« PreviousContinue »
“ Fire, water, earth, and air, combine
Hither summer, autumn, spring,
[ After this “they put on their chaplets and prepare for
“the feast: while Comus is advancing with his cup, “ and one of his attendants offers a chaplet to the Lady, “ (which she throws on the ground with indignation ) “the preparation for the feast is interrupted by lofty “ and solemn musick from above, whence" the second Attendant Spirit enters gradually in a splendid machine, repeating the following lines to the Lady, and sings, remaining still invisible to COMUs and his crew.
From the realms of peace above,
Shedding soon their gaudy pride ;
Will true pleasure long reside.
Enthroned sits th' immortal fair;
The steps are peril, toil and care.
[Exit the Spirit, the music playing loud and solemn.
Lady. Thanks, heav'nly songster! whosoe'er thou
art, Who deign'st to enter these unhallow'd walls, To bring the song of virtue to mine ear!
O cease not, cease not the melodious strain,
Com. Mere airy dreams of air-bred people these ? Who look with envy on more happy man, 141 “ And would decry the joys they cannot taste. “ Quit not the substance for a stalking shade « Of hollow virtue, which eludes the grasp." Drink this, and you will scorn such idle tales. [He offers the cup, which she puts by, and attempts to rise.] Nay, lady, sit; if I but wave this wand, Your nerves are all bound up in alabaster, And you a statue : “ or, as Daphne was, “ Root-bound, that fled Apollo.” Lady. Fool, do not boast;
150 Thou can'st not touch the freedom of
mind With all thy charms, altho' this corp'ral rind Thou hast immanacld, while heav'n sees good.
Com. Why are you vex'd, lady? why do you frown? Here dwell no frowns nor anger; from these gates Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts, “ When the fresh blood grows lively and returns “ Brisk as the April buds in primrose season." And first behold this cordial julep here,
160 That flames and dances in his crystal bounds, “ With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mix’d, “ Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thone “ In Ægypt gave to Jove-born Helena,
“ Is of such pow'r to stir up joy, as this,
Lady. Know base deluder, that I will not taste it. Keep thy detested gifts for such as these.
[Points to his crew.
SONG. By a Man.
Com. Why shou'd you be so cruel to yourself, And to those dainty limbs, which Nature lent For gentle usage and soft delicacy? “ But you invert the cov'nants of her trust, “ And harshly deal, like an ill borrower, “ With that which you receiv'd on other terms, 180 “ Scorning the unexempt condition,
By which all human frailty must subsist,
Lady. 'Twill not, false traitor!
Thou told’st me of? Hence with thy brew'd enchant
“ Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence
Com. “0, foolishness of men! that lend their ears
Praising the lean and sallow abstinence. “Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth “ With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, “ Cov’ring th arth with odours, fruits, and flocks, “ Thronging the seas with
innumerable, “ 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-haird
silk, “ To deck her sons; and, that no corner might “ Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins “ She hutch'd th’ all-worshipp'd ore, and precious
gems “ To store her children with; if all the world “ Should in a pet of temp’rance feed on pulse, “ Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze,