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Shall in the happy trial prove most glory;
But evil on itself shall back recoil,
And mix no more with goodness; when at last
Gather'd like scum, and settled to itself,
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and self-consum'd; If this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
And earth's base built on stubble.
Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven
May never this just sword be lifted up!
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the legions that troop
Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms "Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
And force him to return his purchase back,
Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
Curs'd as his life.
Alas! good venturous Youth, I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise ; 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 pr'ythee, Shepherd, How durst thou then thyself approach so near,
As to make this relation?
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
In every virtuous, and healing herb,
That spreads her verdant leaf to the 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 ecstasy,
And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
And show 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;
The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it,
But in another country, as he said,
Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil:
Unknown, and like esteem'd, and the dull swain
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon :
And yet more med'cinal is it than that Moly,
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave;
He call'd it Hæmony, and gave it me,
And bade me keep it as of sovran use
'Gainst all enchantments, mildew blast, or damp,
Or ghastly furies' apparition.
I purs'd it up, but little reckoning made,
Till now that this extremity compell'd:
But now I find it true; for by this means
I knew the foul enchanter though disguis'd,
Entered 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 necromancer's hall;
Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood,
And brandish'd blade, rush on him; break his glass
And shed the luscious liquour on the ground,
But seise his wand; though he and his curs'd crew
Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high,
Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke,
Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.
Elder Brother. 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 musick, 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.
Nay, Lady, sit; if I but wave this wand, Your nerves are all chain'd up in alabaster, And you a statue, or, as Daphne was,. Root-bound that fled Apollo.
Fool, do not boast;
Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind
Thou hast immanacled, while Heaven sees good.
Comus. Why are you vex'd, Lady? Why do you
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
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 mix'd:
Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thone
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Holena,
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 covenants 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.
Lady. "Twill not, false traitor ! "Twill not restore the truth and honesty,
That thou hast banish'd from thy tongue with lies.
Was this the cottage, and the safe abode,
Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these,
These ugly-headed monster's? Mercy guard me!
Hence, with thy brew'd enchantments, foul de-
Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence
With visor'd falshood and base forgery?
And would'st thou seek again to trap me here
With lickerish baits, fit to ensnare a brute?
Were it a draught 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.
Comus. O foolishness of men! that lend their
To those budge doctors of the Stoick fur,
And fetch their precepts from the Cynick tub,
Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence.
Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,"