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I. APOLLO AND THE MUSES AS EXILES
<APOLLO> Driven from our haunts by war, we flee to you, who alone chastely observe the Muses' pious rites. We are not complaining, our exile is made easier by a great reward, if we can enjoy the sight of you by day and by night.
<THALIA> My song is of marriage, revelry, banquets, and music, subjects not foreign to your age.
<MELPOMENE> May the tragic buskin always be far removed from your life, and let me be allowed to hymn your guests.
<EUTERPE> Your beauty, your virtue and lineage are worthy of a goddess, so my lyre will sing of you as one of the gods.
<ERATO> You alone suffice for my songs forever, no house has more noble blood.
<POLYHYMNIA> But were you not divine, the power of my eloquence is such that my tongue could make you a goddess.
<CLIO> History is my concern, by my means dead things live, rewards are given to virtue, and punishments to the wicked.
<TERPSICHORE> I could achieve all else with ease, if only I could enumerate your virtues.
<URANIA> You who are worthy of being adored in heaven, adore the earth. If you wish to learn of the stars, here you may learn of them with me your guide.
<CALLIOPE> By this beam I measure the lands, the sea, the stars. I show how human effort is but sport in this trifling world.
II. THE MASQUE OF THE GODS
FOR MARY'S WEDDING
I had five Marys as my handmaids, dear father, the splendor and glory of my chorus. With that number I had raised my head aloft to heaven, and the other gods regarded me as blessed. But Venus and Juno, envious of my successes, have stolen one from my number, and now my chorus, bereft of its number, is displeased with itself, my chorus of Pleiades grows dim, despoiled of one of its lights. If unbridled licence shall henceforth dare this, I shall be cast to the wild beasts, stripped of my escort.
Let your concern be the hunt, mine is marriage. Let every goddess be content with her own office.
If love shall fail, so also will the bonds of nature. All the elements will dissolve into ancient chaos.
If all women should shun marriage with a similar will, Diana, the number of your chorus will grow very small.
If all the nymphs should likewise shun marriage, henceforth there shall be no honor for virginity.
If you are allowed to ban all girls from marriage, why cannot I do the same for men?
If the female sex spends all its life in virginity, where will I get my soldiers?
And I would teach eloquence, my lucid rhetoric, in vain, and in vain would I load my swift ship with the wares of the East.
Cease your fear, Diana, and hear my words, which I sing for you with my prophetic mouth. Juno calls, bidding your Marys become wives, and to submit to the laws of the chaste marriage-bed. They will repay you with many little Marys and Mariuses, and your choruses will grow greater. The first years of a new generation will always serve you, but the next belong to Juno, and the Fates refuse you the rest.
You had five Marys, but the five will be like goddesses in the beauty, manners, and nature, five Marys worthy of marrying gods, if the Fates allow gods to wed mortals. But now, since the sweeter part of life is almost wholly spent in your service, let an age fit for marriage serve a husband. By thus doing things in turns, nature's immutable order is preserved, and the world's mutual love endures.
Now let another marriage-hymn make the air resound, as another Mary is wed new with marriage-torches. As much as golden Venus adds people together in marriage, so much she subtracts from your number, chaste Diana, and this one too is casting her eye on a marriage. But you ladies, whom fair Diana has lately condescended to have as companions in her virginal choruses, you must cheerfully dedicate your happy youth to Venus, so that chaste Diana may enlarge her choruses. In place of one Mary give her many, so she may grow a new crop of brides for Venus, so the choruses of both goddesses may flourish. Thus contrary elements change into their opposites, they busily destroy themselves, and are renewed by their destruction.
III. THE KNIGHTS' MASQUE
SQUADRON OF ETHIOPIANS
Word of your virtue has drawn us to these climes from the place where wafts the soft breath of the warm south wind, a fame that is loftier than that of all other sovereigns to the same degree that our color differs from yours. So you may direct our hands, devoted to you, wherever you choose, either aboard ship or on horseback. You may test our loyalty in war or in peace, our life and death is at your service.
SQUADRON OF KNIGHTS FROM THE NORTH
Your fame has spread no less through northerly tracts, no less through homes in the east and the west. Your honor touches hearts no less in this quarter than throughout the remote sands of parched Libya. We have minds, we have hands ready to serve these minds, and our minds are ready to do your bidding. If your fortunes matched our minds and our strength, none would be better in doing their duty to you.
SQUADRON SENT BY NEPTUNE
Fairest of all Neptune's fair nymph, nymph great with the glory of your Scotland, uniquely worthy of the ocean's wealth, of gems, purple, and the tree turned into stone by the Gorgon. Triton has sent us to you from the deep blue water, and bid us say this to you on our master's behalf. You may use Neptune, whether you have need of the water's strength, or of a ship, or of a swift horse. If these fail to please, reflect that those of us born in the water are not well accustomed to solid ground.
Dressed in varicolored armor, this troop of knights reflects the face of its fortune. If only you will show it favor, fortune will favor it too. For it attends upon your virtue.
KNIGHTS CARRYING PALLAS ON THEIR CRESTS, GOING TO FIGHT KNIGHTS CARRYING CUPID
Burn, boy, but burn helpless girls with your fire. Leave the weapons of war to the warlike goddess.
Pallas is at hand, fearsome for her spear and savage Gorgon. What place is there here for your darts, little Cupid?
Love is blind, but Pallas wise. His assaults are rash, reason guides her weapons and hand. The outcome is not in doubt, if perchance his unarmed boy would join combat with her, armed with reason.
IV. THE MASQUE OF THE RUSTIC GODS
BEARING FITS FOR JAMES VI AND HIS MOTHER MARY,
THE SOVEREIGNS OF SCOTLAND,
AT THE BANQUET FOLLOWING THE KING'S BAPTISM
SATYRS ADDRESS THE KING
We woodland Satyrs give you our rustic gifts. Happily we children of the countryside give you these fleet children of the countryside, wont to outrun the winds, these deer that did not do well to rely on the swiftness of their feet. But when the years bring you the strength, you yourself will capture wild goats with your swift Molossan hounds, you will catch wild boar in your nets. You will learn that often the pleasure of the countryside is better than the city's commotion.
NEREIDS ADDRESS THE QUEEN HIS MOTHER
The strong power of this magnetic iron, suffused with its power of touch, turns the sharp needle towards the freezing Great Bear. Likewise, any man whose heart virtue suffuses with its mighty power looks towards you alone, no matter what quarter of heaven he may live beneath. This secret power has brought us here from the Indian shore (the lodestone has no greater power of attraction), so that we may enjoy the bright light of your virtue at a closer distance, and attest our loyalty with these small native gifts.
NAIADS ADDRESS THE KING
The traveler does not rejoice in the sunrise, nor the sailor in calm weather, as much as our sad hearts are gladdened by the news of your birth, blessed boy. And so we Naiads give you these trifling gifts. And yet these gifts are not trifles, if the heart's love is not measured by the value of the gift, but the gift's value by the love in the heart.
FAUNS ADDRESS THE QUEEN
More blessed than your blessed ancestors for virtue, your nature, and the gift of your beauty, but most blessed in the fruit of your marriage, he whose cradle is honored by foreign ambassadors, he who is adored by the rustic deities with their gifts, by the Satyrs and the Naiads, having abandoned their fountains. The king of the gods orders the Fauns to utter these oracles, pledges for an age of the world hastening to the better. All Nature's contrivance comes together in this king, given us not by chance or by law, but by destiny, not otherwise than the little bees acknowledge their leader with nobody teaching them, schooled only by nature.
OREADS ADDRESS THE KING
We mountain-dwelling Oreads now give you secret gifts of the mountains, the tender young offspring of wild beasts. When your body grows stronger with age, you yourself will chase the shy goats with your keen Molossan hounds, and catch wild boar in the mesh of your nets, unless perchance you choose to abandon the goats, and through the trackless woods to pursue Nymphs of the dells, no less shy than the goats, but less afraid to be caught. And perhaps you will prefer the leafy nooks of the forest to haughty towns.
He (Randolph) describeth a great feast, to which he was invited, and saw his mistress much honoured. The verses of the shews he sendeth, which were spoken at the serving up of every course. The first service to the table, blind Cupid was brought in, the wayters saying to this verse:
This is the one the world calls love, bitter as you see and as you will better see when it will become your master, as it is ours. The young man is serene, the old one is bold. He who experiences it knows this well, and it will become clear to you before a thousand years have passed, I am warning you now.
He was born from idleness and human lavishness, nourished by sweet and gentle thoughts, made master by vain people. Some died by it; some, according to sterner laws, carry on with their hard and harsh lives, tied up by thousands of chains and keys.
The second service, a fayer younge maid.
Chastity is the tamer of sweet love, chastity, evidence of an earlier life when a golden generation inhabited unblemished lands.
Chastity, evidence of our second life, when death, conjoined to our bodies, has been overcome, and our pure mind dwells in shining heaven's palace.
You alone have no fear either of Venus' dart or of the laws of harsh fate, since when death dies you rise up again, yet greater,
When, pure, you spend your existence with the pure angels. Imitating their pursuits, you will reap the fruits of this second life you have been granted.
The last was a younge childe, set forth unto tyme. These verses were sung by the wayters.
Death rages, its right hand armed with weapons and its left with poison. Time reaps all things with its scythe, or old age wears them down.
Neither the nearness of death nor the long passage of time will dissolve the bond which unsullied faith has woven.
Death and old age have destroyed Laelius together with Scipio. They will not destroy hoary faith, nor the constancy of hearts.
Unsullied, the sincere faith which has bound together British queens will endure to later ages.
Let the final ending of all things confound heaven and earth, the Queen of Scots will love the Queen of England, and the Queen of England the Queen of Scots.