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MILTON'S COMUS 



All Rights Reserved 



MILTON'S COMUS 

BEING THE 

BRIDGEWATER MANUSCRIPT 

WITH NOTES AND A SHORT 
FAMILY MEMOIR 

BY 

THE LADY ALIX EGERTON 




LONDON 
J. M. DENT ftp SONS 

LIMITED 
I9TO 



PR 




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. 

ALIX EGERTON. 

October igog. 



LIST OF PORTRAITS IN TINTED 
PHOTOGRAVURE 

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 
of Cawdor) 



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 



COMUS 

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 
him who 

" 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. 

A 



2 COMUS: A MASKE 

When John Milton wrote, more than half a century 

later 

" 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 
Florence : 

" 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 
erudition 

" 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 



write" 



" / 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 : 

La. Wekom 

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 
be omitted 

" 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. 

B 



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 
inscribed : 

" 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 
the family. 

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 
years. 

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 
achieve immortality. 

ALIX EGERTON. 



A MASKE 

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] 

f 
Mr. Thomas J 



Author Jo: Milton 



33 




r\ 

ut : " ^ 



JO vv\x 




A MASKE 

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 



35 



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 




^ 



T:X 









/, itS^^^ ^ / ^ 1 '* 

VjffrlA 



7" 



mjz. 



../. - 

*** 9^/^ 

*v'$ <y> 



fi*^ 

r M /^^^vfrtil V^W^/ 



,.t 



/ 



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 

Crownes 10 

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 

wood, 
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 

Jove 

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 

locks 

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 

nam'd, 



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 

taste 
(for most doe tast through fond intemperate 10 

thirst) 
soone as the potion workes their humane 

Countenance 

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 

[Exit. IS 

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 

woambe 

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 

sound 

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 

back 

is now the labour of my thoughts, tis likeliest 
they had ingaged their wandringe stepps too I5 

farr 

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 

SONGE 

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 

soule 

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 

wonder 
whome certaine these rough shades did never 2 o 

breede 

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 
wood 

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 
thus? 

LA. Dym darknesse and this leavye laborinth 

Co. Could that devide you from neere vsheringe 
guydes ? 

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 

stood, 10 

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- 

strooke 15 

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 

word 

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 

moone 

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 

her 
from the chill dewe, amongst rude burrs & 

thistles 

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 

feares 

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 

brother 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 

thoughts 

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 & 

moone 

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 

wings 

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 

thoughts 
[walks in black vapours, though the noone tyde 

braud 15 

blaze in the summer solstice.] 2 BRO: tis most 

true 

that musinge meditacon most affects 
the pensive secrecie of desert Cell 
farr from the cheerefull haunte of men or 20 

heards, 

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 

guard 5 

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 

brother 

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 

trie 



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 

strength 
w ch y OU remember not, 2 BRO. what hidden 

strength ? 
vnless the strength of heav'n, if you meane 

that ? 15 

EL. BRO: I meane that too ; but yet a hidden 

strength 

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 

house] 

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 

stone 

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 

heare 

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 

dampe 

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 

you speake, 

come not too neere, you fall on iron stakes els 10 
Dos: what voice is that? my young Lord? speake 

agen. 

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 

ram 

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 
nooke ? 

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 

thought 

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 

blame 
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 
showe 

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 

poyson 

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 

by night 

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 

snare, 

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 & 

shades 20 

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 

it still 

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 

youth 

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 

prithee Shepheard 

how durst thou then approach soe neere 
as to make this relacon ; DEM: Care, and vtmost 15 

shifts 

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 

E 



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 
glasse 



COMUS: A MASKE 67 

and shed the lussious Liquor on the ground, 
but cease his wand, though he and his curst 

crew 

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 

gates 5 

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- 

freshinge] 

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 

traytor 
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 ? 

these ougley headed Monsters ? Mercie guard me, 5 
hence with thy brewd enchauntm t8 , fowle 

deceaver 

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- 

haired silke 

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 

gems 

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 

but freeze 
th' allgiver would be vnthankt, would be vn- 

prais'd 

not halfe his riches knowne, and yet despis'd 
and wee should serve him as a grudgeinge 15 

Master, 

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 

waite 20 

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 

diamonds 

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 

wand, 

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 

hence 
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 

course, 



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, 

15 
for w ch the shepheards at their festivalls 

Carroll her goodnes loud in rustick layes 

and throwe sweete garland wreaths into her 

streame 

of pancies, pinkes and guady daffadils. 20 

and, as the ould swayne said, she can vnlock 
the claspinge Charme, and thawe the numminge 

spell, 



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 

SONGE. 

Sabrina faire 

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 
her seate. 

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. 

[Songe ends] 

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. 

FINIS 



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NOTES 

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. 

83 



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 
First Song. 

P. 35, 1. 6. plain (Milton MS.). 

P. 35, 1. II. In the Bridgewater MS. only, the following lines are 
omitted : 

" 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 
omitted : 

(" 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 
editions : 

" Waxing well of his deep wound 
In slumber soft, and on the ground 
Sadly sits th* Assyrian Queen ; 
But far above in spangled sheen 



NOTES 85 

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 
MS.). 

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< * 
1645 editions. 

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.). 



NOTES 87 

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." 

(Milton MS.) 
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 
MS.). 

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. 

1 due. 



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 
editions. 

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. 



NOTES 



89 



P. 47, 1. 7. t 


P. 47, 1- 8. , 


P. 47, 1. 10. 


P. 47, 


. ii. 


P. 47, 


.23. 


. P. 48, 


.2.] 


P. 48, 


J 3- 


P. 48, 


. 15. 


P-49, 


. 18. 


P. 50, 


. 2. . 


P. 5, 


.4. ; 


and appea 


rs in 


P. 50, 


.8. ' 


P. So, 


.9. 


P. 50, 


13- 


P. 50, 


. 17. 


P. 50, 


. 19. 


P. 50, 


. 20. 


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 
(Milton MS.). 

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 
error. 

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.) 



NOTES 91 

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 
editions). 

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 
MS.). 

P. 59, 1. 5. Had best look to his forehead, here he brambles (Milton 

MS.). 

P. 59, 1. 6. A stage direction which is omitted in printed 
editions. 

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 
MS.: 

" 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. 



NOTES 93 

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 
MS.). 

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 : 

"that fled 
Apollo. Why do you frown." 

P. 68, 1. 7. youth and fancy can invent invent altered to beget 
(Milton MS.). 

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." 

(Milton MS.) 

P. 71, 11. 2, 3. heave her waters up (Milton MS.). 

P. 71, 1. 5. day (Milton MS.). 



NOTES 95 

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.* " 

(Milton MS.) 

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.). 



NOTES 97 

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 
follows : 

" 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. 

G 



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 
Spirit. 

P. 76, 11. 7-10. The four lines appear in the Milton MS., but are 
crossed through. 



P-77, 
P. 77, 

P. 77, 
P. 78, 

P. 78, 
P. 78, 

P. 79, 



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 
Attendant Spirit). 

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. 
runs : 

" 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.). 



NOTES 99 

P. 80, 1. 1 6. No stage direction in the Milton MS., only 
"2. Songe." 

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 




Milton, John 

Milton's Comus 



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