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To the Right Honourable, John Lord Vicount Bracle, son and heir apparent
to the Earl of BRIDGEWATER, &c. MY LORD,
HIS poem, which received its first occasion
of birth from yourself and others of your noble family t, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns' again to make a final dedication of itself to you. Although - not openly acknowledged by the author $, yet it is a legitimate off-spring, fo lovely, and fo much de
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; #nd 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 humble Seryant,
H. L AWESS. The First Brother in the MASQUE. it See Note on Com. v. 34. | It never appeared under Milton's name till the year 1645.
Š This Dedication, from Lawes's edition, does not appear in the edition of Milton's Poems, printed under his own inspection, 1673, when lord Brackly, under the title of earl of Bridgewater, was fill living. Milton was perhaps unwilling to own his early connections with a family, conspicuous for its unshaken loyalty, and now highly patronised by king Charles the second. See PRELIMIN. NOTES.
The Copy of a Letter written by Sir HENRY
Wootton, to the Author, upon the following
From the Colledge, this 13. of April, 1638.
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 sightly';' 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 been bold in our vulgar phrase to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with your faid learned friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together some good authors of the antient time: among which, I observed you to have been familiar.
Since your going, you have charged me with new obligations, both for a very kinde letter from you dated the fixth of this month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came therewith. Wherin I should much commend the Tragical part t, if the
+ " If the lyrical part did not ravish me with a certain Dorique
delicacy in your songs and odes.”] Sir Henry Wootton, now provoft of Eton college, was himself a writer of English odes, and with some degree of elegance. He had also written a tragedy, while a young student at Queen's College Oxford, called TANCREDO, acted by his fellow-students. See his Life by Walton, p. 11. Çowley wrote an Elegy on his death. Donne has testified his friendship
* Fletcher's pastoral comedy, of which more will be said hereafter, is characterised by Cartwright, “ Where sor TNESS reigns.” Poems, p. 269, edit. 91.
Lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your songs and odes, whereunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our language : Ipfa mollities. But I must not omit to tell
you, that I now onely owe you thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly foever) the true artificer. For the work itfelf, I had viewed som good while before, with singular delights, having received it from our common friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late Mr. R’s. Poems, printed at Oxford, wherunto it was added (as I now suppose) that the accef
for Wootton in three copies of verses. p. 61.77. 104. He is celebrated, hoth as a scholar and a patron, by Bastard the epigrammatist. Lib. ii. EPIGR. 4. p. 29. edit. 1598. He was certainly a polite scholar, but on the whole a mixed and defultory character. He was now indulging his studious and philofophic propensities at leisure. Milton, when this letter was written, lived but a few miles from Eton.
I“ Having received it from our common friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late Mr. R.'s Poems, printed at Oxford, whereunto it was added, &c.”] I believe “Mr. R.” to be John Rouse, Bodley's librarian, of whom I have more to say hereafter. “ The late Mr. “ R.” is unquestionably Thomas Randolph the poet. It appears from his monument, which I have seen, in the church of Blatherwyke in Norhamptonshire, that he died on the seventeenth day of March, in 1634. In which year Com us was performed at Ludlowcastle on Michaelmas-night. In the year 1638, Randolph's Poems were printed at Oxford, viz. “ Poems, with the Muses Look
ING-GLAss and AMYNTAS. By Thomas Randolph, M. A. “ and late Fellow of Trinity college Cambridge. Oxford, Printed " by L. Litchfield printer to the Vniversitie for Fr. Bowman,
1638.” In quarto. Containing one hundred and fourteen pages. But who has ever seen a copy of this edition of Randolph's Poems with Comus at the end ? Sir Henry supposes, that Comus was added at the close of these poems, “ that the accessory might help “out the principal, according to the art of stationers, and to leave “ the reader Con la bocca dolce.” Randolph's poems were published by his brother, who would not think such a recommendation was wanted ; and who surely did not mean to include the works of others. It was foreign to his purpose. It marred the integrity of his design. He was not publishing a miscellany. Such an extraneous addition would have been mentioned in a preface. Nor
fery might help out the principal, according to the art of stationers, and to leave the reader Con la bocca dolce.
Now Sir, concerning your travels, wherin I may chalenge a little more priviledge of discours with you; I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way; therfore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord S. as his governour, and you may surely receive from him good directions
were Randolph's Poems so few or so small, as to require any such accession to make out the volume. A second edition of Randolph's Poems, much enlarged, appeared at Oxford in duodecimo, in 1640, and with recommendatory verses prefixed, by the same printers and publishers. Here we are equally disappointed in seeking for Comus; which, one might expećt, would have been continued from the former edition. I think this perplexity may be thus adjusted. Henry Lawes the musician, who composed Com us, and of whom I shall say more in a proper place, being wearied with giving written copies, printed and published this drama, about three years after the presentation, omitting Milton's name, with the following title. “ A Maske presented at Ludlow castle, 1634, on “ Michaelmasse night, before the right honorable the Earie of
Bridgewater, Vicount Brackly, Lord President of Wales, and one of his maiesties most honorable privie counsell.”
“ Eheu! quid volui misero mihi ? Floribus auftrum
6 Perditus." “ London. Printed for Humphrey Robinson at the signe of the “ three Pidgeons in Pauls church-yard, 1637." In quarto. Now it is very probable, that when Rouse transmitted from Oxford, in 1638, the first or quarto edition of Randolph's Poems to Sir Henry Wootton, he very officiously ftitched up at the end Lawes's edition of Comus, a slight quarto of thirty pages only, and ranging, as he thought, not improperly with Randolph's two dramas, the Muses LOOKING-GLASS and AMYNTAS, the two concluding pieces of the volume. Wootton did not know the name of the author of COMUS, the Mask which he had seen at the end of Randolph, till Milton, as appears by the Letter before us, fent him a copy.“ in
timating the name of the true artificer,” on the sixth day of April, 1638. I have before obferved, that Lawes's edition had not the name of the author. This, we may prefume, was therefore the Com us, which Wootton had seen at the end of Randolph.