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John Dryden (1631–1700).  The Poems of John Dryden.  1913.
 
Songs, Odes, and Lyrical Pieces
The Secular Masque
 
Enter JANUS.
Janus.  Chronos, Chronos, 1 mend thy Pace:
  An hundred Times the rowling Sun
  Around the Radiant Belt has run
    In his revolving Race.
  Behold, behold, the Goal in sight;        5
  Spread thy Fans, and wing thy flight.
 
Enter CHRONOS, with a Scythe in his Hand and a great Globe on his Back, which he sets down at his entrance.
Chronos.  Weary, weary of my weight,
  Let me, let me drop my Freight,
    And leave the World behind.
      I could not bear,        10
      Another Year,
    The Load of Human-kind.
 
Enter MOMUS, Laughing.
Momus.  Ha! ha! ha! Ha! ha! ha! well hast thou done
      To lay down thy Pack,
      And lighten thy Back.        15
  The World was a Fool, e’er since it begun,
  And since neither Janus, nor Chronos, nor I
      Can hinder the Crimes
      Or mend the bad Times,
    ’Tis better to Laugh than to Cry.        20
 
Co. of all 3.  ’Tis better to Laugh than to Cry.
 
Janus.  Since Momus comes to laugh below,
    Old Time begin the Show,
  That he may see, in every Scene,
  What Changes in this Age have been.        25
Chronos.  Then Goddess of the Silver Bow begin.
Horns, or Hunting-Musique within.
 
Enter DIANA.
Diana.  With Horns and with Hounds I waken the Day,
  And hye to my Woodland walks away:
  I tuck up my Robe, and am buskined soon,
  And tye to my Forehead a wexing Moon.        30
  I course the fleet Stagg, unkennel the Fox,
  And chase the wild Goats or’e summets of Rocks,
  With shouting and hooting we pierce thro’ the Sky;
  And Eccho turns Hunter, and doubles the Cry.
 
Cho. of all.  With shouting and hooting we pierce through the Skie,        35
  And Eccho turns Hunter, and doubles the Cry.
 
Janus.  Then our Age was in it’s Prime:
Chronos.  Free from Rage.
Diana.            And free from Crime.
Momus.  A very Merry, Dancing, Drinking,
  Laughing, Quaffing, and unthinking Time.        40
 
Cho. of all.  Then our Age was in it’s Prime,
  Free from Rage, and free from Crime,
  A very Merry, Dancing, Drinking,
  Laughing, Quaffing, and unthinking Time.
[Dance of Diana’s attendants.
 
Enter MARS.
Mars.  Inspire the Vocal Brass, Inspire;
        45
  The World is past its Infant Age:
      Arms and Honour,
      Arms and Honour,
  Set the Martial Mind on Fire,
  And kindle Manly Rage.        50
    Mars has lookt the Sky to Red;
  And Peace, the Lazy Good, is fled.
    Plenty, Peace, and Pleasure fly;
        The Sprightly Green
    In Woodland-Walks 2 no more is seen;        55
The Sprightly Green has drunk the Tyrian Dye.
 
Cho. of all.  Plenty, Peace, &c.
 
Mars.  Sound the Trumpet, Beat the Drum;
    Through all the World around,
    Sound a Reveille, Sound, Sound,        60
  The Warrior God is come.
 
Cho. of all.  Sound the Trumpet, &c.
 
Momus.  Thy Sword within the Scabbard keep,
    And let Mankind agree;
  Better the World were fast asleep,        65
    Than kept awake by Thee.
  The Fools are only thinner,
    With all our Cost and Care;
  But neither side a winner,
    For Things are as they were.        70
 
Cho. of all.  The Fools are only, &c.
 
Enter VENUS.
Venus.  Calms appear, when Storms are past;
  Love will have his Hour at last:
  Nature is my kindly Care;
  Mars destroys, and I repair;        75
  Take me, take me, while you may,
  Venus comes not ev’ry Day.
 
Cho. of all.  Take her, take her, &c.
 
Chronos.  The World was then so light,
      I scarcely felt the Weight;        80
    Joy rul’d the Day, and Love the Night.
  But since the Queen of Pleasure left the Ground,
        I faint, I lag,
        And feebly drag
      The pond’rous Orb around.        85
 
Momus.  All, all of a piece throughout:
  Pointing to Diana.  Thy Chase had a Beast in View;
  Pointing to Mars.  Thy Wars brought nothing about;
  Pointing to Venus.  Thy Lovers were all untrue.
 
Janus.  ’Tis well an Old Age is out.        90
 
Chro.  And time to begin a New.
 
Cho. of all.  All, all of a piece throughout:
    Thy Chase had a Beast in View;
  Thy Wars brought nothing about;
    Thy Lovers were all untrue.        95
  ’Tis well an Old Age is out,
    And time to begin a New.
Dance of Huntsmen, Nymphs, Warriours, and Lovers.

FINIS
 
Note 1. Text from the original but posthumous edition of 1700, except as noted. [back]
Note 2. Woodland] Woodland 1700. [back]
 
 
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