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Tne Attendant 8pirit, afterwards ln F)rst Brotosr.
the habit of T8vr8U. 8eeond Brotiler.
Conor, with his Crew. 8arrina, the Nymph.
The ehief Persona, who presented, were
The first Seene diseovers a wild Wood.
The Attendant Spirit deteends or eaters.
Before the starry threshold of Jove's eourt
To sueh my errand is; and, but for sueh, 10
But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway
Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles,
That, like to rieh and various gems, inlay
The unadorned bosom of the deep:
Whieh ho, to graee his tributary gods,
By eourse eommits to several government, 25
And gives them leave to wear their sapphire erowns,
And wield their little tridents: but this isle,
The greatest and the best of all the main,
Ho quarters to his blue-hair'd deities;
And all this traet that fronts the falling sun 90
A noble peer of miekle trust and power
Has in his eharge, with temper'd awe to guide
An old and haughty nation, proud in arms:
Where his fair offspring, nursed in prineely lore,
Are eoming to attend their father's state, 30
And new-entrusted seeptre: but their way
Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood,
The nodding honour of whose shady brows
Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger;
And here their tender age might suffer peril, 40
But that by quiek eommand from sovran Jove
I was dispateh'd for their defenee 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
Baeehus, that first from out the purple grape
20. Hiyh and nether, i.e. the upper and bly, by singing or reeiting talcs. —T lower dominions of Jove.—27. Thixitle: ^ N
"Albion, Prinee of all tBe isles."—Jossow.
20. He qnarters, that is, Neptune.
33. An old and hangldy nation. That is, the C'ambro-lteitains, who were to be governed by respeet ndxed with awe. The Rarl of Bridgewater, the noofe Peer of miekie trust and power, was now gnvernour of the Welsh, as lord-president of tl,e prinripallty.—T. Warvon.
44. What never ytL Ae. The poot here insinnates that the story or fable of ids
Mask w as new and unborrowed, althongh but Warton shows that he had before distantly founded on aneient poetieal been a dramatie personage in one of Ben history. The allusion is to the aneient Johnson's Masks. An immense eup is mede of entertaining a splendid assem- earried beforo him, and he is crowued
48. Tusean mariners. This story allndes to the punishments inflieted by Homer lin his Hymn to Baeehus) on the Tyrrhene pirates, by transforming them into various animals.—Jos. WAaYos.
50. CYret, is the eelebrated enehantress, whose story as related by Homer is donbtless intended as an allegorieal representation of the brutaiizlng effeets of the intonieating eup.
58. Chmus. Newton observes, that Comus is a deity of Miiton's own making: Who, ripe and froliek of his full-grown ago,
Roving the Celtiek and Iberiun fields, 0t
At last betakes him to this ominous wood;
And, in thiek shelter of blaek shades imbower'd,
Exeels his mother at her mighty art,
Offering to every weary traveller
His orient liqnor in a erystal glass, 00
To queneh the drouth of Phoebus: whieh as they taste,
(For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst,)
Soon as the potion works, their human eountenanee,
The express resemblanee of the gods, is ehanged
Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear; "o
Or ounee, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
All other parts remaining as they were;
And they, Bo perfeet is their misery,
Not onee pereeive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more eomely than before; 75
And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a sensual stye.
Therefore, when any, favour'd of high Jove,
Chanees to pass through this adventurous glade.
Swift as the sparkle of a glaneing star 80
I shoot from heaven, to give him safe eonvoy,
As now I do: but first 1 must put off
These my sky-robes spun out of Iris' woof,
And take the weeds and likeness of a swain
That to the serviee of this house belongs, 80
Who with his soft pipe, and smooth-dittied song,
Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar,
And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith,
And in this offiee of his-mountain wateh
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid 00
Of this oeeasion. But I hear the tread
Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now.
that iie in ro small a eompass.—T. WaeVox.
83. lris1 woof. Miilon has freqnent allusion to the eolours of the rainbow. ln the "tkle on the Nativity," lstanza xv..) Truth and Justiee are not only arhtd ,n a rainbow, but are apparelled in its eolours.
wRh roses and other flowers. Hia attendants earry javeiins wreathed with ivy; and he enters, riding in trinmph from a )trove of ivy, to the wiid musie of fl utes. tat ors, and eymhals. At length the trrove of ivy is destroyed,
And tBe voluptuous Comm, god of eheer,
8est from bt, grove.
But how many would have known any 84. Likeoru of a twa,n. This refers to thing of this ged of revoliings and drunk- Henry Lawes, the )nushlan. who pereuness from the negleeted and almost formed the ,ombined eharaeters of the forgotten Masks of Johnson, had not the 8pirit and Thyrtis, in this drams. He genins of Miiton, by drawing sueh a was the 'on of Thomas Lnwes. a viearmoral from his story, and elothing it in ehoral nf 8aiisbury eathedrai. ard ws-s sueh exqnisite poetry, given him an un- perbaps, nt net. ehoir-boy of that ehureh, dying eelebrity. He afterwards rose to greut ui-tine-ion os
00. Ctlliek and Iberian: Franee and a on,nposerof musie, bnt his m,me would 8pain. have been buried in obiivion had he not,
01. Owinous: Dangerous, inauspieious, by setting to musie the songs nf i'omus, 05. Orient: Riehly bright, from the assoeiated his name for ever with this im
radianee of the East. mortal poem. lie was also no mean poet
80. 8wift at the spari-le of a glaneing himself, as .Miiton's eommend;ttion of
s)av. There are few finer eomparisons ) him, in his boanet, elearly shows.
Comus enters with x eharming rod in one hand, his glass in the other; with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, bnt otherwise like men and women, their apparel glistering: they eome in, making a riotons and unruly noise, with torehes in their hands.
Com. The star, that bids the shepherd fold,
And the gilded ear of day M
Paeing toward the other goal loo
Braid your loeks with rosy twine, 108
Dropping odours, dropping wine.
Rigour now is gone to bed,
And Adviee with serupulous head:
Striet Age, and sour Severity,
With their grave saws, in slumber lie. 110
We, that are of purer fire,
Imitate the starry quire,
Who, in their nightly watehful spheres,
Lead in swift round the months and years.
The sounds and seas, with all their fiuny drove, 115
Now to the moon in wavering morriee move;
And, on the tawny sands and shelves,
Trip the pert faeries and the dapper elves.
Hy dimpled brook and fountain-brim,
The wood-nymphs, deek'd with daisies trim, 120
Come, let us our rights begin; 135
'Tis only day-light that makes sin,
Whieh these dun shades will ne'er report.—
Hail, goddess of noeturnal sport,
Dark-veil'd Cotytto! to whom the seeret flamo
Of midnight torehes burns: mysterious dame, lC0
That ne'er art eall'd but when the dragon woom
Of Stygian darkness spots her thiekest gloom,
108. Adviee. II was in eharaeter for Comus to eull Adviee serupulous: to depreeiate and ridieule it at the expense of truth and propriety.—T. Warton.
110. 8ows: c'ayinirs, maxims.
11n. Morriee. The Morriee or Moorish danee was first bronght into England in Edward Third's time, when John of )jaunt returned from 8pain.—Peer.
110. FbnntainjIrim: The edge or brink of a fountain.
320. '7Ys only dayligld that tmake* A sentiment worthy of Comus; meaning, that sin oonsists not in the aet, but in the diseovery of it.
120. CWyIto: The geddess of Lieentiousness, eelebrated with great indeeeney in private at Athena, at widnigld, and henee ealled durk-veild.
132. 8pelt: Used by the old writers tor sptix.
And makes one blot of all the air;
Wherein thou rid'st with Heeate, and befriend 135
Us thy vow' d priests, till utmost end
Of all thy dues be done, and none left out;
Ere the blabbing eastern seout,
The niee morn, on the Indian steep
From her eabin'd loop-hole peep, l«o
And to the tell-tale sun desery
Our eoneeal'd solemnity.—
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground,
In a light fantastiek round.
Break off, break off; I feel the different paee l«
The Lady eaters.