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The wheel of chance, about which kings are hurl'd,
And whose outrageous raptures fill the world.
Lady. Ay, this is he, Meliadus, whom you
Must only serve, and give yourself unto;
And by your diligent practice to obey
So wise a master, learn the art of sway.

Merlin, advance the shield upon his tent. And now prepare, fair knight, to prove the event Of your bold Challenge. Be your virtues steel'd, And let your drum give note you keep the field. [Drum beats.

-Is this the land of Britain so renown'd
For deeds of arms, or are their hearings drown'd
That none do answer?

A

Mer. Stay, methinks I see
person in yon cave.
Who should that be?
I know her ensigns now; 'tis CHIVALRY
Possess'd with sleep, dead as a lethargy :
If any charm will wake her, 'tis the name
Of our Meliadus. I'll use his fame.

Lady, Meliadus, lord of the isles,

Princely Meliadus, and whom fate now styles
The fair Meliadus, hath hung his shield
Upon his tent, and here doth keep the field,
According to his bold and princely word;
And wants employment for his pike and sword.

CHIVALRY, coming forward.

Chi. Were it from death, that name would wake me. Say,

Which is the knight? O,
O, I could gaze a day
Upon his armour that hath so reviv'd
My spirits, and tells me that I am long-liv'd
In his appearance. Break, you rusty doors,
That have so long been shut, and from the shores
Of all the world, come, knighthood, like a flood
Upon these lists, to make the field here good,

And your own honours, that are now call'd forth
Against the wish of men to prove your worth!

Ay

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After which MERLIN speaks to the Prince.

Merlin.

AY, stay your valour, 'tis a wisdom high
In princes to use fortune reverently.

He that in deeds of arms obeys his blood,
Doth often tempt his destiny beyond good.
Look on this throne, and in his temper view
The light of all that must have grace in you:
His equal justice, upright fortitude

9 This part of the solemnity is silently passed over by Jonson; and indeed, he seldom enters, at any length, into the accompaniments of his Masques and Entertainments, unless for the sake of bearing witness to the merits of Inigo Jones, Ferrabosco, Giles, and others associated in the embellishment of his labours. "Yet," says Warton, "while Milton gives only the soliloquy of the Genius, and the three songs, of his Arcades, in many of Jonson's Masques, the poet rarely appears, amidst a cumbersome exhibition of heathen gods and mythology"! Todd's Milton, vol. v. p. 146. No sighs but of Jonson's raising! Whoever is right, he is sure to be found in the wrong. No absurdity is so gross, no violation of truth so glaring, as not to be gladly received when the object of it is to decry his talents, and injure his reputation. The falsehood once hazarded, is repeated by every mouth; and the cause of literature is stupidly supposed to be promoted by combining for the degradation of one of its brightest ornaments.

To return to the BARRIERS. "The prince (says Arthur Wilson) now growing manly, being in his sixteenth year, put forth himself in a more heroic manner, than was usual with princes of his time, by Tiltings, Barriers, and other exercises on horseback, the martial discipline of gentle peace." Life of James, p. 52. And it appears

And settled prudence, with that peace endued
Of face, as mind, always himself and even.
So Hercules, and good men bear up heaven.

I dare not speak his virtues, for the fear
Of flattering him, they come so nigh and near
To wonders; yet thus much I prophesy

from a very curious passage in the Prince's life, written by sir Charles Cornwallis, that a grand rehearsal of the present Tilt had taken place some time before.

"The 16 yeare of his age, being to come to the time of his investment in the Principalitie of Wales and Cornewall; he did advance his own title and right so farre, as with modestie he might: which presently was gently and lovingly entertained, and granted of his Majestie, with the consent of the Right Honourable, the High Court of Parliament: the fourth of June following, being appointed for that solemne action, the Christmas before which, his Highnesse not onely for his owne recreation, but also that the world might know, what a brave Prince they were likely to enjoy, under the name of Meliades, Lord of the Isles, (an ancient title due to the first borne of Scotland) did in his name, by some appointed for the same of purpose, strangly attired, accompanied with drummes and trumpets in the chamber of presence, before the King and Queene, and in the presence of the whole court, delivered a challenge to all Knights of Great Britaine in two Speeches.

"Now began every where preparations to be made for this great fight, and happy did he thinke himselfe who should be admitted for a defendant, much more assailant: At last, to encounter his Highnesse, with his six assailants, 58 defendants, consisting of Earles, Barons, Knights, and Esquires, were appointed and chosen, eight defendants to one assailant, every assailant being to fight by turnes, eight severall times fighting, two every time with push of pike and sword, twelve stroakes at a time; after which, the BARRE for separation was to bee let downe untill a fresh onset.

"This solemnity now approaching, his Highnesse did feast the Earles, Barons, and Knights assailants, and defendants, untill the twelfth appointed night, on which this great fight was to be performed; which being come, his Highnesse, to the great wonder of the beholders, did admirably fight his part, giving and receiving that night, 32 pushes of pikes, and about 360 stroakes of swords, which is scarce credible in so young yeares, enough to assure the world, that Great Britaines brave Henry aspired to immortality." 8vo. 1641. p. 12. et seq.

Of him and his. All ears your selves apply.

You, and your other you, great king and queen,
Have yet the least of your bright fortune seen,
Which shall rise brighter every hour with time,
And in your pleasure quite forget the crime
Of change; your age's night shall be her noon.
And this young knight, that now puts forth so soon
Into the world, shall in your names achieve
More garlands for this state, and shall relieve
Your cares in government; while that young lord'
Shall second him in arms, and shake a sword,
And lance against the foes of God and you.
Nor shall less joy your royal hopes pursue
In that most princely maid, whose form might call2
The world to war, and make it hazard all
His valour for her beauty; she shall be
Mother of nations, and her princes see
Rivals almost to these. Whilst you sit high,
And led by them, behold your Britain fly
Beyond the line, when what the seas before
Did bound, shall to the sky then stretch his shore.

1 While that young lord.] The duke of York, the unfortunate Charles I.

2 In that most princely maid.] The princess Elizabeth, married a few years afterwards to the Elector Palatine. The present royal family are the descendants of that marriage. There is something interesting in the language of this prediction. Merlin is not altogether correct, it must be confessed, and yet he has not always prophesied so well. Elizabeth is now "the mother of nations," and no sparing compliment will be paid "her princes" by admitting them to be rivals of her brothers; for, when every allowance is made, Henry and Charles must be confessed to be no ordinary characters.

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OBERON, THE FAIRY PRINCE; A MASQUE OF PRINCE HENRY'S.

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