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rotensel and commissioners, and the officers displayed. But at the same time it is a melanwaiges,” An. 3 Edw. VI. are set forth. The choly monument, exhibiting the irreparable efcourt consisted of the lord president, vice-presi- | fects of pillage and dilapidation. dent, and council, who were composed of the lord chancellor, lord treasurer, lord keeper of
ORIGIN OF COMUS. the privy seal, lord treasurer of the king's house. hold, chancellor of the exchequer, principal se
By Mr. WARTON. cretary of state, the chief justices of England, IN Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, an Arcaand of the Common Pleas, the chief baron of the dian comedy, recently published, Milton found Exchequer, the justices of Assize for the counties many touches of pastoral and superstitious imaof Salop, Gloucester, Hereford, and Monmouth, gery, congenial with his own conceptions. Many the justice of the grand Session in Wales, the of these, yet with the highest improvements, he chief justice of Chester, attorney and solicitor has transferred in Comus : together with the general, with many of the neighbouring nobility, general cast and colouring of the piece. He and with various subordinate officers. See Mr. catched also from the lyric rhymes of Fletcher, Hodges's Hist. Acc. of the Castle, p. 67, 68. From that Dorique delicacy, with which sir Henry the inedited tour of a traveller in i 535, communi. Wotton was so much delighted in the songs of cated to me by Joseph Cooper Walker, esq. it ap- Milton's drama. Fletcher's comedy was coldly pears that there was also a secretary to the received the first night of its performance. But court; the office of which was then filled by it had ample revenge in this conspicuous and lord Goring, and said to be worth 3000€. At indisputable mark of Milton's approbation. It the same time, sir John Bridgeman was the chief was afterwards represented as a Mask at court, justice of the court. The traveller adds, that in before the king and queen on twelfth-night, in the absence of the president, the chief justice re- 1633. I know not, indeed, if this was any represented the president's person, and kept “the commendation to Milton; who, in the Paradise king's house in the castle, which is a prettie lit- Lost, speaks contemptuously of these interludes, tle neate castle, standing high, kept in good re- which had been among the chief diversions of an paire :' and that he was invited by the judge elegant and liberal monarch. B. iv. 767. to dinner, and verye kindly and respectfully entertained.”
court-amours · This court was dissolved by act of parliament Mix'd dance, and wanton mask, or midnight in the first year of Williain and Mary, at the
ball, &c.” bumble suit of all the gentlemen and inhabitants of the principality of Wales; by whom it was And in his Ready and easy way to establish a free represented as an intolerable grievance. Commonwealth, written in 1660, on the incon
The situation of the castle is delightful, and veniences and dangers of readmitting kingship, romantic. It is built in the north-west angle of and with a view to counteract the noxious huthe town upon a rock, commanding an extensive mour of returning to bondage, he says, “a king and beautiful prospect northward. On the west must be adored as a demigod, with a dissolute it is shaded by a lofty hill, and washed by the and haughty court about him, of vast expense river. It is strongly environed by walls of im- and luxury, masks and revels, to the debauchmense height and thickness, and fortified with ing our prime gentry, both male and female, round and square towers at irregular distances. not in their pastimes only, &c.” Pr. W. i. 590. The walls are said by Grose to have formerly I believe the whole compliment was paid to the been a mile in compass; but Leland in that genius of Fletcher. But in the mean time it measure includes those of the town. The inte should be remembered, that Miltou had not yet rior apartments were defended on one side by a contracted an aversion to courts and court. deep ditch, cut out of the rock; on the other, by amusements; and that, in L'Allegro, masks an almost inaccessible precipice overlooking the are among his pleasures. Nor could he now vale of Corve. The castle was divided into two disapprove of a species of entertainment, 10 separate parts: the castle, properly speakiny, in which as a writer he was giving encouragement. which were the palace and lodgings; and the The royal masks, however, did not, like Cumus, green, or outwork, which Dr. Stukely supposes always abound with Platonic recommendations of to have been called the Barbican. See his Iti- the doctrine of chastity. nerary, Iter iv. p. 70. The green takes in a The ingenious and accurate Mr. Reed has large compass of ground, in which were the pointed out a rude out-line, from which Milton coart of judicature and records, the stables, gar- seems partly to have sketched the plan of the den, bowling-green, and other offices. In the fable of Conjus. See Biograph. Dramat. ii. front of the castle, à spacious plain or lawn for- p. 441. It is an old play, with this title, The merly extended two miles. in 1772 a public ord Wives Tale, a pleasant conceited Comedie, walk round the castle was planted with trees, plaied by the Queens Maiesties players. Writand laid out with much taste, by the munificence ten by G. P. [i. e. George Peele.] Printed at of the countess of Powis. See Mr. Hodges's Hist. London by John Danter, and are to be sold by Acc. p. 54.
Ralph Hancocke and John Hardie, 1595. In The exterior appearance of this ancient edi- quarto. This very scarce and curious piece exfice bespeaks, in some degree, what it once has hibits, among other parallel incidents, two brobeen. Its mutilated towers and walls still afford thers wandering in quest of their sister, whom an an idea of the strength and beauty, which so no- enchanter had imprisoned. This inagician had ble a specimen of Norman architecture formerly learned his art from his mother Meroe, as Co
mus had been instrncted by his mother Circe. “ 1 Br. Vpon these chalkie cliffs of Albion, The Brothers call out on the Lady's name, and We are arriued now with tedious toile, &c. Echo replies. The enchanter had given her To seeke our sister, &c.”a potion which suspends the powers of reason, and superinduces oblivion of herself. The Bro- A soothsayer enters, with whom they converse thers afterwards meet with an old man who is about the lost lady. “Sooths. Was she fayre ? also skilled in magic; and, by listening to his 2 Br. The fayrest for white and the purest soothsaying, they recover their lost sister. But for redde, as the blood of the deare or the drinot till the enchanter's wreath had been torn ven snowe, &c.” In their search, Ecbo replies from his head, his sword wrested from his hand, to their call. They find too fate that their sisa glass broken, and a light extinguished. The ter is under the captivity of a wicked magician, names of some of the characters, as Sacrapant, and that she had tasted his cup of oblivion. In Chorebus, and others, are taken from the Orlando the close, after the wreath is torn from the maFurioso. The history of Meroe a witch, may be gician's head, and he is disarmed and killed, by seen in The xi Bookes of the Golden Asse, a Spirit in the shape and character of a beautiful containing the Metamorphosie of Lucius Apuleius, page of fifteen years old, she still remains subinterlaced with sundrie pleasant and delectable ject to the magician's enchantment. But in a l'ales, &c. Translated out of the Latin into subsequent scene the Spirit enters, and declares, English by William Adlington, Lond. 1566. that the sister cannot be delivered but by a lady, See Chap. iii. « How Socrates in his returne who is neither maid, wife, nor widow. The spifrom Macedony to Larissa was spoyled and rob- rit blows a magical horn, and the lady appears; bed, and how he fell acquainted with one Meroe she dissolves the charm, by breaking a glass, a witch.” And Chap. iv. “ How Meroe the and extinguishing a light, as I have before rewitch turned divers persons into miserable cited. A curtain is withdrawn, and the sister heasts." of this book there were other editions, is seen seated and asleep. She is disenchanted in 1571, 1596, 1600, and 1639. All in quarto and restored to her senses, having been spoken and the black letter. 'The translator was of to thrice. She then rejoins her two brothers, University College. See also Apuleius in the with whom she returns home; and the Boy-spioriginal. A Meroe is mentioned by Ausonius, rit vanishes under the earth. The magician is Epigr. xix.
here called “inchanter yile," as in Comis, y. Peele's play opens thus.
907. Anticke, Frolicke, and Fantasticke, three ad- There is another circumstance in this play, venturers, are lost in a wood, in the night. They taken from the old English Apuleius. It is agree to sing the old song,
where the Old Man every night is transformed
by our magician into a bear, recovering in the “ Three merrie men, and three merrie men, day-time his natural shape. And three merrie men be wee;
Among the inany feats of magic in this play, I in the wood, and thou on the ground, a bride newly married gains a marriage-portion And Jacke sleeps in the tree.”
by dipping a pitcher into a well. As she dips,
there is a voice : They hear a dog, and 'fancy themselves to be near some village. A cottager appears, with a « Faire maiden, white and red, Jantern: on which Frolicke says, “I perceive Combe me smoothe, and stroke my head, the glimryng of a gloworme, a candle, or a cats- And thou shall haue some cockell bread! eye, &c.' They entreat him to show the way: Gently dippe, but not too deepe, otherwise they say, “wee are like to wander For feare thou make the golden beard to weepe!' among the owlets and hobgoblins of the forest." “ Faire maider., white and redde, He invites them to his cottage; and orders his Combe.me smooth, and stroke my head : wife to lay a crab in the fire, to "rost for lambes- And euery haire a sheave shall be, wool, &c.” They sing
And euery sheaue a golden tree!"
“When as the rie reach to the chin,
With this stage-direction, '" A head comes op full And chopcherrie, chopcherrie ripe within; of gold ; she combes it into her lap." Strawberries swimming in the creame,
I must not omit, that Shakespeare seems also And schoole-boyes playing in the streame, &c.” to have had an eye on this play. It is in the scene
where “ The Haruest-men enler with a Song." At length to pass the time trimly, it is pro- Again, “ Enter the Haruest-men singing with 160posed that the wife shall tell “a merry winters men in their handes."
Frolicke says, tale," or, “an old wiues winters tale," of which have we here, our amourous haruest starres ?" sort of stories she is not without a score. She - They sing, begins, There was a king, or duke, who had a most beautiful daughter, and she was stolen • Loe, here we come a reaping a reaping, away by a necromancer, who turning himself To reape our haruest-fruite; into a dragon, carried her in his mouth to his And thus we passe the yeare so long, castle. The king sent out all his men to find And neuer be we mute." his daughter; “at last, all the king's men went out so long, that bir two brothers went to seeke Compare the Mask in the Tempest, A. iv. S.in hir.” Iinmediately the two brothers enter, and where Iris says, speak.
" You sun-burnt sicklemen, of August weary, Before the starry threshold of Jove's court
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,
Which men call Earth; and, with low-thoughted Where is this stage-direction, “ Enter certain Reapers, properly habiled; they join with the Confind and pester'd in this pin-fold here, nymphs in a graceful dance.” The Tempest pro- Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, bably did not appear before the year 1612. Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives,
That Milton had his eye on this ancient dra- After this mortal change, to her true servants, 10 ma, which might have been the favourite of his Amongst the enthron'd gods on sainted seats, early youth, perhaps it may be at least affirm- Yet some there be, that by due steps aspire ed with as much credibility, as that he conceiv- To lay their just hands on that golden key, ed the Paradise Lost, from seeing a Mystery at That opes the palace of Eternity : Florence, written by Andreini a Florentine in To such my errand is; and, but for such, 1617, entitled Adamo.
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds In the mean time it must be confessed, that with the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould. Milton's magician Comus, with his cup and But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway wand, is ultimately founded on the fable of Of every salt flood, and each ebbing stream, Circe. The effects of both characters are much Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove 20 the same. They are both to be opposed at first Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles, with force and violence. Circe is subdued by That, like to rich and various gems, inlay the virtues of the herb moly which Mercury The unadorned bosom of the deep : gives to Ulysses, and Comus by the plant hae- Which he, to grace his tributary gods, mony which the Spirit gives to the two Bro- By course commits to several government, thers. About the year 1615, a mask called the And gives them leave to wear their sapphire Inner Temple Masque, written by William
crowns, Browne, author of Britannia's Pastorals, which I And wield their little tridents: but this isle, have frequently cited, was presented by the The greatest and the best of all the main, students of the Inner Temple. See Notes on He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities; Com. v. 252, 636, 659. It has been lately And all this tract that fronts the falling Sun 30 printed from a manuscript in the library of A noble peer of mickle trust and power Emanuel College : but I have been informed, Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide that a few copies were printed soon after the An old and haughty nation, proud in arms: presentation. It was formed on the story of Where his fair offspring, nurs'd in princely lore, Circe, and perhaps might have suggested some Are coming to attend their father's state, few hints to Milton. I will give some proofs of And new-entrusted sceptre: but their way parallelism as we go along.
Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear The genius of the best poets is often deter
wood, mined, if not directed, by circumstance apd ac- The nodding horrour of whose shady brows cident. It is natural, that even so original a Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; writer as Milton should have been biassed by the And here their tender age might suffer peril, 40 reigning poetry of the day, by the composition most But that by quick command from sovran Jove in fashion, and by subjects recently brought for- I was dispatch'd for their defence and guard : ward, but soon giving way to others, and almost And listen why; for I will tell you now as soon totally neglected and forgotten.
What never yet was heard in tale or song,
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine, The ATTENDANT Spirit, afterwards in the habit After the Tuscan mariners transform’d,
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, of THYRSIS.
On Circe's island fell: (Who knows not Circe,50 Comus, with his crew,
The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup The Lady.
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape, FIRST BROTHER.
And downward fell into a groveling swine?) SECOND BROTHER.
This nymph, that gaz'd upon his clustering locks SABRINA, the Nymph.
With ivy berries wreath'd, and his blithe youth,
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
Much like his father, but his mother more,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus
Who, ripe and frolic of his full grown age,
At last betakes him to this ominous wood;
And, in thick shelter of black shades imbower?,
Excels his mother at her mighty art, The first Scene discovers a wild wood.
Offering to every weary traveller The Attendant Spirit descends or enters. His orient liquor in a crystal glass,
To quench the drought of Phoebus ; which asthey | Venus now wakes, and wakens love.
[thirst:) Come, let us our rites begin ; (For inost do taste through fond intemperate Tis only day-light that makes sin, Soon as the potion works, their human counte- Which these dun shades will ne'er report. nance, Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
128 The express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd Dark-veil'd Cotytto! to whom the secret flame Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear, 70 of midnight torches burns; mysterious dame, Or ounce, or tiger, bog, or bearded goat, That ne'er art call’d, but when the dragon woom All other parts remaining as they were;
Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, And they, so perfect is their misery,
And makes one blot of all the air ;
Of all thy dues be done, and none left out;
140 I sboot from Heaven, to give him safe convoy, And to the tell-tale Sun descry As now 1 do: but first I must put off
Our conceal'd solemnity.-
Break off, break off, I feel the different pace And in this office of his mountain watch
Of some chaste fuoting near about this ground, Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid 90 Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
trees; Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now.
Our number may affright : some virgin sure
(For so I can distinguish by mine art) 149 Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms,
glass in the other; with him a rout of monsters, And to my wily trains : I shall ere long headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but other Be well-stock'd with as fair a herd as graz'd wise like men and women, their apparel glistering ; About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, My dazzling spells into the spungy air, with torches in their hands.
of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
And give it false presentments, lest the place Comus.
And my quaint habits breed astonishment, The star, that bids the shepherd fold,
And put the damsel to suspicious flight; Now the top of Heaven doth hold;
Which must not be, for that's against my course: And the gilded car of day
I, under fair pretence of friendly ends, 160 His glowing axle doth allay
And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy In the steep Atlantic stream;
Baited with reasons not unplausible, And the slope Sun his upward beam
Wind me into the easy-hearted man, Shouts against the dusky pole,
And hug him into snares. When once her eye Pacing towards the other goal
100 Hath met the virtue of this magic dust, Of his chamber in the east.
I shall appear some harmless villager, Mean while welcome Joy, and Peast,
Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear. Midnight Shout, and Revelry,
But here she comes; I fairly step aside, Tipsy Dance, and Jollity.
And hearken, if I may, her business here.
The Lady enters.
This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 170 And Advice with scrupulous head.
My best guide now: methought it was the sound Strict Age and sour Severity,
of riot and ill-manag'd merriment, With their grave saws, in slumber lie. 119 Such as the jocund fute, or gamesome pipe, We, that are of purer fire,
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds; Imitate the starry quire,
When for their teeming flocks, and granges full, Who, in their nightly watchful spheres, In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, Lead in swift round the months and years. And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth The sounds and seas, with a'l their finny drove, To meet the rudeness, and swill'd insolence, Now to the Moon in wavering morrice move; Of such late wassailers; yet 0! where else And, on the tawny sands and shelves, 119 Shall I inform my unacquainted feet 180 Trip the pert faeries and the dapper elves, In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ? By dimpled brook and fountain brim,
My brothers, when they saw me wearied out The wood-nymphs, deck'd with daisies trim, With this long way, resolving here to lodge Their merry wakes and pastimes keep;
Under the spreading favour of these pines, What ha h ni bilo do with sleep?
Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side, Night hath better sweets to prove,
To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit
As the kind hospitable woods provide.
At every fall smoothing the raven-donn 251 They left me then, when the gray-hooded Even, Of darkness, till it smil'd! I have oft beard Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed, 189 | My mother Circe with the Syrens three, Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phobus' wain. Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades, But where they are, and why they came not back, Calling their potent herbs and baleful drugs; Is now the labour of my thoughts; 'tis likeliest Who, as they sung, would take the prison'd soul, They had engag'd their wandering steps too far;
And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept, And envious darkness, ere they could return, And chid her barking waves into attention, Had stole them from me: else, O thievish Night, and fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause: Why should'st thou, but for some felonious end, Yet they in pleasing slumber lull’d the sense, In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars,
And in sweet madness robb'd it of itself; 261 That Nature hung in Heaven, and fill'd their But such a sacred and home-felt delight, With everlasting oil, to give due light [lamps Such sober certainty of waking bliss, To the misled and lonely traveller? 200 I never heard till now.-I'll speak to her, This is the place, as well as I may guess, And she shall be my queen.--Hail, foreign wonder! Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear; Unless the goddess that in rural shrine Yet nought but single darkness do I find. Dwell'st here with Pan, or Sylvan; by blest song What this might be? A thousand fantasies Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog Begin to throng into my memory,
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood, Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, Lad. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that And aery tongues, that syllable mens names 208 That is address'd to unatteuding ears ; (praise On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses. Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift These thoughts may startle well, but not astound, How to regain my sever'd company, The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended Compell’d me to awake the courteous Echo 275 By a strong siding champion, Conscience.- To give me answer from her mossy couch. O welcome pure-ey'd Faith, white-handed Hope, Com. What chance, good lady, hath bereft Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings, And thou, unblemish'd form of Chastity! Lad. Dim darkness, and this leafy labyrinth. I see ye visibly, and now believe
[ill Com. Could that divide you from near-ushering That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things Lad. They left me weary on a grassy turf. , 280 Are but as slavish officers of vengeance, Would send a glistering guardian, if need were,
Com. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why? To keep my life and honour unassail'd. 220 Lad. To seek i' the valley some cool friendly Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
spring. Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
Com. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady? I did not err, there does a sable clond
Lad. They were but twain, and purpos'd quick Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
return. And casts a gleam over this tufted grove:
Com. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. I cannot halloo to my brothers, but
Lad. How easy my misfortune is to hit ! Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest Com. Imports their loss, beside the present need? 1'U venture; for my new-enliven'd spirits Lad. No less than if I should my brothers lose. Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off.
Com. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
Com. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox Within thy aery shell,
In his loose traces from the furrow came, By slow Meander's margent green,
And the swink'd hedger at his supper sat;
I saw them under a green mantling vine,
That crawls along the side of yon small hill,
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots; Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
Their port was more than human, as they stood:
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colours of the rainbow live, 300 Tell me but where,
240. And play i' the plighted clouds. I was aw-struck, Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the sphere! And, as I past, I worshipt; if those you seek, So may'st thou be translated to the skies,
It were a journey like the path to Heaven, And give resounding grace to all Heaven's har
To help you find them. monies.
What readiest way would bring me to that place? Enter Comus.
Com. Due west it rises from this sbrubby point. Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's Lad. To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose, mould
In such a scant allowance of star-light, Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment? 245 Would overtask the best land-pilot's art, Sure something holy lodges in that breast, Without the sureguess of well-practis'd feet. 310 And with these raptures moves the vocal air Com. I know each lane, and every alley green, To testify his hidden residence.
Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood, How yweetly did they float upon the wings And every bosky bourn from side to side, Of silence, through the einpty-vaulted night, My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;