Comus

Front Cover
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, May 23, 2015 - 92 pages
Comus 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, Iohn Earl of Bridgewater, Viscount Brackly, Lord President of Wales, and one of His Maiesties most honorable privie councill. 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. This version is illustraded by Arthur Rackham.

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About the author (2015)

Arthur Rackham was born in London, England. At the age of 18, he worked as a clerk at the Westminster Fire Office and began studying part-time at the Lambeth School of Art. In 1892 he left his job and started working for The Westminster Budget as a reporter and illustrator. His first book illustrations were published in 1893 in To the Other Side by Thomas Rhodes, but his first serious commission was in 1894 for The Dolly Dialogues, the collected sketches of Anthony Hope, who later went on to write The Prisoner of Zenda. Book illustrating then became Rackham's career for the rest of his life. Rackham invented his own unique technique which resembled photographic reproduction; he would first sketch an outline of his drawing, then lightly block in shapes and details. Afterwards he would add lines in pen and India ink, removing the pencil traces after it had dried. With color pictures, he would then apply multiple washes of color until transparent tints were created. Arthur Rackham died in 1939 of cancer in his home in Limpsfield, Surrey.

John Milton, English scholar and classical poet, is one of the major figures of Western literature. He was born in 1608 into a prosperous London family. By the age of 17, he was proficient in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Milton attended Cambridge University, earning a B.A. and an M.A. before secluding himself for five years to read, write and study on his own. It is believed that Milton read evertything that had been published in Latin, Greek, and English. He was considered one of the most educated men of his time. Milton also had a reputation as a radical. After his own wife left him early in their marriage, Milton published an unpopular treatise supporting divorce in the case of incompatibility. Milton was also a vocal supporter of Oliver Cromwell and worked for him. Milton's first work, Lycidas, an elegy on the death of a classmate, was published in 1632, and he had numerous works published in the ensuing years, including Pastoral and Areopagitica. His Christian epic poem, Paradise Lost, which traced humanity's fall from divine grace, appeared in 1667, assuring his place as one of the finest non-dramatic poet of the Renaissance Age. Milton went blind at the age of 43 from the incredible strain he placed on his eyes. Amazingly, Paradise Lost and his other major works, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, were composed after the lost of his sight. These major works were painstakingly and slowly dictated to secretaries. John Milton died in 1674.

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