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COMUS,

A MASK,

PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1634, BEFORE JOHN EARL OF

BRIDGEWATER, THEN PRESIDENT OF WALES.

B

THE PERSONS.

THE ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterward in the habit of THYRSIS.
Comus, with his Crew.
THE LADY,
FIRST BROTHER.
SECOND BROTHER.
SABRINA, the Nymph.

The chief persons who presented, were

THE LORD BRACKLEY.
MR. THOMAS EGERTON, his brother.
THE LADY ALICE EGERTON.


Z

COMUS.

The first Scene discovers a wild Wood.

THE ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters.

5

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 smoke and stir of this dim spot,
Which men call earth; and, with low-thoughted care
Confined and pestered 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,

10

3. Insphered.] Within their seem consistent with the characassigned sphere. The portions ter of the speaker. Milton had of space occupied by departed originally writtensouls were called spheres.

Strive to keep up a frail and feverish 7. Pestered in this pinfold.]

being

Beyond the written date of mortal change, The word pestered originally Urimindful of the crown that virtue gives, means crowded, obstructed. Ital. After this mortal change,

but he blotted out the second line pesta, a crowd.

without altering the reference to Your coach whose rude postilion Must pester every narrow lane.

it in the fourth. Warton, comShirley's Lady of Pleasure, i. menting on another passage in So all unhoused souls do thither creer, Nor are they pestered for want of room. Milton, says, “When a poet corSandys' Ovid, iv. 441.

rects, he is apt to forget and A pinfold is a pen or pound for destroy his original train of cattle.

thought. We must, perhaps, 10. After this mortal change.] allow the words, as they stand, The demonstrative meaning im- to mean-after this state of mortal plied in the word this does not change.

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Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats.
Yet some there be that, by due steps, aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key
That opes the palace of eternity :
To such my errand is; and, but for such,
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould.

But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway
Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream,
Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove
Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles,
That, like to rich and various gems, inlay
The unadorned hosom of the deep:
Which he, to grace his tributary gods,

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15. But for such.] The ad- Pluto was called Stygian Jove verbial phrase for such, and the ('sacra Jovi Stygio perficere,' adverb not, in the following line, Virg. Æn. iv. 638), because he are connected by the conjunction was the chief divinity in the but, and both modify the verb lower world, as Jupiter was in soil. The construction is, I would the upper. not but for such soil these 22. Like to rich and various pure, &c.; and, in analysis, the gems.] This comparison of the whole phrase not but for such sea-girt isles to gems is probably ray be treated as an adverbial derived from Shakspeare having adjunct to soil.

called England a ' precious stone 16. Ambrosial weeds.] The set in the silver sea' (Rich. II., word weeds, which was used to ii. 1). The adjective like, which denote garments generally, is still here qualifies isles, is now seldom applied to the mourning attire of followed by the preposition to, the widow. Ambrosia signified when that word is necessary to the food of the gods, and also an complete the construction. Comunguent said to be used by them, pare I, 57. and to be of immortalizing virtue. 23. Unadorned.] Naked; not See lines 840-1.

adorned as the land. 17. Sin-worn mould.] Sin-cor- 24, To grace, &c.] The infinirupted earth.

tire thus used makes an adverbial 20. Took in by lot.] On the clause=that he may grace, &c. dethronement of Saturn, his three In the next line but one an insons, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, finitive phrase is used adjectively shared the empire of the universc. describing the noun leave.

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