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The first sceane discovers a wild wood, then a
guardian Spiritt or demon descendes or enters.
From the heavens nowe I dye,
and those happy clymes that lye
Where daye never shutts his eye,
vp in the broad field of the skye.
There I suck the liquid ayre
all amidst the gardens fayre
of Hefperus, and his daughters three
that finge about the goulden tree.
there eternall summer dwells,
and west wyndes, with mulkye winge,
about the Cederne allyes finge
Nard and Caffia's balmie smells.
Iris there with humid bowe
waters the odorous bankes, that blowe
flowers of more mingled hew
then her purfled scarfe can fhew,
yellow, watchett, greene, and blew,
and drenches oft with Manna dew
Beds of Hyacinth and Rofes,
where many a chertıb soft reposes.
Before the starrie threshold of Jove's courte
my Mansion is, where those immortall shapes
of bright aereall fpiritts live infpheard
in regions mylde of calme and terene ayre,
above the smoake and stirr of this dim spott,
which men call earth, and with low-thoughted care
confinde, and pestered in this pinfold heere,
strive to keep vp a fraile and fevourish beinge,
vnmindfull of the crowne that vertue gives,
after this mortall change, to her true fervants
amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats.
yet fome there be, that with due stepps aspire
to laye their juft hands on that goulden keye,
that opes the pallace of Æternitie:
To such my errand is, and but for such,
I would not foile these pure ambrosiall weedes
with the ranke vapours of this fin-worne moulde.
but to my talke; Neptune besides the swaye
of everie falte flood, and each ebbinge streame,
tooke in by lott twixt high and neather Jove
imperial rule of all the fea-girt Ifles,
that like to rich and and various gems inlaye
the vnadorned bosom of the deepe;
which he, to grace his tributarie Gods,
by course committs to severall government,
and gives them leave to weare their saphire crownes,
and weild their little tridents; but this Ille,
the greatest and the best of all the Maine,
he quarters to his blew-haired deities;
and all this tract that fronts the falling sunn
a noble Peere of mickle trust and power,
has in his chardge, with tempered awe to guyde
an ould and haughty nacion proude in armes :
where his faire offspringe, nurft in princely lore,
are cominge to attend their father's state,
and newe-entrusted scepter, but their waye
lies through the perplext paths of this dreare wood,
the noddinge horror of whose shadie browes
threats the forlorne and wanderinge paflinger;
and heere their tender age might suffer perill,
hut that by quick commande from soveraigne Jove
I was dispatch't for their defence and guard;
and liftep why, for I will tell you now
what never yet was heard in tale or songe,
from old or moderne bard in hall or bowre.
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grapes
crusht the sweete poyson of misvfed wyne,
after the Tuscane (mariners' transform'd,
coastinge the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
on Circe's Iand fell : (who knows not Circe
the daughter of the Sunn, whoes charmed cup
whoe ever tasted, loft his upright shape,
and downeward fell into a grovelinge Swyne ?).
This nimphe that gazed vpon his cluftringe locks,
with Ivye berries wreath'd, and his blith youth,
had by him, ere he parted thence, a sonne
much like his father, but his mother more,
which therefore she brought up, and Comus nam’d:
whoe ripe and frolick of his full growne age,
roavinge the Celtick and Iberian fields,
at last betakes him to this ominous wood,
and in thick shelter of black shades imbowr'd
excells his mother at her mightie arte,
offringe to everie wearie traveller
his orient liquor in a christall glasse,
85 to quench the drouth of Phebus, which as they taste, (for most doe taste through fond intemperate thirst) foone as the potion workes, their humane countenaunce, th' expreffe resemblance of the Gods, is chang'd into some brutith forme of Wolfe, or Beare,
90 or Ounce, or Tiger, Hogg, or bearded goate, all other parts remayninge as they were ; and they, soe perfect is their miferie, not once perceive their fowle disfigurement, but boast themselves more comly then before, 95 and all their freinds and native home forgett, to rowle with pleasure in a sensuall stie. Therefore, when any favour'd of high Jove, chaunces to pass through this advent'rous glade, swift as the sparcle of a glauncinge starre I shoote from heaven, to give him falfe convoy, as now I doe: but first I must put off these my skye webs, fpun out of Iris wooffe, and take the weeds and likenesse of a Swayne, that to the service of this house belongs,
105 whoe with his soft pipe, and smooth dittied fonge, well knows to still the wild winds when they roare, and hush the wavinge woods, nor of less faith, and in this office of his mountaine watch, likeliest and neerest to the present ayde of this occasion, but I heare the tread of hatefull stepps, I must be viewles nowe.
Exit. Comus enters with a charminge rod in one hand
and a glass of liquor in the other ; with him a route of monsters like men and women but beaded like wild beasts, their apparell glist'ringe, they come in makinge a riotous and vnruely noise, with torches
in their hands. Co. The starr that bids the shepheard fold,
of Heaven doth hold; v. 103. robes in the other copies.
and the gilded carr of daye
his glowing axle doth allaye
in the steepe Atlantique streame;
and the slope lun his vpward beame
shoots against the Northerne Pole,
pacinge toward the other goale
of his chamber in the East.
meanę while welcome, Joy and feast,
midnight shoute, and revelry,
tipfe daunce, and Jollitie ;
braide your locks with rosie twine,
droppinge odours, droppinge wine,
Rigor now is gone to bed,
and advice with scrupulous head,
strict age, and lowre severitie,
with their grave sawes in slumber lye.
Wee that are of purer fire
imitate the starrie quire,
whoe in their nightly watchfull sphears
leade in swift round the months and years.
the sounds and seas, with all their finnie drove,
nowe to the moone in wavering morrice move,
and on the tawny sands and shelves
trip the pert fairies, and the dapper ealves.
by dimpled brooke, and fountaine brim,
the wood nimphs decte with dạisies trim,
their merry wakes and pastimes keepe
what hath night to doe with fleepe?
Night has better sweets to prove,
Venus now wakes, and wakens love.
Come let us our rights begyn,
tis only daylight that makes fin,
which these dun shades will nere report.
haile goddess of nocturnall sport,
darke-vaylid Coțitto, '['whome the secret flame
of midnight torches bụrns; misterious dame,
that nere art call'd, but when the dragon woombe
of Stigian darknes, fpetts her thickest gloome,
and makes one blot of all the aire,
staye thy cloudie Ebon chaire,
wherein thoạ rid'st with Hecat', and befriend
vs thy vow'd preifts, till vtmoft end
of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
ere the blabbinge Easterne scoute,
». 119. Northerne. So the Camb. MS.
v. 143. bas. So the Camb. MS.
V. 145. Mr. Warton's ad edition exhibits this ancient reading.