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A thousand liveried angels lackey her,

Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt;
And, in clear dream and solema vision,

Tell her of things, that no gross ear can hear;
Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on th' outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,

And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence,
Till all be made immortal: but when lust,
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk;
But most by lewd and lavish act of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soul grows clotted by contagion,
Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose
The divine property of her first being.
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp,
Oft seen in charnel vaults and sepulchres,
Ling'ring and sitting by a new made grave,
As loth to leave the body that it lov'd,
And link'd itself by carnal sensuality

To a degen'rate and degraded state.



Comus. Nay, lady, sit; if I but wave this wand, Your nerves are all chain'd up in alabaster,

And you a statue, or, as Daphne was,

Root-bound, that fled Apollo.


Fool, do not boast;

Thon canst not touch the freedom of my mind
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind
Thou hast immanacled, while Heav'n sees good.
Comus. Why are you vex'd, lady? Why do you

Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates
Sorrow flies far: see, here be all the pleasures,
That fancy can be get on youthful thoughts,
When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns
Brisk as the April buds in primrose season.
And first, behold this cordial julep here,
That flames and dances in his crystal bounds
With spirits of balm and fragrant syrops mix'd;
Not that nepenthes, which the wife of Thone
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena,
Is of such pow'r to stir up joy as this,
To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst.
Why should you be so cruel to yourself,
And to those dainty limbs, which nature lent
For gentle usage and soft delicacy?


you invert the cov'nants of her trust,
And harshly deal, like an ill borrower,
With that which you receiv'd on other terms;
Scorning the unexempt condition,

By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
That have been tir'd all day without repast,
And timely rest have wanted; but, fair virgin,
This will restore all soon..


'Twill not, false traitor! "Twill not restore the truth and honesty,

That thou hast banish'd from thy tongue with lies.
Was this the cottage, and the safe abode,

Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these,
These ugly-headed monsters? Mercy guard me!
Hence with thy brew'd enchantments, foul deceiver!
Hast thou betray'd my cred❜lous innocence
With visor'd falsehood and base forgery?
And would'st thou seek again to trap me here
With lickerish baits, fit to ensnare a brute ?

Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets,
I would not taste thy treas'nous offer; none
But such as are good men can give good things;
And that which is not good, is not delicious
To a well-govern'd and wise appetite.

Comus. O foolishness of men! that lend their ears To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur,

And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub,
Praising the lean and sallow abstinence.
Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
Cov'ring the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,
But all to please and sate the curious taste?
And set to work millions of spinning worms,

That in their green shops weave the smooth-hair'd silk,
To deck her sons; and that no corner might
Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins

She hutch'd th' all-worshipp'd ore, and precious gems,
To store her children with: if all the world
Should in a fit of temp'rance feed on pulse,
Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze,
Th' All-giver would be unthank'd, would be unprais'd,
Not half his riches known, and yet despis'd;
And we should serve him as a grudging master,
As a penurious niggard of his wealth;

And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons,

Who would be quite surcharg'd with her own weight, And strangled with her waste fertility;

Th' earth cumber'd, and the wing'd air dark'd with plumes,

The herds would overmultitude their lords,

The sea, o'erfraught, would swell, and th' unsought di'monds

Would so imblaze the forehead of the deep,

And so bestud with stars, that they below
Would grow inur'd to light, and come at last
To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows..
List, lady: be not coy, and be not cozen'd
With that same vaunted name, virginity.
Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current: and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
Unsav'ry in th' enjoyment of itself;
If you let slip time, like a neglected rose,
It withers on the stalk with languish'd head.
Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feats, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship;
It is for homely features to keep home,

They had their name thence: coarse complexions,
And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply
The sampler, and to tease the housewife's wool.
What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn?
There was another meaning in these gifts;
Think what, and be advis'd; you are but young yet.
Lady. I had not thought to have unlock'd my lips
In this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler
Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,
Obtruding false rules prank'd in reason's garb.
I hate when vice can bolt her arguments,
And virtue has no tongue to check her pride.
Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature,
As if she would her children should be riotous
With her abundance; she, good cateress,
Means her provision only to the good,
That live according to her sober laws,
And holy dictate of spare temperance :
If every just man, that now pines with want,

Had but a moderate and beseeming share
Of that which lewdly-pamper'd luxury
Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
Nature's full blessings would be well dispens'd
In unsuperfluous even proportion,

And she no whit encumber'd with her store;
And then the Giver would be better thank'd,
His praise due paid: for swinish Gluttony
Ne'er looks to Heav'n amidst his gorgeous feast,
But with besotted base ingratitude

Crams, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on?
Or have I said enough? To him that dares
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
Against the sun-clad pow'r of chastity,

Fain would I something say, yet to what end?
Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend
The sublime notion, and high mystery,
That must be utter'd to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of virginity;

And thou art worthy that thou should'st not know
More happiness than this thy present lot."

Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,

That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc'd :
Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapp'd spirits
To such a flame of sacred vehemence,

That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize,`
And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake,
Till all thy magic structures, rear'd so high,
Were shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head.


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