Comus (John Milton)
Comus (A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634) is a masque in honour of chastity, written by John Milton. It was first presented on Michaelmas, 1634, before John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater at Ludlow Castle in celebration of the Earl's new post as Lord President of Wales.
Known colloquially as Comus, the mask's actual full title is A Mask presented at Ludlow Castle 1634: on Michelmas night, before the right honorable John, Earl of Bridgewater, Viscount Brackley, Lord President of Wales, and one of His Majesty's most honorable privy council. Comus was printed anonymously in 1637, in a quarto issued by bookseller Humphrey Robinson; Milton included the work in his Poems of 1645 and 1673. Milton's text was later used for a highly successful masque by the musician Thomas Arne in 1738, which then ran for more than seventy years in London.
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... An air of controversy surrounds this masque,as the Earl of Castlehaven,Bridgewater'sbrother-in-law,was the subject of a sordid sodomy and rape scandal for which he was executed ... Some critics have conjectured that the masque,with its focus on chastity,was designed to cleanse"the Egerton family ... The notable articles in this strain of criticism include Brested,Barbara ...