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That must be utter'd to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of virginity;
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
That dumb things would be moved to sympathize,
And the brute earth would lend her nerves, and shake,
Till all thy magick structures, rear'd so high,
Were shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head.
Her words, set off by some superiour power;
And though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew
And settlings of a melancholy blood:
But this will cure all straight; one sip of this
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight,
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.-
The BROTHERS rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass out of his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout make sign of resistance, but are all driven in. The ATTENDANT SPIRIT comes in.
SPIR. What, have you let the false enchanter 'scape?
797. And the brute earth: That is, the unfeeling earth would sympathize and assist.-T. WARTON.
800. "These six lines are aside, but I would point the first thus: She fables not, I feel that; that is, I fear she does not fable."-SYMPSON. To fable is to feign, to invent.
802. And though not mortal, &c. Her words are assisted by somewhat divine; and I, although immortal, and above the race of man, am so affected with their force, that a cold shuddering dew, &c. Here is the noblest panegyric on the power of virtue, adorned with the sublimest imagery. It is extorted from the mouth of a magician and a preternatural being, who, although actually posse sed of his prey, feels all the terrours of human
nature at the bold rebuke of innocence, and shudders with a sudden cold sweat, like a guilty man.-T. WARTON.
809. Lees. I like the manuscript reading best:
This is mere moral stuff, the very lees, &c. Yet is bad; but very inaccurate.-HURD.
815. Ye m stook. The circumstance in the text, of the brothers forgetting to seize and reverse the magician's rol, while by contrast it heightens the supe rior intelligence of the Attendant Spirit, affords the opportunity of introducing the fiction of raising Sabrina; which, exclusive of its poetical ornaments, is recommended by a local propriety, and was peculiarly interesting to the audience, as the Severn is the famous river of the neighbourhood.-T. WARTON.
In stony fetters fix'd, and motionless:
Yet stay; be not disturb'd; now I bethink me,
The soothest shepherd that e'er piped on plains.
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream, 825
Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream
824. There is a gentle nymph, &c. Sabrina's fabulous story may be seen in the "Mirrour for Magistrates," in the sixth song of Drayton's "Polyolbion," and in the tenth canto and second book of Spenser's "Faerie Queene." The part of the fable of Comus, which may be called the Disenchantment. is evidently founded on Fletcher's "Faithful Shepherdess." The moral of both dramas, is the triumph of Chastity. This, in both, is finely brought about by the same sort of machinery. Sabrina, a virgin and a king's daughter, was converted into a river-nymph, that her honour might be preserved inviolate. Still she preserves her maiden gentleness, and every evening visits the cattle among her twilight meadows, to heal the mischiefs inflicted by elfish magick. For this she was praised by the shepherds. She protects virgins in distress. She is now solemnly called, to
deliver a virgin imprisoned in the spell of a detestable sorcerer. She rises at the invocation, and leaving her car on an osiered rushy bank, hastens to help ensnared chastity. She sprinkles on the breast of a captive maid precious drops selected from her pure fountain: she touches thrice the tip of the lady's finger, and thrice her ruby lip, with chaste palms moist and cold, as also the envenomed chair, smeared with tenacious gums. The charm is dissolved, and the Nymph departs to the bower of Amphitrite. 828. Brute, Brutus.
845. Urchin blasts. The urchin or hedgehog, from its solitariness, the ugliness of its appearance, and from a popular opinion that it suckled or poisoned the udders of the cows, was adopted into the demonologick system: and its shape was sometimes supposed to be assumed by mischievous elves. T. WARTON.
If she be right invoked in warbled song;
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair:
Goddess of the silver lake;
Listen, and save!
Listen, and appear to us,
In name of great Oceanus;
By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
And her son that rules the strands;
By all the nymphs that nightly dance
And bridle in thy headlong wave,
Till thou our summons answer'd have.
Listen, and save!
SABRINA rises, attended by Water Nymphs, and sings.
Where grows the willow, and the osier dank,
863. Sabrina's hair drops amber, because, in the poet's idea, her stream was supposed to be transparent; as the river of bliss, in Paradise Lost, (iii. 358,) and as Choaspe has an amber stream, Paradise Regained, (iii. 288.) But Chonspes was called "golden water." Amber, when applied to water, means a luminous clearness; when to hair, bright yellow.-T. WARTON.
869. Earth-shaking is the epithet Homer gives to Neptune. Tethys is the wife of Oceanus, and mother of the gods.
Nereus was a sea deity, the father of the
873. Triton was Neptune's trumpeter. Glaucus was another sea-deity. Leucothea, the white sea-goddess,
879. Purthenope and Ligea were two of the Syrens. The tomb of the former was at Naples, which was therefore called Parthenope.
My sliding chariot stays,
Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen
Of turkis blue, and emerald green
That in the channel strays:
Whilst from off the waters fleet
SPIR. Goddess dear,
Smeared with gums of glutinous heat,
I touch with chaste palms moist and cold:
Now the spell hath lost his hold;
And I must haste, ere morning hour,
To wait in Amphitrite's bower.
SABRINA descends, and the LADY rises out of her seat.
Their full tribute never miss
From a thousand petty rills,
With many a tower and terrace round,
893. Azurn sheen. Sheen is again used as a substantive for brightness, in line 1003 of this poem.
ton's History of England, Book i.-New
924. Brimmed waves, that is, waves that rise to the brim or edge of the river's bank; meaning, full waves.
923. Sprung of old Anchises' line, for Locrine was the son of Brutus, Brutus of Silvius, Silvius of Ascanius, Ascanius 934. The sense of these four lines is, of Æneas, Eneas of Anchises. See Mil-May thy head be crowned round about
And here and there thy banks upon
With groves of myrrh and cinnamon!
Come, Lady, while Heaven lends us grace,
Lest the sorcerer us entice
With some other new device.
Will double all their mirth and chere.
But night sits monarch yet in the mid sky.
The scene changes, presenting Ludlow town and the President's castle: then come in Country Dancers; after them the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, with the Two BROTHERS, and the LADY.
SPIR. Back, shepherds, back; enough your play,
Till next sun-shine holiday:
Of lighter toes, and such court guise
Here be, without duck or nod,
Other trippings to be trod
As Mercury did first devise,
With the mincing Dryades,
On the lawns, and on the leas.
This second Song presents them to their Father and Mother.
Noble Lord, and Lady bright,
I have brought ye new delight;
Here behold so goodly grown
Three fair branches of your own:
Heaven hath timely tried their youth,
Their faith, their patience, and their truth;
And sent them here through hard assays
With a crown of deathless praise,
To triumph in victorious dance
O'er sensual folly and intemperance.
with towers and terraces, and here and | Two Brothers and the Lady being now there may thy banks be crowned upon to dance, he describes their elegant way with groves of myrrh and cinnamon. of moving by trippings, light toes, court 960. Duck or nod. By ducks and nodsguise, &c. The word mincing he uses to our author alludes to the country peo express the neatness of their gait.ple's awkward way of dancing; and, the PECK.