« AnteriorContinuar »
From that time seldom have I ceased to eye
Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth,
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred;
Till, at the ford of Jordan, whither all
Flock'd to the Baptist, I among the rest,
Though not to be baptized, by voice from heaven
Heard thee pronounced the Son of God beloved.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd
The Son of God, which bears no single sense;
The son of God I also am, or was,
And if I was I am; relation stands;
All men are sons of God ; yet thee I thought
In some respect far higher so declared.
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour,
And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild;
Where by all best conjectures I collect
Thou art to be my fatal enemy.
Good reason then, if I beforehand seek
To understand my adversary, who,
And what he is, his wisdom, power, intent;
By parle, or composition, truce, or league,
To win him, or win from him what I can.
And opportunity I here have had
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee
Proof against all temptation, as a rock
Of adamant, and as a centre firm,
To the utmost of mere man both wise and good,
Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory,
Have been before contemn'd, and may again:
Therefore to know what more thou art than man,
Worth naming Son of God by voice from heaven,
Another method I must now begin.
So saying he caught him up, and without wing
There stand, if thou wilt stand ; to stand upright
To whom thus Jesus: Also it is written,
True Image of the Father, whether throned
He never more henceforth will dare set foot
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke:
For though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd,
A fairer Paradise is founded now
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou,
A Saviour, art come down to re-install
Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be,
Of tempter and temptation without fear.
But thou, infernal serpent, shalt not long
Rule in the clouds ; like an autumnal star
Or lightning thou shalt fall from heaven, trod down
Under his feet; for proof, ere this thou feel'st
Thy wound, yet not thy last and deadliest wound
By this repulse received, and holdst in hell
No triumph. In all her gates Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt ; hereafter learn with awe
To dread the Son of God ; he, all unarm'd,
Shall chase thee with the terror of his voice
From thy demoniac holds, possession foul.
Thee and thy legions; yelling they shall fly,
And beg to hide them in a herd of swine,
Lest he command them down into the deep
Bound, and to torment sent before their time.
Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds,
Queller of Satan, on thy glorious work
Now enter, and begin to save mankind.
Thus they the Son of God our Saviour meek Sung victor, and from heavenly feast refresh'd Brought on his way with joy; he unobserved Home to his mother's house private returned.
The attendant Spirit, afterwards in the habit of Thyrsis.
Comus, with his crew.
Sabkina, the Nymph.
The chief persons who presented were
The Lord Brackley.
Mr. Thomas Euerton, his brother.
The Lady Alice Egekton.
The first scene discovers a wild wood. The Attendant SPIRIT descends or enters.
Before the starry threshold of Jove's court
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
Of bright aerial spirits live insphered
In regions mild of calm and serene air,
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,
Which men call Earth, and, with low-thoughted care,
Confined and pester'd in this pinfold here,
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives,
After this mortal change, to her true servants,
Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats.
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key,
That opes the palace of eternity;
To such my errand is; and, but for such,
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould.
But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway Of every salt flood, and each ebbing stream, Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles, That like to rich and various gems inlay The unadorned bosom of the deep, Which he, to grace his tributary gods, By course commits to several government, And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns, And wield their little tridents: but this Isle, The greatest and the best of all the main, He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities; And all this tract that fronts the falling sun, A noble peer, of mickle trust and power, Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide An old and haughty nation, proud in arms; Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore, Are coming to attend their father's state, And new-intrusted sceptre; but their way Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood, The nodding horror of whose shady brows Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; And here their tender age might suffer peril, But that, by quick command from sovereign Jove, I was dispatch'd for their defence and guard; And listen why, for I will tell you now What never yet was heard in tale or song, From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine, After the Tuscan mariners transform'd. Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, On Circe's island fell: who knows not Circe, The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape, And downward fell into a grovelling swine? This nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks, With ivy berries wreathed, and his blithe youth, Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son Much like his father, but his mother more, Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named: Who ripe, and frolic of his full-grown age, Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields, At last betakes him to this ominous wood, And, in thick shelter of black shades imbower'd, Excels his mother at her mighty art, Offering to every weary traveller His orient liquor in a crystal glass, To quench the drouth of Phcebus, which as they taste, (For most do taste, through fond intemperate thirst) Soon as the potion works, their human countenance, The express resemblance of the gods, is changed