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Usually, besides gods, goddesses, and nymphs from classical antiquity, there were such personages as Night, Day, Beauty, Fortitude, and so forth; but though the persons of the drama were thus removed from common life, the reference of the whole business of the scene to the occasion which had called it forth, was as direct as it could well be, and even ludicrously so, particularly when the object was to pay a compliment to any of the courtly audience. This, however, was partly justified by the private character of the entertainment; and it is easy to conceive that, when a gipsy stepped from the scene, and, taking the king's hand, assigned him all the good fortune which a loyal subject should wish to a Sovereign, there would be such a marked increase of sensation in the audience, as to convince the poet that there lay the happiest stroke of his play.


On the second night, a castle is presented in the hall, and Peace comes in riding in a chariot drawn by an elephant, on which sits Friendship. The latter pronounces a speech on the event of the preceding evening, and Peace is left to dwell with Prudence and Temperance. The third night showed Disdain on a wild boar, accompanied by Prepensed Malice, as a serpent, striving to procure the liberation of Discord and False Report, but opposed successfully by Courage and Discretion. At the end of the fight, Disdain shall run his ways, and escape with life, but Prepensed Malice shall be slain; signifying that some ungodly men may still disdain the perpetual peace made between these two virtues; but as for their prepensed malice, it is easy trodden under these ladies' feet.' The second night ends with a flowing of wine from conduits, during which Mr Collier, in his Annals of the Stage, 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 eight ladies masquers singing a song as full of drama arose in England; namely, in the early years harmony as may be devised.' The whole entertainof 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 -seems 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 regarding the superior beauty of Mary. A masque was devised to celebrate the meeting and entertain the united courts, and it is the poet's scheme of this entertainment, docketed by Lord Burleigh, to which reference is now made. The masque seems to have been simply an acted allegory, relating to the circumstances of the two queens; and it throws a curious light not only upon the taste, but upon the political history of the period. We give the procedure of the first night.

'First, a prison to be made in the hall, the name whereof is Extreme Oblivion, and the keeper's name thereof Argus, otherwise called Circumspection: then a masque of ladies to come in after this sort:

First Pallas, riding upon an unicorn, having in her hand a standard, in which is to be painted two ladies' hands, knit in one fast within the other, and over the hands, written in letters of gold, Fides.

Then two ladies riding together, the one upon a golden lion with a crown of gold on his head, the other upon a red lion, with the like crown of gold; signifying two virtues; that is to say, the lady on the golden lion is to be called Prudentia, and the lady on the red lion Temperantia.

After this, to follow six or eight ladies masquers, bringing in captive Discord and False Report, with ropes of gold about their necks. When these have marched about the hall, then Pallas to declare before the queen's majesty, in verse, that the goddess, understanding the noble meeting of these two queens, hath willed her to declare unto them that those two virtues, Prudentia and Temperantia, have made great and long suit unto Jupiter, that it would please him to give unto them False Report and Discord, to be punished as they think good; and that those ladies have now in their presence determined to commit them fast bound unto the aforesaid prison of Extreme Oblivion, there to be kept by the aforesaid jailor Argus, otherwise Circumspection, for ever, unto whom Prudentia shall deliver a lock, whereupon shall be written In Eternum. Then Temperantia shall likewise deliver unto Argus a key, whose name shall be Nunquam, signifying that, when False Report and Discord are committed to the prison of Extreme Oblivion, and locked there everlastingly, he should put in the key to let them out nunquam [never]; and when he hath so done, then the trumpets to blow, and the English ladies to take the nobility of the strangers, and dance.'

The masque, as has been stated, attained the zenith of its glory in the reign of James I., the most festive known in England between those of Henry VIII. and Charles II. The queen, the princes, and nobles and ladies of the highest rank, took parts in them, and they engaged the genius of Jonson, Inigo Jones, and Henry Lawes, each in his various department of poet, machinist, and musician; while no expense was spared to render them worthy of the place, the occasion, and the audience. It appears from the accounts of the Master of Revels, that no less than £4215 was lavished on these entertainments in the first six years of the king's reign. Jonson himself composed twenty-three masques; and Dekker, Middleton, and others of the leading dramatic authors, Shakspeare alone excepted, were glad to contribute in this manner to the pleasures of a court whose patronage was so essential to them.

The marriage of Lord James Hay to Anne, daughter and heir of Lord Denny, January 6th, 1607, was distinguished at court (Whitehall) by what was called the Memorable Masque, the production of Dr Thomas Campion, an admired musician as well as poet of that day, now forgotten. On this occasion, the great hall of the palace was fitted up in a way that shows the mysteries of theatrical scenery and decoration to have been better understood, and carried to a greater height, in that age, than is generally supposed. One end of the hall was set apart for the audience, having the king's seat in the centre; next to it was a space for ten concerted musicians-base and mean lutes, a bandora, a double sackbut, a harpsichord, and two treble violins-besides whom there were nine violins, three lutes, six cornets, and six chapel singers. The stage was concealed by a curtain resembling dark clouds, which being withdrawn, disclosed a green valley with green round about it, and in the midst of them nine golden ones of fifteen feet high. The bower of Flora was on their right, the house of Night on the left; between them a hill hanging like a cliff over the grove. The bower of Flora was spacious, garnished with flowers and flowery branches, with lights among them; the house of Night ample and stately, with black columns studded with golden stars; while about it were placed, on wires, artificial bats and owls continually moving. As soon as the king entered the great hall, the hautboys were heard 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, vir-
which 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,
Night 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 discovered. Night appeared in her house with Nine Hours, apparelled in large robes of black taffety, painted thick with stars; their hair long, black, and spangled with gold; on their heads coronets of stars, and their faces black. Every Hour bore in his hand a black torch painted with stars, and lighted.

Night. Vanish, dark vales, let night in glory shine,
As she doth burn in rage; come, leave our shrine,
You black-haired hours, and guide us with your lights,
Flora hath wakened wide our drowsy sprites.
See where she triumphs, see her flowers are thrown,
And all about the seeds of malice sown ;
Despiteful Flora, is't not enough of grief,
That Cynthia's robbed, but thou must grace the thief?
Or didst not hear Night's sovereign queen' complain
Hymen had stolen a nymph out of her train,
And matched her here, plighted henceforth to be
Love's friend and stranger to virginity?
And mak'st thou sport for this?

Syl. Tell me, gentle Hour of Night, Wherein dost thou most delight?


Hour. Not in sleep. Syl. Wherein, then?
Hour. In the frolic view of men.

1st Grace. Beauties, have you seen this toy,
Called love, a little boy,
Almost naked, wanton, blind;
Cruel now, and then as kind!
If he be amongst ye, say;
He is Venus' runaway.

2d Grace. She that will but now discover
Where the winged wag doth hover,
Shall to-night receive a kiss,
How or where herself would wish;
But who brings him to his mother,
Shall have that kiss, and another.

Flora. Be mild, stern Night;

Flora doth honour Cynthia and her right;
The nymph was Cynthia's while she was
But now another claims in her a right,
By fate reserved thereto, and wise foresight.
Zephyrus. Can Cynthia one kind virgin's loss be- 2d Grace. Wings he hath, which though ye clip,

moan ?

How, if perhaps she brings her ten for one?

He will leap from lip to lip,
Over liver, lights, and heart,
But not stay in any part;
And if chance his arrow misses,
He will shoot himself in kisses.

Syl. Lov'st thou music? Hour. Oh, 'tis sweet.
Syl. What's dancing? Hour. Even the mirth of feet.

Syl. Joy you in fairies and in elves?

Hour. We are of that sort ourselves:

3d Grace. He hath marks about him plenty;
You shall know him among twenty.
All his body is a fire,

And his breath a flame entire,

That, being shot like lightning in,
Wounds the heart but not the skin.

After some more such dialogue, in which Hesperus
takes part, Cynthia is reconciled to the loss of her
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
to fine music. Dances, processions, speeches, and
songs follow, the last being a duet between a Sylvan
and an Hour, by the way of tenor and bass.

1st Grace. At his sight the sun hath turn'd,
Neptune in the waters burn'd;
Hell hath felt a greater heat;
Jove himself forsook his seat;
From the centre to the sky
Are his trophies reared high.

And a quiver hanging low,
Full of arrows, that outbrave
Dian's shafts; where, if he have
Any head more sharp than other,
With that first he strikes his mother.

1st Grace. Still the fairest are his fuel.

When his days are to be cruel,
Lovers' hearts are all his food,
And his baths their warmest blood;
Nought but wounds his hand doth season,
And he hates none like to Reason.

2d Grace. Trust him not; his words, though sweet,
Seldom with his heart do meet.
All his practice is deceit ;
Every gift it is a bait ;
Not a kiss but poison bears;
And most treason in his tears.

But, Sylvan, say, why do you love
Only to frequent the grove?

Syl. Life is fullest of content,
Where delight is innocent.

Hour. Pleasure must vary, not be long;
Come, then, let's close and end our song.
Then the masquers made an obeisance to the king,
and attended him to the banqueting room.

The masques of Jonson contain a great deal of
fine poetry, and even the prose descriptive parts are
remarkable for grace and delicacy of language-as,
for instance, where he speaks of a sea at the back of
a 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
Now, we hope, ye'll not abide him.
cliff, topped by clouds, allusive to the red cliff from
which the lady's name was said to be derived; before
Since you hear his falser play,
And that he 's Venus' runaway.
which were two pillars charged with spoils of love,
'amongst which were old and young persons bound Cupid enters, attended by twelve boys, representing
the Sports and pretty Lightnesses that accompany

3d Grace.

1 Diana.

3d Grace. Idle minutes are his reign;

Then the straggler makes his gain,
By presenting maids with toys,
And would have ye think them joys;
"Tis the ambition of the elf

To have all childish as himself.

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Love,' who dance, and then Venus apprehends her son, and a pretty dialogue ensues between them and Hymen. Vulcan afterwards appears, and, claiming the pillars as his workmanship, strikes the red cliff, which opens, and shows a large luminous sphere containing the astronomical lines and signs of the zodiac. He makes a quaint speech, and presents the sphere as his gift to Venus on the triumph of her son. The Lesbian god and his consort retire amicably to their chariot, and the piece ends by the singing of an epithalamium, interspersed with dances of masquers :

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But hark! what tumult from yond' cave is heard?
What noise, what strife, what earthquake and alarms,
As troubled Nature for her maker fear'd,
And all the Iron Age were up in arms!

Hide me, soft cloud, from their profaner eyes,
Till insolent Rebellion take the field;
And as their spirits with their counsels rise,
I frustrate all with showing but my shield.
[She retires behind a cloud.

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Like lights about Astræa's throne, You here must shine, and all be one, In fervour and in flame;

That by your union she may grow, And, you sustaining her, may know The Age still by her name.

Who vows, against or heat or cold,
To spin your garments of her gold,

That want may touch you never;
And making garlands ev'ry hour,
To write your names in some new flower,
That you may live for ever.

Cho. To Jove, to Jove, be all the honour given, That thankful hearts can raise from earth to heaven.


The literary partnerships of the drama which we have had occasion to notice were generally brief and incidental, confined to a few scenes or a single play. In BEAUMONT and FLETCHER, we have the interesting spectacle of two young men of high genius, of good birth and connexions, living together for ten years, and writing in union a series of dramas, passionate, romantic, and comic, thus blending together their genius and their fame in indissoluble connexion. Shakspeare was undoubtedly the inspirer of these kindred spirits. They appeared when his


genius was in its meridian splendour, and they were completely subdued by its overpowering influence. They reflected its leading characteristics, not as slavish copyists, but as men of high powers and attainments, proud of borrowing inspiration from a source which they could so well appreciate, and which was at once ennobling and inexhaustible. Francis Beaumont was the son of Judge Beaumont, a member of an ancient family settled at Grace Dieu, in Leicestershire. He was born in 1586, and educated at Cambridge. He became a student of the Inner Temple, probably to gratify his father, but does not seem to have prosecuted the study of the law. He was married to the daughter and co-heiress of Sir Henry Isley of Kent, by whom he had two daughters. He died before he had completed his thirtieth year, and was buried, March 9, 1615-6, at the entrance to St Benedict's chapel, Westminster Abbey. John Fletcher was the son of Dr Richard Fletcher, bishop

of Bristol, and afterwards of Worcester. He was born ten years before his friend, in 1576, and he survived him ten years, dying of the great plague in 1625, and was buried in St Mary Overy's church, Southwark, on the 19th of August.

The dramas of Beaumont and Fletcher are fiftytwo in number. The greater part of them were not printed till 1647, and hence it is impossible to assign the respective dates to each. Dryden mentions, that Philaster was the first play that brought them into esteem with the public, though they had written two or three before. It is improbable in plot, but interesting in character and situations. The jealousy of Philaster is forced and unnatural; the character of Euphrasia, disguised as Bellario, the page, is a copy from Viola, yet there is something peculiarly delicate in the following account of her hopeless attachment to Philaster:

My father oft would speak

Your worth and virtue; and, as I did grow
More and more apprehensive, I did thirst
To see the man so prais'd; but yet all this
Was but a maiden longing, to be lost.
As soon as found; till, sitting in my window,
Printing my thoughts in lawn, I saw a god,
I thought (but it was you), enter our gates.
My blood flew out, and back again as fast
As I had puff'd it forth and suck'd it in
Like breath. Then was I called away in haste
To entertain you. Never was a man
Heav'd from a sheep-cote to a sceptre raised
So high in thoughts as I: you left a kiss
Upon these lips then, which I mean to keep
From you for ever. I did hear you talk,
Far above singing! After you were gone,

I I grew acquainted with my heart, and search'd
What stirr'd it so. Alas! I found it love;
Yet far from lust; for could I but have lived

In presence of you, I had had my end.
For this I did delude my noble father
With a feign'd pilgrimage, and dress'd myself
In habit of a boy; and for I knew
My birth no match for you, I was past hope
Of having you. And, understanding well
That when I made discovery of my sex,
I could not stay with you, I made a vow,
By all the most religious things a maid
Could call together, never to be known,
Whilst there was hope to hide me from men's eyes,
For other than I seem'd, that I might ever
Abide with you: then sat I by the fount
Where first you took me up.


Philaster had previously described his finding the disguised maiden by the fount, and the description is highly poetical and picturesque :

Hunting the buck, I found him sitting by a fountain-side, Of which he borrow'd some to quench his thirst, And paid the nymph again as much in tears. A garland lay him by, made by himself, Of many several flowers, bred in the bay, Stuck in that mystic order, that the rareness Delighted me: But ever when he turn'd His tender eyes upon them he would weep, As if he meant to make them grow again. Seeing such pretty helpless innocence Dwell in his face, I ask'd him all his story. He told me that his parents gentle died, Leaving him to the mercy of the fields, Which gave him roots; and of the crystal springs, Which did not stop their courses; and the sun, Which still, he thank'd him, yielded him his light Then took he up his garland, and did show What every flower, as country people hold,

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