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The Irish Masque at Court,
BY GENTLEMEN, THE KING'S SERVANTS.
THE IRISH MASQUE.] From the folio, 1616. It has no date. James had great merit in the whole of his conduct with respect to Ireland, which he governed with extraordinary care, and reduced from the state of distraction, in which the late Queen had left it, to a degree of tranquillity which it has not often experienced. This little piece is meant to compliment the country on its loyalty and attachment.
The KING being set in expectation, out ran a fellow attired like a citizen: after him three or four footmen, DENNISE, DONNELL, DERMOCK, and PATRICK.
Pat. For chreeshes sayk, phair ish te king? phich ish he, ant be? show me te shweet faish, quickly. By got, o' my conshence, tish ish he! ant tou be King Yamish, me name is Dennish, I sherve ti majesties owne cashtermonger, be me trote ; and cry peepsh, and pomwatersh in ti mayesties shervice, 'tis five year now. Ant tou vilt not trush me now, call up ti clarke o' ti kitchen, be and be, shall give hish wort, upon hish book, ish true.
Don. Isht te fashion to beate te imbasheters here, and knoke 'hem o' te heads phit te phoit stick?
Der. Ant make ter meshage run out at ter mouthsh, before tey spheake vit te king?
Den. Peash, Dermock, here ish king.
Der. Phair ish te king?
Don. Phich ish te king?
Den. Tat ish te king.
Den. Phat ish ti meaning o' tish, Donnell? didsh tou not shay, a gotsh name, I should tell ty tale for tee? ant entrayt me come to te court, and leave me vare at shixe ant seven? by got, ish true now.
Don. Yesh. But I tanke got I can tell my tayle my shelfe, now I be here, I varrant tee: pre dee hear me, King Yamish.
Den. Pre dee heare me, King Yamish : I can tell tee better ten he.
Pat. Pre dee heare neder noder on 'hem: here'sh Dermock vill shpeake better ten eder oder on 'hem.
Der. No, fayt, shweet hart, tow lyesht. Patrick here ish te vesht man of hish tongue, of all de foure; pre tee now heare him.
Pat. By chreesh shave me, tow lyesht. I have te vorsht tongue in te company at thy shervish. Vill shome body shpeake? Don. By my fayt, I vill not.
Der. By my goship's hand, I vill not.
Den. If I speake, te divell tayke me. I vill give tee leave to cram my mout phit shamrokes and butter and vayter creshes instead of pearsh and peepsh.
Pat. If nobody vill shpeake, I vill shpeake. Pleash ty shweet faish, wee come from Ireland.
Der. Wee be Irish men, an't pleash
Don. Ty good shubshects of Ireland, and pleash ty mayesty.
Den. Of Connough, Leymster, Ulster
Munster. I mine one shelfe vash born in te English payle, and pleash ty mayesty.
Pat. Sacrament o' chreesh, tell ty tale ty shelfe, and be all tree.
Den. And pleash ty graish I vill tell tee, tere vash a great newesh in Ireland of a great brideal of one o' ty lords here ant be. Pat. Ty man Robyne, tey shay.2 Don. Mary ty man Toumaish, hish daughter, tey shay.
Der. Ay, ty good man, Toumaish o' Shuffolke.
Don. He knoke ush o' te payt here, ash we come by, by a good token.
Der. I' fayt, tere ish very mush phoyt stick here stirring to-njght. He takes ush for no shquires I tinke.
Pat. No, he tinksh not ve be imbasheters. Don. No, fayt, I tinke sho too. But tish marriage bring over a doshen of our besht mayshters, to be merry perht tee shweet faish, an't be; and daunsh a fading3 at te vedding.
I mine own shelfe vash born in the English payle.] The English pale was those parts of Ireland extended about Dublin, which in the reign of Henry II. were possessed by the English. This district was sometimes larger and sometimes less, in different ages, as the English or Irish power prevailed. But the counties of Louth, Dublin, Meath, Kildare, and Carlow, being for the most part obedient to the English laws, went under the more immediate denomination of the Pale.-WHAL.
Ty man Robyne.] This alludes to the marriage of the favourite, Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, with the daughter of Thomas, Earl of Suffolk. This too celebrated lady was the divorced wife of Lord Essex: and the "brideal" of which Dennis speaks, took place on the 5th of December, 1613, so that the date of this Masque may be safely referred to the succeeding festival, or the commencement of the new year. In March, 1613, too, James had completed his plans for the pacification of Ireland; so that the appearance of the "in imbasheters"" was not ill-timed.
The young Countess of Essex had already made the first step in her career of blood; but no murmur of it had yet reached the ear of James; and, as Wilson tells us, "all the splendid equipage, and magnificent preparation that could either fill a Court with delight or a people with admiration, were not wanting for the marriage." Other poets were, however, called in upon the occasion; and the only notice which Jonson appears to have taken of this ill-omened match is contained in the simple mention of the parties' names in the text.
Den. But tey vere leeke to daunsh naked, ant pleash ty mayesty; for te villanous vild Irish sheas have casht away all ter fine cloysh, as many ash cosht a towsand cowes and garraves, I varrant tee.
Der. And te prishe of a cashtell or two upon teyr backs.
Don. And tey tell ty mayesty tey have ner a great fish now, nor a shea moynshter to shave teyr cloysh alive now.
Pat. Nor a devoish vit a clowd to fesh 'hem out o' te bottom o' te vayter.
Der. But tey musht eene come and daunsh in teyr mantles now; and show tee how teye can foot te fading and te fadow, and te phip a' Dunboyne, I trow.
Don. I pre dee now let not ty sweet faysht ladies, make a mock on 'hem and scorn to daunsh vit 'hem now, becash tey be poor.
Pat. Tey drink no bonny clabbe, i' fayt, now.
Don. It ish better ten usquebagh1 to daunsh vit, Patrick,
name to a dance frequently noticed by our old dramatists. Both the song and the dance appear to have been of a licentious kind, and merit no farther elucidation.
It ish better ten usquebagh, &c.] The mention of this word brings to my mind a passage in the Devil's an Ass:
"Chimney-sweepers To their tobacco and strong waters, Hum, Meath, and Obarni."
The last of these (Obarni) I had supposed to be a preparation of usquebagh: (see vol. ii. D. 2166); whereas it appears to be a preparation of Meath. For this information I am indebted to the following extract from an old poem, called Pimlyco or Runne Red-Cap, 1609, kindly transmitted to me by my friend Mr. Boswell:
"Nor all those drinkes of northern climes
Now I am on the subject, I will subjoin a passage which has just occurred to me, and which gives a better explanation of Hum than will be found in the passage already quoted :
"Notwithstanding the multiplicity of wines, yet there be stills and limbecks going, swetting out aquavitæ and strong waters, deriving their names from cinnamon, balm, and aniseed, such as stomach-water, humm, &c.-Heywood's
3 And dance a fading.] This word, which was the burden of a popular Irish song, gave | Drunkard, p. 48.
Pat. By my fater's hand, tey vill daunsh very vell.
Der. Ay, by St. Patrick vill tey; for tey be nimble men.
Den. And vill leap ash light, be creesh save me, ath he tat veares te biggest fether in ty court, King Yamish.
Der. For all tey have no good vindsh to blow tem heter, nor elementsh to presherve 'hem.
Don. Nor all te four cornersh o' te world, to creep out on.
Pat. But tine own kingdomes.
Pat. And goot men: tine own shubshects.
Der. Tou hasht very good shubshects in Ireland.
Den. A great goot many, o' great goot
Don. Tat love ty mayesty heartily. Den. And vill run t'rough fire and vater for tee, over te bog and te bannoke, be te graish o' got, and graish o' king.
Don. Tey shit like poore men i' te porsh yonder.
Pat. Shtay, te peepe ish come! [Bagpipe, &c. enter.] Harke, harke!
Der. Let ush daunsh ten. Daunsh, Dennish.
Den. By creesh sa' me, I ha' forgot. Don. A little till our mayshtersh be ready.
Here the Footmen had a DANCE, being six men and six boys, to the bagpipe and other rude music; after which they had a SONG, and then they cried,
Peash! Peash! Now room for our mayshters! Room for our mayshters!
Then the GENTLEMEN dance forth a dance
in their Irish mantles, to a solemn music of harps: which done, the Footmen fall to speak again.
Der. How like tou tish, Yamish? and tey had fine cloyshs now, and liveries, like
Der. By got, tey vill fight for tee, King tine own men ant be! Yamish, and for my mistresh tere.
Den. And my little maishter.1
Pat. And te vfrow, ty daughter, tat is in Tuchland.
Don. Tey vill spend ter heart in ter belly for tee, as vell as ter legs in ter heelsh.
Der. By creesh, tey vill shpend all teyr
cowesh for tee.
Don. But te rugs make t'em shrug a little.
Der. Tey have shit a great phoyle i' te cold, ant be.
Don. Isht not pity te cloysh be drowned now?
be not veary.
Here they were interrupted by a civil GEN-
Mercury Vindicated from the Alchemists
BY GENTLEMEN, THE KING'S SERVANTS.
From the folio, 1616. This is a very ingenious and pleasant little piece, but the author gives neither the date nor the occasion on which it was written. If he paid any attention to time in the arrangement of his Masques, the present must have been produced subsequently to the comedy of the Alchemist.
Loud music. After which the Scene is discovered; being a Laboratory or Alchemist's work-house: Vulcan looking to the registers, while a CYCLOPE, tending the fire, to the cornets began to sing.
Cyc. Soft, subtile fire, thou soul of art, Now do thy part
On weaker nature, that through age is
Take but thy time now she is old, And the sun her friend grown cold, She will no more in strife with thee be named.
Look but how few confess her now,
In cheek or brow!
forth our philosophers. He will be gone. He will evaporate. Dear Mercury! help. He flies. He is scaped. Precious golden Mercury, be fixt; be not so volatile! Will none of the Sons of Art appear?
In which time MERCURY, having run once or twice about the room, takes breath, and speaks.
Mer. Now the place and goodness of it protect me. One tender-hearted creature or other, save Mercury, and free him. Ne'er an old gentlewoman in the house that has a wrinkle about her to hide me in? I could run into a serving-woman's pocket now; her glove, any little hole. Some merciful vardingale among so many,
From every head almost, how she is be bounteous and undertake me. I will
stand close up anywhere to escape this polt-footed philosopher, old Smug here of Lemnos, and his smoky family. Has he given me time to breathe? O the variety of torment that I have endured in the reign of the Cyclops, beyond the most exquisite wit of tyrants! The whole household of them are become Alchemists, since their trade of armour-making failed them, only to keep themselves in fire, for this winter; for the mischief a secret that they know, above the consuming of coals, and drawing of usquebagh! howsoever they may pre
had reason to put him in mind in one of his letters, that the burning of his study was a mere act of retaliation on the part of Vulcan.