Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/332

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264
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

them to their places; then loud music sounds, supposed to call them to their Olympian games.

*****

The Knights dance their parting measure, and ascend, put on their swords and belts; during which time the Priests sing

"The Fifth and Last Song"

This running commentary to Beaumont's masque illustrates all of the parts of a masque as described above. It also serves to illustrate the magnificence of dress, music, and scenery necessary to the successful presentation of a masque at the height of the popularity of this kind of amusement. The fact that all the text proper, that is, the lines written by the poet, has been omitted, and yet so much remains, points out the relative importance of the poet's work to that of the other contributors to the entertainment. In this respect it may be well to notice that the splendid poetry of Milton's Comus, is a priceless heritage to us; but the very splendour and amount of the poetic verses are in reality somewhat against it as a masque. Who amid such splendour of accompaniment, the merriment of a great festive occasion cares to abstract his mind enough to appreciate the verse of Comus. Few will deny that the productions of Shakespeare lose much in the great spectacular presentations