Court Masques: Jacobean and Caroline Entertainments, 1605-1640

By David Lindley | Go to book overview

BEN JONSON


Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue

Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue
A Masque
As it was presented at Court before
King James, 1618.

The scene was the mountain Atlas,˚ who had his top ending in the figure
of an old man, his head and beard all hoary and frost, as if his shoulders
were covered with snow; the rest wood and rock. A grove of ivy at his feet,
out of which, to a wild music of cymbals, flutes, and tabors, is brought

forth Comus,˚ the god of cheer or the belly, riding in triumph, his head5

crowned with roses and other flowers, his hair curled; they that wait upon
him crowned with ivy, their javelins done about with it; one of them going
with Hercules his bowl˚ bare before him, while the rest presented him with
this


HYMN

Room, room, make room for the bouncing belly,˚ 10
First father of sauce, and deviser of jelly;
Prime master of arts, and the giver of wit,
That found out the excellent engine, the spit,
The plough and the flail, the mill and the hopper,
The hutch and the bolter, the furnace and copper, 15
The oven, the bavin, the mawkin, the peel,
The hearth and the range, the dog and the wheel.˚
He, he first invented both hogshead and tun,
The gimlet and vice too, and taught 'em to run.˚
And since, with the funnel, an Hippocras bag˚ 20
He's made of himself, that now he cries swag.˚
Which shows, though the pleasure be but of four inches,
Yet he is a weezle, the gullet that pinches,˚
Of any delight; and not spares from his back
Whatever to make of the belly a sack. 25
Hail, hail plump paunch, O the founder of taste

-117-

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