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The nymphs of wood and water;
Till the applause it brings,
Though nothing but a sound.
Here the REVELS.
After which re-enter the Fencer.
Fen. Room, room, there; where are you, shepherd? I am come again, with my second part of my bold bloods, the brave gamesters; who assure you by me, that they perceive no such wonder in all is done here but that they dare adventure another trial. They look for some sheepish devices here in Arcadia, not these, and therefore a hall! a hall! they demand.
Shep. Nay, then they are past pity, let them come, and not expect the anger of a deity to pursue them, but meet them. They have their punishment with their fact: they shall be sheep.
Fen. O spare me, by the law of nations, I am but their ambassador.
Shep. You speak in time, sir.
The THEBANS enter for the 2 ANTIMASQUE; which danced,
Shep. Now let them return with their solid heads, and carry their stupidity into Boeotia, whence they brought it, with an
And we bring thee the earliest of our lambs: So may the first of all our fells be thine, And both the beestning1 of our goats and kine;
As thou our folds dost still secure,
And keep'st our fountains sweet and pure; Drivest hence the wolf, the tod, the brock, Or other vermin from the flock. That we, preserved by thee, and thou observed by us,
May both live safe in shade of thy loved Mænalus.
Shep. Now each return unto his charge, And though to-day you've lived at large, And well your flocks have fed their fill, Yet do not trust your hirelings still. See yond' they go, and timely do The office you have put them to; But if you often give this leave, Your sheep and you they will deceive, Thus it ended.
1 [Beestning is the first milk given by a cow or she-goat.-F. C.]
The tod], i.e. the fox.-WHAL
The Masque of Owls, at Kenelworth.
PRESENTED BY THE GHOST OF CAPTAIN COX, MOUNTED IN HIS HOBBY-HORSE, 1626.
THE MASQUE OF OWLS, &c.] From the second folio. This trifle is not a Masque, nor could it have been so termed by the author: it is, in fact, a mere monologue, a Lecture on Heads; which, such as it is, probably gave the first hint to G. A. Stevens, for his amusing exhibition, of that name.
Of Captain Cox I know no more than Jonson tells. Queen Elizabeth had been entertained at Kenelworth by the " great Earl of Leicester," in 1575. To make her time pass as agreeably as possible the bears were brought in, and baited with great applause! There was also a burlesque representation of a battle, from some old romance, in which Captain Cox, who appears to have been some well-known humorist, valiantly bestirred himself. A description of this part of the Entertainment was written and published at the time, in a "Letter from a freend Officer attendant in the court, unto his freend a citizen and merchaunt of London." To this letter, which is written in a most uncouth
style by a pedantic coxcomb of the name of Laneham, under an affectation of humour, Jonson perpetually alludes.
Enter CAPTAIN Cox, in his Hobby-horse.
1 The captain enters on, or rather in, the pasteboard hobby-horse used by the morrisdancers of the county, whom Jonson calls the Warwickshire Muses, and capers round the circle to make room, according to the usual practice. This little jeu d'esprit formed perhaps an episode in some amusement of a more extensive nature, for it could scarcely occupy ten minutes. It is not easy to say before whom it was played. The first couplet speaks of the Prince, and from a subsequent passage, it would seem to be the Prince of Wales; but there was none at this period: add too that the Earl of Leicester (if he was the possessor of Kenelworth Castle) died in 1626; so that the date is probably too late by a year.
To think you think me a Cupid,
Though these cocks here would fit him:
Neither poet's god, nor devil,
This Captain Cox, by St. Mary,
I promiz yoo: by profession a mason, and that right skilfull; very cunning in fens (fencing) and hardy as Gavin; for his ton-sword hangs at hiz tablz eend; great oversight hath he in matters of storie: For az for King Arthurz book, Huan of Burdiaus, the foour sons of Aymon, Bevys of Hampton, The Squyre of lo degree, The Knight of Courtesy, and the Lady Faguell, Frederik of Gene, Syr Eglamoour, Syr Tryamoour, Syr Lamwell, Syr Isenbras, Syr Gawyn, Olyver of the Castle, Lucres and Curialus, Virgil's Life, the Castle of Ladiez, the Wido Edyth, the King and the Tanner, Frier Rous, Howleglas, Gargantua, Robin Hood, Adam Bel, Clim of the Clough, and William of Cloudsley, the Churl and the 2 His library is given at great length by the Burd, the Seven Wise Masters, the Wife lapt author of the "Letter. It is curious and in a Morels skin, the Sak full of Nuez, the amusing. "And fyrst Captain Cox, an od man | Seargeaunt that became a Fryar, Skogan
By which he was discerned
As he would have been o' the queen.
Was called for the second day.
(And he performs it now)
That were he alive or dead,
Hereafter it should never be said
But Captain Cox should serve on horse For better or for worse,
If any prince came hither,
And his horse should have a feather;
The rumbling of your coach
Collyn Clout, the Fryar and the Boy, Elynor Rumming, and the Nutbrooun Maid, with many moe than I rehearz here: I beleeve hee have them all at hiz fingers endz.
Then in Philosophy, both morale and naturale, I think he be az naturally overseen: beside Poetrie and Astronomie, and oother hid Sciencez, as I may gesse by the omberzt of his books: whereof part, az I remember, The Shepherdz Kalender, The Ship of Foalz, Danielz Dreamz, the Booke of Fortune, Stans puer ad Mensam, The hy wey to the Spitlhouse, Julian of Brainford's Testament, The Castle of Love, the Booget of Demaunds, the Hundred merry Talez, the Booke of Riddels, the Seaven Sororz of Wemen, the Prooud Wives Pater-Noster, the Chapman of a Peniworth of Wit: Beside his Auncient Playz, Yooth and Charitee, Hikskorner, Nugizee, Impacient Poverty, and herewith Doctor Boords Breviary of Health. What shoold I rehearz heer, what a Bunch of Ballets and Songs, all auncient; az Broom broom on Hil, So wo is me begon, truly lo, Over a Whinny Meg, Hey ding a ding, Bony lass upon a green, My bony on gave me a bek, By a bank as I lay and a hundred more he hath fair wrapt up in parchment, and bound with a whip-cord. And as for Almanaks of Antiquitee (a point for Ephemeridees), I ween he
Neither with dogs nor bears,1
In times heretofore,
But now we have got a little more.
And, as the author saith,
No ill meaning to the catholic faith,
And natural, so thrive I,
I found them in the ivy,
A thing that though I blundered at,
Each owl out of his bush.
Now these owls, some say, were men, And they may be so again,
If once they endure the light
Of your highness' sight:
For bank-rupts, we have known,
Of the prince's favour;
But as you like their tricks,
I'll spring them, they are but six.
HEY, OWL FIRST 12
This bird is London-bred,
can sheaw from Jasper Laet of Antwerp unto Nostradam of Frauns, and thens untoo oour John Securiz of Salsbury. To stay ye no longer heer in, I dare say he hath az fair a Library for theez sciencez, and as many goodly monuments both in prose and poetry, and at afternoonz can talk az much without book az ony inholder betwixt Brainford and Bagshot, what degree soever he be."
The letter-writer evidently meant to raise a smile at the Captain's expense; but there is no occasion for it. The list shews him to have been a diligent and successful collector of the domestic literature of his country, and so far he is entitled to praise. Some of the fugitive pieces here mentioned are now lost; one of them, however, the Hundred Merry Tales, which has long set the Shakspeare commentators by the ears, has partly been recovered within these few days (1816), pasted into the binding of an old book. It is now in Mr. Bindley's possession, and proves to be a collection of jests, of no great novelty or value.
1 Neither with dogs nor bears.] This alludes to the following passage in the Letter:—“ On the syxth day of her Majestyes cumming, a great sort of bandogs whear thear tyed in the utter cooart, and thyrteen bears in the inner,' &c. See Massinger, vol. i. p. 44.
Hey, Owl first ! Here the captain probably
And had like to have been ta'en
HEY, OWL SECOND!
That gives out he is undone,
By trusting two of the younger
Of their half-starved number;
Of their dealing with his Madge.
A pure native bird2
By the thread he has spun;
Of May-games and morris,
For which he right sorry is;
Where their maids and their makes,3
At dancings and wakes,
Had their napkins and posies,
And having neither wit nor lands,
Was once a bankrupt of worth;
produced, from beneath the foot-cloth of the hobby-horse, a block ridiculously dressed or painted to correspond with the description.
1 God to pay,] A cant term for a hopeless debt, nothing. See Epig. xii.
And having run a shifting-race,
And left him in a worse than his first case.
But here was a defeat,
Of a Don, a Spanish reader,
Who had thought to have been the leader,
Of our ladies one by one,
And triumphed our whole nation,
But now since the breach
He has not a scholar to teach.
HEY, OWL SIXTH !
The bird bringer-up is a knight,
THE THIRD OWL VARIED.
A crop-eared scrivener this,
blew thred, and then the towne was riche ever upon that trade in maner onely, and now our thredde comes all from beyond sea: wherefore that trade of Coventry is decaied, and thereby the towne likewise." This appeared long before 2 A pure native bird.] i.e. a puritan of Co-Owl the third was hatched; so that the wise ventry, whose zeal in putting down May-poles and hobby-horses had injured the manufactory of blue thread (the chief staple of the town), of which a great consumption was made in ornamenting napkins, scarfs, &c. "I have heard," an old writer, W. Stafford, says, "that the chief trade of Coventry, was heretofore in making
town must have suffered from more causes than the loss of its rural sports.
3 Where their maids, and their makes.] i.c. mates. So Chaucer :
"God shelde soche a lordes wife to take Another man to husbonde, or to make.' WHAL
The Fortunate Isles, and their Union.
CELEBRATED IN A MASQUE DESIGNED FOR THE COURT, ON THE TWELFTH-NIGHT, 1626.
Hic choreæ, cantusque vigent.
THE FORTUNATE ISLES.] From the second folio. Charles (now king) seems to have been so much pleased with the main Masque of Neptune's Triumph, presented two years before, as to call for it again, with another introduction, by way of Antimasque. This was the poet's first exhibition before his new sovereign, and it did not discredit him; for there is a considerable degree of humour, as well as satire, in the part of Johphiel; the latter of which must have been fully felt and enjoyed at a period when men were hourly burying white wands in the ground, to catch fairies; and muttering prayers in woods, to render sylphs and salamanders visible !
Evil days were now come upon Jonson: some months before this Masque was written he had been struck with the palsy, from which he never recovered. his old complaint, the dropsy, too, increased about the same time; and, as he says himself, fixed his muse to the bed and boards, as she had never been. Though no symptoms of decay be apparent in the present Entertainment, yet it is necessary to mention these circumstances; as the poet's enemies, while they watch for the opportunity of triumphing in the abatement of his powers, anxiously keep his maladies out of sight.
His Majesty being set,
Johp. Like a lightning from the sky,
Or a bird of his let fly;
Be't a sparrow, or a dove:
1 Johphiel, an airy spirit, and (according to the Magi) the intelligence of Jupiter's sphere.] Jonson is so accurate in all his positions (however unimportant they may appear in themselves) that it can scarcely be doubted that he had authority for the rank of Johphiel. I will not question the assertion of the "Magi" but Agrippa (also a wise-man) affirms that "Johphiel is one of the presiding angels in the Intelligible
World, and that he reigns in the sphere of the zodiac." This seems a pretty wide command! The name of the spirit of the "sphere of Jupiter, is Zadkiel."--Occ. Phil. B. 2, c. xiii.
Nothing in Jonson is done at random. Whatever was the subject of his verse, he came to it with a mind fully furnished, and what appears, at first sight, the mere sportiveness of invention, will be found, upon falling into the track of his