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The Copy of a Letter written by Sir HENRY WOOTTON, to the Author, upon the following Poem.

From the College, this 13th of April, 1638.

SIR,

IT T was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer than 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 been bold in our vulgar phrase to mend my draught, (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have begged your converfation again, jointly with your faid learned friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together Some good authors of the ancient time: among which, I obferved you to have been familiar.

Since your going you have charg'd me with new obli gations, both for a very kind letter from you dated the fixth of this month, and for a dainty piece of entertainment which came therewith. Wherein I should much commend the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish me with a certain dorique delicacy in your fongs 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 only owe you thanks for intimating unto me (how modeftly foever) the true artificer. For the work it felf I had view'd some good while before, with M 3

138

A Letter from Sir H. Wootton.

fingular delight, having receiv'd it from our common friend Mr R. in the very close of the late R's poems, printed at Oxford, whereunto it was added (as I now fuppofe) that the accessory 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, wherein I may challenge a little more privilege of difcourfe with you; I fuppofe you will not blanch Paris in your way: therefore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you fhall eafily find attending the young Lord S. as his governor; and you may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did refide by my choice fome time for the king, after mine own recefs from Venice.

I should think that your best line will be thorough the whole length of France to Marseilles, and thence by fea to Genoa, whence the paffage into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravefend bargè: I baften as you do to Florence, or Siena, the rather to tell you a fhort story from the intereft you have given me in your fafety.

At Siena I was tabled in the house of one Alberto Scipioni, an old Roman courtier in dangerous times, having been fteward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with all his family were ftrangled, fave this only man that efcap'd by forefight of the tempeft: with him I had often much chat of thofe affairs; into which he took pleasure to look back from his native harbour; and at my departure toward Rome (which had been the center of his experience) I had won confidence enough to beg his advice, how I might carry myself fecurely there, without offence of others, or of mine

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A Letter from Sir H. Wootton.

139

own confcience. Signor Arrigo mio (says he) I pensieri stretti, et il viso sciolto, will go safely over the whole world: of which Delphian oracle (for fo I have found it) your judgment doth need no commentary; and therefore (Sir) I will commit you with it to the best of all securi» ties, God's dear love, remaining

Your friend as much at command

as any of longer date,

Henry Wootton.

POSTSCRIPT.

SIR,

I

Have exprefly fent this my foot-boy to prevent your departure without fome acknowledgment from me of the receipt of your obliging letter, having myself through fome business, I know not how, neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where I fhall understand you fixed, I shall be glad, and diligent to entertain you with home-novelties; even for fome fomentation of our friendship, too foon interrupted in the

cradle.

The PERSONS.

The attendant fpirit, afterwards in the habit of

Thyrfis.

Comus with his crew.

The lady.

1 Brother.

2 Brother.

Sabrina the nymph.

The chief perfons who prefented, were,

The Lord Bracly.

Mr. Thomas Egerton his brother.

The Lady Alice Egerton.

COMUS.

A

MAS K.

The first Scene difcovers a wild Wood.

The attendant fpirit defcends or enters.

BE

EFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court My manfion is, where thofe immortal shapes Of bright aereal spirits live infpher'd In regions mild of calm and ferene air, Above the fmoak and stirr of this dim spot, Which men call earth, and with low-thoughted care Confin'd, and pester'd in this pin-fold 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 fainted feats. Yet fome there be that by due steps aspire To lay their just hands on that golden key That ope's the palace of eternity: To fuch my errand is, and but for fuch, I would not foil these pure ambrofial weeds, With the rank vapours of this fin-worm mould. But to my task. Neptune, befides the sway

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