.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Arthur Rackham - *Comus* by John Milton























Ernst Waelti:
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, 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.

The plot concerns two brothers and their sister, simply called "Lady", lost in a journey through the woods. Lady becomes fatigued, and the brothers wander off in search of sustenance.While alone, she encounters the debauched Comus, a character inspired by the god of mockery, who is disguised as a villager and claims he will lead her to her brothers. Deceived by his amiable countenance, Lady follows him, only to be captured, brought to his pleasure palace and victimised by his necromancy. Seated on an enchanted chair, with "gums of glutinous heat", she is immobilised, and Comus accosts her while with one hand he holds a necromancer's wand and with the other he offers a vessel with a drink that would overpower her. Comus urges Lady to "be not coy" and drink from his magical cup (representing sexual pleasure and intemperance), but she repeatedly refuses, arguing for the virtuousness of temperance and chastity. Within view at his palace is an array of cuisine intended to arouse Lady's appetites and desires. Despite being restrained against her will, she continues to exercise right reason (recta ratio) in her disputation with Comus, thereby manifesting her freedom of mind.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chocolate Girls