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HE Masque of Blackness.] Mr Collier printed
"Hos ego versiculos feci.
"BEN JONSON." It was performed at Whitehall on the Twelfth Night, 1604-5.
P. 6. This river taketh spring out of a certain lake, eastward; and after a long race, falleth into the western ocean.] Gifford says, "we now know that the Niger runs towards the east." Such was the notion in 1816, but it turned out after all that Jonson understood the matter better than his editor.
P. 15. Accited to sea.] In the British Museum MS. this stands, "provoked from the sea."
P. 15. 1 Ech. Let earth longer entertain you.
2 Ech. Longer entertain you.] Southey mentions how much he was struck by the beauty of this "double Echo finely managed."
P. 16. And what you vow'd was water.
You vow'd was water.] This stands in the
British Museum MS.:
"And what you ow'd was water.
P. 18. Lady Rich.] This lady is worthy of a longer note. Penelope Devereux, lady Rich, was elder sister of the celebrated Robert earl of Essex. She was born at Chartley in 1563, and was between forty-one and forty-two when this masque was presented. She was in a manner betrothed to sir Philip Sidney, and is the "Stella" of his Astrophel and Stella. He describes her as "Rich in all beauties," and
"Rich in the treasure of deserved renown;
Rich in those gifts which give the Eternal Crown;
It does not appear how it happened that she became Rich's wife instead of Sidney's, but the marriage was anything but a happy one. Sidney, in the 22nd Sonnet, speaks of the husband:
"But that rich Fool, who, by blind Fortune's lot,
And can with foul abuse such beauties blot;
Let him, deprived of sweet but unfelt joys,
(Exiled for aye from those high treasures, which
She married lord Mountjoy without being legally divorced from lord Rich. At the death of Elizabeth she was one of the six noble personages sent to meet the new queen, and remained high in her favour. Lord Mountjoy died April 3, 1606, and she did not long survive him. See Gerald Massey on Shakespeare's Sonnets. See also the notes of Gifford and Dyce regarding this lady in the last ed. of Ford, vol. iii. pp. 279-281.
NOTES TO THE MASQUE OF BEAUTY.
HE Masque of Beauty.] Of this Masque, Chamberlain writes to sir Dudley Carleton, January 8, 1608-9: "The Masque deferred till Sunday. Great shows of jewels. One lady furnished with more than £100,000 worth, but the lady Arabella exceeds her. Gaming at court." Cal. Dom. Jac. I. P. 394.
P. 32. The order of the scene.] The folio has properly, "The order of this scene."
P. 33. Of fruitful Kent, and Essex fair,
That lends the garlands for thy hair.] Mark the peculiar grammar of this couplet, and the worse than negligence that changed it from Jonson's own version:
"Of fruitful Kent and Essex fair,
That lend thee garlands for thy hair."
P. 34. Note at the foot of this page.] For "Mr. Bowles, the keen detector of Jonson's plagiarisms," read Mr. Bowle, a very different person from the amiable poet and parson with the additional letter to his name.
P. 35. It was no policy of court.] Jonson wrote, as he always did, I think, "polity of court."
NOTES TO HYMENÆI.
YMENEI. The lady Frances, second daughter of the most noble Earle of Suffolke.] Jonson, according to the general custom of the period, wrote "daughter to," not, 66 daughter of."
P. 44. It is to Jonson's praise, that he took no part in the celebration of the second marriage, which was solemnized with great pomp, and for which a Masque was composed by Campion, a writer of some name.] A moment's reflection would have stopped Gifford from committing himself so absurdly. At the time of the second marriage Jonson was in the employment of the court, there was nothing whatever against Robert Carr, and he was as powerful in many ways as Buckingham afterwards became. So far was Jonson from presuming to keep aloof, that we have every reason to believe he was much attached to the favourite, and there is no doubt whatever that both the Challenge at Tilt, p. 211, and the Irish Masque at Court, p. 221, were expressly composed by him for the occasion! For the rest, the beautiful lines printed at vol. ix. p. 338, which, however, were unknown to Gifford, will show that his admiration for the "virtuous Somerset was something more than official and formal.
P. 44. It is melancholy to reflect that this adulterous marriage was eagerly promoted by the lord chancellor Bacon.] Bacon was only attorney-general at this time, and as far as I can discover, there is not the slightest ground for alleging that this marriage was in any way "promoted" by him. It seems probable, however, that he
considered himself in some way indebted to Somerset for his post of attorney-general, and as the scheme for a joint masque from the four Inns of Court hung fire, it occurred to him that he might at once pay off an obligation, and give infinite delight to the king, by getting one up in the name of Gray's Inn alone. He did so, and as the whole expense came from his own purse, he added some two thousand pounds to his encumbrances. The solicitorgeneral, sir Henry Yelverton, offered to pay five hundred pounds towards it, and others of the Inn would gladly have contributed, but the magnificent Bacon declined all aid.
P. 50. Lord Willoughby.] This is more likely to have been Robert Bertie, tenth lord Willoughby of Eresby, killed at Edgehill, 23rd October, 1642.
P. 53. This happy night must both make one;
Blest sacrifice to Union.] The folio, which may be thoroughly relied on, has no stop whatever at the end of the first line, nor ought there to be any for the genuine sense.
P. 53. The tead of white and blooming thorn,
In token of increase, is born.] Tead is a torch, from the
P. 68. And let not cockles closer meet.] This was a favourite image of Jonson's. See the Alchemist, vol. iv. p. 99, where Face instructs Dol to "kiss, like a scallop, close." It is said to be borrowed from a little piece of that not very creditable specimen of a "royal and noble author," the emperor Gallienus.
P. 70. The fashion taken from the antique Greek statues.] The folio has statue in the singular, and there was no reason for changing it.
P. 71. Watchet cloth of silver, cheveroned all over with lace.] Watchet is light sky-coloured blue. The shape of a chevron is familiar from the mark of rank on a non-commissioned officer's sleeve.
P. 71. A broad silver race.] The last word is of course a misprint. It is lace in the folio.
P. 71. The lady's attire.] Against Gifford's note (3) Southey wrote (Common Place Book, vol. iv. p. 326), "Gifford calls the attention of the reader to the richness, elegance, and matchless vigour of Jonson's prose, upon occasion of a very beautiful passage, which he does not perceive to be an imitation of Sidney's manner. Is it not an echo of Lyly as much as of Sidney?
NOTES TO THE BARRIERS.
, Page 75.
HE one expostulated the other.] So Massinger, in the Maid of Honour, A. iii. S. 1:
"I have no commission To expostulate the act."
P. 79. Which th' air doth stroke.] In spite of Nares, Gifford was apparently right in saying that Jonson was partial to this word. D'Avenant uses it in the same way:
"A virgin's heart, I know, Is sooner stroked than checked into a kind Surrender of her breast."
Love and Honour, vol. iii. p. 123.
P. 82. Note (3). The purblind Mr. Bowles.] Here once more Gifford's printers have made him attack the excellent vicar of Bremhill, instead of Bowle, a very different man, who contributed notes to Warton's Milton.
NOTES TO THE HUE AND CRY
N the quarto the title is, "The Description of the Masque, with the Severall Songs Celebrating the happy Marriage of John, Lord Ramsey, Viscount Haddington, With the Lady Elizabeth Radcliffe, Daughter to the Right Honor: Robert, Earle of Sussex. At Court on the Shrove Tuesday at night, 1608. Devised by Ben Jonson."
P. 86. Bishop Corbett wrote an Elegia.] Some part is worth quoting:
"First thy whole life was a short feast of witt,
Nor didst thou two years after talk of force,