These sickening scoundrels had merely intended to keep me back, to fool me with their display of confidence, and presently to fall upon me with a fate more horrible than death,--with torture; and after torture the most hideous degradation it is possible to conceive,--to send me off a lost soul, a beast, to the rest of their Comus
"Then it was you who got one of our boats, the Comus
, off the rocks in the Bay of Fundy?
,' the last of the Elizabethan and Jacobean masks, combines an exquisite poetic beauty and a real dramatic action more substantial than that of any other mask with a serious moral theme (the security of Virtue) in a fashion that renders it unique.
Even our Becky had her weaknesses, and as one often sees how men pride themselves upon excellences which others are slow to perceive: how, for instance, Comus
firmly believes that he is the greatest tragic actor in England; how Brown, the famous novelist, longs to be considered, not a man of genius, but a man of fashion; while Robinson, the great lawyer, does not in the least care about his reputation in Westminster Hall, but believes himself incomparable across country and at a five-barred gate--so to be, and to be thought, a respectable woman was Becky's aim in life, and she got up the genteel with amazing assiduity, readiness, and success.
By the riot of his rolling eye, and the pagan decorations of his holy garb, he seemed the wildest monster there, and the very Comus of the crew.
At the sound, the Puritan leader glanced at the crew of Comus, each a figure of broad mirth, yet, at this moment, strangely expressive of sorrow and dismay.
Had a wanderer, bewildered in the melancholy forest, heard their mirth, and stolen a half-affrighted glance, he might have fancied them the crew of Comus, some already transformed to brutes, some midway between man and beast, and the others rioting in the flow of tipsy jollity that foreran the change.
They dash the magic glass to the ground and break it in pieces and put Comus and his rabble to flight.
And they, forgetting their home and friends, henceforth live riotously with Comus.
As she wanders about she is discovered by Comus who, disguising himself as a shepherd, offers her shelter in his "low but loyal cottage." The Lady, innocent and trusting, follows him.
It was during these early years spent at Horton, too, that Milton wrote his masque of Comus. It is strange to find a Puritan poet writing a masque, for Puritans looked darkly on all acting.
Then let us whisper it, that you may start at once out of the oaken chair, which really seems to be enchanted, like the one in Comus
, or that in which Moll Pitcher imprisoned your own grandfather.