“It Is Consent that Makes a Perfect Slave”
Love and Liberty in the Caroline Masque
Abstract and Keywords
Chapter Six studies to a genre that has often been understood as celebrating exactly the sort of voluntary enslavement that writers like Wroth examined: the Caroline masque. This chapter suggests that the politics of court entertainments look very different when we read them in terms of the erotic tradition traced in this book. To this end, this chapter examines several masques of the 1630s: Jonson’s Chloridia, Townshend’s Tempe Restored, Carew’s Coelum Britannicum, and Davenant’s Salmacida Spolia. It is usual to read Caroline spectacles as promoting a theory of monarchal absolutism. This chapter maintains instead that these masques function as a form of counsel for both Charles I and his elite subjects. On the one had, they remind Charles of the Elizabethan principle that kings rule with the consent of their people. On the other, these masques’ Petrarchan view of love warns subjects that the affection that should distinguish king from tyrant may just as easily convert loyal service into helpless slavery.
For many contemporary and modern readers, the Caroline masque depicts precisely the erotic engulfment and political absolutism that Wroth and others feared. Charles I, however, sought to distance himself from such an absolutist image, not to promote it. Like James and Elizabeth I before him, Charles lacked a standing army and a salaried bureaucracy. He therefore had to rely in large measure on his subjects’ cooperation, a situation summarized in the oft-repeated commonplace that English rulers’ greatest source of strength is their people’s love, which begets obedience and supply.1 And Charles needed to preserve this fiction of mutual affection and voluntary service even more than his predecessors had. When he decided to rule without parliaments after 1629, Charles did not just renounce his only legitimate source of passing statutes and levying taxes; he also eschewed the most widely recognized indication that he governed with the consent of the whole realm. Although, as Conrad Russell has established, there was no such thing as “parliament in the seventeenth century,” only “irregularly occurring events called Parliaments,” these events offered an important symbol of the unity of king and people.2 By calling a parliament, the king showed that, rather than tyrannically (p. 146 ) relying on a small circle of flatterers who would merely affirm his private impulses, he was willing to accept advice and criticism from the commune concilium regni.3 The abrupt dissolution of parliament on March 2, 1629, upset such a narrative of cooperation and seemed to confirm rumors that Charles would emulate the absolutism of Continental monarchs who had done away with representative assemblies altogether.4 A label pinned to Paul’s Cross two months later claimed that Charles had lost the hearts of his people, ominously suggesting that his rule would require forces that he did not have, now that he had dispensed with the traditional forum for securing voluntary support.5
Performed, viewed, and read by the subjects on whose compliance the administration of personal government relied, the masques of the 1630s seek to counter this narrative of betrayal and disaffection. These masques’ resolute idealization of desire had both practical and ideological functions in the decade during which Charles ruled without parliament. As Charles well knew, without recourse to parliaments, his ability to raise funds and administer government required the aid and participation of aristocratic courtiers, City officials, and country magistrates, many of them the same men who had been his loudest critics in the 1620s.6 To insist on absolute royal prerogative unfettered by law would have alienated many of the persons whose cooperation allowed the personal rule to function. So rather than celebrate a theory of extralegal monarchal absolutism, as early critics of the masques supposed, Caroline entertainments cultivated the languages of love and marriage to profess that Charles ruled by the laws of the land and the consent of his subjects—or, more accurately, that the affective bond between king and political nation was sufficient protection against royal excess and abuse, even without parliamentary intervention.7 In Charles’ own account, the late parliaments had been led by (p. 147 ) “turbulent and ill-affected spirits” who hoped to “cast a blindness upon the good affections of our people” in order to alter England’s fundamental laws.8 By thwarting this parliamentary power grab, Charles claimed, his personal rule in fact protected the traditional balance of government by allowing a more immediate relation between king and subjects.
But even as Caroline masques celebrate this union of hearts and minds, they also explore its more unsettling implications. The queerness that characterizes eros also subtends the cool Neoplatonism of Caroline allegory, so the affective idioms that asserted the virtue of Charles’ rule also invariably registered the ambivalence it inspired. As Kevin Sharpe has aptly put it, “love was the metaphor, the medium, through which political comment and criticism were articulated in Caroline England.”9 Insofar as they exhibit the sadism and abjection, the obsession and delusion, that haunt eros in the texts I have discussed thus far, Caroline masques work against the king’s own agenda, which was to appear a reasonable and balanced monarch who was being assaulted by ambitious members of parliament. As Busirane’s masque in The Faerie Queene demonstrates to appalling effect, love is not only the tender, spiritualized emotion celebrated on the Whitehall stage but also includes impulses that are predatory, cringing, and delusional. Accordingly, the mutual love that notionally distinguishes rex from tyrannos may be similarly troubled by the violence, fantasy, and abjection that turn subjects into slaves.
In light of the longer history of royal entertainments, it should be no surprise that Caroline masques would, to borrow Sharpe’s terms, deploy the humanist tactic of fusing criticism and compliment. Numerous readers of Tudor progresses, pageants, and tournaments have demonstrated that these forerunners of the Stuart masque provided a forum for public dialogue between monarch and subject. As Richard McCoy argues, the spectacles staged for the Henrician and Edwardian courts advertised aristocratic influence and power even as they glorified prince and country; under Mary I, chivalric pageants worked to contain antagonisms between English and Spanish factions at court. These shows thus performed a “chivalric compromise” in which ambitious nobles could critique and advise the crown at the same time that they affirmed their loyalty. Rather than celebrate royal dominance, as some readers of Tudor chivalry have supposed, Tudor entertainments staged a dialogue between the competing agendas of ruler and ruled.10 Particularly during the reign of Elizabeth, such courtiers as Leicester, Sidney, and Essex used entertainments as fora in which to urge particular policies on the queen. As Hester Lee-Jeffries has shown, for instance, the culminating pageants in Elizabeth’s coronation (p. 148 ) entry insisted on the Protestant and communal nature of English government by advising that the successful ruler would look to Scripture alone for religious guidance and would seek and heed counsel.11 Several other scholars have read entertainments from throughout Elizabeth’s reign in light of what Susan Frye has called a “competition for representation” between queen and courtiers regarding issues like foreign policy, religious affairs, the royal marriage, and the threat posed by Mary Stuart.12
When James came to the English throne, he initially followed the Elizabethan custom of holding public tournaments, events that bespoke his court’s ties to Elizabethan England.13 But, as we have seen, James wished to promote monarchal authority, not compromise, and the dialogic form of Elizabethan entertainments, along with the Protestant nationalism associated with their chivalry, held little appeal for him. Court spectacle thus saw significant change in the early seventeenth century. Performances moved indoors, where they were viewed by a much smaller and more elite audience; the neo-medieval chivalry of Tudor masques was replaced by classical set designs and mythological themes; spectacles focused as much on displaying the English monarch’s strength to a European audience as on mediating conflicts within the English court; James, unlike Elizabeth, did not participate in courtly performances; and Inigo Jones’ introduction of the perspective stage made the king the central spectator, and the only one who saw the masque perfectly.14 To be sure, Jacobean masques were still capable of registering disagreement and criticism—the most notorious example is Jonson’s Neptune’s Triumph for the Return of Albion, which celebrated the failure of Charles Stuart’s projected match with the Spanish Infanta. Nonetheless, the performances staged for the Jacobean court tended to depict the monarch as a distant and absolute force of benevolent authority, not a part of an ongoing conversation.
The Caroline masque sought to represent a more cooperative and loving relationship between monarch and people. Unlike James, Charles danced in his own masques, demonstrating his direct relationship and active involvement with his subjects. Moreover, a number of courtiers who opposed Charles’ policies—some of whom would go on to fight for parliament in the civil wars—were prominent participants. Caroline spectacles also depicted gender relations quite differently (p. 149 ) from their Jacobean predecessors. As Martin Butler has argued, Jacobean masques typically represented the relation between men and women as inherently conflicted, affirming royal, masculine power through the defeat of feminine disobedience. By contrast, Caroline masques depicted the mutual passion and conjugal harmony of Charles and his queen as a model for the relation between king and subject.15 These changes, I propose, worked to protect Charles from charges of absolutism by harking back to an Elizabethan tradition of compromise and dialogue between sovereign and people. Yet because love itself was understood to include cruel and self-destructive impulses, the eroticism of the Caroline masque could critique, as well as celebrate, sovereign authority.
By reading Caroline masques through the lens of early modern erotic discourse, then, we can appreciate how artfully these entertainments expose the anxieties produced by the subjection they represent. Most prominently, by taking the royal marriage as their paradigmatic allegory for the harmonious union of king and subject, Caroline masques highlighted a central cause of the fear that a self-indulgent king would abuse the trust of the political nation.16 As the decade of personal rule wore on, Henrietta Maria was increasingly seen as the people’s rival, not their representative. Given the long-standing identification of Catholicism with foreignness and arbitrary rule, the queen’s religion provided a particular focal point for the fear that in the absence of the constraining influence of parliament, Charles would destroy English Protestantism and liberty.17 Many were unhappy with the religious concessions granted in the 1625 Anglo-French marriage treaty, and Henrietta Maria only increased distrust by refusing to attend Charles’ Protestant coronation ceremony, learn English, or curb her displays of Catholicism.18 To make matters worse, Henrietta Maria inspired a number of English courtiers to convert to Roman Catholicism, and her marriage to Charles was hailed by Europe’s Catholic powers as the best hope for England’s return to the old religion.19 Even the queen consort’s name—she was most typically addressed as Mary or Maria—suggested, in Lucy (p. 150 ) Hutchinson’s words, “some kind of fatality” in a country whose luck with Marys had not been good.20 This hostility grew in proportion to Henrietta Maria’s intimacy with and influence upon Charles, which began after the assassination of Buckingham in 1628, increased after the death of Lord Treasurer Weston in 1635, and reached its zenith with Strafford’s execution and the outbreak of civil war.21 By 1640, Charles’ devotion to his wife was widely viewed as infidelity to his subjects. Accordingly, the uxoriousness celebrated in the masques evinced not analogical mutuality and moderation in the political arena, but Charles’ choice to indulge his private desires rather than perform his public duties.22
Contemporary critics of the Caroline masque were well aware that the genre went beyond royal self-deceit to propagate what Lauren Shohet describes as a “politics of awe.”23 Charles’ detractors routinely appealed to the masques’ own language of desire to charge that these shows would lead English subjects to follow their king in succumbing to the allures of Continental popery and absolutism. William Prynne, for instance, worried that their “effeminate mixt Dancing, lascivious Pictures, wanton Fashions, Face painting,” and “lascivious effeminate Musicke” would “seduce” Protestants from the true faith, while Milton would persistently attack “the superficial actings of State” that allow a monarch “to pageant himself up and down in progress among the perpetual bowings and cringings of an abject people, on either side deifying and adoring him for nothing done that can deserve it.”24
(p. 151 ) Caroline masques, however, do not just labor to produce what Milton calls “a civil kinde of Idolatry.”25 They also scrutinize the pathologies that such idealization inspires. Since it can bring both pleasure and pain, transcendence and humiliation, love offered an ideal vehicle for considering the problems of liberty and consent that vexed many in the decade without parliaments. As Spenser’s Faerie Queene and Wroth’s Urania demonstrate, what is experienced as ennobling love may in fact be debasing infatuation. In its political dimension this signifies the erotic enslavement and self-deceit that, according to writers from la Boétie to Milton to Algernon Sidney, is the true prop of tyranny.26
Given the centrality of love as both analogy for and basis of political commitment, it is surprising that the Caroline masques’ erotic structures and mythologies have attracted little study, with many critics accepting the evaluations of Prynne and Milton and so treating the language of love as propaganda of the crudest order.27 A number of recent scholars have emphasized the complex and contestatory dimensions of masque design, performance, and publication.28 This work has shown how court masques staged a conversation between Charles and his influential subjects about both specific questions of policy and more general constitutional questions. I would like to expand on this post-revisionist analysis to show how a theoretical focus on the psychology of love in these entertainments can further illuminate the experience of politics in the Caroline period. In this chapter, I consider the ways in which several masques performed and published in the 1630s examine erotic desire as both a source of and an analogy for political authority and consent in the decade of personal rule. While I recognize that the architectural and performative aspects of Caroline masques were crucial to their meaning, with the dances lasting far longer than the songs and the costumes and scenery undeniably shaping their messages, I focus primarily on masques as they appeared in print for several reasons. First, it is in this format that they reached a wide audience that, as Shohet has established, included politically aware readers from a range of classes, (p. 152 ) professions, and ideological stances.29 Second, the printed versions of masques typically include notes, commentary, and even songs that were not accessible to the audience at Whitehall. The addition of this extra-performative material to printed versions registers an awareness on the part of their authors that masques might speak to this wider audience in a register not appropriate to or available in private performances.30 This material also indicates that the monarchs for whom masques were notionally written had less control over their content and interpretation than many contemporary and modern critics have assumed. The topical commentary that fills Caroline masques also translates into more general theories of political affect and negotiation. Readers could return to these masques and reread them in light of changing circumstances and not only in their immediate moments, thereby revising the texts’ political significance.31 Like the romances from which they derive and whose perversions they rehearse, these masques reveal that subjection may itself be pleasurable. They thereby situate readers’ own insurgent desires and delusions, not the king’s coercive powers, as the true threat to English religion and liberty.
The most consistent and discerning critic of the ravishing potential of masques was neither a puritan nor a parliamentarian. He was the person most responsible for defining and perfecting the conventions and structures of these court entertainments: Ben Jonson. Jonson’s masques, like his poems and plays, acknowledge the danger that, as his friend John Selden put it, “the flattering language of lord and king” and the “obsequious” deification of monarchy can make men “servile” and politically “idolatrous” and therefore imperil liberty.32 Yet even as they suggest that (p. 153 ) the way to avoid such a cycle of delusion and hypocrisy is to examine one’s own motivations and desires, Jonson’s Caroline entertainments admit the difficulty of doing so. Long before Henrietta Maria made Neoplatonism fashionable, Jonson described the relative value of the masque’s poetry and its spectacle by drawing on a philosophic system in which physical beauty, as an emanation of spiritual goodness, enraptures its beholders and so inspires them to pursue the ideal truth of which it is mere copy or advertisement.33 According to Jonson, the poetic dimension of the masque is its soul, the architecture its body. It is usual to read this definition in the context of Jonson’s rivalry with Inigo Jones, but the anxiety that external appearance will supplant interior reality is also part of Jonson’s larger view of the poet’s intellectual project.34 The ultimate achievement, for Jonson, is to resist the desire to conflate beauty with goodness and learn to “think life, a thing but lent,” as he insists in any number of poems whose subjects are united in their contempt for “spectacles, and shows.”35
But Jonson knows that this idealized order can break down with disturbing ease, as is evident from the oft-quoted Preface to his 1606 Hymenaei:
Here, the unannounced chiasmus creates a syntactical disorder that briefly tempts us—against all convention and logic—to rate the understanding as “momentary and merely taking” the senses as “impressing and lasting.” As if to stress the prevalence of such misprision, Jonson goes on to concede that “bodies ofttimes have the ill luck to be sensually preferred”—we are subject to the allure of the physical and so burden it with a significance that it is too frail and transient to sustain (8). This awareness of misplaced value compels Jonson obsessively to warn his readers against an excessively naïve hermeneutics, begging those “That take’st my book in (p. 154 ) hand, / To read it well: that is, to understand.”37 And such interpretive rigor has erotic, as well as intellectual, consequences, for it enables readers to examine their own projections and desires before they devote themselves to anything, much as Jonson himself promises Selden to “turn a sharper eye / Upon myself, and ask to whom, and why, / and what I write.”38 Awareness of one’s own motives, however difficult to achieve, is the foundation of both private and public virtue.
It is a noble and just advantage that the things subjected to understanding have of those which are objected to sense that the one sort are but momentary and merely taking, the other impressing and lasting. Else the glory of all these solemnities had perished like a blaze and gone out in the beholders’ eyes. So short lived are the bodies of all things in comparison of their souls. (1–7)36
For Jonson, it is a moral and political duty to resist the human propensity to mistake surface for substance, desire for reality. According to his most notorious indictment of masques, the “Expostulation with Inigo Jones,” the Caroline court has failed dismally in this regard.39 In the “Expostulation,” Jonson denigrates not just the “transitory devices” he dismissed in the Preface to Hymenaei (18), but the self-serving credulity with which Jones and his fans have accepted “Painting and carpentry” as “the soul of masque” (“Expostulation,” 50). For Jonson, this situation reveals not only Jones’ own egoism and chicanery, but the pathology of a “money-get, mechanic age” (“Expostulation,” 52):
By stubbornly treating such “spectacles of state” as divine “mysteries,” the Caroline court has gone beyond the mere folly that Jonson attacks in his satires on dimwits like Sir Cod, Sir Luckless Woo-All, or Fine Lady Would-be, or the naïve misreading of which he admits himself guilty of in his Epistle to Selden.40 Jonson only emphasizes their folly by stressing that these shows are constructed of “inch boards” and “slit deals,” cheap, thin wooden materials meant to last no longer than the performances themselves. The credulity of the “politic eyes”—calculated acceptance of (p. 155 ) fictions—is the mark of the parasitic combination of servility and self-promotion that makes impossible the frank, self-sacrificing counsel that benefits both ruler and realm.
- O shows, shows, mighty shows!
- The eloquence of masques! What need of prose,
- Or verse, or sense to express immortal you?
- You are the spectacles of state! ’Tis true
- Court hieroglyphics, and all arts afford
- In the mere perspective of an inch board!
- You ask no more than certain politic eyes,
- Eyes that can pierce into the mysteries
- Of many colours, read them, and reveal
- Mythology there painted on slit deal! (39–49)
The absence of loyal criticism may have seemed especially troubling in the early years of Charles’ personal rule, with the recent breakdown of the 1629 parliament and Charles’ failed foreign expeditions appearing to expose the king’s weakness both at home and abroad. In 1630 the Venetian ambassador at court had described England as “enfeebled” by a “King … out of sympathy with his people, unequal to governing by himself and his councils distracted by private interests.”41 In both his masques and his poems dedicated to the king, Jonson tries to correct this destructive confusion of private interest with public duty by praising the monarch for virtues he should cultivate. In Underwoods LXIV, “To our Great and Good K[ing] Charles on His Anniversary Day” (1629), for instance, Jonson facetiously wonders
In the context of what many had seen as Charles’ recent attacks on English law—the forced loan, the arbitrary imprisonment of the Five Knights who refused to pay it, and the alteration of court records and the original Answer to the Petition of Right—Jonson’s compliment must ring either cynical or ironic.42 The poem to Charles insists that greatness and goodness, sovereignty and law, should be identical. But it also acknowledges that they may not be. The relation between king and mimetic, feminized country should be one of mutual self-restraint, which Charles himself has not yet achieved.43
- … when had great Britain greater cause
- Than now, to love the sovereign, and the laws?
- When you that reign, are her example grown,
- And what are bounds to her, you make your own? (7–10)
Chloridia, Jonson’s last masque performed at court, registers the difficulty of achieving such mutuality by tracing the complex relationship between chastity, desire, and rape. Although critics have generally seen Jonson’s final entertainments as the most uncomplicated celebrations of royalty in his oeuvre, Jonson demonstrates the complexities inherent in the erotic vehicles he employs.44 In Chloridia, performed February 22, 1631, Jonson equates the political disruption that Charles attributed to “factious spirits” in the 1629 parliament with erotic degeneracy, political harmony with true affection, but he also makes it difficult to distinguish (p. 156 ) rapacious, illicit lust from mutual, married love. Here, the Ovidian epigram with which Jonson begins the printed text, “Unius tellus ante coloris erat” (“Till then, the earth was of one color”) aligns the accession of Charles with the transforming power of Zephyrus, whose ravishment of the virginal nymph Chloris transformed her to Flora, goddess of the flowers. The compliment seems obvious enough: under Charles, England has similarly blossomed. But the Ovidian myth that Jonson takes as his source renders its celebration of Caroline rule far more ambiguous, not least because earth’s foisoning originates in rape. As Flora’s monologue in the Fasti makes clear, she initially resisted union with Zephyrus. It was only after her stronger assailant pursued, overpowered, and penetrated her that she agreed to marry him and became queen of flowers, delighting in eternal spring.45
By situating rape as the origin of marriage, rather than its opposite, the Fasti reveals the vexed nature of the consent that notionally distinguishes the two. Although Chloris’ initial resistance was futile, her subsequent acceptance was necessary to legitimize Zephyrus’ advances. Accordingly, her retroactive consent, like that of Amoret in The Faerie Queene, identifies Chloris/Flora as both innocent victim of Zephyrus’ desire and guilty partner in it. Neoplatonic philosophy—most famously illustrated in Botticelli’s sumptuous Primavera—saw the transformation of the terrified, fleeing Chloris into the satisfied, pregnant Flora as an expression of beauty’s ability to effect the union of chastity and love.46 Such conflation of physical rape and spiritual rapture implies that the former is at once felicitous (because it transforms frigidity to fertility) and impossible (because women themselves invariably consent to such violation, if only unconsciously or belatedly). This assumption that women share the blame—or the credit—for even coerced defloration may explain the alternative tradition of regarding Flora as, in the words of E.K. in The Shephearde’s Calendar, “a notorious whore.”47 According to this legend, the Ovidian myth had been invented to conceal the fact that the Roman celebration of spring, the Floralia, had in reality been funded by a wealthy prostitute.48
Since the conceit of Chloridia is that England is as fortunate in its union with Charles as was Chloris/Flora in her marriage to Zephyrus, Ovid’s troubling synthesis of coercion and consent registers the dilemma of subjects whose acceptance of Caroline policy is both essential and irrelevant. Jonson, in effect, acknowledges these problematic implications of the Fasti by banishing Flora herself from the masque. The very title of the masque insists on its distance from the public, notoriously licentious Floralia described in the Fasti, and the name “Flora” never appears (p. 157 ) at all in the text. Instead, the masque celebrates the innocent, intact Chloris, who has earned her title as goddess of the flowers not by assenting to Zephyrus’ demands but by a “general council of the gods” (6). In addition to replacing the pulls of individual desire with the decree of a divine assembly, the masque represents Zephyrus as a “mild,” “plump boy,” hardly the rapacious deity of Ovidian myth (25–26). Ideally, Charles’ governance would be similarly innocent.
Jonson’s own foregrounding of the Fasti, however, hints that despite the prim change of title, the Chloridia, or “Rites to Chloris and her Nymphs,” may actually be the Floralia. In addition to Jonson’s textual allusions to his suggestively unwholesome model, Jones’ designs for Henrietta Maria’s costume align the queen not with Botticelli’s frightened, virginal Chloris but with the slyly smiling, pregnant Flora. Henrietta Maria surely would have been aware of this sartorial quotation—the Medici family owned Botticelli’s work—and may even have encouraged it, unaware of its residual significances.49 The precise relation between Chloris, Flora, Henrietta Maria, and the English subject—all potential objects of sovereign will—is as unstable and fluid as that between rape and seduction, coercion and consent. The ambiguous status of Flora’s desire explains Ovid’s assertion that “a rakish stage fits Flora well; she is not, believe me she is not, to be counted among your buskined goddesses” (5.347–348) and Flora’s own sly admission that “nocturnal license befits my revels” (5.366–367). Indeed, the very flowers that Jonson’s masque takes as signs of peace and harmony are in the Fasti sprung of the blood of such egoistic, furious, rejected, treacherous, self-castrating, and evasive lovers as Narcissus, Crocus, Attics, and Adonis (5.223–228). Much as the revelry of the Caroline masque may be just as decadent as that of the Floralia, the voluntary, chaste love the masque celebrates may be as coercive and compromised as that imagined in the Fasti.
In Chloridia, Jonson consigns the darker aspects of the conjugal passion he celebrates to the antimasque. Here, Cupid, insulted that the other gods have not included him in their “council” or their “guild,” descends to Hell to “make a party ’gainst the gods / And set heaven, earth and hell at odds” (87–88). The Hell described by the Dwarf Postillion in the first antimasque, however, is not a site of loss and agony. Instead, it resembles the festivity and indulgence of the Floralia—or, more recently, the Jacobean masque. According to the Dwarf’s report, “Love hath been … so entertained by Pluto and Proserpine and all the grandees of the place as it is there perpetual holiday, and a cessation of torment granted and proclaimed forever” (101–104). As a result, Tantalus “is fallen to his fruit,” Ixion “is loosed from his wheel and turned dancer,” Sisyphus “is grown a master bowler,” the furies “are at a game called ninepins or kayles,” and Danaus’ daughters have “made bonfires” of their tubs (106, 110, 112–113, 116, 120). In short “Never was there such freedom of sport! … All is turned triumph there” (121). The combination of (p. 158 ) courtly and rural pastimes equates the Sunday sports that puritans condemned and that James (and later Charles) encouraged with the festivities at court. Both are meant to distract their participants from looking carefully at their own motives.
Having escaped from Hell, Cupid leads a series of antimasques in which seasonal change—represented here for the first time on an indoor English stage—figured the vicissitudes of desire.50 The antidote is married chastity, embodied by Juno, by whose “providence” “the enamoured Spring” is “Sent to quench Jealousy, and all those powers / Of Love’s rebellious war” (164, 169–170). This victory appears, as Suzanne Gossett has argued, to assert the power of marriage to contain the riotous, infernal impulses embodied by Cupid.51 Certainly as Chloris, Henrietta Maria represents eros purged of all of its more intense qualities and reduced to a chaste, uncomplicated affection. But as the Ovidian myth that governs Chloridia insists, such a clear opposition between rape and marriage, passion and reason, is difficult to draw. Jonson’s meditation on the relation between seduction and force, Floris from Chlora, acknowledges that the union between king and subject may be equally compromised, merely sanctioning the irresistible royal will that it should temper.
Jonson’s final court masques ironically undermine their own celebration of conjugal love by questioning the distinction between seduction and force, rape and marriage. By contrast, Aurelian Townshend’s Tempe Restored evokes a Foxean tradition that makes rape itself impossible, insisting instead that virtue cannot be lost without one’s own consent. Performed on February 14, 1632, Townshend’s masque demonstrates that feminine charm, which can secure psychological contentment, is a far more powerful means of securing obedience and allegiance than masculine force, which can generate only external compliance. Tempe Restored develops this argument through the myth of Circe. For writers from Homer to Spenser, this enchantress did not so much transform innocent men into degenerate beasts as make legible the power of animal instincts to overwhelm human reason. In the allegorical and psychological operation that Harry Berger, Jr., has called “specular tautology,” this surrender to passion is then projected onto an external, feminine figure who is both embodiment of and scapegoat for the frailty of male virtue.52 Tempe Restored destabilizes traditional stagings of gender to challenge male claims of helpless seduction. Whereas the dancers are listed at the end of the masque, the text itself notes that Circe was “represented by Madam Coniack,” a French singer and member of Henrietta Maria’s court (98).53 By underscoring this unprecedented (p. 159 ) appearance of a female singer in a female role, Tempe Restored literalized Prynne’s association between the sensual powers of women and music, both which can either elevate or corrupt.54 And because music was a metaphor not only of feminine seduction but also of the king’s power to command the affections of his subjects, the masque’s insistence that the virtuous constantly guard against their own desires casts suspicion on the royal charisma it ostensibly celebrates.55 As Circe’s final transfer of power to Charles and Henrietta Maria suggests, the royal image propagated by the court masque may be as dangerous and suspect as Circe’s magic, for both replace rational consent with enchanted yielding. By making political and erotic subjects responsible for their own seduction and enslavement, Tempe Restored grounds sovereignty on their consent, rather than any inherent power of the ruler.
Tempe Restored centers on a young gentleman, the Fugitive Favourite, who was once the thrall of Circe, living with her, as the Argument explains, “in all sensual delights, until, upon some jealousy conceived, she gave him to drink of an enchanted cup, and touching him with her golden wand, transformed him into a lion” (1–4). Immediately before the opening of the masque, Circe, “remembering her former love, [has] retransformed him into his former shape” (5–6). The Favourite finds salvation in Circe’s betrayal, which allows him to extricate himself from his own destructive illusions. Having regained his human reason along with his human form, the Favourite has fled to the reassuring presence of Charles, “whose sight frees him from all fear” (8). The Favourite’s change of allegiance suggests that the abjection that seemed to have been imposed upon him was really his own choice, for Circe has no power to compel his return. As the masque repeatedly affirms, those who obey Circe are “voluntary beasts” and “willing servants”—men who choose to behave as animals (13, 115). The gendered structure here is important: the male Favourite submits while the female Circe dominates. This inversion of traditional gender roles underscores the psychological, affective dimension of sovereignty with less ambiguity than do the Ovidian figures of ravishing Zephyrus and helpless Chloris. By making the Favourite a victim of his own desires, Townshend locates the source of authority firmly in the subject. To submit to a corrupt ruler is to enslave oneself to one’s own passions. This state of erotic addiction may be experienced as involuntary but is in actuality freely chosen, and therefore always revocable.
(p. 160 ) The Favourite’s first lines acknowledge his own responsibility for his erstwhile servitude. As he flees Circe, he ponders the problem of voluntary subjugation:
The Favourite’s fear of spiritual decay rather than physical distress is itself evidence of his regeneration. When he was a lion, he felt no such anxiety. Yet even as a beast, there persisted within him a “Promethean fire” that strained against his creaturely shell. His struggle to be “governed by reason, and not ruled by sense” constitutes a rather Spenserian psychomachia, not a battle against the external figure of Circe. The Allegory that concludes the printed version of Tempe Restored informs us that the Favourite represents “an incontinent man, that striving with his affections is at last, by the power of reason, persuaded to fly from those sensual desires which formerly corrupted his judgment” (295–297). The fear that he might be “retransformed into a beast” indicates not Circe’s power, but his own potential weakness, an incomplete regeneration enunciated in the inconsistency of his rhymes. The Favourite must flee Circe because she tempts him to relinquish his hard-won control over his own self-destructive passions.
- Was I a lion, that am now afraid?
- I fear no danger; nor I fear no death
- But to be retransformed into a beast;
- Which while I was, although I must confess
- I was the bravest (what else could she do less
- That saw me subject to no base desire?)
- Yet was there in me a Promethean fire
- That made me covet to be man again,
- Governed by reason, and not ruled by sense.
- Therefore I shun this place of residence,
- And fly to virtue; in whose awful sight
- She dares not come but in a mask, and crouch
- As low as I did for my liberty. (63–70)
Unfortunately, the place of refuge to which the Favourite runs may offer only illusory protection from desires that are at once egoistic and abject. The “awful sight” of the Caroline court to which Favourite flees should be the opposite of the Circean luxury whose allure he dreads, but the terms in which he compares the two undermine this distinction. In an irony that would not have been lost on attentive readers or viewers, the Favourite vows to “shun this place of residence” while standing in the midst of Whitehall. Moreover, his assurance that Circe cannot approach his royal sanctuary “but in a mask” reminds us of the dangerous seduction of court entertainment itself. Tempe Restored has permitted Circe and the sinister, corrupting delights she represents to appear at the center of English government.
As the Favourite ultimately realizes, the indulgence that disguises itself as pleasure has no force beyond that which he gives it. What saves this young gentleman is (p. 161 ) not the king’s power, but the Favourite’s ability to resist his own illusions and desires:
The consent that enables tyranny need not be active, conscious choice. It may be a form of laziness (“sloth”), a devotion to pleasure that corrodes liberty. Such erotic addiction is often misidentified as Love, making it seem desirable and legitimate, when it is in fact an egoistic servility. “Lust’s easy trades” exchange pleasure for virtue, comfort for self-respect. However, the proverb that concludes the Favourite’s speech undermines his confidence in the power of independent judgment. The scare quotes around the phrase “He finds no help, that uses not his own” in the printed text remind us that this statement of self-reliance and self-determination is itself a commonplace. The line emphasizes the gap between knowing what one should do and actually doing it.56
- ‘Tis not her rod, her philtres nor her herbs
- (Though strong in magic) that can bound men’s minds,
- And make them prisoners where there is no wall:
- It is consent that makes a perfect slave,
- And sloth that binds us to lust’s easy trades,
- Wherein we serve out our youth’s ’prenticeship,
- Thinking at last Love should enfranchise us,
- Whom we have never either served or known:
- ‘He finds no help, that uses not his own.’ (80–88)
The antimasque confirms the Favourite’s claims of choice and agency by depicting Circe as an impotent victim of her own urges rather than a truly threatening force. Heartbroken and furious over her Favourite’s escape, Circe commands her attendants to “Bring me some physic, though that bring no health, / And feign me pleasures, since I find none true” (113–114). An archetypal tyrant, Circe is ruled by will rather than reason. Her power therefore rests on the readiness of her servants to sustain her delusions—which her nymphs immediately do by assuring her that the Favourite’s departure was motivated by his own “ingratitude” and “fickle mind,” charges frequently leveled at Charles’ own detractors (103, 109).
Tempe Restored concludes by acknowledging that Circe’s charms may be of the same order as the royal charisma that Caroline masques described as the source of English harmony. In the celebration of Henrietta Maria’s Divine Beauty, which initiates the masque proper, the Highest Sphere of heaven enthuses that the queen’s presence “will amaze / And send the senses all one way” (216–217). Charles, whom the masque makes the embodiment of Heroic Virtue, joins Henrietta Maria. According to the Chorus, those who behold the rulers are “ravished with delight,” (p. 162 ) helpless before a monarchal magnetism that is disconcertingly similar to Circean charm (244). This ability to ravish and subdue beholders aligns the influence of royalty with that of earthly attraction and stresses the disorienting, stupefying powers of both. Indeed, the masque’s Allegory confirms that “desire cannot be moved without appearance of beauty, either true or false” (307–308). Beauty is equally fascinating whether it is real or apparent, virtuous or vicious. As a result, love and lust, masque and antimasque, Charles and Circe, cannot be definitively separated.
When Circe banishes Pallas Athena from the masque with a curt “Man-maid, begone!” she further emphasizes how easily desire can blur ethical and political categories (268). Given Townshend’s connections with the Earl of Holland’s circle, which urged greater intervention on behalf of the Protestant forces in the Thirty Years War, the dismissal of the goddess of war and wisdom by an incarnation of sensual delight may comment on the masque’s own effects.57 Circe and Pallas embody the difference between Charles, whose military expeditions at Cadiz, Ile de Rhe, and La Rochelle had been humiliating disasters, and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, whose invasion of Germany in 1630 and defeat of Catholic forces at Breitenfeld in 1631 had only increased pressure on Charles to enter the European conflict.58 Townshend’s own elegy on Gustavus’ death, likely written later in 1632, states that the Swedish king’s prowess was such that “Minerva may withowt hir gorgon com / To beare his sheld, the shield of Christendom.”59 The banishment of this martial goddess in Tempe Restored may represent Charles’ desire to exile the figure of Gustavus, with whom he was often unfavorably compared, with similar ease—indeed, in October 1632, the king would codify his distaste for Protestant alliance by prohibiting corontos, most of which were filled with news of Gustavus’ triumphs.60
(p. 163 ) After silencing Pallas, Circe does not assent to Jove and Cupid’s demand that she herself depart until she has named the “matchless pair” of rulers her “heir,” thus reiterating the affinity between her court and theirs (273–276). The morality of Circe’s legacy is dubious. What has she to give, if not the power to bewitch? This gift appears even more disturbing when we remember that Jupiter, who represents divine authority, and Cupid, who represents the desire that has undone both Circe and her minions, both claim credit for Circe’s relinquishment of power. Rather than resolve this indeterminacy, Tempe Restored simply concludes with the debate between imperial and erotic authority, the irresistible will of Jupiter and the ravishing arrows of Cupid. This choice, however, turns out not to be a choice at all. Like love and lust, imperial and erotic forms of authority are not opposites but exist, more treacherously, on a continuum. As the Allegory tells us, the impulse represented by Circe is not inevitably vicious, but “signifies desire in general, the which hath power on all living creatures, and being mixed of the divine and sensible, hath diverse effects, leading some to virtue and others to vice. She is described as a queen, having in her service and subjection the nymphs, which participate of divinity, figuring the virtues, and the brute beasts, denoting the vices” (298–303). Given the ambivalent, unstable nature of desire, Tempe Restored admonishes, the unquestioning devotion that Charles encouraged risked transforming his subjects into the same “perfect slave[s]” that follow Circe.
Carew’s Coelum Britannicum shifts focus from courtship to chivalry, but it depicts Charles’ conquests as moral rather than military. Charles’ pacific heroism distinguishes Caroline England not only from the rest of Europe but also from its Elizabethan past.61 But like those of Jonson and Townshend, Carew’s entertainment can be understood as something of a metamasque, examining, as Jennifer Chibnall puts it, the process of constructing Caroline mythology.62 Coelum Britannicum celebrates Charles’ well-known reform of court manners, one esteemed even by such critics as Lucy Hutchinson, by imagining that his example has inspired the gods to amend their promiscuous habits.63 In recognition of this change, “CARLOMARIA” will replace the constellations in the English skies. This astral inscription of the idealized royal union will supplant records of divine lust and jealousy. Unfortunately, as the masque goes on to demonstrate, such a turn from the past is also a dismantling of the “ancient constellations” of the military victories that Charles’ personal morality has replaced (405). In erasing the Elizabethan past, England may be abandoning its religion and liberty in favor of an indolent and irresponsible peace, if not Catholicism and tyranny. Performed February 18, 1634, Coelum Britannicum follows a (p. 164 ) series of domestic and international events that in 1632 and 1633 had converged to create the impression of a crisis in English identity. With the death of Gustavus on November 16, 1632, followed by that of Frederick of Bohemia less than two weeks later, the international Protestant cause lost its best hopes for success. Charles’ refusal to intervene and continued dialogue with Spain drew renewed complaints that he was failing to protect England from the ever-present menace of Rome.64 Fear that England was abandoning its mythologized Elizabethan role as champion of Protestantism was exacerbated by the construction of Henrietta Maria’s Capuchin chapel at Somerset House; the appointment of Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury; the reissue of the Book of Sports; the printing of the Scottish Prayer Book; and the reopening of negotiations between England and Rome, which would culminate in the arrival of the Papal envoy Gregorio Panzani in December 1634.65
Anxieties about a possible break from England’s chivalric Protestantism emerge in the debate between the two central figures of Coelum Britannicum, Mercury and Momus. Scholars typically see these characters as opposites, with Mercury representing the obsequious flattery of the masque and Momus the clumsy criticism of the antimasque.66 Rather than see these characters as figuring the court and its critics, however, we should understand them as illustrating two different ideas of what the court should be. Together, Mercury and Momus recapitulate the dilemma explored in Carew’s poem, “In Answer of an Elegiacal Letter, upon the Death of the King of Sweden, from Aurelian Townshend, Inviting Me to Write on the Subject.” Here, Carew rejects Townshend’s invitation, replying that the “subjects proper to our clime” are “Tourneys, masques, theaters” (95–97). These, according to Carew, “better become / Our halcyon days” than the “mighty” actions of Sweden’s “Victorious king,” which would require a far “loftier pitch” than Carew’s “lyric feet” can manage.67
In Coelum Britannicum, Mercury embodies the persona that Carew takes in the “Answer”—glib, placid, delighted that Charles’ policies have made the “thunder” of European “carapins” helpless to “Drown the sweet airs of our tuned violins” (“Answer,” 99–100). But there is an inescapable irony that the same author who slighted temperance in “Mediocrity in Love Rejected” and described oral sex in extraordinary detail in “A Rapture” should also announce that Charles’ “exemplar (p. 165 ) life” has “transfused a zealous heat / Of imitation through your virtuous court” (CB, 52–54). As Lucy Hutchinson would later observe, Charles’ reforms did not compel courtiers to “abandon their debaucheries,” only to “retire into corners to practise them.”68 A court poet like Carew, whom one contemporary account had helping to cover up an affair between Henrietta Maria and Henry Jermyn, would only have called attention to the fact that courtiers like William Davenant, John Suckling, and George Goring were notorious drunks, playboys, and gamblers. As a fictional alter ego for Carew’s cavalier persona, Mercury calls attention to the superficiality of the reforms he extols. Mercury has a similar reputation for complicity in Jovian misdeeds—we might remember, for instance, that he distracted Argus so that Jupiter could seduce poor Io. By his own admission, in former times Mercury would have come to court only “to whisper amourous tales / Of wanton love into the glowing ear / Of some choice beauty,” and Momus reminds him of his familiar role as “god of petty larceny” (CB, 46–48, 109). Such a conflation of seduction and theft places the masque audience as targets of Mercurial deceit, rather than witnesses of true reform.
Momus, to the contrary, personifies the more sober, critical poetic voice that Carew takes in “To Saxham,” “To My Friend G.N., from Wrest,” or “To My Worthy Friend Master George Sandys, On His Translations of the Psalms.” All of these lyrics express a Jonsonian preference for those who “delight / Rather to be in act, than seem in sight” (“G.N.,” 31–32) and a sober recognition that it would be better to seek “one thorn” from “the dry leafless trunk on Golgotha” than “all the flourishing wreaths by laureates worn” (“Sandys,” 34–36). Momus’ choice of truth over promotion links him to the values of an Elizabethan past in which the duty of the counselor was, in Elizabeth’s words to Burghley, “that without respect of my private will you will give me that counsel which you think best.”69 The most celebrated emblem of this lost era of counsel and chivalry was Philip Sidney. As J. G. A. Adamson has shown, Sidney is linked with Coelum Britannicum in two ways. First, much of Carew’s text is a free translation of Giordano Bruno’s Spaccio de la Bestia Trionfante, which was dedicated to Sidney. Second, Momus wears a porcupine, which was the Sidney family emblem, on his head.70 Gustavus had been to the Caroline Protestant cause what Sidney had been to that of the Elizabethan age, so Carew’s equation of the critic of the gods with the exemplar of militant, chivalric English Protestantism may celebrate the same values that he facetiously rejects in “An Answer.”71 In this poem, Carew equates Gustavus’ militarism with sixteenth-century romance:
This lengthy list of battles constitutes the elegy that Carew ostensibly refuses to write, and its prosaic nature only highlights the power of deeds that need no poetic adornment. In light of this poem’s association of prose with a chivalric past that has no place in the present, Momus’ prose in Coelum Britannicum distinguishes the true heroism whose death he laments from the false ideals of Mercury’s easy lyricism. In contrast to Mercury’s—or Carew’s—slick praise, the rough honesty of a Sidney or an Essex, a Leicester or a Burghley, may be more proper to courtiers.
- (p. 166 ) His actions were too mighty to be raised
- Higher by verse; let him in prose be praised,
- In modest, faithful story, which his deeds
- Shall turn to poems. When the next age reads
- Of Frankfort, Leipzig, Würzburg, of the Rhine,
- The Lech, the Danube, Tilly, Wallenstein,
- Bavaria, Pappenheim, Lützen-field, where he
- Gained after death a posthume victory,
- They’ll think his acts things rather feigned than done,
- Like our romances of the Knight o’the Sun. (15–24)
As we discover, the dismantling of the age-old constellations and replacement of them with the mere word “CARLOMARIA” signifies in Coelum Britannicum not only a chastening of the Jove’s “incests, rapes, adulteries” and Juno’s “revengeful fury” but also a destruction of England’s past chivalric ethos (66, 68). Along with the astral records of Jove’s “loose strumpets and their spurious race,” Mercury has “improvidently” banished “some innocent and some generous constellations, that might have been reserved for noble uses” (71, 381, 372–373). Momus’ first example is “the Scales and Swords to adorn the statue of Justice, since she resides here on earth only in picture and effigy” (374–375). This not only indicates that Charles and his queen have displaced the virgin Astraea, a well-recognized symbol for Elizabeth. It also suggests a loss of the justice that is connected to a military strength that Charles cannot claim. The subsequent examples are similarly martial. The “Eagle” who bears Jove’s thunder would have “been a fit present for the Germans, in regard their bird hath mewed most of her feathers lately” (375–377). And “Perseus on his Pegasus, brandishing his sword, the Dragon yawning on his back under the horse’s feet, with Python’s dart through his throat,” would have “been a divine St George for this nation” (379–381). With their loss of Gustavus, the German forces in the Thirty Years’ War sorely needed some divine intervention that might inspire England to emulate the bravery of Perseus, whose destruction of the sea-monster offered a type of the same St. George whom Charles had transformed from a Spenserian crusader against Catholicism into an emblem of private moral victory.
In describing the renovation of England’s Star Chamber, Momus insists that the mementos of England’s former glory have real effects. Pompously speaking in the royal “we,” Momus notes that past monarchs have “observed a very commendable (p. 167 ) practice … of perpetuating the memory of their famous enterprises, sieges, battles victories, in picture, sculpture, tapestry, embroideries, and other manufactures” (386, 388–390). One prominent example is the tapestry “wherein the naval victory of ’88 is to the eternal glory of this nation exactly delineated” (394–395). Charles, however, “after mature deliberation and long debate, held first in our own inscrutable bosom and afterwards communicated with our Privy Council” has decided that it is “meet to our omnipotency, for causes to ourself best known, to unfurnish and disarray our foresaid Star Chamber of all those ancient constellations which have for so many ages been sufficiently notorious” (401–406). In privately determining to break with the heroism of the English past, here represented by the 1588 destruction of the Spanish Armada, Momus’ Charles has likewise repudiated the frank counsel and public debate of earlier eras. In place of these “ancient constellations”—the Armada hangings bought by James I in 1616, which Charles had removed from Whitehall and stored in Oatlands—Charles will admit “such persons only as shall be qualified with exemplar virtue and eminent desert” (407–408). As Adamson has argued, Momus here censures Charles’ replacement of individual and collective displays of martial valor with the central, triumphant figure of the king, and his redefinition of virtue as private loyalty and morality, rather than public heroism.72
The subsequent antimasques demonstrate that while Charles hopes that perfect loyalty will replace the heroism of past eras, such sincere and selfless devotion cannot be found. For although Momus has invited “any person whatsoever that conceiveth him or her self to be really endued with any heroical virtue or transcendent merit worth so high a calling and dignity” to apply for service in Caroline government court, not a single fitting candidate appears. Instead, there is a succession of corrupt claimants to virtue. Plutus, “Which feeble virtue seldom can resist, / Stronger than towers of brass, or chastity,” confuses virtue with the very riches that corrode it (499–500). The puritanical Poenia signifies “unnatural stupidity / That knows nor joy nor sorrow” (608–609). Tiche attracts only “the lazy sluggard” who “licks the easy hand that feeds his sloth” (698–700). And Hedone is characterized by “fierce appetite” that “oft strangles thee / And cuts thy slender thread” (770–771). The quality that all of these aspirants share is their rejection of the active, self-sacrificing heroism that characterized the Protestant heroes and public servants of the increasingly idealized Elizabethan age. By attempting to reduce public virtue to private temperance and royal service, Charles has emptied England of its national glory and strength. As a result, his court is vulnerable to effete, egoistic parasites from within and resentful, bitter puritans from without. Neither are capable of restoring England’s ancient magnificence.
The masque proper, which begins only after seven antimasques and 832 lines, celebrates just this ancient chivalric past and urges the king to emulate it. The final (p. 168 ) dance is led by masquers “richly attired like ancient heroes” and “a troop of young lords and noblemen’s sons” “apparelled after the old British fashion” (895, 897–899). Their performance is followed by an assurance to Henrietta Maria that the chivalry of England’s Golden Age will also return:
Charles was himself an enthusiastic supporter of the Order of the Garter, whose patron was the same St. George that Spenser took as the model for his Redcrosse.73 But the athletic entertainments of the Elizabethan era have been replaced by courtly dances like the one being performed. In Coelum Britannicum, these figures of knightly prowess never even appear, suggesting the emptiness of this promise of a heroic future. The effort and strength of bygone days turn out to be as much an illusion as the giant mountain that rose and then descended below the stage, giving, as the text reports, “great cause of admiration, but especially how so huge a machine, and of that great height, should come from under the stage, which was but six foot high” (910–912). The private desire that replaces chivalric conquest is equally a product of cunning and illusion, making England’s former greatness the stuff of romance.
- We bring Prince Arthur, or the brave
- St George himself (great Queen) to you,
- You’ll soon discern him; and we have
- A Guy, a Bevis, or some true
- Round-Table knight as ever fought
- For lady, to each beauty brought. (967–972)
Davenant’s Salmacida Spolia (1640), the last masque ever presented at court, makes a final, somewhat desperate attempt to cast Charles’ relationship with his subjects as one of love and mutuality even as it reveals the hollowness of this claim. This masque represents Charles as Philogenes, the Lover of his People, whose ability to compromise and forgive will dispel the conflicts threatening England. As numerous scholars have noted, on February 12, 1640, three weeks after the masque’s first performance and nine days before its second, Charles issued writs for the first parliament to meet in eleven years. Davenant’s emphasis on conciliation was a plea for trust and the supply it would engender. Indeed, as Martin Butler has shown, the appeals for cooperation by Lord Keeper Finch at the opening of the Short Parliament in April sound like a paraphrase of Salmacida Spolia.74 Yet Davenant’s masque (p. 169 ) also makes explicit the subtext of the decade’s earlier entertainments, which warned that love may be a form of force, not its opposite.75 This depiction of love as inseparable from coercion had appeared in Davenant’s earlier work. Here he warns that a king who saw his English subjects as extensions of himself might abuse his people’s wholehearted trust in royal motives and policies.76
The extent to which appeals for love in Salmacida Spolia may signal hostility is reflected in the masque’s title. As the folio’s preface tells us, this title alludes to the adage “Salmacida spolia sine sanguine sine sudore, potius quam / Cadmia victoria, ubi ipsos victores pernicies opprimit” [“Salmacian spoils, achieved without bloodshed or sweat, rather than a Cadmian victory in which destruction falls upon the victors themselves”] (59–60).77 The first line of the proverb refers to the fountain of Salmacis, which enticed barbarians attacking Halicarnassus; having imbibed its waters, the barbarians’ “fierce and cruel natures were reduced of their own accord to the sweetness of Grecian customs” (75–77). The next line evokes a more compromised victory, “gotten with great damage and slaughter of the Thebans, for few of them returned alive into their city” (87–89). “The allusion,” according to the printed version of the masque, “is that his Majesty, out of his mercy and clemency approving the first proverb, seeks by all means to reduce tempestuous and turbulent natures into a sweet calm of civil concord” (90–92).
But as the source of the Salmacian pool’s ability to mollify those who drink its waters indicates, coercion and conciliation may not be true opposites. In the Metamorphoses, Ovid explains why “the fountaine of Salmacis diffamed is of yore, / Why with his waters overstrong it weakeneth men so sore / That whoso bathes him there commes thence a perfect man no more” (4.347–349). The fountain acquired such enfeebling properties after the lovelorn nymph Salmacis attacked the unsuspecting Hermaphroditus as he swam in its waters. Even more than the Ovidian stories of Chloris-Flora or the Fortunate Favourite, the tale of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus suggests that resistance may be insufficient against desire. “Maugre all his wrestling (p. 170 ) and his struggling to and fro,” Hermaphroditus cannot escape the clinging nymph (4.444). Sincere as it is, Salmacis’ love is a form of violation. Even as she annihilates any claim that Hermaphroditus has to distinct agency or subjectivity, she “held and kissed him a hundred times and mo” (4.445). This is not just a transient urge, either, for Salmacis prays “that this same wilfull boy and I may never parted bee” (4.461). When Hermaphroditus realizes that “in the water sheene / To which he had entred in a man, his limmes were weakened so / That out fro thence but halfe a man he was compelde to go,” he beseeches the gods that whoever enters this pool will be similarly effeminized (4.471–473). The Salmacian fountain represents the predatory, devouring side of eros, the wish to erase division or difference from which both love and hatred derive. If the pool on which the masque centers is a “fowle and filthy sinke” “which not the bodye only, but the mynd doo also chaunge” (15.34–349), then the apparent alternatives of conquest by love and conquest by violence end up being more similar than we like to think. Either, as the story of Hermaphroditus cautions, can dissolve not only resistance to another’s will but also any identity distinct from it. As in the masques that I have discussed above, this loss of boundaries is expressed through the violation of gendered norms. Francis Beaumont’s version of the story reminds us that Hermaphroditus’ sexuality is ambiguous even before he encounters Salmacis. Not only does Hermaphroditus’ name register the union of his father Mercury (Hermes) and his mother Venus (Aphrodite), but his extraordinary beauty enthralls both Diana and Apollo.78 Like the male courtiers dancing for, and expressing their love for, male monarchs, Hermaphroditus is both masculine and feminine, an object of homo- and heteroerotic admiration. In political terms, such a loss of hierarchical and gendered boundaries may diminish subjects’ ability to distinguish between the desires of the king and the good of the political nation.
The possibility that love may provoke obsession and violence, not redemption and harmony, was especially pertinent in the context in which Salmacida Spolia was produced, performed, and circulated. If Coelum Britannicum addresses Charles’ lack of foreign triumphs, Salmacida Spolia considers the possibility that he might direct against his own people the military forces he had raised to suppress Scottish and Irish revolts. In the years between the performances of the two masques, a number of events increased subjects’ mistrust not only of Charles’ willingness to govern moderately but also of the ability of English law to protect subjects from royal will. In particular, 1637 had seen several ominous signs that the crown’s power over both church and state was growing: Hampden’s Case affirmed Charles’ right to determine unilaterally what constituted a national emergency and to tax subjects accordingly; William Prynne, John Bastwick, and Henry Burton were publicly mutilated for their critiques of Laudian policy; and an Anglican Prayer Book was imposed on the Scottish Kirk. All of these events seemed to threaten traditional liberties of property and religion and therefore inspired organized resistance. Laud and many (p. 171 ) of the sheriffs collecting ship money noticed links among puritanism, support of parliaments, and resistance to Charles’ claims of royal emergency powers.79 By refusing to withhold their criticism of Charles and Laud’s policies, Prynne, Bastwick, and Burton had embraced the roles of martyrs who pushed the government to reveal that force, not love, upheld its power.80 The Scottish Covenanters’ pamphlets in particular sought to connect English and Scottish fears of royal tyranny, a connection that may well have existed. Scottish clergy and noblemen united to reject the Laudian Prayer Book in February 1638 and to expel bishops from the Kirk the following November, thereby establishing Presbyterianism. These actions directly assaulted the fiction that Charles ruled with the consent of his Scottish subjects and forced him into a position where he could reassert his authority only through military action. Charles’ English subjects offered little support for his plan to subdue the Scottish rebels, and when his lack of supplies and forces compelled the king to accept the Pacification of Berwick in June 1639, few expected that this would be the end of hostilities.
Salmacida Spolia participates in debates surrounding the imminent gathering of the first parliament since 1629, which Charles had called to request supply for a second expedition against the Scots. Many had high hopes that this meeting would be, as Benjamin Rudyard put it, “the bedd of reconciliacion betwixt King and people,” and at first glance, Davenant’s masque seems to promise such harmony.81 For it is not Charles alone, but the king “attended by his nobles” and with “his appearance prepared by a chorus, representing the beloved people” that quiets the fury of the antimasque (12–13, 14–15). Whereas earlier masques imagined Charles’ personal rule as a product of his subjects’ love and trust, Salmacida Spolia makes explicit two of the implicit anxieties of previous entertainments: first, that the king might use force against his people, and second, that such a violation of trust might foment rebellion. Even if Charles really is Philogenes, his love may be more aggressive and selfish than gentle and nurturing.
Salmacis, then, is not the opposite of the king, but the perversion of the erotic role Charles has played throughout the decade—and like this feminized double, Charles may refuse to allow any divergence from his own will. The first sign that (p. 172 ) Charles may not be as open to counsel as the incoming parliament might wish is that the masque either demonizes or dismisses anyone who might criticize the king’s policies. Salmacida Spolia presents Discord as a gruesome Fury, a characterization that identifies any dissatisfaction with Caroline rule as arising from the same “factious spirits” whose validity Charles dismissed after the 1629 parliament. In her song, Discord satirically embodies those who have challenged Charles’ irenic foreign policies in her lament that “the world should everywhere / Be vexed into a storm save only here!” (113–114). In order to remedy this situation, she will generate domestic strife by arousing the suspicions of the great, the greed of the wealthy, and the ambitions of the poor, the last of whom will “make religion to become their vice, / Named to disguise ambitious avarice” (133–134). By implication, those who oppose the Prayer Book in Scotland or Laudian reform in England use religion as a cover for self-promotion. Even easier to dismiss are the twenty antimasques of what Sharpe has called “Politic Would-Bes” that take up the middle part of the masque.82 The most prominent of these is Wolfgangus Vandergoose. As Karen Britland has shown, this character evokes Vangoose from Jonson’s Masque of Augers, an Englishman whose native accent and identity has been obscured by his imitation of the Dutch.83 Given the Tudor and Stuart suspicion of the Dutch Republic and its rebellion against the Spanish monarchy, Vandergoose may be a parody of the commitments to Protestantism and political liberty embraced not only by such men as Prynne, Milton, or John Pym but also by many members of the Privy Council, like Pembroke, Holland, and Northumberland. Vandergoose is accompanied by “the Invisible Lady Styled the Magical Sister of the Rosicross” (179–180), a pairing that associates him with a mystical, pan-European movement that threatened to divert allegiance from the monarch to an international religious alliance.84 The quack cures he offers for England’s ills—represented by ancient Irish- and Scotsmen, an “old-fashioned Englishman,” “a country gentlemen,” and various courtiers and cavaliers—discredit solutions other than those offered by Charles himself. Linking Vandergoose to such potential threats as the Irish or the Scots and to such foolish figures as “a jealous Dutchman, his wife, and her Italian lover” (243), the antimasque makes him a figure of hostility, impotence, and hypocrisy, one who uses the “magic” of religion for his own ends. Whereas Discord is deformed and frightening, Vandergoose is foolish and contemptible. This pairing collapses serious and trivial challenges to royal authority. It thereby justifies Charles’ use of force against the Scots and their English compatriots even as it diminishes the threat they pose.
(p. 173 ) Between the antimasques of Discord and Vandergoose, Concord and the Genius of Great Britain briefly appear to bemoan the ingratitude of the English people. Casting Charles as a misunderstood martyr, the Genius complains that the people “lay too mean, too cheap a price / On every blessing they possess” (151–152). This complaint is also an implicit threat, however, as Concord offers to leave and promises that “I shall be valued when I’m gone” (157). Genius manages to persuade her to stay in order to please and comfort Philogenes, but Concord remains distressed that “’tis his fate to rule in adverse times, / When wisdom must awhile give place to crimes” (168–169). Like the traditional wounded lover, Philogenes’ suffering makes him a martyr and, correspondingly, transforms aggression into self-defense. Here, the language of hagiography destabilizes identities of tyrant and victim, force and love. Salmacida Spolia reminds us of the polemical power of the stance of wronged innocence taken by men like Prynne, Bastwick, and Burton. Like his political opponents, Charles sought to demonstrate his virtue by advertising his suffering. Concord and the Genius model the proper response to such royal distress when they admire the magnanimity with which Philogenes bears his affliction:
These lines transform Charles from an emblem of martial strength to a saint whose heroism is exhibited in his ability to endure. To resist the people’s rage—to use force to create order—is far easier than to gain their love and obedience. Like that of a lover rejected by a haughty mistress, Charles’ patience is no longer the behavior expected of a good ruler, but a mark of otherworldly virtue—a role that he would occupy with astounding success in Eikon Basilike. As Salmacida Spolia implies, the people’s sullenness, folly, and rage would provoke a less patient man to use far harsher methods to achieve reunion. This song expresses the dilemma Charles faces: he can depend only on free expressions of compromise and good will, for if he compels submission he will exchange his role of suffering martyr for that of persecuting tyrant. This difficulty appears further in the scene that follows, which pictures “craggy rocks and inaccessible mountains … all of which represented the difficult way which heroes are to pass ere they come to the Throne of Honour” (256–257, 262–264). No longer capable of banishing lust and rage with his mere presence, Charles will have to acknowledge that his subjects’ desires are distinct from his own. The real obstacle he must overcome is as much his own willfulness as the resistance of the political nation.
- O who but he could thus endure
- To live and govern in a sullen age,
- When it is harder far to cure
- The people’s folly than resist their rage? (173–176)
This willing subjection is modeled by the “chorus of beloved people” that welcomes Marie de Médici, who had been exiled from France in 1631 and living in England since 1638. As Britland has argued, Salmacida Spolia connects the (p. 174 ) waters of Salmacis to Marie, the “spring” from which Henrietta Maria has originated, thereby registering the ambivalent relation between pacification and emasculation.85 The masque celebrates Marie’s marriage to Henri IV, whom it describes as “the chief and best / Of modern victors” (282–283). But, as we have seen, Henri’s reputation in England was hardly spotless. Despite his protection of Huguenots, his conversion to Catholicism made him an emblem of political expediency memorialized as Spenser’s Bourbon, not the heroism of a Sidney or a Gustavus. Moreover, even though Marie’s own iconography depicted her as an advocate for peace, she was widely regarded as a troublemaker whose presence was unwelcome in England and whose pro-Spanish policies were associated in 1638 and 1640 with Laudian reform and ship money.86 If Henrietta Maria, who was also endorsing pro-Spanish policies by 1640, were to pattern herself after her mother, then this “stream from whence our blessings flow” could prove a similar danger to English religion and liberty, enervating those who would defend them. This impression was only amplified by Henrietta Maria’s attempts to raise money for the First Bishop’s War—thus circumventing the need for parliamentary supply—by requesting Catholic contributions (281).87 The queen and her ladies’ subsequent appearance “in Amazonian habits” visualizes the sense that her influence had so emasculated Charles that he was incapable of defending the political nation and that she would do the same to Protestant subjects (353).88 Indeed, it is precisely this charge that the Long Parliament would stress in the 1645 publication of The King’s Cabinet Opened, a collection of the king and queen’s private letters seized after the Battle of Naseby.
In this context, it is more ominous than comforting that the final song in Salmacida Spolia (and, for that matter, the final masque song ever) insists that king and people can still be reconciled if they can emulate the royal example of “turning [their] thoughts to either’s will” (424). Yet, as the second verse warns, this reciprocal obedience may be a product of delusion:
(p. 175 ) Rather than mutual compromise between king and political nation, the song envisions a unilateral capitulation on the part of the people. It is only “as if” they have been taught rather than forced. The trick may be to make subjects believe that they have chosen to be subdued, the illusion for which the decade’s masques as a group strive, at least on the surface. If, as the song claims, Charles is “Loved even by those who should your justice fear,” then the politics of conciliation and force, pedagogy and punishment, have merged into one another, like Hermaphroditus and Salmacis (436).
- All that are harsh, all that are rude,
- Are by your harmony subdued;
- Yet so into obedience wrought
- As if not forced to it, but taught. (425–428)
The fantasy of such erotic engulfment suggests the same pleasure in abjection that Spenser and Wroth analyze. Salmacida Spolia expresses not a fantasy of reconciliation, but a fear that discipline will be experienced as pleasure, subjection as choice. Such a blurring of boundaries will make prerogative and law one and the same—ending in a hermaphroditic absorption of native religion and liberty by royal will. As I argue in the following chapter, this was the last thing that even a devout royalist like Margaret Cavendish had in mind when she defended the monarchy. For Cavendish, as for many royalists, a strict adherence to impersonal law was the only way to contain the human passions depicted in the Caroline masque. Because monarch and subjects are equally vulnerable to these pulls of irrational desire, it is not revolution, but a return to the principles of the ancient constitution that will protect England from love’s destructive potential. (p. 176 )
(1) . See Russell, Unrevolutionary England, 89–109, esp. 91; Sharpe, Personal Rule, 604–605; Martin Butler, “Ben Jonson,” 91–115, esp. 91–92; and Smuts, “Force, Love, and Authority,” 32. Goldie describes the symbiotic relationship between local and central government (“Officeholding in Early Modern England”).
(2) . See Russell, 5–8, 12–13, 20.
(3) . Colclough analyzes the concepts of counsel and freedom of speech in Stuart parliamentary thought (Freedom of Speech, 120–195).
(4) . On rumors and threats that Charles would permanently dispense with parliament, see Hirst, Authority, 36, 41; and Kenyon, ed., Stuart Constitution, 28, 52. Historians have disagreed as to the extent to which Charles himself deserves blame for the eruption of war. The literature here is quite copious, but the best recent example of the argument that Charles’ mishandling of political crisis led to war and regicide is Cust, Charles I. For a defense of Charles’ character and political choices, see Kishlansky, “Case of Mistaken Identity.”
(5) . Sharpe, Personal Rule, 58.
(6) . Sharpe, for instance, cites the elevation of such men as Thomas Wentworth, William Noy, and Dudley Digges in the government of the 1630s (Personal Rule, xviii, 38, 134, 706–707). Russell notes that many members of Charles’ Privy Council persisted in their parliamentary convictions throughout the decade (1–29, esp. 26). See also Cust and Hughes, “After Revisionism,” 4–5.
(7) . Critics who have described Caroline entertainments as absolutist propaganda include Orgel and Strong, Inigo Jones; Orgel, Illusion of Power; Kogan, Hieroglyphic King; and J. Newman, “Inigo Jones.” As Martin Butler has argued, the picture of royal absolutism drawn by literary critics is at odds with the limited monarchy described by historians of the period (Stuart Court Masque, 8–33).
(8) . “His Majesty’s Declaration to all his Loving Subjects, of the Causes which moved him to Dissolve the last Parliament,” March 10, 1629, in Kenyon, ed., Stuart Constitution, 71–72.
(9) . Sharpe, Criticism, 39.
(10) . McCoy, Rites, 28–32, 18–20. For more conservative readings of court spectacle, see Yates, Astraea, 88–111; and Strong, Cult of Elizabeth.
(11) . Lees-Jeffries, “Location as Metaphor,” 65–85.
(12) . Susan Frye, Elizabeth I, 62. Along with McCoy’s book-length analysis of court ritual (Rites), see Collinson, “Religion and Politics in the Progress of 1578”; Heale, “Loyal Catholicism and Lord Montague’s Entertainment”; and Heaton, “The Harefield Festivities.” The most comprehensive collections of Elizabethan entertainments remain Nichols, Progresses and Public Processions of Queen Elizabeth; and Chambers, Elizabethan Stage. See also Wilson’s shorter critical edition, Entertainments for Elizabeth I.
(13) . See Martin Butler, Stuart Court Masque, 73.
(14) . For these changes, see Orgel, Illusion of Power, 10–14; Smuts, “Political Failure of Stuart Cultural Patronage,” 183; Prescott, “Stuart Masque”; and Martin Butler, Stuart Court Masque, 1, 14, 29, 74.
(15) . Stuart Court Masque, 133–143, 151–153.
(16) . For discussions of the allegorical significance of the royal marriage, see, for instance, Sharpe, Criticism, 183–184; Veevers, Images of Love and Religion, 4–5, 72–74; and Wikander, Princes to Act, 94–147.
(17) . The queen’s brazen Catholicism, and especially the public conversions of members of her court, not only alarmed such English subjects as Pym and Prynne but also antagonized Charles and infuriated Laud. See Veevers, 70–90; Sharpe, Personal Rule, 285, 304–306; White, Henrietta Maria, 21–24, 30–33; and McRae, “Seditious Libel,” 190.
(18) . While Henrietta Maria’s biographers disagree as to the extent of her role in English history, they generally concur in seeing her unpopularity as the combined effect of her stubborn Catholicism and French hauteur. See Veevers; Haynes, Henrietta Maria; Oman, Henrietta Maria; Wedgwood, King’s Peace; Bone, Henrietta Maria; Dolan, Whores, chapter 3; and White. On reactions to the marriage treaty, see Hirst, Authority, 137; and Sharpe, Personal Rule, 8.
(19) . Bailey, Staging the Old Faith, 17–48, 89–131.
(20) . Memoirs, 70. Charles himself, according to Hutchinson, preferred to call Henrietta Maria “Marie” (70), and Ben Jonson consistently addresses the queen as “Mary” in his verses. Henrietta Maria was both revered and reviled for her association with the cult of the Virgin: in The Popish Royal Favourite Prynne satirized the comparison between the queen’s intercessions for Catholics and the Virgin’s intercessions for humanity made by the author of Maria Triumphans (Veevers, 94–108). The historical resonances of the queen’s name were likewise exploited by civil war pamphlets warning that England would “suffer greater tortures under Queen Mary the Second, than ever the Martyrs did under Queen Mary the First” (quoted in White, 146–147). And a seventeenth-century biography notes that during her first passage to England, Henrietta Maria encountered “the same rough and tempestuous weather which Mary Queen of Scots found when she was wafted over from Calais” (The History of the Thrice Illustrious Princess, 28).
(21) . See Russell, 94–96; White, 11–20, 30, 60–90; and Kenyon, Stuart England, 136–140. Martin Butler (Theatre and Crisis, 26–35, and Stuart Court Masque, 147) and Smuts (“Puritan Followers of Henrietta Maria”) emphasize the complexity of Henrietta Maria’s allegiances and her appeal for the pro-French, Protestant party at court until the late 1630s.
(22) . This anxiety would continue to assert itself in both the Long Parliament’s order that Charles was “not to entertain any Advice, or Mediation, from the Queen” (“Declaration to the King of Causes and Remedies: February 18, 1642,” Journals of the House of Commons, 2:443) and the Privy Council’s complaints about the amount of time Charles and Henrietta Maria spent together (Sharpe, Personal Rule, 171–174). For an analysis of the gendered dimensions of the anxieties about the royal marriage, see Dolan, Whores, chapter three.
(23) . “Localizing Caroline Masques,” 78.
(24) . Prynne’s words are quoted by Veevers, 90; Milton, The Readie and Easie Way, CP, 7:426). Hausted also censured the masques’ spectacles as dangerously “ravishing” (see Orgel and Strong, 51).
(25) . Eikonoklastes, CP, 3:343.
(26) . Like such Huguenot and republican theorists, Algernon Sidney attributes tyranny not to force but to deluded consent (“Of Love,” in The Essence of Algernon Sidney’s Work on Government, 271–287, and Discourses, 1.3, 5, 11 and 2.8, 11, 19, 25). Silver offers a detailed analysis of Sidney’s criticism of royal charisma (“Sidney’s Discourses”).
(27) . Parry, for instance, sees Charles’ adaptation of Henrietta Maria’s interest in courtly love as an attempt to replace political debate with a vision of “a benevolent love at the heart of a happy nation,” but he does not discuss the darker implications of the masques’ erotic idiom (Golden Age Restor’d, 189).
(28) . See, for instance, Norbrook, “Reformation of the Masque”; Martin Butler, Theatre and Crisis, 1–9, 35, “Politics and the Masque,” “Courtly Negotiations,” and Stuart Court Masque; Sharpe, Criticism, 26–29, 180, 192–196, 291–294; Bevington and Holbrook, “Introduction”; Craig, “Jonson”; Wright, “Civic and Courtly Ceremonies”; and Ravelhofer, “Unstable Movement Codes.” Kroll has shown that since the principles of architectural design that Jones implemented were humanistic and Ciceronian, they visually support customary and legal limits on monarchal prerogative (Restoration Drama, 122–168).
(29) . Shohet, “Masque in/as Print” and “On 1630s Masques.” See also Sharpe, Criticism, 191–193.
(30) . Martin Butler notes that while non-courtiers like members of the gentry and Inns of Court had access to masque performance, the venues in which masques were performed could accommodate no more than 1,200 spectators, a physical limitation that enforced a sense of exclusivity. By contrast, James Shirley’s The Triumph of Peace, which went through three separate impressions of several thousand copies each, may have been the period’s most widely read literary text (Stuart Court Masque, 34–62, 308–310).
(31) . As Lesser has shown, literary works could acquire new meanings to fit new situations (Renaissance Drama and the Politics of Publication, 81–114).
(32) . Quoted in Worden, “Ben Jonson,” 74. Among Jonson’s closest friends were Selden and William Camden, who was his teacher and mentor at Westminster School and to whom Jonson attributes “All that I am in arts, all that I know” (Epigrams XIV, 2, in Complete Poems; all references to Jonson’s lyrics will be to this edition). These men consistently described honest counsel and common law as the source of royal authority. Jonson explicitly anatomizes the relationship between tyranny and flattery in Sejanus and Catiline, and more subtly locates its origins in private ambition and desire in Eastward Ho! (for which he was briefly imprisoned), Epicoene, and, most horrifically, Volpone. Scholars who have noted Jonson’s affinity with Camden and Selden include Martin Butler, “Late Jonson,” esp. 170–172; and Worden, “Ben Jonson.” For discussions of Camden’s politics, see Sharpe, Criticism, 17, and Personal Rule, 655–657; and Burgess, Politics, 159. For Selden’s views, see Greenberg, Radical Face, 147–151.
(33) . Veevers describes the sources and politics of Henrietta Maria’s Neoplatonism (14–47). For discussions of Renaissance Neoplatonism, see Wind, Pagan Mysteries; Cassirer, Kristeller, and Randall, eds., Renaissance Philosophy of Man; and Jayne, Plato in Renaissance England.
(34) . Martin Butler (“Late Jonson,” 176) and Gordon (“The Intellectual Setting”) both describe the ongoing rivalry between Jonson and Jones.
(35) . The Forest III (“To Sir Robert Wroth”), 107, and XIII (“Epistle. To Katherine, Lady Aubigny”), 65. See also Epigrams XLV, The Forest IV and XII, Underwoods LXI, LXX, LXXVII, LXXXIII, and Miscellaneous Poems XXIX.
(36) . From Ben Jonson: The Complete Masques. All citations of Jonson’s masques will be from this edition, unless otherwise noted.
(37) . Epigram I, 1–2. Jonson expresses such anxiety about misinterpretation, itself almost inevitable in a world devoted to the superficial, in his Dedication of the Epigrams to Pembroke and in Miscellaneous Poems II, III, VIII, and, perhaps most famously, XIV, which reminds those encountering Shakespeare’s First Folio to “look / Not on his picture, but his book” (9–10).
(38) . Underwoods XIV, 23–25.
(39) . See Epigrams XIX, XX, XLVI, and LXII, and Underwoods XIV.
(40) . Underwoods XIV.
(41) . Quoted in Smuts, “Force, Love, and Authority,” 33.
(42) . Burgess discusses in detail the implications of these acts for the common law (Politics, 179–211).
(43) . For the gendered significance and contradictions of Jonson’s ethical ideal more generally, see Silver, “Duplicity of Gender.”
(44) . See, for instance, Craig, 177; Kogan, 114; and Martin Butler, “Late Jonson,” 176.
(45) . Ovid, Fasti, 5.201–212.
(46) . See Wind, 115–117.
(47) . For discussion of the problematic ideological association of rape and chastity in the Fasti, see Sanchez, “Libertinism and Romance,” 443–448.
(48) . See Held, “Flora, Goddess and Courtesan,” 1:201–216, 2:72–74. As Held shows, Renaissance courtesans were frequently painted in the guise of Flora.
(49) . See Veevers, 128. Sharpe notes that the preface to Chloridia suggests the close involvement of Charles and Henrietta Maria in the masques invention (Criticism, 186).
(50) . For the place of Chloridia in the history of theatrical technology, see Orgel and Strong, 423.
(51) . Gossett, “Women in Masques,” 127.
(52) . “Squeezing the Text,” 86
(53) . Tempe Restored, in Court Masques, ed. Lindley. All references to non-Jonsonian masques will be to this edition.
(54) . Sharpe, Criticism, 229. McManus has argued that it was the stricture on public aristocratic speech (which demanded male, as well as female, silence) that created the possibility of female masque performance, which initially consisted only of dancing (Women on the Renaissance Stage, 1–59, 202–213). Some female roles in Townshend’s masque were also played by cross-dressed professional male actors. As Tomlinson has observed, the consequent juxtaposition of “real” with “artificial” women gave the audience a chance to compare naturalistic and illusionistic performances of gender (“Theatrical Vibrancy,” 187).
(55) . See Lindley’s discussion of early modern anxieties about music’s persuasive power (“Politics of Music,” 273–295).
(56) . For an alternate reading of Tempe Restored as “unequivocally rationalist,” see Martin Butler, Stuart Court Masque, 158–159.
(57) . Sharpe notes that Holland may have been the one to introduce Townshend to Henrietta Maria (Criticism, 154–155). Britland proposes that Townshend may have shared Holland’s interests and notes the large number of child dancers in Tempe Restored who were from firmly Protestant families (Drama, 90, 96–101). On Holland and his circle, see Sharpe, Personal Rule, 164–165, 740–742; and Martin Butler, “Politics and the Masque,” 62–63.
(58) . See Kenyon, Stuart England, 123.
(59) . The poem is reproduced by G. C. Moore Smith, “Aurelian Townshend,” 422–427; 422–423 (no line numbers). All references to this poem will quote the version in Moore’s article, itself a transcription of the manuscript version in St. John’s College, Cambridge (MS. S.23, article 44). I have silently changed ‘u’ and ‘v’ to conform to modern spellings.
(60) . Hirst, Authority, 176; and Sharpe, Personal Rule, 646. In his elegy, Townshend himself laments that no ruler comparable to Gustavus exists:
- Prinses ambitius of renoune shall still
- Strive for his spures to helpe them up the hill.
- His gloryus gauntlettes shall unquestioned lye
- Till handes are found fitt for a monarchie.
(61) . Peacock discusses the translation of Prince Henry’s chivalric, military image into the portrayal of Charles as a “hero of the inner life” in court masques and portraiture of the 1630s (“Image of Charles I as a Roman Emperor,” 55).
(62) . Chibnall, “Function of the Caroline Masque,” 85.
(63) . Hutchinson, 67.
(64) . Sharpe, Personal Rule, 72–75; Kenyon, Stuart England, 123.
(65) . The details and significance of these events are discussed in detail by Veevers, 84–88, 135–136; Leah Marcus, Politics of Mirth, 1–23, 175; and Atherton and Sanders, “Introducing the 1630s,” 6–8.
(66) . Sharpe sees Momus as a figure for Carew, satirically debunking the court’s flattering vision of itself (Criticism, 235–243), while Adamson understands him as a figure for an outmoded knightly belligerence that Charles’ more genteel brand of chivalry had replaced (“Chivalry and Political Culture,” 171–175). Kogan treats Mercury’s triumphant vision as Carew’s earnest celebration of court values (128–134).
(67) . “In Answer of an Elegiacal Letter,” 9, 15, 6, in Ben Jonson and the Cavalier Poets, ed. Maclean. All references to Carew’s lyrics will be to this edition.
(68) . Hutchinson, 67. For further discussions of the decidedly unchaste behavior of the Caroline court, see White, 19, 49; Poynting, “Henrietta Maria’s Notorious Whores”; and Tomlinson, “Henrietta Maria and the Threat of the Actress.”
(69) . Read, Mr. Secretary Cecil, 119.
(70) . Adamson, 172.
(71) . For the reputation of Gustavus, see Hirst, Authority, 86; Sharpe, Personal Rule, 79; and Holbrook, “Jacobean Masques,” 70.
(72) . Adamson, 172–173.
(73) . As Martin Butler observes, readers and spectators of Coelum Brittanicum would likely have caught this Spenserian allusion (Stuart Court Masque, 315).
(74) . Martin Butler suggests that the unusual repetition of performances and the large number of dancers known to oppose Charles’ policies signaled Charles’ desire to reach the widest audience he could (“Politics and the Masque,” 65, 68–71, and Stuart Court Masque, 333–348). Sharpe argues that Salmacida Spolia urges moderation and compromise (Criticism, 251–255, 264).
(75) . Wikander points out that Davenant’s plays critically scrutinize the self-absorption of couples in love (96–99). Kroll argues that Davenant’s satiric picture of Platonic love emphasizes the limits of royal prerogative (93–121). As Shohet observes, Davenant’s Inns of Court entertainment Triumphs of the Prince d’Amour, which was performed for Henrietta Maria and the Bohemian princes Charles Louis and Rupert, suggests that in cases of uncertain succession, power reverts to subjects (“On Late-1630s Masques,” 240). Veevers argues that Davenant, like Jonson, appeared to have trouble adjusting to Henrietta Maria’s version of Neoplatonism (53), while Bailey suggests that Davenant’s conversion to Catholicism in the 1650s was a result of political calculation rather than religious conviction (136–140).
(76) . According to Secretary Windebanke, calling a parliament would prove an advantage to Charles because it would show that he “desired the old way” of government. If the political nation failed to respond “cheerfully” to his needs, “the world might see he is forced, contrary to his own inclination, to use extraordinary means, rather than by the peevishness of some few factious spirits to suffer his State and Government to be lost” (quoted by Martin Butler, “Politics and the Masque,” 65).
(77) . Lindley’s translation.
(78) . Beaumont, Salmacis and Hermaphroditus.
(79) . According to Burgess, it was a “crisis of the common law”—the anxiety that English law was inadequate to protect subjects’ lives, liberties, and property from royal demands—that fomented conflict (Politics, 180, 190–195, 202–210). On the significance of Hamden’s Case, see also Hirst, Authority, 178–180; Sharpe, Personal Rule, 721–728; and Russell, 137–144. For the connection between the Covenanters’ opposition to the Prayer Book and the increased sense that to support parliamentary government was to resist royal prerogative, see Sharpe, Personal Rule, 731–737, 784–820; and Russell, 231–253. Cressy argues that the constitutional, political, religious, and social revolutions that occurred between 1640 and 1642 were the cause, not the effect, of the civil wars (“Revolutionary England”).
(80) . Russell, 179–204; Sharpe, Personal Rule, 757–762; and McRae.
(81) . Quoted in Martin Butler, Theatre and Crisis, 74.
(82) . Criticism, 253.
(83) . Britland, “Marie de Médicis,” 208.
(84) . See Pearl’s discussion of Jonson’s satire on the Rosicrucians in The Fortunate Isles, and Their Union (“Jonson’s Masques,” 71–73).
(85) . “Marie de Médicis,” 213.
(86) . See Britland on the association of Marie with ship money (Drama, 205–216). White describes a letter sent to Charles after the dissolution of the Short Parliament threatening to “chase the Pope and the Devil from St. James’s, where is lodged the Queene, [and] Mother of the Queene” (40). Bailey describes Marie’s arrival as part of the increasingly revived Catholicism of Henrietta Maria’s court (9–11, 175–207).
(87) . White, 35–36.
(88) . As Veevers observes, in Salmacida Spolia Charles and Henrietta Maria switch expected gender roles, with king appearing as passive, forgiving Christ and queen as militant virgin (203).