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THE ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterwards in the habit of
COMUS with his Crew.
SABRINA the Nymph.
The chief persons who presented were,
THE LORD BRACKLY.
The Mask was presented in 1634, and consequently in the twenty-sixth year of our author's age. In the title
In the title page of the first edition, printed in 1637, it is said, that it was prer sented on Michaelmas night, and there was this motto,
Eheu quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum
In this edition, and in that of Milton's poems in 1645, there was prefixed to the Mask the following dedication.
To the Right Honourable John Lord Viscount Brackly, son and
heir apparent to the Earl of Bridgewater, &c.
MY LORD, THIS poem,
which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble fanıily, and much honour from
your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a final dedication of itself to you. Although not openly acknowledged by the author', yet it is a legitimate offspring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often copying of 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 now to offer it up in all rightful devotion to
· This motto, from Virgil's “inclosure." If by the editor, second Eclogue, is delicately the application is not very difchosen, whether we consider it ferent: only to floribus we must as spoken by the author himself, then give an encomiastic sense. or by the editor. If by the for- The choice of such a motto, so mer it appears to mean, “I far from vulgar in itself, and in “have, by giving way to this its application, was worthy Mil
publication, let in the breath of ton. Hurd.
public censure on these early See note on Comus, 34. “blossoms of my poetry, which It never appeared under Mil“ were before secure in the hands ton's name till the year 1645. " of my friends, as in a private T. Wurton.
those fair hopes, and rare endowments of your much promising youth, which give a full assurance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet Lord, to be the honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours been long obliged to your most honoured parents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all real expression
Your faithful and most humble Servant,
In the edition of 1645 was also prefixed Sir Henry Wotton's letter to the author upon the following poem: but as we have inserted it in the Life of Milton, there is no occasion to repeat it here.
d This Dedication from Lawes's was still living. Milton was edition, does not appear in the perhaps unwilling to own his edition of Milton's Poems, printed early connections with a family, under his own inspection, 1673; conspicuous for its unshaken when Lord Brackly, under the loyalty, and now highly patrontitle of Earl of Bridgewater, ised by K. Charles II. T. Warton. PRELIMINARY NOTES.
LUDLOW CASTLE. SOME idea of this venerable and magnificent pile, in which Comus was played with great splendour, in 1634, at a period when Masques were the most fashionable entertainment of our nobility, will probably gratify those, who read Milton with that curiosity which results from taste and imagination.
It was founded on a ridge of rock overlooking the river Corve, by Roger Montgomery, about the year 1112, in the reign of King Henry the First. But without entering into its more obscure and early annals, I will rather exhibit the state and condition in which it might be supposed to subsist, when Milton's drama was performed. Thomas Churchyard, in an old poem called the Worthines of Wales, printed in 1578, has a chapter entitled “The Castle of “ Ludloe." In one of the state apartments, he mentions a superb escutcheon in stone of the arms of Prince Arthur, son of Henry the Seventh: and an empalement of Saint Andrew's cross with Prince Arthur's
's arms, painted in the windows of the great hall. And in the hall and chambers, he says, there was a variety of rich workmanship, suitable to so magnificent a castle.“ In it is a chapel," he adds, “ most trim and costly, so bravely wrought, so fayre and “finely framed, &c.". About the walls of this chapel were sumptuously painted, “ a great device, a worke most rich and rare," the arms of many of the kings of England, and of the lords of the castle, from Sir Walter Lacie, the first lord, &c. " The armes of " all these afore spoken of, are gallantly and cunningly sett out in " that chapell.-Now is to be rehearsed, that Sir Harry Sidney,
being Lord President, buylt twelve roomes in the sayd castle, “ which goodly buildings doth shewe a great beautie to the same. “ He made also a goodly wardrobe underneath the new parlor, and
repayred an old tower called Mortymer's tower, to kepe the aun“ cient recordes in the same; and he repayred a fayre roume under “ the court-house, and made a great wall about the wood-yard, and built a most brave conduit within the inner court: and all