Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/323

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257
THE LOVE OF SPECTACLES

four of the Naiades out of the fountains, and bringeth down five of the Hyades out of the clouds to dance. Hereupon Iris scoffs at Mercury, for that he had devised a dance but of one sex, which could have no life; but Mercury, who was provided for that exception, and in token that the match should be blessed both with love and riches, calleth forth out of the groves four Cupids, and brings down from Jupiter's altar four Statuas of gold and silver, to dance with the Nymphs and Stars; in which dance, the Cupids being blind, and the Statuas having but half life put into them, and retaining still somewhat of their old nature, giveth fit occasion to new and strange varieties both in the music and paces. This was the first anti-masque.

"Then Iris, for her part, in scorn of this high-flying device, and in token that the match shall likewise be blessed with the love of the common people, calls to Flora, her confederate,—for that the months of flowers are likewise the months of sweet showers and rainbows,—to bring in a Maydance, or rural dance, consisting likewise not of any suited persons, but of a confusion or commixture of all such persons as are natural and proper for country sports. This is the second anti-masque.

"Then Mercury and Iris, after this vying one