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In Preparation by the Same Author



Court Masques of Elizabeth
" Claries I.

Milton's Minor Poems; Edited for High Schools



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.COURT MASQUES
OF JAMES I



. /



THEIR INFLUENCE ON SHAKESPEARE
AND THE PUBLIC THEATRES



BY



MARY SULLIVAN/ Ph.D.



ILLUSTRATED



G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK AND LONDON

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/^hIrvaruv\

UNIVERSITY
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Copyright, 1913

BY

MARY SULLIVAN



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SO
PROFESSOR AND MRS. C. W. WALLACE



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INTRODUCTION

THIS work was undertaken tinder the generous
inspiration of Professor and Mrs. C. W. Wallace,
whose accomplishments in Shakespearean research seem,
to their co-workers, little less than marvellous. Through
them came the impetus to work over the store of
already examined material in the British Museum,
together with some of the millions of unsearched docu-
ments in the Public Record Office and elsewhere. Very
interesting it is to come upon the handwriting of Eliza-
beth, James I, and other members of royalty, nobility,
ambassadors, etc., found in letters and other documents.
To lay hands, among these documents, on tangible
things for specific helpfulness in particular plays is,
however, not easy.

The masque is the form of Elizabethan dramatic
literature upon which external influences had most
apparent effect. Although masques were given in
private, they were the most public literary productions
of their time, because they were the form of literature
most closely associated with the public acts of royalty
and of men who were in the popular eye. The political,
social, industrial, and religious conditions influencing
masques, and influenced in turn by them, offer a large
field for investigation, and deserve no less than very
extended treatment. It seemed well, then, to limit the
present work to a consideration of those masques pro-
duced at the Court of King James, under influences
connected with international questions.



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vi Introduction

Research for material upon such masques opened up
new avenues of investigation. New documents, yet
unpublished, were found, involving Shakespeare and his
company with the Royal Masquers, the nobility, and
foreign ambassadors. Though no genuine scholar
to-day gives serious heed to the old cry which held
actors to be of low estimate or morals, in the time of
Elizabeth and James I, nevertheless few realise how
false was such a charge, or what essential instruments of
state actors and producers of literature really were.
Few, therefore, evaluate correctly the position occupied
by "The King's Players," "Grooms of the King's
Chamber," and teachers and assistants to royalty, in
presenting masques. Of interest also are stage plans,
of Inigo Jones and other architects, for masques and
plays presented in the Court, arrangements of Court
halls, seating of audiences, etc. All these things shed
at least a tiny ray of light upon the comparative dark-
ness which surrounds the Shakespearean stage. Consid-
eration of all these questions is under way, but many
of them, though interesting and tempting, are excluded
from the present discussion, for want of room, and
because they are extraneous to the main purpose of the
present investigation.

As far as possible, the original documents have been
allowed to tell their own story; therefore many have
been admitted into the text as well as into the notes.
A studied attempt has been made to keep these repro-
duced documents as nearly like the originals as modern
printing and the condition of the documents themselves
will permit. Where the originals are torn, or partly
destroyed, bracketed matter supplies conjecturally
what was lost. Aside from this no intentional
change has been made in spelling, abbreviation, etc. A



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Introduction vii

bibliography of the original documents, which justify
practically all the decisions of the present chapters,
seems unnecessary since the documents themselves are
included in the notes, with all the data necessary for
finding them.

Acknowledgments are due to investigators of the
masque, already in the field, particularly to M. Paul
Reyher, Dr. A. Soergel, Dr. Rudolf Brotanek, and more
especially to Dr. Albert Feuillerat for courtesies for
which the author is very grateful. The ever ready
helpfulness of those in charge in the British Museum,
in the Public Record Office, and in offices of State,
especially those in the offices of the Duke of Connaught,
have made investigation not only easy but pleasant.
The author wishes to express her gratitude to Superin-
tendent Davidson formerly of Omaha and to Superin-
tendent Graff whose influences secured a generous leave
of absence; to Dr. Louise Pound and Dr. Jones, both of
the University of Nebraska, for favours given not only
on the present occasion but in the past. The assistance
of Professor and Mrs. C. W. Wallace, and the continued
patience and inspiration of Dean L. A. Sherman, are of
such quality and character as to forbid any adequate
expression of appreciation.



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CONTENTS

PAGB

CHAPTER I

Court Masques, i 603-1 608 — Queen Anne the
Chief Masquer — Ascendency of Spain . 1

CHAPTER II

1 608-1 614 — The Masque an Instrument in Euro-
pean Religious Combinations — Ascendency
of France 47

chapter m

1613-1616 — Masques Less Important Diplomati-
cally — Friendliness between France and
Spain 83

CHAPTER IV

1616-1625 — Prince Charles, Chief Masquer,

Final Alliance of James with France 102

CHAPTER V
The Cost of Dramatic Productions in the Court 138

chapter vi

Influence of Diplomatic Conditions upon Lit-
erature 152

Appendix 191

Index 255



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ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

Ambassadors whom Shakespeare was Paid by the
State to Entertain . . . Frontispiece

The Marquis of Buckingham, Favourite and
Chief Adviser to James I., also a Prominent
Masquer 116

Photograph of Inigo Jones's Plan for the Pro-
duction of Florim^ne in the Hall at
Whitehall, December 23, 1635 • .184

For original see Lansdowne Manuscript 117 1 in British
Museum.



XI



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Court Masques of James I



CHAPTER I

COURT MASQUES, 1603-1608 — QUEEN ANNE THE CHIEF
MASQUER— ASCENDENCY OF SPAIN

IT has been too much the custom for scholars of liter-
ature and history to treat these subjects as if they
had no relation to each other. Those who gave most
encouragement and assistance to the producers of liter-
ature, at least in the time of Shakespeare, were the
chief social and political figures of the age. 1 In many
cases, perhaps in most cases, their interest in literature
had its inception in, was actuated by and involved with
their political interest. But there is one species of
literature of which this is especially true.

Those who have written on the masque have ob-
served that an understanding and appreciation of this
species of literature, more than of all others, depends
upon a knowledge of the occasion upon or for which it
was produced. 3 Yet no one has collected the materials

1 See infra, passim, King James's encouragement of masques, etc.

1 "In a word every masque is in its nature what the French call a
piece d' occasion; and no such piece can be thoroughly appreciated apart
from the occasion itself." A. W. Ward, English Dramatic Literature
(1899), ii, 389.

"Car une 6tude sur le 'masque' en soi, isole* du milieu social, de la

1



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2 Court Masques of James I

which enable us to know these occasions. Consequently
the high favour and importance of the masque at Court
has been erroneously attributed to such merely subsid-
iary causes as a love of splendour, "gratification of aris-
tocratic exdusiveness," the adulation of royalty, etc. f
The real occasion for the production of all the great-
est masques of the Jacobean Court lies as deep as the
business of State. 9 When foreign ambassadors at the
English Court officially insisted that a masque was a
public action wherein one nation could not be favoured
more than another without manifest testimony of bad
faith to the nation neglected*; that a masque was a pub-

litterature, du drame, de Tart de l'epoque, me fait l'effet d'un contre-sens
et presque d'un non-sens." Paul Reyher, Les Masques Anglais (1909),
viti.

1 "But the favour so widely extended to this kind of entertainments
in the Jacobean age was chiefly due to other causes. These must be
sought in the love of an elaborate and in a sense refined splendour which
was characteristic of the times, and in the signal advance noticeable in
them to the decorative arts, whose foremost representative, Inigo Jones,
was gifted with a genius of rare versatility and force. In addition the
circumstances under which the masques were ordinarily produced
gratified that aristocratic exclusiveness, which sets the stamp upon
fashionable success; while these entertainments furnished the great
nobles and ministers, and other pillars and pilasters of the throne, with
constant opportunities for extravagant adulation of a sovereign beyond
the top of whose bent in this respect it was not easy to soar." A. W.
Ward, English Dramatic Literature (1899), ii, 39a

"Jacob I ltebte Schaugeprange und wurde darin von seiner Gemah-
lin uberboten, die gerade den Maskenspielen ihre Gunst gewahrte,
weil sie nie in der Englischen Sprache heimisch war, und ihnen den
Stempel eines kdniglichen Vergnugens aufdruckte indem sie die erste
Konigin war, die selbst wirkend in ihnen auftrat. Der Eonig aber war
nicht allein prunkliebend, er war auch gelehrt, eine Eigenschaft, die
eben so nothwendig war wie jene, um die Maske vollstandig zu genies-
sen und zu verstehen." Alfred Soergel, Die Englischen Maskenspiele,
Halle Dissertations, 1882.

* See infra, passim, the occasion given for each of the Twelfthnight
masques. * Cf. infra, 37.



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Court Masques 1603-1608 3

fie spectacle and solemnity which would be seen by ten
thousand persons who would publish to all Christendom
the diplomatic significance of the Court's least action
during its performance 1 ; when masques were held in one
country to counteract or influence the diplomatic impor-
tance of a masque given in another*; when King James
himself insisted that a masque was a diplomatic func-
tion, used to prove to a continental sovereign England's
affection for him*; when prime ministers announced that
deportment at a masque had a large influence in shaping
a treaty of peace, 4 it seems time to examine such
masques in connection with the historic conditions
with which they were associated, for the effect of the
diplomatic bearing upon the literature of the masque
and of other dramatic forms.

In a monarchy so personal as that of England under
James, 5 everything done by the monarch or by any of
his family had a diplomatic as well as a social bearing,
and in the case of the masque the diplomatic, under
cover of the social, seems to have been of greatest
significance. To know this significance, one must dis-
cover, with accurate historic detail, the diplomatic
relations of the countries concerned.

When Elizabeth died, England, with the assistance of
Prance, was making war upon Spain. James's succes-
sion was no sooner announced, than all Europe made
especial effort to discover and influence the policy of

1 Cf. infra, 38. • Cf. infra, 52. » Cf. infra, 56. * Cf. infra, 58*.

s " Conceit of his office led James into thinking that nations have
naught to do with high mysteries of State, which should be left to mon-
archs alone . . . the world was to be stilled by the marriage of a boy and
a girl [Prince Charles, later Charles I of England, and the Infanta of
Spain] and Emperor and Pope were to confine themselves within the
bounds traced by the King of England." F. C. Montague, History of
England (1907), 116.



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4 Court Masques of James I

the new administration. France and Spain, the two
countries most concerned, were particularly active.
Ambassadors vied with each other in giving rich and
costly gifts to lords and ladies generally, 1 to the King's
friends and advisers, to the royal family, and even to
the King himself with the hope of gaining desired ends. 9
For like purposes they also gave elaborate dinners, *
plays, 4 and other entertainments to those erf high
influence.

According to their own declaration, the efforts of
France and Spain were part of a diplomatic struggle for
the favour of the new King, 5 through whose assistance
each hoped to establish its own state supremacy in
Continental Europe. The gifts, dinners, plays, etc.,
were but preliminary skirmishes, for E ngland's open
recognition, for which each was playing. If this open
recognition could be secured in no other way, King
James's choice of ambassadors for social favours would
proclaim it in due time. The masques of the Christmas
season were the Court's greatest social functions. 6 To
these, then, representatives of European powers looked
for the announcement of England's attitude toward the

1 See Appendix, i. • See Appendix, 2.

* "The Spanish Ambassador invited Madame Beaumont, the French
Ambassador's Lady to dinner, requesting her to bring some English
Ladies with her, she brought my Lady Bedford, Lady Rich, Lady
Susan (Vere), Lady Dorothy with her and great cheer they had. A
fortnight after, he invited the Duke [of Lenox], the Earl of Mar and
divers of that nation [Scotch], requesting them to bring the Scotch
Ladies, for he was desirous to see some natural beauties. My Lady
Anne Hay and my cousin Drummond went and after the weare pre-
sented, first with two pairs of Spanish gloves apiece — and after, my
cousin Drummond had a diamond ring of the value of two hundred
crowns given her and my Lady Anne a gold chain of links twice about
her neck sent her." Lady Arabella Stuart to Shrewsbury, 8 Dec, 1603,
in John Nichols, Progresses of James I, iv, 1 060-1.

« See infra, 26. * See Appendix, 2. 6 See infra, SK



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Court Masques 1603- 1608 5

belligerents, as indicated through James's choice of
ambassadors for first favours at the masques.

In the distribution of its social favours, the Court
distinguished between countries of differing importance.
In theory, an ambassador took the place of the King
whom he represented, and therefore European sover-
eigns expected for their ambassadors the same social
attentions which they should themselves claim, were
they to visit the English Court. f

When an ambassador of first rank was to be enter-
tained at a masque, the King's coach, with the master
of ceremonies or some person of note, was sent to escort
him from his place of residence to the palace. 3 On
arriving at the palace, he was assigned elaborate quar-
ters until he should be taken to the dinner which pre-
ceded the masque. 3 He was given a place at table
according to the rank of his sovereign. 4 After dinner
he was "brought to retire himself " in elegant comfort. 5
Shortly after the banquet, when the masque was in
readiness, he was conducted either to the King's apart-
ments or to some other convenient place of waiting,
whence the King took him to the hall, 6 where the
masquers and audience had for some time been awaiting
the royal entry. Lesser ambassadors, if any were
invited, were also in the regal procession. Their re-
spective positions about the King as they entered the
hall announced to the assembly England's interpreta-
tion of the importance of each country represented. 7
All were seated according to rank, 8 and since, of course,
there could be no two positions of equal pretensions, no
ambassadors of equal importance could be invited

1 See Appendix, 5 f . Cf. also 22 f. a See infra, 22 L

' See infra, 22 L; also Appendix, 23 f. « See infra, 22 f. > See

infra, 22 f. ' See infra, 24; also 27*. » See infra, 24. • See infra, 24.



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6 Court Masques of James I

together. * To this circumstance, chiefly, we owe some
of the best information we have concerning the masque.

During the performance, attentions to ambassadors
from the King and members erf the royal family varied
according to the honour England wished to pay the
country of each. 3 If the masque was given to show
especial favour to some country, the King consumed
the time of the entertainment in talking with the
ambassador and showing him, before all the court,
and other ambassadors, the most marked attention. 1
The Queen "took him out" 4 for the dance at the close
of the masque. If his wife or members of his family
or prominent friends were present, they were treated
to especial notice by the Queen and Princes during the
intervals of the masque and invited to dance with the
royal masquers at the close. $ After the masque, if the
occasion was of exceeding importance, the ambassador
was feasted alone with the King at the King's own
table. 6 If not, he was accompanied by the King to the
great banquet, which usually closed the evening's enter-
tainment, and shown all honour during the feast. 7

Such was the distinction given an ambassador of the
first rank. Representatives of countries of lesser impor-

1 "The like difpute was betwixt the French and y* Spanish Ambafsa-
dore and hard hold for y e greatest honor, w ? y e Spaniard thincks he
hath caried away by being first feasted (as he was y e first holy-day and
y* Polack y° next) and inuited to the greatest mafke: and y* French
feems to be greatly difconcerted that he was flatly refufed to be admit-
ted to the laft about w ? 1 he vf ed vnmannerly expostulaons w*} 1 the
K: and for a few days troubled all the court, but the Q: was faine to take
the matter vppon her who as a mafquer had inuited y° Spaniard as y*
Duke before had done y e French, and to haue them both there could
not well be w^ 1 owt blud-fhed." Letter from Carleton to Chamber-
lain, 15 Jan., 1603, in State Papers Domestic, James I, vi, No. 21.

* See infra, passim. * See infra, 56. • « See infra, 15 and 57.

*See infra, 57. • See infra, 16. * See infra, Chap. IV.



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Court Masques 1 603-1 608 7

tance were shown varying degrees of attention. A
mere "agent" was permitted to find his own way, as
best he could, to the palace. He was seated by order
of the master of ceremonies, in the hall, where with
other spectators he interested himself in the surround-
ings, until the coming of the King. * His presence was
absolutely ignored by all members of the royal family
and he was allowed to depart as he came.

Questions of precedence became at times matter
for serious concern at the barriers, dinners,* and other
entertainments. But if we trust the word of the French
ambassador, no entertainment ever assumed such im-
portance as a masque.*

Frequently the date of a masque or some other cir-
cumstance gave it unwonted importance. 4 Any in-
creased importance always increased the rivalry for
invitation, for the greater the importance, the greater
the honour of invitation. From very early times, it
had been the custom of the court to do special honour
to ambassadors from Continental powers by entertain-
ing them with masques (or the varied form of enter-
tainments, called mummings, disguisings, etc., which
preceded masques proper), especially at the Christmas
time. 5

1 See infra, Chap. III. * See infra, 79 '.

* See infra, 8 a . « See infra, Appendix, 5 f.

« " In this yere [1401] was here the Emperor of Constantinople and the
Kyng helde his Christenmasse at Eltham, and men of London made a
gret mummyng to him of XII Aldermen & here sones, for which they
had gret thanke." J. P. Collier, The History of Dramatic Poetry and
Annals of the Stage (1879), i, 26, from British Museum, Harleian MSS.,
No. 565.

" On the XII th day" (he says, speaking of the year 1489)" the ambassa-
tours of Spayne dyned at the Kyngs borde, and the officers of armes
had ther largess as they were accustomed." J. P. Collier, v.s., i, 58, from
British Museum, Cotton MSS., Julius, B„ xii.



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8 Court Masques of James I

The greatest masquing night of all the year was
Twelfthnight, Epiphany, or the Feast of the Three
Kings as it was variously called. 1 This feast with its
masque held the place of greatest honour in all the
public court functions of the year. 2 Ranking next in
importance, came the masques of Shrovetide (usually
Shrove Tuesday, sometimes Shrove Sunday) and
Candlemas. These were the big masquing dates
around which almost all the great Court masques of the
reign of James centred. 3 The importance of the date,



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Online LibraryMary SullivanCourt masques of James I: their influence on Shakespeare and the public theatres → online text (page 1 of 24)