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"Sober, Steadfast, And Demure"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Milton invokes thoughtfulness to come to him; his calling her "nun" indicates his high regard for her purity and serenity. She is sober, that is, not given to prankishness; steadfast, or firm in her pursuit of her thoughtful course; and demure, or not given to coyness and flirtation. She wears a long and flowing robe of a dark, color, probably purple, a hue associated with solemnity. Over her shoulders is a stole of fine black cloth worn in a decent and comely manner. He tells her to come, but to maintain her accustomed fashion of keeping a moderate pace such as that used by one who is engrossed in thought. His summons is:

Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure,
Sober, steadfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And sable stole of cypress lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step and musing gait . . .