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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
Of hippogrifif bore through the air sublime
Over the wilderness and o'er the plain;
Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,
The holy city, lifted high her towers,
And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd
Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
Of alabaster, topp'd with golden spires:
There on the highest pinnacle he set
The Son of God, and added thus in scorn:

There stand, if thou wilt stand ; to stand upright
Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house
Have brought thee, and highest placed, highest is

best,
Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,
Cast thyself down ; safely, if Son of God;
For it is written, He will give command
Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands
They shall uplift thee, lest at any time
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.

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To whom thus Jesus: Also it is written,
Tempt not the Lord thy God: he said and stood:
But Satan smitten with amazement fell.
As when earth's son Antaeus, to compare
Small things with greatest, in Irassa strove
With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foil'd, still rose,
Receiving from his mother Earth new strength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,
Throttled at length in the air, expired and fell;
So after many a foil the tempter proud,
Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride
Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall.
And as that Theban monster, that proposed
Her riddle, and him who solved it not devoured,
That once found out and solved, for grief and spite
Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep;
So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the fiend,
And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought
Joyless triumphals of his hoped success,
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God.
So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe
Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,
Who on their plumy vans received him soft
From his uneasy station, and upbore
As on a floating couch through the blithe air,
Then in a flowery valley set him down
On a green bank, and set before him spread
A table of celestial food, divine,
Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life,
And from the fount of life ambrosial drink,
That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd
What hunger, if aught hunger had impair'd
Or thirst; and, as he fed, angelic choirs
Sung heavenly anthems of his victory
Over temptation and the tempter proud:

True Image of the Father, whether throned
In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Conceiving, or, remote from heaven, enshrined
In fleshly tabernacle and human form,
Wandering the wilderness, whatever place,
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with god-like force endued
Against the attempter of thy Father's throne,
And thief of Paradise; him long of old
Thou didst debel, and down from heaven cast
With all his army, now thou hast avenged
Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing
Temptation, hast regain'd lost Paradise,
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent,

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.

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THE PERSONS.

The attendant Spirit, afterwards in the habit of Thyrsis.

Comus, with his crew.

The Lady.

First Brother.

Second Brother.

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

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