The Golden Compass
- John Milton (1637) -
Comus is a masque about the attempted seduction of a young girl by Comus, a supernatural being. The Lady stands firm, secure in the sanctity of her virginity, and eventually her brothers (along with an attendant spirit or two) come to her rescue.
Comus is of interest due to being a very early example of John Milton's work (certain elements of Lucifer of Paradise Lost can be seen in Comus). Additionally, Comus is dedicated to the Earl of Bridgewater and features his children in the primary roles. Debate still rages about whether or not Milton intended the masque to address an unpleasant situation involving the Earl's sister-in-law and niece, where both women were raped repeatedly by members of their household. Comus is very much absorbed in the mental and spiritual aspects of chastity and could be viewed as a defense of the victims of sexual assault (who still have their spiritual chastity "intact"), if read with the family history in mind.
"And on the Tawny Sands and Shelves,
Trip the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves;
By dimpled Brook, and Fountain brim,
The Wood-Nymphs deckt with Daisies trim,
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:
What hath night to do with sleep?
Night hath better sweets to prove,
Venus now wakes, and wak'ns Love.
Com let us our rights begin,
Tis onely day-light that makes Sin"
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