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Part of an entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Deroy,. at Harefield,
by some noble persons of her family, who appear on the scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of state, with this song :
Look, nymphs, and shepherds look,
This, this is she
Less than half we find express'd,
Envy bid conceal the rest.
Sitting like a Goddess bright,
In the centre of her light.
Who had thought this clime naa held
A deity so unparallel'd ?
| Alice Spenser, daughter of Sir John Spenser, of Althorpe. Milton lived in the neighbourhood of Harefield, which was near Uxbridge. His father lived at Horton, near Colnebrook, and held
his house under the Earl of Bridgewater. Lady Derby was a generous patroness of poets. Spenser was related to her family
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung
ye may more near behold
1 A river of Arcadia, which sinks into the earth, passes under the sea, without mixing its waters with the salt waves, and rises near Syracuse, in Sicily,
where it joins the Arethusa, and flows conjointly with that stream to the sea. See Shelley's exquisite poem,
" Are thusa."
By sandy Ladon’s' lilied banks,
On old Lycæus or Cyllene hoar
Though Erymanth your loss deplore,
thanks. Yo l'anal och in
al body dies Bolle Be From the stony Mænalus BWT 2091521 vies Bring your flocks, and live with us; zmazarwanita Inios But on. Here ye shall have greater grace, rain , modo. AYR derrotad bol o To serve the lady of this place; oft lo otro elett stovor frists wji. Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were, ut
ant Toda Yet Syrinx well might wait on her. ihtiologia oldest edt 91 al Such a rural Queen hal tudiul a ratn. All Arcadia hath not seen. hy hrale bond COMUS, A MASK.
Presented at Ludlow Castle before John, Earl of Bridgewater, then
President of Wales.
“Comus was suggested to the Poet by the fact that the two sons and the daughter of the Earl of Bridgewater, on their roturn from a visit to some relations in Herefordshire, were benighted in Haywood Forest; and the Lady Alice was, for a short time, lost. The Mask was written for the Michaelmas festivities of 1634, and acted by Lord Bridgewater's children. The music composed for it was by Henry Lawes, who performed in it the part of the Spirit, or Thyrsis. He was the son of Thomas Lawes, a Vicar-Choral of Salisbury Cathedral, and was at first a chorister himself. He became finally one of the Court musicians to Charles I. Masks and music fed before the stern gloom of the Commonwealth, and Lawes was compelled to gain his living by teaching the lute. His greatest, friends during this period of difficulty and poverty were the Ladies Alice and Mary Egerton. He lived to the Restoration, and composed the Coronation Anthem for Charles II. “Comus” was first published by Lawes, without Milton's name, in 1637, with a dedication to Lord Brackley. Masks were the fashion of the age; and Milton was probably called on by Lord Bridgewater to produce one, because he had already written the " Arcades” for Lady Bridgewater's mother, Lady Derby, at Harefield, in Middlesex.
THE PERSONS. The attendant Spirit, afterwards in the First Brother. habit of Thyrsis.
Second Brother. Comus, with his crew.
Sabrina, the Nymph. The Lady.
THE CHIEF PERSONS WHO PRESENTED WERE
The Lord Brackley.
Mr. Thomas Egerton, his brother. The Lady Alice Egerton.
The First Scene discovers a Wild Wood.
The attendant Spirit' descends or enters.
BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court