and guard : ward, but soon giving way to others, and almost And listen why; for I will tell you now as soon totally neglected and forgotten.
What never yet was heard in tale or song,
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape - THE PERSONS.
Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine,
After the Tuscan mariners transform’d, THE ATTEND ANT Spirit, afterwards in the habit
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, of THYRSIS.
On Circe's island fell: (Who knows not Circe, 50 Comus, with his crew,
The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup THE LADY.
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape,
And downward fell into a groveling swine ?)
This nymph, that gaz'd upon his clustering locks SABRINA, the Nymph.
With ivy berries wreath'd, and his blithe youth,
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
Much like his father, but his mother more,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus Mr. Thomas Egerton his brother,
Who, ripe and frolic of his full grown age,
At last betakes him to this ominous wood;
And, in thick shelter of black shades imbower'i.
Excels his mother at her mighty art,
Offering to every weary traveller
To quench the drought of Phoebus; which asthey | Venus now wakes, and wakens love. taste
[thirst:) | Come, let us our rites begin; (For inost do taste through fond intemperate 'Tis only day-light that makes sin, Soon as the potion works, their human counte- Which these dun shades will ne'er report.nance, Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
128 The express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd Dark-veil'd Cotytto! to whom the secret flame Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,
Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame, Or ounce, or tiger, bog, or bearded goat,
That ne'er art call’d, but when the dragon woon All other parts remaining as they were;
Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, And they, so perfect is their misery,
And makes one blot of all the air; Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, Stay the cloudy ebon chair, But boast themselves more comely than before; Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend And all their friends and native home forget, | Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end To roll with pleasure in a sensual stye.
Of all thy dues be done, and pone left out; Therefore when any, favour'd of high Jove, | Ere the babbling eastern seout, Chances to pass through this adventurous glade, The nice Morn, on the Indian steep Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star 80 From her cabin'd loop-bole peep,
140 I shoot from Heaven, to give him safe convoy, And to the tell-tale Sun desery As now 1 do: but first I must put off
Our conceal'd solemnity.--
Of some chaste fuoting near about this ground, Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid 90 Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
trees; Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now,
Our number may affright: some virgin sure
(For so I can distinguish by mine art) 149 Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand,, his Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms, glass in the other; with him a rout of monsters,
| And to my wily trains : I shall ere long headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but other. Be well-stock'd with as fair a berd as graz'd wise like men and women, their apparel grislering; About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl They come in making a riotous and unruly noise,
My dazzling spells into the spungy air, with torches in their hands,
Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
And give it false presentments, lest the place Comus.
Apd my quaint habits breed astonishment, The star, that bids the shepherd fold,
And put the damsel to suspicious flight; Now the top of Heaven doth hold;
Which must not be, for that's against my course: And the gilded car of day
1, under fair pretence of friendly ends, 160 His glowing axle doth allay
And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy In the steep Atlantic stream;
Baited with reasons not unplausible, And the slope Sun his upward beam
Wind me into the easy-hearted man, Shouts against the dusky pole,
And hug him into snares. When once her eye Pacing towards the other goal
100 Hath met the virtue of this magic dust, Of bis chamber in the east.
I shall appear some harmless villager, Mean while welcome Joy, and Feast,
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear, Midnight Shout, and Revelry,
But here she comes ; I fairly step aside,
And hearken, if I may, her business here.
The Lady enters.
| This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 170 And Advice with scrupulous head,
My best guide now: methought it was the sound Strict Age and sour Severity,
Of riot and ill-manag'd merriment, With their grave saws, in slumber lie. 110 Such as the jocund fute, or gamesome pipe, We, that are of purer fire,
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds; Imitate the starry quire,
When for their teeming flocks, and granges full, Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, Lead in swift round the months and years. Aud thank the gods amiss. I should be loth The sounds and scas, with all their finny drove, To meet the rudeness, and swill'd insolence, Now to the Moon in wavering morrice move; Of such late wassailers; yet O! where else And, on the tawny sands and shelves, 119 Shall I inform ny unacquainted feet
180 Trip the pert faeries and the dapper elves, In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ? By dimpled brook and fountain brim,
My brothers, when they saw me wearied out The wood-nymphs, deck'd with daisies trim, With this long way, resolving bere to lodge Their merry wakes and pastimes keep;
Under the spreading favour of these pines, What haih night to do with sleep?
Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side, Night hath better sweets to prove,
To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit
As the kind hospitable woods provide.
| At every fall smoothing the raven-down 251 They left me then, when the gray-hooded Even, Of darkness, till it smil'd! I have oft heard Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed, 189 My mother Circe with the Syrens three, Rose from the bindmost wheels of Phoebus' wain. Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, But where they are, and why they came not back, Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs; Is now the labour of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest Who, as they sung, would take the prison's soul, They had engag'd their wandering steps too far; And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept, And envious darkness, ere they could return, | And chid her barking waves into attention, Had stole them from me: else, O thievish Night, And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause: Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end, Yet they in pleasing slumber lull'd the sense, In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars, And in sweet madness robb'd it of itself; 261 That Nature hung in Heaven, and fill'd their | But such a sacred and home-felt delight, With everlasting oil, to give due light [lamps Such sober certainty of waking bliss, To the misled and lonely traveller?
I never heard till now. I'll speak to her, This is the place, as well as I may guess,
And she shall be my queen.--Hail, foreign wonder! Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear; Unless the goddess that in rural shrine Yet nought but single darkness do I find. Dwell'st here with Pan, or Sylvan; by blest song What this might be? A thousand fantasies Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog Begin to throng into my memory,
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood, Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, Lad. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that And aery tongues, that syllable mens names 208 | That is address'd to unattending ears ; [praise On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses. Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift These thoughts may startle well, but not astound, How to regain my sever'd company, The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended Compell’d me to awake the courteous Echo 275 By a strong siding champion, Conscience.
To give me answer from her mossy couch. O welcome pure-ey'd Paith, white-handed Hope, Com. What chance, good lady, bath bereft Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings,
you thus? And thou, unblemish'd form of Chastity!
Lad. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth. I see ye visibly, and now believe
fill | Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things
des? Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Lad. They left me weary on a grassy turf. 280 Would send a glistering guardian, if need were. Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? To keep my life and honour unassail'd. 220 Lad. To seek i? the valley some cool friendly Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
spring. Turn forth her silver lining on the night? Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady? I did not err, there does a sable clond
Lad. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
return. And casts a gleam over this tufted grove:
| Com. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. I cannot halloo to my brothers, but
Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit ! Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest Com. Imports their loss, beside the present need? I'll venture; for my new-enliven'd spirits Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose. Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off,
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen Com. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox Within thy aery shell,
931 In his loose traces from the furrow came, By slow Meander's margent green,
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, Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well; Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots; Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
Their port was more than human, as they stood: That likest thy Narcissus are?
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colours of the rainbow live, 300
And play i' the plighted clouds. I was aw-struck, Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere! And, as I past, I worshipt; if those you seek,
So may'st thou be translated to the skies, It were a journey like the path to Heaven, And give resounding grace to all Heaven's har
To help you find them. monies.
What readiest way would bring me to that place? Enter Comus.
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 sureguess of well-practis'd feet. 510 And with these raptures moves the vocal air Com. I know each lane, and every alley green, To testify his bidden residence.
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood, How sweetly did they float upon the wings And every bosky bourn from side to side, Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night, My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood ;
And if your stray attendants be yet lodg'd, 315 | She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings, Or shroud witbin these limits, I shall know
That in the various bustle of resort Fre morrow wake, or the low roosted lark
Were all-to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. From her thatch'd pallet rouse ; if otherwise, He that has light within bis own clear breast, Ican conduct you, lady, to a low,
May sit i’ the centre, and enjoy bright day :
Benighted walks under the mid-day Sun;
385 And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,
Tis most true, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
That musing Meditation most affects With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls
The pensive secrecy of desert cell, In courts of princes, where it first was nam'd 325 | Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds, And yet is most pretealed : in a place
And sits as safe as in a senate-house ;
For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
| Of dragon-watch, with unenchanted eye, 395 Enter The Two BROTHERS.
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit, El. Br. Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fair From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.
You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps
Danger will wink on Opportunity,
Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding waste.
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person With thy long-livell’d rule of streaming light; Of our unowned sister, Aud thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
I do not, brother, Or Tyrian Cynosure.
Infer, as if I thought my sister's state Sec. Br.
Or, if our eyes
Secure, without all doubt or controversy ;
And gladly banish squint suspicion.
What hidden strength, Where may she wander now, whither betake her Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean From the chill dew, among rude burs and thistles?
that? Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster pow, El. Br. I mean that too, but yet a hidden Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
[own: Leans her unpillow'd bead, fraught with sad | Which, if Heaven gave it, may be term'd her fears.
355 'Tis Chastity, my brother, Chastity :
May trace huge forests, and unharbour'd heaths,
Where, through the sacred rays of Chastity, +25 For grant they be so, while the rest unknown, | No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer, What need a man forestall his date of grief, Will dare to soil her virgin purity : And run to meet what he would most avoid ? Yea there, where very Desolation dwells, Or, if they be but false alarms of fear,
By grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades, Ilow bitter is such self-delusion !
365 | She may pass on with unbleuch'd majesty, I do not think my sister so to seek,
Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
Some say, no evil thing that walks by night
Blue meager hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not,)
That breaks his magic chains at Curfeu time, Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, No goblin, or swart faery of the mine,
436 And put them into misbecoming plight.
| Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.
376 | Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow, Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation, . Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste,