Lapas attēli

But there are rites behind

Have less of state, but more of kind:

Love's wealthy crop of kisses,

And fruitful harvest of his mother's blisses.
Sound then to Hymen's war:

That what these are,
Who will perfection see,
May haste to be.

Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

Love's commonwealth consists of toys;
His council are those antic boys,
Games, Laughter, Sports, Delights,
That triumph with him on these nights :
To whom we must give way,

For now their reign begins, and lasts till day.
They sweeten Hymen's war,
And, in that jar,

Make all, that married be,

Perfection see.

Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

Why stays the bridegroom to invade
Her, that would be a matron made?
Good-night, whilst yet we may
Good-night, to you a virgin, say:
To-morrow rise the same

Your mother is, and use a nobler name.

Speed well in Hymen's war,

That, what you are,

By your perfection, we

And all may see.
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

* A wife or matron: which is a name of more dignity than Virgin. D. Heins. in Nup. Ottonis Heurnii. Cras matri similis tuæ redibis.

To-night is Venus' vigil kept.

This night no bridegroom ever slept;
And if the fair bride do,

The married say, 'tis his fault, too.
Wake then, and let your lights

Wake too; for they'll tell nothing of your nights.
But, that in Hymen's war,
You perfect are.

And such perfection, we
Do pray should be.

Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

That, ere the rosy-finger'd morn

Behold nine moons, there may be born
A babe, t'uphold the fame

Of Ratcliffe's blood, and Ramsey's name :
That may, in his great seed,

Wear the long honours of his father's deed.
Such fruits of Hymen's war
Most perfect are;

And all perfection, we
Wish you should see.

Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star !6

6 However desirable it may be to leave the recognition of the poet's merits to the taste and discrimination of the reader, it seems almost impossible to pass, in silence, over such pre-eminent marks of genius and study as those before us. Not many pages are numbered since we had the most beautiful little piece of its kind in the English language; and here we have another of the same species, replete with every excellence. The learning of Jonson is prodigious, and the grace, delicacy, and judgment with which he applies it to the embellishment of his subject, cannot be too highly estimated. The dull cold criticism of Hurd, the wanton malignity of Steevens, the blind hatred of Malone, (to say nothing of a train of followers,) are all directed to the same point, namely, to establish the persuasion that Jonson is, at his best, but "a servile imitator," a "painful plagiarist," a mere " murderer of the ancients;" and it seems but a part of common justice to invite the attention occasionally to such decisive refutations of the calumny, as are supplied by these and similar pieces profusely scattered through his works.




THE MASQUE, &c.] This is the title of the folio, 1616. That of the 4to. 1609, runs thus: "The Masque of Queens, celebrated from the House of Fame: by the most absolute in all State and Titles, Anne, Queen of Great Britain, &c.

Et memorem famam, quæ bene gessit, habet.”

The 4to. is addressed to prince Henry, who was dead when the folio edition appeared, which accounts, perhaps, for the omission of the dedication. It is as follows:

"To the glory of our own, and grief of other nations, my lord HENRY, prince of Great Britain, &c.


"When it hath been my happiness (as would it were more frequent) but to see your face, and, as passing by, to consider you; I have with as much joy, as I am now far from flattery in professing it, called to mind that doctrine of some great inquisitors in Nature, who hold every royal and heroic form to partake and draw much to it of the heavenly virtue. For, whether it be that a divine soul, being to come into a body, first chooseth a palace for itself; or, being come, doth make it so; or that Nature be ambitious to have her work equal; I know not: but what is lawful for me to understand and speak, that I dare; which is, that both your virtue and your form did deserve your fortune. The one claimed that you should be born a prince, the other makes that you do become it. And when Necessity (excellent lord) the mother of the Fates, hath so provided, that your form should not more insinuate you to the eyes of men, than your virtue to their minds: it comes near a wonder to think how sweetly that habit flows in you, and with so hourly testimonies, which to all posterity might hold the dignity of examples. Amongst the rest, your favour to letters, and these gentler studies, that go under the title of Humanity, is not the least honour of your wreath. For, if once the worthy professors of these learnings shall come (as heretofore they were) to be the core of princes, the crowns their sovereigns wear will not more adorn their temples; nor their stamps live longer in their medals, than in such subjects' labours. Poetry, my lord, is not born with every man, nor every day and in her general right, it is now my minute to thank your Highness, who not only do honour her with your care, but are curious to examine her with your eye, and enquire into her beauties and strengths. Where though it hath proved a work of some difficulty to me, to retrieve the particular authorities (according to your gracious command, and a desire born out of judgment) to those things, which I writ out of fullness and memory of my former readings: yet, now I have overcome it, the reward that


meets me is double to one act: which is, that thereby your excellent understanding will not only justify me to your own knowledge, but decline the stiffness of other's original ignorance, already armed to censure. For which singular bounty, if my fate (most excellent Prince, and only delicacy of mankind) shall reserve me to the age of your actions, whether in the camp or the council-chamber, that I may write, at nights, the deeds of your days; I will then labour to bring forth some work as worthy of your fame, as my ambition therein is of your pardon.

"By the most true admirer of your Highness's virtues,
"And most hearty celebrater of them,


The production of this Masque has subjected Jonson to a world of unmerited obloquy from the commentators. It was written, it seems, on account of the success of Shakspeare's Witches, which alarmed the jealousy of a man, who fancied himself his rival, or rather his superior." And this is repeated through a thousand mouths. Not to observe, that if Jonson was moved by any such passion, it must be by Middleton's Witches, not Shakspeare's, (for the latter is but a copyist himself, in this case,) how does it appear that Macbeth was prior in date to the Masque of Queens? O, says Mr. Davies, "Mr. Malone has with much probability fixed the first representation of Macbeth to the year 1606." And he immediately proceeds to reason upon it, “as a certainty."

It is worth while to turn to this master-proof.

"In July, 1606, (Mr. Malone says,) the king of Denmark came to England, and on the third of August was installed a knight of the Garter. 'There is nothing (says Drummond of Hawthornden) to be heard at Court but sounding of trumpets, hautboys, music, revelling, and comedies.' Perhaps during this visit, Macbeth was first exhibited." This is the whole; and this it is that "fixes the first appearance of Macbeth to the year 1606!" The king of Denmark was in this country about three weeks; a considerable part of the time he spent at Theobalds, where Jonson was employed to entertain him; he was, besides, present at one Masque, and the rest of his time was occupied in moving about, and what Drummond calls, music and revelling. In four consecutive letters, he details the various amusements of this prince, without the most distant hint of his being present at the exhibition of any play whatever. At any rate, Macbeth is no "comedie ;" and, in fact, what Drummond calls so, are the "Entertainments, Masques, and Revels," (all appropriate terms,) which are known to have been provided for him. What amusement could an English tragedy afford to a person who understood not a word of the language?

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