« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
To conclude which, I know no worthier way of epilogue than the celebration of who were the celebraters:
The QUEEN'S MAJESTY.
The Co. OF DERBY.
The Co. OF HUNTINGDON.1 The Co. OF Bedford.
The Co. of Essex.2
1 The Countess of Huntingdon.] This highborn lady (wife of Henry Hastings, fifth Earl of Huntingdon) was Elizabeth, the daughter of Ferdinando Stanley, Earl of Derby, by the lady who immediately precedes her in the list.
The Countess of Essex.] This beautiful young creature (for she was not yet seventeen) was the unfortunate and guilty wife of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, whese nuptials were celebrated with such splendour at Whitehall, and for whom Jonson composed the Masque of Hymen. She was the sister of the Viscountess Cranborne mentioned below, and was at this time the pride and boast of the English Court. Wilson blames her father for keeping her there during the absence of her husband, and hints that she was too much admired by Prince Henry. At this period, however, nothing had happened to tarnish her name.
The Viscountess Cranborne.] Lady Catharine Howard, youngest daughter of Thomas, Earl of Suffolk, and recently married to William, Viscount Cranborne, son of that great statesman Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury.
The Co. OF MONTGOMERY. The VISC. CRANBORNE.3 The LA. ELIZ. GUILFORD. The LA. ANNE WINTER. The LA. WINDSOR.
The LA. ANNE CLIFFORD.
For the remaining names see the preceding Masques.
[Gifford has very justly remarked on the ridiculously slender grounds on which Malone has fixed 1606 as the date of the production of Macbeth; but, while calling attention to Jonson's own words on the sources from which he derived his witch machinery, he has taken no notice of the passages (ante 47 b) in which he speaks particularly of "the knowne story of K. Duffe out of Hector Boetius." Now, had Macbeth been produced before Feb. 1610, when this Masque saw the light, I cannot help thinking it improbable that Jonson (considering the prominent mention, p. 58 b, given to Spenser's Ruins of Time) would have ignored its existence in writing this note, and quite impossible that he should have blundered the name of the hero. The earliest authenticated mention of the Play is, I believe, in Dr. Forman's Diary, under date April 20, 1610, when he saw it acted at The Globe, and gives an outline of the plot, which he would hardly have done if it had been of four years' standing. -F. C.]
The Speeches at Prince Henry's Barriers.
THE SPEECHES, &c.] Jonson has prefixed no date to these, and the Masque of Oberon which follows them; but the time is ascertained by the public records. On Monday, the fourth of June, 1610, Henry, then in his sixteenth year, was created Prince of Wales with extraordinary pomp and solemnity. On the next day (Tuesday), the beautiful Masque of Oberon was performed, and on Wednesday the Barriers or Tilting. A very full account of the "formalities and shews," as they are called, on the Prince's creation, may be found in Winwood's State Papers (vol. iii. pp. 179-181.) In the Masque, which is said to have been a most glorious one," it appears that some introductory matter (not absolutely connected with it) has been omitted. Of the Barriers, Sir Ralph Winwood's correspondent (Sir John Finnet) thus speaks. "The third and last day did not give place to any of the former, either in stateliness of shew or sumptuousness in performance. The names of the TILTERS were these: the Duke of Lenox, the Earls of Arundell, Pembroke, Dorset, and Montgomery; the Lords Walden, Compton, Norris, North, Hay, and Dingwell; Sir Thomas Sommerset, Sir Thomas Howard, Sir Henry Carey, Sir Sigismond Alexander, and Mr. Henry Alexander. The Earl of Pembroke brought in two caparisons of peach-coullered velvet, embroidered all over with fair oriental pearls, and yet the Lord Walden carried away the reputation of bravery' (splendour of apparel) "that day. But to speak generally of the Court, I must truly confess unto you that I have not in all my life once seen so much riches in bravery as at thys time. Embroidered suits were so common, as the richest lace which was to be gotten seemed but a mean grace to the wearer.'
The praise of superior skill at this course is given in another place to the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery and the Duke of Lenox. Pembroke was eminent in every accomplishment, as well as virtue; and from the incidental notices of his brother Philip, which occur in all the Court correspondence of the time, it is difficult to believe that he was so wretched a creature as later writers choose to represent him. Illiterate he assuredly was, but he excelled in all polite and manly exercises; and it is somewhat to his praise that though he continued a most distinguished favourite to the last moment of the king's existence, he provoked no ill-will, and excited no envy. His declining years were stained with ingratitude of the basest kind; and he was abandoned to merited disgrace and contempt.
It was, I believe, at these Barriers, that Carr laid the foundation of his surprising fortune. He was pitched upon by Lord Dingwell (Hume says, by Lord Hay) on account of his youth and beauty, to present him, in quality of his page, with his lance and shield. In approaching the lists for this purpose, he was thrown from his horse, and taken up with a broken leg. The rest is matter of history, and too well known. [Mr. Collier, in his Annals of the Stage, i. 375, has the following passage in correction of the foregoing. "Gifford was at a loss to decide at what date Ben Jonson's Mask of Oberon, preceded by Prince Henry's Barriers, was performed. He at first assigned it to the 5th of June, 1610, when Daniel's production was exhibited; but he afterwards detected this error, though he still remained in doubt when it was produced. Mr. Nichols, in his Progresses of James I., states correctly that it was represented on the 1st of January, 1610-11." See Note (a) p. 171.-F. C.]
The LADY OF THE LAKE discovered.1 Lady. A silence, calm as are my waters,
Your raised attentions, whilst my silver feet Touch on the richer shore; and to this seat Vow my new duties, and mine old repeat. Lest any yet should doubt or might mistake
What nymph I am, behold the ample Lake Of which I'm styled; and near it MERLIN'S tomb,
Grave of his cunning, as of mine the womb.
By this it will not ask me to proclaim More of myself, whose actions and whose
Were so full feigned in British ARTHUR'S court;
No more than it will fit me to report What hath before been trusted to our squire
Of me, my knight, his fate, and my desire
To meet, if not prevent, his destiny, And style him to the court of Britany; Now when the island hath regained her fame
Intire and perfect in the ancient name,
And that a monarch equal good and great,
Did I say equal? O too prodigal wrong
Are all the glories of this place revived!
What ornaments of counsel as of court!
In that which gentry should sustain) decayed,
Or rather ruined seems; her buildings laid Flat with the earth, that were the pride of time,
And did the barbarous Memphian heaps outclimb.
Those obelisks and columns broke, and down,
That struck the stars, and raised the British
To be a constellation :2 shields and swords, Cobwebbed, and rusty; not a helm affords A spark of lustre, which were wont to give Light to the world, and made the nation live;
When in a day of honour fire was smit To have put out Vulcan's, and have lasted yet.
O, when this edifice stood great and high, That in the carcase hath such majesty, Whose very skeleton boasts so much worth, What grace, what glories did it then send forth !
When to the structure went more noble
Than the Ephesian temple lost in flames : When every stone was laid by virtuous hands;
And standing so,—O that it yet not stands! More truth of architecture there was blazed Than lived in all the ignorant Goths have razed.
There porticos were built, and seats for knights
That watched for all adventures, days and nights,
The niches filled with statues to invite Young valours forth, by their old forms to fight.
With arcs triumphal for their actions done,
But first receive this shield: wherein is wrought
The truth that he must follow; and (being taught
The ways from heaven) ought not be despised.
To arm his maiden valour; and to show
Thou buried'st valour too, for letters rear The deeds of honour high, and make them live.
If then thou seek to restore prowess, give His spirit freedom; then present thy For arms and arts sustain each other's right. knight:
Lady. My error I acknowledge, though too late
To expiate it; there's no resisting fate.
Arise, great soul! fame by surreption got
May stead us for the time, but lasteth not.
O, do not rise with storm and rage. [Thunder, lightning, &c.] Forgive Repented wrongs. I'm cause thou now shalt live
Eternally for being deprest awhile, Want makes us know the price of what we avile.
MERLIN, arising out of the tomb. Mer. I neither storm, nor rage; 'tis earth; blame her
'That feels these motions when great spirits stir:
She is affrighted, and now chid by heaven, Whilst we walk calmly on, upright and