John Milton

(9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674 / London, England)

Comus (excerpts)


SONG1-
Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph that liv'st unseen
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Within thy airy shell
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By slow Meander's margent green,
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And in the violet-imbroider'd vale
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Where the love-lorn nightingale
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Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well:
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Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
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That likest thy Narcissus are?
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O if thou have
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Hid them in some flow'ry cave,
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Tell me but where
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Sweet Queen of Parley, Daughter of the Sphere,
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So mayst thou be translated to the skies,
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And give resounding grace to all heav'ns harmonies.

SONG
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Sabrina fair
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Listen where thou art sitting
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Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
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In twisted braids of lilies knitting
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The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;
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Listen for dear honour's sake,
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Goddess of the silver lake,
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Listen and save.


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Listen and appear to us
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In name of great Oceanus,
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By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
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And Tethys' grave majestic pace;
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By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look,
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And the Carpathian wizard's hook;
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By scaly Triton's winding shell,
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And old soothsaying Glaucus' spell;
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By Leucothea's lovely hands,
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And her son that rules the strands;
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By Thetis' tinsel-slipper'd feet,
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And the songs of Sirens sweet;
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By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
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And fair Ligea's golden comb,
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Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks
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Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
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By all the nymphs that nightly dance
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Upon thy streams with wily glance,
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Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head
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From thy coral-pav'n bed,
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And bridle in thy headlong wave,
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Till thou our summons answer'd have.
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Listen and save.


SABRINA RISES, ATTENDED BY WATER-NYMPHS, AND SINGS
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By the rushy-fringed bank,
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Where grows the willow and the osier dank,
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My sliding chariot stays,
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Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen
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Of turkis blue, and em'rald green
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That in the channel strays,
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Whilst from off the waters fleet
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Thus I set my printless feet
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O'er the cowslip's velvet head,
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That bends not as I tread;
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Gentle swain at thy request
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I am here.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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