The New Student's Reference Work/Comus

Comus, a masque by Milton, contains perhaps the most beautiful and tender appreciation of the beauty of purity and holiness which is to be found in all poetry. Its moral is:

"Mortals, that would follow me,
Love virtue; she alone is free;
She can teach ye how to climb
Higher than the sphery chime;
Or, if virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her."

Comus, the god of revel, is not mentioned in the classical myths; but in the 3rd century A. D. he is referred to in connection with art. In Milton's poem a maiden, parted from her brothers in the wood where Comus holds his revels, is saved from the swinish cup which is offered to her by her own constancy and innocence. Among the greatest lines are these:

"So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity,
That, when a soul is found sincerely so,

A thousand liveried angels lackey her,
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt;
And, in clear dream and solemn vision,
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear;
Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
Begins to cast a beam on th' outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
And turns it, by degrees, to the soul's essence,
Till all be made immortal."