Page images

“ Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood “ And brandished blade rush on him, break his glass, “ And shed the luscious liquor on the ground; “ But seize his wand, tho’ he and his curs'd crew “ Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high, “ Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke, “ Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.”



Scene opens, and discoversa magnificent Hall in Co

Mus's Palace, set off with all the gay decorations proper for an ancient banqueting-room.COMUS and Attendants stand on each side of the Lady, who is seated in an enchanted chair; and by her looks and gestures expresses great signs of uneasiness and lancholy."

Comus speaks. “ HENCE, loathed melancholy, “ Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born, “ In Stygian cave forlorn, “ 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights un

holy, “ Find out some uncouth cell, “ Where brooding darkness 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.
“ But” come, thou goddess fair and free,
In heaven yclep'd Euphrosyné,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore.
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;
Sport, that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty.
[Whilst these lines are repeating, enter a Nymph represent-

ing EUPHROSYNE, or Mirth; who advances to the Lady, and sings the following song,



Come, come, bid adieu to fear,
Love and harmony live here,
No domestic jealous jars,
Buzzing slanders, wordy wars,
In my presence will appear ;
Love and harmony reign here,

Sighs to amorous sighs returning,
Pulses beating, bosoms burning,
Bosoms with warm wishes panting,
Words to speak those wishes wanting,
Are the only tumults here,
All the woes you need to fear;

Love and harmony reign here.
Lady. How long must 1, by magick fetters chain’d
To this detested seat, hear odious strains
Of shameless folly, which my soul abhors ?

Com. Ye sedge-crown'd Naiades, by twilight seen
Along Mæander's mazy border green,
At Comus' call appear in all your azure sheen.
[ He waves his Wand, the Naiads enter, and range them-

selves in order to dance.]

Now softly slow let Lydian measures move,
And breathe the pleasing pangs of gentle love.

[The Naiads dance a slow dance expressive of the pas

sion of Love.]

[ocr errors]

[“ After this dance" the pastoral Nymph advances slow,

with a melancholy and desponding air, to the side of the stage, and repeats, by way of soliloquy, the first six lines, and then sings the ballad. In the mean time she is observed by EUPHROSYNE, who by her gesture expresses to the audience her different sentiments of the subject of her complaint, suitably to the character of their several songs.]




How gentle was my Damon's air!
Like sunny beams his golden hair,
His voice was like the nightingale's,
More sweet his breath than flow’ry vales.
How hard such beauties to resign!
And yet that cruel task is mine!


On every hill, in every grove,

Along the margin of each stream,
Dear conscious scenes of former love,

I mourn, and Damon is my theme.
The hills, the groves, the streams remain,
But Damoh there I seek in vain.


Now to the mossy cave I fly,

" Where to my swain I oft have sung, Well pleas'd the browsing goats to spy,

As o’er the airy steep they hung. The mossy cave, the goats remain, " But Damon there I seek in vain.

Now through the winding vale I pass,

And sigh to see the well-known shade; I weep, and kiss the bended grass,

Where love and Damon fondly play'd, The vale, the shade, the grass remain, But Damon there I seek in vain."


From hill, from dale, each charm is fled,
Groves, flocks, and

fountains please no more, Each flower in pity droops its head,

All nature does my loss deplore.
All, all reproach the faithless swain,
Yet Damon still I seek in vain.


Love, the greatest bliss below,
How to taste few women know ;
Fewer still the way have hit
How a fickle swain to quit.
Simple nymphs then learn of me,
How to treat inconstancy.


The wanton god, that pierces hearts,
Dips in gall his pointed darts;
But the nymph disdains to pine ;
Who bathes the wound with




Farewell lovers, when they're cloy'd;
If I am scorn’d, because enjoy'd.
Sure the squeamish fops are free
To rid me of dull company.
They have charms whilst mine can please ;
I love them much, but more my ease;
Nor jealous fears my love molest,
Nor faithless vows shall break my rest.

« PreviousContinue »