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Lady ANNE CLIFFORD,2
Lady MARY NEVILLE,3
Lady ELIZ. HATTON,*
Lady ELIZ. GARRARD,5
2 Lady Anne Clifford.] The daughter of George Clifford, earl of Cumberland, so remarkable for his naval adventures in the reign of Elizabeth. This lady married some time after her appearance in the present masque, Richard, third earl of Dorset, and in 1630 Philip, earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, whom she outlived many years. The English court, or, to go further, the English nation, never possessed a nobler character than this celebrated lady. This is no place for her history, of which a spirited sketch is given by Dr. Whitaker; but it is almost impossible to pass her by without noticing her well-known answer to sir Joseph Williamson, Secretary of State to Charles II., who had ventured to name a candidate to her for the borough of Appleby.
"I have been bullied by an usurper; I have been neglected by a court; but I will not be dictated to by a subject: your man shan't stand.
"ANNE Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery."
3 Lady Mary Neville.] Wife of Henry, seventh lord Abergavenny, and daughter of the lord Treasurer Sackville, earl of Dorset.
4 Lady Elizabeth Hatton.] Fourth daughter of Thomas Cecil, first earl of Exeter, and widow of sir William Hatton. This beautiful creature afterwards married sir Edward Coke. A strange match-and which seems to have afforded more amusement to the bystanders, than comfort to the parties concerned.
5 Lady Elizabeth Garrard.] Wife of Thomas, lord Gerard, son of sir Gilbert Gerard, Master of the Rolls, 23 Elizabeth. Thomas was raised to the peerage on the accession of James I. She died 1613. 6 Lady Chichester.] Letitia, (as I believe,) daughter of sir John Perrot, and wife of sir Arthur Chichester, (baron Chichester of Belfast,) a man eminent for his great services in Ireland, and of distinguished talents and virtue. There was, indeed, another lady of this name; Frances, second daughter of lord Harrington, married to sir Robert Chichester, of Rawleigh, Devon, knight of the Bath. This lady died in 1615, and was buried, as the record says, with "muche solempnitie, in the parrishe church of Pylton." The reader must decide between the claimants.
7 Lady Walsingham.] Probably Anne, fourth daughter of Theophilus, second earl of Suffolk, and wife of Thomas Walsingham, of Scadbury, in Kent.
HYMENÆI OR THE SOLEMNITIES OF MASQUE AND BARRIERS AT A MARRIAGE.] This is the title in the fol. 1616. Upon which Chetwood remarks:-- "What reason our author had for not being more particular in the title of this Masque, neither when nor for whom it was performed, we cannot conceive; but we have, with some little search, found out it was ordered by the court, for the celebration of the nuptials between the Palsgrave and the princess Elizabeth." "This Masque, by the description, was very magnificent, and the reader may find the expence of the machinery, &c., set down in the cost of that prince's marriage." Life of Jonson, p. 41.
Chetwood's labour was thrown away. Had he fortunately met with the 4to. edition of this Masque, he would have found all his doubts removed. There the title-page runs, Hymenai, or the Solemnities of Masque and Barriers, magnificently performed on the eleventh and twelfth nights, from Christmas, at court: to the auspi cious celebrating of the Marriage-union betweene Robert, Earle of Essex, and the lady Frances, second daughter of the most noble Earle of Suffolke, 1606.
Jam veniet virgo, jam dicetur Hymenæus."
The author's reason for "not being more particular" is now sufficiently apparent. The marriage was a most inauspicious one, and terminated in shame and guilt. The earl of Essex (only son of the unfortunate favourite of Elizabeth and the English nation,) was in his fifteenth, and the lady Frances in her fourteenth year, when the ceremony took place. Not long afterwards, the Earl set out on his travels, and was abroad about four years. The Countess, who in the interim had transferred her affections to Robert Carr, viscount Rochester, the well known minion of James, was with difficulty persuaded to cohabit with her husband, whom, after a series of bickering, little to the honour of any of the parties concerned, she finally abandoned in 1613. She then solicited and obtained a divorce, under a pretence of his being incompetent to the duties of matrimony, and on the 5th of December in the same year, espoused Carr, who had been created, the day before, earl of Somerset.
This infamous connexion led to the murder of sir Thomas Overbury, the execution of the minor agents in that diabolical transaction, and the trial and condemnation of the Earl and Countess, whose lives, though spared by the weakness of James, were worn out in mutual disgust. Somerset died neglected and despised,