Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/320

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ration of a masque occupied many days. The poet, the musician, the professional actor, and the stage carpenter were all called in to contribute, each his part, to the production of the entertainment. And of all these, the words of the poet were considered as the least important. It was not a drama but a spectacle in which the dramatic dialogue bore a very subordinate part. Jonson was the most skilful of Elizabethan masque writers and has born testimony to his chagrin at the fact that the poet's part of the labour was so slightly esteemed. The most skilled musicians were employed to compose music for the occasion; and such a famous architect as Inigo Jones did not consider it beneath his dignity to design and build the stage effects. The expense of a masque was so great as to completely rule such attempts at stage setting from the public stage, a fact that should be taken into consideration when the subject of scenery on the Elizabethan public stage is discussed. The magnificence of these masques is well illustrated by the following comments in the nature of stage directions that accompany the text of Beaumont's Mask of the Inner Temple and Gray's Inn:

"This Masque was appointed to have been presented the Shrove-Tuesday before, at which time the masquers, with their attendants, and divers