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His orient liquor in a crystal glass,
To quench the drouth of Phæbus; which as they

(For most do taste through fond intemp’rate thirst)
Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance,
Th’express resemblance of the Gods, is chang’d
Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,
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 than before, 75
And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.
Therefore, when any favour’d of high Jove
Chances to pass through this adventurous glade,
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star
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' woof,
And take the weeds and likeness of a swain,
That to the service of this house belongs,
Who with bis 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

glass in the other ; with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but otherwise like men and women, their apparel glistering ; 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 heaven doth hold;
And the gilded car of day
His glowing axle doth allay
In the steep Atlantic stream;
And the slope sun his upward beam
Shoots against the dusky pole,
Pacing toward the other goal
Of his chamber in the east.
Meanwhile welcome Joy, and Feast,
Midnight Shout and Revelry,
Tipsy Dance and Jollity.
Braid your locks with rosy twine,
Dropping odours, dropping wine.
Rigour now is gone to bed,
And Advice with scrupulous head,
Strict Age, and sour Severity,
With their grave saws in slumber lie.
We that are of



purer fire

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93 star] Chapman's Homer's Hymn to Pan. When Hesperus calls to fold the flocks of men.'

97 Atlantic] Beaumont's Pysche, c. iii. s. xi. p. 27.

108 Advice] The Cambridge MS. “And quick Law,' which War. burton prefers.


Imitate the starry quire,
Who in their nightly watchful spheres,
Lead in swift round the months and years.
The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, 115
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 deck'd 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 wakens Love.
Come, let us our rights begin,
'Tis only day-light that makes sin,
Which these dun shades will ne'er report.
Hail Goddess of nocturnal sport,
Dark-veild Cotytto! t'whom the secret flame
Of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame,
That ne'er art calld, but when the dragon womb
Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom,
And makes one blot of all the air ;
Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend
Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end



135 140

123 Night]


- They soone bring night, Other sweets to waite thee then.'

Donne's Poems, p. 121. And see Seven Champions of Christendom, p. 55. 4to. 1638.

125 rights] Rites. Fenton, Newton, Warton, (ed. 1). 132 spets] Spits. Fenton, Tickell, Newton, wrongly.

Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
Ere the babbling eastern scout,
The nice morn, on th’ Indian steep
From her cabin’d loophole peep,
And to the tell-tale sun descry
Our conceal'd solemnity.
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
In a light fantastic round.



Break off, break off, I feel the different pace
Of some chaste footing near about this ground.
Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees;
Our number may affright: Some 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 ere long
Be well-stock'd with as fair a herd as graz'd
About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl
My dazzling spells into the spungy air,
Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
And give it false presentments, lest the place


139 steep]


Aurora rose with ruddy face upon the Indian Heaven.'

Sylvest. Du Bartas, p. 392. 140 loophole] See note on Lallah Rookh, p. 393, ed. 8vo.

154 spungy] G. Peele's Works, by Dyce, i. 262. ed. 1829. •Not clouds cast from this spungie element.' This word is used in N. Richards's Messalina, Sig. B 7, shall squeeze their spungie virtue into vice.'


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,
And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy
Baited with reasons not unplausible,
Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
And hug him into snares.

When once her eye
Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,
I shall appear some harmless villager,
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear.
But here she comes; I fairly step aside,
And hearken, if I may, her business here.


THE LADY enters.


This way

the noise was, if mine ear be true, My best guide now; methought it was the sound Of riot and ill-manag'd merriment, Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds,

161 glozing] See Sylvester's Du Bartas, p. 92. 163 Wind] Win. Tickell, Fenton.

165 magic dust] This referred to ver. 154, “my dazzling spells,'
which originally stood powdered spells.'
166 I shall appear] The ed. of 1673,

•I shall appear some harmless villager,
And hearken, if I may, her business here.

But here she comes, I fairly step aside.'
Where, besides the transposition, the line, “Whom thrift,' &c. is
omitted. Warton.

168 fairly) softly. Hurd.


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