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Sound then to Hymen's war:
That what these are,
Who will perfection see, The god whose nights outshine his days ; May haste to be. Hymen, whose hallowed rites
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished Could never boast of brighter lights ;
star! Whose bands pass liberty:
Love's commonwealth consists of toys ; Two of your troop, that with the morn
His council are those antic boys,
Games, Laughter, Sports, Delights,
That triumph with him on these nights;
To whom we must give way, If you'll perfection see,
For now their reign begins, and lasts till Yourselves must be.
day. Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished
They sweeten Hymen's war, star!
And in that jar, What joy or honours can compare
Make all that married be With holy nuptials, when they are
Perfection see. Made out of equal parts
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished
star! Of years, of states, of hands, of hearts ! When in the happy choice
Why stays the bridegroom to invade The spouse and spoused have the foremost
Her that would be a matron made ? voice !
Good-night whilst yet we may
Good-night to you a virgin say:
To-morrow rise the same
Your mother is, * and use a nobler name.
Speed well in Hymen's war,
By your perfection we The solemn state of this one night
And all may see. Were fit to last an age's light;
Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished
This night no bridegroom ever slept ;
The married say, 'tis his fault too.
Sir Ro. Riche,
Sir Jo. KENNETHIE, 10
MASTER ERSKINE. 11
5 Lord D'Aubigny.] Esme, younger brother accomplices at Tyburn.
Earl of Cassilis in 1609. Lord Sankre.) Robert Crichton, Lord 11 Master Erskine.) Called young Erskine by Sanquhar. This nobleman, in an angry trial of the Earl of Shrewsbury's correspondent; but skill with one Turner, a fencing master, was whether son of the Earl of Mar, or of Sir deprived of an eye. The loss, which he con- Thomas Erskine, afterwards Earl of Kelly, I fessedly brought upon himself, seems to have cannot determine. rankled in his mind; and about four years after the date of this Masque, he hired two Scotch- * A wife or matron: which is a name of more men, Gray and Carlisle, to murder the unfor- dignity than virgin. D. Heins. in Nup. Ottunate swordsman. For this atrocious act he tonis Heurnii. Cras matri similis tuæ redibis.
Wake then, and let your lights
You perfect are.
Do pray should be.
A babe, t'uphold the fame
That may, in his great seed,
Most perfect are ;
Wish you should see.
That ere the rosy-fingered morn
1 However desirable it may be to leave the suasion that Jonson is at his best but “a servile recognition of the poet's merits to the taste and imitator,” a “painful plagiarist," a mere discrimination of the reader, it seems almost im- derer of the ancients ;” and it seems but a part possible to pass in silence over such pre-eminent of common justice to invite the attention occamarks of genius and study as those before us. sionally to such decisive refutations of the Not many pages are numbered since we had the calumny, as are supplied by these and similar most beautiful little piece of its kind in the pieces profusely scattered through his works. English language; and here we have another [On this point Charles Lamb had already said of the same species, replete with every excel- (1808): “These and the preceding extracts may lence. The learning of Jonson is prodigious, serve to show the poetical fancy and elegance of and the grace, delicacy, and judgment with mind of the supposed rugged old Bard. A which he applies it to the embellishment of his thousand beautiful passages might be adduced subject, cannot be too highly estimated. The from those numerous Court masques and enterdull cold criticism of Hurd, the wanton malignity tainments, which he was in the daily habit of of Steevens, the blind hatred of Malone (to say furnishing, to prove the same thing. But they nothing of a train of followers), are all directed do not come within my plan." - Dramatic to the same point-namely, to establish the per- / Specimens. F. C.
The Masque of Queens.
CELEBRATED FROM THE HOUSE OF FAME, BY THE QUEEN OF GREAT
BRITAIN, WITH HER LADIES, AT WHITEHALL, FEB. 2, 1609.
THE MASQUE, &c.] This is the title of the folio 1616. That of the 4to, 1609, runs thus: “The Masque of Queens, celebrated from the House of Fame : by the most absolute in all State and Titles, Anne, Queen of Great Britain, &c.
Et memorem famam, quæ bene gessit, habet." The 4to is addressed to Prince Henry, who was dead when the folio edition appeared, which accounts perhaps for the omission of the dedication. It is as follows :"To the glory of our own, and grief of other nations, my Lord HENRY,
Prince of Great Britain, &c. SIR,
“When it hath been my happiness (as would it were more frequent) but to see your face, and, as passing by, to consider you, I have with as much joy as I am now far from flattery in professing it, called to mind that doctrine of some great inquisitors in Nature, who hold every royal and heroic form to partake and draw much to it of the heavenly virtue. For whether it be that a divine soul being to come into a body, first chooseth a palace for itself; or being come, doth make so; or that Nature be ambitious to have her work equal, I know not; but what is lawful for me to understand and speak, that I dare ; which is, that both your virtue and your form did deserve your fortune. The one claimed that you should be born a prince, the other makes that you do become it. And when Necessity (excellent lord) the mother of the Fates, hath so provided that your form should not more insinuate you to the eyes of men, than your virtue to their minds: it comes near a wonder to think how sweetly that habit flows in you, and with so hourly testimonies which to all posterity might hold the dignity of examples. Amongst the rest, your favour to letters, and these gentler studies that go under the title of Humanity, is not the least honour of your wreath. For if once the worthy professors of these learnings shall come (as heretofore they were) to be the care of princes, the crowns their sovereigns wear will not more adorn their temples, nor their stamps live longer in their medals, than in such subjects' labours. Poetry, my lord, is not born with every man, nor every day: and in her general right it is now my minute to thank your Highness, who not only do honour her with your care, but are curious to examine her with your eye, and enquire into her beauties and strengths. Where, though it hath proved a work of some difficulty to me to retrieve the particular authorities (according to your gracious command, and a desire born out of judgment) to those things which I writ out of fulness and memory of my former readings: yet now I have overcome it, the reward that meets me is double to one act; which is, that thereby your excellent understanding will not only justify me to your own knowledge, but decline the stiffness of others' original ignorance, already armed to censure. For which singular bounty, if my fate (most excellent Prince, and only Delicacy of mankind) shall reserve me to the age of your actions, whether in the camp or the council-chamber, that I may write at nights the deeds of your days; I will then labour to bring forth some work as worthy of your fame, as my ambition therein is of your pardon. “ By the most true admirer of your Highness's virtues, "And most hearty celebrater of them,
The production of this Masque has subjected Jonson to a world of unmerited obloquy from the commentators. It was written, it seems, " on account of the success of Shakspeare's Witches, which alarmed the jealousy of a man who fancied himself his rival, or rather his superior.” And this is repeated through a thousand mouths. Not to observe that if Jonson was moved by any such passion, it must be by Middleton's Witches, not Shakspeare's (for the latter is but a copyist himself in this case), how does it appear that Macbeth was prior in date to the Masque of Queens ? O, says Davies, “Mr. Malone has with much probability fixed the first representation of Macbeth to the year 1606." And he immediately proceeds to reason upon it “as a certainty."
It is worth while to turn to this master-proof. "In July, 1606 (Mr. Malone says), the King of Denmark came to England, and the 3rd of August was installed a Knight of the Garter. • There is nothing (says Drummond of Hawthornden) to be heard at Court but sounding of trumpets, hautboys, music, revelling, and comedies.' Perhaps during this visit Macbeth was first exhibited." This is the whole ; and this it is that
fixes the first appearance of Macbeth to the year 1606!". The King of Denmark was in this country about three weeks ; a considerable part of the time he spent at Theobalds, where Jonson was employed to entertain him; he was, besides, present at one Masque, and the rest of his time was occupied in moving about, and what Drummond calls music and revelling. In four consecutive letters he details the various amusements of this prince, without the most distant hint of his being present at the exhibition of any play whatever. At any rate Macbeth is no “comedie ;” and in fact, what Drummond calls so are the "Entertainments, Masques, and Revels” (all appropriate terms), which are known to have been provided for him. What amusement could an English tragedy afford to a person who understood not a word of the language ?
I have said thus much merely to shew the fallacy of Mr. Malone's argument, and the readiness with which all improbabilities are swallowed when they conduce to the grateful purpose of maligning Jonson. For, in truth, it signifies nothing to the question at which period either piece was produced, or which of them had the priority in point of date ; since the characters are totally and radically distinct, and do not bear either in conduct or language the slightest token of affinity. What is decisive on the subject is the remarkable care which Jonson himself takes to disclaim all idea of copying any preceding dramatist. He tells Prince Henry that he described his witches “out of fulness and memory of his former readings, which he has retrieved and set down at his desire ;” and he informs the Queen that he was CAREFUL TO DECLINE not only froni others, but from his own steps in this kind.” Not one syllable of this has ever been noticed before ; the commentators prefer darkness to light, and, so they can rail at "old Ben,” make their wantonness their ignorance.
But when spleen and malice have done their worst, the magical part of the Masque of Queens will still remain a proof of high poetic powers, of a vigorous and fertile imagination, and of deep and extensive learning, managed with surprising ease, and applied to the purposes of the scene with equal grace and dexterity.
(Mr. Collier printed for the Shakspeare Society, 1849, a version of this Masque " from the original and beautiful autograph of the poet, preserved among the Royal Manuscripts in the British Museum, of which Gifford and his predecessors knew nothing It has many variations, and is particularly interesting as showing the form in which the poet himself arranged his matter.F. C.)
It increasing now to the third time of my rule of the best artist,* to suffer no object of being used in these services to her majesty's delight to pass without his mixture of personal presentations, with the ladies profit and example. And because Her whom she pleaseth to honour; it was my Majesty (best knowing that a principal first and special regard to see that the part of life in these spectacles lay in their dobility of the invention should be answer- variety) had commanded me to think on able to the dignity of their persons. For some dance, or shew, that might precede which reason I chose the argument to be hers, and have the place of a foil, or false A celebration of honourable and true Fame, bred out of Virtue ; observing that
* Hor, in Art, Poetic.
masque: I was careful to decline, not only tion and architecture of the whole scene from others, but mine own steps in and machine. Only I prescribed them that kind, since the last year, * had their properties of vipers, snakes, bones, an antimasque of boys; and therefore herbs, roots, and other ensigns of their now devised that twelve women, in the magic, out of the authority of ancient and habit of hags or witches, sustaining the late writers, wherein the faults are mine persons of Ignorance, Suspicion, Credulity, if there be any found; and for that cause &c., the opposites to good Fame, should I confess them. fill that part, not as a masque, but a These eleven WITCHES beginning to spectacle of strangeness, producing multi- dance (which is an usual ceremonyt at plicity of gesture, and not unaptly sort their convents or meetings, where someing with the current and whole fall of times also they are vizarded and masked), the device.
on the sudden one of them missed their His majesty then being set, and the chief, and interrupted the rest with this whole company in full expectation, the speech :part of the Scene which first presented itself was an ugly Hell; which flaming Hag. beneath, smoked unto the top of the roof.
Sisters, stay, we want our Dame;' And in respect all evils are morally said to
Call upon her by her name, come from hell; as also from that obser
And the charm we use to say ; vation of Torrentius upon Horace's Ca
That she quickly anoint, || and come nidia, t quæ tot instructa venenis, ex Orci away. faucibus profecta videri possit: these
I Charm. witches, with a kind of hollow and infernal
Dame, dame! the watch is set : music, came forth from thence. then two, and three, and more, tili their
Quickly come, we all are met.number increased to eleven, all differently
From the lakes, and from the fens,
From the rocks, and from the dens, attired ; some with rats on their heads, some on their shoulders ; others with oint
From the woods, and from the caves,
From the churchyards, from the graves, ment-pots at their girdles; all with spindles, timbrels, rattles, or other venefical
From the dungeon, from the tree instruments, making a confused noise,
That they die on, here are we?" with strange gestures. The device of their
Comes she not yet? attire was Master Jones's, with the inven
Strike another heat.
* In the masque at my Lord Haddington's fection. Unguentum ex carne recens natorum wedding
infantium, in pulmenti forma coctum, et cum + Vide Lævin. Tor. comment. in Hor, Epod. herbis somniferis, quales sunt Papaver, Solalib. ode 5
num, Cicuta, &c. And Giov. Bapti. Porta, See the King's Majesty's book (our Sove- lib. 2, Mag. Natur. cap. 16. reign) of Demonology, Bodin. Remig: Del- These places, in their own nature dire and rio. Mal. Malefi. and a world of others in the dismal
, are reckoned up as the fittest from general: but let us follow particulars.
whence such persons should come, and were § Amongst our vulgar witches the honour of i notably observed by that excellent Lucan in the Dame (for so I translate it) is given with a kind description of his Erichtho, lib. 6. To which of pre-eminence to some special one at their we may add this corollary out of Agrip. de meetings: which Delrio insinuates, Disquis. occult. philosop. l. 1, c. 48. Saturno corMag, lib. 2, quæst. 9, quoting that of Apuleius, respondent loca quævis fætida, tenebrosa, sublib. de Asin. aureo. de quadam caupona, regina terranea, religiosa, et funesta, ut cæmeteria, Sagarum. And adds, ut scias etiam tum busta, et hominibus deserta habitacula, et quasdam ab iis hoc titulo honoratas. Which vetustate caduca, loca obscura, et horrenda, et title M. Philipp. Ludwigus Elich. Dæmono- solitaria, antra, caverna, putei : præterea magia, quast. 1o, doth also remember.
piscina, stagna, paludes, et ejusmodi. And in || When they are to be transported from place lib. 3, c. 42, speaking of the like, and in lib. 4, to place, they use to anoint themselves, and about the end, Aptissima sunt loca plurimum sometimes the things they ride on. Beside experientia visionum, nocturnarumque incurApul. testimony, see these later, Remig. Dæmo- sionum et consimilium phantasmatum, ut nolatriæ lib. 1, cap. 14, Delrio, Disquis. Mag. In cæmeteria, et in quibus fieri solent executiones 2, quæst. 16, Bodin, Dæmonoman. l. 2, c. 14. criminalis judicii, in quibus recentibus annis Barthol. de Spina. quæst. de Strigib. Philippo publicæ strages factæ sunt, vel ubi occisorum Ludwigus Elich. quæst. 10. Paracelsus in cadavera, necdum expiata, nec ritè sepulta, magn. et occul. Philosophia, teacheth the con- i recentioribus annis subhumata sunt.