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Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
In double night of darkness and of shades ;
Or if your influence be quite damm’d up
With black usurping milts, some gentle taper,
Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
Of some clay habitation, visit us
With thy long level'd rule of streaming light,
And thou shalt be our ftar of Arcady,
Or Tyrian Cynosure.

2 Bro. Or if our eyes
Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their watled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops, 345
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
'Twould be some solace yet, fome little chearing
In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
But O that hapless virgin, our loft Sister, 350


The wander now, whither betake her From the chill dew, amongst 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 fad fears. 355 What if in wild amazement, and affright, Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp Of savage hunger, or of savage heat?

1 BRO. Peace, Brother, be not over-exquisite To cast the fashion of uncertain evils : For grant they be so, while they reft unknown,



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What need a man foreftall 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 !

365 I do not think my sister so to feek, 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)

370 Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, And put them into mif-becoming 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 retir'd folitude, Where with her best nurse contemplation She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings, That in the various bustle of resort Were all too ruffled, and sometimes impair’d. 980 He that has light within his own clear breast May fit i'th' center, 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 Bro. 'Tis most true,

385 That musing meditation most affects The pensive secrecy of desert cell, Far from the chearful haunt of men and herds, And sits as safe as in a senate house; For who would rob a hermit of his weeds, 390


His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
Or do his


But beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
Of dragon-watch with uninchanted eye,

To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit
From the raih hand of bold incontinence.
You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps
Of misers' treasure by an out-law's den,
And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
Danger will wink on opportunity,
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, 405
Lest fome ill-greeting touch attempt the person
Of our unowned Sifter.

i Bro. 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 bauith squint fufpicion.
My Sister is not so defenseless left
As you imagin; "the' has a hidden strength 415
Which remember nat.

2 Bro. What hidden strength, Unless the strength of Heav'n, if you mean that ? 3 Bro. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength,



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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,
Where, through the sacred


of chastity, 425 No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaneer Will dare to soil her virgin purity: Yea there, where very desolation dwells, By grots, and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades, She may pass on with unblench'd majesty,

430 Be it not done in pride, or in presumption. Some say no evil thing that walks by night, In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen, Blue meager hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost, That breaks his magic chains at Curfeu time,

435 No goblin, or swart faery of the mine, Hath hurtful


o'er true virginity. ye believe me yet, or shall I call Antiquity from the old schools of Greece To testify the arms of Chastity? Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow, Fair filver-1hafted queen, for ever chaste, Wherewith the tam'd the brinded lioness And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought The frivolous bolt of Cupid; Gods and men 44.5 Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen o’th' woods. What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield, That wife Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin,



Wherewith the freez'd her foes to congeal'd stone,
But rigid looks of chaste austerity,

And noble grace that das’d brute violence
With sudden adoration, and blank awe ?
So dear to Heav'n is faintly chastity,
That when a soul is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried Angels lacky her,

455 Driving far off each thing of fin and guilt, And in clear dream, and folemn vision, Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear, Till oft converse with heav'nly habitants Begin to cast a beam on th' outward shape, 460 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 leud and lavish act of sin,

465 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. 470 Oft feen in charnel vaults, and fepulchers, Lingering, and fitting by a new-made grave, As loath to leave the body that it lov'd, And link'd itself by carnal sensuality To a degenerate and degraded state.

475 2 Bro. How charming is divine pliilosophy ! Not harsh, and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, But musical as is Apollo's lute,


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