The Marriage Masques, 1606–1608
D. J. Gordon claims that the central conceit of the masque is to build a complex emblem of Union which binds the theme of love as a harmonizing power within the body to a local event (marriage), a national event (the unification of Scotland and England under James and Anne – who were both present at the masque), and to the larger Neoplatonic theme of love as a force holding the macrocosm together. Orrell is able to take the idea further by suggesting that Jonson's proportioning of line numbers enacts a ‘principle of consonance’ underlying the whole work. He does not, however, explore the aesthetic consequences of this newly found structural integrity or investigate the dynamic interplay of different number levels that may be discovered in the masque. This chapter first considers these matters in more detail and then examines the structural kinship that binds Hymenaei to The Haddington Masque, The Masque of Beauty, and The Masque of Blackness.
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