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Seventeenth-Century Illustrations of Three Masques by Jonson John P. Cutts Students of Jonson’s masques interested in their visual as­ pects have always depended very heavily on Jonson’s own occa­ sionally detailed descriptions of their scenes and choreography (though his description of scenery etc., in his later masques is excessively meager) and particularly of recent years on Inigo Jones’ architectural and costume designs,1 but it has not hitherto been noticed that illustrations for at least three of his masques, The Gypsies Metamorphosed, Augures, and For the Honour of Wales, were available in print and together not many years after the masques were produced. In WITT’S/ RECREATIONS/ refined/ Augmented,/ with/ Ingenious/ CONCEITES/ for the wittie,/ And/ Merrie Medicines/ for the/ Melancholie/ Printed by M.S. sould by I. Hancock in Popes head Alley 1650 with a second title page RECREATION/ FOR/ Ingenious Head-peeces./ OR,/ A Pleasant Grove for their Wits/ to walke in,/ Of/ (Epigrams, 700./ Epitaphs, 200./ Fancies, a number./ Fantasticks, abun­ dance.)/ With their Addition, Multiplica-/ tion, and Division./ Mart. Non cuique datur habere nasum.f LONDON,/ Printed by M. Simmons, and are to be/ sold by John Hancock in Popeshead Alley./ 1650,2 the texts of songs from three of Jonson’s masques are illustrated with woodcuts in the section “FANCIES AND FANTASTICKS.” John Urson’s ballad, “Enter John Urson with his Beares sing­ ing./ Ballad./ THough it may seeme rude,” is printed after a woodcut illustration of John Urson doing a dance with three bears of different sizes keeping step. Under the woodcut serving as a caption but also serving as a title for the ballad is “The Post of the Signe.” The Oxford editors’ glossing for the text of this Masque indicates that they knew of the existence of John Ur­ son’s ballad “in Recreation for Ingenious Head-peeces, 1663, Z3 125 126 Comparative Drama verso-5 recto, ‘The Post of the Signe’” and in later publications but gives no indication that there was an illustration and simply pronounces the texts “valueless.”3 The ballad of John Urson was an insertion in the first antimasque of Augures, being added to the May 6, 1622 version of the original January 6, 1621/2 production, and was not printed in the text of the masque until the 1640 Folio. It is significant, therefore, to be able to date the printing of the ballad elsewhere than in Jonson’s work many years closer to the 1640 folio printing than has hitherto been made. I am not convinced, moreover, that the text as printed in Witt’s Recreations (1650; hereafter abbreviated WR) is entire­ ly valueless even in helping with Jonson’s text. The different spellings, capitalizations, and punctuation variants from the text as given by the Oxford editors would not, it is true, by them­ selves add up to anything of real substance, but there are also some interesting word differences and an additional stanza: 174 We] He WR; 188 Clements] Clement WR; 191 thither] hither WR; 201 the Priest] they first WR; 207 our] the WR; 215 their] omit WR; 219 her] their WR; If you give not credit, Then take you the verdict, Of a guest that came from St. Hallows; And you then will sweare, The Man has been there, By his story now that follows. The peculiar variant at line 201 is obviously a deliberate alteration. Jonson’s text makes it quite clear that the correct reading is “the Priest”—“His Project in ours, is, that we should all come from the three dancing Beares in Saint Katherine’s (you may hap know it, sir) hard by where the Priest fell in” (lines 114-17).4 There is a possible explanation in that the compiler5 of Witt’s Recreations altered When a Round-headed sinner Makes his will before Dinner to When a Rattle-headed Cutter Makes his will before Supper in Martin Llewellyn’s “The Wake”6 in order to avoid religious John P. Cutís 127 and political polemics. He also omitted the “Epilogue” from Llewellyn’s “The Wake” (sig. E2) which quite clearly indicates his desire not to give political offence: Epilogue. The Witney Prayer Now...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 125-134
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-11
Open Access
No
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