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But such a sacred, and home-felt delight,
Such sobèr certainty of waking bliss
I never heard till now. Ile speak to her
And she shall be my Queen. Hail forren wonder
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed
Unlesse the Goddes that in rurall shrine
Dwell'st here with Pan, or Silvan, by blest Song
Forbidding every bleak unkindly Fog
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall Wood. 270
La. Nay gentle Shepherd ill is lost that praise
That is addrest to unattending Ears,
any boast of skill, but extreme shift
How to regain my sever'd company
Compell’d me to awake the courteous Echo
To give me answer from her mossie Couch.
Co. What chance good Lady hath bereft you thus?
La. Dim darknes, and this leavy Labyrinth.
Co. Could that divide you from neer-ushëring guides?
La. They left me weary on a grassie terf.
Co. By falshood, or discourtesie, or why?
La. To seek i’th vally som cool friendly Spring.
Co. And left your fair side all unguarded Lady?
La. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick return.
Co. Perhaps fore-stalling night prevented them.
La. How easie my misfortune is to hit !
Co. Imports their loss, beside the present need?
La. No less then if I should my brothers loose.
Co. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
La. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. 290
Co. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd Oxe
In his loose traces from the furrow came,
And the swink’t hedger at his Supper sate;
I saw them under a green mantling vine
That crawls along the side of yon small hill,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots,
Their port was more then human, as they stood;
I took it for a faëry vision
Of som gay creatures of the element
That in the colours of the Rainbow live
And play i’th plighted clouds. I was aw-strook,
And as I past, I worshipt: if those you seek
It were a journey like the path to Heav'n,
To help you find them.' La. Gentle villager
What readiest way would bring me to that place ?
Co. Due west it rises from this shrubby point.
La. To find out that, good Shepherd, I suppose,
In such a scant allowance of Star-light,
Would overtask the best Land-Pilots art,
Without the sure guess of well-practiz'd feet,
Co. I know each lane, and every alley green
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wilde Wood,
And every bosky bourn from side to side
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood,
And if your stray attendance be yet lodg'd,
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low roosted lark
From her thatch't pallat rowse, if otherwise
I can conduct you Lady to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
320 Till further quest'. La. Shepherd I take thy word, And trust thy honest offer'd courtesie, Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds With smoaky rafters, then in tapstry Halls And Courts of Princes, where it first was nam'd, And yet is most pretended : In a place Less warranted then this, or less secure I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. Eie me blest Providence, and square my triall To my proportion'd strength. Shepherd lead on.— 330
The Two Brothers. Eld. Bro. Unmuffle ye faint stars, and thou fair Moon That wontst to love the travailers benizon, Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, And disinherit Chaos, that raigns here In double night of darknes, and of shades; Or if your influence be quite damm’d up With black usurping mists, som gentle taner Though a rush Candle from the wicker hole Of som clay habitation visit us With thy long levell’d rule of streaming light, 340 And thou shalt be our star of Arcady, Or Tyrian Cynosure. 2. Bro. Or if our eyes Be barr'd that happines, might we but hear
The folded flocks pen'd in their watled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops,
Or whistle from the Lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery Dames,
'Twould be som solace yet, som little chearing
In this close dungeon of innumerous bowes.
But O that haples virgin our lost sister
Where may she wander now, whether betake her
From the chill dew, amongst rude burrs and thistles ?
Perhaps som cold bank is her boulster now
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of som broad Elm
Leans her unpillow'd head fraught with sad fears.
What if in wild amazement, and affright,
Or while we speak within the direfull grasp
Of Savage hunger, or of Savage heat ?
Eld. Bro. Peace brother, be not over-exquisite
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils ;
For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
What need a man forestall his date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid ?
Or if they be but false alarms of Fear,
How bitter is such self-delusion?
I do not think my sister so to seek,
Or so unprincipl'd in vertues book,
And the sweet peace that goodnes boosoms ever,
As that the single want of light and noise
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
And put them into mis-becoming plight.
Vertue could see to do what vertue would
By her own radiant light, though Sun and Moon
Were in the flat Sea sunk. And Wisdoms self
Oft seeks to sweet retired Solitude,
Where with her best nurse Contemplation
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings
That in the various bussle of resort
Were all to rufil'd, and somtimes impair'd.
He that has light within his own cleer brest
May sit i'th center, and enjoy bright day,
But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the mid-day Sun;
Himself is his own dungeon,
2. Bro. Tis most true
That musing meditation most affects
The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
Far from the cheerfull haunt of men, and herds,
And sits as safe as in a Senat house,
For who would rob a Hermit of his Weeds,
His few Books, or his Beads, or Maple Dish,
Or do his gray hairs any violence ?
But beauty like the fair Hesperian Tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
Of dragon watch with uninchanted eye,
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.
You may as well spred out the unsun'd heaps
Of Misers treasure by an out-laws den,
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will wink on Opportunity,
And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjur'd in this wilde surrounding wast.
Of night, or lonelines - it recks me not,
I fear the dred events that dog them both,
Lest som ill greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned sister.
Eld. Bro. I do not, brother,
Inferr, as if I thought my sisters state
Secure without all doubt, or controversie :
Yet where an equall poise of hope and fear
Does arbitrate th’event, my nature is
That I encline to hope, rather then 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. Bro. What hidden strength, Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that ?
Eld. Bro. 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 :
420 She that has that, is clad in compleat steel, And like a quiver'd Nymph with Arrows keen May trace huge Forests, and unharbour'd Heaths, Infamous Hills, and sandy perilous wildes,
Where through the sacred rayes of Chastity,
No savage fierce, Bandite, or mountaneer
Will dare to soyl her Virgin purity,
Yea there, where very desolation dwels
By grots, and caverns shag'd with horrid shades,
She may pass on with unblench't majesty,
Be it not don in pride, or in presumption.
Som say no evil thing that walks by night
In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,
Blew meager Hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magick chains at curfeu time,
No goblin, or swart faëry of the mine,
Hath hurtfull power o're true virginity.
Do ye beleeve me yet, or shall I call
Antiquity from the old Schools of Greece
To testifie the arms of Chastity ?
Hence had the huntress Dian her dred bow
Fair silver-shafted Queen for ever chaste,
Wherwith she tam'd the brinded lioness
And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought
The frivolous bolt of Cupid, gods and men
Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen oth' Woods.
What was that snaky-headed Gorgon sheild
That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd Virgin,
Wherwith she freez'd her foes to congeald stone?
But rigid looks of Chast austerity,
And noble grace that dash't brute violence
With sudden adoration, and blank aw.
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 cleer dream, and solemn vision
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
Till oft convers 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 souls ésserce,
Till all be made immortal : but when lust
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by leud and lavish act of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,