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Bring your flocks, and live with us;
Such a rural Queen
COMUS, A MASK
THE PERSONS THE ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterwards in the habit of THYRSIS.
COMUS, with his Crew. The Lady.
First BROTHER. SECOND BROTHER.
SABRINA, the Nymph. PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1634, BEFORE THE EARL OF
BRIDGEWATER, THEN PRESIDENT OF WALES
The Chief Persons which presented were :-
The Lady Alice Egerton.
The ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters.
But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream, Took in, by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove, Imperial rule of all the sea-girt Isles That, like to rich and various gems, inlay The unadorned bosom of the Deep; Which he, to grace his tributary gods, By course commits to several government, And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns And wield their little tridents. But this Isle, 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 A noble Peer of mickle trust and power Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide An old and haughty Nation, proud in arms: Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore, Are coming to attend their father's state, And new-intrusted sceptre. But their way Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood, The nodding horror of whose shady brows Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; And here their tender age might suffer peril, But that, by quick command from sovran Jove, I was despatched for their defence and guard ! And listen why; for I will tell you now What never yet was heard in tale or song, From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine, After the Tuscan mariners transformed, Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, On Circe's island fell. (Who knows not Circe, The daughter of the Sun, whose charmèd cup Whoever tasted lost his upright shape, And downward fell into a grovelling swine?) This Nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks, With ivy berries wreathed, and his blithe youth, Had by him, ere he parted thence, a Son Much like his father, but his mother more,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named:
Comus enters, with a charming-rod in one hand, his glass in the Comus. The star that bids the shepherd fold Now the top of heaven doth hold; And the gilded car of Day His glowing axle doth allay In the steep Atlantic stream: And the slope Sun his upward beam Shoots against the dusky pole, Pacing toward the other goal Of his chamber in the east. Meanwhile, welcome joy and feast, Midnight shout and revelry,
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.
Tipsy dance and jollity. Braid your locks with rosy twine, Dropping odours, dropping wine. Rigour now is gone to bed ; And Advice with scrupulous head, Strict Age, and sour Severity, With their grave saws, in slumber lie. We, that are of purer fire, Imitate the starry Quire, Who, in their nightly watchful spheres, Lead in swift round the months and years. The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, 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: What hath night to do with sleep? Night hath better sweets to prove; Venus now wakes, and wakens Love. Come, let us our rites begin; 'T is only daylight that makes sin, Which these dun shades will ne'er report. Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport, Dark-veiled Cotytto, to whom the secret flame Of midnight torches burns! mysterious Dame, That ne'er art called but when the dragon womb Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom,
And makes one blot of all the air !