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As the kind hospitable woods provide.
They left me then, when the grey-hooded Even,
A thousand fantasies
Begin to throng into my memory,
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire,
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound
That he, the Supreme Good, t' whom all things ill
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
By slow Meander's margent green,
Hid them in some flow'ry cave,
Tell me but where,
Sweet queen of party, daughter of the sphere, So may'st thou be translated to the skies, And give resounding graces to all heaven's harmonies.
Comus appears to the lady in the disguise of a shepherd.
Com. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould
And chid her barking waves into attention,
Dwell'st here with Pan, or Silvan, by blest Song
To touch the prosp'rous growth of this tall wood.
Lady. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is that praise lost That is adressed to unattending ears;
Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift
Comus. What chance, good lady, hath bereft you thus ?
Comus. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why?
Comus. Imports their loss, beside the present need?
Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colours of the rainbow live,
And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-struck,
What readiest way would bring me to that place?
Comus. I know each lane, and every alley green,
And trust thy honest offered courtesy,
Shepherd, I take thy word,
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.
Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial
Milton has been accused as being deficient in respect to the female character. He speaks of Eve in regard to Adam, as 66 not equal," and seems to consider her as not altogether worthy to discourse with the angel who came from Heaven to Paradise. But nothing can surpass the delicacy and elevation of sentiment with which he represents the Lady in Comus, nor does he seem to consider her as a solitary instance of the excellence and loveliness peculiar to her sex.
The celestial Spirit who attends the brothers and their sister, distinguishes between those low-minded beings, all whose thoughts are limited to this world, and that superior order,
that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key
says he. And the Lady's brothers, when they have left her, are relieved of their natural apprehension for her safety, by the conviction of her exalted purity. One of them says—
My sister is not so defenceless left
As you imagine; she has a hidden strength
So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity,
Circe the mother of Comus, was an enchantress who inhabited an island of the Mediterranean, and who, like her son, transformed her associates to brutes.
The Syrens three—were females who inhabited a small island near Sicily. They charmed mariners by their delightful voices, and made them delay their voyage.
Scylla wept.—Scylla was a female who was transformed to a monster by the arts of Circe, and was fixed to the strait of Messina. A whirlpool on the coast opposite to Scylla was Charyb
Naiades.—Young and beautiful virgins who presided over rivers and fountains.
Echo sweetest nymph.—Echo is the return of sound—but the mythology supposes that Echo is the voice of a female, who, as a punishment for loquacity, is invisible, and only permitted to repeat the words of others. Narcissus was a beautiful youth whom Echo loved.
Meander. A river of Asia Minor, remarkable for its winding
Pan and Sylvan.—Wood gods.
Hebe. A youthful goddess, very beautiful. Canova's statue of Hebe is among the most admired works of that artist.
This eminent poet was born in 1631, and died in 1700. His poetry is not of a character to interest the young, but the passages inserted among these specimens serve to illustrate the manners of a past age, and therefore properly belong to a collection of poetry which is intended not merely to contain verses, but also to exhibit facts that are connected with the poetry of the English language.
Chivalry went out of use because the laws in Europe were improved by the increasing knowledge and good sense of the people. When the order of government and the authority of the laws were generally understood and acknowledged in England, the rights of all people were ho longer defended by the strife of arms, but were settled by courts of justice, and all ranks of the