The Masque of Queens
Celebrated from the House of Fame.
By the most absolute in all state and titles:
Queen of Great Britain, etc.,
With her honourable ladies at Whitehall,
Feb. 2, 1609
It increasing now to the third time˚ of my being used in these services
to her majesty's personal presentations, with the ladies whom she pleaseth to honour, it was my first and special regard to see that the
nobility of the invention should be answerable to the dignity of their
|persons. For which reason I chose the argument to be a celebration||5|
of the best artist,˚ to suffer no object of delight to pass without his
mixture of profit and example.
And because her Majesty, best knowing that a principal part of life
|in these spectacles lay in their variety, had commanded me to think||10|
of a foil or false masque, I was careful to decline,˚ not only from
others', but mine own steps in that kind, since the last year I had an
antimasque of boys;˚ and therefore now devised that twelve women
|in the habit of hags or witches, sustaining the persons of Ignorance,||15|
part, not as a masque but a spectacle of strangeness, producing
multiplicity of gesture, and not unaptly sorting with the current and
whole fall of the device.
that which presented itself was an ugly hell, which, flaming beneath,
His Majesty then being set, and the whole company in full expectation, 20
smoked unto the top of the roof. And in respect all evils are, morally, said
to come from hell (as also from that observation of Torrentius upon Horace
his Canidia, quae tot instructa venenis, ex Orci faucibus profecta
|videri possit˚)these witches, with a kind of hollow and infernal music,||25|
came forth from thence. First one, then two, and three, and more, till their
number increased to eleven;˚ all differently attired, some with rats en their
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Court Masques:Jacobean and Caroline Entertainments, 1605-1640. Contributors: David Lindley - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 35.