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To whom thus Jesus: “Also it is written,
“True Image of the Father, whether throned
In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
610 In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke. For, though that seat of earthly bliss be failed, A fairer Paradise is founded now For Adam and his chosen sons, whom Thou, A Saviour, art come down to re-install ; Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be, Of tempter and temptation without fear. But thou, infernal serpent! shalt not long Rule in the clouds. Like an autumnal star, Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod down 620 Under His feet. For proof, ere this thou feel'st Thy wound (yet not thy last and deadliest wound) By this repulse received, and hold'st in Hell No triumph; in all her gates Abaddon rues Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe To dread the Son of God. He, all unarmed, Shall chase thee, with the terror of His voice, From thy demoniac holds, possession foulThee and thy legions; yelling they shall fly, And beg to hide them in a herd of swine,
630 Lest He command them down into the deep, Bound, and to torment sent before their time. Hail, Son of the Most High, Heir of both worlds,
Queller of Satan! On Thy glorious work
Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, Sung Victor, and, from heavenly feast refreshed, Brought on His way with joy. He, unobserved, Home to His mother's house private returned.
COMUS, A MASK.
PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE BEFORE JOHN, EARL OF BRIDGEWATER,
THEN PRESIDENT OF WALES.
“Comus” was suggested to the poet by the fact that the two sons and the daughter of the Earl of Bridgewater, on their return from a visit to some relations in Herefordshire, were benighted in Haywood Forest ; and the Lady Alice was, for a short time, lost. The Mask was written for the Michaelmas festivities of 1634, and was acted by Lord Bridgewater's children. The music composed for it was by Henry Lawes, who performed in it the part of the Spirit, or Thyrsis. He was the son of Thomas Lawes, a Vicar-Choral of Salisbury Cathedral, and was at first a chorister himself. He became finally one of the Court musicians to Charles I. Masks and music fled before the stern gloom of the Commonwealth, and Lawes was compelled to gain his living by teaching the lute. His greatest friends during this period of difficulty and poverty were the Ladies Alice and Mary Egerton. He lived till the Restoration, and composed the Coronation Anthem for Charles II. “Comus” was first published by Lawes, without Milton's name, in 1637, with a dedication to Lord Brackley. Masks were the fashion of the age; and Milton was probably called on by Lord Bridgewater to produce one, because he had already written the “Arcades” for Lady Bridgewater's mother, Lady Derby, at Harefield, in Middlesex.
THE PERSONS. The ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterwards in FIRST BROTHER. the habit of Thyrsis.
SECOND BROTHER. COMUS, with his crew.
SABRINA, the Nymph. THE LADY.
THE CHIEF PERSONS WHO PRESENTED WERE
The Lord Brackley.
1 Mr. Thomas Egerton, his brother. The Lady Alice Egerton.
The first Scene discovers a wild wood.
The ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters.