Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Spring 2001 v41 i2 p381

The Performing Heir in Jonson's Jacobean Masques. GRAHAM, JEAN E.

Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2001 Rice University

When the Prince of Wales, in the film version of Alan Bennett's The Madness of King George, pleads for "something to do," his father replies: "Follow in my footsteps, that's what you should do." [1] In Prince Henry's Barriers (1610), Ben Jonson presents the young heir to the throne with similar advice: Henry should imitate an earlier prince who acted for his father rather than for himself. In battle, Prince Edward had captured a plume "[f]rom the Bohemian crown," which plume "for his crest he did preserve / To his father's use with this fit word: I serve." [2] This motto an what it represents--the son's virtuous actions undertaken for the credit of the father--may serve as an emblem for the masques Jonson wrote for performance by Henry and, after Henry's death by Charles. One of the messages encoded in these masques is the voluntary subservience of the future monarch to the reigning monarch. Young Charles was noted, in particular, for his filial obedience. In that Jonson's masques succeed in capturing this v irtue, they clearly reflect the perspective of Henry and Charles Jonson's patrons for these masques. On the other hand, James perceived the father-son relationship in terms of filial obedienc in response to paternal love. That expressions of affection are absent from the masques perhaps indicates the demands of de corum, but also corresponds with records of Charles's insecurity in his relationship with his father, suggesting that he intended in his early masques, to seek recognition and approval. Later, as Charles became more independent and James more ill, the masques retain the theme of obedience, while omitting not only love but also any hint of familial relationship.

Stephen Orgel describes the masque as "[t]he theatre that was created by royal patronage" and so "uniquely responsive to the minds of its patrons." [3] Although Jonson's responsiveness to his patrons has been debated, it would seem natural for Jonson, a father himself in literal and figurative senses, to identify with the paternal monarch. [4] Yet, these masques had not James but Henry and Charles for patrons; thus, whether or not the celebration of patriarchal authority was originally their idea, the young heirs apparently accepted it as a proper subject for their performances. Since the concept of paternal rule was an explicit part of their society, their complicity in their own subjection must have been conscious. As Caroline Bingham asserts about Henry, the Prince of Wales "would have known that he was taking part in an almost liturgical celebration of the cult of monarchy" and "paying the ritual homage to his father, which every masque offered in some form." [5] Participation in the cult of monarchy was an investment in his own future, since he was the designated heir to the throne. Crucial to the cult of monarchy was the idea of king as parens patriae, father of his people, bearing all the privileges ever granted to fathers in the long tradition of patriarchy.

Although James did not invent this concept, he was the first English monarch since Henry VIII able to exploit it as a father. Kevin Sharpe comments that the "power of this political analogue is demonstrated in its persistence through the reigns of a boy, two women and a virgin queen... The succession to the throne after Elizabeth of two fathers underlined the associations of the king's personal and politic families." [6] James enthusiastically accepted the role of father to the nation, transferring power from the patriarchal family to the patriarchal king. The quintessential proof of the Stuart analogy between father and monarch is James's Basilikon Doron, the record of his "fatherly authoritie" published for the nation, but originally written as advice to four-year-old Henry, and sent to the boy with a letter which emphasizes the latter's filial place: "a King's son and heir was ye before, and no more are ye yet." [7] James made statements about his paternal power on other occasions as well; for instance, i n a speech to Parliament on 21 March 1609, James declared that "Kings are also compared to Fathers of families: for a King is trewly Parens Patriae, the politique father of his people." [8]

As has been mentioned by numerous critics, the idea of the king's "fatherly authoritie" was widespread, finding its fullest expression in Robert Filmer's Patriarc. [9] Filmer claimed that the natural rights of a father and those of a king are "all one, without any difference at all but only in the latitude or extent of them." The "subjection of children [was] the fountain of all regal authority," a regal authority Filmer described as "this patriarchal power." [10] Although Filmer's absolute faith in "patriarchal power" was thought extreme even by his royalist contemporaries, and Patriarcha was published only after Jonson's death, the vague notion that kings and fathers were alike was "endlessly repeated but rarely questioned" throughout the early modem period." For instance, Sir John Cheke wrote in 1549: "The child is bound to the priuat father, and be we not all bound to the commonwealths father?" [12] In 1606, both Convocations passed ecclesiastical canons declaring that God ordained that "the patriarchs a nd chief fathers" rule over their offspring: "Which power and authority... although we only term it fatherly power (potestos patria); yet, being well considered how far it did reach, we may truly say that it was in a sort royal power (potestas regia); as now, in a right and true construction, royal power (potestas regia) may be called fatherly power (potestas patria). [13] As for Jonson's acceptance of the patriarchal analogy, upon James's accession to the throne, the poet explicitly connected James's paternity and his monarchical power, in "Panegyre":

How deare a Father they did now enjoy,

That came to save what Discord would destroy;

And ent'ring with the power of a King,

The temp'rance of a private man did bring. [14]

W. David Kay notes the similarity in theme between this effusion and James's Basilikon Doron. [15] Later, Jonson would address the newly crowned King Charles on behalf of the nation as "Father of our spring." [16] In The King's Entertainment at Welbeck, performed for Charles in 1633, Jonson would write an epilogue in which an authoritatively dressed gentleman speaks of "[t]he King whose love it is, to be your Parent" and "his young increasing Charles" whose role is that of a "loyall Sonne," "long. . . an aid, before he be a Successor." [17]

In the opinion of his most recent biographer, Charles Carlton, the future Charles I was also influenced by the theory of patriarchal power. The young prince had learned "from James's own writings. . . that monarchs were the lynch-pin of that great chain of being which linked planets and peoples, fathers and families, sovereign and subjects, in one harmonious cosmic order," and he actively attempted to unite the images of his father as pater patriae and pater familias. For instance, "he qualified his enthusiastic offer to go and fight for the Palatinate, and alluded to both his pater patriae and pater familias by saying that he would only go if the king, my father, would give me leave."' [18] "His chief endeavour is to have no other aim than to second his father," wrote the Venetian ambassador, Busino: "to follow him and do his pleasure and not to move except as his father does." [19] As king, Charles performed in masques that exhibit the characteristics of the ideal early modem familial relationship: a "lovi ng father" who wishes his "children well-schooled in obedience." [20]

The popularity of the parens patriae analogy, Susan Amussen suggests, lay in its universal applicability. Children expected to exhibit deference to their parents, especially the father, until the parents' deaths. [21] Moreover, filial submission was inseparable from other forms of power, such as the subordination of women and servants; the father's authority extended to the entire household. Similarly, the king's paternal authority extended to the entire realm, his figurative household. At the same time, the concept of pater patriae limited the authority of lesser fathers, who were themselves permanently subordinated to the father of the nation. Each male masquer and each male courtier observing the masque might someday rule his own family, but (the Prince of Wales excepted) he would always remain in the category of "women and children" relative to the monarch. In fact, the courtier, as Joan Kelly-Gadol argues, had much in common with women: "To be attractive, accomplished, and seem not to care; to charm and do so coolly--how concerned with impression, how masked the true self... In short, how like a woman--or a dependent, for that is the root of the simile." [22]

One purpose of the masques was to promote recognition that the Prince of Wales, despite his future glory, was in a dependent situation like any other subject. The triumph in honor of Prince Henry's visit to Chester celebrated "our Prince, Great Britaine's matchlesse Heire, / As humbly low, as is his greatness high." [23] After the audience had observed, in masque or entertainment, the attitude of the Prince of Wales toward James, and identified themselves with the heir, they would, in theory, be able and motivated to go and do likewise, bearing themselves toward their king as his good and beloved children. The published or literary masque, which as Jerzy Limon argues cogently, is always a different text than the performed masque, shared this message, since early modern readers would have known the identity of at least the chief masquers. [24]

In all the masques, the willing subordination of heir to monarch is prominent. For instance, in Prince Henry's Barriers (1610), after citing the example of Prince Edward and his captured plume, Merlin advises Henry to imitate his father:

Royal and mighty James, whose name shall set

A goal for all posterity to sweat

In running at.

(lines 345-7)

The Lady of the lake has bred Henry's character, Meliadus, "to this hour and for this throne" (line 149). She instructs Meliadus in his duty to "serve and give [himself] unto" James, and to obey him through "diligent practice" (lines 360-1). Yet, Merlin emphasizes the temporary nature of Henry's obedience, as well as his future claim to the throne of Britain,

an isle,

The happiest of the earth (which to your style

In time must add).

(lines 171-3)

After The tilting, Merlin returns to the theme of Henry's subordination, telling James and Anne (to whom line 407 refers as James's "other you") that all Henry does will be for their glory:

And This young knight, that now puts forth so soon

Into the world, shall in your names achieve

More garlands for this state.

(lines 412-4)

Recent critics have seen in Henry's performances signs of independent thought and values differing from his father's. [25] Such signs coexist with Henry's obedience to his father, however, and it was the latter that was noted by contemporary observers. For instance, Henry's household treasurer Sir Charles Cornwallis saw the above lines as the heart of Prince Henry's Barriers, commenting without evident irony that the masque represents the prince laying "the first fruits of his Chivalrie at his Majesties feete." [26]

Jonson's and Henry's homage to James continues in Oberon (1611), in which Oberon, played by Henry, and his knights

all their glories lay

At feet, and tender to this only great

True majesty, restored in this seat;

To whose sole power and magic they do give

The honor of their being, that they live

Sustained in form, fame and felicity.

(lines 246-51)

According to the attendant Sylvan who pronounces these lines, Henry owes James his very being and his strength. Although the masquers compliment Henry exuberantly, they always temper their praise with a comparison to James:

Oberon's desire,

Than which there nothing can be higher,

Save James, to whom it flies.

(lines 223-5)

Graham Parry exaggerates only slightly in his claim that the masque's "songs and speeches rapturously acclaim James and his virtues, ignoring Oberon. [27] Appropriately, Henry's dancing proves his worth not as Henry but as successor to James:

all that shall tonight behold the rites

Performed by princely Oberon and these knights,

May without stop point out the proper heir

Designed so long to Arthur's crowns and chair.

(lines 281-4)

That "the proper heir" is ambiguous, referring to the present heir (Henry) and the past heir (James) is appropriate, for Oberon's dancing demonstrates not only his own virtue but his father's as well. The dancing appropriately takes place before James's elevated chair, to which Silenus refers as he admonishes the satyrs: "He is the matter of virtue, and placed high. . . / He is a god o'er kings" (lines 258-61). J. W. Williamson argues that the end of the masque, "when Henry might have been prepared to assume the full glory of his dramatic personation," changes focus "abruptly to suggest that Oberon's power and magnificence depended for its being on a higher source," sending the message that "the prince is son of man, not father of his own fate; he must take his light from the king and learn to wait." [28] The most proper response of the audience to Oberon's dance for James is highlighted by the response of the second fay: "In his footsteps only tread" (line 295).

The voluntary subordination of the heir became even more apparent in Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1618). Performing his first lead role in a masque, Charles was the "chief of the "twelve worthies" who emerged from the mountain Atlas, representing knowledge or wisdom, and danced to conclude the masque. The king was imaged as Hesperus, "the glory of the west" and "brightest star," shining to the straits of Gibraltar (lines 171-2):

See where he shines: Justice and Wisdom placed

About his throne, and those with Honor graced,

Beauty and Love. It is not with his brother [Atlas]

Bearing the world, but ruling such another

Is his renown.

(lines 175-9)

Not only does Hesperus provide light and governance to the entire world, but the title and its textual echo--."Pleasure, for his delight / Is reconciled to Virtue" (lines 179-80, emphasis mine)--refer to the supremacy of Hesperus/James; it is not for Charles or the court that Pleasure is reconciled to Virtue.

In introducing Charles, Mercury subordinates him to his father by describing the young prince in relation to James: Charles comes "[o]f the bright race of Hesperus," and "shall in time the same that he is be" (lines 184-5, emphasis mine). While the king has been described as actively shining ("Hesperus... lights," "he shines" [lines 171-3, 175]), the prince is passive, his light nominalized as well as explicitly weaker: "a less light than he" (line 186). Charles suffers in comparison not only with his father but with his tutor Virtue, who brings Charles forth from the mountain, entrusts him with Pleasure, and gives him an entrance to "Fair Beauty's garden" (line 189). The prince and his eleven young companions became active briefly near the end of the masque, as they danced, with one sentence reflecting their agency:

They who are bred

Within the hill

Of skill

May safely tread

What path they will.

(lines 208-12)

At the same time, the structure of the sentence reflects the discrepancy between Prince Charles and the future Charles I. The second part, "May safely tread / What path they will," moves Charles forward, while the first part hangs back: "They who are bred." Charles can only achieve his (present and future) safe footing because of his (past) proper breeding. Charles is an adult with responsibility for his actions, but his actions also mirror his father's, the source of Charles's royal blood and virtuous upbringing. The physical action also hangs back; according to Busino, at the masque's end the dancers "returned into the scene, which closed and was a mountain again." [29]

For the Honour of Wales (1618), the revision of Pleasure, not only repeated the earlier masque's professions of filial submission, but also extended them into the new antimasque. For instance, one of the women sings of "our good King Sames, / His wife and his sildren and all his reams" (lines 318-9), while Griffith declares to James that he wishes the nation's "present happiness" to continue "perpetual in you and your issue" (lines 380- 2). The only reference to Charles is also addressed to James, referring to "our young master Sarles, your ursip's son and heir, and prince of Wales" (lines 39-40). That such sentiments are voiced by Welsh clowns, who might be expected to pay more attention to the nominal authority of the Prince of Wales, underscores the obsequious character of the antimasque.

In Charles's next masque by Jonson, News from the New World Discovered in the Moon (1620 or 1621), the second herald describes the English to James as "a race of your own, formed, animated, lightened and heightened by you" (lines 274-5). This "race of [his] own" is again urged to follow the example of his masquing heir. After contemplating James, the people have determined, the herald continues, "to approach your goodness; and led by that excellent likeness of yourself, the Truth, imitating Procritus' endeavor" (lines 282-4). In the masque, Truth is Charles's role, while "Procritus" is "the Greek form of the Latin title Princeps luventutis (leader of the youth), bestowed in imperial Rome on the son of the emperor when he adopted the toga of manhood and entered fully into the ranks of the Roman nobility. [30] Thus Charles is acknowledged as an adult, and a leader of the youth, but still an imitation of his father.

In The Mosque of Augurs (1622), filial obedience is vividly portrayed, but not by Charles, who plays the role of chief augur. The ruling fathers of the masque are Jove and Apollo. The latter commands his five offspring:

Confess my godhead...

Let whole Apollo enter in you all,

And follow me.

(lines 270-2)

Although initially appearing to be in control, Apollo is leading his children to the Stuart throne at the command of Jove. Upon the latter's appearance, Apollo tells his father: "My arts are only to obey," receiving the response, "And mine to sway" (lines 378-9). A single sentence connects this lesson in filial obedience and paternal sway with Charles and James: Apollo sings to the royal spectator of "the princely augur here, your son," that he "by his father's lights his courses run" (lines 364-5).

While his sons and subjects perceived James's fatherly light as the chief aspect of pater patriae, James himself, apparently, saw paternal affection as central. Jonathan Goldberg and others have interpreted James's vision of himself as a "loving nourish-father," as a patriarchal substitution for, and repression of, the mother image. [31] The paternal analogy seems to function as a calculated attempt to ally the government's power with tradition and the Bible, and then to conceal this power -- even from its wielders -- behind the natural affection between parents and children. [32] The masques would be in accord with what Stephen Greenblatt describes as one of the fictions of the court, that courtiers voluntarily demonstrate love and submission to the monarch. Greenblatt cites Sir John Harington, godson of Elizabeth I, in a telling example: Elizabeth's "speech did win all affections, and her subjects did try to show all love to her commands; for she would say, 'her state did require her to command what she kn ew her people would willingly do from their own love to her.' Herein did she show her wisdom fully: for who did choose to lose her confidence; or who would withhold a show of love and obedience, when their Sovereign said it was their choice, and not her compulsion?" [33]

While affection, or seeming affection, has political ramifications, to portray loving paternity as no more than a political strategy oversimplifies the situation. To portray familial affection as a deliberate political strategy ignores the universality of the parallel between parent and monarch, and of the unquestioning assurance that love and obedience could coexist. As Gordon Schochet comments on the ideal image of the family, early modern England "generally agreed that fathers and masters should be motivated by love and concern for the welfare of their charges." [34] It is evident from James's writing that he, in particular, viewed himself as a loving, caring "dad" to his children, his lovers, and his other subjects. James might write privately to Buckingham: "And so God bless you, my sweet child and wife, and grant ye may ever be a comfort to your dear dad and husband," but his public image was also fatherly, at least in his own mind. [35] For instance, in The Trew Law of Free Monarchies he states that a good king acts "as a loving Father" to his people, "caring for them more then for himselfe," and that paternal love is more basic than filial love, for "wee see by the course of nature, that love useth to descend more then to ascend." [36] He ends that work with the hope that his subjects will endeavor "by all means to procure the prosperitie and welfare of your King . . . as hee must on the one part thinke all his earthly felicitie and happiness grounded upon your weale. . . thinking himself onely ordained for your weale." [37] From this perspective, James's references to himself as a nursing father can be interpreted, as by Debora Kuller Shuger, as explicit references "to a relation based on love and nurturing." [38]

Shuger argues that "[t]he image of the father need not belong to the realm of power and oppression but to an explicitly opposed arena of love and forgiveness. In other words, not all patriarchal discourse concerns whitewashing coercive power relations." [39] While her point is valid for the majority of fathers, "patriarchal discourse" and "coercive power relations" are inseparable in the case of a monarch, who cannot reign by "love and forgiveness" alone. James's love for his children may very well have been sincere, and his sons' obedience voluntary and equally sincere, but the public assertion of this relationship served political ends. Furthermore, Shuger's vision of the father as a loving, nourishing parent coincides with James's self-portrayal, but the father as imaged in the sons' masques is quite different. From the filial perspective, Shuger's examples of uncoercive paternal power might reveal not an absence, but a more subtle variety of parental control. For instance, she cites Tyndale's Doctrinal Tr eatises, which states that a godly father will "overcome his child with love and with kindness, to make him do that which is comely, honest, and good for itself." [40] Like Shuger, James would probably read this description of fatherhood as wholly positive, since it advocates love and kindness, and results in a child who loves virtue. Another possible reading focuses on the words that imply force: "overcome" and "make." I would suggest that the differing emphases of Shuger and Goldberg-the former on love and the latter, power--reflect the differing perspectives of James and his sons, and are equally valid. Just as Henry and Charles consistently displayed obedience, the filial side of patriarchal power, James frequently displayed affection in deeds as well as words.

When Charles and James's current favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, left for Spain on an unsuccessful mission to form an alliance between Charles and the Infanta, James cried from fear, and wrote over and over of his longing for the return of his "sweet boys": "Alas, I now repent me sore that ever I suffered you to go away. I care for match, nor nothing, so I may once have you in my arms again." [41] Upon their return, James greeted them with unrestrained emotion: "They hugged and kissed, and for four hours were closeted in the king's private chamber, from which peals of laughter could be heard." [42] After the performance of Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1618), James made loving gestures toward both Charles and Buckingham. The Venetian ambassador reported that "the prince went in triumph to kiss his father's hands. The king embraced and kissed him tenderly and then honoured the marquis with marks of extraordinary affection, patting his face." [43] Similarly, James had patted Henry on the cheek after his mas que Oberon (16 1O). [44]

Although James may have felt sincere affection for his sons, none of the masques commissioned by either Henry or Charles acknowledges James's affection, real or professed, for his children or his nation. The earlier masques, unlike the courtiers' reactions to Elizabeth I, "withhold a show of love and obedience," portraying only filial obedience. [45] In Time Vindicated to Himself and to his Honours (1623), and The Fortunate Isles and their Union (1625), the last masques commissioned and performed by Charles before James's death, Jonson omits the paternal relationship altogether, while continuing to celebrate the authority of the reigning monarch. The Fortunate Isles once more praises James as Neptune, in "now the heights of Neptune's honors shine," for instance, but portrays Charles as "the prince of men" rather than as Neptune's son (lines 334, 363). The masque concludes with one allusion to the prince's service to James, still without naming the relationship between the two men, and an assertion of the nat ion's devotion to the king:

Whilst young Albion doth thy labors ease

And may thy subjects' hearts be all one flame,

Whilst thou dost keep the earth in firm estate.

(lines 433-40)

Similarly, in Time Vtndicated, Cupid refers to James as "the lord of Time" and Sport as "the noblest object here" (lines 306, 313), while Charles is described only with the other aristocratic masquers as "the glories of the time, / Of youth and feature too the prime" (lines 266-7).

The omission of the father-son relationship from these two final masques is more striking when we compare The Fortunate Isles with the unperformed masque that it replaced. Neptune's Triumph, intended for a 1624 performance, represents James as Neptune, and Charles as "[h]is Albion, prince of all his isles," "the most his own" (lines 234, 91). [46] Proteus sings of "the pomp of Neptune's triumph," which is "read, reflected in his son's return" (lines 253-5). Like Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue, the masque's very title announces the supremacy of James: "Albion's homecoming is not his triumph," asserts Limon, "but Neptune's." [47] In the physical movement of the masque, the son was to return on a floating island that moved across the Banqueting Hall and "joined it selfe with the shore," the location of James's stationary seat, just as Charles had returned from Spain. David Riggs argues that "[t]he iconography of this spectacle faithfully replicates the absolutist notion that the King 'is' the state." [48] It doe s not, however, replicate the emotional reunion of Charles (and Buckingham) with James.

Perhaps Jonson and Charles (and, earlier, Henry) perceived James's love, but as a private matter, not a topic for public performance. On the other hand, perhaps they failed to perceive James's affection for his sons. Carlton's biography of Charles sketches a shy child who was left behind when his parents traveled from Scotland to England for James's coronation, was disgusted by his father's behavior at court, and desperately, yet unsuccessfully, sought the approval of his parents and his older brother, especially that father:

When James fell ill Charles. . . wrote to the king about his Latin and French lessons, telling him that he was studying the divine right of monarchs, and how obedience to the king was, after the pursuit of goodness, the greatest wish of "Your Majesty's dutiful son." Although such carefully penned letters reflected the editing of his tutors, Charles was naturally deferential to his parents, one observer describing his attitude toward them as "obsequious." While this adjective did not have then the pejorative implications that it conveys today, it was an effective way of disguising the dilemma of a lonely child trying hard to win the affection of an unhappy mother, and a father whom he both feared, loved, admired and yet of whom he did not approve. [49]

To the end of James's life, Carleton asserts, Charles believed himself an obedient child: "As he saw it, he had learned to obey the king and even if the lesson had been painful, the end product was pleasant." [50] This description agrees with the Venetian ambassador's previously cited comment that Charles's goal was "to second his father, to follow him and do his pleasure and not to move except as his father does." [51]

Perhaps the "obsequious" early masques of Charles were intended to seek approval (although Pleasure notoriously failed to please James), and to remind the royal father of Charles's claims as a son and as the Prince of Wales. [52] Numerous incidents suggest that James needed such reminding. Three years prior to Pleasure, James reacted angrily when Francis Nethersole described Charles as "Jacobissime Carole" ("a very James-like Charles") and "Jacobale" ("a little James"). [53] The night Henry died, instead of acknowledging Charles as the eldest son and heir apparent, James sent a messenger to tell Elizabeth's fiance Frederick that "he would consider him his first born son, and, as if to symbolize the transfer of his affections, invested him with the same star and ribbon of the Garter that Henry had worn"; the role of eleven-year-old Charles at that ceremony "was that of a younger son: stooping he attached the Garter about Frederick's knee." [54] Later, the king called Buckingham his "only son," an adoption whic h may have been intended only to mask his sexual relationship with Buckingham, but which also served to displace Charles. [55] When Charles and Buckingham quarreled repeatedly between 1616 and 1618, James sided with his lover, on one occasion boxing the prince's ears. [56] It is an ironic, but unsurprising, reversal that in the last few masques Charles commissioned for performance at his father's court, the heir acknowledges no blood relationship with the king, just as James had repeatedly failed to acknowledge his son.

James began to express affection for his son only upon achieving a reconciliation between Charles and Buckingham, a reconciliation which he expressed to his heir in terms of filial obedience: "in making your affections to follow and second thus your father's, you show what reverent love you carry towards me in your heart, besides the worthy example you give to all other kings' eldest sons for imitation." [57] At the 1618 "Feast of Friends," which initiated and celebrated the concord between Charles and his father's lover, the two were praised in "flowery speeches," according to Otto Scott's biography of James: "Seated between them, with James planting kisses on first one and then the other, the prince smiled uncertainly. He was apparently unable to face, even in his imagination, the facts of homosexuality." [58] If the prince smiled "uncertainly," his reaction may also have been caused, in part, from his surprise at the sudden change in his father's behavior after several years of apparently trying without su ccess to please James. Charles's subsequent behavior shows little increasing trust in the new relationship with his father. While James's letters to Charles and Buckingham in Spain were frequently informal, as were Buckingham's replies, Charles invariably signed himself, "Your Majesty's humble and obedient son and servant." [59]

James may very well have loved his sons and desired their love in return, but the evidence left by Henry and Charles--the masques they commissioned, supported by accounts of the latter's obsequious and formal behavior--suggests either that they remained unconvinced of his love, or that they were uncomfortable with its public display. Performed and published beyond the family, the masques promote submission to the authority of the monarch, and thus can scarcely be called subversive. In consistently omitting the language of paternal love, and in the later instances the paternal relationship, the masques quietly undermine James's attempts to present his rule in terms of affection for his subjects.

Jean E. Graham is associate professor of English at the College of New Jersey, where she teaches early modern literature and serves as coordinator of the master's program in English.


I would like to thank my parents and brothers, husband and children for providing experiential knowledge of familial affection.

(1.) Nicholas Hytner, The Madness of King George, screenplay by Alan Bennett (Samuel Goldwyn, 1994).

(2.) Ben Jonson, "Prince Henry's Barriers," in The Complete Masques, ed. Stephen Orgel (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1969), pp. 142-59, lines 256-8. All subsequent citations of Jonson's masques come from this edition and will be cited parenthetically in the text by title and line number.

(3.) Orgel, "The Royal Theatre and the Role of King," in Patronage in the Renaissance, ed. Guy Fitch Lytle and Orgel (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1981), pp. 261-73, 270; also see Richard Dutton, Ben Jonson: Authority: Criticism (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin's. 1996), p. 66.

(4.) For a discussion of Jonson as a figurative father, see Jennifer Brady, "Progenitors and Other Sons in Ben Jonson's Discoveries," in New Perspectives on Ben Jonson, ed. James Hirsch (Madison NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press: London: Associated Univ. Press, 1997), pp. 16-34.

(5.) Caroline Bingham, James I of England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1981), p. 104.

(6.) Kevin Sharpe, Politics and Ideas in Early Stuart England: Essays and Studies (London and New York: Pinter, 1989), p. 56.

(7.) James Stuart, The Political Works of James I, ed. Charles Howard McIlwain (New York: Russell and Russell, 1965). p. 4. John Nichols, ed. The Progresses, Processions, and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First, 4 vols. (London: J. B. Nichols, 1828), 1:147. See also David Harris Willson, King James VI and I (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967), p. 402.

(8.) Stuart, p. 307.

(9.) Robert Filmer, Patriarcha, or the Natural Power of Kings, in Two Treatises of Government, ed. Thomas I. Cook (New York: Hafner, 1947], pp. 251-308. See, for example, James Daly, Sir Robert Filmer and English Political Thought (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1979); Jonathan Goldberg, James I and the Politics of Literature: Jonson, Shakespeare, Donne, and Their Contemporaries (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1983), p. 85; and Gordon J. Schochet, Patriarchalism in Political Thought: The Authoritarian Family and Political Speculations and Attitudes Especially in Seventeenth Century England (New Brunswick NJ and London: Transaction Books, 1988).

(10.) Filmer, p. 256.

(11.) Susan Dwyer Amussen, An Ordered Society: Gender and Class in Early Modern England (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1988), p. 2. Regarding the dissension on the extent of the king's patriarchal power, see, for instance, J. P. Sommerville, "James I and the Divine Right of Kings: English Politics and Continental Theory," in The Mental World of the Jacobean Court, ed. Linda Levy Peck (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991), pp. 55-70, 57.

(12.) Sir John Cheke, The hurt of sedition how greevous it is to a commonwealth, in Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles, qtd. in Robert Eccleshall. Order and Reason in Politics: Theories of Absolute and Limited Monarchy in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. 1978), p. 81. Also see Sir Thomas Craig, The Right of Succession to the Kingdom of England, qtd. in Eccleshall, pp. 88-9.

(13.) J. P. Sommerville, Royalists and Patriots: Politics and Ideology in England, 1603-1640 (London and New York: Longman, 1986), p. 30.

(14.) Nichols, 1:423.

(15.) W. David Kay, Ben Jonson: A Literary Life (Basingstoke, Hampshire, and London: Macmillan, 1995), p. 66.

(16.) Jonson, The Complete Poetry, ed. William B. Hunter Jr., Stuart Editions (New York: New York Univ. Press, 1963), p. 378.

(17.) Jonson, "The King's Entertainment at Welbeck," in Ben Jonson, ed. C. H. Herford, Percy Simpson, and Evelyn Simpson, 11 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950), 7:791-803, lines 296, 336-8.

(18.) Charles Canton, Charles I: The Personal Monarch, 2d edn. (London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 20, 29; also see Charles's letter to his own son in The Letters, Speeches, and Proclamations of King Charles I, ed. Sir Charles Petrie (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1968), pp. 261-73.

(19.) Willson, p. 406.

(20.) Butler, "Reform or Reverence?: The Politics of the Caroline Masque," In Theatre and Government under the Early Stuarts, ed. J. R. Mulryne and Margaret Shewring (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993), PP. 118-56, 151.

(21.) Amussen, pp. 57-8. Also see Lawrence Stone, "Corporal Punishment, 1500-1660," in Loving, Parenting, and Dying: The Family Cycle in England and America, Past and Present, ed. Vivian C. Fox and Martin H. Quitt (New York: Psychohistory Press, 1980), pp. 289-96, 292.

(22.) Joan Kelly-Gadol, "Did Women Have a Renaissance?" in Becoming Visible: Women in European History, ed. Renate Bridenthal and Claudia Koonz (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), pp. 137-64, 159.

(23.) Nichols, p. 300. The relationship between the sons' masques and the father's paternal politics was recognized as early as 1946 by Ernest William Talbert in his discussion of The Masque of Augurs, but never explored: "the statement that Charles does, 'by his Fathers light his courses run' and the final conception of the relationship between Jove and Apollo express the same idea, the idea implicit in James' writing Basilikon Doron" ("The Interpretation of Jonson's Courtly Spectacles," PMLA 61, 2 (Spring 1946): 454-73, 462). Jerzy Limon cites this passage from Talbert, but without further discussion of family and patriarchy in the masques (The Masque of Stuart Culture [Newark: Univ. of Delaware Press, 1990], p. 86); in a later article Limon notes that Jonson's Haddington Masque alludes to James's paternal advice in Basilikon Doron ("The Masque of Stuart Culture," in The Mental World of the Jacobean Court, pp. 209-30, 226). Also see Roy Strong, who, after quoting the passage containing "a King is trewly Pa rens patriae," comments that "Every masque devised by Inigo Jones is a visual realization of these principles to its courtly onlookers" (Splendor at Court: Renaissance Spectacle and Illusion [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973], p. 223). Robert C. Evans argues for a connection between Basilikon Doron and Sejanus, in "Sejanus: Ethics and Politics in the Early Reign of James" in Refashioning Ben Jonson: Gender, Politics and the Jonsonian Canon, ed. Julie Sanders, Kate Chedgzoy, and Susan Wiseman (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998), pp. 7 1-92.

(24.) Limon, The Masque of Stuart Culture, p. 44; see Tom Bishop, 'The Gingerbread Host: Tradition and Novelty in the Jacobean Masque," in The Politics of the Stuart Court Masque, ed. David Bevington and Peter Holbrook (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998), p. 92.

(25.) J. W. Williamson, The Myth. of the Conqueror: Prince Henry Stuart: A Study of Seventeenth-Century Personation (New York: AMS Press, 1978), p. 192; Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales, and England's Lost Renaissance (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986); Richard Badenhausen, "Disarming the Infant Warrior: Prince Henry, King James, and the Chivalric Revival," PLL 31, 1 (Winter 1995): 20-37; and Limon, Dangerous Matter: English Drama and Politics in 1623/24 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1986).

(26.) Sir Charles Cornwallis, The LWe and Death of Our Late most Incomparable and Heroique Prince Henry, Prince of Wales (1641), qtd. in Herford, Simpson, and Simpson, 10:512.

(27.) Graham Parry, "The Politics of the Jacobean Masque," in Theatre and Government under the Early Stuarts, pp. 87-117, 99.

(28.) Williamson. pp. 101-2. Two essays In The Politics of the Stuart Court Masque identify challenges to James's power in Oberon. In "Courtly Negotiations," Butler locates tension between James (the masque's sun) and another source of light: the moon, representing Elizabeth (pp. 20-40,31); Bishop finds that while "the rhetoric of the masque formally defers to James," the masque also contains subversive elements such as "scenarios of supplanting" (pp. 111, 109).

(29.) Qtd. in Herford, Simpson, and Simpson, 10:407-8.

(30.) Orgel, footnote In Jonson, Complete Masques, p. 303.

(31.) Goldberg, p. 142; also see Schochet, p. 67.

(32.) See Michel Foucault. The History of Sexuality: Volume I: An Introduction. trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Pantheon, 1978), p. 86: "power Is tolerable only on condition that it mask a substantial part of itself."

(33.) Stephen Greenblatt, Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 168-9.

(34.) Schochet, p. 67.

(35.) Otto J. Scott, James I (New York: Mason/Charter, 1976), p. 406.

(36.) Stuart, pp. 55, 65.

(37.) Stuart, p. 70.

(38.) Debora Kuller Shuger. Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance: Religion, Politics, and the Dominant Culture (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1990), p. 156.

(39.) Shuger, p. 233.

(40.) Shuger, p. 241.

(41.) Willson, p. 437.

(42.) Canton, p. 46. See Roger Lockyer, Bucking ham: The Life and Political Career of George Villiers, First Duke of Buckingham, 1592-1628 (London and New York: Longman, 1981), p. 165.

(43.) Gerald Eades Bentley. The Jacobean and Caroline Stage. 7 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), 6:258.

(44.) Strong, Henry. p. 154.

(45.) Greenblatt, p. 169.

(46.) However, the existing text of Neptune's Triumph, as Limon claims, is "a censored version of the author's original" (Dangerous Matter, p. 25).

(47.) Limon, Dangerous Matter, p. 35. In contrast, Butler sees the masque as the first that "ever suggested that a masquer might have a privileged insight into the royal will, let alone participate in policy-making as a joint enterprise" ("Courtly Negotiations," p. 34).

(48.) David Riggs, Ben Jonson: A Life (Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1989), p. 290.

(49.) Canton, p. 9.

(50.) Carlton, p. 57.

(51.) Willson, p. 406.

(52.) Horatio Busino recorded that the king interrupted the masque to call for dancing (Herford. Simpson, and Simpson, 10:407-8), and Riggs asserts that the court in general disliked this performance, alone among Jonson's masques (p. 252).

(53.) Canton, p. 20.

(54.) Carlton, p. 14.

(55.) Carlton, p. 22; also see P. 384; Sharpe. p. 5. Most recently, David M. Bergeron, in King James and Letters of Homoerotic Desire (Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press. 1999]. asserts that James viewed not his biological children and grandchildren, but Buckingham (and his wife and children) as his family.

(56.) Willson, p. 407; see Carlton, p. 24; John Bowle, Charles I: A Biography [Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown, 1975), p. 47; and Lockyer, p. 34.

(57.) Willson, p. 408.

(58.) Scott, p. 368.

(59.) Lockyer, p. 142.