Phantasm’s Masque

The scene is poetry.

The stage is the brain, whereon it is acted.

First is presented a dumb show, as a young lady in a ship, swimming over the scene in various weather. Afterwards this ship comes2 back again, having then a3 commander of war as its4 owner. In various weather, this ship5 being in great distress, Jupiter relieves it.

Then appear6 six masquers in several dresses, as dressed by Love, Valor, Honor, Youth, Age, Vanity. Vanity signifies the world, and Age mortality.

Then there is7 presented in a show8 the nine Muses, who dance a measure in four and twenty figures,9 and nine musical instruments made of goose-quills, playing several tunes as they dance.

Then the10 chorus speaks.

The bride and bridegroom going to the temple: Fancy speaks the prologue to Judgment as king. Vanity speaks an epilogue to the Thoughts, which are spectators; Honor speaks another.

The Voyage of a Ship, under which the Fortune of a Young Lady is Expressed


A ship of youth in the2 world’s sea was sent;
Balanced with self-conceit and pride it went.
And large sails of ambition set thereon,3
Hung to4 a tall mast of good opinion.
And on the waves of plenty did it5 ride,                               5
With winds of praise and beauty’s flowing tide.
Unto the land of riches it was bound,
To see if golden fame might there be found,
And thus it swam in a sweet calm of peace;6
No boisterous storm of war did on it seize.7                       10
But when that she had passed nineteen degrees,8
The land of happiness she no longer sees,9
For then rebellious clouds foul10 black did grow,
And showers of blood into those11 seas did throw,
And12 vapors of sad sighs full thick did rise                        15
From grief of13 hearts, which in the bottom lies.
Then fears like to14 the northern winds blew high,
And stars of hopes were clouded in the sky.
Down went the sun15 of all prosperity,
Reeled in the16 troubled seas of misery.                               20
On sorrow’s billows high this ship was tossed;
The card of mirth and mark of joy was lost.
The point of comfort could not be found out;
Her sides did beat upon the sands of doubt.
Prudence was pilot, and17 with much ado                           25
A haven of great France she got into.
Glad was this ship that she18 safe harbor got,19
Then on the river of Loire she straight swam up.20
For on this river she21 no tempest feared,22
But directly her course to Paris steered,23                           30
And in that place she did some time24 remain
To mend this torn and tattered25 bark again.
New sails she made, and all her tacklings fit,
Trimmed26 herself fine and gay, respect to get.
At last27 a noble lord this ship did buy,                                 35
Who was resolved with it28 to live and die.

Another Voyage of the Same Ship

Then this same2 ship another voyage went;
Balanced it was with spice of sweet content.
The mast was merit, sails3 of love tied thereon,4
Which sails by virtue’s zephyrs were blown.5
On the great6 sea of honor did it go;7                                  5
Fame was the land which it8 did traffic to.9
At last a storm of poverty did rise,
And showers of miseries fell from the skies,
And thund’ring creditors a noise did make
With threat’ning bills, as if the ship they’d10 break,        10
Forced it towards the northern pole, where cold11
And icy wants did of12 this ship take hold.
At last13 the sun of charity did melt
Those icy wants, so liberty she14 felt,
And15 oars of honest industry did row,                              15
Till16 gentle gales of friendship made it go.
But when the storms of dangers all were past,
Upon the coast of Flanders17 it was cast.
But this ship was18 so tottered, torn, and rent,
That none but gods her19 ruin could prevent.                   20

A Lady Dressed by Love


Her hair with lovers’ hopes curled in long rings,
Her braids hard plaited2 with his protestings,
Yet oftentimes those curlèd hairs went out3
With lovers’ windy fears, and damps of doubt.4
Strings of threaded tears about her neck she wore,5               5
Which, dropped from th’lover’s eyes, his6 image bore.
His sighs, as pendants, did hang at each7 ear,
Sometime were troublesome, if8 heavy were.
Her gown was made of admiration,9
Embroideries of praises placed thereon;10                                10
Ribbons of verses love hung11 here and there,
According as the several fancies were.
With some she tied her looking-glass of pride,
And fan of good opinion by her side.
Sometimes Love pleasure took a veil to place,                         15
Of glances, which did cover all her face.

A Soldier Armed by Mars


His headpiece was2 of prudence, where3 his eye
Of judgment4 dangers and5 mistakes did6 spy;
His breast-plate made of courage, to7 keep out
Bullets of fear, and8 blows of timorous doubt.
The gauntlets on his hands were9 active skill,                      5
Wherewith he held a poleaxe of good will.
His sword was strong, and a stiff metal10 blade,
For it was all of pure bright honor made.
A scarf, which Fortune gave, his waist did tie,
Embroidered thick with stars11 of purple dye.                     10
A plume of valor on his headpiece waved;12
A cloak of merit all his body saved.13
His spurs, rowelled with hope, did pierce14 the side
Of strong ambition, whereon he did ride.
Thus was he15 armed, and for great fame did fight.           15
She was his mistress, he her champion knight.

A Lady Dressed by Youth


Her hair had curls of pleasure2 and delight,
Through which3 her skin did cast a glimm’ring4 light.
As lace, her bashful eyelids downwards hung;
A modest count’nance o’er5 her face was flung.6
Blushes, as coral beads, she strung, to wear                          5
About her neck, and pendants for each ear.
Her gown was by proportion cut and made,
With veins embroidered, with complexion laid.
Light words with ribbons of chaste thoughts she7 ties,
And loose behavior, which through errors flies.                   10
Rich jewels of bright honor she did wear,
By noble actions placed8 everywhere.
Thus dressed, to Fame’s great court straightways she went,
There danced a ball9 with Youth, Love, Mirth, Content.

A Woman Dressed by Age

A milk-white hair-lace wound up all her hairs,
And a deaf coif did cover both her ears.
A sober look1 about her face she ties,
And a dim sight doth cover half her eyes.
About her neck a kercher of coarse skin,                                5
Which time had crumpled and worn creases in.
Her gown was turned to melancholy black,
Which loose did hang upon her sides and back.
Her stockings cramps had knit, red worsted gout,
And pains, as garters, tied her legs about.                              10
A pair of palsy gloves her hands did cover,2
With weakness stitched, and numbness trimmed all over.3
Her shoes were corns, and hard skin sewed together;
Hard skin was4 soles, and corns the upper leather.
A mantle of diseases laps her round,                                       15
And thus she’s dressed, till Death lays her in5 ground.

The Chorus


Thus Love, and War, and Age, and Youth did meet
In scenes of poetry, and numbers sweet.
War took out Love, and Age did take out Youth,
And all did dance upon the stage of truth.

The Bride


A crown of jewels on her head was2 put,
And every jewel like a planet cut;
The diamond, carbuncle, and sapphire,3
Ruby,4 topaz, and emerald was there.5
Her6 face was like the sun, which7 shinèd bright,                    5
And all those jewels from her face took light.
A chain of gold was linked by destiny,8
And9 in each link10 a good effect did lie,11
And as the zodiac round the world doth bind,
So did this12 chain about her body wind.                                   10
Silver cloth for her13 gown the Fates did spin,
And14 every thread was twisted hard therein.
Her hair in curls hung loose, by Cupid blown,15
Between which16 curls her shoulders white were shown,17
Youth strewed green rushes to the temple gate,                       15
In Beauty’s chariot she rid in great18 state.
With19 great applause her charioteer drove on,
Eyes of delight, as lackies, run along.20
Then21 to the altar this fair bride was led
By blushing Modesty, in crimson red,                                         20
And Innocency,22 dressed in lily white;
Hymen did bear the torch, which23 burned bright.
Her train was carried by the24 Graces three,
As lovely Hope, Good25 Faith, and Charity.