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And if your stray-attendants be yet lodg'd
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
From her thatch'd pallat rouse; if otherwise
I can conduct you, Lady, to a low
But loyal cottage, where you may be safe
Till further quest.
LAD. Shepherd, I take thy word,
And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy,
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds
With smoky rafters, than in tap'stry halls
And courts of princes, where it first was nam'd, 325
And yet is most pretended: in a place
Less warranted than this, or less secure,
I cannot be, that I should fear to change it.
Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial
To my proportion'd strength. Shepherd, lead on.
Enter The Two BROTHERS.
1 BR. Unmuffle, ye faint stars, and thou, fair
That wont'st to love the traveller's benizon, Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, 331 Unmuffle] Benlowe's Theophila, st. xxii. p. 202. 222. 'Unmuffle, ye dim clouds, and disinherit From black usurping mists.'
Shirley's Young Admiral, act ii. sc. 2.
not a star
Muffled his brightness in a sullen cloud.'
See Gascoigne's Jocasta, p. 99. Lisle's Du Bartas, p. 106. Browne's Shepherd's Pipe, vol. iii. p. 41. 129. Thorney Abbey, p. 48, for the use of this word.
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
In double night of darkness and of shades;
your influence be quite damm'd up
With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,
Though a rush candle, from the wicker-hole
Of some clay habitation, visit us
With thy long-levell'd rule of streaming light; 340 And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cotes,
Or sound of past'ral reed with oaten stops,
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
'Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering
In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
But O that hapless virgin, our lost Sister,
may she wander now, whither betake her
From the chill dew, among rude burs and thistles?
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad fears.
Confine himself to his three regions,
Or else I'll disinherit him.'
334 disinherit] Nabbes's Microcosmus. Reed. ix. p. 116. air had best
340 rule] Eurip. Ikɛt. 650. 'Hλíov kavwv oapns. Hurd. 346 cock] Benlowes's Theophila, p. 199,
Before the cock, light herald, day-break sings
To his feathery dames.'-
What, if in wild amazement, and affright,
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
Of savage hunger, or of savage heat?
1 BR. Peace, Brother, be not over-exquisite
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils;
For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
What need a man forestall his date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid?
Or if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is such self-delusion?
I do not think my Sister so to seek,
Or so unprincipled in virtue's book,
And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,
As that the single want of light and noise
(Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)
Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
And put them into misbecoming plight.
Virtue could see to do what virtue would
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self 375
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude,
Where with her best nurse Contemplation
She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings,
361 For grant] This line obscures the thought, and loads the expression: it had been better out. Warburton.
376 seeks to] This expression, 'seeks to,' common in our transl. of the Bible. Isaiah xi. 10. Deut. xii. 5. 1 Kings x. 24. Eccles. iv. 12. Warton. Todd.
378 plumes] I believe the true reading to be prunes.'
That in the various bustle of resort
Were all-to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. 380
He that has light within his own clear breast,
May sit i' th' centre, and enjoy bright day:
But he that hides a dark soul, and foul thoughts,
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun ;
Himself is his own dungeon.
2 BR. 'Tis most true,
That musing meditation most affects
The pensive secrecy of desert cell,
Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds,
And sits as safe as in a senate house;
For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,
His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
Or do his gray hairs any violence?
But beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
Of dragon watch with unenchanted eye,
To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
From the rash hand of bold incontinence.
You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps
Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den,
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will wink on opportunity,
380 all-to] So read as in editions 1637, 1645, 1673, not 'too ruffled;' 'all-to' is entirely.' See Tyrwhitt's Gloss. Chauc. v. To. Upton's Gloss. Spens. v. 'all.' Warton.
380 ruffled] Benlowes's Theophila, p. 222. Retreating to sweet shades our shattered thoughts we piece.'
389 senate] See Tooke's Div. of Purley, i. p. 90, ed. 4to.
And let a single helpless maiden pass
Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding waste.
Of night, or loneliness, it recks me not;
I fear the dread events that dog them both,
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned Sister.
1 BR. I do not, Brother,
Infer, as if I thought my Sister's state
Secure without all doubt, or controversy;
Yet where an equal poise of hope and fear
Does arbitrate th' event, my nature is
That I incline to hope, rather than fear,
And gladly banish squint suspicion.
My Sister is not so defenceless left,
As you imagine; she has a hidden strength
Which you remember not.
2 BR. What hidden strength,
Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that?
1 BR. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength,
Which, if heav'n gave it, may be term'd her own;
'Tis chastity, my Brother, chastity:
She that has that, is clad in complete steel,
And like a quiver'd Nymph with arrows keen
May trace huge forests, and unharbour'd heaths,
Infamous hills, and sandy perilous wilds,
413 squint] Quarles's Feast for Wormes (1633), p. 48. 'Heart-gnawing hatred, and squint-eyed suspicion.'
424 Infamous] Hor. Od. i. iii. 20. 'Infames scopulos.' Newton.