Imagens das páginas

friendship, and of just discrimination of genius and vigorous intellect; great knowledge of life, and character.

down to its lowest descents; wit, lofty declaIn 1619, on the death of Daniel, Jonson was mation, and a power of dramatising his knowappointed poet-laureate, and received a pension ledge and observation with singular skill and of a hundred merks. His literary reputation, effect. His pedantry is often misplaced and his love of conviviality, and his high colloquial ridiculous : when he wishes to satirise his oppopowers, rendered his society much courted, nents of the drama, he lays the scene in the court and he became the centre of a band of wits of Augustus, and makes himself speak as Horace. and revellers. Sir Walter Raleigh had founded in one of his Roman tragedies, he prescribes for a club, known to all posterity as the Mermaid the composition of a mucus, or wash for the face ! Club, at which Jonson, Shakspeare, Beaumont His comic theatre is a gallery of strange, clever, and Fletcher, and other poets, exercised them- original portraits, powerfully drawn, and skilfully selves with 'wit-combats' more bright and genial disposed, but many of them repulsive in expresthan their wine.* One of the favourite haunts of sion, or so exaggerated as to look like caricatures these bright-minded men was the Falcon Tavern, or libels on humanity. We have little deep near the theatre in Bankside, Southwark, of which passion or winning tenderness to link the beings a sketch has been preserved. The latter days of of his drama with those we love or admire, or to Jonson were dark and painful. Attacks of palsy make us sympathise with them as with existing confined him to his house, and his necessities mortals. The charm of reality is generally wantcompelled him to write for the stage when his ing, or, when found, is not a pleasing reality. pen had lost its vigour, and wanted the charm When the great artist escapes entirely from his of novelty. In 1630, he produced his comedy, the elaborate wit and personified humours into the New Inn, which was unsuccessful on the stage. region of fancy-as in the lyrical passages of The king sent him a present of £100, and raised Cynthia, Epicene, and the whole drama of the his laureate pension to the same sum per annum, Sad Shepherdwe are struck with the contrast adding a yearly tierce of Canary wine. Next year, it exhibits to his ordinary manner.

He thus prehowever, we find Jonson, in an Epistle Mendicant, sents two natures : one hard, rugged, gross, and soliciting assistance from the lord-treasurer. He sarcastic-'a mountain belly and a rocky face,' as continued writing to the last. Dryden has styled he described his own person; the other, airy, the later works of Jonson his dotages; some are fanciful, and graceful, as if its possessor had certainly unworthy of him, but the Sad Shepherd, never combated with the world and its bad which he left unfinished, exhibits the poetical passions, but nursed his understanding and his fancy of a youthful composition. He died in fancy in poetical seclusion and contemplation. 1637, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where a square stone, marking the spot where the

The Fall of Catiline. poet's body was disposed vertically, was long afterwards shewn, inscribed only with the words, 'O Petreius. The straits and needs of Catiline being RARE BEN JONSON !'

such Jonson founded a style of regular English As he must fight with one of the two armies comedy, massive, well compacted, and fitted to

That then had near inclosed him, it pleased Fate endure, yet not very attractive in its materials.

To make us the object of his desperate choice, His works, altogether, consist of about fifty

Wherein the danger almost poised the honour : dramatic pieces, but by far the greater part are

And, as he rose, the day grew black with him,

And Fate descended nearer to the earth, masks and interludes. His principal comedies As if she meant to hide the name of things are : Every Man in his Humour, Volpone, the Under her wings, and make the world her quarry. Silent Woman, and the Alchemist. His Róman

At this we roused, lest one small minute's stay tragedies may be considered literal imperson- Had left it to be inquired what Rome was ; ations of classic antiquity, robust and richly And (as we ought) armed in the confidence graced, yet stiff and unnatural in style and con- Of our great cause, in form of battle stood, struction. They seem to bear about the same Whilst Catiline came on, not with the face resemblance to Shakspeare's classic dramas that

Of any man, but of a public ruin : sculpture does to actual life. The strong delin

His countenance was a civil war itself; eation of character is the most striking feature in

And all his host had, standing in their looks, Jonson's comedies. The voluptuous Volpone is

The paleness of the death that was to come ;

Yet cried they out like vultures, and urged on, drawn with great breadth and freedom; and gener

As if they would precipitate our fates. ally his portraits of eccentric characters-men in

Nor stayed we longer for 'em, but himself whom some peculiarity has grown to an egregious Struck the first stroke, and with it fled a life, excess-are ludicrous and impressive. His scenes Which out, it seemed a narrow neck of land and characters shew the labour of the artist, but Had broke between two mighty seas, and either still an artist possessing rich resources; an acute Flowed into other ; for so did the slaughter;

And whirled about, as when two violent tides
**Many were the wit-combats betwixt Shakspeare and Ben Meet and not yield. The Furies stood on hills,
Jonson, which two I behold like a Spanish great galleon and an
English man-of-war: Master Jonson, like the former, was built

Circling the place, and trembling to see men far higher in learning: solid, but slow in his performances. Shak- Do more than they; whilst Pity left the field, speare, with the English man-of-war, lesser in bulk, but lighter in Grieved for that side, that in so bad a cause sailing, could turn with all tides, tack about and take advantage

They knew not what a crime their valour was. winds, by the quickness of his wit and invention.'-Fuller's Worthies.

The Sun stood still, and was, behind the cloud Besides the Mermaid, Jonson was a great frequenter of a club

The battle made, seen sweating, to drive up called the Apollo, at the Old Devil Tavern, Temple Bar, for His frighted horse, whom still the noise drove which he wrote rules-Leges Conviviales and penned a welcome backward : over the door of the room to all those who approved of the 'true Phoebian liquor.' Ben's rules, it must be said, discountenanced

And now had fierce Enyo, like a flame,
Consumed all it could reach, and then itself,




Had not the fortune of the commonwealth

First in the wars, and in the times of peace Come, Pallas-like, to every Roman thought ;

I waited on his studies; which were right. Which Catiline seeing, and that now his troops

He had no Arthurs, nor no Rosicleers, Covered the earth they'd fought on with their trunks, No Knights of the Sun, nor Amadis de Gauls, Ambitious of great fame, to crown his ill,

Primalions, and Pantagruels, public nothings; Collected all his fury, and ran in

Abortives of the fabulous dark cloister, Armed with a glory high as his despair

Sent out to poison courts, and infest manners : Into our battle, like a Libyan lion

But great Achilles', Agamemnon's acts, Upon his hunters, scornful of our weapons,

Sage Nestor's counsels, and Ulysses' sleights, Careless of wounds, plucking down lives about him, Tydides' fortitude, as Homer wrought them Till he had circled in himself with Death :

In his immortal phant'sy, for examples Then fell he too, t embrace it where it lay.

Of the heroic virtue. Or, as Virgil, And as in that rebellion 'gainst the gods,

That master of the Epic poem, limned Minerva holding forth Medusa's head,

Pious Æneas, his religious prince, One of the giant brethren felt himself

Bearing his aged parent on his shoulders, Grow marble at the killing sight; and now,

Rapt from the flames of Troy, with his young son. Almost made stone, began to inquire what flint,

And these he brought to practice and to use. What rock, it was that crept through all his limbs ; He gave me first my breeding, I acknowledge, And, ere he could think more, was that he feared : Then showered his bounties on me, like the Hours, So Catiline, at the sight of Rome in us,

That open-handed sit upon the clouds,
Became his tomb; yet did his look retain

And press the liberality of Heaven
Some of his fierceness, and his hands still moved, Down to the laps of thankful men! But then,
As if he laboured yet to grasp the state

The trust committed to me at his death
With those rebellious parts.

Was above all, and left so strong a tie Cato. A brave bad death!

On all my powers, as Time shall not dissolve, Had this been honest now, and for his country,

Till it dissolve itself, and bury all !
As 'twas against it, who had e'er fallen greater ?

The care of his brave heir and only son :
Catiline, Act V. sc. 6. Who, being a virtuous, sweet, young, hopeful lord,

Hath cast his first affections on this lady.
Love.- From the 'New Inn.'

And though I know, and may presume her such,
LOVEL and Host of the New Inn.

As out of humour, will return no love,

And therefore might indifferently be made Lovel. There is no life on earth but being in love ! The courting stock for all to practise on, There are no studies, no delights, no business,

As she doth practise on us all to scorn : No intercourse, or trade of sense, or soul,

Yet out of a religion to my charge, But what is love! I was the laziest creature,

And debt professed, I have made a self-decree, The most unprofitable sign of nothing,

Ne'er to express my person, though my passion The veriest drone, and slept away my life

Burn me to cinders. Beyond the dormouse, till I was in love !

The New Inn, Act I. sc. I.
And now I can outwake the nightingale,
Outwatch an usurer, and outwalk him too,

A Simpleton and a Braggadocio.
Stalk like a ghost that haunted 'bout a treasure ;
And all that fancied treasure, it is love !

Bobadil, the braggadocio, in his mean and obscure lodging, is

visited by Matthew, the simpleton. Host. But is your name Love-ill

, sir, or Love-well? I would know that.

Matthew. Save you, sir ; save you, captain. Lov. I do not know't myself

Bobadil. Gentle Master Matthew! Is it you, sir? Whether it is. But it is love hath been

Please you to sit down. The hereditary passion of our house,

Mat. Thank you, good captain ; you may see I am My gentle host, and, as I guess, my friend;

somewhat audacious. The truth is, I have loved this lady long,

Bob. Not so, sir. I was requested to supper last And impotently, with desire enough,

night by a sort of gallants, where you were wished for, But no success : for I have still forborne

and drunk to, I assure you. To express it in my person to her.

Mat. Vouchsafe me, by whom, good captain ? Host. How then ?

Bob. Marry, by young Wellbred and others.—Why, Lov. I have sent her toys, verses, and anagrams, hostess, a stool here for this gentleman. Trials of wit, mere trifles, she has commended,

Mat. No haste, sir ; 'tis very well. But knew not whence they came, nor could she guess. Bob. Body o' me !-it was so late ere we parted last

Host. This was a pretty riddling way of wooing ! night, I can scarce open my eyes yet ; I was but new Lov. I oft have been, too, in her company,

risen, as you came. How passes the day abroad, sir?-And looked upon her a whole day, admired her, Loved her, and did not tell her so ; loved still,

Mat. Faith, some half hour to seven. Now, trust me, Looked stíll, and loved ; and loved, and looked, and you have an exceeding fine lodging here, very neat and sighed;

private ! But, as a man neglected, I came off,

Bob. Ay, sir. Sit down, I pray you. Master Matthew, And unregarded.

in any case, possess no gentleman of our acquaintance Host. Could you blame her, sir,

with notice of my lodging. When you were silent, and not said a word ?

Mat. Who! I, sir ?-no. Loo. Oh, but I loved the more ; and she might Bob. Not that I need to care who know it, for the read it

cabin is convenient, but in regard I would not be too Best in my silence, had she been

popular, and generally visited as some are. Host. As melancholic

Mat. True, captain ; I conceive you. As you are! Pray you, why would you stand mute, Bob. For, do you see, sir, by the heart of valour in sir ?

me (except it be to some peculiar and choice spirits, to Lov. Othereon hangs a history, mine host. whom I am extraordinarily engaged, as yourself, or so), Did you e'er know or hear of the Lord Beaufort, I could not extend thus far. Who served so bravely in France ? I was his page, Mat. O Lord, sir ! I resolve so. And, ere he died, his friend : I followed him

Bob. I confess I love a cleanly and quiet privacy,


you can tell.

above all the tumult and roar of fortune. What new Mat. Troth, I have heard it spoken of divers, that book ha' you there? What ! Go by, Hieronymo !1 you have very rare, and un-in-one-breath-utter-able skill,

Mat. Ay; did you ever see it acted ? Is 't not well sir. penned?

Bob. By Heaven! no, not I; no skill i' the earth; Bob. Well penned! I would fain see all the poets some small rudiments i' the science, as to know my time, of these times pen such another play as that was !- distance, or so : I have profest it more for noblemen they 'll prate and swagger, and keep a stir of art and and gentlemen's use than mine own practice, I assure devices, when (as I am a gentleman), read 'em, they are you.—Hostess, accommodate us with another bed-staff the most shallow, pitiful, barren fellows that live upon here quickly: lend us another bed-staff: the woman does the face of the earth again. [While MASTER MATTHEW not understand the words of action.-Look you, sir, reads, BOBADIL makes himself ready.

exalt not your point above this state, at any hand, and Mat. Indeed; here are a number of fine speeches in let your poniard maintain your defence, thus (Give it the this book._'O eyes, no eyes, but fountains fraught with gentleman, and leave us); so, sir. Come on. Otwine tears !' There's a conceit !-fountains fraught with your body more about, that you may fall to a more sweet, tears! 'Olife, no life, but lively form of death!' comely, gentleman-like guard ; so, indifferent : hollow another. O world, no world, but mass of public your body more, sir, thus ; now, stand fast o' your left wrongs !' a third. “Confused and filled with murder leg, note your distance, keep your due proportion of time. and misdeeds!' a fourth. O the Muses ! Is 't not Oh, you disorder your point most irregularly ! excellent? Is 't not simply the best that ever you heard, Mat. How is the bearing of it now, sir? captain? Ha! how do you like it?

Bob. Oh, out of measure ill: a well-experienced hand Bob. 'Tis good.

would pass upon you at pleasure. Mat. To thee, the purest object to my sense,

Mat. How mean you, sir, pass upon me? The most refined essence heaven covers,

Bob. Why, thus, sir (make a thrust at me)-[MASTER Send I these lines, wherein I do commence

MATTHEW pushes at BOBADIL); come in upon the The happy state of turtle-billing lovers.

answer, control your point, and make a full career at the If they prove rough, unpolished, harsh, and rude, body ; the best practised gallants of the time name it Haste made the waste. Thus mildly I conclude.' the passado; a most desperate thrust, believe it! Bob. Nay, proceed, proceed. Where's this?

Mat. Well, come, sir. Mat. This, sir ? a toy o' mine own, in my nonage;

Bob. Why, you do not manage your weapon with any the infancy of my Muses. But when will you come and facility or grace to invite me! I have no spirit to play see my study? Good faith, I can shew you some very with you ; your dearth of judgment renders you tedious. good things I have done of late.—That boot becomes Mát. But one venue, sir. your leg passing well, captain, methinks.

Bob. Venue ! fie; most gross denomination as ever I Bob. So, so; it's the fashion gentlemen now use. heard. Oh, the stoccata, while you live, sir, note that.

Mat. Troth, captain, and now you speak o' the Come, put on your cloak, and we'll go to some private fashion, Master Wellbred's elder brother and I are place where you are acquainted—some tavern or so fallen out exceedingly. This other day, I happened to and have a bit. I'll send for one of these fencers, and enter into some discourse of a hanger, which, I assure he shall breathe you, by my direction, and then I will you, both for fashion and workmanship, was most teach you your trick ; you shall kill him with it at the peremptory beautiful and gentleman-like ; yet he con- first, if you please. Why, I will learn you by the true demned and cried it down for the most pied and judgment of the eye, hand, and foot, to control any ridiculous that ever he saw.

enemy's point i' the world. Should your adversary conBob. Squire Downright, the half-brother, was 't not? front you with a pistol, 'twere nothing, by this hand; Mat. Ay, sir, he.

you should, by the same rule, control his bullet, in a Bob. Hang him, rook! he ! why, he has no more line, except it were hail-shot, and spread.—What money judgment than a malt-horse. By Śt George, I wonder ha' you about you, Master Matthew? you'd lose a thought upon such an animal ; the most Mat. Faith, I ha' not past a two shillings, or so. peremptory absurd clown of Christendom, this day, he

Bob. 'Tis somewhat with the least; but come; we will is holden. I protest to you, as I am a gentleman and have a bunch of radish, and salt to taste our wine, and a soldier, I ne'er changed words with his like. By lis a pipe of tobacco, to close the orifice of the stomach; and discourse, he should eat nothing but hay: he was born then we'll call upon young Wellbred : perhaps we shall for the manger, pannier, or pack-saddle! He has not meet the Corydon his brother there, and put him to the so much as a good phrase in his belly, but all old iron question. and rusty proverbs !-a good commodity for some smith

Every Man in his Humour, Act I. sc. I. to make hobnails of.

Mat. Ay, and he thinks to carry it away with his Bobadil's Plan for Saving the Expense of an Army. manhood still, where he comes : he brags he will gi' me the bastinado, as I hear.

Bobadil. I will tell you, sir, by the way of private, Bob. How? he the bastinado? How came he by that and under seal, I am a gentleman, and live here obscure, word, trow?

and to myself ; but were I known to her majesty and the Mat. Nay, indeed, he said cudgel me; I termed it so lords (observe me), I would undertake, upon this poor for my more grace,

head and life, for the public benefit of the state, not only Bob. That may be, for I was sure it was none of his to spare the entire lives of her subjects in general, but word. But when? when said he so?

to save the one-half, nay, three parts of her yearly charge Mat. Faith, yesterday, they say; a young gallant, a in holding war, and against what enemy soever. And friend of mine, told me so.

how would I do it, think you? Bob. By the foot of Pharaoh, an 'twere my case now,

E. Knowell. Nay, I know not, nor can I conceive. I should send him a chartel presently. The bastinado ! Bob. Why, thus, sir. I would select nineteen more, A most proper and sufficient dependence, warranted by to myself

, throughout the land ; gentlemen they should the great Caranza. Come hither; you shall chartel him; be of good spirit, strong and able constitution ; I would I'll shew you a trick or two, you shall kill him with at choose them by an instinct, a character that I have : and pleasure, the first stoccata, if you will, by this air.

I would teach these nineteen the special rules—as your Mat. Indeed; you have absolute knowledge i’ the punto, your reverso, your stoccata, your imbroccato, your mystery, I have heard, sir.

passado, your montanto-till they could all play very Bob. Of whom ?-of whom ha' you heard it, I beseech near, or altogether as well as myself. This done, say you?

the enemy were forty thousand strong, we twenty would 1 Or Jeronimo, an old play by Kyd.

come into the field the tenth of March, or thereabouts ;


and we would challenge twenty of the enemy; they You are not faithful, sir. This night I'll change could not in their honour refuse us; well, we would kill All that is metal in thy house to gold : them : challenge twenty more, kill them; twenty more, And early in the morning will I send kill them; twenty more, kill them too; and thus would To all the plumbers and the pewterers, we kill every man his twenty a day, that's twenty score; And buy their tin and lead up; and to Lothbury, twenty score, that's two hundred; two hundred a day,

For all the copper. five days a thousand ; forty thousand ; forty times five, Surly. What, and turn that too? five times forty, two hundred days kills them all up by Mam. Yes, and I'll purchase Devonshire and computation. And this will I venture my poor gentle- Cornwall, man-like carcass to perform, provided there be no treason And make them perfect Indies! You admire now? practised upon us, by fair and discreet manhood ; that Sur. No, faith. is, civilly by the sword.

Mam. But when you see the effects of the great Ibid. Act IV. sc. 5.


Of which one part projected on a hundred
Advice to a Reckless Youth.

Of Mercury, or Venus, or the Moon,

Shall turn it to as many of the Sun, What would I have you do? I'll tell you, kinsman : Nay, to a thousand, so ad infinitum, Learn to be wise, and practise how to thrive ;

You will believe me. That would I have you do ; and not to spend

Sur. Yes, when I see't, I will. ... Your coin on every bauble that you fancy,

Mam. Ha! why, Or every foolish brain that humours you.

Do you think I fable with you? I assure you, I would not have you to invade each place,

He that has once the flower of the Sun, Nor thrust yourself on all societies,

The perfect Ruby, which we call Elixir, Till men's affections, or your own desert,

Not only can do that, but by its virtue Should worthily invite you to your rank.

Can confer honour, love, respect, long life, He that is so respectless in his courses,

Give safety, valour, yea, and victory, Oft sells his reputation at cheap market.

To whom he will. In eight-and-twenty days Nor would I you should melt away yourself

I'll make an old man of fourscore a child. In flashing bravery, lest, while you affect

Sur. No doubt; he's that already. To make a blaze of gentry to the world,

Mam. Nay, I mean, A little puff of scorn extinguish it,

Restore his years, renew him like an eagle, And you be left like an unsavoury snuff,

To the fifth age ; make him get sons and daughters, Whose property is only to offend.

Young giants, as our philosophers have done I'd ha' you sober, and contain yourself ;

The ancient patriarchs afore the floodNot that your sail be bigger than your boat;

By taking, once a week, on a knife's point, But moderate your expenses now (at first)

The quantity of a grain of mustard of it, As you may keep the same proportion still.

Become stout Marses, and beget young Cupids. Nor stand so much on your gentility,

Sur. The decayed vestals of Pickt-hatch would
Which is an airy and mere borrowed thing,
From dead men's dust and bones; and none of yours, That keep the fire alive there.
Except you make, or hold it.

Mam. 'Tis the secret
Ibid. Act I. sc. I. Of nature naturised 'gainst all infections,

Cures all diseases, coming of all causes;
The Alchemist,

A month's grief in a day; a year's in twelve ;

And of what age soever, in a month :

Past all the doses of your drugging doctors. Mammon. Come on, sir. Now you set your foot on I'll undertake withal to fright the plague shore

Out o' the kingdom in three months. In novo orbe. Here's the rich Peru :

Sur. And I'll And there within, sir, are the golden mines,

Be bound the players shall sing your praises, then, Great Solomon's Ophir ! He was sailing to't

Without their poets.
Three years, but we have reached it in ten months. Mam. Sir, I'll do't. Meantime,
This is the day wherein to all my friends

I'll give away so much unto my man,
I will pronounce the happy word, Be rich.

Shall serve the whole city with preservative This day you shall be spectatissimi.

Weekly ; each house his dose, and at the rate --You shall no more deal with the hollow die

Sur. As he that built the water-work does with water! Or the frail card. No more be at charge of keeping Mam. You are incredulous. The livery punk for the young heir, that must

Sur. Faith, I have a humour, Seal at all hours in his shirt. No more,

I would not willingly be gulled. Your Stone If he deny, ha' him beaten to't, as he is

Cannot transmute me. That brings him the commodity. No more

Mam. Pertinax Surly, Shall thirst of satin, or the covetous hunger

Will you believe antiquity? records ? Of velvet entrails for a rude-spun cloak

I'll shew you a book, where Moses, and his sister, To be displayed at Madam Augusta's, make

And Solomon, have written of the art ; The sons of Sword and Hazard fall before

Ay, and a treatise penned by Adam. The golden calf, and on their knees whole nights

Sur. How? Commit idolatry with wine and trumpets ;

Mam. Of the Philosopher's Stone, and in High Dutch. Or go a-feasting after drum and ensign.

Sur. Did Adam write, sir, in High Dutch?
No more of this. You shall start up young viceroys, Mam. He did ;
And have your punks and punketees, my Surly : Which proves it was the primitive tongue.
And unto thee I speak it first, Be rich. -

Sur. What paper ?
Where is my Subtle there? within, ho!

Mam. On cedar-board. Face (answers from within). Sir, he'll come to you Sur. O that, indeed, they say, by and by

Will last 'gainst worms. Mam. That's his fire-drake,

Mam. 'Tis like your Irish wood His Lungs, his Zephyrus, he that puffs his coals 'Gainst cobwebs. I have a piece of Jason's fleece too, Till he firk Nature up in her own centre.

Which was no other than a book of Alchemy,

thank you,

Writ in large sheepskin, a good fat ram-vellum. dresses and decorations, and the piquancy of a Such was Pythagoras' thigh, Pandora's tub,

constant reference from the actors in their assumed, And all that fable of Medea's charms,

to the actors in their real characters. Usually, The manner of our work : the bulls, our furnace,

besides gods, goddesses, and nymphs from classical Still breathing fire : our Argent-vive, the Dragon:

antiquity, there were such personages as Night, The Dragon's teeth, Mercury sublimate,

Day, Beauty, Fortitude, and so forth; but though That keeps the whiteness, hardness, and the biting : And they are gathered into Jason's helm

the persons of the drama were thus removed from (Th'alembic), and then sowed in Mars his field,

common life, the reference of the whole business And thence sublimed so often, till they are fixed.

of the scene to the occasion which had called it Both this, the Hesperian garden, Cadmus' story,

forth, was as direct as it could well be, and even Jove's shower, the boon of Midas, Argus' eyes, ludicrously so, particularly when the object was to Boccace his Demogorgon, thousands more,

pay a compliment to any of the courtly audience. All abstract riddles of our Stone.

This, however, was partly justified by the private The Alchemist, Act II. sc. I. character of the entertainment; and it is easy to

conceive that, when a gipsy stepped from the THE COURT-MASKS OF THE SEVENTEENTH

scene, and, taking the king's hand, assigned him CENTURY.

all the good-fortune which a loyal subject should

wish to a sovereign, there would be such a marked The courts of Elizabeth and James I. were long increase of sensation in the audience, as to conenlivened by the peculiar theatrical entertainment vince the poet that there lay the happiest stroke called the mask-a combination of scenery, music, of his art. and poetry. The origin of the mask is to be Mr Collier, in his Annals of the Stage, has looked for in the 'revels' and 'shows' which, printed a document which gives a very distinct during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth cen- account of the court-mask, as it was about the turies, were presented on high festive occasions at time when the drama arose in England-namely, court, in the inns of the lawyers, and at the uni- in the early years of Elizabeth. That princess, versities, and in those mysteries and moralities as is well known, designed an amicable meeting which were the precursors of the legitimate drama. with Mary Queen of Scots, which was to have Henry VIII. in his earlier and better days had taken place at Nottingham Castle, in May 1562, frequent entertainments, consisting of a set of but was given up in consequence, as is believed, masked and gaily dressed characters, or of such of the jealousy of Elizabeth regarding the superior representations as the following : In the hall of beauty of Mary. A mask was devised to celebrate the palace at Greenwich, a castle was reared, with the meeting and entertain the united courts, and numerous towers and gates, and every appearance it is the poet's scheme of this entertainment, of preparation for a long siege, and inscribed, docketed by Lord Burleigh, to which reference is La Forteresse Dangereuse; it was defended by six now made. The mask seems to have been simply richly dressed ladies; the king and five of his an acted allegory, relating to the circumstances of courtiers then entered in the disguise of knights, the two queens; and it throws a curious light not and attacked the castle, which the ladies, after a only upon the taste, but upon the political history gallant resistance, surrendered, the affair conclud- of the period. We give the programme of the ing with a dance of the ladies and knights. Here first night. there was nothing but scenery and pantomime; 'First, a prison to be made in the hall, the by and by, poetical dialogue, song, and music, name whereof is Extreme Oblivion, and the were added ; and when the mask had reached its keeper's name thereof Argus, otherwise called height in the reigns of James and the First Charles, Circumspection : then a mask of ladies to come in it employed the finest talent of the country in its after this sort : composition, and, as Bacon remarks, being designed *First, Pallas, riding upon an unicorn, having in for princes, was by princes played.

her hand a standard, on which is to be painted Masks were generally prepared for some re- two ladies' hands, knit in one fast within the other, markable occasion, as a coronation, the birth of and over the hands, written in letters of gold, a young prince or noble, a peer's marriage, or the Fides. visit of some royal personage of foreign countries; "Then two ladies riding together—the one upon and they usually took place in the hall of the a golden lion, with a crown of gold on his head; palace. Many of them were enacted in that ban- the other upon a red lion, with the like crown of queting-room at Whitehall through which a prince, gold ; signifying two virtues; that is to say, the who often took part in them, afterwards walked lady on the golden lion is to be called Prudentia, to the scaffold. Allegory and mythology were the and the lady on the red lion Temperantia. taste of the age : we must allow for the novelty After this, to follow six or eight ladies, maskers, of classical imagery and characters at that period, bringing in captive Discord and False Report, with and it may be only a kind of prejudice, or the ropes of gold about their necks. When these effect of fashion, which makes us so rigorously have marched about the hall, then Pallas to declare banish from our literature allusions to the poetic before the queen's majesty, in verse, that the creations of Grecian antiquity; while we con- goddess, understanding the noble meeting of these tentedly solace ourselves in contemplating, through two queens, hath willed her to declare unto them what are called historical novels, the much ruder, that those two virtues, Prudentia and Temperand perhaps not more truly represented, person- antia, have made great and long suit unto Jupiter ages of the middle ages. The action of a mask that it would please him to give unto them False was always something short and simple ; and it Report and Discord, to be punished as they think is easy to see that, excepting where very high good; and that those ladies have now in their poetical and musical talent was engaged, the prin- presence determined to commit them fast bound cipal charm must have lain in the elegance of the unto the aforesaid prison of Extreme Oblivion,

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