Jupiter and Juno, willing to do honour to the marriage of the two famous rivers, Thamesis and Rhine, employ their messengers severally, Mercury and Iris, for that purpose. They meet and contend: Then Mercury, for his part, brings forth an anti-masque all of spirits or divine natures; but yet not of one kind or livery (because that had been so much in use heretofore) but, as it were, in consort, like to broken music: And preserving the propriety of the device; for that rivers in nature are maintained either by springs from beneath, or showers from above, he raiseth four of the Naiades out of the Mountains, and bringeth down five of the Hyades out of the clouds to dance. Hereupon, Iris scoffs at Mercury, for that he had devised a dance but of one sex, which could have no life: But Mercury, who was provided for that exception, and in token that the match should be blessed both with love and riches, calleth forth out of the groves four Cupids, and brings down from Jupiter's altar four statues of gold and silver to dance with the nymphs and stars: in which dance, the Cupids being blind, and the statues having but half life put into them, and retaining still somewhat of their old nature, giveth fit occasion to new and strange varieties both in the music and paces. This was the first anti-masque.
Then Iris, for her part, in scorn of this high-flying device, and in token that the match shall likewise be blessed with the love of the common people, calls to Flora, her confederate (for that the, months of flowers are likewise the months of sweet showers and rainbows) to bring in a May dance, or rural dance, consisting likewise not of any suited persons, but of a confusion or commixture of all such persons as are natural and proper for country sports. This is the second anti-masque.
Then Mercury and Iris, after this vieing one upon the other, seem to leave their contention; and Mercury by the consent of Iris, brings down the Olympian knights, intimating that Jupiter having, after a long discontinuance, revived the Olympian games, and summoned thereunto from all parts the liveliest and activest persons that were, had enjoined them, before they fell to their games, to do honour to these nuptials. The Olympian games portend to the match celebrity, victory, and felicity. This was the main masque.
The fabric was a mountain with two descents, and severed with two traverses.
At the entrance of the king, the first traverse was drawn, and the lower descent of the mountain discovered, which was the pendant of a hill to life, with divers boscages and grovets upon the steep or hanging grounds thereof; and at the foot of the hill, four delicate fountains running with water, and bordered with sedges and water flowers.
Iris first appeared; and presently after Mercury, striving to overtake her.
Iris apparelled in a robe of discoloured taffeta, figured in variable colours, like the rainbow, a cloudy wreath on her head, and tresses.
Mercury in doublet and hose of white tageta, a white hat, wings on his shoulders and feet, his caduceus in his hand, speaking to Iris as followeth:-
Immediately upon which speech, four Naiades arise gently out of their several Mountains, and present themselves upon the stage, attired in long habits of sea-green taffeta, with bubbles, of crystal intermixt with powdering of silver resebling drops of water, blueish tresses on their heads, garlands of water-lilies. They fall into a measure, dance a little, then make a stand.
Five Hyades descend softly in a cloud from the firmament, to the middle part of the hill, apparelled in sky-coloured taffeta robes, spangled like the heavens, golden tresses, and each a fair star on their head; from thence descend to the stage, at whose sight the Naiades, seeming to rejoice, meet and join in a dance.
Enter four Cupids from each side of the boscage, attired in flame-coloured taffeta close to their body, like naked boys, with bows, arrows, and wings of gold; chaplets of flowers on their heads, hoodwinked with tiffiny scarfs, who join with the Nymphr and the Hyades in another dance. That ended, Mercury speaks.
The Statues enter, supposed to be before descended from Jove's altar, and to have been prepared in the covert with the Cupids, attending their call.
These Statues were attired, in cases of gold and silver close to their bodies, faces, hands, and feet, nothing seen but gold and silver, as if they had been solid images of metal, tresses of hair as they had been of metal embossed, girdles and small aprons of oaken leaves, as if they likewise had been carved or moulded out of the metal: At their coming, the music changed from violins to hautboys, cornets, etc. and the air of the music was utterly turned into a soft time with drawing notes, excellently expressing their natures, and the measure likewise was fitted unto the same, and the statues placed in such several postures, sometimes altogether in the center of the dance, and sometimes in the four utmost angles, as was very graceful, besides the novelty. And so concluded the first Anti-masque.
The second Anti-masque rush in, dance their measure, and as rudely depart; consisting of a Pedant, May Lord, May Lady; Servinqmant, Chambermaid, a Country Clown, or Shepherd, Country Wench; a Host, Hostess; a He-Baboon, She-Baboon; a He-Fool, She-Fool, ushering them in.
All these persons, apparelled to the life, the Men issuing out of one side of the boscage, and the Women from the other. The music was extremely well fitted, having such a spirit of country jollity, as can hardly be imagined; but the perpetual laughter and applause was above the music.
The dance likewise war of the same strain; and the dancers, or rather actors, expressed every one their part so naturally and aptly, as when a man's eye was caught with the one, and then past on to the other, he could not satisfy himself which did best. It pleased his Majesty to call for it again at the end, as he did likewise for the first Anti-masque; but one of the Statues by that time was undressed.
The main Masque.-The second traverse is drawn, and the higher ascent to the mountains discovered; wherein, upon a level, after a great rise to the hill, were placed two pavillions: open in the front of them, the pavillions, were to sight as of cloth of gold, and they were trimmed on the inside with rich armour and military furniture, hanged up as upon the walls; and behind the tents there were represented, in prespective, the tops of divers other tents, as if it had been a camp. In these pavillions were placed fifteen~ Olympian Knights, upon seats a little embowed near~ the form of a crescent, and the Knights appeared first, as consecrated persons, all in veils, like to copes of silver tiffiny, and gathered, and falling a large compass about them, and over their heads high mitres, with long pendants behind falling from them; the mitres were so high, that they received their hats and feathers, that nothing was seen but veil. In the midst~ between both the tents, upon the very top of the hill, being a higher level than that of the tents, was ~placed Jupiter's altar gilt, with three great tapers upon golden candlesticks burning upon it; nd the four Statues, two of gold, and two of silver, as supporters, and Jupiter's Priests in white robes about it. Upon the sight of the King, the veils of the Knights did fall easily from them, and they appeared in their own habit.
The Knights' attire.-Arming doublets of carnation satin, embroidered with blazing stars of silver plate, witd powderings of smaller stars betwixt; gorgets of silver mail; long hose of the sake, with the doublets laid with silver lace spangled, and enriched with embroidery between the lace; carnation silk stockings embroidered all over; garters and roses suitable; pumps of carnation satin embroidered, as the doublets; hats of the same stuff, and embroidery cut like a helmet before, the hinder part cut into scallops, answering the skirts of their doublets; the bands of the hats were wreathr of silver in form of garlands of wild olives, white feathers, with one fall of carnation; belts of the same stuff, and embroidered with the doublet; silver swords; little Italian bands and cuffs ~embroidered with silver; fair, long tresses of hair.
The Priests' habits.-Long robes of white taffeta; long white heads of hair; the High-Priest a cap of white silk shag close to his head, with two labels at the ears, the midst rising in form of a pyramis, in the top thereof a branch of silver; every Priest playing upon a lute; twelve in number.
The Priests descend, and sing this song following; after whom the Knights likewise descend, first laying aside their veils, belts, and swords.
SONG.Shake off your heavy trance,
And leap into a dance,
Such as no mortals use to tread,
Fit only for Apollo
To play to, for the Moon to lead,
And all the stars to follow!
The Knights by this time are all descended and fallen into their place, and then dance their first measure.
SONG.On, blessed youths! for Jove doth pause,
Laying aside his graver laws
For this device:
And at the wedding such a pair,
Each dance is taken for a prayer,
Each song a sacrifice.
|[Solo.]||More pleasing were these sweet delights,|
If ladies moved as well as knights
Rim every one of you, and catch
A nymph, in honour of this match;
And whisper boldly in her ear,
Jove will but laugh, if you forswear!
|[Chorus.]||And this day's sins, he doth resolve,|
That we his priests should all absolve.
SONG.Ye should stay longer if we durst:
Away! Alas, that he that first
Gave Time wild wings to fly away,
Hath now no power to make him stay!
But though these games must needs be play'd,
I would this pair, when they are laid,
And not a creature nigh 'em,
Could catch his scythe as he doth pass,
And cut his wings and break his glass,
And keep him ever by 'em.
SONG.Peace and silence be the guide
To the man, and to the bride!
If there be a joy yet new
In marriage, let it fall on you,
That all the world may wonder!
If we should stay, we should do worse
And turn our blessing to a curse,
By keeping you asunder.