Lapas attēli
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1 The Duke of Lenox.] Lodowic Stuart, Duke of Lenox, and afterwards of Richmond. For the three succeeding names see p. 21.

5 Lord D'Aubigny.] Esme, younger brother of the Duke of Lenox, who succeeded him in 1623. He married Catherine, the only daughter of Sir Gervase Clifton. He was warmly attached to our poet, who has an Epigram (127) addressed to him, full of respect and gratitude. 6,7, See p. 21.

Lord Sankre.] Robert Crichton, Lord Sanquhar. This nobleman, in an angry trial of skill with one Turner, a fencing master, was deprived of an eye. The loss, which he confessedly brought upon himself, seems to have rankled in his mind; and about four years after the date of this Masque, he hired two Scotchmen, Gray and Carlisle, to murder the unfortunate swordsman. For this atrocious act he

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was seized, and, in spite of all the interest made to save his life (which appears from Wilson to have been very great), hanged with his two accomplices at Tyburn.

9 Sir Robert Rich.] Third son of Robert, Lord Rich. He succeeded to the barony, and in 1618 was created Earl of Warwick. Jonson has some verses on this nobleman.

10 Sir F. Kennethie.] David Kennedy, created Earl of Cassilis in 1609.

11 Master Erskine.] Called young Erskine by the Earl of Shrewsbury's correspondent; but whether son of the Earl of Mar, or of Sir Thomas Erskine, afterwards Earl of Kelly, I cannot determine.

* A wife or matron: which is a name of more dignity than virgin. D. Heins. in Nup. Ottonis Heurnii. Cras matri similis tuæ redibis.

Wake then, and let your lights

Wake too; for they'll tell nothing of your nights.

But that in Hymen's war
You perfect are.
And such perfection we
Do pray should be.

Shine, Hesperus, shine forth, thou wished star!

That ere the rosy-fingered morn
Behold nine moons, there may be born

1 However desirable it may be to leave the recognition of the poet's merits to the taste and discrimination of the reader, it seems almost impossible to pass in silence over such pre-eminent marks of genius and study as those before us. Not many pages are numbered since we had the most beautiful little piece of its kind in the English language; and here we have another of the same species, replete with every excellence. The learning of Jonson is prodigious, and the grace, delicacy, and judgment with which he applies it to the embellishment of his subject, cannot be too highly estimated. The dull cold criticism of Hurd, the wanton malignity of Steevens, the blind hatred of Malone (to say nothing of a train of followers), are all directed to the same point-namely, to establish the per

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The Masque of Queens.


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 it 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, .6 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 Mr. 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. Č.]

It increasing now to the third time of my being used in these services to her majesty's personal presentations, with the ladies whom she pleaseth to honour; it was my first and special regard to see that the nobility of the invention should be answerable to the dignity of their persons. For which reason I chose the argument to be A celebration of honourable and true Fame, bred out of Virtue; observing that |

rule of the best artist,* to suffer no object of delight to pass without his mixture of profit and example. And because Her Majesty (best knowing that a principal part of life in these spectacles lay in their variety) had commanded me to think on some dance, or shew, that might precede hers, and have the place of a foil, or false

* Hor. in Art. Poetic.

masque: I was careful to decline, not only from others, but mine own steps in that kind, since the last year,* I had an antimasque of boys; and therefore now devised that twelve women, in the habit of hags or witches, sustaining the persons of Ignorance, Suspicion, Credulity, &c., the opposites to good Fame, should fill that part, not as a masque, but a spectacle of strangeness, producing multiplicity of gesture, and not unaptly sorting with the current and whole fall of

the device.

His majesty then being set, and the whole company in full expectation, the part of the Scene which first presented itself was an ugly Hell; which flaming beneath, smoked unto the top of the roof. And in respect all evils are morally said to come from hell; as also from that observation of Torrentius upon Horace's Canidia, quæ tot instructa venenis, ex Orci faucibus profecta videri possit: these witches, with a kind of hollow and infernal music, came forth from thence. First one,

then two, and three, and more, tili their number increased to eleven, all differently attired; some with rats on their heads, some on their shoulders; others with ointment-pots at their girdles; all with spindles, timbrels, rattles, or other venefical instruments, making a confused noise, with strange gestures. The device of their attire was Master Jones's, with the inven

* In the masque at my Lord Haddington's wedding. Vide Lævin. Tor. comment. in Hor. Epod. lib. ode 5.

See the King's Majesty's book (our Sovereign) of Demonology, Bodin. Remig. Delrio. Mal. Malefi, and a world of others in the general: but let us follow particulars.

§ Amongst our vulgar witches the honour of Dame (for so I translate it) is given with a kind of pre-eminence to some special one at their meetings which Delrio insinuates, Disquis. Mag. lib. 2, quæst. 9, quoting that of Apuleius, lib. de Asin. aureo. de quadam caupona, regina Sagarum. And adds, ut scias etiam tum quasdam ab iis hoc titulo honoratas. Which title M. Philipp. Ludwigus Elich. Damonomagia, quæst. 10, doth also remember.

When they are to be transported from place to place, they use to anoint themselves, and sometimes the things they ride on. Beside Apul. testimony, see these later, Remig. Dæmonolatriæ lib. 1, cap. 14, Delrio, Disquis. Mag. l. 2, quæst. 16, Bodin, Dæmonoman. l. 2, c. 14. Barthol. de Spina. quæst. de Strigib. Philippo Ludwigus Elich. quæst. 10. Paracelsus in magn. et occul. Philosophia, teacheth the con

tion and architecture of the whole scene and machine. Only I prescribed them their properties of vipers, snakes, bones, herbs, roots, and other ensigns of their magic, out of the authority of ancient and late writers, wherein the faults are mine if there be any found; and for that cause I confess them.

These eleven WITCHES beginning to dance (which is an usual ceremony at their convents or meetings, where sometimes also they are vizarded and masked), on the sudden one of them missed their chief, and interrupted the rest with this speech :

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fection. Unguentum ex carne recens natorum infantium, in pulmenti forma coctum, et cum herbis somniferis, quales sunt Papaver, Solanum, Cicuta, &c. And Giov. Bapti. Porta, lib. 2, Mag. Natur. cap. 16.

These places, in their own nature dire and dismal, are reckoned up as the fittest from whence such persons should come, and were notably observed by that excellent Lucan in the description of his Erichtho, lib. 6. To which we may add this corollary out of Agrip. de occult. philosop. l. 1, c. 48. Saturno correspondent loca quævis fætida, tenebrosa, subterranea, religiosa et funesta, ut cœmeteria, busta, et hominibus deserta habitacula, et vetustate caduca, loca obscura, et horrenda, et solitaria, antra, caverna, putei: præterea piscina, stagna, paludes, et ejusmodi. And in lib. 3, c. 42, speaking of the like, and in lib. 4, about the end, Aptissima sunt loca plurimum experientia visionum, nocturnarumque incursionum et consimilium phantasmatum, ut caemeteria, et in quibus fieri solent executiones criminalis judicii, in quibus recentibus annis publicæ strages facta sunt, vel ubi occisorum cadavera, necdum expiata, nec ritè sepulta, recentioribus annis subhumata sunt.

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