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COM US;

A MASK

PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1634,

BEFORE

JOHN EARL OF BRIDGEWATER,

TIEN PRESIDENT OF WALES

THE PERSONS.

The ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterwards 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.

[graphic]

COMUS.

The first Scene discovers a wild Wood.

The ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters.

passant 716 line

e leaf #1

BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
Of bright aërial spirits live insphered
In regions mild of calm and serene air..
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot, Hy vatten

is here taft uit

blaey Which men call earth; and, with low-thoughted Confined, and pester'd in this pinfold 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, 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 bosom of the deep:
Which he, to grace his tributary gods,
By course commits to several

governments,
And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns,
And wield their little tridents: but this isle,
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 sun
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 offspring, nursed in princely lore, Are coming to attend their father's state, And new-entrusted sceptre: but their way Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood, The nodding horror of whose shady brows Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; And here their tender age might suffer peril, But that by quick command from sovereign Jove I was dispatch'd for their defence 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.

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine, After the Tuscan mariners transformid, Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, On Circe's island fell: (who knows not Circe, The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup

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