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After this mortal change, to her true Servants
Amongst th' enthroned Gods on fainted feats.
Yet fome there be, that by due fteps aspire
To lay their just hands on that Golden Key,
That opes the Palace of Eternity:

To fuch my errand is; and but for fuch,
I would not foil these pure Ambrofial Weeds
With the rank Vapours of this Sin-worn Mould.

But to my task. Neptune, befides the fway
Of ev'ry falt Flood, and each ebbing Stream,
Took in by lot 'twixt high and neather Jove,
Imperial rule of all the Sea-girt Ifles,
That like to rich and various Gems inlay
The unadorned bofom of the Deep,
Which he, to grace his tributary Gods,
By course commits to feveral Governments,
And gives them leave to wear their Saphire Crowns,
And wield their little Tridents; but this Ifle,
The greatest and the beft of all the Main,
He quarters to his blue-hair'd Deities;
And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun
A noble Peer of mickle truft and power
Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide
An old, and haughty Nation, proud in Arms:
Where his fair off-fpring, nurs'd in princely lore,
Are coming to attend their Father's state,
And new-entrusted Scepter, but their way
Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear Wood,
The nodding horror of whofe fhady brows
Threats the forlorn and wand'ring Paffenger;
And here their tender age might fuffer peril,
But that by quick command from Sovereign Jove
I was dispatcht for their defence and guard:
And liften why; for I will tell ye now
What never yet was heard in Tale or Song,
From old or modern Bard, in Hall or Bower.


Bacchus, that firft from out the purple Grape
Crusht the sweet poison of mif-used Wine,
After the Tuscan Mariners transform'd,
Coafting the Tyrrhene fhore, as the winds lifted,
On Circe's Ifland fell; (Who knows not Circe,
The Daughter of the Sun; whofe charmed Cup
Whoever tafted, loft his 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 fhe brought up and Comus nam'd:
Who ripe, and frolick of his full grown age,
Roving the Celtick and Iberian fields,
At laft betakes him to this ominous Wood,
And in thick fhelter of black fh.des imbowr'd,
Excels his Mother at her mighty Art,
Offering 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 thirft)
Soon as the Potion works, their human count'nance,
Th' exprefs refemblance of the Gods, is chang'd
Into fome brutish form of Wolf, or Bear,
Or Ounce, or Tiger, Hog, or bearded Goat,
All other parts remaining as they were ;
And they, fo perfect is their misery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boaft themselves more. comely than before,
And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a fenfual ftie.
Therefore, when any favour'd of high Jove,
Chances to pass through this advent'rous glade,
Swift as the Sparkle of a glancing Star
I fhoot from Heav'n, to give him fafe convoy;
As now I do: But first I muft put off
These my skie robes spun out of Iris' Wooff,


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And take the weeds and likeness of a Swain,
That to the service of this house belongs,
Who with his foft Pipe, and smooth dittied Song,
Well knows to fill the wild winds when they roar,
And hush the waving Woods; nor of less faith,
And in this office of his Mountain watch
Likelieft, and nearest to the present aid
Of this occafion. But I hear the tread
Of hateful steps; I'must be viewless now.

Comus enters with a Charming Rod in one hand, his Glass

in the other; with him a rout of Monsters headed like fundry forts of wild Beafts, but otherwife like Men and Women, their Apparel gliftering; they come in making a riotous and unruly noife, 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 fteep Atlantic stream,
And the flope Sun his upward beam
Shoots against the dusky Pole,
Pacing toward the other goal
Of his Chamber in the Eaft.
Mean while welcome Joy, and Feaft,
Midnight shout, and revelry,
Tipfie dance, and Jollity:
Braid your Locks with rofie Twine,
Dropping Odours, dropping Wine.
Rigour now is gone to bed,
And Advice with fcrupulous head,
Strict Age, and four Severity,
With their grave Saws in flumber lie.
We, that are of purer fire,
Imitate the Starry Choir,
Who in their nightly watchful.Sphears,
Lead in fwift 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 Daifies trim,
Their merry wakes and paftimes keep:
What hath Night to do with fleep?
Night hath better sweets to prove;
Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
Come, let us our rites begin;
"Tis only day-light that makes Sin,
Which thefe dun fhades will ne'er report.
Hail, Goddess of Nocturnal sport,
Dark vail'd Cotytto, t' whom the secret flame
Of midnight Torches burns; myfterious 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'ft with Hecat', and berriend
Us thy vow'd Priefts, 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 conceal'd Solemnity.
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
In a light fantastick round.


The Meafure.

Break off, break off; I feel the different pace Of some chafte footing near about this ground. Run to your fhrouds, within thefe Brakes and Trees; Our number may affright: Some Virgin sure (For fo I can diftinguish by mine Art,) Benighted in thefe Woods. Now to my charms,

And to my wily trains. I fhall ere long
Be well-ftock'd with as fair a herd, as graz'd
About my Mother Circe. Thus I hurl
My dazling Spells into the fpungy air,
Of pow'r to cheat the eye with blear illufion,
And give it falfe prefentments, left the place
And my quaint habits breed aftonishment,
And put the Damfel to fufpicious flight;
Which must not be: for that's against my courfe.
I under fair pretence of friendly ends,
And well-plac'd words of glozing courtefie,
Baited with reafons not unplaufible,
Win me into the seafy-hearted man,
And hug him into fnares. When once her eye
Hath met the virtue of this Magick duft,
I fhall appear fome harmless Villager,
Whom thrift keeps up about his Country gear.
But here fhe comes, I fairly step afide
And hearken, if I may her business hear.


The Lady Enters.

This way the noife was, if mine ear be true,
My beft guide now; methought it was the found
Of Riot and ill manag'd Merriment,
Such as the jocond Flute, or gamesome Pipe
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd Hinds,
When for their teeming Flocks, and granges full
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan,
And thank the Gods amifs. I fhould be loth
To meet the rudeness, and fwill'd infolence
Of fuch late Waffailers; yet O where else
Shall I inform my unacquainted feet
"In the blind mazes of this tangl'd Wood?
My Brothers when they faw me wearied out
With this long way, refolving here to lodge
Under the spreading favour of these Pines,
Stept, as they faid, to the next Thicket fide,*
To bring me Berries, or fuch cooling fruit,


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