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But O my virgin lady, where is she?
El. Br. To tell thee sadly, shepherd, without blame, Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.
510 Spirit. Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true. El. Br. What fears, good Thyrsis ? Prithee briefly shew.
Spirit. I'll tell ye; 'tis not vain, or fabulous,
Within the navel of this hideous wood,
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 bowers. Yet have they many baits, and guileful 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'en 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
555 Rose like a steam of rich distilld perfumes, And stole upon the air, that even, Silence Was took ere she was ware, and wish't she might Deny her nature, and be never more Still to be so displac't. I was all ear,
560 And took in strains that might create a soul Under the ribs of Death ; but ( 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; 565 And O poor hapless nightingale,' thought I, ‘How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare! Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste, 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 signs I knew) had met Already, ere my best speed could prevent, The aidless innocent lady his wish't prey; Who gently ask't if he had seen such two,
575 Supposing him some 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 further know I not.
Second Brother. O night and shades,
How are ye join'd with hell in triple knot
Elder Brother. Yes, and keep it still;
Spirit. Alas! good ventrous youth, I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise,
610 But here thy sword can do thee little stead; Far other arms, and other weapons must Be those that quell the might of hellish charms; He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints, And crumble all thy sinews. Elder Brother.
Why prithee, shepherd,
How durst thou then thyself approach so near
Care and utmost shifts
But seize his wand; though he and his curst crew
El. Br. Thyrsis, lead on apace, I'll follow thee; And some good angel bear a shield before us. The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all manner of deliciousness; soft music, tables spread with all dainties. COMUS appears with his rabble, and the LADY set in an enchanted chair, to whom he offers his glass, which she puts by, and goes about to rise.
Fool, do not boast; Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind With all thy charms; although this corporal rind Thou hast immanacl'd, while Heav'n sees good. 665
Comus. Why are you vext, lady? why do you frown? Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures That fancy can beget on youthful 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 yourself, And to those dainty limbs which Nature lent For gentle usage, and soft delicacy ? But you invert the cov'nants of her trust,