Court Masques: Jacobean and Caroline Entertainments, 1605-1640

By David Lindley | Go to book overview
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BEN JONSON


Christmas His Masque

Christmas his Masque,
as it was presented at court, 1616

Enter Christmas with two or three of the guard. He is attired in round
hose, long stockings, a close doublet, a high-crowned hat with a brooch,˚
a long thin beard, a truncheon, little ruffs, white shoes, his scarfs and
garters tied cross, and his drum beaten before him
.

CHRISTMAS Why, gentlemen, do you know what you do? Ha! would 5
you ha' kept me out? Christmas, old Christmas? Christmas of
London, and Captain Christmas? Pray you let me be brought
before my Lord Chamberlain,˚ I'll not be answered else. 'Tis
merry in hall when beards wag all. I ha' seen the time you ha'

wished for me, for a merry Christmas; and now you ha' me, they 10
would not let me in; I must come another time! A good jest, as if I could come more than once a year. Why, I am no dangerous
person, and so I told my friends o' the guard. I am old Gregory
Christmas' still, and, though I come out of Pope's Head Alley,˚ as
good a Protestant˚ as any i' my parish. The truth is, I ha' brought 15
a masque here out o' the City, o' my own making, and do present
it by a set of my sons, that come out of the lanes of London,
good dancing boys all. It was intended, I confess, for Curriers'
Hall,˚ but because the weather has been open,˚ and the livery
were not at leisure to see it till a frost come that they cannot work, 20
I thought it convenient, with some little alterations, and the Groom of the Revels' hand to't, to fit it for a higher place--which
I have done; and though I say it, another manner of device than
your New Year's night. [He sees the King] Bones o' bread, the
King! Son Rowland, son Clem, be ready there in a trice; quick, 25
boys.

Enter his sons and daughters, being ten in number, led in in a string by Cupid, who is attired in a flat cap˚ and a prentice's coat, with wings at
his shoulders
.

-109-

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