Page images

In all this noble bevy, has brought with her
One care abroad: he would have all as merry
· As first-good company, good wine, good welcome,
Can make good people. -0, my lord, you are

tardy; Enter Lord Chamberlain, LORD SANDS, and SIR

THOMAS LOVELL. The very thought of this fair company Clapp'd wings to me.

Cham. You are young, Sir Harry Guildford.

Sands. Sir Thomas Lovell, had the cardinal But half my lay-thoughts in him, some of these Should find a running banquet ere they rested, I think, would better please them: By my life, They are a sweet society of fair ones.

Lov. O, that your lordship were but now confessor
To one or two of these!

I would, I were;
They should find easy penance.

'Faith, how easy? Sands. As easy as a down bed would afford it. Cham. Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir

Harry, Place


that side, I'll take the charge of this: His grace is ent'ring.–Nay, you must not freeze; Two women plac'd together makes cold weather :My Lord Sands, you are one will keep them waking; Pray, sit between these ladies.

| A bevy is a company. In the curious catalogue of The companyes of bestys and foules' in the Book of St. Albans, it is said to be the proper term for a company of ladies, of roes, and of quailes. Johnson derives it from the Italian, I suspect upon no better authority than finding it in Florio translated beva. Its origin is yet to seek. Spenser has ' a bevy of ladies bright, in his Shepherd's Calender, ' a lovely bevy of faire ladies in his Faerie Queene, and Milton bas'a bevy of fair dames.'


By my faith,
And thank your lordship.—By your leave, sweet

ladies :
[Seats himself between Anne BULLEN and

another Lady. If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me; I had it from


father. Anne.

Was he mad, sir ? Sands. O, very mad, exceeding mad, in love too: But he would bite none; just as I do now, He would kiss you twenty with a breath.

[Kisses her. Cham.

Well said, my lord.So, now you are fairly seated :-Gentlemen, The

penance lies on you, if these fair ladies
Pass away frowning.


cure, Let me alone.

[ocr errors]

Hautboys. Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, attended ;

and takes his state. Wol. You are welcome, my fair guests; that

noble lady, Or gentleman, that is not freely merry, Is not my friend : This, to confirm my welcome; And to you all good health.

[Drinks. Sands.

Your grace is noble;Let me have such a bowl


hold And save me so much talking. Wol.

My Lord Sands, I am beholden to you: cheer your neighbours.Ladies, you are not merry;—Gentlemen, Whose fault is this? Sands.

The red wine first must rise In their fair cheeks, my lord; then we shall have them Talk us to silence.

my thanks,

Anne. You are a merry gamester, my

Lord Sands. Sands. Yes, if I make my play?.Here's to your ladyship: and pledge it, madam, For 'tis to such a thing,Anne.

You cannot show me. Sands. I told your grace, they would talk anon. [Drum and trumpets within: Chambers 3

discharged. Wol.

What's that? Cham. Look out there, some of you.

[Exit a Servant. Wol.

What warlike voice? And to what end is this ?—Nay, ladies, fear not; By all the laws of war you are privileg'd.

Re-enter Servant.

Cham. How now? what is't?

A noble troop of strangers; For so they seem : they have left their barge, and

landed :
And hither make, as great ambassadors
From foreign princes.

Good lord chamberlain,

2 i. e. if I may choose my game.

3 Chambers are short pieces of ordnance, standing almost erect upon their breechings, chiefly used upon festive occasions, being so contrived as to carry great charges, and make a loud report. They had their name from being little more than mere chambers to lodge powder; that being the technical name for that cavity in a gun which contains the powder or combustible matter. Cavendish, describing this scene as it really occurred, says that against the king's coming were laid charged many chambers, and at his landing they were all shot off, which made such a rumble in the air that it was like thunder.' So in a New Trick to Cheat the Devil, 1636:

I still think o' the Tower ordnance,
Or of the peal of chambers, that's still fired

my lord mayor takes his barge.'


[ocr errors]

Go, give them welcome, you can speak the French

tongue; And, pray, receive them nobly, and conduct them Into our presence, where this heaven of beauty Shall shine at full upon them :-Some attend him.[Exit Chamberlain, attended. All arise,

and Tables removed. You have now a broken banquet; but we'll mend it. A good digestion to you all: and, once more, I shower a welcome on you;- Welcome all. Hautboys. Enter the King, and twelve Others, as

Maskers, habited like Shepherds, with sixteen Torchbearers: ushered by the Lord Chamberlain. They pass directly before the Cardinal, and gracefully salute him. A noble company! what are their pleasures ? Cham. Because they speak no English, thus they

pray'd To tell your grace;—That, having heard by fame Of this so noble and so fair assembly This night to meet here, they could do no less, Out of the great respect they bear to beauty, But leave their flocks; and under your fair conduct, Crave leave to view these ladies, and entreat An hour of revels with them. Wol.

Say, lord chamberlain, They have done my poor house grace; for which I


them A thousand thanks, and pray them take their plea


[Ladies chosen for the dance. The King chooses

K. Hen. The fairest hand I ever touch'd! 0,

beauty, Till now I never knew thee. [Musick. · Dan

Wol. My lord,
Cham. Your grace?

Wol. Pray, tell them thus much from me:
There should be one amongst them, by his person,
More worthy this place than myself; to whom,
If I but knew him, with my love and duty
I would surrender it.

I will, my lord. [Cham. goes to the company, and returns. Wol. What say they ? Cham.

Such a one, they all confess, There is, indeed; which they would have your grace Find out, and he will take it. Wol.

Let me see then.

[Comes from his state. By all your good leaves, gentlemen;—Here I'll make My royal choice. K. Hen. You have found him, cardinal4:

[Unmasking. You hold a fair assembly; you do well, lord : You are a churchman, or, I'll tell


cardinal, I should judge now unhappilys. Wol.

I am glad,
Your grace is grown so pleasant.
K. Hen.

My lord chamberlain, Pr'ythee, come hither: What fair lady's that?

4 Cavendish, from whom Stowe and Holinshed copied their account, says that the cardinal pitched upon • Sir Edward Neville, a comely knight of a goodly personage, that much more resembled the king's person in that mask than any other,' upon which “ the king plucked down his visor and Master Neville's also, and dashed out with such a pleasant cheer and countenance, that all noble estates there assembled, seeing the king to be there amongst them, rejoiced very much.'

5 i. e. waggishly, mischievously. Thus in Andromana, Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. xi. p. 49:

• Answer me not in words, but deeds,
I know you always talk'd unhappily.'

« PreviousContinue »