THE POETICAL WORKS OF JOHN MILTON
By John Milton
This e-text contains all of Milton's poems in English and Italian. Poems in Latin have been omitted.
The original spelling, capitalisation and punctuation have been retained as far as possible. Characters not in the ANSI standard set have been replaced by their nearest equivalent. The AE & OE digraphs have been transcribed as two letters. Accented letters in the Italian poems have been replaced by the unaccented letter.
No italics have been retained.
Footnotes have been moved to the end of the poem to which they refer; in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained they have been moved to the end of the book.
PREFACE by the Rev. H. C. Beeching, M. A.
THE STATIONER TO THE READER.
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
AT A SOLEMN MUSICK.
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER.
SONG ON MAY MORNING.
ON SHAKESPEAR. 1630.
ANOTHER ON THE SAME.
A MASK PRESENTED At LUDLOW-Castle, 1634. &c.
POEMS ADDED IN THE 1673 EDITION.
ANNO AETATIS 17. ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT DYING OF A COUGH.
THE FIFTH ODE OF HORACE. LIB. I.
ON THE NEW FORCERS OF CONSCIENCE UNDER THE LONG PARLIAMENT.
ON THE LORD GEN. FAIRFAX AT THE SEIGE OF COLCHESTER.
TO THE LORD GENERALL CROMWELL MAY 1652.
TO SR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER.
TO MR. CYRIACK SKINNER UPON HIS BLINDNESS.
PSAL. I. Done into Verse, 1653.
PSAL. II Done Aug. 8. 1653. Terzetti.
PSAL. III. Aug. 9. 1653
PSAL. IV. Aug. 10.1653.
PSAL. V. Aug. 12.1653.
PSAL. VI Aug. 13. 1653.
PSAL. VII. Aug. 14. 1653.
PSAL. VIII. Aug. 14. 1653.
APRIL, 1648. J. M. NINE OF THE PSALMS DONE INTO METRE,
COLLECTION OF PASSAGES TRANSLATED IN THE PROSE WRITINGS.
[From Of Reformation in England, 1641.]
[From Reason of Church Government, 1641.]
[From Apology for Smectymnuus, 1642.]
[From Areopagitica, 1644.]
[From Tetrachordon, 1645.]
[From The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, 1649.]
[From History of Britain, 1670.]
ON Paradise Lost.
The First Book.
The Second Book.
The Third Book.
The Fourth Book.
Of that sort of Dramatic Poem which is call'd Tragedy.
PREFACE by the Rev. H. C. Beeching, M. A.
This edition of Milton's Poetry is a reprint, as careful as Editor and Printers have been able to make it, from the earliest printed copies of the several poems. First the 1645 volume of the Minor Poems has been printed entire; then follow in order the poems added in the reissue of 1673; the Paradise Lost, from the edition of 1667; and the Paradise Regain'd and Samson Agonistes from the edition of 1671.
The most interesting portion of the book must be reckoned the first section of it, which reproduces for the first time the scarce small octavo of 1645. The only reprint of the Minor Poems in the old spelling, so far as I know, is the one edited by Mitford, but that followed the edition of 1673, which is comparatively uninteresting since it could not have had Milton's oversight as it passed through the press. We know that it was set up from a copy of the 1645 edition, because it reproduces some pointless eccentricities such as the varying form of the chorus to Psalm cxxxvi; but while it corrects the errata tabulated in that edition it commits many more blunders of its own. It is valuable, however, as the editio princeps of ten of the sonnets and it contains one important alteration in the Ode on the Nativity. This and all other alterations will be found noted where they occur. I have not thought it necessary to note mere differences of spelling between the two editions but a word may find place here upon their general character. Generally it may be said that, where the two editions differ, the later spelling is that now in use. Thus words like goddess, darkness, usually written in the first edition with one final s, have two, while on the other hand words like vernall, youthfull, and monosyllables like hugg, farr, lose their double letter. Many monosyllables, e.g. som, cours, glimps, wher, vers, aw, els, don, ey, ly, so written in 1645, take on in 1673 an e mute, while words like harpe, windes, onely, lose it. By a reciprocal change ayr and cipress become air and cypress; and the vowels in daign, vail, neer, beleeve, sheild, boosom, eeven, battail, travailer, and many other words are similarly modernized. On the other hand there are a few cases where the 1645 edition exhibits the spelling which has succeeded in fixing itself, as travail (1673, travel) in the sense of labour; and rob'd, profane, human, flood and bloody, forest, triple, alas, huddling, are found where the 1673 edition has roab'd, prophane, humane, floud and bloudy, forrest, tripple, alass and hudling. Indeed the spelling in this later edition is not untouched by seventeenth century inconsistency. It retains here and there forms like shameles, cateres, (where 1645 reads cateress), and occasionally reverts to the older-fashioned spelling of monosyllables without the mute e. In the Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester, it reads—' And som flowers and some bays.' But undoubtedly the impression on the whole is of a much more modern text.
In the matter of small or capital letters I have followed the old copy, except in one or two places where a personification seemed not plainly enough marked to a modern reader without a capital. Thus in Il Penseroso, l. 49, I print Leasure, although both editions read leasure; and in the Vacation Exercise, l. 71, Times for times. Also where the employment or omission of a capital is plainly due to misprinting, as too frequently in the 1673 edition, I silently make the correction. Examples are, notes for Notes in Sonnet xvii. l. 13; Anointed for anointed in Psalm ii. l.12.
In regard to punctuation I have followed the old printers except in obvious misprints, and followed them also, as far as possible, in their distribution of roman and italic type and in the grouping of words and lines in the various titles. To follow them exactly was impossible, as the books are so very different in size.
At this point the candid reader may perhaps ask what advantage is gained by presenting these poems to modern readers in the dress of a bygone age. If the question were put to me I should probably evade it by pointing out that Mr. Frowde is issuing an edition based upon this, in which the spelling is frankly that of to-day. But if the question were pressed, I think a sufficient answer might be found. To begin with, I should point out that even Prof. Masson, who in his excellent edition argues the point and decides in favour of modern spelling, allows that there are peculiarities of Milton's spelling which are really significant, and ought therefore to be noted or preserved. But who is to determine exactly which words are spelt according to the poet's own instructions, and which according to the printer's whim? It is notorious that in Paradise Lost some words were spelt upon a deliberate system, and it may very well happen that in the volume of minor poems which the poet saw through the press in 1645, there were spellings no less systematic. Prof. Masson makes a great point of the fact that Milton's own spelling, exhibited in the autograph manuscript of some of the minor poems preserved in Trinity College, Cambridge, does not correspond with that of the printed copy. [Note: This manuscript, invaluable to all students of Milton, has lately been facsimiled under the superintendence of Dr. Aldis Wright, and published at the Cambridge University press]. This is certainly true, as the reader may see for himself by comparing the passage from the manuscript given in the appendix with the corresponding place in the text. Milton's own spelling revels in redundant e's, while the printer of the 1645 book is very sparing of them. But in cases where the spelling affects the metre, we find that the printed text and Milton's manuscript closely correspond; and it is upon its value in determining the metre, quite as much as its antiquarian interest, that I should base a justification of this reprint. Take, for instance, such a line as the eleventh of Comus, which Prof. Masson gives as:—
Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats.
A reader not learned in Miltonic rhythms will certainly read this
Amongst th' enthroned gods
But the 1645 edition reads:
Amongst the enthron'd gods
and so does Milton's manuscript. Again, in line 597, Prof. Masson reads:
It shall be in eternal restless change Self-fed and self-consumed. If this fail, The pillared firmament is rottenness, &c.
But the 1645 text and Milton's manuscript read self-consum'd; after which word there is to be understood a metrical pause to mark the violent transition of the thought.
Again in the second line of the Sonnet to a Nightingale Prof. Masson has:
Warblest at eve when all the woods are still
but the early edition, which probably follows Milton's spelling though in this case we have no manuscript to compare, reads 'Warbl'st.' So the original text of Samson, l. 670, has 'temper'st.'
The retention of the old system of punctuation may be less defensible, but I have retained it because it may now and then be of use in determining a point of syntax. The absence of a comma, for example, after the word hearse in the 58th line of the Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester, printed by Prof. Masson thus:—
And some flowers, and some bays For thy hearse to strew thy ways,
but in the 1645 edition:—
And som Flowers, and som Bays, For thy Hears to strew the ways,
goes to prove that for here must be taken as 'fore.
Of the Paradise Lost there were two editions issued during Milton's lifetime, and while the first has been taken as our text, all the variants in the second, not being simple misprints, have been recorded in the notes. In one respect, however, in the distribution of the poem into twelve books instead of ten, it has seemed best, for the sake of practical convenience, to follow the second edition. A word may be allowed here on the famous correction among the Errata prefixed to the first edition: 'Lib. 2. v. 414, for we read wee.' This correction shows not only that Milton had theories about spelling, but also that he found means, though his sight was gone, to ascertain whether his rules had been carried out by his printer; and in itself this fact justifies a facsimile reprint. What the principle in the use of the double vowel exactly was (and it is found to affect the other monosyllabic pronouns) it is not so easy to discover, though roughly it is clear the reduplication was intended to mark emphasis. For example, in the speech of the Divine Son after the battle in heaven (vi. 810-817) the pronouns which the voice would naturally emphasize are spelt with the double vowel:
Stand onely and behold Gods indignation on these Godless pourd By mee; not you but mee they have despis'd, Yet envied; against mee is all thir rage, Because the Father, t'whom in Heav'n supream Kingdom and Power and Glorie appertains, Hath honourd me according to his will. Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assign'd.
In the Son's speech offering himself as Redeemer (iii. 227-249) where the pronoun all through is markedly emphasized, it is printed mee the first four times, and afterwards me; but it is noticeable that these first four times the emphatic word does not stand in the stressed place of the verse, so that a careless reader might not emphasize it, unless his attention were specially led by some such sign:
Behold mee then, mee for him, life for life I offer, on mee let thine anger fall; Account mee man.
In the Hymn of Creation (v.160-209) where ye occurs fourteen times, the emphasis and the metric stress six times out of seven coincide, and the pronoun is spelt yee; where it is unemphatic, and in an unstressed place, it is spelt ye. Two lines are especially instructive:
Speak yee who best can tell, ye Sons of light (l. 160);
Fountains and yee, that warble, as ye flow, Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise (l. 195).
In v. 694 it marks, as the voice by its emphasis would mark in reading, a change of subject:
So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infus'd Bad influence into th' unwarie brest Of his Associate; hee (i. e. the associate) together calls, &c.
An examination of other passages, where there is no antithesis, goes to show that the lengthened form of the pronoun is most frequent before a pause (as vii. 95); or at the end of a line (i. 245, 257); or when a foot is inverted (v. 133); or when as object it precedes its verb (v. 612; vii. 747), or as subject follows it (ix. 1109; x. 4). But as we might expect under circumstances where a purist could not correct his own proofs, there are not a few inconsistencies. There does not seem, for example, any special emphasis in the second wee of the following passage:
Freely we serve. Because wee freely love, as in our will To love or not; in this we stand or fall (v. 538).
On the other hand, in the passage (iii. 41) in which the poet speaks of his own blindness:
Thus with the Year Seasons return, but not to me returns Day, &c.
where, if anywhere, we should expect mee, we do not find it, though it occurs in the speech eight lines below. It should be added that this differentiation of the pronouns is not found in any printed poem of Milton's before Paradise Lost, nor is it found in the Cambridge autograph. In that manuscript the constant forms are me, wee, yee. There is one place where there is a difference in the spelling of she, and it is just possible that this may not be due to accident. In the first verse of the song in Arcades, the MS. reads:
This, this is shee;
and in the third verse:
This, this is she alone.
This use of the double vowel is found a few times in Paradise Regain'd: in ii. 259 and iv. 486, 497 where mee begins a line, and in iv. 638 where hee is specially emphatic in the concluding lines of the poem. In Samson Agonistes it is more frequent (e.g. lines 124, 178, 193, 220, 252, 290, 1125). Another word the spelling of which in Paradise Lost will be observed to vary is the pronoun their, which is spelt sometimes thir. The spelling in the Cambridge manuscript is uniformly thire, except once when it is thir; and where their once occurs in the writing of an amanuensis the e is struck through. That the difference is not merely a printer's device to accommodate his line may be seen by a comparison of lines 358 and 363 in the First Book, where the shorter word comes in the shorter line. It is probable that the lighter form of the word was intended to be used when it was quite unemphatic. Contrast, for example, in Book iii. l.59: His own works and their works at once to view with line 113: Thir maker and thir making and thir Fate. But the use is not consistent, and the form thir is not found at all till the 349th line of the First Book. The distinction is kept up in the Paradise Regain'd and Samson Agonistes, but, if possible, with even less consistency. Such passages, however, as Paradise Regain'd, iii. 414-440; Samson Agonistes, 880-890, are certainly spelt upon a method, and it is noticeable that in the choruses the lighter form is universal.
Paradise Regain'd and Samson Agonistes were published in 1671, and no further edition was called for in the remaining three years of the poet's lifetime, so that in the case of these poems there are no new readings to record; and the texts were so carefully revised, that only one fault (Paradise Regain'd, ii. 309) was left for correction later. In these and the other poems I have corrected the misprints catalogued in the tables of Errata, and I have silently corrected any other unless it might be mistaken for a various reading, when I have called attention to it in a note. Thus I have not recorded such blunders as Lethian for Lesbian in the 1645 text of Lycidas, line 63; or hallow for hollow in Paradise Lost, vi. 484; but I have noted content for concent, in At a Solemn Musick, line 6.
In conclusion I have to offer my sincere thanks to all who have collaborated with me in preparing this Edition; to the Delegates of the Oxford Press for allowing me to undertake it and decorate it with so many facsimiles; to the Controller of the Press for his unfailing courtesy; to the printers and printer's reader for their care and pains. Coming nearer home I cannot but acknowledge the help I have received in looking over proof-sheets from my sister, Mrs. P. A. Barnett, who has ungrudgingly put at the service of this book both time and eyesight. In taking leave of it, I may be permitted to say that it has cost more of both these inestimable treasures than I had anticipated. The last proof reaches me just a year after the first, and the progress of the work has not in the interval been interrupted. In tenui labor et tenuis gloria. Nevertheless I cannot be sorry it was undertaken.
H. C. B.
YATTENDON RECTORY, November 8, 1899.
Transcriber's note: Facsimile of Title page of 1645 edition follows:
POEMS OF Mr John Milton, BOTH ENGLISH and LATIN Compos'd at several times. ——————————————— Printed by his true copies. ——————————————— The SONGS were set in Musick by Mr. HENRY LAWES Gentleman of the KINGS Chappel, and one of His MAIESTIES Private Musick.
————Baccare frontem Cingite, ne vace noceat mala lingua futuro, Virgil, Eclog. 7. ————————————————————- Printed, and Publish'd according to ORDER. ————————————————————- LONDON, Printed by Ruth Raworth for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at the signe of the Princes Arms in S. Pauls Church-yard. 1645.
Transcriber's note: Facsimile of Title page of 1673 edition follows:
POEMS, &c. UPON Several Occasions. ————————————— BY Mr. John Milton: ————————————— Both ENGLISH and LATIN &c. Composed at several times. ————————————— With a small tractate of EDUCATION To Mr. HARTLIB ————————————— ————————————— LONDON. Printed for Tho. Dring at the Blew Anchor next Mitre Court over against Fetter Lane in Fleet-street. 1673.
THE STATIONER TO THE READER.
It is not any Private respect of gain, Gentle Reader, for the slightest Pamphlet is now adayes more vendible then the Works of learnedest men; but it is the love I have to our own Language that hath made me diligent to collect, and set forth such Peeces in Prose and Vers as may renew the wonted honour and esteem of our tongue: and it's the worth of these both English and Latin poems, not the flourish of any prefixed encomions that can invite thee to buy them, though these are not without the highest Commendations and Applause of the learnedst Academicks, both domestic and forrein: And amongst those of our own Countrey, the unparalleled attestation of that renowned Provost of Eaton, Sir Henry Wootton: I know not thy palat how it relishes such dainties, nor how harmonious thy soul is; perhaps more trivial Airs may please thee better. But howsoever thy opinion is spent upon these, that incouragement I have already received from the most ingenious men in their clear and courteous entertainment of Mr. Wallers late choice Peeces, hath once more made me adventure into the World, presenting it with these ever-green, and not to be blasted Laurels. The Authors more peculiar excellency in these studies, was too well known to conceal his Papers, or to keep me from attempting to sollicit them from him. Let the event guide it self which way it will, I shall deserve of the age, by bringing into the Light as true a Birth, as the Muses have brought forth since our famous Spencer wrote; whose Poems in these English ones are as rarely imitated, as sweetly excell'd. Reader, if thou art Eagle-eied to censure their worth, I am not fearful to expose them to thy exactest perusal.
Thine to Command
ON THE MORNING OF CHRISTS NATIVITY. Compos'd 1629.
This is the Month, and this the happy morn Wherin the Son of Heav'ns eternal King, Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born, Our great redemption from above did bring; For so the holy sages once did sing, That he our deadly forfeit should release, And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty, Wherwith he wont at Heav'ns high Councel-Table, 10 To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, He laid aside; and here with us to be, Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day, And chose with us a darksom House of mortal Clay.
Say Heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the Infant God? Hast thou no vers, no hymn, or solemn strein, To welcom him to this his new abode, Now while the Heav'n by the Suns team untrod, Hath took no print of the approching light, 20 And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?
See how from far upon the Eastern rode The Star-led Wisards haste with odours sweet, O run, prevent them with thy humble ode, And lay it lowly at his blessed feet; Have thou the honour first, thy Lord to greet, And joyn thy voice unto the Angel Quire, From out his secret Altar toucht with hallow'd fire.
IT was the Winter wilde, While the Heav'n-born-childe, 30 All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies; Nature in aw to him Had doff't her gawdy trim, With her great Master so to sympathize: It was no season then for her To wanton with the Sun her lusty Paramour.
Only with speeches fair She woo'd the gentle Air To hide her guilty front with innocent Snow, And on her naked shame, 40 Pollute with sinfull blame, The Saintly Vail of Maiden white to throw, Confounded, that her Makers eyes Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
But he her fears to cease, Sent down the meek-eyd Peace, She crown'd with Olive green, came softly sliding Down through the turning sphear His ready Harbinger, With Turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing, 50 And waving wide her mirtle wand, She strikes a universall Peace through Sea and Land.
No War, or Battails sound Was heard the World around, The idle spear and shield were high up hung; The hooked Chariot stood Unstain'd with hostile blood, The Trumpet spake not to the armed throng, And Kings sate still with awfull eye, As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by. 60
But peacefull was the night Wherin the Prince of light His raign of peace upon the earth began: The Windes with wonder whist, Smoothly the waters kist, Whispering new joyes to the milde Ocean, Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While Birds of Calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
The Stars with deep amaze Stand fit in steadfast gaze, 70 Bending one way their pretious influence, And will not take their flight, For all the morning light, Or Lucifer that often warned them thence; But in their glimmering Orbs did glow, Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.
And though the shady gloom Had given day her room, The Sun himself with-held his wonted speed, And hid his head for shame, 80 As his inferior flame, The new enlightened world no more should need; He saw a greater Sun appear Then his bright Throne, or burning Axletree could bear.
The Shepherds on the Lawn, Or ere the point of dawn, Sate simply chatting in a rustic row; Full little thought they than, That the mighty Pan Was kindly com to live with them below; 90 Perhaps their loves, or els their sheep, Was all that did their silly thoughts so busie keep.
When such Musick sweet Their hearts and ears did greet, As never was by mortal finger strook, Divinely-warbled voice Answering the stringed noise, As all their souls in blisfull rapture took: The Air such pleasure loth to lose, With thousand echo's still prolongs each heav'nly close. 100
Nature that heard such sound Beneath the hollow round of Cynthia's seat the Airy region thrilling, Now was almost won To think her part was don And that her raign had here its last fulfilling; She knew such harmony alone Could hold all Heav'n and Earth in happier union.
At last surrounds their sight A globe of circular light, 110 That with long beams the shame faced night arrayed The helmed Cherubim And sworded Seraphim, Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displaid, Harping in loud and solemn quire, With unexpressive notes to Heav'ns new-born Heir.
Such Musick (as 'tis said) Before was never made, But when of old the sons of morning sung, While the Creator Great His constellations set, 120 And the well-ballanc't world on hinges hung, And cast the dark foundations deep, And bid the weltring waves their oozy channel keep.
Ring out ye Crystall sphears, Once bless our human ears, (If ye have power to touch our senses so) And let your silver chime Move in melodious time; And let the Base of Heav'ns deep Organ blow, 130 And with your ninefold harmony Make up full consort to th'Angelike symphony.
For if such holy Song Enwrap our fancy long, Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold, And speckl'd vanity Will sicken soon and die, And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould, And Hell it self will pass away And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day. 140
Yea Truth, and Justice then Will down return to men, Th'enameld Arras of the Rain-bow wearing, And Mercy set between Thron'd in Celestiall sheen, With radiant feet the tissued clouds down stearing, And Heav'n as at som festivall, Will open wide the gates of her high Palace Hall.
But wisest Fate sayes no, This must not yet be so, 150 The Babe lies yet in smiling Infancy, That on the bitter cross Must redeem our loss; So both himself and us to glorifie: Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep, The Wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,
With such a horrid clang As on Mount Sinai rang While the red fire, and smouldring clouds out brake: The aged Earth agast 160 With terrour of that blast, Shall from the surface to the center shake; When at the worlds last session, The dreadfull Judge in middle Air shall spread his throne.
And then at last our bliss Full and perfect is, But now begins; for from this happy day Th'old Dragon under ground In straiter limits bound, Not half so far casts his usurped sway, 170 And wrath to see his Kingdom fail, Swindges the scaly Horrour of his foulded tail.
The Oracles are dumm, No voice or hideous humm Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. Apollo from his shrine Can no more divine, With hollow shreik the steep of Delphos leaving. No nightly trance, or breathed spell, Inspire's the pale-ey'd Priest from the prophetic cell. 180
The lonely mountains o're, And the resounding shore, A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament; From haunted spring, and dale Edg'd with poplar pale The parting Genius is with sighing sent, With flowre-inwov'n tresses torn The Nimphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.
In consecrated Earth, And on the holy Hearth, 190 The Lars, and Lemures moan with midnight plaint, In Urns, and Altars round, A drear, and dying sound Affrights the Flamins at their service quaint; And the chill Marble seems to sweat, While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.
Peor, and Baalim, Forsake their Temples dim, With that twise-batter'd god of Palestine, And mooned Ashtaroth, 200 Heav'ns Queen and Mother both, Now sits not girt with Tapers holy shine, The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn, In vain the Tyrian Maids their wounded Thamuz mourn.
And sullen Moloch fled, Hath left in shadows dred, His burning Idol all of blackest hue, In vain with Cymbals ring, They call the grisly king, In dismall dance about the furnace Blue; 210 And Brutish gods of Nile as fast, lsis and Orus, and the Dog Anubis hast.
ERE-while of Musick, and Ethereal mirth, Wherwith the stage of Ayr and Earth did ring, And joyous news of heav'nly Infants birth, My muse with Angels did divide to sing; But headlong joy is ever on the wing, In Wintry solstice like the shortn'd light Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living night.
For now to sorrow must I tune my song, And set my Harpe to notes of saddest wo, Which on our dearest Lord did sease er'e long, Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse then so, 10 Which he for us did freely undergo. Most perfect Heroe, try'd in heaviest plight Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight.
He sov'ran Priest stooping his regall head That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes, Poor fleshly Tabernacle entered, His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies; O what a Mask was there, what a disguise! Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his Brethrens side.
These latter scenes confine my roving vers, To this Horizon is my Phoebus bound, His Godlike acts, and his temptations fierce, And former sufferings other where are found; Loud o're the rest Cremona's Trump doth sound; Me softer airs befit, and softer strings Of Lute, or Viol still, more apt for mournful things.
Note: 22 latter] latest 1673.
Befriend me night best Patroness of grief, Over the Pole thy thickest mantle throw, 30 And work my flatterd fancy to belief, That Heav'n and Earth are colour'd with my wo; My sorrows are too dark for day to know: The leaves should all be black wheron I write, And letters where my tears have washt a wannish white.
See see the Chariot, and those rushing wheels, That whirl'd the Prophet up at Chebar flood, My spirit som transporting Cherub feels, To bear me where the Towers of Salem stood, Once glorious Towers, now sunk in guiltles blood; 40 There doth my soul in holy vision sit In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatick fit.
Mine eye hath found that sad Sepulchral rock That was the Casket of Heav'ns richest store, And here though grief my feeble hands up-lock, Yet on the softned Quarry would I score My plaining vers as lively as before; For sure so well instructed are my tears, They would fitly fall in order'd Characters.
I thence hurried on viewles wing, 50 Take up a weeping on the Mountains wilde, The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring Would soon unboosom all their Echoes milde, And I (for grief is easily beguild) Might think th'infection of my sorrows bound, Had got a race of mourners on som pregnant cloud.
Note: This subject the Author finding to be above the yeers he had, when he wrote it, and nothing satisfi'd with what was begun, left it unfinish'd.
FLY envious Time, till thou run out thy race, Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours, Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace; And glut thy self with what thy womb devours, Which is no more then what is false and vain, And meerly mortal dross; So little is our loss, So little is thy gain. For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd, And last of all, thy greedy self consum'd, 10 Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss With an individual kiss; And Joy shall overtake us as a flood, When every thing that is sincerely good And perfectly divine, With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine About the supreme Throne Of him, t'whose happy-making sight alone, When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime, Then all this Earthy grosnes quit, 20 Attir'd with Stars, we shall for ever sit, Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.
Note: See the appendix for the manuscript version.
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
YE flaming Powers, and winged Warriours bright, That erst with Musick, and triumphant song First heard by happy watchful Shepherds ear, So sweetly sung your Joy the Clouds along Through the soft silence of the list'ning night; Now mourn, and if sad share with us to bear Your fiery essence can distill no tear, Burn in your sighs, and borrow Seas wept from our deep sorrow, He who with all Heav'ns heraldry whileare 10 Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease; Alas, how soon our sin Sore doth begin His Infancy to sease!
O more exceeding love or law more just? Just law indeed, but more exceeding love! For we by rightfull doom remediles Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust Emptied his glory, ev'n to nakednes; 20 And that great Cov'nant which we still transgress Intirely satisfi'd, And the full wrath beside Of vengeful Justice bore for our excess, And seals obedience first with wounding smart This day, but O ere long Huge pangs and strong Will pierce more neer his heart.
AT A SOLEMN MUSICK.
BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of Heav'ns joy, Sphear-born harmonious Sisters, Voice, and Vers, Wed your divine sounds, and mixt power employ Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce, And to our high-rais'd phantasie present, That undisturbed Song of pure content, Ay sung before the saphire-colour'd throne To him that sits theron With Saintly shout, and solemn Jubily, Where the bright Seraphim in burning row 10 Their loud up-lifted Angel trumpets blow, And the Cherubick host in thousand quires Touch their immortal Harps of golden wires, With those just Spirits that wear victorious Palms, Hymns devout and holy Psalms Singing everlastingly; That we on Earth with undiscording voice May rightly answer that melodious noise; As once we did, till disproportion'd sin Jarr'd against natures chime, and with harsh din 20 The fair musick that all creatures made To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd In perfect Diapason, whilst they stood In first obedience, and their state of good. O may we soon again renew that Song, And keep in tune with Heav'n, till God ere long To his celestial consort us unite, To live with him, and sing in endles morn of light.
Note: 6 content] Manuscript reads concent as does the Second Edition; so that content is probably a misprint.
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER.
THIS rich Marble doth enterr The honour'd Wife of Winchester, A Vicounts daughter, an Earls heir, Besides what her vertues fair Added to her noble birth, More then she could own from Earth. Summers three times eight save one She had told, alas too soon, After so short time of breath, To house with darknes, and with death. 10 Yet had the number of her days Bin as compleat as was her praise, Nature and fate had had no strife In giving limit to her life. Her high birth, and her graces sweet, Quickly found a lover meet; The Virgin quire for her request The God that sits at marriage feast; He at their invoking came But with a scarce-wel-lighted flame; 20 And in his Garland as he stood, Ye might discern a Cipress bud. Once had the early Matrons run To greet her of a lovely son, And now with second hope she goes, And calls Lucina to her throws; But whether by mischance or blame Atropos for Lucina came; And with remorsles cruelty, Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree: 30 The haples Babe before his birth Had burial, yet not laid in earth, And the languisht Mothers Womb Was not long a living Tomb. So have I seen som tender slip Sav'd with care from Winters nip, The pride of her carnation train, Pluck't up by som unheedy swain, Who onely thought to crop the flowr New shot up from vernall showr; 40 But the fair blossom hangs the head Side-ways as on a dying bed, And those Pearls of dew she wears, Prove to be presaging tears Which the sad morn had let fall On her hast'ning funerall. Gentle Lady may thy grave Peace and quiet ever have; After this thy travail sore Sweet rest sease thee evermore, 50 That to give the world encrease, Shortned hast thy own lives lease; Here besides the sorrowing That thy noble House doth bring, Here be tears of perfect moan Weept for thee in Helicon, And som Flowers, and som Bays, For thy Hears to strew the ways, Sent thee from the banks of Came, Devoted to thy vertuous name; 60 Whilst thou bright Saint high sit'st in glory, Next her much like to thee in story, That fair Syrian Shepherdess, Who after yeers of barrennes, The highly favour'd Joseph bore To him that serv'd for her before, And at her next birth much like thee, Through pangs fled to felicity, Far within the boosom bright of blazing Majesty and Light, 70 There with thee, new welcom Saint, Like fortunes may her soul acquaint, With thee there clad in radiant sheen, No Marchioness, but now a Queen.
SONG ON MAY MORNING.
Now the bright morning Star, Dayes harbinger, Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her The Flowry May, who from her green lap throws The yellow Cowslip, and the pale Primrose. Hail bounteous May that dost inspire Mirth and youth, and warm desire, Woods and Groves, are of thy dressing, Hill and Dale, doth boast thy blessing. Thus we salute thee with our early Song, And welcom thee, and wish thee long. 10
ON SHAKESPEAR. 1630.
WHAT needs my Shakespear for his honour'd Bones, The labour of an age in piled Stones, Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid Under a Star-ypointing Pyramid? Dear son of memory, great heir of Fame, What need'st thou such weak witnes of thy name? Thou in our wonder and astonishment Hast built thy self a live-long Monument. For whilst to th'sharne of slow-endeavouring art, Thy easie numbers flow, and that each heart 10 Hath from the Leaves of thy unvalu'd Book, Those Delphick lines with deep impression took, Then thou our fancy of it self bereaving, Dost make us Marble with too much conceaving; And so Sepulcher'd in such pomp dost lie, That Kings for such a Tomb would wish to die.
Notes: On Shakespear. Reprinted 1632 in the second folio Shakespeare: Title] An epitaph on the admirable dramaticke poet W. Shakespeare 1 needs] neede 6 weak] dull 8 live-long] lasting 10 heart] part 13 it] her
ON THE UNIVERSITY CARRIER WHO SICKN'D IN THE TIME OF HIS VACANCY, BEING FORBID TO GO TO LONDON, BY REASON OF THE PLAGUE.
HERE lies old Hobson, Death hath broke his girt, And here alas, hath laid him in the dirt, Or els the ways being foul, twenty to one, He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown. 'Twas such a shifter, that if truth were known, Death was half glad when he had got him down; For he had any time this ten yeers full, Dodg'd with him, betwixt Cambridge and the Bull. And surely, Death could never have prevail'd, Had not his weekly cours of carriage fail'd; 10 But lately finding him so long at home, And thinking now his journeys end was come, And that he had tane up his latest Inne, In the kind office of a Chamberlin Shew'd him his room where he must lodge that night, Pull'd off his Boots, and took away the light: If any ask for him, it shall be sed, Hobson has supt, and 's newly gon to bed.
ANOTHER ON THE SAME.
HERE lieth one who did most truly prove, That he could never die while he could move, So hung his destiny never to rot While he might still jogg on, and keep his trot, Made of sphear-metal, never to decay Untill his revolution was at stay. Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime 'Gainst old truth) motion number'd out his time: And like an Engin mov'd with wheel and waight, His principles being ceast, he ended strait. 10 Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death, And too much breathing put him out of breath; Nor were it contradiction to affirm Too long vacation hastned on his term. Meerly to drive the time away he sickn'd, Fainted, and died, nor would with Ale be quickn'd; Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed out-stretch'd, If I may not carry, sure Ile ne're be fetch'd, But vow though the cross Doctors all stood hearers, For one Carrier put down to make six bearers. 20 Ease was his chief disease, and to judge right, He di'd for heavines that his Cart went light, His leasure told him that his time was com, And lack of load, made his life burdensom That even to his last breath (ther be that say't) As he were prest to death, he cry'd more waight; But had his doings lasted as they were, He had bin an immortall Carrier. Obedient to the Moon he spent his date In cours reciprocal, and had his fate 30 Linkt to the mutual flowing of the Seas, Yet (strange to think) his wain was his increase: His Letters are deliver'd all and gon, Onely remains this superscription.
HENCE loathed Melancholy Of Cerberus, and blackest midnight born, In Stygian Cave forlorn 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shreiks, and sights unholy, Find out som uncouth cell, Where brooding darknes spreads his jealous wings, And the night-Raven sings; There under Ebon shades and low-brow'd Rocks, As ragged as thy Locks, In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell. 10 But com thou Goddes fair and free, In Heav'n ycleap'd Euphrosyne, And by men, heart-easing Mirth, Whom lovely Venus at a birth With two sister Graces more To Ivy-crowned Bacchus bore; Or whether (as som Sager sing) The frolick Wind that breathes the Spring, Zephir with Aurora playing, As he met her once a Maying, 20 There on Beds of Violets blew, And fresh-blown Roses washt in dew, Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair, So bucksom, blith, and debonair. Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee Jest and youthful Jollity, Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles, Nods, and Becks, and Wreathed Smiles, Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, And love to live in dimple sleek; 30 Sport that wrincled Care derides, And Laughter holding both his sides. Com, and trip it as ye go On the light fantastick toe, And in thy right hand lead with thee, The Mountain Nymph, sweet Liberty; And if I give thee honour due, Mirth, admit me of thy crue To live with her, and live with thee, In unreproved pleasures free; 40 To hear the Lark begin his flight, And singing startle the dull night, From his watch-towre in the skies, Till the dappled dawn doth rise; Then to com in spight of sorrow, And at my window bid good morrow, Through the Sweet-Briar, or the Vine, Or the twisted Eglantine. While the Cock with lively din, Scatters the rear of darknes thin, 50 And to the stack, or the Barn dore, Stoutly struts his Dames before, Oft list'ning how the Hounds and horn Chearly rouse the slumbring morn, From the side of som Hoar Hill, Through the high wood echoing shrill. Som time walking not unseen By Hedge-row Elms, on Hillocks green, Right against the Eastern gate, Wher the great Sun begins his state, 60 Rob'd in flames, and Amber light, The clouds in thousand Liveries dight. While the Plowman neer at hand, Whistles ore the Furrow'd Land, And the Milkmaid singeth blithe, And the Mower whets his sithe, And every Shepherd tells his tale Under the Hawthorn in the dale. Streit mine eye hath caught new pleasures Whilst the Lantskip round it measures, 70 Russet Lawns, and Fallows Gray, Where the nibling flocks do stray, Mountains on whose barren brest The labouring clouds do often rest: Meadows trim with Daisies pide, Shallow Brooks, and Rivers wide. Towers, and Battlements it sees Boosom'd high in tufted Trees, Wher perhaps som beauty lies, The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes. 80 Hard by, a Cottage chimney smokes, From betwixt two aged Okes, Where Corydon and Thyrsis met, Are at their savory dinner set Of Hearbs, and other Country Messes, Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses; And then in haste her Bowre she leaves, With Thestylis to bind the Sheaves; Or if the earlier season lead To the tann'd Haycock in the Mead, 90 Som times with secure delight The up-land Hamlets will invite, When the merry Bells ring round, And the jocond rebecks sound To many a youth, and many a maid, Dancing in the Chequer'd shade; And young and old com forth to play On a Sunshine Holyday, Till the live-long day-light fail, Then to the Spicy Nut-brown Ale, 100 With stories told of many a feat, How Faery Mab the junkets eat, She was pincht, and pull'd she sed, And he by Friars Lanthorn led Tells how the drudging Goblin swet, To ern his Cream-bowle duly set, When in one night, ere glimps of morn, His shadowy Flale hath thresh'd the Corn That ten day-labourers could not end, Then lies him down the Lubbar Fend. 110 And stretch'd out all the Chimney's length, Basks at the fire his hairy strength; And Crop-full out of dores he flings, Ere the first Cock his Mattin rings. Thus don the Tales, to bed they creep, By whispering Windes soon lull'd asleep. Towred Cities please us then, And the busie humm of men, Where throngs of Knights and Barons bold, In weeds of Peace high triumphs hold, 120 With store of Ladies, whose bright eies Rain influence, and judge the prise Of Wit, or Arms, while both contend To win her Grace, whom all commend. There let Hymen oft appear In Saffron robe, with Taper clear, And pomp, and feast, and revelry, With mask, and antique Pageantry, Such sights as youthfull Poets dream On Summer eeves by haunted stream. 130 Then to the well-trod stage anon, If Jonsons learned Sock be on, Or sweetest Shakespear fancies childe, Warble his native Wood-notes wilde, And ever against eating Cares, Lap me in soft Lydian Aires, Married to immortal verse Such as the meeting soul may pierce In notes, with many a winding bout Of lincked sweetnes long drawn out, 140 With wanton heed, and giddy cunning, The melting voice through mazes running; Untwisting all the chains that ty The hidden soul of harmony. That Orpheus self may heave his head From golden slumber on a bed Of heapt Elysian flowres, and hear Such streins as would have won the ear Of Pluto, to have quite set free His half regain'd Eurydice. 150 These delights, if thou canst give, Mirth with thee, I mean to live.
Notes: 33 Ye] You 1673 104 And he by] And by the 1673
Hence vain deluding joyes, The brood of folly without father bred, How little you bested, Or fill the fixed mind with all your toyes; Dwell in som idle brain And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, As thick and numberless As the gay motes that people the Sun Beams, Or likest hovering dreams The fickle Pensioners of Morpheus train. 10 But hail thou Goddess, sage and holy, Hail divinest Melancholy Whose Saintly visage is too bright To hit the Sense of human sight; And therefore to our weaker view, Ore laid with black staid Wisdoms hue. Black, but such as in esteem, Prince Memnons sister might beseem, Or that Starr'd Ethiope Queen that strove To set her beauties praise above 20 The Sea Nymphs, and their powers offended. Yet thou art higher far descended, Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore, To solitary Saturn bore; His daughter she (in Saturns raign, Such mixture was not held a stain) Oft in glimmering Bowres, and glades He met her, and in secret shades Of woody Ida's inmost grove, While yet there was no fear of Jove. 30 Com pensive Nun, devout and pure, Sober, stedfast, and demure, All in a robe of darkest grain, Flowing with majestick train, And sable stole of Cipres Lawn, Over thy decent shoulders drawn. Com, but keep thy wonted state, With eev'n step, and musing gate, And looks commercing with the skies, Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes: 40 There held in holy passion still, Forget thy self to Marble, till With a sad Leaden downward cast, Thou fix them on the earth as fast. And joyn with thee calm Peace, and Quiet, Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet, And hears the Muses in a ring, Ay round about Joves Altar sing. And adde to these retired Leasure, That in trim Gardens takes his pleasure; 50 But first, and chiefest, with thee bring, Him that yon soars on golden wing, Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne, The Cherub Contemplation, And the mute Silence hist along, 'Less Philomel will daign a Song, In her sweetest, saddest plight, Smoothing the rugged brow of night, While Cynthia checks her Dragon yoke, Gently o're th'accustom'd Oke; 60 Sweet Bird that shunn'st the noise of folly Most musical!, most melancholy! Thee Chauntress oft the Woods among I woo to hear thy eeven-Song; And missing thee, I walk unseen On the dry smooth-shaven Green, To behold the wandring Moon, Riding neer her highest noon, Like one that had bin led astray Through the Heav'ns wide pathles way; 70 And oft, as if her head she bow'd, Stooping through a fleecy cloud. Oft on a Plat of rising ground, I hear the far-off Curfeu sound, Over som wide-water'd shoar, Swinging slow with sullen roar; Or if the Ayr will not permit, Som still removed place will fit, Where glowing Embers through the room Teach light to counterfeit a gloom 80 Far from all resort of mirth, Save the Cricket on the hearth, Or the Belmans drowsie charm, To bless the dores from nightly harm: Or let my Lamp at midnight hour, Be seen in som high lonely Towr, Where I may oft out-watch the Bear, With thrice great Hermes, or unsphear The spirit of Plato to unfold What Worlds, or what vast Regions hold 90 The immortal mind that hath forsook Her mansion in this fleshly nook: And of those Daemons that are found In fire, air, flood, or under ground, Whose power hath a true consent With planet or with Element. Som time let Gorgeous Tragedy In Scepter'd Pall com sweeping by, Presenting Thebs, or Pelops line, Or the tale of Troy divine. 100 Or what (though rare) of later age, Ennobled hath the Buskind stage. But, O sad Virgin, that thy power Might raise Musaeus from his bower, Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing Such notes as warbled to the string, Drew Iron tears down Pluto's cheek, And made Hell grant what Love did seek. Or call up him that left half told The story of Cambuscan bold, 110 Of Camball, and of Algarsife, And who had Canace to wife, That own'd the vertuous Ring and Glass, And of the wondrous Hors of Brass, On which the Tartar King did ride; And if ought els, great Bards beside, In sage and solemn tunes have sung, Of Turneys and of Trophies hung; Of Forests, and inchantments drear, Where more is meant then meets the ear. 120 Thus night oft see me in thy pale career, Till civil-suited Morn appeer, Not trickt and frounc't as she was wont, With the Attick Boy to hunt, But Cherchef't in a comly Cloud, While rocking Winds are Piping loud, Or usher'd with a shower still, When the gust hath blown his fill, Ending on the russling Leaves, With minute drops from off the Eaves. 130 And when the Sun begins to fling His flaring beams, me Goddes bring To arched walks of twilight groves, And shadows brown that Sylvan loves Of Pine, or monumental Oake, Where the rude Ax with heaved stroke, Was never heard the Nymphs to daunt, Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt. There in close covert by som Brook, Where no profaner eye may look, 140 Hide me from Day's garish eie, While the Bee with Honied thie, That at her flowry work doth sing, And the Waters murmuring With such consort as they keep, Entice the dewy-feather'd Sleep; And let som strange mysterious dream, Wave at his Wings in Airy stream, Of lively portrature display'd, Softly on my eye-lids laid. 150 And as I wake, sweet musick breath Above, about, or underneath, Sent by som spirit to mortals good, Or th'unseen Genius of the Wood. But let my due feet never fail, To walk the studious Cloysters pale, And love the high embowed Roof With antick Pillars massy proof, And storied Windows richly dight, Casting a dimm religious light. 160 There let the pealing Organ blow, To the full voic'd Quire below, In Service high, and Anthems cleer, As may with sweetnes, through mine ear, Dissolve me into extasies, And bring all Heav'n before mine eyes. And may at last my weary age Find out the peacefull hermitage, The Hairy Gown and Mossy Cell, Where I may sit and rightly spell 170 Of every Star that Heav'n doth shew, And every Herb that sips the dew; Till old experience do attain To somthing like prophetic strain. These pleasures Melancholy give, And I with thee will choose to live.
O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy Spray Warbl'st at eeve, when all the Woods are still, Thou with fresh hope the Lovers heart dost fill, While the jolly hours lead on propitious May, Thy liquid notes that close the eye of Day, First heard before the shallow Cuccoo's bill Portend success in love; O if Jove's will Have linkt that amorous power to thy soft lay, Now timely sing, ere the rude Bird of Hate Foretell my hopeles doom in som Grove ny: 10 As thou from yeer to yeer hast sung too late For my relief; yet hadst no reason why, Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate, Both them I serve, and of their train am I.
Donna leggiadra il cui bel nome honora L'herbosa val di Rheno, e il nobil varco, Ben e colui d'ogni valore scarco Qual tuo spirto gentil non innamora, Che dolcemente mostra si di fuora De suoi atti soavi giamai parco, E i don', che son d'amor saette ed arco, La onde l' alta tua virtu s'infiora. Quando tu vaga parli, O lieta canti Che mover possa duro alpestre legno, 10 Guardi ciascun a gli occhi ed a gli orecchi L'entrata, chi di te si truova indegno; Gratia sola di su gli vaglia, inanti Che'l disio amoroso al cuor s'invecchi.
Qual in colle aspro, al imbrunir di sera L'avezza giovinetta pastorella Va bagnando l'herbetta strana e bella Che mal si spande a disusata spera Fuor di sua natia alma primavera, Cosi Amor meco insu la lingua snella Desta il fior novo di strania favella, Mentre io di te, vezzosamente altera, Canto, dal mio buon popol non inteso E'l bel Tamigi cangio col bel Arno 10 Amor lo volse, ed io a l'altrui peso Seppi ch' Amor cosa mai volse indarno. Deh! foss' il mio cuor lento e'l duro seno A chi pianta dal ciel si buon terreno.
Ridonsi donne e giovani amorosi M' occostandosi attorno, e perche scrivi, Perche tu scrivi in lingua ignota e strana Verseggiando d'amor, e come t'osi? Dinne, se la tua speme sia mai vana E de pensieri lo miglior t' arrivi; Cosi mi van burlando, altri rivi Altri lidi t' aspettan, & altre onde Nelle cui verdi sponde Spuntati ad hor, ad hor a la tua chioma 10 L'immortal guiderdon d 'eterne frondi Perche alle spalle tue soverchia soma? Canzon dirotti, e tu per me rispondi Dice mia Donna, e'l suo dir, e il mio cuore Questa e lingua di cui si vanta Amore.
Diodati, e te'l diro con maraviglia, Quel ritroso io ch'amor spreggiar solea E de suoi lacci spesso mi ridea Gia caddi, ov'huom dabben talhor s'impiglia. Ne treccie d'oro, ne guancia vermiglia M' abbaglian si, ma sotto nova idea Pellegrina bellezza che'l cuor bea, Portamenti alti honesti, e nelle ciglia Quel sereno fulgor d' amabil nero, Parole adorne di lingua piu d'una, 10 E'l cantar che di mezzo l'hemispero Traviar ben puo la faticosa Luna, E degil occhi suoi auventa si gran fuoco Che l 'incerar gli oreechi mi fia poco.
Per certo i bei vostr'occhi Donna mia Esser non puo che non fian lo mio sole Si mi percuoton forte, come ci suole Per l'arene di Libia chi s'invia, Mentre un caldo vapor (ne senti pria) Da quel lato si spinge ove mi duole, Che forsi amanti nelle lor parole Chiaman sospir; io non so che si sia: Parte rinchiusa, e turbida si cela Scosso mi il petto, e poi n'uscendo poco 10 Quivi d' attorno o s'agghiaccia, o s'ingiela; Ma quanto a gli occhi giunge a trovar loco Tutte le notti a me suol far piovose Finche mia Alba rivien colma di rose.
Giovane piano, e semplicetto amante Poi che fuggir me stesso in dubbio sono, Madonna a voi del mio cuor l'humil dono Faro divoto; io certo a prove tante L'hebbi fedele, intrepido, costante, De pensieri leggiadro, accorto, e buono; Quando rugge il gran mondo, e scocca il tuono, S 'arma di se, e d' intero diamante, Tanto del forse, e d' invidia sicuro, Di timori, e speranze al popol use 10 Quanto d'ingegno, e d' alto valor vago, E di cetra sonora, e delle muse: Sol troverete in tal parte men duro Ove amor mise l 'insanabil ago.
VII How soon hath Time the suttle theef of youth, Stoln on his wing my three and twentith yeer! My hasting dayes flie on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th, Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth, That I to manhood am arriv'd so near, And inward ripenes doth much less appear, That som more timely-happy spirits indu'th. Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow. It shall be still in strictest measure eev'n, 10 To that same lot, however mean, or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heav'n; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great task Masters eye.
Captain or Colonel, or Knight in Arms, Whose chance on these defenceless dores may sease, If ever deed of honour did thee please, Guard them, and him within protect from harms, He can requite thee, for he knows the charms That call Fame on such gentle acts as these, And he can spred thy Name o're Lands and Seas, What ever clime the Suns bright circle warms. Lift not thy spear against the Muses Bowre, The great Emathian Conqueror bid spare 10 The house of Pindarus, when Temple and Towre Went to the ground: And the repeated air Of sad Electra's Poet had the power To save th' Athenian Walls from ruine bare.
Notes: Camb. autograph supplies title, When the assault was intended to the city. 3 If deed of honour did thee ever please, 1673.
Lady that in the prime of earliest youth, Wisely hath shun'd the broad way and the green, And with those few art eminently seen, That labour up the Hill of heav'nly Truth, The better part with Mary and with Ruth, Chosen thou hast, and they that overween, And at thy growing vertues fret their spleen, No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth. Thy care is fixt and zealously attends To fill thy odorous Lamp with deeds of light, And Hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastfull friends Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night, Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.
Note: 5 with Ruth] the Ruth 1645.
Daughter to that good Earl, once President Of Englands Counsel, and her Treasury, Who liv'd in both, unstain'd with gold or fee, And left them both, more in himself content, Till the sad breaking of that Parlament Broke him, as that dishonest victory At Chaeronea, fatal to liberty Kil'd with report that Old man eloquent, Though later born, then to have known the dayes Wherin your Father flourisht, yet by you 10 Madam, me thinks I see him living yet; So well your words his noble vertues praise, That all both judge you to relate them true, And to possess them, Honour'd Margaret.
Note: Camb. autograph supplies title, To the Lady Margaret Ley.
Part of an entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Darby at Harefield, by som Noble persons of her Family, who appear on the Scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of State with this Song.
LOOK Nymphs, and Shepherds look, What sudden blaze of majesty Is that which we from hence descry Too divine to be mistook: This this is she To whom our vows and wishes bend, Heer our solemn search hath end.
Fame that her high worth to raise, Seem'd erst so lavish and profuse, We may justly now accuse 10 Of detraction from her praise, Less then half we find exprest, Envy bid conceal the rest.
Mark what radiant state she spreds, In circle round her shining throne, Shooting her beams like silver threds, This this is she alone, Sitting like a Goddes bright, In the center of her light. Might she the wise Latona be, 20 Or the towred Cybele, Mother of a hunderd gods; Juno dare's not give her odds; Who had thought this clime had held A deity so unparalel'd?
As they com forward, the genius of the Wood appears, and turning toward them, speaks.
GEN. Stay gentle Swains, for though in this disguise, I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes, Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung Of that renowned flood, so often sung, Divine Alpheus, who by secret sluse, 30 Stole under Seas to meet his Arethuse; And ye the breathing Roses of the Wood, Fair silver-buskind Nymphs as great and good, I know this quest of yours, and free intent Was all in honour and devotion ment To the great Mistres of yon princely shrine, Whom with low reverence I adore as mine, And with all helpful service will comply To further this nights glad solemnity; And lead ye where ye may more neer behold 40 What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold; Which I full oft amidst these shades alone Have sate to wonder at, and gaze upon: For know by lot from Jove I am the powr Of this fair wood, and live in Oak'n bowr, To nurse the Saplings tall, and curl the grove With Ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove. And all my Plants I save from nightly ill, Of noisom winds, and blasting vapours chill. And from the Boughs brush off the evil dew, 50 And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blew, Or what the cross dire-looking Planet smites, Or hurtfull Worm with canker'd venom bites. When Eev'ning gray doth rise, I fetch my round Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground, And early ere the odorous breath of morn Awakes the slumbring leaves, or tasseld horn Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about, Number my ranks, and visit every sprout With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless, 60 But els in deep of night when drowsines Hath lockt up mortal sense, then listen I To the celestial Sirens harmony, That sit upon the nine enfolded Sphears, And sing to those that hold the vital shears, And turn the Adamantine spindle round, On which the fate of gods and men is wound. Such sweet compulsion doth in musick ly, To lull the daughters of Necessity, And keep unsteddy Nature to her law, 70 And the low world in measur'd motion draw After the heavenly tune, which none can hear Of human mould with grosse unpurged ear; And yet such musick worthiest were to blaze The peerles height of her immortal praise, Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit, If my inferior hand or voice could hit Inimitable sounds, yet as we go, What ere the skill of lesser gods can show, I will assay, her worth to celebrate, 80 And so attend ye toward her glittering state; Where ye may all that are of noble stemm Approach, and kiss her sacred vestures hemm.
O're the smooth enameld green Where no print of step hath been, Follow me as I sing, And touch the warbled string. Under the shady roof Of branching Elm Star-proof, Follow me, 90 I will bring you where she sits Clad in splendor as befits Her deity. Such a rural Queen All Arcadia hath not seen.
Nymphs and Shepherds dance no more By sandy Ladons Lillied banks. On old Lycaeus or Cyllene hoar, Trip no more in twilight ranks, Though Erynanth your loss deplore, 100 A better soyl shall give ye thanks. From the stony Maenalus, Bring your Flocks, and live with us, Here ye shall have greater grace, To serve the Lady of this place. Though Syrinx your Pans Mistres were, Yet Syrinx well might wait on her. Such a rural Queen All Arcadia hath not seen.
Note: 22 hunderd] Milton's own spelling here is hundred. But in the Errata to Paradise Lost (i. 760) he corrects hundred to hunderd.
Transcriber's note: Facsimile of Title page of Lycidas follows:
JUSTA EDOVARDO KING naufrago, ab Amicis Moerentibus, amoris & mneias chaein —————————————————————————————— —————————————————————————————— Sirecte calculam ponas, ubique naufragium est. Pet. Arb. —————————————————————————————— —————————————————————————————— CANTABRIGIAE: Apud Thomam Buck, & Rogerum Daniel, celeberrimae Academiae typographos. 1638.
In this Monody the Author bewails a learned Friend, unfortunatly drown'd in his Passage from Chester on the Irish Seas, 1637. And by occasion foretels the ruine of our corrupted Clergy then in their height.
YET once more, O ye Laurels, and once more Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never-sear, I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude, And with forc'd fingers rude, Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear, Compels me to disturb your season due: For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer: Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. 10 He must not flote upon his watry bear Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, Without the meed of som melodious tear.
Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well, That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring, Begin, and somwhat loudly sweep the string. Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse, So may som gentle Muse With lucky words favour my destin'd Urn, 20 And as he passes turn, And bid fair peace be to my sable shrowd. For we were nurst upon the self-same hill, Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill.
Together both, ere the high Lawns appear'd Under the opening eye-lids of the morn, We drove a field and both together heard What time the Gray-fly winds her sultry horn, Batt'ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night, Oft till the Star that rose, at Ev'ning, bright 30 Toward Heav'ns descent had slop'd his westering wheel. Mean while the Rural ditties were not mute, Temper'd to th'Oaten Flute; Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with clov'n heel, From the glad sound would not be absent long, And old Damoetas lov'd to hear our song.
But O the heavy change, now thou art gon, Now thou art gon, and never must return! Thee Shepherd, thee the Woods, and desert Caves, With wilde Thyme and the gadding Vine o'regrown, 40 And all their echoes mourn. The Willows, and the Hazle Copses green, Shall now no more be seen, Fanning their joyous Leaves to thy soft layes. As killing as the Canker to the Rose, Or Taint-worm to the weanling Herds that graze, Or Frost to Flowers, that their gay wardrop wear, When first the White thorn blows; Such, Lycidas, thy loss to Shepherds ear.
Where were ye Nymphs when the remorseless deep 50 Clos'd o're the head of your lov'd Lycidas? For neither were ye playing on the steep, Where your old Bards, the famous Druids ly, Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high, Nor yet where Deva spreads her wisard stream: Ay me, I fondly dream! Had ye bin there—for what could that have don? What could the Muse her self that Orpheus bore, The Muse her self, for her inchanting son Whom Universal nature did lament, 60 When by the rout that made the hideous roar, His goary visage down the stream was sent, Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore.
Alas! What boots it with uncessant care To tend the homely slighted Shepherds trade, And strictly meditate the thankles Muse, Were it not better don as others use, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair? Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise 70 (That last infirmity of Noble mind) To scorn delights, and live laborious dayes: But the fair Guerdon when we hope to find, And think to burst out into sudden blaze. Comes the blind Fury with th'abhorred shears, And slits the thin spun life. But not the praise, Phoebus repli'd, and touch'd my trembling ears; Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, Nor in the glistering foil Set off to th'world, nor in broad rumour lies, 80 But lives and spreds aloft by those pure eyes, And perfet witnes of all judging Jove; As he pronounces lastly on each deed, Of so much fame in Heav'n expect thy meed.
O Fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd floud, Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocall reeds, That strain I heard was of a higher mood: But now my Oate proceeds, And listens to the Herald of the Sea That came in Neptune's plea, 90 He ask'd the Waves, and ask'd the Fellon winds, What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain? And question'd every gust of rugged wings That blows from off each beaked Promontory, They knew not of his story, And sage Hippotades their answer brings, That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd, The Ayr was calm, and on the level brine, Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd. It was that fatall and perfidious Bark 100 Built in th'eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark, That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.
Next Camus, reverend Sire, went footing slow, His Mantle hairy, and his Bonnet sedge, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Like to that sanguine flower inscrib'd with woe. Ah; Who hath reft (quoth he) my dearest pledge? Last came, and last did go, The Pilot of the Galilean lake, Two massy Keyes he bore of metals twain, 110 (The Golden opes, the Iron shuts amain) He shook his Miter'd locks, and stern bespake, How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain, Anow of such as for their bellies sake, Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold? Of other care they little reck'ning make, Then how to scramble at the shearers feast, And shove away the worthy bidden guest. Blind mouthes! that scarce themselves know how to hold A Sheep-hook, or have learn'd ought els the least 120 That to the faithfull Herdmans art belongs! What recks it them? What need they? They are sped; And when they list, their lean and flashy songs Grate on their scrannel Pipes of wretched straw, The hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed, But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw, Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread: Besides what the grim Woolf with privy paw Daily devours apace, and nothing sed, But that two-handed engine at the door, 130 Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.
Return Alpheus, the dread voice is past, That shrunk thy streams; Return Sicilian Muse, And call the Vales, and bid them hither cast Their Bels, and Flourets of a thousand hues. Ye valleys low where the milde whispers use, Of shades and wanton winds, and gushing brooks, On whose fresh lap the swart Star sparely looks, Throw hither all your quaint enameld eyes, That on the green terf suck the honied showres, 140 And purple all the ground with vernal flowres. Bring the rathe Primrose that forsaken dies. The tufted Crow-toe, and pale Gessamine, The white Pink, and the Pansie freakt with jeat, The glowing Violet. The Musk-rose, and the well attir'd Woodbine. With Cowslips wan that hang the pensive hed, And every flower that sad embroidery wears: Bid Amaranthus all his beauty shed, Daffadillies fill their cups with tears, 150 And strew the Laureat Herse where Lycid lies. For so to interpose a little ease, Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise. Ah me! Whilst thee the shores, and sounding Seas Wash far away, where ere thy bones are hurl'd Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides. Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world; Or whether thou to our moist vows deny'd, Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, 160 Where the great vision of the guarded Mount Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold; Look homeward Angel now, and melt with ruth. And, O ye Dolphins, waft the haples youth.
Weep no more, woful Shepherds weep no more, For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead, Sunk though he be beneath the watry floar, So sinks the day-star in the Ocean bed, And yet anon repairs his drooping head, And tricks his beams, and with new spangled Ore, 170 Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves Where other groves, and other streams along, With Nectar pure his oozy Lock's he laves, And hears the unexpressive nuptiall Song, In the blest Kingdoms meek of joy and love. There entertain him all the Saints above, In solemn troops, and sweet Societies That sing, and singing in their glory move, 180 And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes. Now Lycidas the Shepherds weep no more; Hence forth thou art the Genius of the shore, In thy large recompense and shalt be good To all that wander in that perilous flood.
Thus sang the uncouth Swain to th'Okes and rills, While the still morn went out with Sandals gray, He touch'd the tender stops of various Quills, With eager thought warbling his Dorick lay: And now the Sun had stretch'd out all the hills, 190 And now was dropt into the Western bay; At last he rose, and twitch'd his Mantle blew: To morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new.
Notes: 64 uncessant] Manuscript reads incessant, so that uncessant is probably a misprint; though that spelling is retained in the Second Edition. 82 perfet] So in Comus, line 203. In both these places the manuscript has perfect, as elsewhere where the word occurs. In the Solemn Music, line 23, where the First Edition reads perfect, the second reads perfet. 149 Amaranthus] Amarantus
Transcriber's note: Facsimile of Title page of Comus follows:
A MASKE PRESENTED At Ludlow Castle, 1634:
On Michalemasse night, before the RIGHT HONORABLE, IOHN Earle of Bridgewater, Viscount Brackly, Lord President of WALES, and one of His MAIESTIES most honorable Privie Counsell.
—————————————————————————————— Eheu quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum Perditus ————————— ——————————————————————————————
LONDON Printed for HYMPHREY ROBINSON at the signe of the Three Pidgeons in Pauls Church-yard. 1637.
To the Right Honourable, John Lord Vicount Bracly, Son and Heir apparent to the Earl of Bridgewater, &c.
This Poem, which receiv'd its first occasion of Birth from your Self, and others of your Noble Family, and much honour from your own Person in the performance, now returns again to make a finall Dedication of it self to you. Although not openly acknowledg'd by the Author, yet it is a legitimate off-spring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often Copying of it hath tired my Pen to give my several friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the publike view; and now to offer it up in all rightfull devotion to those fair Hopes, and rare endowments of your much-promising Youth, which give a full assurance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live sweet Lord to be the honour of your Name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours been long oblig'd to your most honour'd Parents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all reall expression
Your faithfull, and most humble Servant
Note: Dedication to Vicount Bracly: Omitted in 1673.
The Copy of a Letter writt'n by Sir HENRY WOOTTON, to the Author, upon the following Poem.
From the Colledge, this 13. of April, 1638.
SIR, It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here, the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer then to make me know that I wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H. I would have been bold in our vulgar phrase to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with your said learned Friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together som good Authors of the antient time: Among which, I observed you to have been familiar.
Since your going, you have charg'd me with new Obligations, both for a very kinde Letter from you dated the sixth of this Month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came therwith. Wherin I should much commend the Tragical part, if the Lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your Songs and Odes, wherunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our Language: Ipsa mollities. But I must not omit to tell you, that I now onely owe you thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly soever) the true Artificer. For the work it self I had view'd som good while before, with singular delight, having receiv'd it from our common Friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late R's Poems, Printed at Oxford, wherunto it was added (as I now suppose) that the Accessory might help out the Principal, according to the Art of Stationers, and to leave the Reader Con la bocca dolce.
Now Sir, concerning your travels, wherin I may challenge a little more priviledge of Discours with you; I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way; therfore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord S. as his Governour, and you may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my choice som time for the King, after mine own recess from Venice.
I should think that your best Line will be thorow the whole length of France to Marseilles, and thence by Sea to Genoa, whence the passage into Tuscany is as Diurnal as a Gravesend Barge: I hasten as you do to Florence, or Siena, the rather tell you a short story from the interest you have given me in your safety.
At Siena I was tabled in the House of one Alberto Scipioni, an old Roman Courtier in dangerous times, having bin Steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with all his Family were strangled save this onely man that escap'd by foresight of the Tempest: With him I had often much chat of those affairs; Into which he took pleasure to look back from his Native Harbour: and at my departure toward Rome (which had been the center of his experience) I had wonn confidence enough to beg his advice, how I might carry my self securely there, without offence of mine own conscience. Signor Arrigo mio (sayes he) I pensieri stretti, & il viso sciolto, will go safely over the whole World: Of which Delphian Oracle (for so I have found it) your judgement doth need no commentary; and therfore (Sir) I will commit you with it to the best of all securities, Gods dear love, remaining
Your Friend as much at command as any of longer date,
SIR, I have expressly sent this my Foot-boy to prevent your departure without som acknowledgement from me of the receipt of your obliging Letter, having myself through som busines, I know not how, neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where I shall understand you fixed, I shall be glad, and diligent to entertain you with Home-Novelties; even for som fomentation of our friendship, too soon interrupted in the Cradle.
Note: Letter from Sir Henry Wootton: Omitted in 1673
A MASK PRESENTED At LUDLOW-Castle, 1634. &c.
The attendant Spirit afterwards in the habit of Thyrsis. Comus with his crew. The Lady. 1. Brother. 2. Brother. Sabrina the Nymph.
The cheif persons which presented, were The Lord Bracly. Mr. Thomas Egerton his Brother, The Lady Alice Egerton.
The first Scene discovers a wilde Wood.
The attendant Spirit descends or enters.
Spir: Before the starry threshold of Joves Court My mansion is, where those immortal shapes Of bright aereal Spirits live insphear'd In Regions milde of calm and serene Ayr, Above the smoak and stirr of this dim spot, Which men call Earth, and with low-thoughted care Confin'd, and pester'd in this pin-fold here, Strive to keep up a frail, and Feaverish being Unmindfull of the crown that Vertue gives After this mortal change, to her true Servants 10 Amongst the enthron'd gods on Sainted seats. Yet som there he that by due steps aspire To lay their just hands on that Golden Key That ope's the Palace of Eternity: To such my errand is, and but for such, I would not soil these pure Ambrosial weeds, With the rank vapours of this Sin-worn mould. But to my task. Neptune besides the sway Of every salt Flood, and each ebbing Stream, Took in by lot 'twixt high, and neather Jove, 20 Imperial rule of all the Sea-girt Iles That like to rich, and various gemms inlay The unadorned boosom of the Deep, Which he to grace his tributary gods By course commits to severall government, And gives them leave to wear their Saphire crowns, And weild their little tridents, but this Ile The greatest, and the best of all the main He quarters to his blu-hair'd deities, And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun 30 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't in Princely lore, Are coming to attend their Fathers state, And new-entrusted Scepter, but their way Lies through the perplex't paths of this drear Wood, The nodding horror of whose shady brows Threats the forlorn and wandring Passinger. And here their tender age might suffer perill, 40 But that by quick command from Soveran 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 Bowr. Bacchus that first from out the purple Grape, Crush't the sweet poyson of mis-used Wine After the Tuscan Mariners transform'd Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, On Circes Hand fell (who knows not Circe 50 The daughter of the Sun? Whose charmed Cup Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape, And downward fell into a groveling Swine) This Nymph that gaz'd upon his clustring 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 therfore she brought up and Comus named, Who ripe, and frolick of his full grown age, Roving the Celtic, and Iberian fields, 60 At last betakes him to this ominous Wood, And in thick shelter of black shades imbowr'd, Excells his Mother at her mighty Art, Offring to every weary Travailer, His orient liquor in a Crystal Glasse, 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' express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd Into som brutish form of Woolf, or Bear, 70 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 then before And all their friends, and native home forget To roule with pleasure in a sensual stie. Therfore when any favour'd of high Jove, Chances to pass through this adventrous glade, Swift as the Sparkle of a glancing Star, 80 I shoot from Heav'n to give him safe convoy, As now I do: But first I must put off These my skie robes spun out of Iris Wooff, And take the Weeds and likenes 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 wilde winds when they roar, And hush the waving Woods, nor of lesse faith, And in this office of his Mountain watch, Likeliest, and neerest to the present ayd 90 Of this occasion. But I hear the tread Of hatefull steps, I must be viewles 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 wilde Beasts, but otherwise like Men and Women, their Apparel glistring, they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with Torches in their hands.
Co: 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 slope Sun his upward beam Shoots against the dusky Pole, Pacing toward the other gole 100 Of his Chamber in the East. Meanwhile welcom Joy, and Feast, Midnight shout, and revelry, Tipsie dance, and Jollity. Braid your Locks with rosie Twine Dropping odours, dropping Wine. Rigor now is gon to bed, And Advice with scrupulous head, Strict Age, and sowre Severity, With their grave Saws in slumber ly. 110 We that are of purer fire Imitate the Starry Quire, Who in their nightly watchfull Sphears, 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, 120 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. Com let us our rights begin, 'Tis onely day-light that makes Sin Which these dun shades will ne're report. Hail Goddesse of Nocturnal sport Dark vaild Cotytto, t' whom the secret flame Of mid-night Torches burns; mysterious Dame 130 That ne're art call'd, but when the Dragon woom Of Stygian darknes spets her thickest gloom, And makes one blot of all the ayr, Stay thy cloudy Ebon chair, Wherin thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend Us thy vow'd Priests, til 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, 140 And to the tel-tale Sun discry Our conceal'd Solemnity. Com, knit hands, and beat the ground, In a light fantastick round.
Break off; break off, I feel the different pace, Of som chast footing neer about this ground. Run to your shrouds, within these Brakes and Trees, Our number may affright: Som 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 e're long Be well stock't with as fair a herd as graz'd About my Mother Circe. Thus I hurl My dazling Spells into the spungy ayr, 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 flight, Which must not be, for that's against my course; I under fair pretence of friendly ends, 160 And well plac't words of glozing courtesie Baited with reasons not unplausible Wind me into the easie-hearted man, And hugg him into snares. When once her eye Hath met the vertue of this Magick dust, I shall appear som harmles Villager Whom thrift keeps up about his Country gear, But here she comes, I fairly step aside, And hearken, if I may, her busines here.
The Lady enters.
La: This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 170 My best guide now, me thought it was the sound Of Riot, and ill manag'd Merriment, Such as the jocond Flute, or gamesom Pipe Stirs up among the loose unleter'd Hinds, When for their teeming Flocks, and granges full In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, And thank the gods amiss. I should be loath To meet the rudenesse, and swill'd insolence of such late Wassailers; yet O where els Shall I inform my unacquainted feet 180 In the blind mazes of this tangl'd Wood? My Brothers when they saw me wearied out With this long way, resolving here to lodge Under the spreading favour of these Pines, Stept as they se'd to the next Thicket side To bring me Berries, or such cooling fruit As the kind hospitable Woods provide. They left me then, when the gray-hooded Eev'n Like a sad Votarist in Palmers weed Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus wain. 190 But where they are, and why they came not back, Is now the labour of my thoughts, 'tis likeliest They had ingag'd their wandring steps too far, And envious darknes, e're they could return, Had stole them from me, els O theevish Night Why shouldst thou, but for som fellonious end, In thy dark lantern thus close up the Stars, That nature hung in Heav'n, and fill'd their Lamps With everlasting oil, to give due light To the misled and lonely Travailer? 200 This is the place as well as I may guess, Whence eev'n now the tumult of loud Mirth Was rife and perfect in my list'ning ear, Yet nought but single darknes do I find. What might this be? A thousand fantasies Begin to throng into my memory Of calling shapes, and beckning shadows dire, And airy tongues, that syllable mens names On Sands and Shoars and desert Wildernesses. These thoughts may startle well, but not astound 210 The vertuous mind that ever walks attended By a strong siding champion Conscience.— O welcom pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope, Thou hovering Angel girt with golden wings. And thou unblemish't form of Chastity, I see ye visibly and now beleeve That he, the Supreme good t'whom all things ill Are but as slavish officers of vengeance, Would send a glistring Guardian if need were To keep my life and honour unassail'd. 220 Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night? I did not err, there does a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining on the night, And casts a gleam over this tufted Grove. I cannot hallow to my Brothers, but Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest Ile venter, for my new enliv'nd spirits Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.