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This, this is she
To whom our views and wishes bend;
Here our solemn search hath end.
Fame, that her high worth to raise,
Seemed erst so lavish and profuse,
We may justly now accuse
Of detraction from her praise;
Less than half we find expressed,
Envy bid conceal the rest.
Mark what radiant state she spreads,
In circle round her shining throne,
Shooting her beams like silver threads;
This, this is she alone,
Sitting like a goddess bright,
In the centre of her light.
Might she the wise Latona be,
Or the towered Cybele,
Mother of a hundred gods?
Juno dares not give her odds;
Who had thought this clime had held
A deity so unparalleled ?
[As they come forward, the GENIUs of the wood appears, and turning
towards them, speaks.]
Stay, gentle swains, for though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes ;
Of famous Arcady ye are, and
Of that renowned Hood, so often sung,
Divine Alpheus," who by secret sluice
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse;
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskined nymphs as great and goou,
I know this quest of yours, and free intent,
1 A famous river of Arcadia that, sinking under ground, passes through the sea without mixing his stream with the salt waters, and rises at last with the fountain Arethuse, near Syracuse, in Sicily.Newlon.
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine,
And with all helpful service will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
And lead ye where ye may more near behold
What shailow-searching fame hath left untold;
Which I full oft amidst these shades alone
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon:
For know by lot from Jove I am the power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove.
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill:
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with cankered venom bites.
When evening gray doth rise, I fetch my round
Over the mount, and all this hallowed ground,
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tasselled horni
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless;
But else in deep of night, when drowsiness
Hath locked up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial sirens' harmony,
That sit upon the nine enfolded spheres,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the adamantine spindle
On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie,
To lull the daughters of Necessity,
And keep unsteady Nature to her law,
And the low world in measured motion draw
Spenser, F. Q. i. 8, 3:
“An horn of bugle small,
Which hung adown his side in twisted gold,
And tassels gay.”
See Cicero's Somnium Scipionis, § 4.
After the heavenly tune,' which none can hear
Of human mould with gross unpurgéd ear;
And yet such music worthiest were to blaze
The peerless highth of her immortal praise,
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
If my inferior hand or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds; yet as we go,
Whate'er the skill of lesser gods can show,
I will assay, her worth to celebrate,
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all, that are of noble stem,
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem.
O'er the smooth enamelled green,
Where no print of step hath been,
Follow me, as I sing,
And touch the warbled string,
Under the shady roof
Of branching elm star-proof.
I will bring you where she sits,
Clad in splendour as befits
Such a rural queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
Nymphs and shepherds dance no more
By sandy Ladon’s? lilied banks,
On old Lycæus or
Trip no more in twilight ranks,
Though Erymanth your loss deplore,
A better soil shall give ye thanks.
? Ct. Merchant of Venice, v.1:
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'st,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims;
Such harmony is in immortal sounds!
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it." Newton. 2 The most beautiful river of Arcadia.
From the stony Mænalus
Bring your flocks, and live with us;
Here ye shall have greater grace,
To serve the lady of this place;
Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.
Such a rural queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
A MASK, PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1634, BEFORE THE
EARL OF BRIDGEWATER, THEN PRESIDENT OF WALES.
The Mask was presented in 1634, and consequently in the twentysixth year of our author's age. In the title-page of the first edition, printed in 1637, it is said that it was presented on Michaelmas night, and there was this motto :
“Eheu quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum
In this edition, and in that of Milton's poems in 1645, there was prefixed to the Mask the following dedication :
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD JOHN VISCOUNT BRACKLY, SON
AND HEIR APPARENT TO THE EARL OF BRIDGEWATER, &c.
MY LORD,—This poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a final dedication of itself to you. Although not openly acknowledged by the author, yet it is a legitimate offspring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tired my pen to give my several friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the public view; and now to offer it up in all rightful devotion to those fair hopes, and