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to resolve and thaw the cold they have presently contracted in coming through the colder region.
[Music. Here the Scene opens, and discovers the Region of the
Moon, from which the Masquers descend, and shake off their isicles.
and stand not still at gaze,
Till you collect your sight.
To quicken than refine.
The body whence they shine.
The first DANCE follows.
This is that orb so bright,
The sun's reflected light.
What his proportions be;
But is pure harmony.
Here the Main DANCE and REVELS.
Not that we think you weary be,
And made it so long live,
For they are infinite,
Be both the first and glad
The last DANCE.
Look, look already where I am,
With yours on earth the same.
say but James is he:
All ears will take the voice,
And in the tune rejoice,
hath left to be.
i Her. See what is that this music brings,
And is so carried in the air about? 2 Her. Fame, that doth nourish the renown of kings,
And keep that fair which Envy would blot out.
A MASQUE OF
THE METAMORPHOSED GIPSIES.
AS IT WAS THRICE PRESENTED
TO KING JAMES.
FIRST AT BURLEIGH ON THE Hill; NEXT AT
BELVOIR; AND LASTLY AT WINDSOR,
A MASQUE, &c.] From the folio 1641. But a copy of it had stolen abroad, and been printed the year before, together with a few of Jonson's minor poems, by J. Okes, in 12mo.
The folio, never greatly to be trusted, is here grievously incorrect, and proves the miserable incapacity of those into whose hands the poet's papers fell. The surreptitious copy, in 12mo. is somewhat less imperfect, but yet leaves many errors. These I have been enabled in some measure to remove, by the assistance of a MS. in the possession of my friend Richard Heber, Esq., to whose invaluable collection, as the reader is already apprized, I have so many obligations. This, which is in his own hand, and is perhaps the only MS. piece of Jonson's in existence, is more full and correct than either of the printed copies, the folio in particular, and is certainly prior to them both. It fills up many lacunæ and, in one instance, completes a stanza, by furnishing three lines, which no ingenuity could have supplied.
This Masque, as the title tells us, was performed before James and his Court at three several places. As the actors, as well as the spectators, varied at each, it became necessary to vary the language; and Jonson, who always attended the presentation of his pieces, was called on for additions adapted to the performers and the place. These unfortunately are not very distinctly marked either in the MS. or the printed copies, though occasional notices of them appear in the former. As every thing that was successively written for the new characters is come down to us, the Gipsies Metamorphosed appears of immoderate length; it must however have been highly relished by the Court; and the spirit and accuracy with which the male characters are drawn, and the delicacy and sweetness with which some of the female ones are depicted, though they cannot delight (as at the time) by the happiness of their application, may yet be perused with pleasure as specimens of poetic excellence, ingenious flattery, or adroit satire.