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Sir Francis Bacon


Essay 37

Of Masques and Triumphs.
1 THese Things are but Toyes, to come amongst such Serious Obseruations. But yet, since Princes will haue such Things, it is better, they should be Graced with Elegancy, then Daubed with Cost. Dancing to Song, is a Thing of great State, and Pleasure. I vnderstand it, that the Song be in Quire, placed aloft, and accompanied with some broken Musicke: And the Ditty fitted to the Deuice. Acting in Song, especially in Dialogues, hath an extreme Good Grace: I say Acting, not Dancing, (For that is a Meane and Vulgar Thing;) And the Voices of the Dialogue, would be Strong and Manly, (A Base, and a Tenour; No Trebble;) And the Ditty High and Tragicall; Not nice or Dainty. Seuerall Quires, placed one ouer against another, and taking the Voice by Catches, Antheme wise, giue great Pleasure. Turning Dances into Figure, is a childish Curiosity. And generally, let it be noted, that those Things, which I here set downe, are such, as doe naturally take the Sense, and not respect Petty Wonderments. It is true, the Alterations of Scenes, so it be quietly, and without Noise, are Things of great Beauty, and Pleasure: For they feed and relieue the Eye, before it be full of the same Obiect. Let the Scenes abound with Light, specially Coloured and Varied: And let the Masquers, or any other, that are to come down from the Scene, haue some Motions, vpon the Scene it selfe, before their Comming down: For it drawes the Eye strangely, & makes it with great pleasure, to desire to see that, it cannot perfectly discerne. Let the Songs be Loud, and Cheerefull, and not Chirpings, or Pulings. Let the Musicke likewise, be Sharpe, and Loud, and Well Placed. The Colours, that shew best by Candlelight, are; White, Carnation, and a Kinde of Sea-Water-Greene; And Oes, or Spangs, as they are of no great Cost, so they are of most Glory. As for Rich Embroidery, it is lost, and not Discerned. Let the Sutes of the Masquers, be Gracefull, and such as become the Person, when the Vizars are off: Not after Examples of Knowne Attires; Turks, Soldiers, Mariners, and the like. Let Antimasques not be long; They haue been commonly of Fooles, Satyres, Baboones, Wilde-Men, Antiques, Beasts, Sprites, Witches, Ethiopes, Pigmies, Turquets, Nimphs, Rusticks, Cupids, Statua's Mouing, and the like. As for Angels, it is not Comicall enough, to put them in Anti-Masques; And any Thing that is hideous, as Deuils, Giants, is on the other side as vnfit. But chiefly, let the Musicke of them, be Recreatiue, and with some strange Changes. Some Sweet Odours, suddenly comming forth, without any drops falling, are, in such a Company, as there is Steame and Heate, Things of great Pleasure; and Refreshment. Double Masques, one of Men, another of Ladies, addeth State, and Variety. But All is Nothing, except the Roome be kept Cleare, and Neat.
2 For Iusts, and Tourneys, and Barriers; The Glories of them, are chiefly in the Chariots, wherein the Challengers make their Entry; Especially if they be drawne with Strange Beasts; As Lions, Beares, Cammels, and the like: Or in the Deuices of their Entrance; Or in the Brauery of their Liueries; Or in the Goodly Furniture of their Horses, and Armour. But enough of these Toyes.

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Edited by Ian Lancashire (Dept. of English, University of Toronto) Assisted by Allison Hay.
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