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Usually, besides gods, goddesses, and nymphs from On the second night, a castle is presented in the classical antiquity, there were such personages as hall, and Peace comes in riding in a charivt drawn Night, Day, Beauty, Fortitude, and so forth; but by an elephant, on which sits Friendship. The though the persons of the drama were thus removed latter pronounces a speech on the event of the prefrom common life, the reference of the whole busi- ceding evening, and Peace is left to dwell with ness of the scene to the occasion which had called it Prudence and Temperance. The third night showed forth, was as direct as it could well be, and even | Disdain on a wild boar, accompanied by Prepensed ludicrously so, particularly when the object was to Malice, as a serpent, striving to procure the liberapay a compliment to any of the courtly audience. tion of Discord and False Report, but opposed sucThis, however, was partly justified by the private cessfully by Courage and Discretion. At the end of character of the entertainment; and it is easy to the fight, 'Disdain shall run bis ways, and escape conceive that, when a gipsy stepped from the scene, with life, but Prepensed Malice shall be slain ; sigand, taking the king's hand, assigned him all the nifying that some ungodly men may still disdain good fortune which a loyal subject should wish to a the perpetual peace made between these two virtues; sovereign, there would be such a marked increase of but as for their prepensed malice, it is easy trodden sensation in the audience, as to convince the poet under these ladies' feet. The second night ends that there lay the happiest stroke of his play. with a flowing of wine from conduits, ' during which
Mr Collier, in his Annals of the Stuye, has printed time the English lords shall mask with the Scottish a document which gives a very distinct account of ladies :' the third night terminates by the six or the court masque, as it was about the time when the l eight ladies masquers singing a song'as full of drama arose in England ; namely, in the early years I harmony as may be devised.' The whole entertain. of Elizabeth. That princess, as is well-known, de- ment indicates a sincere desire of reconciliation on signed an amicable meeting with Mary Queen of the part of Elizabeth; but the first scene-a prison Scots, which was to have taken place at Nottingham -scems strangely ominous of the events which folcastle, in May 1562, but was given up in conse- lowed six years after. quence, as is believed, of the jealousy of Elizabeth The masque, as has been stated, attained the regarding the superior beauty of Mary. A masque zenith of its glory in the reign of James I., the was devised to celebrate the meeting and entertain most festive known in England between those of the united courts, and it is the poet's scheme of this Henry VIII. and Charles II. The queen, the entertainment, docketed by Lord Burleigh, to which princes, and nobles and ladies of the highest rank, reference is now made. The masque seems to have took parts in them, and they engaged the genius been simply an acted allegory, relating to the circum- of Jonson, Inigo Jones, and Henry Lawes, each stances of the two queens; and it throws a curious light in his various department of poet, machinist, and not only upon the taste, but upon the political his- | musician; while no expense was spared to render tory of the period. We give the procedure of the them worthy of the place, the occasion, and the first night.
audience. It appears from the accounts of the First, a prison to be made in the hall, the name Master of Revels, that no less than £4215 was whereof is Extreme Oblivion, and the keeper's name lavished on these entertainments in the first six thereof Argus, otherwise called Circumspection : then years of the king's reign. Jonson himself composed a masque of ladies to come in after this sort :
twenty-three masques; and Dekker, Middleton, and First Pallas, riding upon an unicorn, having in her others of the leading dramatic authors, Shakspeare hand a standard, in which is to be painted two ladies' alone excepted, were glad to contribute in this manhands, knit in one fast within the other, and over ner to the pleasures of a court whose patronage was the hands, written in letters of gold, Fides.
so essential to them. Then two ladies riding together, the one upon a The marriage of Lord James Hay to Anne, golden lion with a crown of gold on his head, the daughter and heir of Lord Denny, January 6th, other upon a red lion, with the like crown of gold ; | 1607, was distinguished at court (Whitehall) by signifying two virtues ; that is to say, the lady on what was called the Memorable Musque, the prothe golden lion is to be called Prudentia, and the duction of Dr Thomas Campion, an admired musilady on the red lion Temperantia.
cian as well as poet of that day, now forgotten. On After this, to follow six or eight ladies masquers, this occasion, the great hall of the palace was fitted bringing in captive Discord and False Report, with up in a way that shows the mysteries of theatrical ropes of gold about their necks. When these have scenery and decoration to have been better undermarched about the hall, then Pallas to declare be-stood, and carried to a greater height, in that age, fore the queen's majesty, in verse, that the goddess, than is generally supposed. One end of the hall was understanding the noble meeting of these two set apart for the audience, having the king's seat in queens, hath willed her to declare unto them that the centre ; next to it was a space for ten concerted those two virtues, Prudentia and Temperantia, have musicians-base and mean lutes, a bandora, a double made great and long suit unto Jupiter, that it would sackbut, a harpsichord, and two treble violins-beplease him to give unto them False Report and sides whom there were nine violins, three lutes, six Discord, to be punished as they think good; and cornets, and six chapel singers. The stage was conthat those ladies have now in their presence deter- cealed by a curtain resembling dark clouds, which mined to commit them fast bound unto the aforesaid being withdrawn, disclosed a green valley with green prison of Extreme Oblivion, there to be kept by the round about it, and in the midst of them nine golden aforesaid jailor Argus, otherwise Circumspection, for ones of fifteen feet high. The bower of Flora was ever, unto whom Prudentia shall deliver a lock, on their right, the house of Night on the left; bewhereupon shall be written In Eternum. Then Tem-tween them a hill hanging like a cliff over the grove. perantia shall likewise deliver unto Argus a key, The bower of Flora was spacious, garnished with whose name shall be Nunquam, signifying that, when | Powers and flowery branches, with lights among False Report and Discord are committed to the them; the house of Night ample and stately, with prison of Extreme Oblivion, and locked there ever. black columns studded with golden stars; while lastingly, he should put in the key to let them out about it were placed, on wires, artificial bats and nunquum (never); and when he hath so done, then owls continually moving. As soon as the king the trumpets to blow, and the English ladies to take entered the great hall, the hautboys were heard the nobility of the strangers, and dance.'
from the top of the hill and from the wood, till Flora and Zephyrus were seen busily gathering with roses, wedding garments, rocks, and spindles, flowers from the bower, throwing them into baskets hearts transfixed with arrows, others flaming, virwhich two sylvans held, attired in changeable gins' girdles, garlands, and worlds of such like.' taffety. Besides two other allegorical characters, Enter Venus in her chariot, attended by the Graces, Nighi and Hesperus, there were nine masquers, re- and delivers a speech expressive of her anxiety to presenting Apollo's knights, and personated by | recover her son Cupid, who has run away from her. young men of rank.
The Graces then make proclamation as follows: After songs and recitative, the whole vale was suddenly withdrawn, and a hill with Diana's tree 1st Grace. Beauties, have you seen this toy, discovered. Night appeared in her house with Nine
Called love, a little boy, Hours, apparelled in large robes of black taflety,
Almost naked, wanton, blind; painted thick with stars; their hair long, black, and
Cruel now, and then as kind ! spangled with gold; on their heads coronets of stars,
If he be amongst ye, say ; and their faces black. Every Hour bore in his hand
He is Venus' runaway. a black torch painted with stars, and lighted. 2d Grace. She that will but now discover Night. Vanish, dark vales, let night in glory shine,
Where the winged wag doth hover, As she doth burn in rage ; come, leave our shrine,
Shall to-night receive a kiss, You black-haired hours, and guide us with your lights,
How or where herself would wish; Flora hath wakened wide our drowsy sprites,
But who brings him to his mother, See where she triumphs, see her flowers are thrown,
Shall have that kiss, and another. And all about the seeds of malice sown ;
3d Grace. He hath marks about himn plenty ; Despiteful Flora, is’t not enough of grief,
You shall know him among twenty, That Cynthia's robbed, but thou must grace the thief?
All his body is a fire, Or didst not hear Night's sovereign queen complain
And his breath a flame entire, Hymen had stolen a nymph out of her train,
That, being shot like lightning in,
Wounds the heart but not the skin.
Ist Grace. At his sight the sun hath turn'd,
Neptune in the waters burn'd; Flora. Be mild, stern Night;
Heil hath felt a greater heat ; Flora doth honour Cynthia and her right ; * *
Jove himself forsook his seat; The nymph was Cynthia's while she was her own,
From the centre to the sky But now another claims in her a right,
Are his trophies reared high. By fate reserved thereto, and wise foresight.
2d Grace. Wings he hath, which though ye clip, Zephyrus. Can Cynthia one kind virgin's loss be
He will leap from lip to lip, moan ?
Over liver, lights, and heart, How, if perhaps she brings her ten for one? .
But not stay in any part; After some more such dialogue, in which Hesperus
And if chance his arrow misses, takes part, Cynthia is reconciled to the loss of her
He will shoot himself in kisses. nymph; the trees sink, by means of enginery, under 3d Grace. He doth bear a golden bow, the stage, and the masquers come out of their tops
And a quiver hanging low, to fine music. Dances, processions, speeches, and
Full of arrows, that outbrave songs follow, the last being a duet between a Sylvan
Dian's shafts ; where, if he have and an Hour, by the way of tenor and bass.
Any head more sharp than other, Syl. Tell me, gentle Hour of Night,
With that first he strikes his mother. Wherein dost thou most delight ?
1st Grace. Still the fairest are his fuel. Hour. Not in sleep. Syl. Wherein, then !
When his days are to be cruel, Hour. In the frolic view of men.
Lovers' hearts are all his food, Syl. Lov'st thou music ? Hour. Oh, 'tig sweet.
And his baths their warmest blood ; Syl. What's dancing! Hour. Even the mirth of feet.
Nought but wounds his hand doth season, Syl. Joy you in fairies and in elves?
And he hates none like to Reason.
2d Grace. Trust him not; his words, though sweet, Only to frequent the grove?
Seldom with his heart do meet. Syl. Life is fullest of content,
All his practice is deceit; Where delight is innocent.
Every gift it is a bait ; Hour. Pleasure must vary, not be long;
Not a kiss but poison bears ; Come, then, let's close and end our song.
And most treason in his tears.
3d Grace. Ide minutes are his reign; Then the masquers made an obeisance to the king,
Then the straggler makes his gain, and attended him to the banqueting room.
By presenting maids with toys, The masques of Jonson contain a great deal of
And would have ye think them joys ; fine poetry, and even the prose descriptive parts are
'Tis the ambition of the elf remarkable for grace and delicacy of language-as,
To have all childish as himself. for instance, where he speaks of a sea at the back of & scene, catching the eye afar off with a wander 1st Grace. If by these ye please to know him, ing beauty.' In that which was produced at the
Beauties, be not nice, but show him. marriage of Ramsay, Lord Haddington, to Lady | 2d Grace. Though ye had a will to hide him, Elizabeth Ratcliff, the scene presented a steep red cliff, topped by clouds, allusive to the red cliff from
Now, we hope, ye'll not abide him. which the lady's name was said to be derived ; before
3d Grace. Since you hear his falser play, which were two pillars charged with spoils of love,
And that he's Venus' runaway, 'amongst which were old and young persons bound | Cupid enters, attended by twelve boys, representing 1 Diana. | the Sports and pretty Lightnesses that accompany Love,' who dance, and then Venus apprehends her But hark! what tumult from yond' cave is heard ? son, and a pretty dialogue ensues between them and What noise, what strife, what earthquake and alarms, Hymen. Vulcan afterwards appears, and, claiming As troubled Nature for her maker fear’d, the pillars as his workmanship, strikes the red clitf, And all the Iron Age were up in arms ! which opens, and shows a large luminous sphere containing the astronomical lines and signs of the
Hide me, soft cloud, from their profaner eyes, zodiac. He makes a quaint speech, and presents the
Till insolent Rebellion take the field; sphere as his gift to Venus on the triumph of her
And as their spirits with their counsels rise, son. The Lesbian god and his consort retire ami
I frustrate all with showing but my shield. cably to their chariot, and the piece ends by the
[She retires behind a doud. singing of an epithalamium, interspersed with dances
The Iron Age presents itself, calling forth the Evils. of masquers :
| 1. Age. Come forth, come forth, do we not hear Up, youths and virgins, up, and praise
What purpose, and how worth our fear,
The king of gods hath on us?
He is not of the Iron breed,
That would, though Fate did help the deed,
Let Shame in so upon us,
Rise, rise then up, thou grandame Vice
Of all my issue, Avarice,
Bring with thee Fraud and Slander,
Corruption with the golden hands,
Or any subtler Ill, that stands
To be a more commander.
Thy boys, Ambition, Pride, and Scorn,
Force, Rapine, and thy babe last born,
Smooth Treachery, call hither.
Arm Folly forth, and Ignorance,
And teach them all our Pyrrhic dance :
We may triúmph together,
Upon this enemy so great,
Whom, if our forces can defeat,
And but this once bring under,
Where all the wealth, height, power lies,
The sceptre, and the thunder. to revive a department of our literature almost totally unknown, we present one entire masque of Which of you would not in a war Jonson, a short but beautiful one, which was repre Attempt the price of any scar, sent at court in 1615, by the lords and gentlemen, To keep your own states even ? the king's servants,' and seems to have been designed But here, which of you is that he, as a compliment to the king on the point of his love Would not himself the weapon be, of justice.
To ruin Jove and heaven?
About it, then, and let him feel
The Iron Age is turnd to steel,
Since he begins to threat her:
And though the bodies here are less
Than were the giants ; he'll confess softer music.
Our malice is far greater. Look, look ! rejoice and wonder
The Evils enter for the Antimasque, and dance to two drums, That you, offending mortals, are
trumpets, and a confusion of martial music. At the end of (For all your crimes) so much the care
which PALLAS re appears, showing her shield. The Evils Of him that bears the thunder.
are turned to statues. Jove can endure no longer,
Pal. So change, and perish, scarcely knowing how,
That 'gainst the gods do take so vain a vow,
And think to equal with your mortal dates,
Their lives that are obnoxious to no fates. And therefore means to settle
'Twas time t'appear, and let their folly see Astræa in her seat again;
Gainst whom they fought, and with what destiny. And let down in his golden chain
Die all that can remain of you, but stone, An age of better metal.
And that be seen a while, and then be none !
Now, now descend, you both belov'd of Jove,
And of the good on earth no less the love.
[The scene changes, and she calls Time not enjoy'd his head of gold Alone beneath his father,
AstRgA and the Golden AGE. But that his care conserveth,
Descend, you long, long wish'd and wanted pair, As time, so all time's honours too,
And as your softer tiones divide the air, Regarding still what heav'n should do, So shake all clouds off with your golden hair; And not what earth deserveth.
For Spite is spent : the Iron Age is fled, [A tumult, and clushing of arms heard within. And, with her power on earth, her name is dead.
ASTRÆA and the GOLDEN AGE descending with a song.
To live agen,
With men ?
As justice ?
How much they owe?
Cho. Let narrow natures, how they will, mistake, The great should still be good for their own sake.
[They come forward. Pal. Welcome to earth, and reign. Ast. G. Age. But how, without a train,
Shall we our state sustain ? Pal. Leave that to Jove: therein you are
No little part of his Minerva's care.
Expect awhile.You far-famed spirits of this happy isle, That, for your sacred songs have gaind the style Of Phoebus' sons, whose notes the air aspire Of th' old Egyptian, or the Thracian lyre, That Chaucer, Gower, Lydyate, Spenser, hight, Put on your better flames, and larger light, To wait upon the Age that shall your names new
nourish, Since Virtue press'd shall grow, and buried Arts shall
flourish. Chau. Gou.
We come. Lyd. Spen. We come. Omnes. Our best of fire, Is that which Pallas doth inspire.
[They descend. Pal. Then see you yonder souls, set far within the
shade, That in Elysian bowers the blessed seats do keep, That for their living good, now semi-gods are made, And went away from earth, as if but tam’d with sleep? These we must join to wake; for these are of the strain That justice dare defend, and will the age sustain.
Cho. Awake, awake, for whom these times were kept. O wake, wake, wake, as you had never slept ! Make haste and put on air, to be their guard, Whom once but to defend, is still reward. Pal. Thus Pallas throws a lightning from her shield.
[The scene of light discovered. Cho. To which let all that doubtful darkness yield. Ast. Now Peace. G. Age. And Love. Ast. Faith. G. Age. Joys. Ast. G. Agc. All, all increase.
Pal. No tumour of an iron vein.
Move, move then to the sounds;
The first Dance.
The Age's quickening power :
And every breath a flower : Pal. The earth unplough'd shall yield her crop,
Pure honey from the oak shall drop,
The fountain shall run milk :
And every worm inake silk.
And nectar melt the rock with heat,
Till earth have drank her fill :
Here the main Dance.
Or else you do but half restore
The Age's liberty.
And into all delight did coin
That pure simplicity.
And every Grace was by :
None fear'd a jealous eye.
They liv'd with open vow.
They were as sweet as they were chaste,
IIere they dance with the Ladies.
Desire to leave the earth before,
Than I have now to stay ;
And I cannot away.
And Jove is present here.
Whose power is everywhere.
Where she would pray to live;
The law to mortals give.
You hither must retire.
Like lights about Astræa's throne,
of Bristol, and afterwards of Worcester. He was You here must shine, and all be one,
born ten years before his friend, in 1576, and he surIn fervour and in flame;
vived him ten years, dying of the great plague in That by your union she may grow,
1625, and was buried in St Mary Overy's church, And, you sustaining her, may know
Southwark, on the 19th of August.
The dramas of Beaumont and Fletcher are fifty-
two in number. The greater part of them were not To spin your garments of her gold,
printed till 1647, and hence it is impossible to assign That want may touch you never ;
the respective dates to each. Dryden mentions, that And making garlands ev'ry hour,
Philaster was the first play that brought them into To write your names in some new flower, esteem with the public, though they had written That you may live for ever.
two or three before. It is improbable in plot, but
interesting in character and situations. The jealousy Cho. To Jove, to Jove, be all the honour given,
of Philaster is forced and unnatural; the character That thankful hearts can raise from earth to heaven.
of Euphrasia, disguised as Bellario, the page, is a
copy from Viola, yet there is something peculiarly FRANCIS BEAUMONT-JOHN FLETCHER. delicate in the following account of her hopeless The literary partnerships of the drama which we attachment to Philaster : have had occasion to notice were generally brief and incidental, confined to a few scenes or a single play.
My father oft would speak In BEAUMONT and FLETCHER, we have the inte.
Your worth and virtue ; and, as I did grow resting spectacle of two young men of high genius,
More and more apprehensive, I did thirst
To see the man so prais'd ; but yet all this of good birth and connexions, living together for ten -years, and writing in union a series of dramas, pas
Was but a maiden longing, to be lost
As soon as found ; till, sitting in my window, sionate, romantic, and comic, thus blending together their genius and their fame in indissoluble con
Printing my thoughts in lawn, I saw a god, nexion. Shakspeare was undoubtedly the inspirer of
I thought (but it was you), enter our gates.
My blood few out, and back again as fast these kindred spirits. They appeared when his
As I had puft'd it forth and suck'd it in
Where first you took me up.
disguised maiden by the fount, and the description is Fletcher.
highly poetical and picturesque : genius was in its meridian splendour, and they were
Hunting the buck, completely subdued by its overpowering influence. I found him sitting by a fountain-side, They reflected its leading characteristics, not as Of which he borrow'd some to quench his thirst, slavish copyists, but as men of high powers and
And paid the nymph again as much in tears. attainments, proud of borrowing inspiration from a A garland lay him by, made by himself, source which they could so well appreciate, and Of many several flowers, bred in the bay, which was at once ennobling and inexhaustible.
Stuck in that mystic order, that the rareness Francis Beaumont was the son of Judge Beaumont, Delighted me : But ever when he turn'd a member of an ancient family settled at Grace Dieu, His tender eyes upon them he would weep, in Leicestershire. He was born in 1586, and educated As if he meant to make them grow again. at Cambridge. He became a student of the Inner Seeing such pretty helpless innocence Temple, probably to gratify his father, but does not Dwell in his face, I ask'd him all his story. seem to have prosecuted the study of the law. He He told me that his parents gentle died, was married to the daughter and co-heiress of Sir Leaving him to the mercy of the fields, Henry Isley of Kent, by whom he had two daughters. Which gave him roots ; and of the crystal springs, He died before he had completed his thirtieth year, Which did not stop their courses ; and the sun, and was buried, March 9, 1615–6, at the entrance to Which still, he thank'd him, yielded him his light St Benedict's chapel, Westminster Abbey. John Then took he up his garland, and did show Fletcher was the son of Dr Richard Fletcher, bishop What every flower, as country people hold,