Court Masques: Jacobean and Caroline Entertainments, 1605-1640

By David Lindley | Go to book overview

BEN JONSON


Chloridia

Rites to Chloris and Her Nymphs,
Personated in a Masque at Court
By the Queen's Majesty and her Ladies
At Shrove-Tide, 1631

Unius tellus ante coloris erat

The King and Queen's majesty having given their command for the
invention of a new argument, with the whole change of the scene,
wherein her Majesty, with the like number˚ of her ladies, purposed a
presentation to the King, it was agreed it should be the celebration of

some rites done to the goddess Chloris,˚ who in a general council 5

of the gods was proclaimed goddess of the flowers, according to that
of Ovid in the Fasti: Arbitrium tu, Dea, floris habe.˚ And was to be
stellified on earth by an absolute decree from Jupiter, who would have
the earth to be adorned with stars, as well as the heaven.

Upon this hinge, the whole invention moved. 10

The ornament which went about the scene was composed of foliage, or leaves, heightened with gold, and interwoven with all sorts of flowers, and
naked children playing and climbing among the branches; and in the midst
a great garland of flowers in which was written
, CHLORIDIA.

The curtain being drawn up, the scene is discovered, consisting of15

pleasant kills planted with young trees and all the lower banks adorned
with flowers. And from some hollow parts of those hills fountains come
gliding down, which, in the far-off landscape, seemed all to be converted
to a river
.

Over all, a serene sky with transparent clouds, giving a great lustre to20

the whole work, which did imitate the pleasant spring.

When the spectators had enough fed their eyes with the delights of the
scene, in a part of the air a bright cloud begins to break forth; and in it
is sitting a plump boy in a changeable garment, richly adorned
,

representing the mild Zephyrus.˚ On the other side of the scene in a25

-147-

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