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The Poetical Works of John Milton

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Throw hither all your quaint enameld eyes,
That on the green terf suck the honied showres, 140
And purple all the ground with vernal flowres.
Bring the rathe Primrose that forsaken dies.
The tufted Crow-toe, and pale Gessamine,
The white Pink, and the Pansie freakt with jeat,
The glowing Violet.
The Musk-rose, and the well attir'd Woodbine.
With Cowslips wan that hang the pensive hed,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears:
Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed,
Daffadillies fill their cups with tears, 150
And strew the Laureat Herse where Lycid lies.
For so to interpose a little ease,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise.
Ah me! Whilst thee the shores, and sounding Seas
Wash far away, where ere thy bones are hurl'd
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides.
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world;
Or whether thou to our moist vows deny'd,
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, 160
Where the great vision of the guarded Mount
Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold;
Look homeward Angel now, and melt with ruth.
And, O ye Dolphins, waft the haples youth.

Weep no more, woful Shepherds weep no more,
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watry floar,
So sinks the day-star in the Ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled Ore, 170
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves
Where other groves, and other streams along,
With Nectar pure his oozy Lock's he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptiall Song,
In the blest Kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the Saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet Societies
That sing, and singing in their glory move, 180
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
Now Lycidas the Shepherds weep no more;
Hence forth thou art the Genius of the shore,
In thy large recompense and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood.

Thus sang the uncouth Swain to th'Okes and rills,
While the still morn went out with Sandals gray,
He touch'd the tender stops of various Quills,
With eager thought warbling his Dorick lay:
And now the Sun had stretch'd out all the hills, 190
And now was dropt into the Western bay;
At last he rose, and twitch'd his Mantle blew:
To morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new.

64 uncessant] Manuscript reads incessant, so that uncessant
is probably a misprint; though that spelling is retained in the Second
82 perfet] So in Comus, line 203. In both these places
the manuscript has perfect, as elsewhere where the word occurs. In
the Solemn Music, line 23, where the First Edition reads perfect,
the second reads perfet.
149 Amaranthus] Amarantus

Transcriber's note: Facsimile of Title page of Comus follows:

At Ludlow Castle,

On Michalemasse night, before the
IOHN Earle of Bridgewater, Viscount Brackly,
Lord President of WALES, and one of
His MAIESTIES most honorable
Privie Counsell.

Eheu quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum
Perditus ------------------

at the signe of the Three Pidgeons in
Pauls Church-yard. 1637.

To the Right Honourable, John Lord Vicount Bracly, Son and
Heir apparent to the Earl of Bridgewater, &c.


This Poem, which receiv'd its first occasion of Birth from your
Self, and others of your Noble Family, and much honour from
your own Person in the performance, now returns again to
make a finall Dedication of it self to you. Although not openly
acknowledg'd by the Author, yet it is a legitimate off-spring, so
lovely, and so much desired, that the often Copying of it hath
tired my Pen to give my several friends satisfaction, and brought
me to a necessity of producing it to the publike view; and now
to offer it up in all rightfull devotion to those fair Hopes, and
rare endowments of your much-promising Youth, which give a
full assurance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live
sweet Lord to be the honour of your Name, and receive this as
your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours
been long oblig'd to your most honour'd Parents, and as in this
representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all reall

Your faithfull, and most humble Servant


Note: Dedication to Vicount Bracly: Omitted in 1673.

The Copy of a Letter writt'n by Sir HENRY WOOTTON, to
the Author, upon the following Poem.

>From the Colledge, this 13. of April, 1638.

It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me
here, the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer then
to make me know that I wanted more time to value it, and to
enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your
farther stay in these parts, which I understood afterwards by
Mr. H. I would have been bold in our vulgar phrase to mend my
draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have
begged your conversation again, joyntly with your said learned
Friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded
together som good Authors of the antient time: Among which, I
observed you to have been familiar.

Since your going, you have charg'd me with new Obligations,
both for a very kinde Letter from you dated the sixth of this
Month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came
therwith. Wherin I should much commend the Tragical part, if
the Lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in
your Songs and Odes, wherunto I must plainly confess to have
seen yet nothing parallel in our Language: Ipsa mollities.
But I must not omit to tell you, that I now onely owe you
thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly soever) the true
Artificer. For the work it self I had view'd som good while
before, with singular delight, having receiv'd it from our
common Friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late R's Poems,
Printed at Oxford, wherunto it was added (as I now suppose)
that the Accessory might help out the Principal, according to
the Art of Stationers, and to leave the Reader Con la bocca

Now Sir, concerning your travels, wherin I may challenge a
little more priviledge of Discours with you; I suppose you will
not blanch Paris in your way; therfore I have been bold to
trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily
find attending the young Lord S. as his Governour, and you
may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of
your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my choice
som time for the King, after mine own recess from Venice.

I should think that your best Line will be thorow the whole
length of France to Marseilles, and thence by Sea to Genoa,
whence the passage into Tuscany is as Diurnal as a Gravesend
Barge: I hasten as you do to Florence, or Siena, the rather tell
you a short story from the interest you have given me in your

At Siena I was tabled in the House of one Alberto Scipioni, an
old Roman Courtier in dangerous times, having bin Steward to
the Duca di Pagliano, who with all his Family were strangled
save this onely man that escap'd by foresight of the Tempest:
With him I had often much chat of those affairs; Into which he
took pleasure to look back from his Native Harbour: and at my
departure toward Rome (which had been the center of his
experience) I had wonn confidence enough to beg his advice,
how I might carry my self securely there, without offence of
mine own conscience. Signor Arrigo mio (sayes he) I pensieri
stretti, & il viso sciolto, will go safely over the whole World: Of
which Delphian Oracle (for so I have found it) your judgement
doth need no commentary; and therfore (Sir) I will commit you
with it to the best of all securities, Gods dear love, remaining

Your Friend as much at command as any of longer date,

Henry Wootton.


SIR, I have expressly sent this my Foot-boy to prevent your
departure without som acknowledgement from me of the
receipt of your obliging Letter, having myself through som
busines, I know not how, neglected the ordinary conveyance.
In any part where I shall understand you fixed, I shall be glad,
and diligent to entertain you with Home-Novelties; even for
som fomentation of our friendship, too soon interrupted in the

Note: Letter from Sir Henry Wootton: Omitted in 1673

A MASK PRESENTED At LUDLOW-Castle, 1634. &c.

The Persons.

The attendant Spirit afterwards in the habit of Thyrsis.
Comus with his crew.
The Lady.
1. Brother.
2. Brother.
Sabrina the Nymph.

The cheif persons which presented, were
The Lord Bracly.
Mr. Thomas Egerton his Brother,
The Lady Alice Egerton.

The first Scene discovers a wilde Wood.

The attendant Spirit descends or enters.

Spir: Before the starry threshold of Joves Court
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
Of bright aereal Spirits live insphear'd
In Regions milde of calm and serene Ayr,
Above the smoak and stirr of this dim spot,
Which men call Earth, and with low-thoughted care
Confin'd, and pester'd in this pin-fold here,
Strive to keep up a frail, and Feaverish being
Unmindfull of the crown that Vertue gives
After this mortal change, to her true Servants 10
Amongst the enthron'd gods on Sainted seats.
Yet som there he that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that Golden Key
That ope's the Palace of Eternity:
To such my errand is, and but for such,
I would not soil these pure Ambrosial weeds,
With the rank vapours of this Sin-worn mould.
But to my task. Neptune besides the sway
Of every salt Flood, and each ebbing Stream,
Took in by lot 'twixt high, and neather Jove, 20
Imperial rule of all the Sea-girt Iles
That like to rich, and various gemms inlay
The unadorned boosom of the Deep,
Which he to grace his tributary gods
By course commits to severall government,
And gives them leave to wear their Saphire crowns,
And weild their little tridents, but this Ile
The greatest, and the best of all the main
He quarters to his blu-hair'd deities,
And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun 30
A noble Peer of mickle trust, and power
Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide
An old, and haughty Nation proud in Arms:
Where his fair off-spring nurs't in Princely lore,
Are coming to attend their Fathers state,
And new-entrusted Scepter, but their way
Lies through the perplex't paths of this drear Wood,
The nodding horror of whose shady brows
Threats the forlorn and wandring Passinger.
And here their tender age might suffer perill, 40
But that by quick command from Soveran Jove
I was dispatcht for their defence, and guard;
And listen why, for I will tell ye now
What never yet was heard in Tale or Song
>From old, or modern Bard in Hall, or Bowr.
Bacchus that first from out the purple Grape,
Crush't the sweet poyson of mis-used Wine
After the Tuscan Mariners transform'd
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
On Circes Hand fell (who knows not Circe 50
The daughter of the Sun? Whose charmed Cup
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape,
And downward fell into a groveling Swine)
This Nymph that gaz'd upon his clustring locks,
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 therfore she brought up and Comus named,
Who ripe, and frolick of his full grown age,
Roving the Celtic, and Iberian fields, 60
At last betakes him to this ominous Wood,
And in thick shelter of black shades imbowr'd,
Excells his Mother at her mighty Art,
Offring to every weary Travailer,
His orient liquor in a Crystal Glasse,
To quench the drouth of Phoebus, which as they taste
(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst )
Soon as the Potion works, their human count'nance,
Th' express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd
Into som brutish form of Woolf, or Bear, 70
Or Ounce, or Tiger, Hog, or bearded Goat,
All other parts remaining as they were,
And they, so perfect is their misery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more comely then before
And all their friends, and native home forget
To roule with pleasure in a sensual stie.
Therfore when any favour'd of high Jove,
Chances to pass through this adventrous glade,
Swift as the Sparkle of a glancing Star, 80
I shoot from Heav'n to give him safe convoy,
As now I do: But first I must put off
These my skie robes spun out of Iris Wooff,
And take the Weeds and likenes of a Swain,
That to the service of this house belongs,
Who with his soft Pipe, and smooth-dittied Song,
Well knows to still the wilde winds when they roar,
And hush the waving Woods, nor of lesse faith,
And in this office of his Mountain watch,
Likeliest, and neerest to the present ayd 90
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
Of hatefull steps, I must be viewles now.

Comus enters with a Charming Rod in one hand, his Glass in
the other, with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts
of wilde Beasts, but otherwise like Men and Women, their
Apparel glistring, they come in making a riotous and unruly
noise, with Torches in their hands.

Co: The Star that bids the Shepherd fold,
Now the top of Heav'n doth hold,
And the gilded Car of Day,
His glowing Axle doth allay
In the steep Atlantick stream,
And the slope Sun his upward beam
Shoots against the dusky Pole,
Pacing toward the other gole 100
Of his Chamber in the East.
Meanwhile welcom Joy, and Feast,
Midnight shout, and revelry,
Tipsie dance, and Jollity.
Braid your Locks with rosie Twine
Dropping odours, dropping Wine.
Rigor now is gon to bed,
And Advice with scrupulous head,
Strict Age, and sowre Severity,
With their grave Saws in slumber ly. 110
We that are of purer fire
Imitate the Starry Quire,
Who in their nightly watchfull Sphears,
Lead in swift round the Months and Years.
The Sounds, and Seas with all their finny drove
Now to the Moon in wavering Morrice move,
And on the Tawny Sands and Shelves,
Trip the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves;
By dimpled Brook, and Fountain brim,
The Wood-Nymphs deckt with Daisies trim, 120
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:
What hath night to do with sleep?
Night hath better sweets to prove,
Venus now wakes, and wak'ns Love.
Com let us our rights begin,
'Tis onely day-light that makes Sin
Which these dun shades will ne're report.
Hail Goddesse of Nocturnal sport
Dark vaild Cotytto, t' whom the secret flame
Of mid-night Torches burns; mysterious Dame 130
That ne're art call'd, but when the Dragon woom
Of Stygian darknes spets her thickest gloom,
And makes one blot of all the ayr,
Stay thy cloudy Ebon chair,
Wherin thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend
Us thy vow'd Priests, til utmost end
Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
Ere the blabbing Eastern scout,
The nice Morn on th' Indian steep
>From her cabin'd loop hole peep, 140
And to the tel-tale Sun discry
Our conceal'd Solemnity.
Com, knit hands, and beat the ground,
In a light fantastick round.

The Measure.

Break off; break off, I feel the different pace,
Of som chast footing neer about this ground.
Run to your shrouds, within these Brakes and Trees,
Our number may affright: Som Virgin sure
(For so I can distinguish by mine Art)
Benighted in these Woods. Now to my charms, 150
And to my wily trains, I shall e're long
Be well stock't with as fair a herd as graz'd
About my Mother Circe. Thus I hurl
My dazling Spells into the spungy ayr,
Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
And give it false presentments, lest the place
And my quaint habits breed astonishment,
And put the Damsel to suspicious flight,
Which must not be, for that's against my course;
I under fair pretence of friendly ends, 160
And well plac't words of glozing courtesie
Baited with reasons not unplausible
Wind me into the easie-hearted man,
And hugg him into snares. When once her eye
Hath met the vertue of this Magick dust,
I shall appear som harmles Villager
Whom thrift keeps up about his Country gear,
But here she comes, I fairly step aside,
And hearken, if I may, her busines here.

The Lady enters.

La: This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 170
My best guide now, me thought it was the sound
Of Riot, and ill manag'd Merriment,
Such as the jocond Flute, or gamesom Pipe
Stirs up among the loose unleter'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 he loath
To meet the rudenesse, and swill'd insolence
of such late Wassailers; yet O where els
Shall I inform my unacquainted feet 180
In the blind mazes of this tangl'd 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 se'd 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 Eev'n
Like a sad Votarist in Palmers weed
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus wain. 190
But where they are, and why they came not back,
Is now the labour of my thoughts, 'tis likeliest
They had ingag'd their wandring steps too far,
And envious darknes, e're they could return,
Had stole them from me, els O theevish Night
Why shouldst thou, but for som fellonious end,
In thy dark lantern thus close up the Stars,
That nature hung in Heav'n, and fill'd their Lamps
With everlasting oil, to give due light
To the misled and lonely Travailer? 200
This is the place as well as I may guess,
Whence eev'n now the tumult of loud Mirth
Was rife and perfect in my list'ning ear,
Yet nought but single darknes do I find.
What might this be? A thousand fantasies
Begin to throng into my memory
Of calling shapes, and beckning shadows dire,
And airy tongues, that syllable mens names
On Sands and Shoars and desert Wildernesses.
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound 210
The vertuous mind that ever walks attended
By a strong siding champion Conscience.--
O welcom pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope,
Thou hovering Angel girt with golden wings.
And thou unblemish't form of Chastity,
I see ye visibly and now beleeve
That he, the Supreme good t'whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glistring Guardian if need were
To keep my life and honour unassail'd. 220
Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted Grove.
I cannot hallow to my Brothers, but
Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest
Ile venter, for my new enliv'nd spirits
Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.


Sweet Echo, sweetest Nymph that liv'st unseen 230
Within thy airy shell
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet imbroider'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 som flowry Cave,
Tell me but where 240
Sweet Queen of Parly, Daughter of the Sphear,
So maist thou be translated to the skies,
And give resounding grace to all Heav'ns Harmonies.

Co: Can any mortal mixture of Earths mould
Breath such Divine inchanting ravishment?
Sure somthing holy lodges in that brest,
And with these raptures moves the vocal air
To testifie his hidd'n residence;
How sweetly did they float upon the wings
Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night 250
At every fall smoothing the Raven doune
Of darknes till it smil'd: I have oft heard
My mother Circe with the Sirens three,
Amid'st the flowry-kirtl'd Naiades
Culling their Potent hearbs, and balefull 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 madnes rob'd it of it self,
But such a sacred, and home-felt delight,
Such sober certainty of waking bliss
I never heard till now. Ile speak to her
And she shall be my Queen. Hail forren wonder
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed
Unlesse the Goddes that in rurall shrine
Dwell'st here with Pan, or Silvan, by blest Song
Forbidding every bleak unkindly Fog
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall Wood. 270

La: Nay gentle Shepherd ill is lost that praise
That is addrest to unattending Ears,
Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift
How to regain my sever'd company
Compell'd me to awake the courteous Echo
To give me answer from her mossie Couch.

Co: What chance good Lady hath bereft you thus?

La: Dim darknes, and this heavy Labyrinth.

Co: Could that divide you from neer-ushering guides?

La: They left me weary on a grassie terf. 280

Co: By falshood. or discourtesie, or why?

La: To seek in vally som cool friendly Spring.

Co: And left your fair side all unguarded Lady?

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

Co: Perhaps fore-stalling night prevented them.

La: How easie my misfortune is to hit !

Co: Imports their loss, beside the present need?

La: No less then if I should my brothers loose.

Co: Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?

La: As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. 290

Co: Two such I saw, what time the labour'd Oxe
In his loose traces from the furrow came,
And the swink't hedger at his Supper sate;
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 then human, as they stood;
I took it for a faery vision
Of som gay creatures of the element
That in the colours of the Rainbow live 300
And play i'th plighted clouds. I was aw-strook,
And as I past, I worshipt: if those you seek
It were a journey like the path to Heav'n,
To help you find them. La: Gentle villager
What readiest way would bring me to that place?

Co: Due west it rises from this shrubby point.

La: To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose,
In such a scant allowance of Star-light,
Would overtask the best Land-Pilots art,
Without the sure guess of well-practiz'd feet, 310

Co: I know each lane, and every alley green
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wilde 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 thatch't pallat rowse, if otherwise
I can conduct you Lady to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe 320
Till further quest.
La: Shepherd I take thy word,
And trust thy honest offer'd courtesie,
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
With smoaky rafters, then in tapstry Halls
And Courts of Princes, where it first was nam'd,
And yet is most pretended: In a place
Less warranted then this, or less secure
I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.
Eie me blest Providence, and square my triall
To my proportion'd strength. Shepherd lead on.-- 330

The Two Brothers.

Eld. Bro: Unmuffle ye faint stars, and thou fair Moon
That wontst to love the travailers benizon,
Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
And disinherit Chaos, that raigns here
In double night of darknes, and of shades;
Or if your influence be quite damm'd up
With black usurping mists, som gentle taper
Though a rush Candle from the wicker hole
Of som 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.
2. Bro: Or if our eyes
Be barr'd that happines, might we but hear
The folded flocks pen'd in their watled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops,
Or whistle from the Lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery Dames,
'Twould be som solace yet, som little chearing
In this close dungeon of innumerous bowes.
But O that haples virgin our lost sister 350
Where may she wander now, whether betake her
>From the chill dew, amongst rude burrs and thistles?
Perhaps som cold bank is her boulster now
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of som broad Elm
Leans her unpillow'd head fraught with sad fears.
What if in wild amazement, and affright,
Or while we speak within the direfull grasp
Of Savage hunger, or of Savage heat?

Eld. Bro: Peace brother, be not over-exquisite
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils; 360
For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
What need a man forestall his date of grief
And run to meet what he would most avoid?
Or if they be but false alarms of Fear,
How bitter is such self delusion?
I do not think my sister so to seek,
Or so unprincipl'd in vertues book,
And the sweet peace that goodnes boosoms ever,
As that the single want of light and noise
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not) 370
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
And put them into mis-becoming plight.
Vertue could see to do what vertue would
By her own radiant light, though Sun and Moon
Were in the salt sea sunk. And Wisdoms self
Oft seeks to sweet retired Solitude,
Where with her best nurse Contemplation
She plumes her feathers and lets grow her wings
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all too ruffled and sometimes impaired. 380
He that has light within his own deer brest
May sit i'th center, and enjoy bright day,
But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the mid-day Sun;
Himself is his own dungeon.

2. Bro: Tis most true
That musing meditation most affects
The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
Far from the cheerfull haunt of men, and herds,
And sits as safe as in a Senat house,
For who would rob a Hermit of his Weeds, 390
His few Books, or his Beads, or Maple Dish,
Or do his gray hairs any violence?
But beauty like the fair Hesperian Tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
Of dragon watch with uninchanted eye,
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
>From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.
You may as well spred out the unsun'd heaps
Of Misers treasure by an out-laws den,
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope 400
Danger will wink on Opportunity,
And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjur'd in this wilde surrounding wast.
Of night, or lonelines it recks me not,
I fear the dred events that dog them both,
Lest som ill greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned sister.

Eld. Bro: I do not, brother,
Inferr, as if I thought my sisters state
Secure without all doubt, or controversie:
Yet where an equall poise of hope and fear 410
Does arbitrate th'event, my nature is
That I encline to hope, rather then fear,
And gladly banish squint suspicion.
My sister is not so defenceless left
As you imagine, she has a hidden strength
Which you remember not.

2. Bro: What hidden strength,
Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that?

ELD Bro: I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength
Which if Heav'n gave it, may be term'd her own:
'Tis chastity, my brother, chastity: 420
She that has that, is clad in compleat steel,
And like a quiver'd Nymph with Arrows keen
May trace huge Forests, and unharbour'd Heaths,
Infamous Hills, and sandy perilous wildes,
Where through the sacred rayes of Chastity,
No savage fierce, Bandite, or mountaneer
Will dare to soyl her Virgin purity,
Yea there, where very desolation dwels
By grots, and caverns shag'd with horrid shades,
She may pass on with unblench't majesty, 430
Be it not don in pride, or in presumption.
Som say no evil thing that walks by night
In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,
Blew meager Hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magick chains at curfeu time,
No goblin, or swart faery of the mine,
Hath hurtfull power o're true virginity.
Do ye beleeve me yet, or shall I call
Antiquity from the old Schools of Greece
To testifie the arms of Chastity? 440
Hence had the huntress Dian her dred bow
Fair silver-shafted Queen for ever chaste,
Wherwith she tam'd the brinded lioness
And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought
The frivolous bolt of Cupid, gods and men
Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen oth' Woods.
What was that snaky-headed Gorgon sheild
That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd Virgin,
Wherwith she freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone?
But rigid looks of Chast austerity, 450
And noble grace that dash't brute violence
With sudden adoration, and blank aw.
So dear to Heav'n is Saintly chastity,
That when a soul is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried Angels lacky her,
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
And in cleer dream, and solemn vision
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
Till oft convers with heav'nly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on th'outward shape, 460
The unpolluted temple of the mind.
And turns it by degrees to the souls essence,
Till all be made immortal: but when lust
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by leud and lavish act of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soul grows clotted by contagion,
Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite loose
The divine property of her first being.
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp 470
Oft seen in Charnell vaults, and Sepulchers
Lingering, and sitting by a new made grave,
As loath to leave the body that it lov'd,
And link't it self by carnal sensualty
To a degenerate and degraded state.

2. Bro: How charming is divine Philosophy !
Not harsh, and crabbed as dull fools suppose,
But musical as is Apollo's lute,
And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
Where no crude surfet raigns.
Eld. Bro: List, list, I hear 480
Som far off hallow break the silent Air.

2. Bro: Me thought so too; what should it be?

Eld. Bro: For certain
Either som one like us night-founder'd here,
Or els som neighbour Wood-man, or at worst,
Som roaving robber calling to his fellows.

2. Bro: Heav'n keep my sister, agen agen and neer,
Best draw, and stand upon our guard.

Eld. Bro: Ile hallow,
If he be friendly he comes well, if not,
Defence is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.

[Enter] The attendant Spirit habited like a Shepherd.

That hallow I should know, what are you? speak; 490
Com not too neer, you fall on iron stakes else.

Spir: What voice is that, my young Lord? speak agen.

2. Bro: O brother, 'tis my father Shepherd sure.

Eld. Bro: Thyrsis? Whose artful strains have oft delaid
The huddling brook to hear his madrigal,
And sweeten'd every muskrose of the dale,
How cam'st thou here good Swain? hath any ram
Slip't from the fold, or young Kid lost his dam,
Or straggling weather the pen't flock forsook?
How couldst thou find this dark sequester'd nook? 500

Spir: O my lov'd masters heir, and his next joy,
I came not here on such a trivial toy
As a stray'd Ewe, or to pursue the stealth
Of pilfering Woolf, not all the fleecy wealth
That doth enrich these Downs, is worth a thought
To this my errand, and the care it brought.
But O my Virgin Lady, where is she?
How chance she is not in your company?

Eld. Bro: To tell thee sadly Shepherd, without blame
Or our neglect, we lost her as we came. 510

Spir: Ay me unhappy then my fears are true.

Eld. Bro: What fears good Thyrsis? Prethee briefly shew.

Spir: Ile tell ye, 'tis not vain or fabulous,
(Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance)
What the sage Poets taught by th' heav'nly Muse,
Storied of old in high immortal vers
Of dire Chimera's and inchanted Iles,
And rifted Rocks whose entrance leads to hell,
For such there be, but unbelief is blind.
Within the navil of this hideous Wood, 520
Immur'd in cypress shades a Sorcerer dwels
Of Bacchus, and of Circe born, great Comus,
Deep skill'd in all his mothers witcheries,
And here to every thirsty wanderer,
By sly enticement gives his banefull cup,
With many murmurs mixt, whose pleasing poison
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
And the inglorious likenes of a beast
Fixes instead, unmoulding reasons mintage
Character'd in the Face; this have I learn't 530
Tending my flocks hard by i'th hilly crofts,
That brow this bottom glade, whence night by night
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl
Like stabl'd wolves, or tigers at their prey,
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate
In their obscured haunts of inmost bowres.
Yet have they many baits, and guilefull spells
To inveigle and invite th' unwary sense
Of them that pass unweeting by the way.
This evening late by then the chewing flocks 540
Had ta'n their supper on the savoury Herb
Of Knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold,
I sate me down to watch upon a bank
With Ivy canopied, and interwove
With flaunting Hony-suckle, and began
Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy
To meditate my rural minstrelsie,
Till fancy had her fill, but ere a close
The wonted roar was up amidst the Woods,
And fill'd the Air with barbarous dissonance, 550
At which I ceas' t, and listen'd them a while,
Till an unusuall stop of sudden silence
Gave respit to the drowsie frighted steeds
That draw the litter of close-curtain'd sleep.
At last a soft and solemn breathing sound
Rose like a steam of rich distill'd Perfumes,
And stole upon the Air, that even Silence
Was took e're she was ware, and wish't she might
Deny her nature, and be never more
Still to be so displac't. I was all eare, 560
And took in strains that might create a soul
Under the ribs of Death, but O ere long
Too well I did perceive it was the voice
Of my most honour'd Lady, your dear sister.
Amaz'd I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear,
And O poor hapless Nightingale thought I,
How sweet thou sing'st, how neer the deadly snare!
Then down the Lawns I ran with headlong hast
Through paths, and turnings oft'n trod by day,
Till guided by mine ear I found the place 570
Where that damn'd wisard hid in sly disguise
(For so by certain signes I knew) had met
Already, ere my best speed could praevent,
The aidless innocent Lady his wish't prey,
Who gently ask't if he had seen such two,
Supposing him som neighbour villager;
Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess't
Ye were the two she mean't, with that I sprung
Into swift flight, till I had found you here,
But furder know I not.
2. Bro: O night and shades, 580
How are ye joyn'd with hell in triple knot
Against th'unarmed weakness of one Virgin
Alone, and helpless! Is this the confidence
You gave me Brother?
Eld. Bro: Yes, and keep it still,
Lean on it safely, not a period
Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats
Of malice or of sorcery, or that power
Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm,
Vertue may be assail'd, but never hurt,
Surpriz'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd, 590
Yea even that which mischief meant most harm,
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory.
But evil on it self shall back recoyl,
And mix no more with goodness, when at last
Gather'd like scum, and setl'd to it self
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and self-consum'd, if this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rott'nness,
And earths base built on stubble. But corn let's on.
Against th' opposing will and arm of Heav'n 600
May never this just sword be lifted up,
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the greisly legions that troop
Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
Harpyies and Hydra's, or all the monstrous forms
'Twixt Africa and Inde, Ile find him out,
And force him to restore his purchase back,
Or drag him by the curls, to a foul death,
Curs'd as his life.

Spir: Alas good ventrous youth,
I love thy courage yet, and bold Emprise, 610
But here thy sword can do thee little stead,
Farr other arms, and other weapons must
Be those that quell the might of hellish charms,
He with his bare wand can unthred thy joynts,
And crumble all thy sinews.

Eld. Bro: Why prethee Shepherd
How durst thou then thy self approach so neer
As to make this relation?

Spir: Care and utmost shifts
How to secure the lady from surprisal,
Brought to my mind a certain Shepherd Lad
Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd 620
In every vertuous plant and healing herb
That spreds her verdant leaf to th'morning ray,
He lov'd me well, and oft would beg me sing,
Which when I did, he on the tender grass
Would sit, and hearken even to extasie,
And in requitall ope his leather'n scrip,
And shew me simples of a thousand names
Telling their strange and vigorous faculties;
Amongst the rest a small unsightly root,
But of divine effect, he cull'd me out; 630
The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it,
But in another Countrey, as he said,
Bore a bright golden flowre, but not in this soyl:
Unknown, and like esteem'd, and the dull swayn
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon,
And yet more med'cinal is it then that Moly
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave;
He call'd it Haemony, and gave it me,
And bad me keep it as of sov'ran use
'Gainst all inchantments, mildew blast, or damp 640
Or gastly furies apparition;
I purs't it up, but little reck'ning made,
Till now that this extremity compell'd,
But now I find it true; for by this means
I knew the foul inchanter though disguis'd,
Enter'd the very lime-twigs of his spells,
And yet came off: if you have this about you
(As I will give you when we go) you may
Boldly assault the necromancers hall;
Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood, 650
And brandish't blade rush on him, break his glass,
And shed the lushious liquor on the ground,
But sease his wand, though he and his curst crew
Feirce signe of battail make, and menace high,
Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoak,
Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.

Eld. Bro: Thyrsis lead on apace, Ile follow thee,
And som good angel bear a sheild before us.

The scene changes to a stately Palace, set out with all manner of
deliciousness; Soft Musick, Tables spred with all dainties.
Comus appears with his rabble. and the Lady set in an inchanted
Chair, to whom he offers his Glass, which she puts by, and goes
about to rise.

COMUS: Nay Lady sit; if I but wave this wand
Your nerves are all chain'd up in Alablaster, 660
And you a statue; or as Daphne was
Root-bound, that fled Apollo.

La: Fool do not boast,
Thou canst not touch the freedom of my minde
With all thy charms, although this corporal rinde
Thou haste immanacl'd, while Heav'n sees good.

Co: Why are you vext Lady? why do you frown
Here dwell no frowns, nor anger, from these gates
Sorrow flies farr: See here be all the pleasures
That fancy can beget on youthfull thoughts,
When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns 670
Brisk as the April buds in Primrose-season.
And first behold this cordial Julep here
That flames, and dances in his crystal bounds
With spirits of balm, and fragrant Syrops mixt.
Not that Nepenthes which the wife of Thone,
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena
Is of such power to stir up joy as this,
To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst.
Why should you be so cruel to your self,
And to those dainty limms which nature lent 680
For gentle usage, and soft delicacy?
But you invert the cov'nants of her trust,
And harshly deal like an ill borrower
With that which you receiv'd on other terms,
Scorning the unexempt condition
By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
That have been tir'd all day without repast,
And timely rest have wanted, but fair Virgin
This will restore all soon.

La: 'Twill not false traitor, 690
'Twill not restore the truth and honesty
That thou hast banish't from thy tongue with lies
Was this the cottage, and the safe abode
Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these
These oughly-headed Monsters? Mercy guard me!
Hence with thy brew'd inchantments, foul deceit
Hast thou betrai'd my credulous innocence
With visor'd falshood, and base forgery,
And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here
With lickerish baits fit to ensnare a brute? 700
Were it a draft for Juno when she banquets,
I would not taste thy treasonous offer; none
But such as are good men can give good things,
And that which is not good, is not delicious
To a well-govern'd and wise appetite.

Co: O foolishnes of men ! that lend their ears
To those budge doctors of the Stoick Furr,
And fetch their precepts from the Cynick Tub,
Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence.
Wherefore did Nature powre her bounties forth, 710
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
Thronging the Seas with spawn innumerable,
But all to please, and sate the curious taste?
And set to work millions of spinning Worms,
That in their green shops weave the smooth-hair'd silk
To deck her Sons, and that no corner might
Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loyns
She hutch't th'all-worshipt ore, and precious gems
To store her children with; if all the world 720
Should in a pet of temperance feed on Pulse,
Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but Freize,
Th'all-giver would be unthank't, would be unprais'd,
Not half his riches known, and yet despis'd,
And we should serve him as a grudging master,
As a penurious niggard of his wealth,
And live like Natures bastards, not her sons,
Who would be quite surcharged with her own weight,
And strangl'd with her waste fertility;
Th'earth cumber'd, and the wing'd air dark't with plumes. 730
The herds would over-multitude their Lords,
The Sea o'refraught would swell, and th'unsought diamonds
Would so emblaze the forhead of the Deep,
And so bested with Stars, that they below
Would grow inur'd to light, and com at last
To gaze upon the Sun with shameless brows.
List Lady be not coy, and be not cosen'd
With that same vaunted name Virginity,
Beauty is natures coyn, must not be hoorded,
But must be currant, and the good thereof 740
Consists in mutual and partak'n bliss,
Unsavoury in th'injoyment of it self
If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
It withers on the stalk with languish't head.
Beauty is natures brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities
Where most may wonder at the workmanship;
It is for homely features to keep home,
They had their name thence; course complexions
And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply 750
The sampler, and to teize the huswifes wooll.
What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Morn?
There was another meaning in these gifts,
Think what, and be adviz'd, you are but young yet.

La: I had not thought to have unlockt my lips
In this unhallow'd air, but that this Jugler
Would think to charm my judgement, as mine eyes,
Obtruding false rules pranckt in reasons garb.
I hate when vice can bolt her arguments, 760
And vertue has no tongue to check her pride:
Impostor do not charge most innocent nature,
As if she would her children should be riotous
With her abundance, she good cateress
Means her provision onely to the good
That live according to her sober laws,
And holy dictate of spare Temperance:
If every just man that now pines with want
Had but a moderate and heseeming share
Of that which lewdly-pamper'd Luxury 770
Now heaps upon som few with vast excess,
Natures full blessings would be well dispenc't
In unsuperfluous eeven proportion,
And she no whit encomber'd with her store,
And then the giver would he better thank't,
His praise due paid, for swinish gluttony
Ne're looks to Heav'n amidst his gorgeous feast,
But with besotted base ingratitude
Cramms, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on?
Or have I said anough? To him that dares 780
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
Against the Sun-clad power of Chastity,
Fain would I somthing say, yet to what end?
Thou hast nor Eare, nor Soul to apprehend
The sublime notion, and high mystery
That must be utter'd to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of Virginity,
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
More happiness then this thy present lot.
Enjoy your deer Wit, and gay Rhetorick 790
That hath so well been taught her dazling fence,
Thou art not fit to hear thy self convinc't;
Yet should I try, the uncontrouled worth
Of this pure cause would kindle my rap't spirits
To such a flame of sacred vehemence
That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize,
And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake,
Till all thy magick structures rear'd so high,
Were shatter'd into heaps o're thy false head.

Co: She fables not, I feel that I do fear 800
Her words set off by som superior power;
And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddring dew
Dips me all o're, as when the wrath of Jove
Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus
To som of Saturns crew. I must dissemble,
And try her yet more strongly. Com, no more,
This is meer moral babble, and direct
Against the canon laws of our foundation;
I must not suffer this, yet 'tis but the lees
And setlings of a melancholy blood; 810
But this will cure all streight, one sip of this
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.--

The brothers rush in with Swords drawn, wrest his Glass out of
his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make signe of
resistance, but are all driven in; The attendant Spirit comes in.

Spir: What, have you let the false enchanter scape?
O ye mistook, ye should have snatcht his wand
And bound him fast; without his rod revers't,
And backward mutters of dissevering power,
We cannot free the Lady that sits here
In stony fetters fixt, and motionless;
Yet stay, be not disturb'd, now I bethink me 820
Som other means I have which may he us'd
Which once of Meliboeus old I learnt
The soothest Shepherd that ere pip't on plains.
There is a gentle Nymph not farr 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 Scepter from his father Brute.
The guiltless damsel flying the mad pursuit
Of her enraged stepdam Guendolen, 830
Commended her fair innocence to the flood
That stay'd her flight with his cross-flowing course,
The water Nymphs that in the bottom plaid,
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 strew'd with Asphodil,
And through the porch and inlet of each sense
Dropt in Ambrosial Oils till she reviv'd, 840
And underwent a quick immortal change
Made Goddess of the River; still she retains
Her maid'n gentlenes, and oft at Eeve
Visits the herds along the twilight meadows,
Helping all urchin blasts, and ill luck signes
That the shrewd medling Elfe delights to make,
Which she with pretious viold liquors heals.
For which the Shepherds at their festivals
Carrol her goodnes lowd in rustick layes,
And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream 850
Of pancies, pinks, and gaudy Daffadils.
And, as the old Swain said, she can unlock
The clasping charms, and thaw the numming spell,
If she be right invok't in warbled Song,
For maid'nhood she loves, and will be swift
To aid a Virgin, such as was her self
In hard besetting need, this will I try
And adde the power of som adjuring verse.


Sabrina fair
Listen when thou art sitting 860
Under the glassie, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of Lillies 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 majestick pace, 870
By hoary Nereus wrincled look,
And the Carpathian wisards hook,
By scaly Tritons 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 Sirens sweet,
By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
And fair Ligea's golden comb, 880
Wherwith 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 rosie head
>From thy coral-pav'n bed,
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answered have.
Listen and save.

Sabrina rises, attended by water-Nymphes, and sings.

Sab: By the rushy-fringed bank, 890
Where grows the Willow and the Osier dank,
My sliding Chariot stayes,
Thick set with Agat, and the azurn sheen
Of Turkis blew, and Emrauld green
That in the channell strayes,
Whilst from off the waters fleet
Thus I set my printless feet
O're the Cowslips Velvet head,
That bends not as I tread,
Gentle swain at thy request 900
I am here.

Spir: Goddess dear
We implore thy powerful hand
To undo the charmed band
Of true Virgin here distrest,
Through the force, and through the wile
Of unblest inchanter vile.

Sab: Shepherd 'tis my office best
To help insnared chastity;
Brightest Lady look on me, 910
Thus I sprinkle on thy brest
Drops that from my fountain pure,
I have kept of pretious cure,
Thrice upon thy fingers tip,
Thrice upon thy rubied lip,
Next this marble venom'd seat
Smear'd with gumms of glutenous heat
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold,
Now the spell hath lost his hold;
And I must haste ere morning hour 920
To wait in Amphitrite's bowr.

Sabrina descends, and the Lady rises out of her seat.

Spir: Virgin, daughter of Locrine
Sprung of old Anchises line,
May thy brimmed waves for this
Their full tribute never miss
>From a thousand petty rills,
That tumble down the snowy hills:
Summer drouth, or singed air
Never scorch thy tresses fair,
Nor wet Octobers torrent flood 930
Thy molten crystal fill with mudd,
May thy billows rowl ashoar
The beryl, and the golden ore,
May thy lofty head be crown'd
With many a tower and terrass round,
And here and there thy banks upon
With Groves of myrrhe, and cinnamon.

Com Lady while Heaven lends us grace,
Let us fly this cursed place,
Lest the Sorcerer us intice 940
With som other new device.
Not a waste, or needless sound
Till we com to holier ground,
I shall be your faithfull guide
Through this gloomy covert wide,
And not many furlongs thence
Is your Fathers residence,
Where this night are met in state
Many a friend to gratulate
His wish't presence, and beside 950
All the Swains that there abide,
With Jiggs, and rural dance resort,
We shall catch them at their sport,
And our sudden coming there
Will double all their mirth and chere;
Com let us haste, the Stars grow high,
But night sits monarch yet in the mid sky.

The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow Town and the President
Castle, then com in Countrey-Dancers, after them the attendant
Spirit, with the two Brothers and the Lady.


Spir: Back Shepherds, back, anough your play,
Till next Sun-shine holiday,
Here be without duck or nod 960
Other trippings to be trod
Of lighter toes, and such Court guise
As Mercury did first devise
With the mincing Dryades
On the Lawns, and on the Leas.

This second Song presents them to their father and mother.

Noble Lord, and Lady bright,
I have brought ye new delight,
Here behold so goodly grown
Three fair branches of your own,
Heav'n hath timely tri'd their youth. 970
Their faith, their patience, and their truth
And sent them here through hard assays
With a crown of deathless Praise,
To triumph in victorious dance
O're sensual folly, and Intemperance.

The dances ended, the Spirit Epiloguizes.

Spir: To the Ocean now I fly,
And those happy climes that ly
Where day never shuts his eye,
Up in the broad fields of the sky:
There I suck the liquid ayr 980
All amidst the Gardens fair
Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
That sing about the golden tree:
Along the crisped shades and bowres
Revels the spruce and jocond Spring,
The Graces, and the rosie-boosom'd Howres,
Thither all their bounties bring,
That there eternal Summer dwels,
And West winds, with musky wing
About the cedar'n alleys fling 990
Nard, and Cassia's balmy smels.
Iris there with humid bow,
Waters the odorous banks that blow
Flowers of more mingled hew
Then her purfl'd scarf can shew,
And drenches with Elysian dew
(List mortals, if your ears be true)
Beds of Hyacinth, and roses
Where young Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound 1000
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits th' Assyrian Queen;
But far above in spangled sheen
Celestial Cupid her fam'd son advanc't,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet intranc't
After her wandring labours long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal Bride,
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn. 1010
But now my task is smoothly don,
I can fly, or I can run
Quickly to the green earths end,
Where the bow'd welkin slow doth bend,
And from thence can soar as soon
To the corners of the Moon.
Mortals that would follow me,
Love vertue, she alone is free,
She can teach ye how to clime 1020
Higher then the Spheary chime;
Or if Vertue feeble were,
Heav'n it self would stoop to her.

43 ye] you 1673
167 omitted 1673
168, 9 Thus 1637. Manuscript reads --
but heere she comes I fairly step aside
& hearken, if I may, her buisnesse heere.
1673 reads --
And hearken, if I may her business hear.
But here she comes, I fairly step aside.
474 sensualty] sensuality 1673. Manuscript also reads sensualtie,
as the metre requires.
493 father] So also 1673. Manuscript reads father's
547 meditate] meditate upon 1673
553 drowsie frighted] Manuscript reads drowsie flighted.
556 steam] stream 1673
580 furder] further 1673
743 In the manuscript, which reads--
If you let slip time like an neglected rose
a circle has been drawn round the an, but probably not by Milton.
780 anough] anow 1673


Anno aetatis 17. On the Death of a fair Infant dying of a Cough.


O FAIREST flower no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken Primrose fading timelesslie,
Summers chief honour if thou hadst outlasted
Bleak winters force that made thy blossome drie;
For he being amorous on that lovely die
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss
But kill'd alas, and then bewayl'd his fatal bliss.


For since grim Aquilo his charioter
By boistrous rape th' Athenian damsel got,
He thought it toucht his Deitie full neer, 10
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away th' infamous blot,
Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld,
Which 'mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach was held.


So mounting up in ycie-pearled carr,
Through middle empire of the freezing aire
He wanderd long, till thee he spy'd from farr,
There ended was his quest, there ceast his care
Down he descended from his Snow-soft chaire,
But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace 20
Unhous'd thy Virgin Soul from her fair hiding place.


Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand
Whilome did slay his dearly-loved mate
Young Hyacinth born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;
But then transform'd him to a purple flower
Alack that so to change thee winter had no power.


Yet can I not perswade me thou art dead
Or that thy coarse corrupts in earths dark wombe, 30
Or that thy beauties lie in wormie bed,
Hid from the world in a low delved tombe;
Could Heav'n for pittie thee so strictly doom?
O no! for something in thy face did shine
Above mortalitie that shew'd thou wast divine.


Resolve me then oh Soul most surely blest
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)
Tell me bright Spirit where e're thou hoverest
Whether above that high first-moving Spheare
Or in the Elisian fields (if such there were.) 40
Oh say me true if thou wert mortal wight
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight.


Wert thou some Starr which from the ruin'd roofe
Of shak't Olympus by mischance didst fall;
Which carefull Jove in natures true behoofe
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall?
Or did of late earths Sonnes besiege the wall
Of sheenie Heav'n, and thou some goddess fled
Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head


Or wert thou that just Maid who once before 50
Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth
And cam'st again to visit us once more?
Or wert thou that sweet smiling Youth!
Or that c[r]own'd Matron sage white-robed Truth?
Or any other of that heav'nly brood
Let down in clowdie throne to do the world some good.

Note: 53 Or wert thou] Or wert thou Mercy -- conjectured by
John Heskin Ch. Ch. Oxon. from Ode on Nativity, st. 15.


Or wert thou of the golden-winged boast,
Who having clad thy self in humane weed,
To earth from thy praefixed seat didst poast,
And after short abode flie back with speed, 60
As if to shew what creatures Heav'n doth breed,
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire
To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heav'n aspire.


But oh why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy heav'n-lov'd innocence,
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe
To turn Swift-rushing black perdition hence,
Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence,
To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart
But thou canst best perform that office where thou art. 70


Then thou the mother of so sweet a child
Her false imagin'd loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild;
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render him with patience what he lent;
This if thou do he will an off-spring give,
That till the worlds last-end shall make thy name to live.

Anno Aetatis 19. At a Vacation Exercise in the Colledge, part
Latin, part English. The Latin speeches ended, the English thus

HAIL native Language, that by sinews weak
Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak,
And mad'st imperfect words with childish tripps,
Half unpronounc't, slide through my infant-lipps,
Driving dum silence from the portal dore,
Where he had mutely sate two years before:
Here I salute thee and thy pardon ask,
That now I use thee in my latter task:
Small loss it is that thence can come unto thee,
I know my tongue but little Grace can do thee: 10
Thou needst not be ambitious to be first,
Believe me I have thither packt the worst:
And, if it happen as I did forecast,
The daintest dishes shall be serv'd up last.
I pray thee then deny me not thy aide
For this same small neglect that I have made:
But haste thee strait to do me once a Pleasure,
And from thy wardrope bring thy chiefest treasure;
Not those new fangled toys, and triming slight
Which takes our late fantasticks with delight, 20
But cull those richest Robes, and gay'st attire
Which deepest Spirits, and choicest Wits desire:
I have some naked thoughts that rove about
And loudly knock to have their passage out;
And wearie of their place do only stay
Till thou hast deck't them in thy best aray;
That so they may without suspect or fears
Fly swiftly to this fair Assembly's ears;
Yet I had rather if I were to chuse,
Thy service in some graver subject use, 30
Such as may make thee search thy coffers round
Before thou cloath my fancy in fit sound:
Such where the deep transported mind may scare
Above the wheeling poles, and at Heav'ns dore
Look in, and see each blissful Deitie
How he before the thunderous throne doth lie,
Listening to what unshorn Apollo sings
To th'touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings
Immortal Nectar to her Kingly Sire:
Then passing through the Spherse of watchful fire, 40
And mistie Regions of wide air next under,
And hills of Snow and lofts of piled Thunder,
May tell at length how green-ey'd Neptune raves,
In Heav'ns defiance mustering all his waves;
Then sing of secret things that came to pass
When Beldam Nature in her cradle was;
And last of Kings and Queens and Hero's old,
Such as the wise Demodocus once told
In solemn Songs at King Alcinous feast,
While sad Ulisses soul and all the rest 50
Are held with his melodious harmonie
In willing chains and sweet captivitie.
But fie my wandring Muse how thou dost stray !
Expectance calls thee now another way,
Thou know'st it must he now thy only bent
To keep in compass of thy Predicament:
Then quick about thy purpos'd business come,
That to the next I may resign my Roome

Then Ens is represented as Father of the Predicaments his ten
Sons, whereof the Eldest stood for Substance with his Canons,
which Ens thus speaking, explains.

Good luck befriend thee Son; for at thy birth
The Faiery Ladies daunc't upon the hearth; 60
Thy drowsie Nurse hath sworn she did them spie
Come tripping to the Room where thou didst lie;
And sweetly singing round about thy Bed
Strew all their blessings on thy sleeping Head.
She heard them give thee this, that thou should'st still
>From eyes of mortals walk invisible,
Yet there is something that doth force my fear,
For once it was my dismal hap to hear
A Sybil old, bow-bent with crooked age,
That far events full wisely could presage,
And in Times long and dark Prospective Glass
Fore-saw what future dayes should bring to pass,
Your Son, said she, (nor can you it prevent)
Shall subject be to many an Accident.
O're all his Brethren he shall Reign as King,
Yet every one shall make him underling,
And those that cannot live from him asunder
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under,
In worth and excellence he shall out-go them,
Yet being above them, he shall be below them; 80
>From others he shall stand in need of nothing,
Yet on his Brothers shall depend for Cloathing.
To find a Foe it shall not be his hap,
And peace shall lull him in her flowry lap;
Yet shall he live in strife, and at his dore
Devouring war shall never cease to roare;
Yea it shall be his natural property
To harbour those that are at enmity.
What power, what force, what mighty spell, if not
Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot? 90

The next Quantity and Quality, spake in Prose, then Relation
was call'd by his Name.

Rivers arise; whether thou be the Son,
Of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulphie Dun,
Or Trent, who like some earth-born Giant spreads
His thirty Armes along the indented Meads,
Or sullen Mole that runneth underneath,
Or Severn swift, guilty of Maidens death,
Or Rockie Avon, or of Sedgie Lee,
Or Coaly Tine, or antient hallowed Dee,
Or Humber loud that keeps the Scythians Name,
Or Medway smooth, or Royal Towred Thame. 100

The rest was Prose.

Quis multa gracilis te puer in Rosa
Rendred almost word for word without Rhyme according to the
Latin Measure, as near as the Language permit.

WHAT slender Youth bedew'd with liquid odours
Courts thee on Roses in some pleasant Cave,
Pyrrha for whom bind'st thou
In wreaths thy golden Hair,
Plain in thy neatness; O how oft shall he
On Faith and changed Gods complain: and Seas
Rough with black winds and storms
Unwonted shall admire:
Who now enjoyes thee credulous, all Gold,
Who alwayes vacant, alwayes amiable 10
Hopes thee; of flattering gales
Unmindfull. Hapless they
To whom thou untry'd seem'st fair. Me in my vow'd
Picture the sacred wall declares t' have hung
My dank and dropping weeds
To the stern God of Sea.
[The Latin text follows.]



A Book was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon;
And wov'n close, both matter, form and stile;
The Subject new: it walk'd the Town a while,
Numbring good intellects; now seldom por'd on.
Cries the stall-reader, bless us! what a word on
A title page is this! and some in file
Stand spelling fals, while one might walk to Mile-
End Green. Why is it harder Sirs then Gordon,
Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek 10
That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.
Thy age, like ours, O Soul of Sir John Cheek,
Hated not Learning wors then Toad or Asp;
When thou taught'st Cambridge, and King Edward Greek.

Note: Camb. Autograph supplies title, On the Detraction which
followed my writing certain Treatises.

XII. On the same.

I did but prompt the age to quit their cloggs
By the known rules of antient libertie,
When strait a barbarous noise environs me
Of Owles and Cuckoes, Asses, Apes and Doggs.
As when those Hinds that were transform'd to Froggs
Raild at Latona's twin-born progenie
Which after held the Sun and Moon in fee.
But this is got by casting Pearl to Hoggs;
That bawle for freedom in their senceless mood,
And still revolt when truth would set them free. 10
Licence they mean when they cry libertie;
For who loves that, must first be wise and good;
But from that mark how far they roave we see
For all this wast of wealth, and loss of blood.


To Mr. H. Lawes, on his Aires.

Harry whose tuneful and well measur'd Song
First taught our English Musick how to span
Words with just note and accent, not to scan
With Midas Ears, committing short and long;
Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
To after age thou shalt be writ the man,
That with smooth aire couldst humor best our tongue
Thou honour'st Verse, and Verse must send her wing
To honour thee, the Priest of Phoebus Quire 10
That tun'st their happiest lines in Hymn or Story
Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher
Then his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing
Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.

Note: 9 send] lend Cambridge Autograph MS.


When Faith and Love which parted from thee never,
Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God,
Meekly thou didst resign this earthy load
Of Death, call'd Life; which us from Life doth sever
Thy Works and Alms and all thy good Endeavour
Staid not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But as Faith pointed with her golden rod,
Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Love led them on, and Faith who knew them best
Thy hand-maids, clad them o're with purple beams 10
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest,
And speak the truth of thee on glorious Theams
Before the Judge, who thenceforth bid thee rest
And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.

Note: Camb. Autograph supplies title, On the Religious
Memory of Catherine Thomson, my Christian Friend, deceased
16 Decemb., 1646.



Avenge O lord thy slaughter'd Saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold,
Ev'n them who kept thy truth so pure of old
When all our Fathers worship't Stocks and Stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groanes
Who were thy Sheep and in their antient Fold
Slayn by the bloody Piemontese that roll'd
Mother with Infant down the Rocks. Their moans
The Vales redoubl'd to the Hills, and they
To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow 10
O're all th'Italian fields where still doth sway
The triple Tyrant: that from these may grow
A hunder'd-fold, who having learnt thy way
Early may fly the Babylonian wo.


When I consider how my light is spent,
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best 10
Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.


Lawrence of vertuous Father vertuous Son,
Now that the Fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help wast a sullen day; what may be Won
>From the hard Season gaining: time will run
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The frozen earth; and cloth in fresh attire
The Lillie and Rose, that neither sow'd nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attick tast, with Wine, whence we may rise 10
To hear the Lute well toucht, or artfull voice
Warble immortal Notes and Tuskan Ayre?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.


Cyriack, whose Grandsire on the Royal Bench
Of Brittish Themis, with no mean applause
Pronounc't and in his volumes taught our Lawes,
Which others at their Barr so often wrench:
To day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench
In mirth, that after no repenting drawes;
Let Euclid rest and Archimedes pause,
And what the Swede intend, and what the French.
To measure life, learn thou betimes, and know
Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; 10
For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains,
And disapproves that care, though wise in show,
That with superfluous burden loads the day,
And when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.


Methought I saw my late espoused Saint
Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,
Whom Joves great Son to her glad Husband gave,
Rescu'd from death by force though pale and faint.
Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint,
Purification in the old Law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was vail'd, yet to my fancied sight, 10
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O as to embrace me she enclin'd
I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.

On the new forcers of Conscience under the Long PARLIAMENT.

Because you have thrown of your Prelate Lord,
And with stiff Vowes renounc'd his Liturgie
To seise the widdow'd whore Pluralitie
>From them whose sin ye envi'd, not abhor'd,
Dare ye for this adjure the Civill Sword
To force our Consciences that Christ set free,
And ride us with a classic Hierarchy
Taught ye by meer A. S. and Rotherford?
Men whose Life, Learning, Faith and pure intent
Would have been held in high esteem with Paul 10
Must now he nam'd and printed Hereticks
By shallow Edwards and Scotch what d'ye call:
But we do hope to find out all your tricks,
Your plots and packing wors then those of Trent,
That so the Parliament
May with their wholsom and preventive Shears
Clip your Phylacteries, though bauk your Ears,
And succour our just Fears
When they shall read this clearly in your charge
New Presbyter is but Old Priest Writ Large. 20

The four following sonnets were not published until 1694, and
then in a mangled form by Phillips, in his Life of Milton; they
are here printed from the Cambridge MS., where that to Fairfax
is in Milton's autograph.


Fairfax, whose name in armes through Europe rings
Filling each mouth with envy, or with praise,
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze,
And rumors loud, that daunt remotest kings,
Thy firm unshak'n vertue ever brings
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their Hydra heads, & the fals North displaies
Her brok'n league, to impe their serpent wings,
O yet a nobler task awaites thy hand;
Yet what can Warr, but endless warr still breed, 10
Till Truth, & Right from Violence be freed,
And Public Faith cleard from the shamefull brand
Of Public Fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed
While Avarice, & Rapine share the land.

To the Lord Generall Cromwell May 1652.

Cromwell, our cheif of men, who through a cloud
Not of warr onely, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith & matchless Fortitude
To peace & truth thy glorious way hast plough'd,
And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud
Hast reard Gods Trophies, & his work pursu'd,
While Darwen stream with blood of Scotts imbru'd,
And Dunbarr field resounds thy praises loud,
And Worsters laureat wreath; yet much remaines
To conquer still; peace hath her victories 10
No less renownd then warr, new foes aries
Threatning to bind our soules with secular chaines:
Helpe us to save free Conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves whose Gospell is their maw.


Vane, young in yeares, but in sage counsell old,
Then whome a better Senatour nere held
The helme of Rome, when gownes not armes repelld
The feirce Epeirot & the African bold,
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states, hard to be spelld,
Then to advise how warr may best, upheld,
Move by her two maine nerves, Iron & Gold
In all her equipage: besides to know
Both spirituall powre & civill, what each meanes 10
What severs each thou hast learnt, which few have don
The bounds of either sword to thee wee ow.
Therfore on thy firme hand religion leanes
In peace, & reck'ns thee her eldest son.


Cyriack, this three years day these eys, though clear
To outward view, of blemish or of spot;
Bereft of light thir seeing have forgot,
Nor to thir idle orbs doth sight appear
Of Sun or Moon or Starre throughout the year,
Or man or woman. Yet I argue not
Against heavns hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear vp and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, Friend, to have lost them overply'd 10
In libertyes defence, my noble task,
Of which all Europe talks from side to side.
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
Content though blind, had I no better guide.

PSAL. I. Done into Verse, 1653.

BLESS'D is the man who hath not walk'd astray
In counsel of the wicked, and ith'way
Of sinners hath not stood, and in the seat
Of scorners hath not sate. But in the great
Jehovahs Law is ever his delight,
And in his law he studies day and night.
He shall be as a tree which planted grows
By watry streams, and in his season knows
To yield his fruit, and his leaf shall not fall.
And what he takes in hand shall prosper all. 10
Not so the wicked, but as chaff which fann'd
The wind drives, so the wicked shall not stand
In judgment, or abide their tryal then
Nor sinners in th'assembly of just men.
For the Lord knows th'upright way of the just
And the way of bad men to ruine must.

PSAL. II Done Aug. 8. 1653. Terzetti.

WHY do the Gentiles tumult, and the Nations

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