chapter  7
22 Pages

Royal Masque-Maker

James's masque had consciously looked to the past for its sources and inspiration – the court of Scotland became the court of King Arthur, and the formal masquing then had been followed by a sporting interlude, in this case the antique sport of tilting at the ring. It is not known if Ben Jonson was employed in the writing of the masque with which the King of Denmark was honoured, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The Hue and Cry After Cupid, as the Haddington masque was later called, is generally reckoned to have been one of the most brilliant and costly of Jonson's masques. The tone and phrasing of this indicate Jonson's familiarity with the court circles in which he was no longer a newcomer but an established member. His increased status as the chief royal masque-maker made him even something of a luminary.