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COM U S.
“ A Mask presented at Ludlow-cafile."] Some idea of this castle, in which COMUS was acted with great splendour, and which is now ruinous and perishing, may not be unacceptable to those who read Milton with the fond attentions of a lover. It was founded on a ridge of rock overlooking the river Corve, by Roger Montgomery, about the year 1112, in the reign of king Henry the first. But without entering into its more obscure and early annals, I will rather exhibit the ftate in which it might be supposed to subsist, when Milton's drama was performed. Thomas Churchyard in a Poem called The WorThines of Wales, printed in 1587, has a Chapter entitled “The “ Castle of Ludioe." In one of the state-apartments, he mentions a superb escocheon in itone of the Arms of Prince Arthur ; and an em. palement of Saint Andrew's Cross with Prince Arthur's Arms, painted in the windows of the Hall. And in the Hall and Chambers, he says, there was a variety of rich workmanship, suitable to so magnificent a castle. In it is a Chapel, he adds,“ most trim and coitly, so bravely “ wrought, so fayre and finely framed, &c." About the walls of this Chapel, were sumptuously painted " a great device, a worke most riche “and rare," the Arins of many kings of England, and of the lords of the Castle, from fir Walter Lacie the firit lord, &c. “ The armes “ of al these afore !poken of, are gallantly and cunningly set out in " that Chapell.--Now is to be rehearted, that fir Harry Sidney being “ lord President buylt twelve roomes in the fayd Castle, which goodly
buildings doth thewe a great beautie to the same. He made also a 'goodly Wardrobe underneath the new Parlor, and repayred an old “ tower called Mortymer's Tower, to keepe ibe auncient recordes in “ the same: and he repayred a fayre roume under the Court-house, “ – and made a great wall aboui the wood yard, and built a moit “ braue Conduit within the inner Courc: And all the newe buildings
over the Gate, fir Harry Sidney, in his dayes and government “ there, made and set out, to the honour of the queene, and the “ glorie of the Castle. There are, in a goodly or stately place, set out “ my lorde earl of Warwick's Arms, the earl of Darbie, the earl of “ Worcester, the carl of Pembroke, and fir Harry Sidney's Armes in " like manner: al thele stand on the left side of the (great] Cham“ber. On the other side, are the Armes of Northwales and South
“wales, two red lyons and two golden lyons [for] Prince Arthur. At " the end of the Dyning Chamber, there is a pretty device, how the “ hedge.hog broke his chayne, and came from Ireland to Ludloe. “ There is in the Hall a great grate of iron, [a portcullis] of a huge
height." fol. 79. In the Hall, or one of the great Chambers, Comus was acted. We are told by David Powell the Welch historian, that fir Henry Sidney knight, made lord President of Wales in 1564, “ repaired the Castle of Ludlowe, which is the cheefest house within “ the Marches, being in great decaie, as the Chapell, the Courthouse, " and a faire Fountaine, &c. Also he erected diuers new buildings “ within the said Castell, &c.” Hist. of CAMBRIA, edit. 1580. p. 401. 4to. In this castle, The Creation of Prince Charles to the Principality of Wales and Earldom of Chester, afterwards Charles the First, was kept as a festival, and solennised with uncommon magnificence, in the year 1616. See a Narrative entitled “The Loue of “ Wales to their Soueraigne Prince, &c." Lond. 1616. 4to. Many of the exteriour towers still remain. But the royal apartments, and other rooms of state, are abandoned, defaced, and lie open to the weather. It was an extensive and stately fabric. Over the Itable.doors are the arms of queen Elizabeth, Lord Pembroke, &c. Frequent to. kens of antient pomp peep out from amidit the rubbish of the moul. dering fragments. Prince Arthur, abovementioned, son of Henry the seventh, died in 1502, in this castle, which was the palace of the Prince of Wales, appendent to his principality. It was constantly inhabited by his deputies, styled the Lords presidents of Wales, till the principality.court, a separate jurisdiction,was dissolved by king William. The castle was represented in one of the scenes of Milton's Mak.
+ " Before the earl of Bridgewater, then president of Wales."'] Sir John Egerton son of Thomas lord Chancellor Egerton, knight of the Bath, earl of Bridgewater, Baron of Elesmere, and lord President of Wales, before whom COMUS was presented at Ludlow-caftle, in 1634, married Frances second daughter of Ferdinando fifth earl of Derby. And thus it was for the same family that Milton wrote both Arcades and Comus : for the countess dowager of Derby, before whom ARCADES was presented, was mother to Lady Bridgewater, and, if Dugdale is to be credited, mother in law to Lord Bridgewater her husband. See above, p. 109.
Lord Bridgewater died in 1649. His Lady in 1635. They had fifteen children, John lord viscount Brackley, the third son, and who performed the part of the First BROTHER in our Malk, succeeded to his father's inheritable citles, and was at length of the Privy-Coun. cil to king Charles the second. He died, aged fixty-four, in 1686. He was therefore only cwelve years old when he acted in Comus. And his brother Thomas, who played the Second BROTHER was fill younger. Hence, in the dialogue between Comus and the Lady, v.289.
Gom. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?
Lad. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. Chauncy, the historian of Herifordshire, who was well acquainted with Joha Lord Brackley, says that he was a nobleman of the most
valuable and amiable qualities : “ he was of a middling stature, with • black hair, a round visage, a modest and grave aspect, a sweet and
pleasant countenance, and comely presence. He was a learned man, “ and delighted much in his library, &c." Hist. HERTF. P. 554. This account of his perlon, perfectly corresponds with Milton's de. fcription of his beauty while a boy : and the panegyric, we may suppose, was as justly due to his younger brother Thomas. Com. v. 298.
Their port was more than human, as they stood :
And, as I paft, I worshipt. -
Canit thou not tell me of a gentle pair
That likelt thy Narcissus are ? Mr. Thomas Egerton abovementioned, who performed the part
of the Second BROTHER, was a fourth son, and died unmarried at the age of twenty three.
The Lady Alice Egerton, probably so named from her grandmother the countess dowager of Derby, who acted the Lady in Comus, was the eleventh daughter, and could not now have been more than thirteen years old. She married Richard Lord Vaughan in England and lord Carbury in Ireland. She died without children. More will be said of her hereafter.
All that I have mentioned, and many more, of the family, are buried under a stately monument in the church of Gadesden in Hertfordshire, but bordering upon Buckinghamshire. There is a long inscription to the memory of the father, the lord President of Wales, who, among other most respectable accomplishments is there said to have been “ a profound scholar." It was lucky, that at least the chief person of the audience was capable of understanding the many learned allusions in this drama. The family lived at Athridge, antiently a royal palace, in the parish of Gadesden, and still inhabited by their illustrious descendant the present duke of Bridgewater. Milton, as we have seen, lived in the neighbourhood ; and, as at Harefield, was thence employed to write this Mask, on occasion of Lord Bridgewater entering upon his official residence at Ludlow-cattle. The two young noblemen, John Lord Brackley, and Mr. Thomas Egerton, were practitioners in the business of acting Masques ; and, although so very young, had before appeared on a higher stage. They acted in Masque called Coelum BRITANNICUM, written by that elegant poet, the rival of Waller, Thomas Carew, and performed in 1633, in the Banquetting-house at Whitehall, on Shrovetuesday-night. See Carew's Poems, p.215. edit.1651. It is more than probable, that they played among the young nobility, together with their fifter the Lady Alice, in ARCADES. Where see v. 26. seq. Their fifter, Penelope Egerton, a fixth daughter, acted at court with the queen and other ladies, in Jonson's Masque of CHLORIDIA at throve-tide, 1630. WORKS, vol.vi.211.
To the Right Honourable, John Lord Vicount BRACLY, son and heir ap
parent to the Earl of BRIDGEWATER, &c.
poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a finall dedication of itself to you, Although not openly acknowledged by the author, yet it is a
legitimate off-spring, so lovely, and so much dei fired, that the often copying of it hath tired my
pen to give my severall friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the publike view; and now to offer it up in all rightfull devotion to those fair hopes, and rare endowments of
your much promising youth, which give a full assurance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet Lord, to be the honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours been long obliged to your most honoured parents, and as in this representation your attendant THYRSIS, fo now in all reall expression
Your faithfull and most
H. L AW E S.
The Copy of a Letter written by Sir HENRY
Wootton, to the Author, upon the following Poem.
From the Colledge, this 13. of April, 1638.
T was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here, the first taste of
your acquaintance, though no longer then to make me know that I wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, * which I understood afterwards by Mr. H., I would have
*"Which I understood nfterwards by Mr. H.”] Perhaps Milton's friend Samuel Hartlib, whom I have seen mentioned in some of the pamphlets of this period, as well acquainted with fir Henry Wootton. Hart. lib was a native of Holland ; and being settled in England, probably became intimate with Milton by means of Thomas Young, Paftor to the English merchants at Hamburgh, Milton's preceptor. Hartlib was warmly attached to the parliament. He was concerned in publishing some of the pieces written by his friend John Dury, a voluminous and busy pamphleteer, a Scotch sectarist, first a presbyterian and afterwards an independent. Among these are, Seasonable Discourse for Reformation, Lond. 1649. 410: - The Reformed School, Lond. 1650. 12mo, Supplement to the Reformed School, Lond. 1651. 12mo. The two laft are new projects for the education of youth. — The unchanged constant and fingle-bearted Peace-maker, &c. Or a Vindication of Mr. J. Durie, &c.
Lond. 1650. 4to. - An Epistolary Discourse on Toleration, &c. 1644. 400. It is a defence of independence; and is addressed to Nye and Godwin, two popular presbyterian minifters, and to Samuel Hartlib, In 1654, three treatises by different authors were printed together, on The true and ready way to learn the Latin tongue. These were published by Hartlib; who prefixed a panegyrical Dedication to Francis Rouse, Speaker of the Long Parliament. Hartlib also published, Twife's Doubting Conscience resolved, Lond. 1652. 4to. A tract of calvinistic casuistry,
About the year 1650, Milton printed a small piece in one sheet, in quarto, A TREATISE OF EDUCATION TO MASTER SAMUEL HART