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Nor (so to yield) think it the least despight: "It is a conquest to submit to right."
This royal judge of our contention Will prop, I know, what I have undergone ; To whose right sacred highness I resign, Low at his feet, this starry crown of mine, To shew his rule and judgment is divine; These doves to him I consecrate withal, To note his innocence, without spot, or gall; These serpents, for his wisdom and these rays, To shew, his piercing splendor: these bright keys Designing power to ope the ported skies, And speak their glories to his subjects' eyes.
Lastly, this heart, with which all hearts be true: And truth in him make treason ever rue.
With this they were led forth, hand in hand, reconciled, as in triumph. And thus the solemnities ended. Vivite concordes, et nostrum discite munus.
THE HUE AND CRY, &c.] This Masque, which I have called the Hue and Cry after Cupid, bears the following title in the folio, 1616. The Description of the Masque with the Nuptial Songs, at the Lord Viscount Haddington's Marriage at Court, on the ShroveTuesday at Night, 1608. The 4to. 1608, adds after Nuptial Songs -"celebrating the happy marriage of John Lord Ramsey, Viscount Hadington, with the Lady Elizabeth Ratcliffe, daughter to the Right Honourable Robert Earl of Sussex." With this motto:
"Acceleret partu decimum bona Cynthia mensem."
This Masque was celebrated with the utmost magnificence. Rowland White, a courtier, and a very intelligent correspondent of the earl of Shrewsbury, thus writes from Whitehall. "The K. is newlie gon to Tibballes for 6 daies. The Spanish Embassador hath invited the 15 ladies that were of the Qʻ. maske, (the Masque of Beauty, see p. 38,) to dinner upon Thursday next, and they are to bring wth them whom they please, whout limitaĉon. The great Maske intended for my L. Haddington's marriage is now the only thing thought upon at Court, by 5 English; L. Arundel, L. Pemb. L. Montgomery, L. Theoph. Howard, and Sir Rob'. Rich; and by 7 Scottes; D. Lenox, D'Aubigny, Hay, M'. of Mar, young Erskine, Sankier, and Kenedie: Yt will cost them about 300l. a man.” Lodge's Illustrations, vol. iii. p. 343.
John lord Ramsey, the bridegroom, was one of the persons present at the assault upon James, Aug. 3, 1600, at Perth, when he killed the earl of Gowrie with his own hand, and was rewarded with a pension and the title of viscount Haddington. He was greatly beloved by the king, of which he continued to receive many substantial proofs, till having, in March, 1612, struck another favourite, Philip, earl of Montgomery, on the race-course at Croydon, he was forbid the court. James recalled him some time afterwards, and in 1620, created him baron of Kingston-upon-Thames, and earl of Holderness.
The bride, whom Arthur Wilson calls "one of the prime beauties of the kingdom," did not live to enjoy this last honour. She died of the small pox, and Bishop Corbett wrote an "Elegia" on the occasion, strangely compounded, as the fashion then was, of wit and woe. She was "girl'd and boy'd," he says; but none of her offspring seem to have long survived her.
THE HUE AND CRY AFTER
HE worthy custom of honouring worthy marriages, with these noble solemnities, hath of late years advanced itself frequently with us; to the reputation no less of our court, than nobles: expressing besides (through the difficulties of expense and travel, with the cheerfulness of undertaking) a most real affection in the personaters, to those, for whose sake they would sustain these persons. It behoves then us, that are trusted with a part of their honour in these celebrations, to do nothing in them beneath the dignity of either. With this proposed part of judgment, I adventure to give that abroad, which in my first conception I intended honourably fit: and, though it hath labour'd since, under censure, I, that know truth to be always of one stature, and so like a rule, as who bends it the least way, musts needs do an injury to the right, cannot but smile at their tyrannous ignorance, that will offer to slight me (in these things being an artificer) and give themselves a peremptory license to judge who have never touched so much as to the bark, or utter shell of any knowledge. But their daring dwell with them. They have found a place to pour out their follies; and I a seat, to sleep out the passage.
The scene to this Masque, was a high, steep, red cliff, advancing itself into the clouds, figuring the place, from whence (as I have been, not fabulously, informed) the honourable family of the Radcliffs first took their name, a clivo rubro, and is to be written with that orthography; as I have observed out of master Camden, in his mention of the earls of Sussex. This cliff was also a note of height, greatness, and antiquity. Before which, on the two sides, were erected two pilasters, charged with spoils and trophies of Love and his mother, consecrate to marriage: amongst which, were old and young persons figured, bound with roses, the wedding garments, rocks and spindles, hearts transfix'd with arrows, others flaming, virgins' girdles, garlands, and worlds of such like; all wrought round and bold: and over head two personages, Triumph and Victory, in flying postures, and twice so big as the life, in place of the arch, and holding a garland of myrtle for the key. All which, with the pillars, seemed to be of burnished gold, and embossed out of the metal. Beyond the cliff was seen nothing but clouds, thick, and obscure; till on the sudden, with a solemn music, a bright sky breaking forth; there were discovered first two doves, then two swans," with silver geers, drawing forth a triumphant chariot; in which Venus sat, crowned with her star, and beneath her the three Graces, or Charites, Aglaia, Thalia, Euphrosyne, all attired according to their antique figures. These, from their chariot, alighted on the top of the cliff, and descending by certain abrupt and winding passages, Venus having left her star only flaming in her seat, came to the earth, the Graces throwing garlands all the way, and began to speak.
Both doves and swans were sacred to this goddess, and as well with the one as the other, her chariot is induced by Ovid, lib. x. and xi. Metamor.