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Still to be so displaced. I was all ear,

And took in strains that might create a soul

Under the ribs of death; but oh, ere long

Too well I did perceive it was the voice

Of my most honour'd Lady, your dear sister.

Amazed I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear,

And, O poor hapless nightingale, thought I,

How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!

Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste,

Through paths and turnings often trod by day,

Till guided by mine ear I found the place,

Where that damn'd wizard, hid in sly disguise,

(For so by certain signs I knew) had met

Already, ere my best speed could prevent,

The aidless innocent lady his wish'd prey,

Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two,

Supposing him some neighbour villager.

Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess'd

Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung

Into swift flight, till I had found you here,

But further know I not.

Second Br. O night and shades,

How are ye join'd with hell in triple knot,
Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin,
Alone and helpless! Is this the confidence
You gave me, brother?

First Br. Yes, and keep it still,

Lean on it safely; not a period
Shall be unsaid for me. Against the threats
Of malice or of sorcery, or that power
Which erring men call chance, this I hold firm,
Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt,
Surprised by unjust force, but not enthrall'd;
Yea, even that which mischief meant most harm,
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory;
But evil on itself shall back recoil,
And mix no more with goodness, when at last
Gather'd like scum, and settled to itself,
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed, and self-consumed: if this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,
And earth's base built on stubble. But come, let's on.
Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven
May never this just sword be lifted up;
But for that damn'd magician, let him be girt
With all the grisly legions that troop
Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
Harpies and hydras, or all the monstrous forms
'Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out
And force him to return his purchase back,
Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
Cursed as his life.

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Spirit. Alas! good venturous youth,

I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise;
But here thy sword can do thee little stead;
Far other arms and other weapons must
Be those that quell the might of hellish charms,
He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints,
And crumble all thy sinews.

First Br. Why, prithee, shepherd,
How durst thou then thyself approach so near,
As to make this relation?

Spirit. Care and utmost shifts

How to secure the lady from surprisal,
Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad,
Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd
In every virtuous plant and healing herb,
That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray;
He loved me well, and oft would beg me sing,
Which when I did, he on the tender grass
Would sit, and hearken even to ecstasy,
And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
And show me simples of a thousand names,
Telling their strange and vigorous faculties.
Amongst the rest a small unsightly root,
But of divine effect, he cull'd me out;
The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it,
But in another country, as he said,
Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil:
Unknown, and like esteem'd, and the dull swain
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon:
And yet more medicinal is it than that moly
That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave;
He call'd it harmony, and gave it me,
And bade me keep it as of sovereign use
'Gainst all enchantments, mildew, blast, or damp,
Or ghastly furies' apparition.
I pursed it up, but little reckoning made,
Till now that this extremity compell'd:
But now I find it true ; for by this means
I knew the foul enchanter, though disguised,
Enter'd the very lime-twigs of his spells,
And yet came off: if you have this about you,
(As I will give you when we go) you may
Boldly assault the necromancer's hall;
Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood,
And brandish'd blade, rush on him, break his glass,
And shed the luscious liquor on the ground;
But seize his wand; though he and his cursed crew
Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high,
Or, like the sons of Vulcan, vomit smoke,
Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.

First Br. Thyrsis, lead on apace, I'll follow thee, And some good angel bear a shield before us.

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