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And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding waste.
Of night, or loneliness, it recks me not;

I fear the dread events that dog them both,
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned Sister.

1 BR. I do not, Brother,

Infer, as if I thought my Sister's state
Secure without all doubt, or controversy;
Yet where an equal poise of hope and fear
Does arbitrate th' event, my nature is
That I incline to hope, rather than fear,
And gladly banish squint suspicion.
My Sister is not so defenceless left,
As you imagine; she has a hidden strength
Which you remember not.

2 BR. What hidden strength,

405

410

415

Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that?

1 BR. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength Which, if heav'n gave it, may be term'd her own; 'Tis chastity, my Brother, chastity:

She that has that, is clad in complete steel,

And like a quiver'd Nymph with arrows keen May trace huge forests, and unharbour'd heaths, Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds,

418 squint] Quarles's Feast for Wormes (1633), p. 48. 'Heart-gnawing hatred, and squint-eyed suspicion.' Warton.

420

424 Infamous] Hor. Od. i. iii. 20. Infames scopulos' Newton.

Where through the sacred rays of chastity, 425
No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer
Will dare to soil her virgin purity:

Yea there, where very desolation dwells,

430

By grots, and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades,
She may pass on with unblench'd majesty,
Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
Some say no evil thing that walks by night,
In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,

Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magic chains at curfew time, 435
No goblin, or swart faery of the mine,
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.
Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call
Antiquity from the old schools of Greece
To testify the arms of chastity?

Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow,
Fair silver-shafted queen, for ever chaste,

Wherewith she tam'd the brinded lioness
And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought
The frivolous bolt of Cupid; gods and men

440

445

426 bandite] Tickell changed 'bandite' into 'banditti,' and 'Dian' into 'Diana.'

429 shagg'd] Benlowes's Theophila, p. 226.

'Embost with trees, with bushes shagg'd.'

432 Some say] Hamlet, act 1, sc. 1. 'But then, they say, no spirit walks abroad.'

488 fog] Milton here had his eye on Fletcher's F. Shepherdess, act 1. 'I have heard, (my mother told it me),' &c. Newton.

Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen o' th'

woods.

What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield,
That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin,
Wherewith she freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone,
But rigid looks of chaste austerity,

And noble grace that dash'd brute violence
With sudden adoration and blank awe?
So dear to heav'n is saintly chastity,
That when a soul is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried angels lacky her,
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
And in clear dream, and solemn vision,
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
Till oft converse with heav'nly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on th' outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,

And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence,
Till all be made immortal: but when lust,
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by lewd and lavish act of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soul grows clotted by contagion,
Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose
The divine property of her first being.

450

453

460

465

449 freez'd] Dante Inferno, c. ix. Che se 'l Gorgon si

mostra.

455 liveried] Nabbes's Microcosmus, p. 22.

469 divine] Hor. Sat. ii. ii. 79.

เ Atque affligit humo divinæ particulam auræ!' Todd. VOL. III.

7

Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp
Oft seen in charnel vaults, and sepulchres,
Ling'ring and sitting by a new made grave,
As loath to leave the body that it lov'd,
And link'd itself by carnal sensualty

To a degenerate and degraded state.

2 BR. How charming is divine philosophy! Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, But musical as is Apollo's lute,

And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
Where no crude surfeit reigns.

1 B. List, list, I hear

Some far off halloo break the silent air.

2 B. Methought so too; what should it be? 1 B. For certain

Either some one like us night-founder'd here, Or else some neighbour woodman, or, at worst, Some roving robber calling to his fellows.

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480

485

2 B. Heav'n keep my Sister. Again, again, and Best draw, and stand upon our guard.

1 B. I'll halloo;

[near!

If he be friendly, he comes well; if not, Defence is a good cause, and Heav'n be for us.

Enter the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, habited like a shepherd.

That halloo I should know, what are you? speak;

478 Apollo's] Love's Lab. Lost, act iv. sc. iii.

[blocks in formation]

Come not too near, you fall on iron stakes else. SPIR. What voice is that? my young Lord? speak again.

2 B. O brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, sure.

1 B. Thyrsis? Whose artful strains have oft delay'd

The huddling brook to hear his madrigal,

495

And sweeten'd every muskrose of the dale.
How cam'st thou here, good swain? hath any ram
Slipt from the fold, or young kid lost his dam,
Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook?
How could'st thou find this dark sequester'd nook?
SPIR. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy,
I came not here on such a trivial toy

506

As a stray'd ewe, or to pursue the stealth Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth That doth enrich these downs is worth a thought To this my errand, and the care it brought. But, O my virgin Lady, where is she? How chance she is not in your company? [blame, 1 BR. To tell thee sadly, Shepherd, without Or our neglect, we lost her as we came. SPIR. Aye me unhappy! then my fears are true. 1 BR. What fears, good Thyrsis? Prithee briefly show.

510

SPIR. I'll tell ye; 'tis not vain or fabulous, Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance, What the sage poets, taught by th' heavenly Muse,

509 sadly] Soberly, seriously. P. L. vi. 541. Newton.

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