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THE PERSON S.
The attendant SPIRIT, afterwards in the habit of
The chief persons who presented were,
The Lord BRACKLY.
The Mask was presented in 1634, and consequently in
the zoth year of our author's age. In the title-page of the first edition, printed in 1637, it is said that it was presented on Michaelmas night, and there was
“ Eheu quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum « Perditus
In this edition, and in that of Milton's poems in 1645,
there was prefixed to the Mask the following dedication.
To the Right Honorable JOHN Lord Viscount BRACKLY, son and heir appa
rent to the Earl of BRIDGEWATER, &C.
HIS poem, which received its first occafion of birth from yourself and others of
noble family, and much honor from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a final dedication of itself to you. Although not openly acknowledg’d by the author, yet it is a legitimate offspring, fo lovely, and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tir’d my pen to give my several friends fatisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the public view; and now to offer it up in all rightful devotion to those fair hopes, and rare endowments of your much promising youth, which give a full afsu
rance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet Lord, to be the honor of your name; and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favors been long oblig'd to your most honor'd parents; and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all real expression
Your faithful and most
H. L AWE S
M A S K.
The first Scene discovers a wild Wood.
The attendant Spirit descends or enters.
EFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
My manfion is, where those immortal shapes
5 Which men call Earth, and with low-thoughted care 1 Confin’d, and pefter'd in this pin-fold here,
Strive to keep up a frail and feverith being,
15 I would not foil these
But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway
The unadorned bosom of the deep,
35 And new-intrufted scepter; but their way Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood, The nodding horror of whose shady brows Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; And here their tender age might fuffer peril,
40 But that by quick command from sovran Jove I was dispatch'd for their defense and guard; And listen why, for I will tell you now What never yet was heard in tale or song, From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.
45 Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape Crush'd the sweet poison of mis-used wine, After the Tuscan mariners transform’d, Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds lifted, On Circe's iland fell : (Who knows not Circe 50 The daughter of the sun? whose charm'd
cup Whoever tafted, loft his upright shape,