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Neptune's Triumph for the Return of
CELEBRATED IN A MASQUE AT THE COURT ON THE TWELFTH NIGHT, 1624.
Omnis et ad reducem jam litat ara Deum.—MART. Lib. viii. Epig. xiv,
NEPTUNE'S TRIUMPH, &c.] Charles (i.e., Albion) returned from his ill-fated expedition to Spain on the fifth of October in the preceding year (1623). Before this Masque appeared, the Spanish match was completely broken off, and James, who had long set his heart upon it, and for several years honestly and sedulously laboured to effect it, wearied out at length by the interminable juggling of the court of Spain, was by this time reconciled to the disappointment. Neptune's Triumph appears to have been celebrated with uncommon magnificence. All hearts and hands were in it; and the Spanish influence then received a check, from which it has not recovered to this day.
Cook. Do you hear, you creature of diligence and business! what is the affair that you pluck for so under your cloke?
Poet. Nothing but what I colour for, I assure you; and may encounter with, I hope, if luck favour me, the gamester's goddess.
Cook. You are a votary of hers, it seems, by your language. What went you upon, may a man ask you?
Poet. Certainties, indeed, sir, and very good ones; the representation of a masque; you'll see't anon.
Cook. Sir, this is my room, and region too, the Banqueting-house. And in matter of feast, the solemnity, nothing is to be presented here but with my acquaintance and allowance to it.
Poet. You are not his majesty's confectioner, are you?
Cook. No, but one that has as good title to the room, his Master-cook. What are you, sir?
Poet. The most unprofitable of his servants, I sir, the Poet. A kind of a Christmas ingine: one that is used at least once a year, for a trifling instrument of wit or so.
Cook. Were you ever a cook?
Cook. Then you can be no good poet : for a good poet differs nothing at all from a master-cook. Either's art is the wisdom of the mind.
Poet. As how, sir?
Cook. Expect. I am by my place to know how to please the palates of the guests; so you are to know the palate of the times; study the several tastes, what every nation, the Spaniard, the Dutch, the
French, the Walloun, the Neapolitan, the Briton, the Sicilian, can expect from you.
Poet. That were a heavy and hard task, to satisfy Expectation, who is so severe an exactress of duties; ever a tyrannous mistress, and most times a pressing enemy.
Cook. She is a powerful great lady, sir, at all times, and must be satisfied: so must her sister, Madam Curiosity, who hath as dainty a palate as she; and these will expect.
Poet. But what if they expect more than they understand?
Cook. That's all one, Master Poet, you are bound to satisfy them. For there is a palate of the understanding as well as of the senses. The taste is taken with good relishes, the sight with fair objects, the hearing with delicate sounds, the smelling with pure scents, the feeling with soft and plump bodies, but the understanding with all these; for all which you must begin at the kitchen. There the art of Poetry was learned and found out, or nowhere; and the same day with the art of Cookery.
Poet. I should have given it rather to the cellar, if my suffrage had been asked.
Cook. O, you are for the oracle of the bottle, I see; hogshead Trismegistus; he is your Pegasus. Thence flows the spring of your muses, from that hoof.
Seduced Poet, I do say to thee
A boiler, range, and dresser were the fountains
Of all the knowledge in the universe, And that's the kitchen. What! a mastercook!
Thou dost not know the man, nor canst thou know him,
That's both the nurse and mother of the arts, And heard'st him read, interpret, and demonstrate.
A master-cook ! why, he's the man of men,
Mounts marrow-bones; cuts fifty-angled
Rears bulwark pies; and, for his outer works,
He raiseth ramparts of immortal crust;
Or bare-breeched brethren of the Rosycross!
He is an architect, an inginer,
Poet. It is granted.
Cook. And that you may not doubt him for a Poet-
Poet. This fury shews, if there were nothing else;
And 'tis divine !
Cook. Then, brother poet.
Cook. I have a suit.
Cook. Your device.
Poet. As you came in upon me, I was then Till thou hast served some years in that Offering the argument, and this it is. deep school Cook. Silence.
1 A master-cook, &c.] Cartwright has reduced this into practice in his Ordinary, and furnished out a military dinner with great pleasantry, at the expense of Have-at-all, who is desirous to grow valiant, as lawyers do learned, by eating. This speech is also closely imitated by the master-cook in Fletcher's tragedy of Rollo Duke of Normandy.
2 And teacheth all the tactics at one dinner.] This seems to be taken from the poet Posidippus, who in Athenæus compares a good cook to a good general:
Αγαθου στρατηγου διαφερειν ουδεν δοκει. And Athenion in like manner (see Athenæus, 1. 14, C. 23) attributes to the art of cookery, and kitchen-philosophy, what the poets assign to the legislators of society and the first founders of states and commonwealths.-WHAL.
The Greek poet is truly excellent; and the
apparent seriousness with which his cook descants on the importance of his profession adds greatly to its genuine humour. The concluding lines are very amusing:
Καταρχομεθ' ἡμεῖς οἱ μαγειροι, θυομεν,
We pour the free libations, and to us
There is no translating the sly felicity of Cr xaλws, which looks, at the same time, to good morals and good eating.
And he desirous to review his son, He doth dispatch a floating isle from hence,
Unto the Hesperian shores, to waft him thence.
Where, what the arts were, used to make him stay,
And how the Syrens wooed him by the way, What monsters he encountered on the coast,
How near our general joy was to be lost,2 Is not our subject now; though all these make
The present gladness greater for their sake. But what the triumphs are, the feast, the sport,
And proud solemnities of Neptune's court, Now he is safe, and Fame's not heard in vain,
But we behold our happy pledge again. That with him loyal Hippius is returned,3
1 With divine Proteus, &c.] This, I believe, was Sir Francis Cottington. He had been secretary to Sir Charles Cornwallis, and was at this time private secretary to the Prince; he was well versed in political affairs, and particularly in those of Spain, where he had resided many years in a public capacity.
2 How near our general joy was to be lost.] This alludes to the storm which took place on the Spanish coast, and in which the Prince, together with a number of the Spanish nobility who came to take leave of him, was nearly wrecked. The other dangers which Charles is said to have encountered are probably exaggerated by the "poet."
3 That with him loyal Hippius is returned.] By Hippius is meant the Duke of Buckingham, master of the horse to James I., who accompanied the Prince into Spain, to which this speech alludes.-WHAL.
Of the sea-monster, Archy.] Archibald Armstrong, the court jester, who followed the Prince into Spain. Charles seems to have taken a strange fancy to this buffoon, who joined the
Who for it, under so much envy, burned With his own brightness, till her starved snakes saw
What Neptune did impose, to him was law."
To mix this music with the vulgar's chime.
And every songster had sung out his fit;
And Neptune's guard had drunk all that they meant ;
That all the tales and stories now were old
Cook. I like it well, 'tis handsome; and
Something would fit this. How do you present them?
In a fine island, say you?
Poet. Yes, a Delos !
Such as when fair Latona fell in travail,
Cook. I conceive you.
I would have had your isle brought floating in now,
In a brave broth,5 and of a sprightly green, Just to the colour of the sea; and then
tricks of the monkey. Howell, who was at Madrid during the Prince's visit, says in one of his letters, "Our cousin Archy hath more privilege here than any, for he often goes with his fool's coat where the Infanta is with her Meninos and ladies of honour, and keeps a blowing and blustering among them, and flurts out what he lists." In conclusion, he gives a specimen of his ill-manners, which must have been offensive in the highest degree. Book I. lett. 18.
5 In a brave broth
With an Arion mounted on the back Of a grown conger, but in such a posture Asall the world should take him for a dolphin. This is humorously imitated by Fletcher:
"For fish, I'll make a standing lake of white broth,
And pikes come ploughing up the plumbs before them,
Arion on a dolphin, playing Lachrymæ," &c. Rollo, act ii. sc. 2.
surly savageness of the bear to the mischievous Mr. Weber has happily discovered the pronomen
Some twenty Syrens, singing in the kettle,
A special service here, an antimasque,
A metaphorical dish! and do but mark O, 'twould have made such music! Have How a good wit may jump with you. Are you nothing
But a bare island?
Poet. Yes, we have a tree too, Which we do call the tree of Harmony, And is the same with what we read the sun Brought forth in the Indian Musicana first, And thus it grows: the goodly bole being goti
To certain cubits height, from every side The boughs decline, which taking root afresh,
Spring up new boles, and these spring new and newer,
Till the whole tree become a porticus,
A numerous troop, such as our Albion,
Cook. Your prime Masquers ?
you ready, child?
(Had there been masque, or no masque, I had made it.)
Child of the boiling-house!
The master of the elephant, or the camels:
Cook. But where's your Antimasque now What correspondences are held; the posts all this while?
I hearken after them.
Poet. Faith, we have none.
That go and come, and know almost their minutes,
All but their business: therein they are fishes;
Poet. None, I assure you, neither do I But have their garlic, as the proverb says.
A worthy part of presentation,
Being things so heterogene to all device, Mere by-works, and at best outlandish nothings.
Cook. O, you are all the heaven awry, sir !
For blood of poetry running in your veins, Make not yourself so ignorantly simple. Because, sir, you shall see I am a poet, No less than cook, and that I find you want
of this celebrated musician. He was called, it seems, Bike Arion, without the Mr.-"Bike," as he aptly observes, "which signifies a hive of bees, is not in the least applicable, for which reason I must leave it to the reader." This is kind; but Mr. Weber is unjust to the merits of his own text. Does he not know that bees will swarm to a brass kettle? How much rather then to the harp of Arion! Hence the name, The verse stands thus in his precious edition (vol. ii. p. 55):
"Ride like Bike Arion on a trout to London." Former editors, whom Mr. Weber treats with all the contempt which his superior attainments justify him in assuming, had supposed that bike (which destroys the metre) was merely an acci
They are our Quest of Enquiry after news.
And of the epicoene gender, hees and shees :
Amphibion Archy is the chief.
The child is learned too: note but the kitchen!
Have you put him into the pot for garlic ?
Boy. One in his coat shall stink as And, brother poet, though the serious part
strong as he, sir,
And his friend Giblets with him.
Cook. They are two,
That give a part of the seasoning.
The way of your gallimaufry.
Cook. You will like it,
When they come pouring out of the pot together.
Boy. O, if the pot had been big enough! Cook. What then, child?
Boy. I had put in the elephant, and one camel
Be yours, yet envy not the cook his art. Poet. Not I: nam lusus ipse Triumphus amat.
Here the ANTIMASQUE is danced by the persons described, coming out of the pot. Poet. Well, now expect the Scene itself; it opens !
The island of DELOS is discovered, the MASQUERS sitting in their several sieges. The heavens opening, and APOLLO with MERCURY, some of the Muses and the goddess HARMONY, make the music: the whole island moves forward, PROTEUS sitting below, and APOLLO sings.
And of the ports that keep'st the keys, Apol. Look forth, the shepherd of the seas,
And to your Neptune tell,
For whom the sea and land so smiles,
Is home returned well.
Grand Cho. And be it thought no common cause,
That to it so much wonder draws,
And all the heavens consent, With Harmony, to tune their notes In answer to the public votes
That for it up were sent.
It was no envious step-dame's rage,
That did employ him forth:
By this time the island hath joined itself with the shore: and PROTEUS, PORTUNUS, and SARON come forth; and go up singing to the state, while the Masquers take time to land.