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The ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterwards in the habit of THYRSIS. COMUS, with his Crew.
SABRINA, the Nymph.
The Chief Persons which presented were:
The Lord Brackley;
Mr. Thomas Egerton, his Brother;
The Lady Alice Egerton.
[This list of the Persons, &c., appeared in the Edition of 1645, but was omitted
in that of 1673.]
The first Scene discovers a wild wood.
The ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters.
BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
In regions mild of calm and serene air,
Which men call Earth, and, with low-thoughted care,
To such my errand is; and, but for such,
But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway
By course commits to several government,
And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns
The greatest and the best of all the main,
He quarters to his blue-haired deities;
And all this tract that fronts the falling sun
Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide
And new-intrusted sceptre. But their way
Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood,
And downward fell into a grovelling swine?)
This Nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named :
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,
At last betakes him to this ominous wood,
And, in thick shelter of black shades imbowered,
Offering to every weary traveller
His orient liquor in a crystal glass,
To quench the drouth of Phoebus; which as they taste (For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst), Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance,
The express resemblance of the gods, is changed
Into some brutish form of wolf or bear,
Or ounce or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more comely than before,
I shoot from heaven, to give him safe convoy,
must put off
These my sky-robes, spun out of Iris' woof,
Who, with his soft pipe and smooth-dittied song,
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
And the gilded car of day
His glowing axle doth allay
In the steep Atlantic stream:
And the slope sun his upward beam
Braid your locks with rosy twine,
And Advice with scrupulous head,
Strict Age, and sour Severity,
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, decked with daisies trim,
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep :
Night hath better sweets to prove;
'Tis only daylight that makes sin,
Dark-veiled Cotytto, to whom the secret flame
Wherein thou ridest with Hecat', and befriend
Of all thy dues be done, and none left out
Ere the blabbing eastern scout,
The nice Morn on the Indian steep,
From her cabined loop-hole peep,
Our concealed solemnity.
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
Break off, break off! I feel the different pace
Run to your shrouds within these brakes and trees;
Benighted in these woods! Now to my charms,
And to my wily trains: I shall ere long
Be well stocked with as fair a herd as grazed
Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
Which must not be, for that's against my course.
And well-placed words of glozing courtesy,
And hug him into snares. When once her eye
I shall appear some harmless villager,