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with platonic recommendations of the doctrine of chastity.
and diction may be found in some of these entertainments. Among the more eminently beautiful, Mr. Warton places Browne's Inner Temple Masque (Hist. Eng. Poet. vol. ii. 401); to which he supposes Milton may have been indebted in Comus. Some, however, not possessed of native charms, were indebted for the approbation they experienced to the aids of music, dancing, and machinery. And some could expect " to please and sate the curious taste" by the introduction of such fantastic personages as Wassal, Mumming, Minced Pye, and Babie Cake. See Jonson's Masque of Christmas, 1610.
Queen Elizabeth was often entertained by her nobility with splendid Masks, of which none were more remarkable than those at Kenelworth Castle in Warwickshire, by the Earl of Leicester, in 1575, and at Wanstead-house in Essex, by the same nobleman, in May 1578, when the Mask was named The Lady of the May, and was written by that accomplished gentleman, Sir Philip Sidney. Perhaps I may be excused, if I lengthen the note by giving an extract or two from this Mask, which may remind the reader of a pleasant character on the modern stage, the Lingo of the Agreeable Surprise. Rombus (for that is the name of Sir P. Sidney's pedant) thus introduces himseif to the Queen: "I am, potetuisslma domina, a school-master, that is to say, "a pedagogue, one not a little versed in the disciplinating «' of the juvenal frie, &c. Yet hath not the pulcritude of "my virtues protected raee from the contaminating hands
The ingenious and accurate Mr. Reed has pointed out a rude outline, from which Milton
"of these plebeians; for coming solummoJo to have parted "their sanguinolent fray, they yielded mee no more reve"rence, then if I had been some pecorius asihus. I, even I, "that am; Who am I? Dixi, verbus tapiento latum est.1"— Like Lingo, who, if I remember right, reflects on the ignorance of the unhappy clowns, who know nothing, nor won't be learned, Rombus also exclaims, " Ehem, hei, in"sipidum, hiciUum uulgorum et populorum! Why, you brute "Nebulons, have you had my mrpusculum so long among "you, and cannot yet tell how to edjfie an argument ?"— Holofernes, in Love's Labour's Lost, has been supposed by Mr. Capell to bear a faint resemblance to Rombus.
The great passion for these dramatic performances in the two succeeding reigns has been remarked by an acute writer: "It was the fashion," he says, "for the nobility "to celebrate their weddings, birth-days, and other occa"sions of rejoicing, with Masks and interludes, which were "exhibited with surprising expence; that great architect, "Inigo Jones, being frequently employed to furnish deco"rations with all the magnificence of his invention." Dodslej's Preface to his Collect, of Old Plays. In the reign of James, his Queen " had given countenance to this practice "[at court], and, I believe, she is the first of our Queens "that appeared personnally in this most elegant and ra"tional entertainment of a court." Hist. Eng. Poet. vol. ii. 401. In the following reign, " the king and his lords, "the queen and her ladies, frequently performed in these seems partly to have sketched the plan of the fable of Comus. See Biograph. Dramat. ii. p. 441. It
"Masques at court, and all the nobility in their own private "houses: in short, no public entertainment was thought "complete without them; and to this humour it is we "owe, arid perhaps 'tis all we owe it, the inimitable "Masque at Ludlow Castle." Dodsley ut supr. Puritanism, which had taken great offence at Shirley's Mask, in 1633, as it advanced in strength, " more openly opposed "them, as wicked and diabolical;" and, at length, " Crom"well's usurpation put an end to them."
About the year 1675 a feeble effort was made to revive these liberal and elegant amusements at Whitehall. Queen Catherine ordered Crowne to write a Pastoral called Calisto, which was acted at court by the ladies Mary and Anne, daughters of the Duke of York, and the young nobility. About the same time lady Anne, afterwards Queen, performed the part of Semandra, in Lee's Mithridates. Hist. Eng. Poet. vol. ii. 402, note. At the marriage of James Duke of Hamilton and Lady Anrie Cochran, Feb. 11, 1723, this celebrity was renewed in the performance of a Mask, intitled The Nuptials, which was written by Allan Ramsay. An ingenious unknown friend in England, complimented the Scottish bard, on " his revival of a good old "form of poetry, in high repute with us." See the introduction prefixed to the Mask. The same writer-, having observed that the original of Masks might be an imitation of the Interludes of the ancients, and having highly commended Ramsay for his noble and successful attempt to reD
is an old' play, with this title, "The Old Wives "Tale, a pleasant conceited comedie, plaied by "the Queenes Maiesties players. Written by "G. P.c [i. e. George Peele.] Printed at Lon
vive this kind of poesy, gives the joint opinion of Addison and himself respecting Comus: "the best Mask eveir'writ"ten was that of Milton, in the praise of which no words "can be too many: and I remember to have heard'the "late excellent Mr. Addison agree with me in that opi"nion." Another grand Mask, intitled Alfred, and written by Thomson and Mallet, may be mentioned. See Biog. Dram. vol. ii. p. 8. It was performed on "the'1st of August 1740, in the gardens of Clifden, in commemoration of the accession of George I. and in honour of the birth-day of the princess of Brunswick; the prince and princess of Wales, and all their court, being present. Dr. Todd.
c George Peele, the author of the Old Wiues Tale, was a native of Devonshire, and a student of Christ Church, Oxford, where he became a master of arts in 1579. At the university he was much esteemed for his poetical talents. Going to London, he was made conductor of the city pageants: hence he seems to have got a connexion with the stage. He was one of the wits of the town, and his " Merrie Iests" appeared 1607. Reprinted 1627. - Mr. Steevens justly supposes, that the character of George Pieboard, in the Puritan, was designed for George Peele. See Malone's Suppl. Shaksp. ii. 587. He has some few pastoral pieces in England's Helicon. He dedicated a poem called the Honour "don by John Danter, and are to be sold by Ralph "Hancocke and John Hardie, 1595." In quarto. This very scarce and curious piece exhibits, among other parallel incidentsj two Brothers wandering in quest of their Sister, whom an Enchanter had
«f the Garter, to the Earl of Northumberland, by whom he was patronised in 1593. He wrote also, among other things, Polyhymnia, the description of a Tylt exhibited before the queen, 1590. As to his plays, beside .the Old Wiues Tale, 1595, he wrote The Arraignment of Paris, 1584.—Edward the First, 1503. —King David and Fair Bethsabe, 1599.—And The Turkish Mahomet. and Hyren [Irene] the Faire Greek, never printed. See Malone, ut supr. vol. i. 191. Of his popularity, and in various kinds of poetry, see Mere's Wit's Treasury, 1598, i2mo. p. 232. 283. 285. And Nash's Epistle to the Gentlernen Students of both Universities, prefixed to Greene's Arcadia, 4to. bl. let. He lived on the Bank-side, opposite to Black Friars, and died, in want and obscurity, of a disease, which Wood says is incident to poets, about the year 1597- He was a favourite dramatic poet; and his plays continued to be acted with applause long after his death. A man of Peele's profession, situation, and character, must have left many more plays, at least interludes, than are now remembered even by name only. His Old Wiues Tale, which is unrecited by Wood, and of which the industrious Langbaine appears to have known nothing more than the title, had sunk into total oblivion. W«hton.