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The attendant Spirit, afterwards in the habit of THYRSIS.
The chief persons who presented, were
COMUS, A MASK.
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 aerial spirits live inspherd 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'd in this pinfold 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.
* The Attendant Spirit] The Spirit is called “Demon' in the Cambridge MS. Warton.
1 starry] Who calls Minerva from the starry court.' Sharpe's Noble Stranger, p. 48. "In that high starry court.' Marino's Sl. of the Innocents, p. 130; and Cupid's Whirligig, p. 1. (1611.)
• And thus with winges, and bowe came I
Newly from Jove's high courte in skie.' pesterd] Crowded. Ital. Pesta, a crowd. v. Hall's Sat. b. iv. s. 7. Todd. VOL. II.
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway
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 government, 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, nurs’d in princely lore, Are coming to attend their father's state, And new-intrusted
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
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
50 who knows] Spenser's Britain's Ida, c. i. st. 1.
• In Ida's vale (who knows not Ida's vale).' Todd. 58 Comus] Consult Warton's and Todd's note on the subject of Comus : from which we find, that though he had appeared as a dramatic personage before, Milton first raised him into poetical celebrity.