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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 :

Song I

Look, nymphs, and shepherds look,
What sudden blaze of majesty
Is that which we from hence descry,
Too divine to be mistook :

This, this is she
To whom our views and wishes bend
Here our solemn search hath end.
Fame, that her high worth to raise,
Seem'd erst so lavish and profuse,
We may justly now accuse
Of detraction from her praise ;

Less than half we find express'd,

Envy bid conceal the rest.
Mark what radiant state she spreads,
In circle round her shining throne,
Shooting her beams like silver threads;
This, this is she alone,

Sitting like a Goddess bright,

In the centre of her light.
Might she the wise Latona be,
Or the towerèd Cybele,
Mother of a hundred Gods ?
Juno dares not give her odds ;

Who had thought this clime naa held

A deity so unparallel'd ?
As they come forward, the Genius of the Wood appears, and, turning towars

them, speaks.
Gen. Stay, gentle Swains, for though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes ;

| 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
Of that renowned flood, so often sung,
Divine Alphéus, who by secret sluice
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse;'
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskin’d Nymphs, as great and good,
I know this quest of yours, and free intent
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low rey'rence I adore as mine,
And with all helpful service will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
And lead

ye may more near behold
What shallow searching Fame has left untold
Which I full oft amidst these shades alone
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon :
For know, by lot from Jove I am the Power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, and wanton' windings wove;
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill:
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When ev'ning gray doth rise, I fetch my round
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground;
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumb'ring leaves, or tassell'd horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless ;
But else, in deep of night, when drowsiness
Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial Sirens' harmony,

ye
where

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."

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SONG III.
NYMPHS and Shepherds dance no more

By sandy Ladon’s' lilied banks,

On old Lycæus or Cyllene hoar
pelt (701wgli Trip no more in twilight ranks, Lendapat

Though Erymanth your loss deplore,
Prosto!! di attoission A better soil shall give ye

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.

[graphic]

1 A beautiful river of Arcadia,

1634.

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
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
Of bright aerial spirits live insphered
In regions mild of calm and serene air,
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,
Which men call Earth, and with low-thoughtèd care
Confined, and pester’d? in this pinfold here,
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives,
After this mortal change, to her true servants,
Amongst the enthroned Gods on sainted seats.

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