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Skel.

With Elinor Rumming,
To make up the mumming;
That comely Gill,
That dwelt on a hill,
But she is not grill:-
Her face all bowsy,
Droopy and drowsy,
Scurvy, and lousy,
Comely crinkled,
Wondrously wrinkled,
Like a roast pig's ear
Bristled with hair.

6

Skog. Or, what do you say to Ruffian Fitz-Ale? Johp. An excellent sight, if he be not too stale. But then we can mix him with modern Vapors, The child of tobacco, his pipes, and his papers.

Mere. You talk'd of Elinor Rumming, I had rather See Ellen of Troy.

6 With Elinor Rumming,

To make up the mumming, &c.] These are Skelton's own verses in his ballad on Eleanor Rumming, the old ale-wife. WHAL.

Jonson was evidently fond of Skelton, and frequently imitates his short titupping style, which is not his best. I know Skelton only by the modern edition of his works, dated 1736. But from this stupid publication I can easily discover that he was no ordinary man. Why Warton and the writers of his school rail at him so vehemently, I know not; he was perhaps the best scholar of his day, and displays, on many occasions, strong powers of description, and a vein of poetry that shines through all the rubbish which ignorance has spread over it. He flew at high game, and therefore occasionally called in the aid of vulgar ribaldry to mask the direct attack of his satire. This was seen centuries ago, and yet we are now instituting a process against him for rudeness and indelicacy! "By what means," says Grange, (who wrote about the beginning of Elizabeth's reign,) "could Skelton, that laureat poet, have uttered his mind so well at large, as thorowe his cloke of mery conceytes, as in his Speake Parrot, Ware the Hawke, The Tunning of Elinor Rumming, Why come ye not to the Court, &c. Yet what greater sense or better matter can be, than is in this ragged rhyme contayned? Or who would have hearde his fault so playnely told him, if not in such gibyng sorte?" The Golden Aphroditis.

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Johp. Her you shall see :
But credit me,

8

That Mary Ambree
(Who march'd so free
To the siege of Gaunt,
And death could not daunt,
As the ballad doth vaunt,')
Were a braver wight,
And a better sight.
Skel. Or Westminster Meg,
With her long leg,
As long as a crane;
And feet like a plane:
With a pair of heels,
As broad as two wheels
To drive down the dew,
As she goes to the stew:
And turns home merry,
By Lambeth ferry.
Or you may have come
In, Thomas Thumb,
In a pudding fat
With doctor Rat.

Fohp. Ay, that! that! that!

We'll have 'em all,
To fill the hall.

As the ballad doth vaunt.] The ballad, of which the first stanza follows, is re-published in Percy's Reliques, vol. ii. p. 218.

"When captains courageous, whom death colde not daunte, Did march to the siege of the cittye of Gaunte,

They mustred their souldiers by two and by three,
And foremost in battle was Mary Ambree."

8 Or Westminster Meg.] There is a penny story-book of this tremendous virago, who performed many wonderful exploits about the time that Jack the Giant-killer flourished. She was buried, as all the world knows, in the cloisters of Westminster abbey, where a huge stone is still pointed out to the Whitsuntide visitors as her grave-stone.

The ANTIMASQUE follows,

Consisting of these twelve persons, HOWLEGLASS, the four Knaves, two Ruffians, (FITZ-ALE and VAPOR,) ELINOR RUMMING, MARY AMBREE, LONG MEG of Westminster, TOM THUMB, and doctor RAT.

They DANCE, and withdraw.

Mere. What, are they vanish'd! where is skipping Skelton?

Or moral Skogan? I do like their shew,
And would have thank'd them, being the first grace
The company of the Rosy-cross hath done me.
Johp. The company o' the Rosy-cross, you
widgeon!

The company of [the] players. Go, you are,
And will be still your self, a Merefool, in:
And take your pot of honey here, and hogs-grease,
See who has gull'd you, and make one.

[Exit MEREFOOL.

Great king,
Your pardon, if desire to please have trespass'd.
This fool should have been sent to Anticyra,
The isle of Ellebore, there to have purg'd,
Not hoped a happy seat within your waters.-
Hear now the message of the Fates, and Jove,
On whom these Fates depend, to you, as Neptune
The great commander of the seas and isles.
That point of revolution being come,

When all the Fortunate Islands should be join'd,
MACARIA one, and thought a principal,
That hitherto hath floated, as uncertain
Where she should fix her blessings, is to-night

9 The company of [the] players.] Professional actors, as has been already observed, were sometimes employed in the Antimasques, more especially where they were of a very grotesque and ridiculous

nature.

Instructed to adhere to your Britannia :
That where the happy spirits live, hereafter
Might be no question made, by the most curious,
Since the MACARII come to do you homage,
And join their cradle to your continent.

Here the scene opens, and the Masquers are discovered sitting in their several sieges. The air opens above, and APOLLO, with HARMONY, and the Spirits of Music sing, the while the Island moves forward, PROTEUS sitting below, and hearkening.

SONG.

Look forth, the shepherd of the seas,
And of the ports that keep the keys,
And to your Neptune tell,
Macaria, prince of all the isles,
Wherein there nothing grows but smiles,
Doth here put in, to dwell.

The winds are sweet and gently blow,
But Zephyrus, no breath they know,
The father of the flowers:
By him the virgin violets live,
And every plant doth odours give,
As new, as are the hours.

Cho. Then, think it not a common cause,
That to it so much wonder draws,
And all the heavens consent,
With harmony to tune their notes,
In answer to the public votes,
That for it up were sent.

By this time, the island having joined itself to the shore, PROTEUS, PORTUNUS, and SARON come forth, and go up singing to the state, while the Masquers take time to rank themselves.

SONG.

Pro. Ay, now, the heights of Neptune's honours shine,
And all the glories of his greater style
Are read, reflected in this happiest isle.
Por. How both the air, the soil, the seat combine

To speak it blessed!

Sar.

These are the true groves

Where joys are born.

Pro.

Por.

Sar. That live!

Pro.

Por.

Where longings,

That last!

No intermitted wind

Blows here, but what leaves flowers or fruit behind. Cho.'Tis odour all that comes!

And where loves!

And every tree doth give his gums.

Pro. There is no sickness, nor no old age known
To man, nor any grief that he dares own.
There is no hunger here, nor envy of state,
Nor least ambition in the magistrate.
But all are even hearted, open, free,
And what one is, another strives to be.

Por. And light Anacreon,
He still is one!

Pro.

Sar.

Por.

Por. Here, all the day, they feast, they sport, and spring,
Now dance the Graces' hay; now Venus ring:
To which the old musicians play and sing.
Sar. There is Arion, tuning his bold harp,
From flat to sharp,

Stesichorus there, too,

That Linus and old Orpheus doth outdo
To wonder.

And Amphion! he is there.

Nor is Apollo dainty to appear
In such a quire, although the trees be thick,
Pro. He will look in, and see the airs be quick,

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