Wedding Masque for Sir Philip Herbert (Juno and Hymenaeus)

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Anon. (1604)


Historical Records

Correspondence of Dudley Carleton


To John Chamberlain. 7 January 1605.

We began [our Christmas games] on S:t Johns day w:th the mariage of S:r Philip and the La: Susan w:ch was performed w:th as much ceremony and grace as could be done a fauorit… At night there was a maske performed by my L:d of Penbrooke, my L:d Willoby, S:r James Hayes, S:r Rob: Cary, S:r John Lee, S:r Richard Preston, S:r Th: Germain, and S:r Th: Bager. Theyr conceit was a representation of Junoes temple and at the lower end of the great hall, w:ch was vawted, and within it the maskers seated w:th stores of lights about them, and it was no ill shew. they were brought in by the fower seasons of the yeare, and Hymeneus: w:ch for songs and speaches was as goode as a play. Theyr apparel was rather costly an then cumly; but theyr dancing full of life and variety: onely S:r Tho: Germain had lead in his heeles, and sometimes forgott what he was a doing.
(The National Archives: SP 14/12, f. 8; cf. Lee 66-67.)


To Ralph Winwood. January 1605.

At night there was a maske in the hall, which for conceit and fashion was sutable to the occasion. The actors were the Earl of Penbrooke, ye Lord willoby Sir James Hayes, Sir Thomas Germain, Sir Robert Cary , Sir John Lee, Sir Richard Preston and Sir Thomas Bager. there was no small loss that night of chayne and Jewells; and many great Ladies were made shorter by ye skirts, and were well enough serued that could keepe cutt no better.
(Northamptonshire Record Office, Winwood Papers, 3; qtd. in Britland et al., The Masque Archive, "Masque Records: Masque of Blackness 12"; cf. Winwood Memorials 2:43.)


Correspondence of Nicolò Molin


To the Doge and the Senate. 2 January 1605.

The Venetian ambassador Nicolò Molin, in a letter that chiefly recounts a squabble over punctilios of precedence at the wedding, briefly mentions the masque. The Duke is the queen's brother Ulrik, Duke of Holstein, who had offended Molin earlier that day, and remained unhatted during the masque as a conciliatory gesture.

…con che arriuassimo alla sala, caminando sempre il Duca di Holsden innanzi alla Maesta’ Sua scoperto, oue entrati ascendessimo un palco di 5. o’ 6. scalini, sopra il quale ui erano doi sedie, sopra una de’ quali sede’ il Re alla man drita, et la Regina sopra quello a’ man manca, a’ me fu’ preparato un scabello a’ man drita del Re, et un altro simile a’ man manca della Regina per il Duca, ma egli non uolse sedere, contentandosi di star piu’ tosto in piedi, et scoperto per tre hore, che duro’ la mascherata, et il ballo, che di sedere.


With this we reached the hall of the masque; the Duke of Holstein walking in front uncovered. We entered a box by five or six steps; in it were two chairs; the King took one, the Queen the other, a stool was prepared for me on the King's right, and another for the Duke on the Queen's left, but he would not sit down; he preferred to stand uncovered for the three hours the masque and ballo lasted.
(qtd. in Britland et al., The Masque Archive, "Masque Records: Masque of Blackness 16"; trans. Brown 207.)



Correspondence of Ottaviano Lotti


10 January 1605.

…fattisi pero’ quest’anno nuoui apparati, et bellissimi teatri, non e’ mai passata sera che non si sia recitata qualche bella Commedia nella Casa Regia alla presenza di Loro Maesta, et differentemente poi si son fatte due superbissime mascherate, l’una che fu la prima in ordine, dal Signor Conte di Pembrok, l’altra dalla Regina; il giorno, che presento’ la sua il Signor Conte, si fecero pubblicamente le nozze del Signor Cavalier Filippo Herbert suo fratello, et giouanetto immoderatamente amato et fauorito del Re, per le sue rare qualità… la sopradetta mascherata del Signor Conte fu’ assai bella, et d’inventione, et doppo la mostra il fine di tutto e’ un nuouo, et uaghissimo balletto.


This year, therefore, new scenes (nuovi apparati) and most lovely theatres have been built. Not an evening has passed without the performance of some lovely play in the royal household in the presence of their Majesties, and then in a different fashion two most superb masques have been staged; the one, which was first in order of time, by the Earl of Pembroke, the other by the queen. … The above-mentioned masque of the Earl's was very lovely and well-devised. After the show the end of everything was a new and very elegant dance.
(qtd. in Britland et al., The Masque Archive, "Masque Records: Masque of Blackness 21"; trans. Orrell 160.)


Correspondence of Christophe de Harlay, Comte de Beaumont


To Nicolas de Neufville, Seigneur de Villeroy. 2 January 1605.

Il ya quelques jors quil menvoya dire sur ce que Mr L’Ambassadeur d’Espagne l’auoir pryé de luy permettre de uenir a un ballet qui se fut soir Jor des noces du sr Philipp herbert son fauorit que si je uoullois uenir Incongnet et non comme Ambassadr quil donneroit vn ordre que J’y aurois vne bonne place. Mais a propos sur un fasheux mal lequel ma retenu en la chambre depuis quinze jours et depuis je nay povra este Inuite a aucun festin Ainsy que l’anne passe…


Several days ago, he [King James] sent to me to say that the Spanish ambassador had asked to be allowed to attend a ballet which would take place on the evening of the wedding of his favourite, Sir Philip Herbert, and that, if I wanted to go incognito and not as an ambassador, he would give orders that I would have a good seat there. However, because of a bad illness, which kept me in my chamber for a fortnight, I had not been invited to any feast just like the year before…
(French Foreign Office, MS. fr. 15979, f. 320; qtd. and trans. in Britland et al., The Masque Archive, "Masque Records: Masque of Blackness 14.")


Revels Accounts


Accounts from 1 November 1604 to 31 October 1605.

On St Ions night A maske wth
Musike presented by the Erl of Penbrok
the Lord Willowbie & :6: knightes more of ye Covrt
peter: wright Wierdrawer Asketh
Allowaunce for Sundry thinges by him provided
wrought & brought into ye Office wth ye wages
for him selfe & his men for theire Attendaunces:
[Allowed] To vj: men on St Iohns Day & ye Night att ijsviijd Apece xvjs


(The National Archives: AO 3/908, no. 13, f. 2, 3; qtd. in Streitberger 8, 11.)


Theatrical Provenance

Performed 27 December 1604 at Whitehall as part of the celebrations surrounding the wedding of Sir Philip Herbert and Lady Susan de Vere. Its actors included Herbert's brother the Earl of Pembroke; Robert Bertie, Lord Willoughby; Sir James Hay; Sir Robert Carey; Sir John Lee; Sir Richard Preston; Sir Thomas Germain; and Sir Thomas Badger. The performance was attended by the King and Queen, her brother the Duke of Holstein, the Venetian and Spanish ambassadors (the former in his official capacity, the latter incognito), and Dudley Carleton, among others. However, the well-received 27 December masque was soon eclipsed by the lavish performance of Jonson's The Masque of Blackness on 6 January 1605. The Christmas season also featured many performances by the King's Men, the Queen's Men, and the Children of the Chapel: the Herbert-Vere masque was immediately preceded by Measure for Measure on 26 December, and followed by Comedy of Errors on the 28th.


Probable Genre(s)

Wedding Masque (Harbage).


Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Hymenaeus, another name for the classical god of marriage Hymen, is frequently invoked with reference to wedding celebrations and marriage-songs (Catallus 62, Spenser's Epithalamion, etc.). Analogues of Hymen's appearance in matrimonial masques can be found, for example, in Shakespeare's As You Like It (c. 1599), Jonson's Hymenaei (5 January 1606) and Haddington Masque (9 February 1608), and Chapman's The Widow's Tears (S.R. 17 April 1612).


References to the Play

Stow's Annales

While the 1605 edition of the Annales does chronicle the marriage of Philip Herbert and Susan Vere (1605 ed., p. 1432), it does not make any reference to the evening's entertainment. That appeared only in the 1615 edition, expanded by Edmond Howes:

The 4. of January, Sir Phillip Harbert brother to the Earle of Pembroke married the Lady Susan Vere, youngest daughter to Edward Earle of Oxford late deceased, the king gaue this Lady in marriage, the Court being at White hall, where the marriage was performed with very great state, braue Masks of the most noble Ladies, and other fit pleasures and entertainments of time. (1615 ed., p. 856)

(The erroneous date also appears in the 1605 edition.)


Critical Commentary

Chambers, succinctly reproducing the records then available, says that "the subject… was Juno and Hymenaeus" (3:377).

Butler, on Chambers's description of "Juno and Hymenaeus", noted that in Carleton's account, "although the setting was the Temple of Juno, Juno herself did not appear" (360).

Barroll, recounting the list of named gentlemen actors, observes that Sir Thomas Germain and Sir Thomas Badger "were close enough friends of Lord Hay to be in his ambassadorial group when he went to Paris in 1616" (201n). They also "both danced in Lord Hay's Masque (6 January 1607), suggesting the ongoing coherence of this group of gentlemen of the king's Bed Chamber of which Montgomery [Philip Herbert] was a member."


For What It's Worth

Juno and Hymnaeus?

Butler's suggestion about Juno's absence from the masque may be supported by the exclusively male cast implied by both Carleton's description and the Revels account. The authority of the comment about "braue Masks of the most noble Ladies" in The Annales is undermined in a few ways. The detail does not appear in the 1605 edition of The Annales, which also gives an incorrect date for the Herbert-Vere wedding, perhaps the result of confusion with the two surrounding entries (27 December and 4 January); the 1615 edition repeats the dating error and adds the comments about the masquing ladies, perhaps confusing the wedding masque with the The Masque of Blackness of 6 January.


Relationship with Jonson's Hymenaei

Jonson's Hymenaei was performed for the wedding of Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex and Frances Howard on 5 January 1606, one year exactly after his The Masque of Blackness had closely followed on the Herbert-Vere masque at Whitehall. A comparison of the two matrimonial entertainments is revealing. Both took place in the Banqueting House of Whitehall during the Christmas season in consecutive years, the former having set a remarkable precedent for an aristocratic marriage fêted at Court. Jonson's title pluralizes the longer form of the name Hymenaeus, meaning both the classical deity and marriage-song. Jonson's masque, like that of 1604, featured Hymen in the temple of Juno; although rather than the four seasons, Hymenaei began with two allegorical groups of four—the Humours and the Affections—set in order by Reason. If content alone wasn't enough to remind the audience of the Herbert-Vere wedding masque, the presence of Sir Philip Herbert (newly created Earl of Montgomery) and his wife among the dancers must have. Might we speculate that Jonson found himself, willingly or not, obliged to respond to his audience's memories of the prior year's masque?


A Surviving Manuscript?

In an 1852 Notes and Queries article on the practice of "dancing the bride to bed," the musicologist Edward Francis Rimbault wrote:

It was formerly the custom at weddings, both of the rich as well as the poor, to dance after dinner and after supper. In an old court masque of James I.'s time, performed at the Marriage Ceremony of Philip Herbert and Lady Susan (MS. in the writer's possession); it is directed, that at the conclusion of the performance "after supper," the company "dance a round dance." This was "dancing the bride to bed." (586)

If Rimbault did in fact possess a manuscript copy of this masque, is there a possibility that it survives today? Martin Wiggins has recently observed that Rimbault's library was sold by Sotheby's in 1877, "but the sale catalogue does not include the masque manuscript. Presumably he had disposed of it in the interim. It is to be hoped that it went to a careful and appreciative owner with careful and appreciative legatees; if so, where is it now?" (272)



Works Cited

Barroll, J. Leeds. Anna of Denmark, Queen of England: A Cultural Biography. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2001.
Brown, Horatio F., ed. Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts Relating to English Affairs, Existing in the Archives and Collections of Venice and in Other Libraries of Northern Italy. Volume 10: 1603-1607. London: HMSO, 1900.
Britland, Karen, Martin Butler, Katharine Craik and Maria Dongu. The Masque Archive. In The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson Online. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2014.
Butler, Martin. The Stuart Court Masque and Political Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008.
Jonson, Ben. Hymenaei: or The Solemnities of Masque, and Barriers…. London, 1606.
Lee, Maurice, Jr., ed. Dudley Carleton to John Chamberlain, 1603-1624: Jacobean Letters. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1972.
McClure, Norman Egbert, ed. The Letters of John Chamberlain. 2 vols. Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society, 1939.
Orrell, John. "The London Stage in the Florentine Correspondence, 1604–1618." Theatre Research International 3 (1978): 157–76.
Rimbault, Edward F. "Dancing the Bride to Bed." Notes and Queries series 1, vol. 6. (1852): 586.
Stow, John. The Annales of England. London, 1605.
Stow, John, and Edmond Howes. The Annales, or a Generall Chronicle of England. London, 1615.
Streitberger, W.R. Jacobean and Caroline Revels Accounts, 1603–1642. Malone Society Collections XIII. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986.
Wiggins, Martin. "Where to Find Lost Plays." Lost Plays in Shakespeare's England. Ed. David McInnis and Matthew Steggle. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. 255–78.
[Winwood Memorials] Memorials of Affairs of State… Collected (Chiefly) from the Original Papers of… Sir Ralph Winwood, Kt. Ed. Edmund Sawyer. 3 vols. London, 1725.



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