The Secular Masque. Enter JANUS.

Janus. Chronos, Chronos, mend thy pace;
An hundred times the rolling sun
Around the radiant belt has run
In his revolving race.
Behold, behold the goal in sight,
Spread thy fans, and wing thy flight.

Enter CHRONOS, with a scythe in his hand, and a 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,
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.
The world was a fool, ere 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.

Chorus of all three. '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.

Chronos. Then goddess of the silver bow begin.

[Horns, or hunting-music within.]

Enter DIANA.

Diana. With horns and with hounds, I waken the day,
And hie to the woodland walks away;
I tuck up my robe, and am buskin'd soon,
And tie to my forehead a waxing moon;
I course the fleet stag, unkennel the fox,
And chase the wild goats o'er summits of rocks;
With shouting and hooting we pierce through the sky,
And Echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry.

Chorus of all. With shouting and hooting we pierce through the sky,
And Echo turns hunter, and doubles the cry.

Janus. Then our age was in its prime:

Chronos. Free from rage:

Diana.--And free from crime.

Momus. A very merry, dancing, drinking,
Laughing, quaffing, and unthinking time.

Chorus of all. Then our age was in its 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;
The world is past its infant age:
Arms and honour,
Arms and honour,
Set the martial mind on fire,
And kindle manly rage.
Mars has look'd the sky to red;
And Peace, the lazy god, is fled.
Plenty, peace, and pleasure fly;
The sprightly green,
In woodland walks, no more is seen;
The sprightly green has drunk the Tyrian dye.

Chorus of all. Plenty, peace, &c.

Mars. Sound the trumpet, beat the drum;
Through all the world around,
Sound a reveillie, sound, sound,
The warrior god is come.

Chorus of all. Sound the trumpet, &c.

Momus. Thy sword within the scabbard keep,
And let mankind agree;
Better the world were fast asleep,
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.

Chorus 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;
Take me, take me, while you may,
Venus comes not every day.

Chorus of all. Take her, take her, &c.

Chronos. The world was then so light,
I scarcely felt the weight;
Joy ruled the day, and Love the night.
But, since the queen of pleasure left the ground,
I faint, I lag,
And feebly drag
The ponderous orb around.

Momus. All, all of a piece throughout;
[Pointing to Diana.] Thy chase had a beast in view;
[To Mars.] Thy wars brought nothing about;
[To Venus.] Thy lovers were all untrue.

Janus. 'Tis well an old age is out.

Chronos. 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.
'Tis well an old age is out,
And time to begin a new.

Dance of huntsmen, nymphs, warriors, and lovers.

The Secular Masque. by John Dryden