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“ When were the Senses in such order plac’d?” John P. Cutts The study of the relationship between drama and the visual arts has been the source of fruitful scholarship in recent years, as witnessed by the increasing number of books and articles tracing interrelation­ ships that illuminate our understanding of the renaissance imagination. In Ben Jonson’s Masque Love’s Welcome at Bolsover, there are hints in the text which provide a means of proving the influence of specific art works upon the design of a dramatic performance. The best description of the occasion of Love’s Welcome at Bolsover, July 30, 1634, is afforded by Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle in the life of her husband. After mentioning the fact that the Duke of New­ castle had invited King Charles, who was on his way to Edinburgh to be crowned, to a Dinner and Entertainment at Welbeck, and that the proceedings cost her husband “between Four and Five thousand pounds,” the Duchess relates: a year after His Return out of Scotland, He was pleased to send my Lord word, That Her Majesty the Queen was resolved to make a Progress into the Northern parts, desiring him to prepare the like Entertainment for Her, as he had formerly done for Him: Which my Lord did, and endeavour’d for it with all pos­ sible Care and In[du]stry, sparing nothing that might add splendor to that Feast, which both their Majesties were pleased to honour with their Presence: Ben Johnson he employed in fitting such Scenes and Speeches as he could best devise; and sent for all the Gentry of the Country to come and wait on their Majesties; and in short, did all that ever he could imagine, to render it Great, and worthy Their Royal Acceptance. This Entertainment he made at Bolsover-Castlz in Derby­ shire, some five miles distant from Welbeck, and resigned Welbeck for their Majesties Lodging; it cost him in all between Fourteen and Fifteen thousand pounds.1 That the Bolsover entertainment was “more stupendous” than the Welbeck one of the previous year is attested to by Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion2 as well as by the Duchess’s details regarding financ­ ing. Yet for all this lavish expense at Bolsover pitifully little has come down to us about the Masque other than can be gleaned from the acting text which is preserved in Harley MS. 4955, ff.199-202, and from the revised Folio text printed at the end of The Underwoods, Sigs. Pp-Qq. The manuscript specifies that after the first banquet the King and Queen “retir’d into a Garden” to be entertained, while the Folio version omits the detail of the locality; after the second banquet 52 Banquet Hall, Boisover Castle VISUS, Boisover Castle Clein, AUDITUS, Quinqué Sensum descriptio dein, VISUS, Quinqué Sensum descriptio Floris, TAGTUS, National Galerie of Budapest VISUS, Haddon Hall Tapestry John P. Cutts 53 the manuscript specifies that “in a fitt place, selected for the purpose, two Cupids present themselues,” though the Folio version does not say anything about place but does add that the “two Loues” des­ cended “from the Cloudes.” Herford and Simpson suggest that the manuscript direction “in a fitt place, selected for the purpose” makes allowance for the mechanical contrivance of the wires arranging for the descent of the Cupids from the clouds.3 The Song at Banquet which opens the Bolsover Masque is entitled “ When were the Senses in such order plac’d?” and is marked to be “Sung by two Tenors, and a Base” who together form the chorus. The tenors ask the questions and the bass answers. The text of this one song alone accounts for 33 lines or roughly a sixth of the entertain­ ment’s total 190 lines. Recent scholarship has resulted in revealing that the musical services of William Lawes were called upon for the Welbeck entertainment, as attested to by the survival of his setting of “What softer sounds are these salute the Eare,” a banquet dialogue between the passions Doubt and Love, and a chorus “The joy of plants, the spirit of flowers” with which the entertainment opens.-! William Lawes’s music for...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 52-62
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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