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THE PERSON S.
The attendent Spirit, afterwards in the habit of
SABRINA the Nymph.
The chief persons who presented were,
The Lord Brackly.
Mr. Thomas EGERTON his brother.
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, it is said that it was presented on Michaelmas night, and there was this motto,
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 70HN Lord Vicount BRACKLY son and heir ap
parent to the Earl of BRIDGEWATER, &c. MY LORD, THIS poem, which received its first occasion of
1 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
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
L A W E S.
In the edition of 1645 was also 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.
The first scene discovers a wild wood.
The attendent Spirit descends or enters.
REFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
D 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, 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 Еe