Lapas attēli

The Masque of Lethe.

The FRONT before the SCENE was an


On the top of which, HUMANITY, placed in figure, sat with her lap full of flowers, scattering them with her right hand,and holding a golden chain in her left hand, to show both the freedom and the bond of courtesy, with this inscription:


On the two sides of the arch, CheerfulNESS and READINESS, her servants. CHEERFULNESS, in a loose flowing garment, filling out wine from an antique piece of plate; with this word:


READINESS, a winged maid, with two flaming bright lights in her hands; and her word,


The SCENE discovered is, on the one side, the head of a boat, and in it CHARON putting off from the shore, having landed certain imagined ghosts, whom MERCURY there receives, and encourageth to come on towards the river LETHE, who appears lying in the person of an old The FATES sitting by him on his bank; a grove of myrtles behind them, presented in perspective, and growing thicker to the outer side of the scene. Mercury, perceiving them to faint, calls them on, and shows them his golden



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Mer. Nay, faint not now, so near the And thus in pairs I found them. Only one

fields of rest.

Here no more Furies, no more torments dwell

*The whole masque was sung after the Italian manner, stylo recitativo, by Master Nicholas Lanier; who ordered and made both the scene and the music.

There is, that walks, and stops, and

shakes his head,

And shuns the rest, as glad to be alone,
And whispers to himself, he is not dead.

Fates. No more are all the rest.
Mer. No!

I Fate. No.

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3 Fate. And know all nature's dates? Mer. They say themselves, they are dead. I Fate. It not appears

Or by our rock,

2 Fate. Our spindle,
3 Fate. Or our shears.

Fates. Here all their threads are grow-
ing, yet none cut.

Mer. I 'gin to doubt, that Love with charms hath put

This phant'sy in them; and they only think

That they are ghosts.

I Fate. If so, then let them drink Of Lethe's stream.

2 Fate. "Twill make them to forget Love's name.

3 Fate. And so, they may recover yet. Mer. Go, bow unto the reverend lake: [To the Shades. And having touched there, up and shake The shadows off, which yet do make Us you, and you yourselves mistake.

Here they all stoop to the water, and dance forth their Antimasque in several gestures, as they lived in love: and retiring into the grove, before the last person be off the stage, the first Couple appear in their posture between the trees, ready to come forth changed.

Mer. See! see! they are themselves again.

1 Fate. Yes, now they are substances and

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Cho. Return, return,
Like lights to burn
On earth

For others' good:
Your second birth

Will fame old Lethe's flood;

And warn a world,

That now are hurled

About in tempest, how they prove
Shadows for Love.

Leap forth your light it is the nobler made,

By being strook out of a shade. Here they dance forth their entry, or first dance: after which CUPID-appearing, meets them.

Cup. Why, now you take me! these are rites

That grace Love's days, and crown his

These are the motions I would see,
And praise in them that follow me!
Not sighs, nor tears, nor wounded hearts,
Nor flames, nor ghosts; but airy parts
Tried and refined as yours have been,
And such they are
glory in.

Mer. Look, look unto this snaky rod,
And stop your ears against the charming god;
His every word falls from him is a snare:
Who have so lately known him, should

Here they dance their Main DANCE.

Cup. Come, do not call it Cupid's crime,
You were thought dead before your time;
If thus you move to Hermes' will
Alone, you will be thought so still.
Go, take the ladies forth, and talk,
And touch, and taste too: ghosts can walk.
'Twixt eyes, tongues, hands, the mutual

Is bred that tries the truth of life.
They do, indeed, like dead men move,
That think they live, and not in love!

Here they take forth the Ladies, and the
REVELS follow.' After which,
Mer. Nay, you should never have left off:
But stayed, and heard your Cupid scoff,
To find you in the line you were.

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Cup. Your too much wit breeds too much


Mer. Good Fly, good night.

Cup. But will you go?

Can you leave Love, and he entreat you so?
Here, take my quiver and my bow,
My torches too; that you by all may know
I mean no danger to your stay:

This night I will create my holiday,
And be yours naked and entire.

Fate is content these lovers here
Remain still such; so Love will swear
Never to force them act to do,

But what he will call Hermes to.
Cup. I swear; and with like cause thank

As these have to thank him and Destiny. Cho. All then take cause of joy; for who hath not?

Old Lethe, that their follies are forgot :

Mer. As if that Love disarmed were less We, that their lives unto their fates they

a fire!

Away, away.

They dance their going out: which done,

Mer. Yet lest that Venus' wanton son Should with the world be quite undone, For your fair sakes (you brighter stars, Who have beheld these civil wars)


They, that they still shall love, and love with wit.

And thus it ended.1

1 This little drama is written with all the ease and elegance of Pope, who is not without some petty obligations t it, in his Rape of the Lock.

The Vision of Delight:


THE VISION OF DELIGHT.] From the fol. 1641. This is one of the most beautiful of Jonson's little pieces, light, airy, harmonious, and poetical in no common degree. It stands without a parallel among performances of this kind; and might have convinced even Dr. Aikin, if he had ever condescended to look into Jonson, that "this once celebrated author" had something besides the song in the Silent Woman (see vol. i. p. 406 b), to relieve "the prevalent coarseness of his tedious effusions."

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Here the first ANTIMASQUE entered.

A She-monster delivered of six BURRA-
TINES,1 that dance with six PANTA-
LONES which done,

Del. Yet hear what your Delight doth

All sour and sullen looks away,
That are the servants of the day;
Our sports are of the humorous Night,
Who feeds the stars that give her light,
And useth than her wont more bright,

NIGHT rises slowly, and takes her chariot
bespangled with stars.

See, see, her scepter and her crown
Are all of flame, and from her gown
A train of light comes waving down.
This night in dew she will not steep
The brain, nor lock the sense in sleep;
But all awake with phantoms keep,
And those to make Delight more deep.

By this time the Night and Moon being
both risen; NIGHT hovering over the
place sung,

Of six Burratines.] I can give the reader p. 268. It was probably a glossy kind of perno idea of the shape of the Burratines. The petuana: whatever it was, the six young monword itself occurs in that singular production,sters were clothed in it, and formed, it may be The Microcosmus, by Purchas; who speaks of presumed, some ridiculous contrast to the formal it as "a strange stuff recently devised and and fantastic habits of the six old men. brought into wear," much to his annoyance.

Night. Break, Phant'sie, from thy cave of cloud,1

And spread thy purple wings;
Now all thy figures are allowed,
And various shapes of things;
Create of airy forms a stream,
It must have blood,
phlegm ;

and nought

And though it be a waking dream,

Cho. Yet let it like an odour rise

To all the Senses here,

And fall like sleep upon their eyes,

Or music in their ear.

Phan. Bright Night, I obey thee, and am come at thy call,

But it is no one dream that can please these all;

Wherefore I would know what dreams would delight 'em:

of For never was Phant'sie more loth to affright 'em.

The Scene here changed to cloud, from which PHANT'SIE breaking forth, spake.

1 Break Phant'sie, &c.] In Whalley's corrected copy I find a long quotation from Hurd's Essay on the Marks of Imitation (p. 52), on the subject of Milton's "improvement" of those lines in his Penseroso! I do not give it, because I differ toto cælo from my predecessor with regard to its merits. He calls it a "fine and judicious criticism," whereas it appears to me a mere string of positions, which, under the affectation of great acuteness, evince nothing but methodical imbecility.

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I have yet a word to say of Hurd. The reader must have gathered from what has been already written, that his constant object is to ridicule and degrade Jonson; to drag him forward, and on every occasion bind him to the triumphant wheels of all whose cause it pleases him to espouse. In the same Essay (p. 24), he says: If Shakspeare had never looked into books, or conversed with bookish men, he might have learned almost all the secrets of paganism from the MASKS of B. Johnson."-He must have "looked into books," I presume, even for this; for he was probably not often invited to Court, to partake of them. "But," continues Hurd, after abusing Jonson for his exactness in the use of ancient learning, "the taste of the age, much devoted to erudition, and still more the taste of the princes for whom he writ, gave a prodigious vogue to these unnatural exhibitions. And the knowledge of antiquity, requisite to succeed in them was, I imagine, the reason that Shakspeare was not over fond to try his hand [tasty language this!] at these elaborate trifles. Once indeed he did [try his hand], and with such success as to DISGRACE THE VERY BEST THINGS OF THIS KIND WE FIND IN JONSON! The short Mask in The Tempest is fitted up with a classical exactness: [he had just before ridiculed Jonson for this exactness]: but its chief merit lies in the beauty of the SHEW and the richness of the poetry. Shakspeare was so sensible of his superiority that he could not help exulting little upon it, where he makes Ferdinand say:

This is a most majestic Vision, and
Harmonious charming lays.""


The intrepid absurdity of this insane criticism

And Phant'sie, I tell you, has dreams that have wings,

And dreams that have honey, and dreams that have stings:

Dreams of the maker, and dreams of the teller,

Dreams of the kitchen, and dreams of the cellar :

(for I am loth to give it its proper name) may be safely pronounced unparalleled. The Tempest itself is indeed a surprising, nay, an almost miraculous effort of the highest powers of genius; but the little interlude of which Hurd speaks is so far from disgracing the very best of Jonson's Masques, that it is nearly as bad as the very worst of them. I am not afraid to affirm that there was scarcely a writer on the stage at that time who could not, and who did not, interweave "things" equally good in his dramas. It is, in short, one of those trifling entertainments which were usually looked for by the audience, and cannot boast a single excellence to distinguish it from those of Fletcher, Shirley, Brome, and twenty others. Iris enters and calls for Ceres; after a short dialogue they are joined by Juno, who sings the following song:

"Honour, riches, marriage-blessing,
Long continuance, and increasing,
Hourly joys be still upon you!

Juno sings her blessings on you."

nand exclaims, This is a most majestic vision! On the conclusion of this rich poetry, Ferdi&c. There were but three personages upon the stage, and no scenery of any kind is even hinted at: yet Hurd is not ashamed to affirm that this of Jonson's pieces, by the ingenuity of its contrite mythology, which disgraced the very best struction, left them still more behind it, in the beauty of its shew! and called forth an involuntary exultation from Shakspeare on his superiority! When we consider that the Masques of Jonson were exhibited with all the magnificence Court could bestow, that the performers in them of scenery which the taste and splendour of a were the most accomplished of the nobility of both sexes, headed by the queen and royal family; that the most skilful musicians were constantly called in to compose the songs, and engaged to execute them; and when we know, the most exquisite voices that could be found

on the other hand, that the theatres had no scenery, and that the songs and dances were left to the ordinary performers, what language of reprobation is sufficiently strong to mark the portentous ignorance which could deliberately

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