All Rights Reserved
WITH NOTES AND A SHORT
THE LADY ALIX EGERTON
J. M. DENT ftp SONS
Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON 6* Co.
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh
/ am indebted to Mr. STRACHAN HOLME,
Curator of the Bridgewater Library, for much
valuable advice, and also for assistance in
correcting the proofs of the Maske.
LIST OF PORTRAITS IN TINTED
JOHN, IST EARL OF BRIDGEWATER .... Frontispiece
(From the Portrait at Bridgewater House)
JOHN EGERTON, LORD BRACKLEY, AFTERWARDS 2ND
EARL OF BRIDGEWATER Facing page 8
(From the Portrait at Bridgewater House)
FRANCES, IST COUNTESS OF BRIDGEWATER . 12
(From the Portrait at Bridgewater House)
LADY ALICE EGERTON, YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF
JOHN, IST EARL OF BRIDGEWATER . . . ,, 18
(From the Portrait at Worsley Hall)
JOHN EGERTON, LORD BRACKLEY, AFTERWARDS 2ND
EARL OF BRIDGEWATER ,,20
(Front the Portrait at Worsley Hall)
THOMAS EGERTON, YOUNGEST SON OF JOHN, IST EARL
OF BRIDGEWATER 26
(From the Portrait at Worsley Hall)
LADY ALICE EGERTON, YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF
JOHN, IST EARL OF BRIDGEWATER, AFTERWARDS
COUNTESS OF CARBERY ,, 30
(From the Portrait at Golden Grove, belonging to the Earl
viii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
THOMAS EGERTON, YOUNGEST SON OF JOHN, IST
EARL OF BRIDGEWATER Facing page 32
(From the Portrait at Worsley Hall]
THE BRIDGEWATER MS.
FACSIMILE OF TITLE-PAGE Facing page 34
FIRST PAGE OF BRIDGEWATER MS ,.36
LAST PAGE OF BRIDGEWATER MS. 82
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS
With the recollection of Masson, the greatest of Milton's
biographers, and of all those greater and lesser men who have
described the 'poet and his works, it seems superfluous, if not
-presumptuous, to contr.ibute anything to the subject. On the
other hand, it would be an act of scant courtesy to introduce
the Bridgewater MS. of " Comus," with such memoirs as
are available of the Egerton family, without some reference
to the author as he was at that period of his career ; for
the sole title to fame of " The Three Children " rests with
" Sent them heere through hard assaies
With a crown of deathlesse praise."
As the grandchildren of a Lord Chancellor whom two sove
reigns had delighted to honour, and a great poet to praise,
they would have been long ago forgotten, but as the original
players in the Masque at Ludlow, they have their special
niche in the shrine of memory which succeeding generation*
have raised to Milton.
2 COMUS: A MASKE
When John Milton wrote, more than half a century
" The childhood shows the man
As morning shows the day"
he may well have been arguing from his own early life. Born
at his father's house in Bread Street, on the <)th of December
1608, he spent a studious and serious boyhood under the
shadow of Old St. Paul's. Aubrey, whose quaint, discon
nected records were compiled at first hand from the brother,
nephew, and friends of the poet, tells us that Milton the elder,
father of John and Christopher, being disinherited " because
he kept not to the Catholique religion, thereupon came to
London, became a scrivener, and got a plentifull estate by it."
He was " an ingeniose man, delighted in musique, com
posed many songs now in print, notably that of * Oriana.' '
Under his instruction the son became a proficient organist.
According to the same writer Milton " had a delicate, tune
able voice, and had good skill," and in his old age " he would
be very cheerful even in his gowte fits and sing." That bis
singing was highly appreciated by his friends is proved by
an Ode written to him by Antonio Francini, Gentleman of
" Wouldst thou I spoke of thy sweet gift of song,
By which thou dost aspire
To take thy place in the celestial throng; "
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 3
and the numerous references to music scattered through the
poefs works testify to an insight which was the result of his
early companionship with " the hidden soul of harmony"
In the same Italian Ode mention is also made of his
" For besides English thou canst purely speak
Spanish, French, Tuscan, Roman and old Greek ; "
and Milton explains in the autobiographical notes in his
" Second Defence of the People of England " : " My appetite
for knowledge was so voracious that from twelve years of
age I hardly ever left my studies or went to bed before mid
night." His brother Christopher, endorsing this through
Aubrey, says, " He went to school when he was very young,
he studied very hard, and sate up very late ; commonly till
twelve or one o'clock at night, and his father ordered the
mayde to sit up for him" In addition to his home studies
Milton had passed with honour through St. Paul's Schools,
and through Cambridge University, where he had entered
as a pensioner of Christ's College in the spring 0/1624., an ^
where he graduated as M.A. seven years later. To quote
Christopher again : " He was a very hard student in the
university and performed all his exercises there with very
good applause" Milton's own testimony is to the same effect.
A yet closer acquaintance with the young poet is to be
gained from his correspondence, of which much has fortunately
4 COMUS: A MASKE
been preserved. In Greek letter s> his friend Charles Diodati
invites him " to put on a holiday frame of mind" " Why
dost thou -persist inexcusably in hanging all night and all
day over books and literary exercises. Live, laugh, enjoy
youth, and the hours as they -pass, and desist from those
researches of yours into the -pursuits and leisures and indo
lences of the wise men of old, yourself a martyr to over-work
all the whiL\" In Milton's sonnet written " On being
arrived to the age of twenty-three," he laments of himself
" My hasting days fly on with full career
But my late spring no bud or blossom showth ; "
and when, probably in the following year, he sent the sonnet
to a correspondent whose name has not survived, he is still
apparently troubled with the same idea : " / am something
suspicious of myself and do take notice of a certain belated-
ness in me" It should be remembered in conjunction with
this complaint that he had already written various minor
poems and his immortal- " Epitaph on Shakespeare," one line
alone of which is worth a poet's ransom
" Deare Sonne of memory, great Heire of Fame "
In a Latin epistle to Diodati, dated some six years later, he
described himself " as being one by nature slow and lazy to
" / know," he goes on, " your method of study to be so
arranged that you frequently take breath in the middle,
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 5
visit your friends, write much, sometimes make a journey,
whereas my genius is such that no delay, no rest, no care or
thought almost of anything holds me aside until I reach the
end I am making for"
Richardson says of him that he " would sometimes lie
awake the whole night hut not a verse could he make ; and
on a sudden his 'poetical faculty would rush upon him with
an impetus or ' oestrum? ' A last quotation from the Dio-
dati correspondence will complete the 'picture of his mind :
" God has instilled into me if into any one a vehement love
of the beautiful"
Of his personal appearance we have his own description
of himself, his daughter Deborah's, and that of Aubrey, and
from these a composite portrait could he deduced which would
thus describe him : Of medium height, " a beautiful and
well-proportioned body" dark grey eyes (" my eyes were
naturally weak and I was subject to constant headaches "),
" light brown lank hair," " his complexion exceeding fayre,
so faire that they called him the Lady of Chrises College"
a little red in his cheeks ; " nor though very thin was I
ever deficient in courage or in strength ; I was wont con
stantly to exercise myself in the use of the broad-sword"
Such was Milton in 1634, an undergraduate still in the
schools of Love and Grief.
His father " had retired to pass his old age " at Horton
6 COMUS: A MASKE
in Buckinghamshire, and Milton lived there with his parents
within ten miles of Harefield, which was the scene of his
first dramatic venture, " Arcades, 'part of an entertainment
presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby by some noble
persons of her family" That his mind was attracted at this
period to the form of dramatic art which was then fashionable
is evidenced in " IS Allegro" where he seems to excuse himself
for this deflection from his serious way as being
" Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer's eve by haunted stream."
He was, however, but following in the steps of Ben Jonson
and lesser lights, who wrote Masques and Pastorals to celebrate
occasions of festival for the amateur flayers of the Court
and nobility ; the poets supplying the subject and dialogue,
to be elaborated by the machinists of whom Inigo Jones
was the most celebrated and by the musical composers, of
whom Henry Lawes appears to have been the most popular.
It is generally accepted that Lawes was the connecting
link between Milton and the Egerton family ; and, in the
absence of any data concerning the matter, it would certainly
seem that this is the most probable conclusion, although Masson
opened up a wide field of possibility when he wrote on this
very subject : " We are apt to forget that every life has many
minute ramifications in addition to the few which biography
can trace" Bulstrode Whitelocke, the eminent lawyer, who
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 7
was a friend of Lawes, and one of the organisers of the great
Masque of the Inns of Court, in 1633, was a first cousin of
Bulstrode, Lord of the Manor of H or ton, and may have had
a hand in the young poet's introduction, or Milton and Lawes
may have already met in the mutual pursuit of music.
" Sometimes" he writes, " / exchanged the country for the
town, either for the purpose of buying books, or for that of
learning anything new in mathematics or in music, in which
sciences I then delighted"
Milton's Sonnet to Lawes, commencing
" Harry, whose tuneful and well measured song,"
suggests that there was a close friendship between them, but
helps in no way to date their first acquaintance, as it seems
to have been written about the time of its publication in
1648, when it prefixed a book of " Choice Psalms, put into
musick by W . and H. Lawes"
Henry Lawes, Milton's senior by eight years, was the
son of Thomas Lawes, vicar-choral of Salisbury Cathedral ;
he and his brother William received their musical education
under the patronage of Edward, Earl of Hertford. They were
both gentlemen of the King's Chapel Royal, and Henry, in
addition to composing, was also a teacher of music ; there is
abundant proof that he occupied that position for many years
in the family of the Earl of Bridgewater. The fact is
8 COMUS: A MASKE
referred to in the first edition of " Comus," or rather " A
Maske" as it was still entitled, which was brought out by
Lawes, " not openly acknowledged by the Author" and " printed
for Humphrey Robinson, at the signe of the Three Pidgeons
in Paul's Churchyard, 1637." Lawes dedicated it to John,
Lord Viscount Brackley, the original Elder Brother of the
piece, and speaks of himself as the impersonator of Tbyrsis,
and of having " by many favours been long obliged to your
most honoured Parents" He still had some connection with
the family in 1646-7, as among the Bridgewater MSS. the
words of a duet in his handwriting are included styled :
" A Hymenall Song. On a Cellebration of the Nuptials of
the Right Ho^ John, Lord Brackley, and his virtuous Lady,
After the Byrth of their First Son ; performed by the Lady
Alice Egerton, his Lordships sister ; and Henry Lawes, an
Humble Servant to the Ho^ family" The music was doubt
less far superior to the words, which can hardly be termed
inspired, but which for their naivete* deserve to be quoted in
part. It opens with Lady Alice singing ; she is again called
the Lady as she was in " Comus," and the sixth line is reminis
cent of the Masque, perhaps intentionally so :
Welcom this happy day
because it doth invite
Us to perform a Nuptiall Right
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 9
H. L. 1 Thrice welcom bit
Since it is my Cue
to be an Echo both to that and you :
La. We have a Syre
Whom all that know admire,
H. L. And he an Heire
And that Heire hath a Son"
And so on for three more verses in much the same strain,
ending with a chorus. Another Ode of his is also among
the MSS. " An Anniversary on the Nuptials of the Right
ftobles <fk e Earl and Countess of Bridgewater set into
Musique for ^ voices by their Honors most humbly devoted
servant, H. Lawes, July 22, 57." Lord Brackley had
succeeded to his father's titles and estates in December 1649,
and Lady Alice had married Richard Vaughan, Earl of
Carbery, in 1652. The song is in much the same style as
the other, consisting of four verses, of which one will suffice
for a specimen :
" The Days Returned ! and so are we to pay
Our Offrings on this Great Thanksgiving day >
'tis his, 'tis hers, 'tis both, 'tis all
Now though it Ryse it ne'er did fa//,
whose honour shall as Endless prove
as our devotion or their Love.
Then let's rejoyce, let this great day appear
in this one day now offer all the year."
1 The letters are in monogram.
io COMUS: A MASKE
The opening lines of the last verse seem almost too quaint to
" This Day Ten-year to this blesst payre did grant
What Angel's Joy, and Joy which angels want."
Six years later Lawes* death occurred, but in the interval
between the two anniversaries which he had celebrated in
song, he published in 1653 " Ayres and Dialogues, for one,
two, and three voices," which in gratitude doubtless for
assistance during the troubles which befell the Royalists in
the Civil War, he dedicated to Alice, Countess of Carbery,
and Mary, Lady Herbert of Cherbury, one of the former's
elder sisters ; " most of them," he explains, " being com
posed when I was employed by your ever honoured parents
to attend your ladyships' education in music" There are
some old accounts of moneys paid for the grandchildren of
Lord Chancellor Ellesmere. One of these runs :
" delivered to Mistress Heard by y e Ladye Frauncis her direction ;
to be payd to one who teacheth Mistress Frauncis and her sisters
to singe ; for 6 months, viz. from y e first of May 1615 to y
third of November 1615 at 40*. f month. l2."
No name ap-pears as it does in the case of some of their other
teachers, and unfortunately we cannot suggest that it may
have been Lawes, for at that date he was barely fifteen,
and Mistress Frauncis* sisters here referred to probably only
include the elder ones, Arbella and Elizabeth, who were
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS n
nine and ten respectively ; and it is mentioned here merely
as evidence of their general talent for music.
It is principally from household accounts, dedications, and
epitaphs that one is enabled to reconstruct the domestic life
of this branch of the Egerton family, although having pieced
together the information acquired, it demands additions and
corrections, as fresh details occasionally turn up from un
expected sources. There are records, sufficient to compose a
volume, of the founder of the family, Lord Chancellor Ellesmere ;
and his younger and only surviving son, Sir John Egerton,
who was created Earl of Bridgewater soon after his father's
death, added his quota also to the history of his day, though
allusion to him in contemporary annals is extremely rare.
He had been educated for the Law, and would doubtless
have followed that profession but for his brother's death.
Aubrey, whose " Lives of Eminent Men " I have already
quoted concerning Milton, and who therein makes no mention
at all of " Comus," devotes some fourteen lines to the Lord
Chancellor, while he gives of his son surely the briefest and
strangest of all biographies.
" His son and heir, since Earl of Bridgewater, was an
indefatigable ringer" It is as well to recall in this connection
that he lived in two parishes in London whose churches are
renowned for their beautiful peals of bells, St. Martin in the
Fields, and St. Giles* Cripplegate.
12 COMUS: A MASKE
The only extant description, therefore, of the Earl of
Bridgewater for whom " Comus " was composed, is his
epitaph, written by a devoted son who has succeeded in com
bining affection and literary style a not too frequent occur
rence in such testimonies. He was buried at Little Gaddesden
Church near Ashridge, his country home, and the inscription
on his tomb runs
"He was endowed with incomparable parts, both natural and
acquired, so that both Art and Nature did seem to strive which
should contribute towards the making him a most accomplished
gentleman ; he had an active Body and a vigour ous soul, his deport
ment was graceful, his discourse excellent whether extempore or
premeditated^ serious or jocular, so that he seldom spake but he did
either instruct or delight those that heard him ; he was a profound
scholar, an able statesman, and a good Christian ; he was a dutiful
son to his Mother the Church of England in her persecution as well
as in her great splendour ; a loyal subject to his sovereign in those
worst times, when it was accounted treason not to be a Traytor.
" As he lived 70 years a pattern of virtue, so he died an example
of patience and piety"
He married in 1602 Lady Frances Stanley, the daughter
of his stepmother, the Dowager Countess of Derby, who,
according to her epitaph on the same tomb, was
" Unparalleled in gifts of Nature and Grace, being strong of
constitution, admirable for beauty, generous in carriage, of a sweet
noble disposition, wise in her affairs, cheerful in her discourse, liberal
to the Poor, pious towards God, and good to all"
Among the Bridgewater MSS. there is testimony to her
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 13
learning as well as her -piety, in a long, narrow roll of vellum
entitled " A Catalogue of my Ladie's Books at London,
Oct. 2jth, 1627." It contains a list of more than 200
volumes, some of which may have belonged to her father,
as they form a large library for a woman of her day.
Seventeen of them are in French, and many of them are books
of devotion. They include :
" Speeds Chronicle 1611
The Treasury of a undent and moderne times . . 1613
Hookers Ecclesiastical Polity . . . . .1 604
Plutarch's Liues J 579
Henry the 'jth by the Lord Verulam . . . 1622
His Natural History . . . . . .1627
The Dia II of Princes 1619
Barcklay's Argenis 1625
Johnson's IVorkes (Ben Jonson) . . . .1616
Draytons Workes, part 2nd 1627
The ffayery Queene ...... 1609
Godfrey of Bulloigne 1600
Eusebius his Eclesiasticall History . . . .1619
King James his Apology for the Oaths of Allegeance . 1609
History of Trebizond . . . . . .1616
Don Quixot by She/ton ......
Du Bartas ........
Diuers Playes by Shakespeare ..... 1602
Diuerse Playes in 5 thicke volumes in vellum
A booke of Diuerse Playes in Leather . . .1599
The Tragedy of Mustapha ..... 1609
A Booke of diuerse Playes in velum . . . .1601
H COMUS: A MASKE
A quip for an vpstart Courtier .... 1620
The life of Queene Eliz
Braythwait Times Curtaine drawne to the Anatomy
of Vanity , 1621
Braythwait A Strappada for the Diuell . . 1615
Couerdale A pretious Pearle . . . .1560
Couerdale Crummes of Comfort .... 1627
Boetius English ....... 1609
S* Thomas Overbury's Characters ....
Grtenes Ghoste ....... 1625
UAstrea. Seconde Partie 1614
Another the same . . . . . . .1615
Le Decameron de Bocae k J 579
The Lamentaons of Jeremy in verse by Dr. Donne 8 .
Dr Donnes s'mons 1622."
The wedding of Sir John Egerton and Lady Frances
Stanley took 'place two years after the Chancellor's third
marriage, and in London they lived together at York House,
near Charing Cross, which the latter rented from the Arch
bishop of Tork (Matthew Hutton). The Lord Chancellor
seems to have been much attached to his daughter-in-law,
though his old age was embittered by her mother's " cursed
railinge and bitter tongue"
" / thanke God" he wrote, " I never desired long fife, nor never
had less cause to desire it than synce this my last marriage, for before
I was never acquaynted with such tempests and storms"
In the steward's accounts are various entries of sums
expended for Sir John's wife and family.
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 15
In April 1604 we find
" Bed, canapie, and other furniture sutable all of crimson velvet,
for Lady Frauncis chamber"
The details are far too long to quote in full, but 145 yards
of velvet, sercenet, and serge for lining, with gold lace and
fringes of crimson and gold for trimming, suggest the af-pear-
ance of the room. The "Reparations and necessarie furniture
for her nur eerie " have a rather more sentimental interest
now. " A new Chymney in y e Nurcerie, new matts for the
chyld bedchamber, laying y e old matts there" are all accounted
for. There was only one child at this time, Frances, born
March 18, 1603, and her " cradell " had a crimson velvet
" counterpoynt and headcloth " ; there were window curtains
of crimson serge in the room, and others ofDornix, " a watchett
rugge offyne breadthes " and " a high ckayre" In August
of this year the Lord Chancellor wrote a letter to his son full
of tender solicitude for the anxiety it would occasion little
Frances had had measles at Harefield, where she had been
sent by her grandfather when her mother was taken ill with
smallpox. Of Lady Fraunces he wrote :
" There is no feare or likelihood of blemysh. She is so well as you
have cause to thanke God and be merye. . . . Litle Francke is well
recovered . . . and lightsome and mery as she was before."
He signs it
" Tour loving and most careful! father "
In 1605 Arbella, and in 1606 Elizabeth, arrived to share
16 COMUS: A MASKE
the " Nurcerie " at Tork House, and some more furniture
was added to it ; the joiner made a table with a cupboard and
mended the screen ; the turner was p aid for " three low greene
chayres," and for mending the " goe-waynes " (go-carts) ; there
was " a high chayre of red leather for M resi Frauncis
Egerton," and two low stools seated with red leather. Under
the date of October 1607 a detailed account is rendered
" about y* new Nurcerie and y* passage to it"
the " goe- carts " were again mended, and there were two
more " little chayres for y' children" A new " cradell "
was also prepared for the expected heir, but he did not come
to occupy it, only another daughter whose christening took
place on or about the 2^th of December.
" Disbursed for Banketinge Stuffe and wyne and hyre of glasse
bowles and plates, at the christeninge of M Tl * Cecilia Egerton as by
sever a II bills appear eth 20. 14. 6."
In the four following years Mary, Penelope, and Katherine
were born, and the Lord Chancellor must indeed have
despaired of seeing a successor to his name when there came
an eighth daughter, who was called Alice, probably after
her double- grandmother, Lady Derby, although the name had
other associations for the family in that of Alice Sparke,
the Chancellor's beautiful mother, who never became the wife
of his father, Sir Richard Egerton.
There are two MS. pages, written in fine Elizabethan
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 17
characters, " A Noate of the Severall Ages of all my loved
Children, 1635," and the short history of this eighth daughter
is contained in the three lines :
" La. Alice Egerton natus the $ th of October 1613 a boute 4 in
the morninge being Tuesday. She dyed at Torke House and was
burled at St. Martin's Church in the Feelds. 14'* Dec. 1614."
There had been a project of an early betrothal between
Frances and the son and heir- apparent of Lord Mounteagle,
Henry Parker, but it seems to have fallen through, and as
far as we can tell now, she and her sisters continued their
education without further incident. In addition to the singing
lessons which I have already mentioned, they had dancing
lessons for a month, and Frances was taught to play on the
lute from May to November in 1615, by a Mr. Newport,
for which he received 2OS. a month ; and for four months
in the same year Arbella learned French from M. Arondell
at the same rate. The " christening banket " of another
sister, Magdalen, took place in August, and the seven little
girls must have seen the table set with the long list of dainties,
which is all that is left to tell the tale. Hippocras was the
principal drink, and there was a vast array of sweetmeats
" pastes of sortes, boxes of wafers, biskets," eight kinds of
preserved fruits, twenty-one dried fruits, pastes of raspberries,
gooseberries, and apricots, and pounds of " orringe" ginger,
.almond, and rosemary comfits.
1 8 COMUS: A MASKE
The following year, on the ^\st of September 1616, the
long-desired heir was born, and was called James after his
godfather, the King of England and Scotland. There must
surely have been a feast on this occasion, but the household
accounts yield no record of it, and the next entry, " Fees for
the Lord Chancellor's Creation of Viscount Brackley," would
excite little interest among the children ; his death, however,
which occurred in March 1617, made a great change in their
lives, and York House knew them no more. As a grand
father, the Lord Chancellor may have had infinite 'possi
bilities ; much, I think, might be expected of the man who,
in an official letter to his Sovereign on " Certain considera
tions touching the Plantations in Ireland," makes a passing
reference to the romance of " Amadas de Gawle." This is
only conjecture, but the facts which ensued after his death
were the raising of his son to the Earldom of Bridgewater,
and the transference of the town residence of the family to
Cripple gate, which remained their home unto the third and
fourth generations, when a tragedy of fire severed their con
nection with the district in 1687, and the site was sold to
Sir Christopher Wren. Garter House, which occupied the
site where Bridgewater Square now stands, was in 1617 near
the outskirts of the city, and the house and grounds covered
a large area, which was noted for its fine trees and orchards.
The house was built originally by Sir Thomas Wriothesley,
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 19
Garter Principal King- at- Arms. Stow, in his " Survey of
London" says he built in the top thereof a chapel which he
dedicated by " the name of St. Trinitas in Alto." In the
next generation of Egertons, " At Barbacan in my owne
Chappell" is the scene of many christenings. The first
earl -always writes of it as Barbacan House ; it is not until
much later that I find it called Bridgewater House.
Yet another daughter arrived in 1618; she was named
Anne: and the year after, on "the i^th of June beinge
Sunday at 4 o'clocke in the morninge" was born the future
" Lady " of " Comus." When this second Alice was but a
year and a half old, a great shadow fell on Barbacan House :
" after he had lived three years and three months and eight
days" James, Lord Brackley, died and was " buried under a
black marble in the Chauncell of St. Giles." The melancholy
ceremony, on New Tear's Eve 1620, is recorded in the bill,
where one can still read every detail, from the pathetically
short length of " elme-board " for the coffin, to the number
of wax-lights and the three dozen and a half of torches which
lit the young heir to his grave. It would seem that his
death broke his nurse's heart, for, with the names of the
Bridgewater family who occupied the vault, there was also
" Here lieth ye body of Blanche Done a carefulland lovlnge servant
to ye Lo. James, discount Brackley ; She Joyed not nor desired to live
20 COMUS: A MASKE
after / death of her Lord and Master and was (accordlnge to her
desire) buried here y* 12 March I62O." 1
Charles, Lord Brackley, was born in May of this year,
but he died before he was two years old, and the accounts
record his burial also in St. Giles 9 Church. A month after,
on May 29, 1623, John (the Elder Brother in " Comus ")
was born, and in 1625, on June nth, appeared Thomas, the
fifteenth and youngest child.
In the meantime, however, Frances, the eldest daughter,
had married Sir John Hob art of Blickling, Norfolk. Among
the MSS. there is a record of the assignment of the parsonage
of Martham in Norfolk for the supply of her jointure, and
also the grant of an annuity of 800 from his father, Sir
Henry Hobart ; they are both dated Jan. 20, 1622. Of
her further history I can find no trace whatever, which is
remarkable, as, in the case of all the other children, chance
references to them occur here and there. Arbella's marriage
to Oliver St. John, son of the Earl of Bolingbroke, must have
also taken place soon afterwards.
'The next record of the family is the portraits of the four
youngest children, which hang at Worsley Hall. Anne at
least must have been painted in 1725, as she died at Christmas
1 The date would be in our reckoning 1621. Until 1752 the year
began in England on the 2$th of March ; in Scotland after 1600 //
began as now on January ist. (Masson.)
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 21
in that year, possibly at Ashridge, for she is buried in the
church at Little Gaddesden. In her portrait she looks older
than seven, but children in those days were dressed like their
parents in miniature, which tended to make them look older
than they were ; she is painted in a dark skirt embroidered
with gold, a short white tabbed bodice, with deep cuffs and
an upstanding lace collar, and a white dove stands beside
her. She has large dark eyes and dark hair, whereas Alice
is very fair, with a round, chubby face. She wears a white
dress also embroidered with gold, and has a small parroquet
on her right hand. Brackley is wearing a close-fitting white
cap, with only one curl showing ; his frock is down to his
toes, with a fine apron covering the front of it ; he has a
wicker rattle in one hand, and the other clasps a large coral
one hung round his neck by a thick gold chain ; a pack of
cards is scattered at his feet. In Thomas's portrait the dress
and pose resemble his brothers exactly, but he holds only the
coral rattle, and the face is of quite a different type.
A few months after Anne's death the vault in St. Giles,
Cripplegate, was reopened and the body of Cecilia or Lady
Sisley as it is written in the Parish Register " after she
had lived 18 years 4 months and ^ dayes," was laid beside
her baby brothers. In the end of 1626 the marriage of
Elizabeth was being arranged with David Cecil, afterwards
Earl of Exeter, and a year later Mary married Richard
22 COMUS: A MASKE
Herbert of Cherbury, thereby becoming a niece by marriage
of George Herbert. Penelope was the eldest daughter at
home, when at Shrove-tide 1630 she appeared at Whitehall,
in Ben Jonsorfs Masque of " Chloridia," Chloris and her
nymphs being impersonated " by the Queen's Majesty and
her Ladies" of whom Penelope was apparently one. She
was about twenty at the time ; they wore white dresses
embroidered with silver, trimmed with green leaves em
broidered with gold, on their heads veils and wreaths of
flowers with gold and silver ornaments. The stage directions
read somewhat like a modern Transformation Scene.
The Earl of Bridgewater was appointed President of
the Council of the Welsh Marches in June 1631 of which
Council he had been a member for the last fourteen years.
This Court of the Marches, instituted in the reign of
Edward IV ., is described in an old MS. as that " which att
the beginninge brought Wales to that Civilitye and quietnes
that you nowe see it from that wild and outrageous state that
you shall read of." The Letter of Instructions from the
King to Lord Bridgewater details an alarming list of offences
"to be examined, sought out, and repressed," from " treason
and murthers " to poaching and neglect of road-mending.
The new President did not, however, hasten to take up his
duties. In a letter to the Privy Council at Ludlow, his official
residence, he excuses this delay : " In respect that some
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 23
extraordinary occasions preventing my coming to Ludlowe
(which I fully intended} the last Somer, have caused me to
defer the same until a farther tyme." The " extraordinary
occasions " may, and -probably do, include the weddings of his
three daughters : Penelope to Sir Robert Napier of Luton Hoo,
Katherine to William Courteene, son of Sir William Courteene y
a great London merchant, and Magdalen to Sir Gervase Cutler
of Stainburgh in Yorkshire. In Fuller's Miscellanies it is
recorded that Abraham Fraunce, a writer of whom little is
known, presented an " Epithalamium " to Sir Gervase Cutler
on his marriage with Lady Magdalen Egerton in 1633.
Fraunce must have been at least eighty ; he was a native of
Shropshire, and in a letter to Sir Gervase he says he has paid
the same compliment to all the earVs daughters on their
marriage, so he would appear to have had some connection with
Another reason for delaying the departure to Ludlow
may have been the performance at Harefield of Milton's
" Arcades " ; as this was only part of the entertainment it
points to an event of special importance which was being
celebrated in honour of old Lady Derby.
Lawes, in his quaint address to Alice and Mary, wrote,
" who (as in other accomplishments fit for persons of your
quality) excelled most ladies especially in vocal music, wherein
you were so absolute that you gave life and honour to all I set
24 COMUS: A MASKE
and taught you, and that with more understanding than a
new generation -pretending to skill are capable of" so it
seems permissible to assume that Alice and her brothers, if
not some of the other grand- daughters, were among the " noble
persons " of Lady Derby's family, who appeared in pastoral
habit and joined in the singing.
'The data of this period are principally limited to inven
tories of wearing apparel, which exhibit a certain magni
ficence coupled with rigid economy. A suit of cloth of silver
with gold and silver lace, belonging to Lord Bridgewater,
was ripped to pieces " to use the lace other wayes as to lace
a gowne and to make buttons" " One of the caipes " of a
cloak of figured satin, lined and " bordered about " with
plush, is " used by my Lord's directions to make a caipe to
the rich black velvett gowne," and a month later " this Cloake
was cutt into a coate with 4 skirts and lyned with furr, the
plush lining was putt into a greene cloath coate." He had a
vast wardrobe, one suit had 249 goldsmith's buttons on it ;
and among other curious items are " I payer of black silke
stockings lined with leather and toed with greene silke,"
another " payer lyned in the foote with taffeta" One old
ash-coloured taffetas bag " to carry my Lord's hat in when
he ride a journey," and a " Night-bag of crimson velvet
embroidered with gold and silver," which apparently held
" a caipe, a pair of pantables, a head-brush, a comb case
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 25
with a glasse, two combs, a beard, brush, a bodkin and an
ear-picker" Of his 33 " Hatts" four are " ould past
wearinge," one heaver was " my Ladyes," another had
belonged to Penelope, and a coloured Dutch felt was a present
from Sir John Hobart.
. The inventory continues with 40 hat bands, girdles and
hangers, belts and scarves, swords, daggers and spurs; 39
pairs of silk garters, black and coloured ; 29 pairs of stockings ;
38 pairs of gloves ; 3 pairs of mittens (one of ash -coloured
velvet laced with silver). There are also included clothes
which had belonged to the Lord Chancellor, who at the time
the principal inventory is dated, had been dead about sixteen
Lady Bridgewater* s apparel does not occupy half as
many pages as her lord's, but it is even more interesting on
account of the notes attached to almost every item explaining
how they were altered, or given away, how lace was ripped
off and the dye-pot employed. A white damask gown
embroidered with black silk was altered into a petticoat and
waistcoat, and given with " huffles and colter " to Lady Mary
Herbert. Lady Magdalen Cutler had " a cloak and safe
guard of damazella prymrose colour " given her when she
went to Yorkshire; Lady Katherine Courteyne (this name
is never spelt twice alike) was given " a little sky-coloured
cheyney silke damaske mantell trimmed with a silk and
26 COMUS: A MASKE
silver lace, for her use being sicke," and Lady Elizabeth
received a " black silke Taisseny yellow gowne with 'petticoat
stomacher and collar, with white sleeves embroidered all
over with Starrs of black satin and silke twist " A " crimson
satin petticoat and waistcoat embroidered with frost work
of gold and silver " was used "for a bed and chairs" and
in two cases satin -petticoats were cut tip for the seats of sedan
chairs ; whereas the coat of a " lead- coloured riding suit
trimmed with gold and silver 'parchment was lost by a footman,
and my Lady knew of it" The short lists of the " Remaynes "
of my Ladies Penelope, Katherine, and Magdalen evidently
contain only the dresses discarded at the time they were
married ; and, as none of the inventories are of an earlier
date than 1633, among the daughters it is only Alice's ward
robe that is mentioned in any detail ; her name appears
often also as the recipient of her mother's dresses. She had
" a silver debien petticoate embroidered with leaves," and
" a kirtle of carnation and gold trymmed with gold and silver
lace, with huffles and stomiger," and one of her prettiest
dresses must have been " a peach-coloured satin petticoate,
hole sleeves and stomacher, embroidered with small silver
oaes." The only list of underclothes which has been pre
served is hers, and shows a quantity of aprons, waistcoates,
sleeves, gorgets, quifes (coifs) with " cross clothes .to them
and shaddowes to them," smocks, hoods, and ruffs she had
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 27
15 " night-railes " of holland or cambric, but only "12
handkerchiefs for the nose." There is also entered a small
sum for fink worsted stockings bought for her, and a receipted
bill of the i^th of July 1634 details two pairs of shoes at
2s. 6d. each, one pair of which without much strain of sup
position she may have worn in " Comus" This same receipt
contains items for " my yonge Lord and Mr. Thomas"
white gloves, and " furies for bouthos (boot-hose) topes "
which cost $s. 9^., while 6d. only is charged for making the
" bouthos " tops. The wearing apparel of the two boys is full
of interest : they had so many suits, and of such varied colours,
including scarlet, grass-green, lemon, straw, peach, rose and
lead-colour they were generally dressed alike, but a suit
of rose-coloured satin embroidered with silver twist belonging
to Brackley was made down for Thomas, and one of two
scarlet coats trimmed with silver was altered into a pair of
hose for the younger boy, while the white damask lining
of a rose-coloured satin cloak embroidered with silver twist
was made into a suit and two doublets for Lord Brackley,
and afterwards " broke to make linings of" Among their
hats were a beaver and a straw which had belonged to their
sister Katherine, and also " 2 whitt wood hatts made at the
East Endies given by J. Keller the footman." At Shrove
tide, February 18, 1634, there was again a Masque played
at Whitehall ; this time it was Carew's " Ccelum Brittani-
28 COMUS: A MASKE
cum" with music by Lawes, in which both Lord Bridge-
water's sons took part. They had new suits on the i6th
February of " silver grogram with flowers of coloured silks
and two open Coxcombe laces on all the seams" whose ultimate
fate it was to be " altered into 2 suits, one black, the other
lined with green flush" These were not their clothes for
the Masque, for, dated February 17, is " A 'Just note of 2
Masken seuts for my Lo. Brackley, and the other for Mr.
Thomas " : it begins with " 2 gab er dynes of tins ell lynd
with Callico," and includes every item of these carnation
and white costumes, which two days after the Masque were
delivered "to my ladyes owne hands to remayne in her
Ladyships Closett during her Ladyships pleasure" Picturing
the little boys in their braveries of silk and satin, one
wonders which suits Milton saw them wearing, and what
was his remembrance of them when he wrote
" Their porte was more than humane as they stood,
I tooke it for a faerie vision
Of some gaye creatures of the Element
That in the cooleness of the raynebow live"
Before abandoning the subject of dress altogether, it may
be of interest to mention that in a later inventory of 1636,
there is a hamper of " Maskin cloathes " of the two boys
" which stand in my lord's wardrobe and is not entered in
any book or note" Details being absent, there is no gain-
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 29
saying that this hamper may have contained the costumes
worn in " Comus," for an account of which to-day much else
would be gladly exchanged.
How and when Lord and Lady Bridgewater and the three
children reached Ludlow I do not know, but their household
and -private effects left Ashridge on 2nd July 1634 w ^ a
caravan of coaches, waggons, saddle and sumpter horses.
The first night was spent at Bices ter, a halt having been
called at Ailesbury earlier in the day, the next at " Mourten
Hinmarsh " (Moreton-in-the-Marsh), the third at Worcester,
and on the fourth day Ludlow was reached. The travelling
charges amounted to 99, os. 6d. ; waggons were mended on
the way, horses shod, saddles repaired, and a box appears
to have fallen off one of the vehicles, as it had to be supplied
on the second day with a new lock.
Ludlow Castle, situated on rising ground overlooking the
town, was one of that " wall of continued castles " which
Fuller describes as dividing Shropshire from Wales. Another
which occupied an even more commanding position on the
Welsh Marches was Castle Montgomery, the home of the
Herberts of Cherbury, and it suffered a worse fate than did
Ludlow at Parliamentarian hands in the great Civil War.
Other children of other days who had played in the halls
of Ludlow were Philip Sidney, and Mary his sister, the
" Most deare, and most worthy to be most deare Ladie " of
30 COMUS: A MASKE
his " Arcadia " / and as she three-quarters of a century
earlier had returned to reign at Ludlow as Countess of
Pembroke, wife of the Lord President of the Marches, so
Alice Egerton returned as Countess of Carbery when her
husband was appointed to her father's office at the time of
the Restoration in 1660.
The first performance of " Comus " took place in the
great hall or Council Chamber on Michaelmas night 1634,
before a goodly company. The three scenes sound somewhat
elaborate, especially the last one ; but there is an entire absence
of machinery, usually such a great feature in Masques, which
may have been out of regard to the difficulties of arranging
for it at Ludlow, or Milton may have intentionally provided
a simpler and more serious entertainment than was customary
at Court. The antimasque represented by the " Countrie
daunces and sports " in the closing scene may have been
performed by the " Morrice dancers " of the neighbourhood.
Lawes* transference of the epilogue to the prologue is a fact
too well known to call for more than a passing reference here ;
to open a Masque with a song was the conventional method,
and to the composer and singer would naturally appeal, as
well as to the larger number of the audience. The five songs
which Lawes wrote for " Comus " are contained in a MS. volume
of songs now in the possession of the Rev. H. R. Cooper-
Smith, D.D., and have never been published with the text.
ITS AUTHOR AND ITS PLAYERS 31
Todd published the Bridgewater " Comus " in an appendix to
the usual version of the Masque, with notes to show wherein
it differed from that, and also from the original version ;
they form an interesting study, displaying the immense im
portance Milton attached to even the smallest words. If the
Bridgewater MS., as is generally accepted, is the stage copy
of the Masque, there must have been an intervening one
between it and the MS. in Milton's handwriting at Cam
bridge to account for the numerous emendations. There are
over a hundred, lines less, but the cuts, it may be conceded, were
done by Lawes to bring it within the powers of his pupils ;
even so the Lady was an arduous part for a girl of ff teen to
play, and boys of eleven and nine would need hard study
to learn the lengthy speeches of the Elder and Younger Brothers.
In his dedication of the afore-mentioned edition of 1637,
Lawes recorded Lord Brackley's success in the part, when
he wrote " which received . . . much honour from your own
Person in the performance"
Here, so far as " Comus " is concerned, the history of the
three children ends ; for the after lives of Lord Brackley
and Lady Alice another place must be found. Thomas died
unmarried, when he was twenty-three, and the only other
incident recorded of him is that he stood proxy for the Earl
of Newcastle at the baptism of Lord Brackley' s son and heir.
There seems to have been no further connection between
32 COMUS: A MASKE
Milton and the Egerton family. His name is added as
author in the stage copy of the Masque, in Lord Brackley's
handwriting, and in his " Defensio Populi" now in the
library at Bridgewater House the same hand inscribed the
indignant words " Liber igne Author fur c a dignissimi." The
Bridgewaters were Royalists, and of the age in which they
lived, Milton was a forerunner preaching in the wilderness.
The origin of " Comus " has been traced to various
authors, both English and Dutch, and through Oldys, the
literary antiquary, has come the legend of the three children
being lost in the forest of Heywood, for which he is the only
authority, but which is repeated in the preface of every
edition of " Comus." Whether the tradition grew out of
the Masque, or the Masque grew out of the tradition, is a
matter of no vital importance now ; " the play's the thing"
One of the great masters of our own times was wont to say
" All Art must have its roots in something," and no one can
be termed a plagiarist who from a fragment creates a perfect
whole, and without the vehicle of living words nothing will
Represented before the right ho ble the Earle
of Bridgewater Lord president of Wales and
the right ho ble the Conntesse of Bridgewater
At Ludlow Castle the
of September 1634
The chiefe persons in the rep'sentacon were
The Lord Brackley
The Lady Alice]
Mr. Thomas J
Author Jo: Milton
ut : " ^
The first sceane discovers a wild wood, then a
guardian spiritt or demon descendes or enters
From the heavens nowe I flye
and those happy Clymes that lye
Where daye never shutts his eye 5
vp in the broad field of the skye
There I suck the Liquid ayre
all amidst the gardens fay re
of Hesperus and his daughters three
that singe about the goulden tree 10
There eternall Summer dwells
and west wyndes with muskye winge
about the Cederne allyes flinge
Nard and Casia's balmie smells 15
Iris there with humid bowe
waters the odorous bankes that blowe
Flowers of more mingled hew
then her purfld scarfe can shew
36 COMUS : A MASKE
[yellow, watchett, greene & blew]
and drenches oft w th Manna dew
Beds of Hyacinth and Roses
where many a Cherub soft reposes. 5
Before the starrie threshold of Joves Courte
my Mansion is, where those immortall shapes
of bright aereall spiritts live inspheard
in regions mylde of Calme and Serene ay re 10
above the smoake and stirr of this dim spott
w ch men call earth, and w ch low-though ted Care
Confinde and pestered in this pinfold heere
strive to keepe vp a fraile & fevourish beeinge
vnmindfull of the Crowne that vertue gives 15
after this mortall change to her true servants
amongst the enthroned gods on Sainted Seats
yet some there be that with due stepps aspire
to laye their just hands on that goulden keye
that opes the pallace of ^Eternitie 20
To such my errand is, and but for such
I would not soile theese pure ambrosiall weedes
w th the ranke vapours of this sin-worne moulde
.->. .4 ; ! ' I AVru'i
/, itS^^^ ^ / ^ 1 '*
r M /^^^vfrtil V^W^/
COMUS: A MASKE 37
but to my taske : Neptune besides the swaye
of everie sake flood, and each ebbinge streame
tooke in by lott, twixt high and neather Jove
imperiall rule of all the Sea-girt Isles
that like to rich and various gems inlaye 5
the vnadorned bosom of the deepe
w ch he to grace his tributarie Gods
by course comitts to sevall goverment
and gives them leave to weare their saphire
and weild their little tridents : but this Isle
the greatest and the best of all the Maine
he quarters to his blew-haired dieties,
and all this tract that fronts the fallinge sunn
a noble Peere of mickle trust and power 15
has in his Chardge, w th tempred awe to guyde
an ould and haughty nacon proude in armes
where his faire ofFspringe nurst in princely lore
are cominge to attend their fathers state
and newe entrusted scepter, but their waye 20
lies through the perplext paths of this dreare
the noddinge horror of whose shadie browes
38 COMUS: A MASKE
threats the forlorne and wandringe passinger
and heere their tender age might suffer perill
but that by quick corhaund from Soveraigne
I was dispatcht, for their defence and guard 5
and listen why, for I will tell you now
what never yet was heard in tale or songe
from old or moderne bard in hall or bowre
BACCHUS that first from out the purple grapes
crush t the sweete poyson of mis-used wyne 10
after the Tuscane manners transfformed
coastinge the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed
On Circes Island fell (whoe knows not Circe
the daughter of the Sunn, whoos charmed Cup
whoe ever tasted lost his vpright shape 15
and downeward fell into a grovelinge Swyne)
This nimphe that gazed vpon his clustringe
w th i v y e berries wreath'd, and his blith youth
had by him, ere he parted thence a sonne 20
much like his father, but his mother more,
w ch therefore she brought vp and Comus
COMUS: A MASKE 39
whoe ripe and frolick of his full growne age
roavinge the Celtick and Iberian fields
at last betakes him to this ominous wood
and in thick shelter of black shades imbowr'd
excells his mother at her mightie arte, 5
offringe to everie weary traveller
his orient liquor in a christall glasse
to quench the drouth of Phebus, w ch as they
(for most doe tast through fond intemperate 10
soone as the potion workes their humane
th' expresse resemblance of the Gods is chang'd
into some brutish forme of Wolfe, or Beare, 15
Or Ounce, or Tiger, Hogg, or bearded goate,
all other parts remayninge as they were
and they soe p'fect is their miserie
not once p'ceive their fowle disfigurement
but boast themselves more comly then before, 20
and all their freinds, and native home forgett
to rowle w th pleasure in a sensuall stie
Therefore when any favoured of high Jove
40 COMUS: A MASKE
chaunces to pass through this advent'rous glade,
swift as the sparcle of a glauncingc starre
I shoote from heaven to give him salfe convoy
as nowe I doe : but first I must put off
these my skye webs spun out of Iris wooffe, 5
and take the weeds and liknesse of a Swayne
that to the service of this house belongs
whoe w 1 * 1 his softe pipe, and smooth-dittied songe
well knows to still the wild winds when they roare,
and hush the wavinge woods, nor of less faith 10
and in this office of his mountaine watch
likeliest and neerest to the p'sent ayde,
of this occasion, but I heare the tread
of hatefull stepps, I must be viewles nowe
COMUS enters w th a charminge rod in one
hand & a glass of Liquor in the other
w th him a route of monsters [like men
& women] but headed like wild beasts
their appell glist'ringe, they come 20
in makinge a riotous and vnruely
noise w 1 * 1 torches in their hands.
COMUS: A MASKE 41
Co. The starr that bids the Shepheard fold
now the top of Heaven doeth hold,
and the gilded Carr of daye
his glowinge axle doeth allaye
in the steepe Atlantique streame 5
and the slope sun his vpward beame
shoots against the Northerne Pole
pacinge toward the other goale
of his Chamber in the East
meane-while welcome, Joye & feast, 10
midnight shoute, and revelry
tipsie daunce and jollitie,
braide yo r locks w th rosie twine
droppinge odours, droppinge wine
Rigor now is gone to bed, 15
and advice w^ scrupulous head,
strict age, and soure severitie
w th their grave sawes in slumber lye
Wee that are of purer fire
imitate the starrie quire 20
whoe in their nightly watchfull sphears
Leade in swift round the months & years
the sounds and seas with all their finnie drove
42 COMUS: A MASKE
nowe to the moone in waveringe morrice move,
and on the tawny sands and shelves
trip the pert fairies, and the dapp Ealves
by dimpled brooke, and fountaine brim
the wood nimphs decte with daisies trim 5
their merry wakes & pastimes keepe
what hath night to doe with sleepe
Night has better sweets to prove
Venus now wakes, and wakens love,
Come let vs o r rights begyn I0
tis only daylight that maks sin
w ch these dun shades will neere report
haile goddess of nocturnall sport
darke-vayld Cotitto, whome the secret flame
of midnight torches burne misterious dame T5
that neere art call'd, but when the dragon
of Stigiam darknes, spetts her thickest gloome,
and makes one blot of all the airc,
staye thy cloudie Ebon chaire 20
wherein thou rid'st with Hecat* and befriend
[vs thy vow'd preists till vtmost end]
of all thy dues be done, & none left out
COMUS: A MASKE 43
ere the blabbinge Easterne Scoute
the nice morne, on the Indian Steepe
from her Cabin'd loopehole peepe
and to the tell tale sun descrie
our Conceal'd Solempnitie, 5
come knitt hands & beate the ground
in a light fantastick round
THE MEASURE [in a wild, rude, & wanton Antick]
Co. Breake of, breake of, I feele the different pace
of some chast footinge, neere about this ground 10
run to yo r shrouds w th in these brakes & trees
[they all scattre.]
our number may affright ; some virgin sure
(for soe I can distinguish by myne arte)
benighted in these woods, now to my Charms 15
and to my wilie traynes, I shall ere longe
be well stockt with as fayre a heard as graz'd
about my mother Circe, thus I hurle
my dazlinge spells into the spungie aire
of powre to cheate the eye with blcare illusion 20
and give it false presentments, least the place
and my quainte habitts breede astonishment
44 COMUS: A MASKE
and put the damsell to suspitious flight,
w ch must not be ; for thats against my course,
I vnder fayre p'tence of freindly ends
and well plac't words of gloweinge Curtesie
bayted with reasons not vnplausible 5
winde me into the easie harted man,
and hug him into snares when once her eye
hath met the vertue of this magick dust
I shall appe some harmles villager
whome thrifte keeps vp about his Countrie geare 10
but heere she comes, I fayrcly step aside
and hearken if I may her businesse heere
The LADY enters
LA. This waye the noise was, if my eare be true
my best guyde nowe, me thought it was the 15
of riott and ill-manag'd merriment
such as the iocond flute or gamesome pipe
stirrs vp amonge the loose vnlettered hindes
when for their teeminge flocks and granges full 20
in wanton daunce they praise the bounteus Pan
and thanke the Gods amisse, I should be loath
COMUS: A MASKE 45
to meete the rudenes and swill'd insolence
of such late wassailers ; yet o where els
shall I informe my vnacquainted feete
in the blinde mazes of this tangled wood,
my brothers when they sawe me wearied out 5
with this longe waye, resolvinge heere to lodge
vnder the spreadinge favour of these pines,
stept as they sed, to the next thickett side
to bring me berries, or such coolinge fruite
as the kynde hospitable woods provide I0
but where they are, and whye they come not
is now the labour of my thoughts, tis likeliest
they had ingaged their wandringe stepps too I5
and envious darknesse ere they could retorne
had stolne them from me.
I cannot hollowe to my brothers, but 20
such noise as I can make to be heard fardest
Fie venture, for my new enliv'n'd speritts,
prompt me, and they p'haps are not farr hence.
46 COMUS: A MASKE
Sweete Echo, sweetest nymphe that liv'st vnseene
within thy ayrie shell
by slowe Meanders margent greene
and in the violett imbroderd vale 5
where the love-lorne nightingale
nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well,
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle payre
that likest thy Narcissus are
O if thou have 10
hid them in some flowrie Cave
tell me but where.
Sweete Queene of parlie, daughter to the spheare
so mayst thou be translated to the skyes
And hould a Counterpointe to all heav'ns harmonies 15
[COMUS looks in & speakes]
Co. Can any mortall mixture of Earths mould
breath such divine enchauntinge ravishment
sure somethinge holye lodges in that brest
and with these raptures moves the vocall ayre 20
to testifie his hidden residence
COMUS: A MASKE 47
how sweetely did they floate vpon the wings
of silence, through the empty vaulted night,
at every fall smoothinge the raven downe
of darkness till she smil'd, I haue oft heard
my mother Circe with the Sirens three 5
amidst the flowrie kyrtled Niades
cullinge their potent herbs and balefull druggs
whoe when they sung, would take the prisond
and lap it in Elisium, Scilla wept 10
and chid her barkinge waves into attention
and fell Caribdis murmurd soft applause
yet they in pleasinge slumber lulld the sense
and in sweete madnes rob'd it of it selfe,
but such a sacred and homefelt delight 15
such sober certentie of wakinge bliss
I never heard till now, He speake to her
and she shalbe my Qweene ; Haile forreigne
whome certaine these rough shades did never 2 o
vnless the goddess that in rurall shrine
dwel'st heere with Pan or Silvan, by blest song
48 COMUS: A MASKE
forbiddinge every bleake vnkindly fogg
to touch the prosperinge growth of this tall
LA. Nay gentle Shepheard, ill is lost that praise
that is addrest to vnattendinge eares 5
not any boast of skill, but extreame shifte
how to regayne my severd Companye
Compeld me to awake the Curteus Echo
to give me answer from her mossy Couch
Co. What Chaunce, good Lady hath bereft you 10
LA. Dym darknesse and this leavye laborinth
Co. Could that devide you from neere vsheringe
LA. they left me weary on a grassie terfe 15
Co. by falsehood, or discurtesie or why ?
LA. to seeke in the valley some coole frendly springe
Co. and lefte yo r fayer side, all vnguarded Ladye ?
LA. they were but twaine & purpos'd quick returne,
Co. perhaps forestallinge night pVented them 2 o
LA. how easie my misfortune is to hit !
Co. imports their losse, beside the p'sent neede ?
LA. noe lesse then if I should my brothers loose
COMUS: A MASKE 49
Co. were they of manly prime, or youthfull bloome ?
LA. as smooth as Hebes their vnrazor'd lipps.
Co. Two such I sawe, what tyme the laboured oxe
in his loose traces from the furrowe came
and the swink't hedger at his supper sate ; 5
I sawe em vnder a greene mantlinge vyne
that crawles alonge the side of yon smale hill
pluckinge ripe clusters from the tender shoots,
their porte was more then humane as they
I tooke it for a faerie vision
of some gaye creatures of the Element
that in the cooleness of the raynebow live
and playe i'th plighted clouds : I was awe-
and as I past I worshipt ; if those you seeke
it were a jorney like the path to heav'n
To helpe you finde them: LA: gentle villager
what readiest waye would bringe me to that
place ? 20
Co. due west it rises from this shrubbie pointe,
LA. to finde out that good Shepheard I suppose
in such a scant allowance of starr light
50 COMUS: A MASKE
would overtaske the best land pilots arte
w th out the sure guesse of well practiz'd feete ;
Co. I knowe each lane, and every Alley greene,
dingle, or bushie dell, of this wide wood,
and everie boskie bourne from side to side 5
my daylie walks and antient neighbourhood
and if yo r straye attendance be yet lodg'd
or shroud w th in these lymitts, I shall know
ere morrowe wake, or the low rooster larke
from her thatcht palat rowse, if otherwise 10
I can conduct you Ladie to a lowe,
but loyall cottage, where you may be safe
till furder quest ; LA: Shepheard I take thy
and trust thy honest offer'd Curtesie 15
w ch ofte is sooner found in lowly sheds
with smoakie rafters, then in tap'strie halls
and Courts of princes, where it first was nam'd
and yet is most p'tended, in a place
lesse warrented then this, or [a] lesse secure
I cannott be, that I should feare to change it
eye my blest pVidence, and square my tryall
to my p'portion'd streingth ; Shepheard leade on.
COMUS: A MASKE 51
THE Two BROTHERS
EL. BRO. Vnmuffle yee fainte Starrs, and thou faicr
that wonst to love the travailers benizon
stoope thy pale visadge through an amber cloude 5
and disinherit Chaos, that raignes heere
in double night of darkness, and of shades
or if yo r influence be quite damm'd vp
w th black vsurpinge mists, some gentle taper
though a rushe candle, from the wicker hole
of some claye habitacon visite vs
w th thy long leveird rule of streaming light
and thou shalt be o r Starr of Arcady
or Tirian Cynosure : 2 BRO: Or if o r eyes
be barr'd that happines might wee but heare 15
the folded flocks pen'd in their watled cotes
or sound of pastorall reede with oaten stopps
or whistle from the lodge, or village Cock
count the night watches to his featheric dames
t'would be some solace yet, some little chearinge 20
in this lone dungeon of inumerous bows,
but O that haples virgin o r lost Sister
52 COMUS: A MASKE
where may she wander nowe ? whether betake
from the chill dewe, amongst rude burrs &
p'haps some could banke is her boulster nowe 5
or gainst the rugged barke of some broade Elme
Leanes her vnpillow'd head fraught w th sad
or els in wild amazement and affright,
[soe fares as did forsaken Proserpine 10
when the bigg rowling flakes of pitchie clouds
and darkness wound her in.] EL. BRO: peace
I doe not thinke my sister soe to seeke 15
or soe vnprincipl'd in vertues booke,
and the sweete peace that goodness bosoms ever
as that the single want of light and noise
(not beinge in danger, as I hope she is not)
could stirr the constant mood of her calme 20
and put them into misbecominge plight
vertue could see to doe what vertue would
COMUS: A MASKE 53
by her owne radiant Light, though sun &
were in the flatt sea sunke, and wisdoms selfe
of seeks to sweete retired solitude
where, w th her best nurse contemplacon 5
she plumes her feathers, and letts grow her
that in the various bustle of resorte,
were all to ruffl'd and sometyms impayr'd
he that has light within his owne cleere brest 10
may sit i'th Center, and enioe bright daye,
but he that hides a darke soule, & foule
[walks in black vapours, though the noone tyde
blaze in the summer solstice.] 2 BRO: tis most
that musinge meditacon most affects
the pensive secrecie of desert Cell
farr from the cheerefull haunte of men or 20
and sitts as safe as in a senate house
for whoe would robb an hermitt of his weeds,
54 COMUS: A MASKE
his few bookes, or his beads, or maple dishe
or doe his graye haiers any violence ?
but bewtie like the fayre hesperian tree
laden with bloominge gould, had neede the
of dragon watch with vninchaunted eye
to save her blossoms, and defend her fruite,
from the rashe hand of bold Incontinence,
you may as well spreade out the vnsum'd heapes
of misers treasures by an outlawes den I0
and tell me it is safe, as bid me hope
dainger will winke at opportunitie
and she a single helpeles mayden passe
vniniur'd in this wide surroundinge wast
of night or lonelinesse, it recks me not *5
I feare the dread events that dog them both
lest some ill greetinge touch attempt the p'son
of our vnowned sister. EL. BRO: I doe not
inferr as if I thought my sisters state 20
secure, w th out all doubt or question, no :
[I could be willinge though now i'th darke to
COMUS: A MASKE 55
a tough encounter, with the shaggiest ruffian
that lurks by hedge or lane, of this dead circuit
to have her by my side, though I were suer
she might be free from p'ill where she is,]
but where an equal poise of hope, & feare 5
does arbitrate th'event, my nature is
that I encline to hope, rather then feare,
and gladly banish squint suspition,
my sister is not soe defencelesse left
as you imagine [brother,] she has a hidden 10
w ch y OU remember not, 2 BRO. what hidden
vnless the strength of heav'n, if you meane
that ? 15
EL. BRO: I meane that too ; but yet a hidden
w ch if heaven gave it, may be tearm'd her owne,
tis chastitie, my brother chastitie
she that has that is clad in compleate steele, 20
and like a quiver'd nimphe with arrowes keene,
may trace huge forrests and vnharbour'd heaths
infamous hills, and sandie perrilous wildes,
56 COMUS: A MASKE
where through the sacred rayes of Chastitie
noe salvage, feirce, bandite or mountaneere
will dare to soile her virgin puritie,
yea even where, very desolacon dwells
by grots, & caverns shag'd w th horrid shades 5
[and yawninge denns, where glaringe monsters
she may pass on w th vnblensh't maiestie
be it not done in pride or in p'sumption
naye more noe evill thinge that walks by night 10
in fogg or fire, by lake or moorish ffen
blew meagar hag, or stubborne vnlayed ghost
that breaks his magick chaines at Curfew tyme
noe goblinge or swarte fayrie of the mine
has hurtefull power ore true virginitie, 15
doe you beleeve me yet, or shall I call
antiquitie from the ould School es of Greece
to testifie the armes of Chastitie,
hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow
faire silver shafter Qweene, for ever chast 20
wherewith she tam'd the brinded Lyonesse
and spotted mountaine Pard, but sett at nought
the frivolous bolt of Cupid, Gods and men
COMUS: A MASKE 57
feard her sterne frowne, & she was Qweene
o' th' woods
what was that snakie-headed Gorgon sheild,
the wise Minerva wore, vnconquer'd virgin
wherewith she freezed her foes to congeal'd 5
but rigid lookes of chast awsteritie
and noble grace that dasht brute violence
with sudden adoracon, and blanke awe
soe deere to heav'n is sainctly Chastitie I0
that when a sowle is found cinceerely soe
a thousand liveried Angells lackey her
drivinge farr of, each thing of sin, & guilte
and in cleere dreame and solemne vision
tell her of things that noe grosse eare can 15
till oft converse with hevenly habitants
begins to cast a beame on th' outward shape
the vnpolluted temple of the mynde
and turnes it by degrees to the souls essence 20
till all be made immortall, but when lust
by vnchast lookes, loose gesturs and foule talke
and most by lewde lascivious act of sin
58 COMUS: A MASKE
Letts in defilement to the inward p'tes,
the soule growes clotted by contagion,
imbodies, and imbruts till she quite loose
the divine p'pertie of her first beeinge,
such are those thick & gloomie shadowes 5
oft scene in Charnell vaults, and sepulchers,
hoveringe and sittinge by a new made grave
as loath to leave the bodye that it loved
and linckt it selfe by carnall sensualitie xo
to a degenerate and degraded state.
2 BRO: How charminge is divine philosophic
not harshe and crabbed as dull fooles suppose
but musicall as is Appolloes lute
and perpetuall feast of nectard sweets 15
where noe crude surfeit raignes. EL. BRO: List,
list I heare
some farr of hollowe breake the silent ayre
2 BRO: me thought soe too, what should it be EL.
B: for certaine 20
either some one like vs night founderd heere
or els some neyghbour woodman, or at worst,
some roavinge robber callinge to his fellowes,
COMUS: A MASKE 59
2 BRO: heav'n keepe my sister : agen, agen, & ncere
best drawe, & stand vpon o r guard. EL. BRO:
He hallo we
if he be freindly he comes well, if not
. defence is a good cause, and heav'n be for us 5
[HE HALLOWES and is answered,] the guardian
demon comes in habited like a Shepheard.
EL. BRO: That hallo we I should knowe, what are
come not too neere, you fall on iron stakes els 10
Dos: what voice is that? my young Lord? speake
2 BRO: O brother tis my fathers shepheard sure
EL. B: Thirsis ? whose artfull streynes haue oft
delayed I 5
the hudlinge brooke to heere his madrigall
and sweetned every muske rose of the dale,
how camst heere good Shepheard, hath any
slipt from the fould, or young kyd lost his dam 20
or straglinge weather the pent flock forsooke
60 COMUS: A MASKE
how couldst thou finde this darke sequesterd
DE: O my Lov'd masters heire, and his next Joye
I came not heere on such a triviall toye
as a strayed Ewe, or to pursue the stealth 5
of pilferinge wolfe, not all the fleecie wealth
that doeth enrich these downes is worth a
to this my errand and the Care it brought
but O my virgin Lady where is she i
howe chaunce she is not in yo r companie ?
EL. BRO: To tell thee sadly, Shepheard, w^out
or our neglect wee lost her as wee came,
DE: Ay me vnhappie then my feares are true. 15
EL. BRO: what feares good Thirsis p'thee briefly
DE: He tell you, tis not vayne or fabulous,
(though soe esteem'd by shallowe ignorance)
what the sage poets taught by th' heav'nly muse 20
storied of old in high immortall verse
of dire Chimeras and enchaunted Isles
and rifted rocks, whose entrance leads to hell
COMUS: A MASKE 61
for such there be, but vnbeliefe is blinde,
within the navill of this hidious wood
immured in Cipress shades a sorserer dwells
of Bacchus and of Circe borne, greate Comus
deepe skild in all his mothers witcheries 5
and heere to everie thirstie wanderer
by slye enticem 1 gives his banefull Cup
with many murmurs mixt, whose pleasinge
the visage quite transformes of him that drinkes 10
and the inglorious likeness of a beast
fixes insteed, vnmouldinge reasons mintage
charactred in the face, This have I learnt
tcndinge my flocks, hard by i'th hillie Crofts
that browe this bottome glade, whence night 15
he and his monstrous route are heard to howle
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their preye
doeinge abhorred rites to Heccate
in their obscured haunts of inmost bowers, 20
yet have they many baites and guylefull spells
to invegle and invite the vnwarie sence
of them that passe vnweetinge by the waye,
62 COMUS: A MASKE
this eveninge late, by then the chewinge flocks
had tane their supper on the savorie herbe
of knot-grasse dew-besprent and were in fold,
I sate me downe to watch vpon a banke
with ivie cannopied and interwove 5
with flauntinge hony sucle, and began
wrapt in a pleasinge fitt of melencholy
to meditate my rurall minstrelsie
till fansie had her fill, but ere a close
the wonted roare was vp amidst the woods 10
and filld the aire with barbarous dissonance
at w ch I ceast, and listned them a while
till an vnvsuall stop of suddaine silence
gave respite to the drowsie frighted steeds
that drawe the litter of close-curtain'd sleepe 15
at last a sweete and solemne breathinge sound
rose like the softe steame of distill'd p'fumes
and stole vpon the aire, that even silence
was tooke ere she was ware, & wisht she might
denye her nature and be never more 20
still to be soe displac't, I was all eare
and tooke in streines that might create a sowle
vnder the ribbs of death, but O ere long
COMUS: A MASKE 63
too well I might p'ceive it was the voice
of my most honor'd Lady, yo r deere sister
amaz'd I stood, harrow'd with greife & feare
and O poore hapless nightingale thought I
how sweete thou singst, how neere the deadly 5
then downe the lawnes I ran w th headlonge hast
through paths and turnings, often trod by daye,
till guyded by myne eare, I found the place
where that damn'd wizard hid in slye disguise 10
(for soe by certaine signes I knowe) had met
alreadie eare my best speede could p'vent
the aideless innocent Ladie his wisht prey
whoe gently askt if he had scene such two,
supposinge him some neighbour villager, 15
longer I durst not stay, but soone I guest
yee were the two she meant, w th that I sprung
into swift flight, till I had found you heere
but furder know I not 2 BRO: O night &
how are you ioyn'd with hell in triple knott
against the vnarmed weaknes of one virgin
alone, and helpeless, Is this the confidence ?
64 COMUS: A MASKE
you gave me brother ? EL. BRO: Yes, & keepe
Leane on it salfly, not a period
shalbe vnsaid for me, against the threats
of malice, or of sorcerie or that powre 5
w ch erringe men call chaunce, this I hould firme
virtue may be assail'd but never hurte
surprised by uniust force, but not enthrall'd,
yea even that w ch mischiefe meant most harme
shall in the happie triall prove most glorie, i
but evill on it selfe shall back recoyle
and mixe noe more with goodnesse, when at last
gathered like scum, and setl'd to it selfe
it shalbe in eternall restless change
selfe fed, and selfe consum'd, if this fayle J5
the pillard firmament is rottennesse
and earth's base built on stubble. but come
lets on :
against the opposinge will, and arme of heav'n
may neu r this iust sword be lifted vp, 20
but for that damn'd magitian, let him be girt
with all the grisley legions that troope
vnder the sootie flagg of Acheron
COMUS: A MASKE 65
Harpies, & Hydraes, or all the monstrous buggs
twixt Africa, and Inde, Fie finde him out
and force him to restore his purchase back
or drag him by the Curies, and cleave his scalpe
downe to the hipps DEM: Alas good ventrous 5
I love the Courage yet, and bold emprise,
but heere thy sword can doe thee little steed
farr other armes, and other weopons must
be those that quell the might of hellish Charmes 10
he with his bare wand can vnthred thy ioynts
and crumble all thy sinewes EL. BRO: why
how durst thou then approach soe neere
as to make this relacon ; DEM: Care, and vtmost 15
how to secure the Lady from surprisall,
brought to my mynd a certaine shepheard lad
of smale regard to see to, yet well skill'd
in every verteus plant, and healinge herbe 20
that spreades her verdant leafe to th' morninge ray,
he lov'd me well, and oft would begg me singe,
w ch when I did, he on the tender grasse
66 COMUS: A MASKE
would sit, and hearken even to extasie
and in requitall open his letherne scrip
and shew me simples of a thousand names
tellinge their strange and vigorous faculties
amongst the rest, a smale vnsightly roote 5
but of divine effect, he cull'd me out
the leafe was darkish, and had prickles on it,
he call'd it Hemony, and gave it me
and bad me keepe it as of soveraigne use 10
gainst all enchauntm 18 , mildew blast, or dampe
or gastlie furies apparition
I purst it vp, but little reckoninge made
till now that this extremitie compell'd,
but now I finde it true, for by this meanes 15
I knew the fowle Enchaunter, though diguis'd
entered the very lymetwiggs of his spells
and yet came off, if you have this about you
(as I will give you when wee goe) you may
boldly assaulte the Negromancers hall, 20
where if he be, with dauntlesse hardy-hood
and brandisht blade rushe on him, breake his
COMUS: A MASKE 67
and shed the lussious Liquor on the ground,
but cease his wand, though he and his curst
fierce signe of battaile make, and menace high
or like the sonns of Vulcan vomitt smoake 5
yet will they soone retire, if he but shrinke.
EL. BRO : Thirsis leade on apace, I followe thee
and some good Angell bearc a shield before vs
The sceane changes to a stately pallace set
out w th all manner of delitiousness, 10
tables spred with all dainties
Comus app es w th his rabble, and the
Lady set in an inchaunted chayre, to
whome he offers his glasse w ch she
puts by, and goes about to rise 15
Co : Nay ladye sit, if I but wave this wand
your nerves are all chain'd vp in alablaster
and you a statue, or as Daphne was
roote bound, that fled Apollo LA: foole doe
not boast 20
thou canst not touch the freedome of my mynde
68 COMUS: A MASKE
with all thy charmes, although this corporall rind
thou hast immanacrd, while heav'n sees good,
Co: Whye are you vext Ladie ; why doe you frowne
heere dwell noe frownes, nor anger, from these
sorrowe flies farr, see heere be all the pleasures
that fancie can begett [on youthfull thoughts]
when the fresh blood grows lively, and returnes
briske as the Aprill budds in primrose season,
and first behould this cordiall julep heere 10
that flames, and dances in his christall bounds,
with spiritts of baulme, and fragrant sirrops mixt ;
not that Nepenthes w ch the wife of Thone
in Egipt gave to Jove-borne Hellena
is of such power to stirre vp Joye as this 15
to life, soe freindly, or soe coole too thirst
[poore Ladie thou hast neede of some re-
that hast been tired aldaye without repast,
a timely rest hast wanted, heere fayre Virgin 20
this will restore all soone ; LA: T'will not false
twill not restore the trueth and honestie
COMUS: A MASKE 69
that thou hast banisht from thy tongue w^ lies,
was this the Cottage, and the safe aboade
thou touldst me of? what grim aspects are
these ougley headed Monsters ? Mercie guard me, 5
hence with thy brewd enchauntm t8 , fowle
were it a drafte for Juno, when she banquetts
I would not taste thy treasonous offer, none I0
but such as are good men can give good things
and that w ch is not good, is not delitious
to a well govern'd and wise appetite ;
Co: O foolishnes of men, that lend their eares
to those budge doctors of the Stoick furr 15
and fetch their p'cepts from the Cinick tub
praisinge the leane and shallow Abstinence,
wherefore did nature power her bounties furth
with such a full and vnwithdraweinge hand,
coveringe the earth with odours, fruits and flocks 20
throngeinge the seas with spawne innumerable
but all to please, and sate the curious tast,
7 o COMUS: A MASKE
and set to worke millions of spinninge wormes
that in their greene shopps weave the smoote-
to deck her sonns, and that noe corner might
be vacant of her plentie, in her owne loynes 5
she hutch't th* all worshipt oare, and pretious
to store her childeren with, if all the world
should in a pet of temperance feede on pulse
drinke the cleere streame, and noethinge weare 10
th' allgiver would be vnthankt, would be vn-
not halfe his riches knowne, and yet despis'd
and wee should serve him as a grudgeinge 15
as a penurious niggard of his wealth
and live like natures bastards, not her sonns,
whoe would be quite surcharg'd w th her owne
and strangl'd with her wast fertillitie,
th' earth cumberd, and the wing'd ayre dark'd
w th plumes
COMUS: A MASKE 71
the beards would over multitude their lords
the sea orefraught would swell, and th' vnsaught
would soe emblaze, with Starrs, that they bclowe
would growe enur'd to light, and come at last 5
to gase vpon the sunn with shameles browes.
LA: I had not thought to have vnlockt my lipps
in this vnhallowed ay re, but that this Jugler
would thinke to charme my judgement, as my eyes 10
obtrudinge false rules prank't in reasons garbe,
I hate when vice can boult her arguments
and vertue has noe tongue to check her pride.
Imposter doe not charge most innocent nature
as if she would her children should be riotous 15
with her abundance, she good Chateresse
means her pVision onely to the good,
that live accordinge to her sober lawes,
and holy dictate of spare temperance.
If every just man that now pynes with want 20
had but a moderate and beseeminge share
of that w ch leudly-pamper'd luxurie
now heaps vpon some fewe, with vast excesse
72 COMUS: A MASKE
natures full blessinge would be well dispenst
in vnsupflous even proportion,
and she noe whit encomberd with her store ;
and then the giver would be better thankt
his praise due payed, for swinish gluttonie 5
neere looks to heav'n, amidst his gorgeous feasts
but w 1 * 1 beesotted base ingratitude
crams, and blaspheames his feeder.
Co: Come, no more I0
this is meere morrall babble, and direct
[against the Canon lawes of our foundacon
I must not suffer this ; yet tis but the lees]
and set'linge of a mellancholy bloud,
but this will cure all streite, one sip of this J5
will bath the droopinge spiritts in delight
beyond the blisse of dreames. be wise, and tast ;
The brothers rushe in with swords drawne,
wrest his glasse [of liquor out of his
hand,] and breake it against the ground 20
his rowte make signe of resistance, but
are all driven in, the Demon is to come
in with the brothers.
COMUS: A MASKE 73
DE: What have yee left the false Inchaunter scape ?
O yee mistooke, yee should haue snatcht his
and bound him fast, without his rod reverst
and backward mutters of disseveringe power 5
wee cannot free the Lady that sitts heere
in stonie fetters fixt, and motionlesse.
yet staye ; be not disturbed, nowe I bethinke me
some other meanes I haue that may be vsed
w ch once of Millebeus old I learnt 10
the soothest Shepheard that ere pipt on playnes
There is a gentle Nimphe not farr from
that w th moist Curbe, swayes the smoote
Seaverne streame, 15
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure,
whilome she was the daughter of Locrine
whoe had the scepter from his fathe Brute
She guiltless damsell, flyinge the mad p'suite
of her enraged stepdame Gwendolen 20
commended her faire innocence to the floud,
that stayed her flight with his Crosse floweinge
74 COMUS: A MASKE
the water nimphs that in the bottom played
held vp their peackled wrists, and tooke her in
bearinge her straite to aged Nereus hall
whoe piteous of her woes, reard her lanke head
and gave her to his daughters to imbath 5
in nectar'd lavers, strewd with Asphodill
and through the portch and inlet of each sence
dropt in ambrosiall oyles, till she revived
and vnderwent a quick immortall change
made goddess of the River. Still she retaines 10
her maiden gentleness, and ofte at Eve
visitts the heards alonge the twilight meadowes
helpinge all vrchin blasts and ill luck signes
that the shrewd medlinge Elfe delights to make,
for w ch the shepheards at their festivalls
Carroll her goodnes loud in rustick layes
and throwe sweete garland wreaths into her
of pancies, pinkes and guady daffadils. 20
and, as the ould swayne said, she can vnlock
the claspinge Charme, and thawe the numminge
COMUS: A MASKE 75
if she be right invok'd in warbled songe :
for maydenhood she loves, and wilbe swifte
to ayde a Virgin such as was her selfe
(in hard besettinge neede) this will I trie
and add the power of some adiuringe verse. 5
Listen where thou art sittinge
vnder the glassie, coole, transelucent wave
in twisted braides of lillies knitting I Q
the loose traine of thy amber-droppinge haire ;
Listen for deere honors sake
Goddess of the silver lake
Listen & save
[the verse to singe or not] 15
Listen and app e to vs
in name of greate Oceanus
by th' earth-shakinge Neptunes mace,
and Tethis grave maiestick pace,
EL. BR: by hoarie Nereus wrincled looke, 20
and the Carpathian wizards hooke,
76 COMUS: A MASKE
2 BRO: by scalie Tritons windinge shell,
and ould sooth sayinge Glaucus spell,
EL. BR: by Lewcothoas lovely hands
and her sonne that rules the strands
2 BRO: by Thetis tinsel slipperd feete, 5
and the songs of sirens sweete
EL. BR. [by dead Parthenopes deare tombe
and fayer Ligeas golden Combe,
wherewith she sitts on diamond rocks
sleekinge her soft allueringe locks] 10
DE: By all the Nimphes of nightly daunce
vpon thy streames with wilie glaunce
rise, rise, and heave thy rosie head
from thy Corall paven bed,
and bridle in thy headlonge wave, 15
till thou o r summons answered have
Listen & save.
SABRINA rises attended by the
water nimphes and singes
By the rushie fringed banke, 20
where growes the willow, and the Osier danke
my slydinge Charriott stayes,
COMUS: A MASKE 77
thick sett with Agate, and the Azur'd sheene
of Turkiss blew, and Emerald greene
that in the Channell strayes,
Whilst from of the waters fleete
thus I rest my printles feete 5
ore the couslips head
that bends not as I tread
gentle Swayne at thy request
I am heere.
DE: Goddess deere 10
Wee ymplore thy powerfull hand
to vndoe the charmed band
of true virgin heere distrest
through the force and through the wile
of vnblest inchaunters vile. 15
SAB: Shepheard tis my office best
to helpe ensnared Chastitie ;
brightest Lady looke on me
thus I sprincle on this brest
drops that from my fountayne pure 20
I have kept of pretious Cure
thrice vpon thy fingers tip,
thrice vpon thy rubied lip,
78 COMUS: A MASKE
next this marble venom'd seate
smeard with gums of gluttenous heate
I touch with chast palmes, moist, & could
now the spell hath lost his hold
and I must hast ere morninge howre 5
to waite in Ampitrites bower
SABRINA descends and the lady rises out of
DE: Virgin, daughter of Locrine
sprung of ould Anchises lyne 10
may thy brimmed waves for this
their full tribute never misse
from a thousand pettie rills
that tumble downe the snowie hills
Summer drouth, or singed aire 15
never scortch thy tresses fayer
nor wett Octobers torrent floud
thy molten Christall fill with mud
may thy billowes rowle a shoare
the beryll and the goulden Oare 20
may thy loftie head be Crownd
with many a towre and terrace round
COMUS: A MASKE 79
and heere and there thy bankes vpon
with groves of mirhe and Cynamon.
EL. BR: Come sister while heav'n lends vs grace
Let vs fly this cursed place 5
Least the Sorcerer vs intice
w th some other newe device
not a wast, or needles sound
till we come to holier ground
DE: I shalbe y r faithfull guide 10
through this gloomie Covert wide,
and not many furlongs thence
is yo r fathers residence,
where this night are met in state
many a freind to gratulate 15
his wisht p'sence and beside
all the swaynes that neere abide
with jiggs and rurall daunce resorte
we shall catch them at this sporte,
and our suddaine Cominge there 20
will double all their mirth and cheere,
EL. BR: come let vs hast the Starrs are high
but night sitts Monarch yet in the mid skye.
8o COMUS: A MASKE
The sceane changes then is p'sented Ludlow
towne and the Presidents Castle, then
come in Countrie daunces, and the like
&c, towards the end of these sports the
demon with the 2 brothers and the 5
Ladye come in.
[the spiritt singes.]
Back Shepheards, back, enough yo r playe
till next sunshine holy daye
heere be without duck, or nod I0
other trippings to be trod
of lighter toes, and such court guise
as Mercuric did first devise
with the mincinge Driades
on the lawnes, and on the leas 15
2 songe [p'sents them to their father & mother]
Noble Lord and Lady bright
I have brought yee new delight
heere behould soe goodly growne
three fayer branches of yo r owne 20
Heav'n hath timely tri'd their youth
COMUS: A MASKE 81
their faith their patience, and their truth
and sent them heere through hard assaies
w th a crowne of death lesse praise
to triumphe in victorious daunce
ore sensuall folly and intemperaunce 5
[They daunce, the daunces all ended
the DEMON singes or sayes]
Now my taske is smoothly done
I can flye or I can run
quickly to the earthes greene end 10
where the bow'd welkin slow doeth bend,
and from thence can scare as soone
to the corners of the Moone
Mortalls that would follow me
Love vertue, she alone is free 15
she can teach you how to clyme
higher than the sphearie chime
or if vertue feeble were
Heven it selfe would stoope to her.
( ' i I , , ,
L/.'J i, wr v l,..v/i,
\ x> -r >/\
i.- /> ^
u- \ -av<
THERE are four versions of "Comus " in which variations of a greater
or lesser degree are to be found the Milton MS. in his own hand
writing, which is at Trinity College, Cambridge ; the Bridgewater
MS., or so-called Stage Copy, believed to be in the handwriting of
Henry Lawes ; the First Edition of 1637, unacknowledged by the
author, but published with his consent, which contains the Dedi
cation to John, Lord Viscount Brackley, by Lawes, who therein
explains " the often copying it hath tired my pen to give my several
friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to
the public view" ; and the editions of 1645 and 1673, which were
published under Milton's own direction, and which now form the
accepted text. In the latter Lawes' Dedication is omitted.
The Bridgewater MS. contains the more important variations.
The lines added are marked in the text by brackets [ ], and those
omitted by a line of points. I have followed the Milton MS. as
given by Todd in his edition of the Works of Milton published
in 1 80 1. The five songs composed by Henry Lawes, which are
all that remains of the music to the Masque, are as follows :
1. From the heavens now I fly.
(ending) where many a Cherub soft reposes.
2. Sweet Echo.
3. Sabryna fair.
4. Back Shepherds back.
2nd Part. Noble Lord and Lady bright.
5. Now my taske is smoothly done,
I can flye, or I can run.
84 COMUS: A MASKE
P 35> ! 3- To the Ocean (Milton MS. and printed editions).
These 20 lines in all other versions appear at the close of the
Masque, after the Dances. In the Bridgewater MS. they form the
P. 35, 1. 6. plain (Milton MS.).
P. 35, 1. II. In the Bridgewater MS. only, the following lines are
" Along the crisped shades and bowers
Revels the spruce and jocond Spring,
The Graces, and the rosy-bosom'd Hours
Thither all their bounties bring."
P. 35, 1. 12. That there (Milton MS.).
P. 35, 1. 14. Myrtle (Milton MS.).
P. 35, 1. 15. Balm . . . fragrant (Milton MS.).
P. 35, 1. 1 6. Garnhht altered to garish (Milton MS.).
P. 35, 1. 19. Watchet altered to pur -fled (Milton MS.).
P. 36, 1. i. This line is written but crossed out in Milton's MS.,
and appears only in the Bridgewater MS.
P. 36, 1. 2. Sabean (manna crossed through), Milton MS. Elysian
(1637 and 1645 editions).
P. 36, 1. 3. In the Bridgewater MS. only, the following line is
(" List mortals if your ears be true.")
P. 36, 1. 5. Toting Adonis oft (1637 and 1645 editions).
P. 36, 1. 6. The following lines are added in the printed
" Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits th* Assyrian Queen ;
But far above in spangled sheen
Celestial Cupid her fam'd son advanc'd,
Holds his dear Psyche sweet intranc'd,
After her wandering labors long,
Till free consent the Gods among
Make her his eternal bride
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born
Youth and Joy : so Jove hath sworn."
P. 36, 1. 7. "The Masque of Comus" commences here in
Milton's MS. and in the printed editions.
P. 36, 1. n. dim narrow spot (Milton MS.).
P. 36, 1. 20. shews (Milton MS.).
P. 37> 1. I. business now . . . whose (Milton MS.).
P. 37, 1. 4. The rule and title of each sea-girt isle (Milton
P. 37, 1. 12. his empire (Milton MS.).
P. 38, 1. 8. by (Milton MS.).
P. 38, 1. 9. grape (printed editions).
P. 38, 1. ii. mariners (Milton MS. and printed editions), probably
a clerical error in the Bridgewater MS.
P. 38, 1. 22. which ... and named him Comus (Milton MS.);
whom is added in margin of Milton MS., and is printed in 1637 an< *
P. 39, 1. 4. covert, (altered to) shelter . . . shade (Milton MS.).
P- 39> ! 5- potent (Milton MS.).
P. 39, 1. 10. weak (Milton MS.).
P. 39, 1. 17. before (Milton MS.).
P. 40, 1. 12. nearest and likeliest to give (Milton MS.).
P. 40, 1. 15. Stage direction in Milton MS. runs :
" Goes out : Comus enters with a charming rod and
glass of liquor, with his rout all headed like some wild
86 COMUS: A MASKE
beasts ; their garments some like men's and some like
women's. They come on in a wild and antick fashion."
P. 41, 1. 5. Tartarian (Milton MS.).
P. 41, 1. 7. Northern (Milton MS., but dusky is written in the
margin, and is printed in the 1637 an( * other editions).
P. 41, 1. 1 6. quick law with her (Milton MS.).
P. 41, 1. 1 6. with (Milton MS.).
P. 42, 1. 8. hath (1637 and 1645 editions).
P. 42, 1. 19. a blot . . . nature (Milton MS.). The line is also
written there :
" throws a blot o'er all the aire."
P. 42, 1. 20. polisht (Milton MS.).
P. 42, 1. 21. Wherein thou rid'st with Hecate (Milton MS.).
P. 42, 1. 22. And favour our close jocondrie (Milton MS.).
P. 42, 1. 22. This line does not appear in Milton's MS.
P. 42, 1. 23. till . . . nought (Milton MS.).
P. 43, 1. 7. with . . . and frolic (Milton MS.).
P. 43, 1. 8. [ ] omitted in printed editions.
P. 43, 1. 9. hear (Milton MS.).
P. 43, 1. 12. The stage direction, "They all scatter," occurs here
in Milton's MS. It is omitted in the printed editions.
P. 43, 1. 15. trains (Milton MS.).
P. 43, 1. 1 6. mother's charms (Milton MS.).
P. 43, 1. 19. powdered (Milton MS.).
" Conceive that at this moment of the performance the
actor who personates Comus flings into the air some powder
which by a stage device is kindled so as to produce a flash
of light." MASSON.
P. 43, 1. 20. sleight, altered to blind (Milton MS.).
P. 43, 1. 21. else (Milton MS.).
P. 44, 1. 4. glozing (printed editions).
P. 44, 1. 7. netts (Milton MS.).
P. 44, 1. 14. mine (printed editions).
P. 44, 1. 20. gamers (Milton MS.).
P. 44, 1. 21. adore (Milton MS.).
P. 45, 1. 4. alleys . . . arched (Milton MS.).
P. 45, 1. ii. The following lines are omitted in the Bridgewater
MS. only :
" They left me then, when the gray-hooded crow,
Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus chaire."
chaire is altered to wain in printed editions.
P. 45, 1. 15. youthly (Milton MS.).
P. 45, 1. 17. To the soone-parting light, and envious darkness (Milton
P. 45, 1. 19. The following lines are omitted in the Bridgewater
MS. only. They appear as below in Milton's MS., and with the
exception of the passage enclosed in brackets, and with the alteration
of five words, they are included in all the printed editions :
" Else, O thievish Night
Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end,
In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars,
That Nature hung in Heav'n, and filled their lamps
With everlasting oil to give thire J light
To the misled and lonely traveller.
This is the place, as well as I may guess,
Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth
Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear ;
Yet nought but single darkness do I find.
88 COMUS: A MASKE
What might this be ? A thousand fantasies
Begin to throng into my memory,
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire,
And ayrie toungs that lure night-wander ersf
On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses.
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
By a strong siding champion, Conscience
welcome pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope,
Thou flitter ing 2 Angel girt with golden wings,
And thou unspotted* form of Chastity ;
1 see ye visibly, and [while I see yee
This duskye hollow is a paradise,
And heaven gates ore my head] now I believe
That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance
Would send a glistering cherubf if need were
To keep my life and honour unassailed.
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night ?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove."
P. 45, 1. 23. ^(printed editions).
P. 46, 1. 3. cell (Milton MS., marginal note).
P. 46, 1. 15. Altered to give resounding grace in a marginal note
in Milton's MS., an alteration which is followed in the printed
P. 46, 1. 1 6. Stage direction omitted in printed editions.
P. 47, 1. 4. it (printed editions).
1 syllable men's names. 2 hovering. 3 unblemished. * guardian.
P. 47, 1. 7. t
P. 47, 1- 8. ,
P. 47, 1. 10.
. P. 48,
. 2. .
P. 50, 1. 22.
P. 51, Li- !
powerful (Milton MS.).
as (printed editions).
would weep (Milton MS.).
, chiding, altered to and chide (Milton MS.).
, livst (Milton MS.).
prosperous (printed editions).
, theire . . . hands (Milton MS.).
, wearied (Milton MS.).
, To help you find them out (Milton MS.).
sure steerage (Milton MS.).
In the Milton MS. wild is added in a different hand,
the printed editions.
within these shroudie limits (Milton MS.).
roosted (Milton MS. and printed editions).
, Till further quest be made (Milton MS.).
, And (Milton MS.).
, is pretended yet (Milton MS.).
Omitted in printed editions.
this (Milton MS.).
Stage direction in Milton's MS. only :
" Exeunt. The two Brothers enter."
P. 51,1. 12. a (Milton MS.).
P. 51, 1. 21. sad (Milton MS.; lone and close are also written);
close (printed editions).
P. 52, 1. 3. in this dead solitude (Milton MS.).
P. 52, 1. 7. She leans her thoughtful head y musing at our unkindness
P. 52, 1. 9. Or lost (Milton MS.) ; what //(printed editions).
P. 52, 1. 10. Altered in printed editions to :
" Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
Of savage hunger, or of savage heat."
90 COMUS: A MASKE
P. 52, 1. 14. The following lines are added in the printed editions;
some of them appear in Milton MS. on a separate slip of paper :
" Peace, Brother, be not over-exquisite
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils :
For grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
Which l need a man forestall the 2 date of grief,
And run to meet what he would most avoid ?
Or if they be but false alarms of fear,
How bitter is this 3 self-delusion."
P. 52, 1. 19. trust (Milton MS. and printed editions).
P. 52, 1. 20. stable (Milton MS.).
P 53> ! 4- ft in *H other versions. Probably here a clerical
P 53) ! 4 to solitarie sweet retire (Milton MS.).
P 53> U I4> 15. In printed editions these two lines are altered to :
" Benighted walks under the mid-day sun
Himself is his own dungeon."
P- 53, 1- 15- brand (Milton MS.).
P. 53, 1. 20. and (Milton MS. and printed editions).
P- 53> 1- 2 3- beads (Milton MS.).
P. 54, ! ! His books or his haire gowne (Milton MS.).
P. 54, 1. 9. unsunned (Milton MS. and printed editions).
P. 54, 1. II. think (Milton MS.).
P. 54, 1. 12. on (Milton MS. and printed editions).
P. 54, 1. 13. let (Milton MS. and printed editions).
P. 54, 1. 14. wild (printed editions).
P. 54, 1. 14. wide surrounding waste is crossed through in Milton's
MS. and altered to vast and hideous wild.
P. 54> 1. 21. controversy (printed editions).
1 What. his. 3 such. (Printed editions.)
P. 54, 11. 22, &c. These five lines occur in the Milton and Bridge-
water MSS. only.
P 55> ! 5 y et (printed editions).
P. 55> k IO Brother is omitted in the printed editions.
P. 55, 1. 21. This line in the Milton MS. is written :
" And may on every needfull accident
Be it not don in pride or wilfull tempting."
P. 55, 1. 22. walk through (Milton MS.).
P. 56, 1. I. awe (Milton MS.).
P. 56, 1. 3. shall (Milton MS.).
P. 56, 1. 4. there (printed editions).
P. 56, 1. 6. This line appears in the Milton MS., but is crossed
through, and is omitted in the printed editions.
P. 56, 1. 10. some say (printed editions).
P. 56, 1. II. moorie (Milton MS.).
P. 56, 1. 12. wrinckled (Milton MS.).
P. 57, 1. II. it finds a soul (Milton MS.).
P 57> ! 2 3' *he (Milton MS.); lewd and lavish (printed
P. 58, 1. 7. monuments (Milton MS.).
P. 58, 1. 8. lingering (printed editions).
P. 58, 1. 17. methought I heard (Milton MS.).
P. 58, 1. 23. curled man of the sword; hedger is also written (Milton
P. 59, 1. 5. Had best look to his forehead, here he brambles (Milton
P. 59, 1. 6. A stage direction which is omitted in printed
P. 59, 1. 10. pointed (Milton MS.).
P. 59, 1. 17. valley (Milton MS.).
P. 59, 1. 1 8. swain (printed editions).
92 COMUS: A MASKE
P. 59, 1. 20. leapt ore the penne the penne altered to his fold the
fold (Milton MS.).
P. 60, 1. 1 6. Shepherd (Milton MS.).
P. 60, 1. 1 8. ye (printed editions).
P. 6 1, 1. 14. pastured lawns (Milton MS.).
P. 62, 1. 9. the (Milton MS.).
P. 62, 1. 14. flighted (Milton MS.). There have been some differ
ences of opinion among Milton's commentators as to the relative
value of these alterations.
P. 62, 1. 1 6. soft (Milton MS. and printed editions).
P. 62, 1. 17. the steam of rich (Milton MS.).
P. 63, 1. I . did (printed editions).
P. 63, 1. ii. knew (printed editions).
P. 63, 1. 13. helpless (Milton MS.).
P. 65, 1. i. So written in the Milton MS. and 1637 edition;
altered to forms in 1645 edition.
P* 65, 1. 3 release his new-got prey (Milton MS.).
P. 65, 11. 4, 5. So written in the Milton MS. and 1637 edition;
altered in the edition of 1645 to to a foul death curs' d as his life.
P. 65, 1. 8. steel (Milton MS.).
P. 65, 1. ii. unquilt (Milton MS.).
P. 65, 1. 12. every sinew (Milton MS.).
P. 66, 1. 3. hues (Milton MS.).
P. 66, 1. 8. The following lines are omitted in the Bridgewater
" But in another country, as he said,
Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil :
Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain
Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon
And yet more med'cinal is it than that ancient 1 Moly
Which Mercury 2 to wise Ulysses gave." (Milton MS.)
1 ancient is omitted. 2 That Hermes once.
P. 66, 1. 19. as (Milton MS.).
P. 66, 1. 2O. necromantik (Milton MS.).
P. 66, 1. 21. suddaine violence (Milton MS.).
P. 67, 1. I. and powre . . . potion (Milton MS.).
P. 67, 1. 2. and seize (Milton MS.) ; cease is probably a clerical error.
P. 67, 1. 8. And good heaven cast his best regard upon us (Milton
P. 67, 1. 12. The latter end of the stage direction in the Milton
MS. runs :
" Comus is discovered with his rabble and the Lady set
in an enchanted chaire. She offers to rise."
In the printed editions " soft music " is interpolated.
P. 67, 1. 18. fixt (Milton MS.).
P. 67, 1. 19. thou art over proud, do not boast (Milton MS.). This
whole speech of the Lady and the beginning of Comus' speech are
added in the margin of the Milton MS. ; originally it ran :
Apollo. Why do you frown."
P. 68, 1. 7. youth and fancy can invent invent altered to beget
P. 68, 1. 7. [ ] omitted in Milton MS.
P. 68, 1. 8. brisk (Milton MS.)-
P. 68, 1. 10. In the Milton MS. only, the thirty lines following
appear at the close of the speech in Note on p. 71, 1. 7, a speech which
is omitted in the Bridgewater MS.
P. 68, 1. 1 6. and (Milton MS.).
P. 68, 1. 17. This line is omitted in the printed editions, and the
lines following are omitted in the Bridgewater MS. only :
" Why should you be so cruel to yourself
And to the dainty limbs which Nature lent
94 COMUS: A MASKE
For gentle usuage, and soft delicacy ?
But you invert the covenants of her trust,
And harshly deal, like an ill borrower,
With that which you received on other terms ;
Scorning the unexempt condition,
By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
Refreshment after toil, ease after pain."
P. 68, 11. 19, 2O. have (printed editions).
P. 68, 1. 20. but (printed editions).
P. 69, 1. 8. The following lines are omitted in the Bridgewater
MS. only :
" Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence
With visor'd falsehood, and base forgeries ?
And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here
With liquorish baits fit to insnare a brute."
P. 69, 1. 15. gowne (Milton MS.).
P. 69, 1. 2O. and with fruits, omitting and flocks (Milton MS.).
P. 69, 1. 21. cramming (Milton MS.).
P. 69, 1. 22. The following is included in the Milton MS. only :
" The fields with cattell and the aire with fowle."
P. 70, 1. 9. fetches (Milton MS.), altered from pulse.
P. 70, 1. 1 8. living as (Milton MS.).
P. 71, 1. I. "Above the stars and the unsought diamonds
Would so bestud the center with their starlight
And so emblaze the forehead of the deep
Were they not taken hence that they below."
P. 71, 11. 2, 3. heave her waters up (Milton MS.).
P. 71, 1. 5. day (Milton MS.).
P. 71, 1. 7. The following lines are omitted in the Bridgcwater
MS. only :
" List, Lady ; be not coy, and be not cozened
With that same vaunted name Virginity.
Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded.
But must be current, and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss
Unsavory in th' enjoyment of itself ;
If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
It withers on the stalk, and fades away l
Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown
In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
Where most may wonder at the workmanship :
It is for homely features to keep home
They had their name thence ; coarse beetle-brows*
And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply
The sample* and to tease the huswife's wool.
What need a vermeil tinctured lip for that,
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn ?
There was another meaning in these gifts,
Think what, and look upon this cordial julep.* "
In the Milton MS. here follow the lines mentioned in Note on
p. 68, 1. 10, commencing :
" And first behold this cordial julep."
P. 71, 1. 15. meant (Milton MS.).
P. 72, 1. 9. The following lines do not appear in the Milton or
1 with languished head. * complexions. * sampler \
be advised; you are but young yet. (Printed editions.)
96 COMUS: A MASKE
Bridgewater MSS. ; they were added later, and are to be found in
the printed editions :
" Shall I go on ?
Or have I said enough ? To him that dares
Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
Against the sun-clad power of chastity,
Fain would I something say, yet to what end ?
Thou hast nor ear nor soul, to apprehend
The sublime notion, and high mystery
That must be uttered to unfold the sage
And serious doctrine of Virginity,
And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
More happiness than this thy present lot.
Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,
That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence,
Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced :
Yet should I try, the uncontrolled worth
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 magic structures, reared so high,
Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head.
COMUS. She fables not. I feel that I do fear
Her words set off by some superior power ;
And though, not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove
Speaks thunder, and the chains of Erebus
To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble
And try her yet more strongly."
P. 72, 1. 10. fare too morall (Milton MS.).
P. 72, 1. II. stuff, the very lees (Milton MS.).
P. 72, 11. 12, 13. These two lines do not appear in the Milton MS.
P. 72, 1. 14. settlings (Milton MS.).
P. 72, 1. 1 8. The stage direction in the Milton MS. is as
" The Brothers rush in, strike his glass down, the shapes
make as though they would resist, but are all driven in.
Daemon enters with them."
P. 72, 1. 19. Omitted in the printed editions.
P. 73, 1. I. pass (Milton MS.).
P. 73, 1. 4. art (Milton MS.).
P. 73, 1. 6. remains, altered to heere sitts (Milton MS.).
P. 73, 1. 9. there Is another way (Milton MS.).
P. 73, 1. 21. flood, altered to stream (Milton MS.).
P. 74, 1. 2. white (Milton MS.) ; pearled (printed editions).
P. 74, 1. 2. received (Milton MS.).
P. 74, 1. 3. and bore (Milton MS.).
P. 74, 1. 14. leave (Milton MS.).
P. 74, 1. 15. The following lines are omitted in the Bridgewater
MS. ; the first line appears in the Milton MS. only :
" And often takes our cattel with strange pinches.
Which she with precious vial'd liquors heals."
P. 74, 1. 17. lively (Milton MS.).
P. 74, 1. 20. and of bonnie (Milton MS.).
P. 74, 1. 22. each . . . secret holding (Milton MS.).
P. 75, 1. 4. In honoured virtues cause, altered in the margin to In
hard distressed med (Milton MS.).
P. 75, 1. 8. Virgin, where thou sittst (Milton MS.).
P- 75 ! I 5- In tne Milton MS. the stage direction is simply "To
be said " ; it is omitted altogether in the printed editions.
98 COMUS: A MASKE
P. 75, 1. 20. In the Milton MS. and printed editions the whole
speech, until the appearance of Sabrina, is spoken by the Attendant
P. 76, 11. 7-10. The four lines appear in the Milton MS., but are
3. my rich wheeles inlay es (Milton MS.).
6. cowslips velvet head (Milton MS.).
1 8. vertuous (Milton MS.).
6. To wait on Amphitrite in her bower (Milton MS.).
II. crystal (Milton MS.).
14. from (Milton MS.).
3. Omitted in printed editions.
P. 79, 1. 4. Come, Lady (Milton MS. and printed editions, in
which the whole speech, until the change of scene, is spoken by the
P. 79, 1. 14. come (Milton MS.).
P. 79, 1. 17. there (printed editions).
P. 79, 1. 22. grow (printed editions).
P. 79, 1. 23. reigns (Milton MS.).
P. 79, 1. 23. Stage direction : " Exeunt " (Milton MS.).
P. 80, 1. 2. Last part of the stage direction in the Milton MS.
" then enter country dances and suchlike gambols, etc.
At these sports the Daemon with the two Brothers and
the Lady enters. The Daemon sings."
In the printed editions :
"then come in Country Dancers, after them the
Attendant Spirit, with the Two Brothers, and the Lady."
P. 80, 1. 12. nimbler . . . courtly (Milton MS.).
P. 80, 1. 13. Such as Hermes did (Milton MS.).
P. 80, 1. 1 6. No stage direction in the Milton MS., only
P. 8 1, 1. 3. bays (Milton MS.).
P. 8 1, 1. 5. Here in all other versions follows the speech, "To the
ocean now I fly," &c., which in the Bridgewater MS. is transferred
as a song to the commencement of the Masque. The stage direction
in the printed editions is written simply :
" The dances ended, the Spirit epiloguizcs."
P. 8 1, 1. 8. message [or buisnesse] well is (Milton MS.).
P. 81, 1. 10. Farre beyond the earth's end (Milton MS.); green
earth's end (printed editions).
P. 81, 1. II. the welkin low (Milton MS.).
P. 81, 1. 19. bow (Milton MS.).
Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & Co.
Edinburgh 6* London
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