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is, on the other side, as unfit; but chiefly, let the music of them be recreative, and with some strange changes. Some sweet odours suddenly coming forth, without any drops falling, are, in such a company as there is steam and heat, things of great pleasure and refreshment. Double masques, one of men, another of ladies, addeth state and variety; but all is nothing, except the room be kept clear and neat.
For Justs, and Tourneys, and Barriers,17 the glories of them are chiefly in the chariots, wherein the challengers make their entry; especially if they be drawn with strange beasts: as lions, bears, camels, and the like; or in the devices of their entrance, or in the bravery of their liveries, or in the goodly furniture of their horses and
But enough of these toys.
NOTES ON ESSAY XXXVII. 1. “Masques.' These were gorgeous and fantastic theatrical per
formances much in favour in courts and the houses of great nobles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They, doubtless, originated in the religious plays (Miracles and Mysteries) which were once common means of imparting instruction in Scriptural and moral truth. The actors in these performances were dressed grotesquely, and wore masks, and the plots were absurdly exaggerated and improbable. The court of Henry VIII presented many of these gorgeous spectacles, but James I carried them to the height of their glory; they fell into disuse under the predominant influence of Puritanism.
Milton's Comus is called a masque : in the character of its plot or argument it doubtless belongs to this class of dramatic compositions, but in its lofty purpose, and the exquisite beauty of its sentiment and language, it is far above what was commonly called a masque, and it is still further removed from that kind of composition by its sparing use of music and machinery • Triumphs' were gorgeous and grotesque processions used in
great festivities. 2. 'toys '-trifles; things for amusement, but of no real value. 3. i.e. remarks of such serious importance as he has made in the
previous essays. 4. ise. made really beautiful and graceful, rather than mere extrava
gant and vulgar exhibitions of wealth.
5. 'in quire '--performed by a company of singers, who sing in
parts ('broken music'), and who are not the actors themselves, but placed apart in a gallery (‘aloft'), where they accompany,
the performance, but take no visible part in it. 6. ditty'-words of the songs, which, Bacon says, should be
made to correspond with the figures (“device ') of the dance. 7. 'Acting in song'-i.e. each player not speaking his part, but
singing it. In the next sentence Bacon objects to the actor singing and dancing, which shows his meaning a few lines above to have been that when performers dance, it should be
to the music of others, not their own. 8. 'no treble.' He, no doubt, means that none but men should be allowed to take the dialogue parts in a masque.
Women were never permitted to perform; but the parts nominally assigned to them were taken by boys : he therefore thinks
it better to exclude female parts altogther. 9. The words lofty and dignified. 10. Introducing difficult and complicated figures into dances. II. Things which will give pleasure to intelligent performers and
spectators, and not merely excite wonder by their strangeness. 12. Let the performers, when they make their appearance upon the
scenes around the stage, not rush abruptly down to the stage and begin their parts at once, but introduce themselves by making a
few graceful or clever movements immediately they come in sight. 13. oes '-glittering discs, or flat rings ; stars, so called because
in the shape of the letter O. Sometimes the word in the
His face was as the heavens; and therein stuck
-Midsummer Night's Dream, III, ii.
*Can this cock-pit hold The vasty fields of France? or may we cram Within this wooden 0,* the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?"-Prologue, Henry V, I. 14. spangs '--spangles, shining ornaments. 15. Anti-masques ? -—probably=preludes, introductory masques.
If so, it is a misspelling for Ante-masques. 16. "turquets '- probably diminutive of Turk; Turkish dwarfs. 17. •Justs '—or fousts ; mock or trial fights on horseback be.
tween two combatants. They were probably so called from
the Latin juxta. • Tourneys: --or Tournaments ; trial fights on horseback between opposing parties of combatants. Probably they were so called because a great part of the skill in them consisted in the dexterous turning of the horses at the moment of the
* The Globe Theatre.
shock of meeting. • Barriers'-jousts in which the two combatants had to fight
on opposite sides of a barrier drawn across the ground, and separating them.
In Bacon's time all these had ceased to be real combats, as they were in the days of chivalry, and were nothing more than grotesque and gorgeous shows : hence he speaks of the strange beasts,' 'the bravery (i.e. finery) of the liveries,' etc. They are included in the title of the essay under the word ' Triumphs.'
ANALYSIS OF ESSAY XXXVII. I. Masques and triumphs are mere trifles, but yet when done,
let them be done well. II. Rules of masques :
1. Let the dancing and acting be accompanied by music in
parts, but not be arranged in too complicated figures. 2. Let there be change of scenes, with plenty of light, and
varied colours. But rich embroidery is not showy
enough. 3. Let the dresses of the masquers be becoming. 4. Let the anti-masques be short, with figures quaint, but
not hideous. 5. Perfumes and double-masques are good; but above all
the room must be clear and neat. III. Triumphs:
1. They consist chiefly of justs, tourneys, and barriers.
XXXVIII.-OF NATURE IN MEN. (1612,
enlarged 1625.) NATURE is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Force maketh Nature more violent in the return;1 doctrine and discourse 2 maketh Nature less importune ;8 but custom only doth alter and subdue Nature. 4
He that seeketh victory over his Nature, let him not set himself too great nor too small tasks; for the first will make him dejected by often failings, and the second will make him a small proceeder, though by often prevailings. And at the first, let him practise with helps, as swimmers do with bladders, or rushes; but, after a time, let him practise with disadvantages, as dancers do with thick shoes; for it breeds great perfection, if the practice be harder than the use.
Where Nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first to stay and arrest Nature in time; like to him that would say over the four-andtwenty letters when he was angry; then to go less in quantity (as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from drinking healths to a draught at a meal); and lastly, to discontinue altogether: but if a man have the fortitude and resolution to enfranchise himself at once, that is the best:
Optimus ille animi vindex lædentia pectus
Neither is the ancient rule amiss, to bend Nature as a wand to a contrary extreme, whereby to set it right; understanding it where the contrary extreme is no vice.
Let not a man force a habit upon himself with a perpetual continuance, but with some intermission: for both the pause reinforceth the new onset; and if a man that is not perfect be ever 6 in practice, he shall as well practise his errors as his abilities, and induce one habit of both; and there is no means to help this but by seasonable intermissions.
But let not a man trust his victory over his Nature too far; for Nature will lay? buried a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion, or temptation ; like as it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end till a mouse ran before her. Therefore, let a man either avoid the occasion altogether, or put himself often to it, that he may be little moved with it.
A man's Nature is best perceived in privateness, for there is no affectation; in passion, for that putteth a man
out of his precepts; and in a new case or experiment, for there custom leaveth him.
They are happy 8 men whose Natures sort 9 with their vocations; otherwise they may say, ' Multum incola fuit anima mea,
10 when they converse 11 in those things they do not affect.12 In studies, whatsoever a man commandeth upon himself,13 let him set hours for it; but whatsoever is agreeable to his Nature, let him take no care for any set times; for his thoughts will fly to it of themselves, so as the spaces of other business or studies will suffice.
A man's Nature runs either to herbs or weeds ; 14 therefore let him seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.
NOTES ON ESSAY XXXVIII.
1. Coercive and restrictive manners in education often induce a
violent reaction afterwards.
This principle is often exemplified in moral training ; the lives of some young people are so encircled with a multitude of indiscreet prohibitions, and so severely ruled by overzealous authority, as not only to enfeeble them, but even to make them, as a matter of course, long for the time to come when the irksome prohibitions will be removed, and the harsh authority taken away. Young people so brought up, often, as soon as they are liberated from leading-strings, rush into violent excesses. Healthy moral life must be free, and cannot be forced : compulsion first enervates, and then destroys it.
The growth of many vices in the character, as drunkenness, scepticism, etc., may be traced, at least partly, to an indiscreet neglect of this truth. St Paul says (Rom. vii, 7): 'I had not known sin but by the law. For I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.' A young student, home for his first holiday, being asked whether many of his fellow-students smoked, replied at once, 'O dear, no: it's allowed !' The practice, good or bad, had lost the charm of disobedience.
doctrine and discourse'-discipline and reasonable treatment. 3. 'importune'-importunate. See note 43, Essay IX. 4. As we say, 'Habit is second nature.' The object of education
is the formation of desirable habits, whether of demeanour, or of mind, or of practice. No one is well behaved whose