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Love freed from Ignorance and Folly:
A MASQUE OF HER MAJESTY'S.
LOVE FREED.] The date of this Masque is not mentioned, nor the particular occasion on which it was presented. There is no earlier edition of it than the folio, 1616. Mr. Stephen Jones (a name utterly unworthy of notice, but as the booksellers have connected it with the drama) assigns the first appearance of all these Masques to 1640. He could grovel in falsehood for the gratification of his senseless enmity to Jonson; but to open one of his volumes for the purpose of ascertaining the truth, appears to have been thought a mere loss of time.
[It was presented at Christmas, 1610-11, in the same season as the Mask of Oberon and Love Restored. On December 15, 1610, John More wrote to Sir R. Winwood : "Yet doth the Prince make but one Mask, and the Queen but two, which doth cost her Majesty but 600l. Neither do I see any likelihood of any further extraordinary expense that this Christmas will bring."-See Collier's Annals of the Stage, i. 377.-F. C.]
And you now, that thought to lay
The world waste, must be my prey.
Love. Cruel Sphinx, I rather strive
How to keep the world alive,
And uphold it; without me
All again would chaos be.
Sphinx. Come, Sir Tyranne, lordly Love, Tell me, Monster, what should move
You that awe the gods above,
As their creatures here below,
With the sceptre called your bow;
And do all their forces bear
In the quiver that you wear,
Whence no sooner you do draw
Forth a shaft but is a law:
Now they shall not need to tremble,
When you threaten or dissemble,
Any more; and though you see
Whom to hurt, you have not free
Will to act your rage. The bands
Of your eyes now tie your hands.
All the triumphs, all the spoils
Gotten by your arts and toils,
Over foe and over friend,
O'er your mother, here must end.
*By this Sphinx was understood Ignorance, who is always the enemy of Love and Beauty, and lies still in wait to entrap them. For which Antiquity has given her the upper parts and
Thy despight thus against Love?
Is there nothing fair and good,
Nothing bright, but burns thy blood?
Still thou art thyself, and made
All of practice, to invade
Clearest bosoms. Hath this place
None will pity Cupid's case?
Some soft eye, while I can see
Who it is that melts for me,
Weep a fit. Are all eyes here
Made of marble? But a tear,
Though a false one; it may make
Others true compassion take.
I would tell you all the story
If I thought you could be sorry,
And in truth, there's none have reason
Like yourselves to hate the treason.
face of a woman; the nether parts of a lion, the wings of an eagle, to shew her fierceness and swiftness to evil where she hath power.
For it practised was on Beauty, Unto whom Love owes all duty. Let your favour but affright Sphinx here, I shall soon recite Every passage, how
Sphinx. Do, I'll laugh, or cry alas ! Thinks, poor Love, can ladies' looks Save him from the Sphinx's hooks?
Love. No; but these can witness bear
Of my candour, when they hear
What thy malice is; or how
I became thy captive now :
And it is no small content,
Falling, to fall innocent.
Know then, all you glories here,
In the utmost East there were
Eleven daughters of the morn.
Ne'er were brighter Bevy born,
Nor more perfect beauties seen.
The eldest of them was the queen
Of the Orient, and 'twas said
That she should with Phoebus wed.
For which high-vouchsafed grace,
He was loved of all their race.
And they would, when he did rise,
Do him early sacrifice
Of the rich and purest gum,
That from any plant could come;
And would look at him as far
As they could discern his car :
Grieving that they might not ever
See him; and when night did sever
Their aspects, they sat and wept
Till he came, and never slept :
Insomuch that at the length
This their fervour gat such strength,
ould a journey prove,
ard and aid of Love,
the farthest West:
hey heard, as in the East,
He a palace no less bright
Had, to feast in every night
With the Ocean, where he rested
Safe, and in all state invested.-
I, that never left the side Of the fair, became their guide, But behold, no sooner landing On this isle, but this commanding Monster Sphinx, the enemy Of all actions great and high,
* The meaning of this is, that these ladies being the perfect issue of beauty, and all worldly grace, were carried by Love to celebrate the majesty and wisdom of the King, figured in the sun, and seated in these extreme parts of the world; where they were rudely received by Ignorance, on their first approach, to the hazard of their affection, it being her nature
Knowing that these rites were done
To the wisdom of the sun,
From a cliff surprised them all :
And though I did humbly fall
At her lions feet, and prayed
As she had the face of maid,
That she would compassion take
Of these ladies, for whose sake
Love would give himself up; she,
Swift to evil, as you see
By her wings and hooked hands,
First did take my offered bands,
Then to prison of the night
Did condemn those sisters bright,
There for ever to remain,
'Less they could the knot unstrain
Of a riddle which she put
Darker than where they are shut:
Or from thence their freedoms prove
With the utter loss of Love.
They unwilling to forego
One who had deserved so
Of all beauty, in their names
Were content to have their flames
Hid in lasting night, ere I
Should for them untimely die.
I, on th' other side as glad
That I such advantage had
To assure them mine, engaged
Willingly myself, and waged
With the Monster, that if I
Did her riddle not untie,
I would freely give my life
To redeem them and the strife.
Sphinx. Have you said, sir? will you try Now your known dexterity? You presume upon your arts, Of tying and untying hearts; And it makes you confident: But anon you will repent.
Love. No, Sphinx, I do not presume; But some little heart assume From my judges here, that sit As they would not lose Love yet. Sphinx. You are pleasant, sir, 'tis good. Love. Love does often change his mood, Sphinx. I shall make you sad agen. Love. I shall be the sorrier then. Sphinx. Come, sir, lend it your best ear. Love, I begin t' have half a fear.
to hinder all noble actions; but that the Love which brought them thither was not willing to forsake them, no more than they were to abandon it; yet was it enough perplexed, in that the monster Ignorance still covets to enwrap itself in dark and obscure terms and betray that way, whereas true Love affects to express itself with all clearness and simplicity.
Sphinx. First, Cupid, you must cast about
To find a world the world without,
Wherein what's done the eye doth do;
And is the light and treasure too.
This eye still moves, and still is fixed,
And in the powers thereof are mixed
Two contraries; which time till now
Nor fate knew where to join, or how.
Yet if you hit the right upon,
You must resolve these all by one.
Love. Sphinx, you are too quick
Say't again, and take me along.1
Sphinx. I say, you first must cast about
To find a world the world without.
Love. I say, that is already done,
And is the new world in the moon.
Sphinx. Cupid, you do cast too far;
This world is nearer by a star:
So much light I'll give you to't.
Love. That's smiles and tears,
Or fire and frost; for either bears
Sphinx. Which time till now,
Nor fate knew where to join, or how.-
How now, Cupid! at a stay?
Not another word to say?
Do you find by this how long
You have been at fault, and wrong?
Love. Sphinx, it is your pride to vex
of Whom you deal with, and perplex
Things most easy. Ignorance
Thinks she doth herself advance;
If of problems clear she make
Riddles, and the sense forsake,
Which came gentle from the Muses,
Till her uttering it abuses.
Love. Without a glass? well, I shall do't.
Your world's a lady then; each creature
Human is a world in feature,
Is it not?
Sphinx. Yes, but find out
A world you must, the world without.
Love. Why, if her servant be not here,
She doth a single world appear
Without her world.
Sphinx. Well, you shall run!
Love. Nay, Sphinx, thus far is well begun.
Sphinx. Wherein what's done, the eye
And is the light and treasure too.
Sphinx. Nay, your railing will not save
Cupid, I of right must have you.
Come my fruitful issue forth,
Dance and shew a gladness worth
Such a captive as is Love,
And your mother's triumph prove.
Here the FOLLIES, which were twelve
SHE-FOOLS, enter and dance.
Sphinx. Now, go take him up, and bear
To the cliff, where I will tear him
Piecemeal, and give each a part
Of his raw and bleeding heart.
Love. Ladies, have your looks no power
To help Love at such an hour?
Love. That's clear as light; for wherein lies Will you lose him thus? Adieu !
A lady's power but in her eyes?
And not alone her grace and power,
But oftentimes her wealth and dower.
Sphinx. I spake but of an eye, not eyes.
Love. A one-eyed mistress that unties.
Sphinx. This eye still moves, and still is
Love. A rolling eye, that native there Yet throws her glances everywhere; And, being but single, fain would do The offices and arts of two.
Sphinx. And in the powers thereof are mixed
Think what will become of you.
Who shall praise you, who admire?
Who shall whisper by the fire
As you stand soft tales? who bring you
Pretty news, in rhymes who sing you?
Who shall bathe him in the streams
Of your blood, and send you dreams
Sphinx. Away, go bear him
Hence, they shall no longer hear him.
Here the MUSES' PRIESTS, in number
twelve, advance to his rescue, and sing
this SONG to a measure.2
explained by the unfortunate editor: "Take me with you; i.e., You must consider!" "The expression (he adds, with his usual simplicity) frequently occurs, not always with this exact meaning in old plays.". Beaumont and Fletcher, vol. v. p. 212. Right:-not always, Mr. Weber, and you do well to put the reader on his guard.
2 To a measure.] i.e., to a grave and stately dance.
Gentle Love,* be not dismayed.
See the Muses, pure and holy,
By their priests have sent thee aid
Against this brood of Folly.
It is true that Sphinx, their dame,
Had the sense first from the Muses,
Which in uttering she doth lame,
Perplexeth, and abuses.
But they bid that thou shouldst look
In the brightest face here shining,
And the same as would a book,
Shall help thee in divining.
Love. "Tis done! 'tis done! I've found
Britain's the world, the world without.
The King's the eye, as we do call
The sun the eye of this great all.
And is the light and treasure too;
For 'tis his wisdom all doth do.
Which still is fixed in his breast,
Yet still doth move to guide the rest.
The contraries which time till now
Nor fate knew where to join, or how,
Are Majesty and Love; which there,
And nowhere else, have their true sphere.
Now, Sphinx, I've hit the right upon,
And do resolve these All by one :
That is, that you meant ALBION.
Priests. 'Tis true in him, and in no