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Part of an Entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby at Harefieldt, by some noble


sons of her family, who appear on the scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of state, with this song.


LOOK nymphs, and shepherds look,
What sudden blaze of majesty

Is that which we from hence descry,
Too divine to be mistook;

* This poem is only part of an Entertainment, or Mask, as it is also entitled in Milton's Manuscript, the rest probably being of a different nature, or composed by a different hand. The Countess Dowager of Derby, to whom it was presented, must have been Alice, daughter of Sir John Spenser of Althorp in Northamptonshire, Knight, and the widow of Ferdinando Stanley, the fifth Earl of Derby: and Harefield is in Middlesex, and according to Camden lieth a little to the north of Uxbridge, so that I think we may certainly conclude, that Milton made this poem while he resided in that neighbourhood with his father at Horton near Colebrooke. It should seem too, that it was made before the Mask at Ludlow, as it is a more imperfect essay: and Frances the second daughter of this Countess

Dowager of Derby being married to John Earl of Bridgwater, before whom was presented the Mask at Ludlow, we may conceive in some measure how Milton was induced to compose the one after the other. The alliance between the families naturally and easily accounts for it: and in all probability the Genius of the wood in this poem, as well as the attendant Spirit in the Mask, was Mr. Henry Lawes, who was the great master of music at that time, and taught most of the young nobility.

+ Part of an entertainment presented to the Countess of Derby at Harefield, &c.] We are told by Norden, an accurate topographer who wrote about the year 1590, in his Speculum Britanniæ, under Harefield in Middlesex, " There "Sir Edmond Anderson, Knight, "Lord Chief Justice of the

This, this is she

To whom our vows and wishes bend;

Here our solemn search hath end.


Fame, that her high worth to raise,
Seem'd erst so lavish and profuse,
We may justly now accuse
Of detraction from her praise;
Less than half we find exprest,
Envy bid conceal the rest.

"Common Pleas, hath a faire
"house standing on the edge of
"the hill. The river Colne pass-
"ing neare the same, through
"the pleasantmeadows and sweet

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pastures, yielding both delight "and profit." Spec. Brit. p. i. page 21. I viewed this house a few years ago, when it was for the most part remaining in its original state. It has since been pulled down: the porter's lodges on each side the gateway are converted into a commodious adwelling-house. T. Warton.

1. Look nymphs, and shepherds look, &c.] See the ninth division of Spenser's Epithalamion. And Spenser's Aprill, in praise of Queen Elizabeth.

See, where she sits upon the grassie greene, &c.

See also Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, a. i. s. 1. vol. iii. p. 150. T. Warton.

5. This, this is she.] Milton had here been looking back to Jonson, the most eminent maskwriter that had yet appeared, and had fallen upon some of his formularies and modes of address. For thus Jonson, in an Enter


taynment at Altrope, 1603. Works, 1616. p. 874.

This is shee,

This is shee,

In whose world of grace, &c. We shall find other petty imitations from Jonson. Milton says, v. 106.

Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,

Yet Syrinx well might wait on her. So Jonson, ibid. p. 871. Of the queen and young prince,

That is Cyparissus' face,

And the dame has Syrinx' grace; O, that Pan were now in place, &c. Again, Milton says, v. 46.

-And curl the grove

In ringlets quaint.So Jonson, in a Masque at Welbeck, 1633. v. 15.

When was old Sherwood's head more But see below, at v. 46. And quaintly curl'd? Observat. on Spenser's F. Q. vol. ii. 256, T. Warton.

10. We may justly now accuse &c.] These lines were thus at first in the Manuscript.

Now seems guilty of abuse
And detraction from her praise
Less than half she hath exprest,
Envy bid her hide the rest.

Mark what radiant state she spreads,
In circle round her shining throne,
Shooting her beams like silver threads;
This, this is she alone,

Sitting like a Goddess bright,
In the centre of her light.
Might she the wise Latona be,

Or the tow'red Cybele,

Mother of a hundred Gods;
Juno dares not give her odds;

Who had thought this clime had held

A deity so unparallel'd?




[As they come forward, the Genius of the wood appears, and turning toward them, speaks.]


STAY gentle swains, for though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes;
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung

Of that renowned flood, so often sung,
Divine Alpheus, who by secret sluice


18. Sitting like &c.] It was through your eyes;] Dr. Symat first,

Seated like a goddess bright, &c. 23. Juno dares not &c.] The Manuscript had at first,

Ceres dares not give her odds;

Who would have thought this clime
had held &c.

23. give her odds;] Too lightly expressed for the occasion. Hurd.

27. I see bright honour sparkle

mons, Life of Milton, p. 98. refers to Shakespeare, All's well that ends well,

The honour, Sir, which flames in your fair eyes.


30. Divine Alpheus, &c.] A famous river of Arcadia, that sinking under ground passeth through the sea without mixing his stream with the salt waters,

Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse;
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskin'd nymphs as great and good,
I know this quest of yours, and free intent
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine,
And with all helpful service will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
And lead ye where ye may more near behold
What shallow-searching Fame has left untold;
Which I full oft amidst these shades alone
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon :
For know by lot from Jove I am the Power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove.

and riseth at last with the fountain Arethuse near Syracuse in Sicily. Virg. Æn. iii. 694.

-Alpheum fama est huc Elidis amnem,

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44. I am the Power] It was at first,

-I have the power.

46. —and curl the grove] So

Occultas egisse vias subter mare, qui Drayton, Polyolb. s. vii. vol. ii.

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p. 789. "Banks crown'd with "curled groves." And so in several other places; and in a line which Jonson perhaps remembered, ibid. s. xxxiii. vol. iii. p. 1111.

Where Sherwood her curl'd front into

the cold doth shove.

Jonson also and Browne apply the same epithet frequently to the woods or the tops of trees. Compare note on P. R. ii. 289. T. Warton.

47. With ringlets quaint,] It was at first, In ringlets quaint.


And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill:
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When evening gray doth rise, I fetch my round,
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground,
And early ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumb'ring leaves, or tassell'd horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout


With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless; 60

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