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Swift-foot CAMILLA,2 Queen of Volscia, Victorious THOMYRIS3 of Scythia,
they were disposed rather by chance than election, yet it is my part to justify them all and then the lady that will own her presentation, may.
1 'To follow therefore the rule of chronology, which I have observed in my verse, the most upward in time was PENTHESILEA. She was queen of the Amazons, and succeeded Otrera, or (as some will) Orithya; she lived and was present at the siege of Troy, on their part, against the Greeks, and (as Justin gives her testimony) Inter fortissimos viros, magna ejus virtutis documenta extitere. She is nowhere named but with the preface of honour and virtue; and is always advanced in the head of the worthiest women. Diodorus Siculus* makes her the daughter of Mars. She was honoured in her death to have it the act of Achilles. Of which Propertiust sings this triumph to her beauty,
Aurea cui postquam nudavit cassida frontem, Vicit victorem candida forma virum.
2 Next follows CAMILLA, Queen of the Volscians, celebrated by Virgil, than whose verses nothing can be imagined more exquisite, or more honouring the person they describe. They are these, where he reckons up those that came on Turnus's part, against Æneas:
Hos super advenit Volsca de gente Camilla, Agmen agens equitum, et florenteis ære catervas, Bellatrix. Non illa colo, calathisve Minervæ Fœmineas assueta manus, sed prælia virgo Dura pati, cursuque pedum prævertere ventos. Illa vel intactæ segetis per summa volaret Gramina, nec teneras cursu læsisset aristas: Vel mare per medium fluctu suspensa tumenti, Ferret iter, celeris nec tingeret æquore plantas. And afterwards tells her attire and arms, with the admiration that the spectators had of her. All which, if the poet created out of himself, without Nature, he did but shew how much so divine a soul could exceed
3 The third lived in the age of Cyrus, the great Persian monarch, and made him leave to live, THOMYRIS, Queen of the
might think perhaps that the ladies would not be unwilling to learn something in this way of the personages whom they presented. To prevent any little heart-burnings on the choice of Queens, the characters, it appears, were distributed by lot; and Jonson either could not or would not appropriate them. I have ventured to subjoin the
Chaste ARTEMISIA,4 the Carian dame, And fair-haired BERONICE,5 Ægypt's fame,
Scythians, or Massagets. A heroine of a most invincible and unbroken fortitude : who, when Cyrus had invaded her, and taking her only son (rather by treachery than war, as she objected), had slain him; not touched with the grief of so great a loss, in the juster comfort she took of a great revenge, pursued not only the occasion and honour of conquering so potent an enemy, with whom fell two hundred thousand soldiers: but (what was right memorable in her victory) left not a messenger surviving of his side to report the massacre. She is remembered both by Herodotus§ and Justin, to the great renown and glory of her kind, with this elogy: Quod potentissimo Persarum Monarchæ bello congressa est, ipsumque et vita et castris spoliavit, ad jusiè ulciscendum filii ejus indignissimam mortem.
4 The fourth was honoured to life in time of Xerxes, and was present at his great expedition into Greece; ARTEMISIA, the Queen of Caria; whose virtue Herodotus, ¶ not without some wonder records. That a woman, a queen, without a husband, her son a ward, and she administering the government, occasioned by no necessity, but a mere excellence of spirit, should embark herself for such a war; and there so to behave her, as Xerxes, beholding her fight, should say: Viri quidem extiterunt mihi feminæ, feminæ autem viri.** She is no less renowned for her chastity and love to her husband Mausolus,tt whose bones (after he was dead) she preserved in ashes and drank in wine, making herself his tomb; and yet built to his memory a monument deserving a place among the seven wonders of the world, which could not be done by less than a wonder of women.
5 The fifth was the fair-haired daughter of Ptolomæus Philadelphus, by the elder Arsinoë; who, (married to her brother Ptolomæus, surnamed Evergetes,) was after Queen of Egypt. I find her written both BERONICE and BERENICE. This lady,
HYPSICRATEA,6 glory of Asia,
The Britain honour, VOADICEA,8
who, though she were enforced to a peace by his lieutenant Petronius, doth not the less worthily hold her place here; when everywhere this elogy remains of her fame : that she was maximi animi mulier, tantique in suos meriti, ut omnes deinceps Ethiopium reginæ ejus nomine fuerint appellata. She governed in Meroë.
upon an expedition of her new-wedded lord into Assyria, vowed to Venus, if he returned safe, and conqueror, the offering of her hair which vow of hers (exacted by the success) she afterward performed. But her father missing it, and therewith displeased, Conon, a mathematician who was then in household with Ptolomy, and knew well to flatter him, persuaded the king that it was 8 The eighth, our own honour, VOAtaken up to heaven, and made a constella- DICEA, or BOADICEA; by some Bunduica, tion; shewing him those seven stars, ad and Bunduca, Queen of the Iceni, a people caudam Leonis, which are since called that inhabited that part of our island which Coma Berenices. Which story then pre- was called East Anglia, and comprehended sently celebrated by Callimachus, in a most Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge, and Huntelegant poem, Catullus more elegantly con- ingdon shires. Since she was born here at verted: wherein they call her the magnani-home, we will first honour her with a homemous even from a virgin. Alluding (as born testimony; from the grave and diliHyginus* says) to a rescue she made of gent Spenser T her father in his flight, and restoring the courage and honour of his army, even to a victory. Their words are,
Cognôram à parva virgine magnanimam.† 6 The sixth, that famous wife of Mithridates, and Queen of Pontus, HYPSICRATEA, no less an example of virtue than the rest; who so loved her husband, as she was assistant to him in all labours and hazard of the war in a masculine habit. For which cause (as Valerius Maximust observes) she departed with the chief ornament of her beauty. Tonsis enim capillis, equo se et armis assuefecit, quo facilius laboribus et periculis ejus interesset. And afterward, in his flight from Pompey, accompanied his misfortune with a mind and body equally unwearied. She is so solemnly registered by that grave author as a notable precedent of marriage loyalty and love virtues that might raise a mean person to equality with a queen; but a queen to the state and honour of a deity.
7 The seventh, that renown of Ethiopia, CANDACE: from whose excellency the succeeding queens of that nation were ambitious to be called so. A woman of a most haughty spirit against enemies, and a singular affection to her subjects. I find her celebrated by Dions and Pliny, invading Egypt in the time of Augustus:
*Astronom. lib. 2, in Leo.
Bunduca Britoness, Bunduca, that victorious conqueress, That lifting up her brave heroic thought 'Bove woman's weakness, with the Romans fought;
Fought, and in field against them thrice pre
To which see her orations in story, made by Tacitus** and Dion :tt wherein is expressed all magnitude of a spirit, breathing to the liberty and redemption of her country. The latter of whom, doth honest her beside with a particular description: Bunduica Britannica fæmina, orta stirpe regia, quæ non solum eis dignitate præfuit, sed etiam bellum omne administravit; cujus anima virilis potius quàm muliebris erat. And afterwards, Famina, forma honestissima, vultu severo, &c. All which doth weigh the more to her true praise, in coming from the mouths of Romans and enemies. She lived in the time of Nero.
9 The ninth, in time, but equal in fame, and (the cause of it) virtue, was the chaste ZENOBIA, Queen of the Palmyrenes, who, after the death of her husband Odenatus, had the name to be reckoned among the thirty that usurped the Roman empire from Galienus. She continued a long and brave war against several chiefs; and was at length triumphed on by Aurelian : but
| Nat. Hist. lib. 6, cap. 29.
TRuins of Time.
The wise and warlike Goth, AMALASUNTA, 10
The bold VALASCA,11 of Bohemia ; These, in their lives, as fortunes, crowned the choice
Of womankind, and 'gainst all opposite voice
ea specie, ut nihil pompabilius P. Rom. videretur. Her chastity was such, ut ne virum suum quidem sciret, nisi tentatis conceptionibus. She lived in a most royal manner, and was adored to the custom of the Persians. When she made orations to her soldiers, she had always her casque on. A woman of a most divine spirit, and incredible beauty. In Trebellius Pollio* read the most notable description of a queen and her that can be uttered with the dignity of an historian.
To The tenth, succeeding, was that learned and heroic AMALASUNTA, Queen of the Ostrogoths, daughter to Theodoric, that obtained the principality of Ravenna and almost all Italy. She drave the Burgundians and Almaines out of Liguria, and appeared in her government rather an example than a second. She was the most eloquent of her age, and cunning in all languages of any nation that had commerce with the Roman empire. It is recorded of her,t that Sine veneratione eam viderit nemo, pro miraculo fuerit ipsam audire loquentem. Tantaque illi in discernendo gravitas, ut criminis convicti, cum plecterentur, nihil sibi acerbum pati viderentur.
11 The eleventh was that brave Bohemian Queen, VALASCA, who for her courage had the surname Bold: that to redeem herself and her sex from the tyranny of men, which they lived in under Primislaus, on a night, and at an hour appointed, led on the women to the slaughter of their barbarous husbands and lords. And possessing themselves of their horses, arms, treasure, and places of strength, not only ruled the rest, but lived many years after with the liberty and fortitude of Amazons. Celebrated by Raphael Volateranus, and in an elegant tract of an Italians in Latin, who names himself Philalethes, Polytopiensis civis, inter præstantissimas fœminas.
12 The twelfth, and worthy sovereign of
* In trigin. Tyrann.
Made good to time, had, after death, the claim
To live eternized in the House of Fame. Where hourly hearing (as, what there is old ?)
The glories of BEL-ANNA12 so well told,
all, I make BEL-ANNA, royal Queen of the Ocean; of whose dignity and person, the whole scope of the invention doth speak throughout: which, to offer you again here, might but prove offence to that sacred modesty which hears any testimony of others iterated with more delight than her own praise. She being placed above the need of such ceremony, and safe in her princely virtue, against the good or ill of any witness. The name of Bel-anna I devised to honour hers proper by; as adding to it the attribute of Fair: and is kept by me in all my poems wherein I mention her majesty with any shadow or figure. Of which some may come forth with a longer destiny than this age commonly gives to the best births, if but helped to light by her gracious and ripening favour.1
But here I discern a possible objection arising against me; to which I must turn : as, How I can bring persons of so different ages to appear properly together? or why (which is more unnatural) with Virgil's Mezentius, I join the living with the dead? I answer to both these at once. Nothing is more proper; nothing more natural. For these all live, and together, in their fame: and so I present them. Besides, if I would fly to the all-daring power of poetry, where could I not take sanctuary? or in whose poem? For other objections, let the looks and noses of judges hover thick; so they bring the brains or if they do not, I care not. When I suffered it to go abroad, I departed with my right: and now, so secure an interpreter I am of my chance, that neither praise nor dispraise shall affect me.
There rests only that we give the description we promised of the scene, which was the House of Fame. The structure and ornament of which (as is profest before) was entirely Master Jones's invention and design. First, for the lower
'This "birth" never came to light. It is
M. Anton. Cocci. Sabel. (out of Cassiod.) evident, however, from other passages, that
In Geograph. 1. 2. Forcia. Quæst.
Jonson had made some progress in a work intended to celebrate the ladies of Great Britain. Why it was not completed, or why it neve appeared, it is now too late to guess
Queen of the Ocean; how that she alone
To form that sweet and gracious pyramid
Of all that palace, and reserved to grace The worthiest queen: these, without envy on her,
In life, desired that honour to confer,
She this embracing with a virtuous joy,
To him that gave it, hath again brought forth
To make them once more visible to light :
Confesseth all the lustre of her merit.
For every virtue, but can give no increase:
To you, that cherish every great example
And every age the benefit endures.
Here the throne wherein they sat, being machina versatilis, suddenly changed; and in the place of it appeared Fama bona, as she is described (in Iconolog. di Cesare Ripa) attired in white, with white wings, having a collar of gold about her neck, and a heart hanging at it: which Orus Apollo, in his hierogl interprets the note of a good Fame. In her right-hand she bore a trumpet, in her left an olive-branch: and for her state,
columns, he chose the statues of the most emeralds, rubies, sapphires, carbuncles, &c., excellent poets, as Homer, Virgil, Lu- the reflex of which, with our lights placed can, &c., as being the substantial sup-in the concave, upon the masquers' habits, porters of Fame. For the upper, Achilles, Eneas, Cæsar, and those great heroes which these poets had celebrated: all which stood as in massy gold. Between the pillars underneath were figured landbattles, sea-fights, triumphs, loves, sacrifices, and all magnificent subjects of honour, in brass, and heightened with silver. In which he profest to follow that noble description made by Chaucer of the place. Above were sited the masquers, over whose heads he devised two eminent figures of Honour and Virtue for the arch. The friezes both below and above were filled with several-coloured lights, like
1 All which I willingly acknowledge for him, &c.] A man of greater liberality than Jonson probably never existed. He speaks of his associates not only with candour, but with a warmth of praise, and even of affection, that cannot be surpassed. To Inigo Jones, he shews peculiar kindness; he frequently goes out of his way, and enlarges upon the machinery of his Masques, with an evident view to recommend him to the notice of the court. And his return for all this is, to be taxed with "detraction" on all occasions, and to have his name held up by the commentators on our old dramatists, as synonymous with envy and every bateful and malignant passion.
was full of glory. These habits had in them the excellency of all device and riches and were worthily varied by his invention, to the nations whereof they were queens. Nor are these alone his due; but divers other accessions to the strangeness and beauty of the spectacle: as the hell, the going about of the chariots, and binding the witches, the turning machine, with the presentation of Fame, All which I willingly acknowledge for him ;1 since it is a virtue planted in good natures, that what respects they wish to obtain fruitfully from others they will give ingenuously themselves.
Two and twenty years indeed, after this period, Jonson and Jones fell at variance, and the former, who was then bedridden, wrote a series of verses against the latter, more remarkable for caustic wit than poetry. But what is there in the character of Jones to induce any candid mind to believe that the satire was entirely unprovoked on his part, or that the veteran bard was not well founded in some part of his complaint? Inigo was at least as captious as Ben was warm, and there were faults probably on both sides.
Be this as it may, it is but justice to give the poet credit for the frankness with which he here compliments his assistants in the scene,
Unto the last, our lions, that imply
At which the loud music sounded as before, to give the Masquers time of descending.
By this time imagine the masquers descended, and again mounted into three triumphant chariots, ready to come forth. The first four were drawn with eagles (whereof I gave the reason, as of the rest, in Fame's speech), their four torch-bearers attending on the chariot's sides, and four of the Hags bound before them. Then followed the second, drawn by griffons, with their torch-bearers, and four other Hags. Then the last, which was drawn by lions, and more eminent (wherein her Majesty was), and had six torch-bearers more, peculiar to her, with the like number of Hags. After which a full triumphant music, singing this SONG, white they rode in state about the stage :
Help, help, all tongues, to celebrate this wonder:
The voice of Fame should be as loud as thunder.
Her house is all of echo made,
Where never dies the sound:
* Æneid. 4
And as her brows the clouds invade, Her feet do strike the ground. Sing then, good Fame, that's out of Virtue born:
For who doth Fame neglect, doth Virtue
Here they alighted from their chariots, and danced forth their first dance: then a second immediately following it: both right curious, and full of subtle and excellent changes, and seemed performed with no less spirits than of those they personated. The first was to the cornets, the second to the violins. After which they took out the men, and danced the measures; entertaining the time, almost to the space of an hour, with singular variety: when, to give them rest, from the music which attended the chariots, by that most excellent tenor voice, and exact singer (her Majesty's servant, Master Jo. Allin) this ditty was sung:
Were crowned but in this famous birth :
After it succeeded their third dance; than which a more numerous composition could not be seen: graphically disposed into letters, and honouring the name of the most sweet and ingenious Prince, CHARLES Duke of York. Wherein, beside that principal grace of perspicuity, the motions were so even and apt, and their expression so just, as, if mathematicians had lost proportion, they might there have found it. The author was Master Thomas Giles. After this they danced galliards and corantos. And then their last dance, no less elegant in the place than the rest, with which they took their chariots again, and triumphing about the stage, had their return to the House of Fame celebrated with this last SONG; whose notes (as the former) were the work and honour of my excellent friend Alfonso Ferrabosco: Who, Virtue, can thy power forget, That sees these live, and triumph yet? Th' Assyrian pomp, the Persian pride, Greeks glory, and the Romans dyed: And who yet imitate
Their noises tarry the same fate.
But so good Fame shall never :
Her triumphs, as their causes, are for ever.