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LOVE FREED FROM IGNORANCE
A MASQUE OF HER MAJESTY'S.
LOVE FREED, &c.] The date of this Masque is not mentioned, nor the particular occasion on which it was presented. There is no earlier edition of it than the folio, 1616. Mr. Stephen Jones (a name utterly unworthy of notice, but as the booksellers have connected it with the drama,) assigns the first appearance of all these Masques to 1640. He could grovel in falsehood for the gratification of his senseless enmity to Jonson ; but to open one of his volumes for the purpose of ascertaining the truth, appears to have been thought a mere loss of time.
So soon as the King's majesty was set, and in expecta
tion, there was heard a strange music of wild instruments. To which a Sphynx came forth dancing, leading Love bound.
SOME, Sir Tyrant, lordly Love,
You that awe the gods above,
As their creatures here below,
With the sceptre call'd your bow;
And do all their forces bear
In the quiver that you wear,
Whence no sooner you do draw
Forth a shaft, but is a law;
Now they shall not need to tremble,
When you threaten, or dissemble,
Any more; and, though you see
Whom to hurt, you have not free
Will, to act your rage. “The bands
your eyes, now tie your hands.
All the triumphs, all the spoils
Gotten by your arts, and toils,
• By this Sphynx was understood Ignorance, who is always the enemy of Love and Beauty, and lies still in wait to entrap them. For which Antiquity has given her the upper parts and face of a woman: the nether parts of a lion, the wings of an eagle, to shew her fierceness, and swiftness to evil, where she hath power.
Over foe and over friend,
O'er your mother, here must end.
And you now, that thought to lay
The world waste, must be my prey.
Love. Cruel Sphynx, I rather strive
How to keep the world alive,
And uphold it; without me,
All again would chaos be.
Tell me, monster, what should move
Thy despight, thus, against Love?
Is there nothing fair, and good,
Nothing bright, but burns thy blood ?
Still thou art thyself, and made
All of practice, to invade
Clearest bosoms. Hath this place
None will pity Cupid's case ?
Some soft eye, while I can see
Who it is that melts for me,
Weep a fit. Are all
Are all eyes here
Made of marble ? But a tear,
Though a false one; it may make
Others true compassion take.
I would tell you all the story
If I thought you would be sorry,
And in truth, there's none have reason,
Like yourselves, to hate the treason.
For it practis'd was on Beauty,
Unto whom Love owes all duty.
Let your favour but affright
Sphynx here, I shall soon recite
Every passage, how it was.
Sphynx. Do, I'll laugh, or cry, alas !
Thinks, poor Love, can ladies looks
Save him from the Sphynx's hooks ? Love. No; but these can witness bear
Of my candor, when they hear
What thy malice is : or, how
I became thy captive now :
And it is no small content,
Falling, to fall innocent.
Know then, all you Glories here,
In the utmost East there were
Eleven daughters of the morn.
Ne'er were brighter bevies born,
Nor more perfect beauties seen.
The eldest of them was the queen
Of the Orient, and 'twas said,
That she should with Phæbus wed.
For which high-vouchsafed grace,
He was loved of all their race.
And they would, when he did rise,
Do him early sacrifice
Of the rich and purest gum,
That from any plant could come;
And would look at him as far
As they could discern his car :
Grieving that they might not ever
See him; and when night did sever
Their aspects, they sat and wept
Till he came, and never slept :
Insomuch, that at the length
This their fervor gat such strength,
As they would a journey prove,
By the guard, and aid of Love,
Hither to the farthest West :
Where they heard, as in the East,
He a palace, no less bright,
Had, to feast in every night
With the Ocean, where he rested
Safe, and in all state invested.-
I, that never left the side
Of the fair, became their guide,