C. H. Herford, Percy Simpson, and Evelyn Simpson (eds), Ben Jonson, Vol. 10: Play Commentary; Masque Commentary

Contents
Find Location in text

Main Text

LOVE FREED FROM IGNORANCE AND FOLLY

Originally planned for Christmas 1610, this masque was put off till Twelfth Night 1611 and further to 3 February, 'either because the stage machinery is not in order or because their Majesties thought it well to let the Marshal depart first', says Correr in the Venetian pg 528State Papers (xii, p. 110) on 21 January. The Marshal was Laverdin who had annoyed the King and Queen by coming too late for Oberon.1 In a further dispatch, dated 11 February, Correr reports that 'The Marshal is hurrying his departure, urged, as he says, by couriers express; nothing keeps him but the Queen's Masque, which takes place the day after to-morrow' (ibid., p. 115). He was present along with the Venetian ambassador.

Again Jonson does not mention Inigo Jones or Ferrabosco or the others whose payment is recorded in the State accounts. A warrant of 26 November 1610 for this masque and Oberon has already been quoted on page 520, and there are various entries in the Pell Order Book, E 403/2730. On f. 77b is an entry of 1 February 1611 to 'Inigo Iones for the Queenes Maske': 'By Order dated vltimo Ianuarij: 1610 To Inigo Iones appointed by the Right honorable the Earles of Suff and worcestr for receipt therof the summe of twoe hundred poundreproduced character to be by him imployed about the charges of the Queenes Maske reproduced character b̃re dat. xxvjto die Novembris 1610:' checked by 'Cary'.

Other payments are on f. 75b, 21 January 1611: 'By Order dated vltimo Decembris 1610. To Willm̃ Stirrell gent the Summe of twoe hundred poundreproduced character to be by him imployed for the charges of the Queenes Maske intended reproduced character b̃re dat. xxvjto die Novembris: 1610', checked by 'Bowier'. And again on f. 121, 9 March 1611: 'By Order dated quinto Martij 1610. To Willm̃ Stirrell gent authorized by the Right Honorable the Earle of Suff Lord Chamb̃laine of his Ma:ties housholde and the Earle of Worcester Mr of his Ma:ties horse the summe of twoe hundred poundreproduced character fowerscore shillingreproduced character threepence to be by him paied over to diverse particular reproduced charactersons imployed in the Queenes Ma:tie Maske reproduced characterformed at xpe m as last: 1610: reproduced character b̃re dat xxvjto die Novembris 1610:' checked by 'Watson'. Lastly there is an entry to Richard Ansell on f. 172b, 6 May 1611: 'By Order dated vltimo Aprilis 1611. To Richard Ansell Mattlayer the summe of tenne poundreproduced character vijs xjd for workreproduced character done by him in the banqueting house the last Maske att Candlemas 1610. according to his bill subscribed by the Earles of Suff' & Worcester, reproduced character b̃re dat xxijto die Novembris 1610'. Checked by 'Watson'.

Two entries in Lansdowne MS. 164, weekly accounts of the tellers of the Exchequer, 1611–14, refer to this masque in the payments from 31 November to 7 December 1611, 'To Thomas woodward in full paymt for the maske CCClxviijli viijs' (f. 2), and 'Eniges Masque' —i.e. Inigo's—'att xpremãs last. 1611ndash;CCli' (f. 12).

In the Exchequer of Receipt, Miscellanea, E407/57 (1), ff. 1, 2, is 'The pg 529bill of account of the hole charges of the Queens Mtreproduced character Maske at Christmas. 1610'.

'Inprimis to Mr Inigo Iohnes as apeareth by his byll.

238li

16s

10d

It'm to mr. Confesse vpon his bill for the 12 fooles

16li

6s

6d

It'm to his Taylor for making the suite as apeareth by his bill

8li

It'm for 128 yeards of fustian to Lyne theire Coatreproduced character att 10d the yeard

5li

6s

8d

It'm for 87 ownces of Coper Lace att 18d the ownce, and 6 ownces att 2od the ownce vsed for the 11 preestreproduced character gownreproduced character and hoodreproduced character, wth shoues, and skarffs

7li

4d

It'm for 24 yeards of Riband to beare their Lutes att 12d the yeard, and one Dosen att 3d, and half a Dosen att 2d the yeard

1li

8s

It'm to the Taylor for making those gownreproduced character and hoodreproduced character

4li

It'm to the II preestes to buy their silke stockingreproduced character and showes att 2li a peece

22li

It'm for 3 yeards of flesh collored satten for Cupidreproduced character Coate, and hose att 14s the yeard

2li

2s

It'm for 26 yeardreproduced character of Callico to lyne the preestes hoodreproduced character att 20d the yeard

2li

3s

4d

It'm to the taylor for Making and furnishing of Cupidreproduced character suite with Lace and puffreproduced character

1li

10s

Sum̃a 3o8li–14s–3d

'Rewards to the reproduced charactersons imployed in the Maske.

Inprimis to mr Beniamin Iohnson for his Invention

40li

It'm to mr Inigo Iohnes for his paynes and Invention

40li

It'm to mr Alfonso 〈Ferrabosco〉 for making the songes

20li

It'm to mr 〈Robert〉 Iohnson for setting the songreproduced character to the lutes

5li

It'm to Thomas Lupo for setting the dances to the violens

5li

It'm to mr Confesse for teachinge all the dances

50li

It'm to mr Bochan for teaching the Ladies the footing of 2 danses

20li

To the 12 Musitions that were preestes that songe and played

24li

It'm to the 12 other Lutes that suplied, and wth fluits

12li

It'm to the 10 violens that contynualy practized to the Queene

20li

It'm to 4 more that were added att the Maske

4li

It'm to 15 Musitions that played to the Pages and fooles

20li

It'm to 13 hoboyes and sackbutts

10li

It'm to 5 boyes that is, 3 graces Sphynkreproduced character and Cupid

10li

It'm to the 12 fooles that danced

12li

Sum̃a 292li

'Disburs: Sum̃a totalis is

600li

14s

3d

Receiptreproduced character: Where of ther is receaved

400li

Remaines. So the Wardrobe being not yet discharged, ther remayns to be allowed

200li

14s

3d

'There was receaved from the Kingreproduced character Wardrobe of Sr Roger Aston.

pg 530

Imprimis of severall Collered taffite for 12 fooles, and 3 graces, 52 ells, and a q'rter att 17s the elln.

44li

8s

3d

It'm of Crimson taffite for the 11 preestreproduced character amounting to 55 els, and mr Confesse his coate being in the number, att 17s the elln

46li

15s

It'm of watched satten for the preestreproduced character hoodreproduced character and gorgettreproduced character 26 yeardes 3 q'rters att 15s the yeard

19li

19s

9d

It'm of taffite sarsnett for scarffreproduced character to girde their gownes beinge 18 ells att 8s the ell

7li

4s

Sum̃a 118li–7s–0.

'Memorandum that this last sume of 118li—7s— is to be allowed to Sr Roger Aston Knight, over and aboue, the other foresayd sum̃e of 600li–14s–3d.

T. Suffolke. J. E. Worcester.'1

Jonson's silence about the scenery, the performers, and the occasion of the masque makes identification difficult, but we believe that the scene in Inigo Jones's Designs, no. 17, represents the release of the 'eleven Daughters of the Morn' from the prison of night in this masque. Miss Welsford has reproduced it in The Court Masque, plate x, facing page 256. The lower part represents the entrance to the prison—a castellated gateway with a grate in the middle, flanked by two circular towers with arched doorways. This structure is capped by an oval wreath of cloud, inside which are three small conical hills; in front of the two lateral hills are seated three ladies grouped in a pyramid, and in front of these before the middle hill five ladies arranged in the same way, the lady in the highest place, who has two flying genii holding a wreath over her head, representing the queen. The Sphinx's riddle has just been solved, and the prisoners appear triumphantly above their prison. The form of the machine containing the masquers and the grouping of them in pyramidal form finds a parallel in The Masque of Queens.

Swinburne (A Study, p. 56) comments on Jonson's 'use of the sweet and simple heptasyllabic metre' in this masque as 'worthy of Richard Barnfield or George Wither: … in purity and fluency of music his verse can seldom be compared, as here it justly may, with the clear flutelike notes of Cynthia and The Shepherd's Hunting'.

2. wilde Instruments. So the Witches in The Masque of Queens, 30, enter 'with a kind of hollow and infernall musique'.

5 note. Ignorance. Cebes, Tabula, iii, ἡ γὰρ Άϕροσύνη τοῖς ἀνθρώποις Σϕίγξ ἐστιν‎.

30. again would Chaos bee. Cf. Beauty, 282–5, 324–7.

60. candor. Alch. v. v. 152.

pg 531

77. rich and purest. A compressed superlative, the richest and purest: Alch. ii. ii. 60, 'the pure, and grauest of Diuines'.

132. her riddle. Compare the riddle of the Theban Sphinx in the Oedipus myth.

172. take me' along. E.M.O. v. iv. 16.

178. the new world i' the Moone. A reference to Galileo's Nuntius Sidereus, March 1610.

186. a world in feature, the microcosm of Hym. 125.

251. To the cliffe. So the Theban Sphinx sat on a hill to propound her riddle.

285. the world without. Cf. Blackness, 248.

292. The Contraries. Ovid, Met. ii. 846–7:

  • Non bene conveniunt nec in una sede morantur
  • maiestas et amor.

312. præcipitate themselues. Like the Sphinx at Thebes when her riddle was solved.

350. lines, appointed lot, as in the Biblical phrase, 'The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places' (Psalm xvi. 6).

375. ayry. For Swinburne's conjecture see vol. vii, p. 358.

Notes

1 See page 519.

1 Printed by Reyher, op. cit., pp. 509–10.

logo-footer Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out