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Among thy slain self-killd,
1st Semichor. While their hearts were jocund and sublime,
2d Semichor. But he, though blind of sight,
1 Silo:' Shiloh, where the ark and tabernacle then were.
So Virtue, given for lost,
Man. Come, come; no time for lamentation now,
1.Bird:' phænix. — 2 • Embost :' enclosed. — 3 · Holocaust :' an entire burnt-offering. — * • Secular: ' i. e., living a thousand years. - • Caphtor, or Crete : whence the Philistines originally came.
The clotted gore. I, with what speed the while
Cho. All is best, though we oft doubt
1 Acquist :' acquisition.
PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1634, BEFORE JOHN, EARL OF
BRIDGEWATER,' THEN PRESIDENT OF WALES.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
JOHN LORD VISCOUNT BRACKLEY,"
SON AND HEIR APPARENT TO THE EARL OF BRIDGEWATER, ETC.
This poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a final dedication of itself to you. Although not openly acknowledged 3 by the author, yet it is a legitimate offepring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tired 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 honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours been long obliged to your most honoured parents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all real expression, Your faithful and most bumble Servant,
1.John Earl of Bridgewater,' before whom Comus was first presented, and whose sons and daughter performed the characters of the Brothers and the Lady. It is said that these latter had been benighted in Haywood Forest, and that Milton founded Comus on this in. cident. Earl John died 1649. He was a royalist.
? 'Lord Brackley :' he became Earl of Bridgewater, and died in 1686. $ ‘Not openly acknowledged' till 1645.
* *H. Lawes :' a celebrated musician, who composed the music for Comus. He was an amiable man, and, though a royalist, an intimate friend of Milton's, who dedicated to him his 13th Sonnet. He composed an immense variety of sacred and other music.
The first Scene discovers a wild Wood.
The ATTENDANT Spirit descends or enters. BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court My mansion is, where those immortal shapes Of bright aëreal 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 care Confin'd and pester’ds in this pinfold4 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, Amongst the enthron'd gods on sainted seats, Yet some there be, that by due steps aspire 1 Thomas Egerton :' the fourth son of the Earl.
He died at the age of twenty-three.—3 • The Lady Alice,' as her portraits testify, was very beautiful. She became the Countess of Carbery. -3 • Pester’d:' i. e., crowded. • • Pinfold: ' i.e., sheepfold.