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Of ev'ry salt food, and each ebbing stream,
Took in by lot 'twixt high and neather Jove
Imperial rule of all the fea-girt isles,
That like to rich and various gemms inlay
The unadorned bosom of the deep,
Which he to grace his tributary gods
By course commits to several government,
And gives them leave to wear their saphire crowns,
And wield their little tridents; but this isle,
The greatest and the best of all the main,
He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities,
And all this tract that fronts the falling fun
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'd in princely lore,
Are coming to attend their father's state,
And new-entrusted sceptre: but their way
Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood,
The nodding horror of whose fhady brows
Threats the forlorn and wandring passenger;
And here their tender age might suffer peril.
But that by quick command from sovereign 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 bow'r.

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
Crusht the sweet poison of misused wine,
After the Tuscan mariners transform'd,
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed.

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On Circe's island fell; (who knows not Circe,
The daughter of the sun? whose charmed cup
Whoever tasted loft bis upright shape,
And downward fell into a groveling swine)
This nymph that gaz'd upon his cluftring 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 therefore she brought up and Comus nam'd.
Who ripe, and frolick of his full grown age,
Roaving 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 mighty art,
Off'ring to every weary traveller
His orient liquor in a crystal glass,
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’exprefs resemblance of the gods, is chang'd
Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,
Or ounce, or tiger, or 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 than before,
And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a sensual stie.
Therefore when any favour'd of high Jove,
Chances to pass through this adventrous glade,
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star

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I shoot from heav'n to give him safe convoy,
As now I do: but first I must put off
These my sky robes spun out of Iris wooff,
And take the weeds and likeness 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 wild winds when they roar,
And hush the waving woods, nor of less faith,
And in this office of his mountain watch,
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
Of hateful steps, I must be viewless now.

Comus enters with a charming rod in one hand, his glafs

in the other ; with him a rout of monsters headed like Sundry forts of wild beasts, but otherwise like men and women, their apparel glist'ring; they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their hands.

Comus. 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 Nop fun his upward beam
Shoots against the dusky pole,
Pacing toward the other goal
Of his chamber in the east.
Mean while welcome joy, and feast,
Midnight Sout, and revelry,
Tipfy dance, and jollity.

purer fire

Braid your locks with rosy twine,
Dropping odours, dropping wine.
Rigour now is gone to bed,
And advice with scrupulous head;
Strict
age,

and sow're severity,
With their grave faws in-Rumber lie.
We that are of
Imitate the starry quire,
Who in their nightly watchful fphears,
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,
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.
Come let us our rites begin,
'Tis only day-light that makes sin
Which these dun sh des will ne'er report.
Hail goddefs of nocturnal sport,
Dark vail?d Cotytio, t’ whom the secret fame
Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame,
That ne'er art call’d, but when the dragon womb
Of Stygian darkness fpits her thickest gloom,
And makes one blot of all the air,
Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
Wherein thou rid'It with Hecat', and befriend

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Us thy vow'd priests, till 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,
And to the tell-tale sun defcry
Our conceald folemnity.
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
In a light fantastick round.

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The Measure.
Break off, break off, I fcel the different pace
Of some chast footing near about this ground.
Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees,
Our number may affright: fome virgin fure
(For so I can distinguish by mine art)
Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms,
And to my wily trains, I shall ere long
Be well-stock'd with as fair a herd as graz'd
About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl
My dazling spells into the spungy air,
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 fight,
Which must not be, for that's against my course;
I under fair pretence of friendly ends,
And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy,
Baited with reasons not unplausible,
Win me into the easy-hearted man,
And hug him into snares. When once her eye

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