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THE PERSONS.

The attendent Spirit, afterwards in the habit of Thyrfu.

Com us with his Crew.

The Lady.

First Brother.

Second Brother.

Sabrina the Nymph.

The chief persons who presented were, The Lord Brackly. Mr. Thomas Egerton his brother. The Lady Alice Egerton.

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The Mask was presented in 1634, and consequently in the 26th year of our author's age. In the title page of the first edition printed in 1637, *l is said that it was presented on Michaelmas night, and there was this motto,

Eheu quid volui mifero mihi! Jloribus aujlrum
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 Vicount BRACKLX Jon and heir apparent to the Earl ofBRIDGEWAtER, &c

MY LORD,

THIS poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your 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 ofspring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tir'd my pen to give my several friends satisfaction, 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

pro

promising youth, which give a full assurance, 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 attendent Thyrsis, so now in all real expression

Your faithful and most

humble Servant,

H. L A W E S.

In the edition of 1645 was a^° prefixed Sir Henry Wotton's letter to the author upon the following poem: but as we have inserted it in the Life of Milton, there is no occasion to repeat it here.

M AS K.

The first scene discovers a wild wood.
The attendent Spirit descends or enters.

BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
Of bright aereal Spirits live inspher'd
In regions mild of calm and serene air,
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot, 5

Which men call Earth, and with low thoughted
Confin'd, and pester'd in this pin-fold here, (care
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
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 opes the palace of eternity:
To such my errand is; and but for such, 15

I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
With the rank vapors of this sin-worn mold.
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 20

E e ImpeImperial rule of all the sea-girt iles,

That like to rich and various gems inlay

The unadorned bosom of the deep,

Which he to grace his tributary Gods

By course commits to several government, 25

And gives them leave to wear their saphir crowns,

And wield their little tridents: but this He,

The greatest and the best of all the main,

He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities;

And all this tract that fronts the falling fun 30

A noble Peer of mickle trust and power

Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide

An old, and haughty nation proud in arms:

Where his fair ofspring nurs'd in princely lore

Are coming to attend their father's state, ,35

And new-intrusted 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 wand'ring passenger;

And here their tender age might suffer 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,

Coast

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