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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 time the English lords shall mask with the Scottish ladies:' the third night terminates by the six or eight ladies masquers singing a song as full of harmony as may be devised.' The whole entertainment indicates a sincere desire of reconciliation on the part of Elizabeth; but the first scene-a prison -seems strangely ominous of the events which fol

Mr Collier, in his Annals of the Stage, has printed a document which gives a very distinct account of the court masque, as it was about the time when the drama arose in England; namely, in the early years of Elizabeth. That princess, as is well-known, designed an amicable meeting with Mary Queen of Scots, which was to have taken place at Nottingham castle, 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 which two sylvans held, attired in changeable taffety. Besides two other allegorical characters, Night and Hesperus, there were nine masquers, representing Apollo's knights, and personated by young men of rank.

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?

Flora. Be mild, stern Night;

Flora doth honour Cynthia and her right;

The nymph was Cynthia's while she was her own,

But now another claims in her a right,

By fate reserved thereto, and wise foresight.

hearts transfixed with arrows, others flaming, vir-
gins' girdles, garlands, and worlds of such like.'
Enter Venus in her chariot, attended by the Graces,
and delivers a speech expressive of her anxiety to
recover her son Cupid, who has run away from her.
The Graces then make proclamation as follows:-
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.

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.

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.

Zephyrus. Can Cynthia one kind virgin's loss be- 2d Grace. Wings he hath, which though ye clip,


How, if perhaps she brings her ten for one?

After some more such dialogue, in which Hesperus takes part, Cynthia is reconciled to the loss of her

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.

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.

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.

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 :

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 ing beauty. In that which was produced at the marriage of Ramsay, Lord Haddington, to Lady Elizabeth Ratcliff, the scene presented a steep red cliff, topped by clouds, allusive to the red cliff from which the lady's name was said to be derived; before which were two pillars charged with spoils of love, amongst which were old and young persons bound

1 Diana.

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.

3d Grace. Idle minutes are his reign;

2d Grace.

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.
1st Grace. If by these ye please to know him,
Beauties, be not nice, but show him.
Though ye had a will to hide him,
Now, we hope, ye'll not abide him.
3d Grace. Since you hear his falser play,
And that he 's Venus' runaway.
Cupid enters, attended by twelve boys, representing
the Sports and pretty Lightnesses that accompany

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 :

Up, youths and virgins, up, and praise

The god, whose nights outshine his days;
Hymen, whose hallow'd rites

Could never boast of brighter lights;
Whose bands pass liberty.

Two of your troop, that with the morn were free,
Are now waged to his war.
And what they are,
If you'll perfection see,
Yourselves must be.

Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

What joy, what honours can compare

With holy nuptials, when they are
Made out of equal parts

Of years, of states, of hands, of hearts!
When in the happy choice

The spouse and spoused have foremost voice!
Such, glad of Hymen's war,

Live what they are,
And long perfection see;

And such ours be.

Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

Still further to illustrate this curious subject, and to revive a department of our literature almost totally unknown, we present one entire masque of Jonson, a short but beautiful one, which was represent at court in 1615, by the lords and gentlemen, the king's servants,' and seems to have been designed as a compliment to the king on the point of his love of justice.

The Golden Age Restored.

The court being seated and in expectation,

Loud Music: PALLAS in her chariot descending to a softer music.

Look, look! rejoice and wonder

That you, offending mortals, are (For all your crimes) so much the care Of him that bears the thunder.

Jove can endure no longer,

Your great ones should your less invade;

Or that your weak, though bad, be made A prey unto the stronger,

And therefore means to settle

Astræa in her seat again;

And let down in his golden chain An age of better metal.

Which deed he doth the rather,

That even Envy may behold
Time not enjoy'd his head of gold
Alone beneath his father,

But that his care conserveth,

As time, so all time's honours too, Regarding still what heav'n should do, And not what earth deserveth.

[A tumult, and clashing of arms heard within.

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 arins!

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.

The IRON AGE presents itself, calling forth the EVILS.
I. Age. Come forth, come forth, do we not hear
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 triumph together,

Upon this enemy so great,
Whom, if our forces can defeat,

And but this once bring under,
We are the masters of the skies,
Where all the wealth, height, power lies,
The sceptre, and the thunder.

Which of you would not in a war
Attempt the price of any scar,

To keep your own states even?
But here, which of you is that he,
Would not himself the weapon be,
To ruin Jove and heaven?

About it, then, and let him feel
The Iron Age is turn'd to steel,
Since he begins to threat her:
And though the bodies here are less
Than were the giants; he'll confess
Our malice is far greater.

The EVILS enter for the Antimasque, and dance to two drums, trumpets, and a confusion of martial music. At the end of which PALLAS re-appears, showing her shield. The EVILS are turned to statues.

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. 'Twas time t' appear, and let their folly see 'Gainst whom they fought, and with what destiny. Die all that can remain of you, but stone, 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 ASTREA and the GOLDEN AGE. Descend, you long, long wish'd and wanted pair, And as your softer times divide the air, So shake all clouds off with your golden hair; For Spite is spent: the Iron Age is fled, And, with her power on earth, her name is dead.

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G. Age. True.

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 gain'd the style
Of Phoebus' sons, whose notes the air aspire
Of th' old Egyptian, or the Thracian lyre,
That Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, 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

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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 tanı'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.

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The first Dance.

Pal. Already do not all things smile? Ast. But when they have enjoy'd a while The Age's quickening power:

Age. That every thought a seed doth bring, And every look a plant doth spring, 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:
The thistle shall the lily bear,
And every brainble roses wear,
And every worin make silk.

Cho. The very shrub shall balsam sweat,
And nectar melt the rock with heat,
Till earth have drank her fill:
That she no harmful weed may know,
Nor barren fern, nor mandrake low,
Nor mineral to kill.

Here the main Dance. After which,

Pal. But here's not all: you must do more,
Or else you do but half restore
The Age's liberty.

Poe. The male and female us'd to join,
And into all delight did coin

That pure simplicity.

Then Feature did to Form advance,
And Youth call'd Beauty forth to dance,
And every Grace was by:

It was a time of no distrust,

So much of love had nought of lust ;
None fear'd a jealous eye.

The language melted in the ear,
Yet all without a blush might hear;
They liv'd with open vow.

Cho. Each touch and kiss was so well plac'd,
They were as sweet as they were chaste,
And such must yours be now.

Here they dance with the Ladies.
Ast. What change is here? I had not more
Desire to leave the earth before,
Than I have now to stay;

My silver feet, like roots, are wreath'd
Into the ground, my wings are sheath'd,
And I cannot away.

Of all there seems a second birth;
It is become a heaven on earth,

And Jove is present here.

I feel the godhead; nor will doubt
But he can fill the place throughout,
Whose power is everywhere.

This, this, and only such as this,
The bright Astræa's region is,

Where she would pray to live;
And in the midst of so much gold,
Unbought with grace, or fear unsold,
The law to mortals give.

Here they dance the Galliards and Corantos.

PALLAS [ascending, and calling the Poets.]

'Tis now enough; behold you here,
What Jove hath built to be your sphere,
You hither must retire.

And as his bounty gives you cause,
Be ready still without your pause,

To show the world your fire.

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 inte resting 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 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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