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A M A S K E
Presented
At Ludlow Castle,
1634:

On Michaelmasse night, before the
Right Honorable,

IOHN Earle of Bridgewater, Vicount BRACKLY,
Lord Praesident of Wales, And one of
His Maiesties most honorable
Privie Counsell.

Eheu quid volui misero mihi.
floribus austrum Perditus –

London,
Printed for HVMPHREY ROBINSON,
At the signe of the Three Pidgeons in
Pauls Church-yard. 1637.

THE EPISTLE DEDICATORIE.

TO THE RIGHT
Honorable,
IOHN Lord Vicount BRACLY,
Son and heire apparent to the Earle

of Bridgewater, &c. MY LORD,

This Poem, which receiv'd its first occasion of birth from your selfe, and others of your noble familie, and much honour from your own Person in the performance, now returns againe to make a finall dedication of it selfe to you. Although not openly acknowledg'd by the Author, yet it is a legitimate offspring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tir'd my pen to give my severall friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessitie of producing it to the publick view; and now to offer it up in all rightfull devotion to those faire 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 owne, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours beene long oblig'd to your most honour'd Parents, and as in this repraesentation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all reall expression Your faithfull, and most humble Servant, H. LAWES.

A MASKE PERFORMED. BEFORE THE PRAES- COMUS
IDENT OF WALES AT LUDLOW, 1634. THE A Maske
FIRST SCENE DISCOVERSA WILD WOOD. THE
ATTENDANT SPIRIT DESCENDS OR ENTERS.

BEFORE the starrie threshold of Joves Court
My mansion is, where those immortall shapes
Of bright ačreall Spirits live insphear'd
In Regions mild of calme and serene aire,
Above the smoake and stirre of this dim spot
Which men call Earth, and with low-thoughted care
Confin'd, and pester'd in this pin-fold here,
Strive to keepe up a fraile, and feaverish being
Unmindfull of the crowne that Vertue gives
After this mortall change to her true Servants
Amongst the enthron'd gods on Sainted seats.
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key
That ope's the palace of AEternity:
To such my errand is, and but for such
I would not soile these pure ambrosial weeds
With the ranck vapours of this Sin-worne mould.
o' But to my task. Neptune besides the sway
Of every salt Flood, and each ebbing Streame
Tooke in my lot 'twixt high, and neather Jove
Imperial rule of all the Sea-girt Iles
That like to rich, and various gemms inlay
The unadorned bosome of the Deepe,
Which he to grace his tributarie gods
By course commits to severall government
And gives them leave to weare their Saphire crowns,
And weild their little tridents, but this Ile
The greatest, and the best of all the maine
He quarters to his blu-hair'd deities,
And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun
A noble Peere of mickle trust, and power
Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide
An old, and haughtie Nation proud in Armes:
Where his faire off-spring nurs’t in Princely lore

COMUS A Maske

Are comming to attend their Fathers state,
And new-entrusted Scepter, but their way
Lies through the perplex't paths of this dreare wood,
The nodding horror of whose shadie brows
Threats the forlorne and wandring Passinger.
And here their tender age might suffer perill
But that by quick command from Soveraigne Jove
I was dispatcht for their defence, and guard,
And listen why, for I will tell yee now
What never yet was heard in Tale or Song
From old, or moderne Bard in hall or bowre.
£3. Bacchus that first from out the purple Grape
Crush't the sweet poyson of mis-used Wine
After the Tuscan Mariners transform'd
Coasting, the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
On Circes Iland fell (who knowes not Circe
The daughter of the Sun? whose charmed Cup
Whoever tasted lost his upright shape,
And downward fell into a growling Swine)
This Nymph that gaz'd upon his clustring locks
With Ivie berries wreath'd, and his blith youth
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a Son
Much like his Father, but his Mother more,
Whom therefore she brought up and Comus nam'd,
Who ripe, and frolick of his full growne age
Roaving 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 Art
Offring to every wearie Travailer
His orient liquor in a Chrystall glasse
To quench the drouth of Phoebus, which as they tast
(For most doe taste through fond intemperate thirst)
Soone as the Potion works, their humane count'nance
Th' expresse resemblance of the gods is chang'd
Into some brutish forme of Wolfe, or Beare
Or Ounce, or Tiger, Hog, or bearded Goat,
All other parts remaining as they were,

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