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(Hung with the dew of blessing and increase,)
To this we will venture to add a stanza or two, from the “ Priest's song,” (in the same Masque,) addressed to the knights and ladies. The words in italics are particularly imposing.
“ On, blessed youths !—for Jove doth pause,
For this device :
Each dance is taken for a prayer,
The knights then dance their “ second measure," and the song continues, the only thing in which that can be excepted against being the moral or doctrine at the end. Jupiter, it must be confessed, was an indifferent authority, (though he has passed into a proverb,) in matters of this sort.
“ More pleasing were these sweet delights,
If ladies danced as well as knights ;
The termination of this poem, like
“ The setting sun, and music at its close,”
is exceedingly graceful and pleasant. It is a fit ending for a bridal hymn.
“ Peace and silence be the guide
If there be a joy yet new
That all the world may wonder!
By keeping you asunder.”
We are very much disposed to extend our offence against order, by quoting to the reader a few passages from Ben Jonson's Gipsey Masque ; but we believe, we must refrain from meddling much with it at present.—What can be more delightful, in its way, than the following 'strain ?' The Egyptians dealt in blessings of old, and this is one of them :
“ The fairy beam upon you,
Till the bird of day,
The next, in which the Lady Elizabeth Hatton's fortune ‘is offered at by the five gipsies,' is in a different vein.
“Mistress of a fairer table
The song (beginning • The sports are done,') sung by “the Jackman,” is also worthy of quotation; and that which commences with
“ Good princes soar above their fame,
Come greater forth,
is profounder than usual. We are afraid that King James the first (to whom it was addressed) could not have heard this part of the masque distinctly. And this reminds us of Mr. Dekker, whose “ Magnificent Entertainment” we have for a while neglected.
The · Device' of Dekker opens in the following alarming manner :
“ The sorrow and amazement, that, like an earthquake, began to shake the distempered body of this Island, (by reason of our late sovereign's departure,) being wisely and miraculously prevented, and the feared wounds of a civil sword, (as Alexander's fury was with music,) being stopt from bursting forth, by the sound of trumpets that proclaimed King James.' All men's eyes were presently turned to the north, standing even stone still in their circles, like the points of so many geometrical needles, through a fixed and adamantine desire to behold this forty-five years' wonder now brought forth by time; their tongues neglecting all language else, save that which spake jealous prayers, and unceasable wishes, for his most speedy and longed-for arrival.”
This is but the prologue, however, to the great farce which his Majesty King James the first, of blessed memory, played for the benefit of his liege subjects of England and Scotland, during a certain term of years, not easily to be forgotten. He appears, in this instance, to have been heralded by · Expectation' and 'Rumour, (allegorical knights, who were born for the purpose of trumpeting the virtues of kings, and duly disappointing their subjects)—and by · St. George,' and • St. Andrew,' (linked hand in hand, like the two Kings of Brentford,) whose“ newly begotten amity,” it seems, calls up the “ Genius of the City.” Of this last named person's eloquence, the following is a pleasant specimen.
Did e'er cast up such joys, nor the like sum
After this and dilapia of the plow the laste
Several pages, which follow the last extract, are consumed in the arrangement of the procession, and an account of the erections and dilapidations to be occasioned by the ceremony. After this follows a detail of the pageant. Here, “ Divine Wisdom,” and the “ Genius of the City,” become companions, for the first time. The “ River Thames,” and “ Loving Affection," — “ Promptitude” and “ Unanimity,” and other sociable abstractions, make their , appearance. Then comes the Italians' pageant," with Latin speeches and inscriptions.—Then the pageant of the “ Dutchmen,” who offer to his majesty equally good Latin, upon large azure tables, lined with characters of gold.—Then comes the “ Device at Soper Lane End,” which place is converted into Arabia the happy, and produces an anomalous lady, called “ Arabia Britannica," attired in white, with “ Fame” by her side, (a “ Woman in a Watchet Robe,”) and the five Senses properly apparelled. At some distance from these,-But we must here yield up to the author the advantage of his own words, as it will give the reader a better idea than we could otherwise afford him of the character of Mr. Dekker's production. i “ Some pretty distance from them, (and, as it were, in the midst before them), an artificial laver or fount was erected, called the Fount of Arate (Virtue), sundry pipes, (like veins), branching from the body of it; the water receiving liberty but from one place, and that very slowly.
“ At the foot of this fount, two personages in greater shapes than the rest), lay sleeping; upon their breasts stuck their names, Detractio, Oblivio ; the one holds an open cup, about whose brim a wreath of curled snakes were winding, intimating that whatsoever his lips touched was poisoned, the other held a black cup covered, in token of an envious desire to drown the worth and memory of noble persons.
“ Upon an ascent on the right hand of these, stood the three Charities or Graces, hand-in-hand, attired like three sisters. Aglaia,
Brightness, or Majesty.
(Cheerfulness, or Gladness. * They were all three virgins, their countenances labouring to smother an innate sweetness and cheerfulness that apparelled their cheeks; yet hardly to be hid. Their garments were long robes of sundry colours, hanging loose: the one had a chaplet of sundry flowers on her head, clustered here and there with the fruits of the earth. The second, a garland of ears of corn. The third, a wreath of vine branches, mixt with grapes and olives.
Their hair hung down over their shoulders loose and of a bright colour, for that epithet is properly bestowed upon them by Homer, in his hymn to Apollo.
The Bright-haired Graces. They held in their hands pensil'd shields; upon the first was drawn a rose; on the second three dice; on the third a branch of myrtle.
In a direct line against them stood the three flowers, to whom in this place we give the names of Love, Justice, and Peace; they were attired in loose robes of light colours, painted with flowers, for so Ovid apparels them.
Conveniunt pictis incinctæ vestibus Hore. Wings at their feet, expressing their swiftness, because they are Lackies to the sun : Jungere equos Tytan velocibus imperat Horis.
Ovid. Each of them held two goblets, the one full of flowers (as ensign of the spring), the other full of ripened figs, the cognizance of summer.
Upon the approach of his majesty, sad and solemn musick having beaten the air all the time of his absence, and now ceasing, Fame speaks.
We cannot tell.