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But all to please and sate the curious taste ?
And set to work millions of spinning worms,
That in their green shops weave the smooth-hair'd
To deck her sons; and, that no corner might
Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins
She hutch'd the all-worshipt ore, and precious gems
To store her children with : If all the world
Should in a pet of temperance feed on pulse,
Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze,
The All-giver would be unthank’d, would be un-
prais'd, Not half his riches known, and yet despis'd; And we should serve him as a grudging master, As a penurious niggard of his wealth ; And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons, Who would be quite surcharg'd with her own weight And strangled with her waste fertility; The earth cumber'd, and the wing'd air dark'd
with plumes, The herds would over-multitude their lords, The sea o'er fraught would swell, and the unsought
Would so imblaze the forehead of the deep,
And so bestud with stars, that they below
Would grow inur'd to light, and come at last
To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows,
List, Lady; be not coy, and be not cosen'd
With that same vaunted name, Virginity.
Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current; and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself;
If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
It withers on the stalk with languish'd head.
Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship;
It is for homely features to keep home,
They had their name thence; coarse complexions,
And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply
The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool.
What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the Morn?
There was another meaning in these gifts;
Think what, and be advis'd; you are but young yet.
Lady. I had not thought to have unlock'd my lips
In this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler
Would think to charm my judgement, as mine eyes,
Obtruding false rules prank'd in reason's garb.
I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments,
And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride.-
Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature,
As if she would her children should be riotous
With her abundance; she, good cateress,
Means her provision only to the good,
That live according to her sober laws,
And holy dictate of spare Temperance:
If every just man, that now pines with want,
Had but a moderate and beseeming share
Of that which lewdly-pamper'd Luxury
Now heaps upon some few, with vast excess,
Nature's full blessings would be well dispens'd
In unsuperfluous even proportion,
And she no whit incumber'd with her store;
And then the Giver would be better thank'd,
His praise due paid: For swinish Gluttony
Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast,
But with besotted base ingratitude
Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go on?
Or have I said enough? To him that dares •
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
Against the sun-clad Power of Chastity,
Fain would I something say, yet to what end ?
Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend
The sublime notion, and high mystery,
That must be utter'd to unfold the
And serious doctrine of Virginity;
And thou art worthy that thou should'st not know
More happiness than this thy present lot.
Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetorick,
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc'd:
Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize,
And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and
Till all thy magick structures, rear'd so high,
Were shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head.
Comus. She fables not; I feel that I do fear Her words set off by some superiour power ; And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus, To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble, And try her yet more strongly.--Come, no more; This is mere moral babble, and direct Against the canon-laws of our foundation; I must not suffer this; yet 'tis but thę lees And settlings of a melancholy blood : But this will cure all straight: one sip of this Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight, Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.
The BROTHERS rush in with swords drawn, wrest
his glass out of his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make sign of resistance, but are all driven in. The ATTENDANT SPIRIT comes in.
Spirit. What, have you let the false enchanter 'scape? Oye mistook, ye should have snatch'd his wand, And bound him fast; without his rod revers’d, And backward mutters of dissevering power, We cannot free the Lady that sits here In stony fetters fix'd, and motionless : Yet stay, be not disturb’d; now I bethink me, Some other means I have which may be us'd, Which once of Melibæus old I learnt, The soothest shepherd that e'er pip'd on plains.
There is a gentle Nymph not far from hence, That with moist curb sways the smoothSevern stream, Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure ; Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine, That had the scepter from his father Brute. She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit Of her enraged stepdame Guendolen, Commended her fair innocence to the flood, That staid her flight with his cross-flowing course. The Water-Nymphs, that in the bottom play'd, Held up their pearled wrists, and took her in, Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall; Who, piteous of her woes, rear'd her lank head, And gave her to his daughters to imbathe In nectar'd lavers, strew'd with asphodel ; And through the porch and inlet of each sense