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This HTML etext of Ben Jonson's "The Golden Age Restored" (1616) was created in April 2003 by Anniina Jokinen of Luminarium. The text is unaltered, and this etext also preserves, as much as possible within the constraints of the medium, the layout of the print edition.
    Source text:
    Jonson, Ben. The Works of Ben Jonson.   A New Edition.
    Edited, with a Biographical Memoir, by William Gifford.
    Boston: Phillips, Sampson, and Company, 1853.  714-716.
This edition is made available to the public for nonprofit purposes only. It is not represented by the publisher as a scholarly edition in the peer-reviewed sense. Unique site content is copyright 2003 Anniina Jokinen. This e-text may not be reproduced or published in any form without express written consent from the copyright holder. For corrections, comments, and queries, please email the publisher.







THE GOLDEN AGE RESTORED,

IN A MASQUE AT COURT, 1615,

BY   THE   LORDS   AND   GENTLEMEN,   THE   KING'S  SERVANTS

The Court being seated, and in expectation,
Loud music:
PALLAS in her chariot descending, to
a softer music.

       Look, look !  Rejoice and wonder
          That you, offending mortals, are
          (For all your crimes) so much the care
      Of him that bears the thunder.

      Jove can endure no longer,
          Your great ones, should your less invade ;
          Or that your weak, though bad, be made
      A prey unto the stronger.     

      And therefore means to settle
          Astræa in her seat again ;
          And let down in his golden chain
      The Age of better metal.

      Which deed he doth the rather,
         That even Envy may behold
         Time not enjoy'd his head of gold
      Alone beneath his father.

      But that his care conserveth,
          As time, so all time's honors too,
          Regarding still what heav'n should do,
     And not what earth deserveth.

[A tumult, and clashing of arms heard within.

But hark !  what tumult from yond cave is heard ?
    What noise, what strife, what earthquake and alarms,
As troubled Nature for her maker fear'd ;
     And all the Iron Age were up in arms !
Hide me, soft cloud, from their profaner eyes,
    Till insolent Rebellion take the field :
And as their spirits with their counsels rise,
    I frustrate all with showing but my shield.
                                [She retires behind a cloud.

The IRON AGE  presents itself, calling forth the EVILS.

I. Age.  Come forth, come forth, do we not hear
    What purpose, and how worth our fear,
        The king of gods hath on us ?
    He is not of the Iron breed,
    That would, though Fate did help the deed,
        Let Shame in so upon us.

    Rise, rise then up, thou grandame Vice,
    Of all my issue, Avarice,
        Bring with thee Fraud and Slander,
    Corruption with the golden hands,
    Or any subtler Ill, that stands
        To be a more commander.

    Thy boys, Ambition, Pride, and Scorn,
    Force, Rapine, and thy babe last born,
         Smooth Treachery, call hither.
    Arm Folly forth, and Ignorance,
    And teach them all our Pyrrhic dance ;
        We may triùmph together,

    Upon this enemy so great,
    Whom if our forces can defeat,
        And but this once bring under,
    We are the masters of the skies,
    Where all the wealth, height, power, lies,
        The sceptre, and the thunder.

    Which of you would not in a war
    Attempt the price of any scar,
        To keep your own states even ?
    But here, which of you is that he,
    Would not himself the weapon be,
        To ruin Jove and heaven ?

    About it then, and let him feel
    The Iron Age is turn'd to steel,
        Since he begins to threat her :
    And though the bodies here are less
     Than were the giants ;  he'll confess
        Our malice is far greater.

The EVILS enter for the Antimasque and DANCE, to
    two drums, trumpets and a confusion of martial
    music:  At the end of which, PALLAS re-appears,
    shewing  her  shield.  The EVILS are  turned  to
    Statues.

    Pal.  So change, and perish, scarcely knowing how,
That 'gainst the gods do take so vain a vow,
And think to equal with your mortal dates,
Their lives that are obnoxious to no fates.—
       'Twas time t' appear, and let their folly see,
'Gainst whom they fought, and with what destiny.
Die all, that can remain of you, but stone
And that be seen awhile, and then be none !
Now, now descend, you both belov'd of Jove,
And of the good on earth no less the love;
                        [The scene changes ;  and she calls

             ASTRÆA and the GOLDEN AGE.

Descend, you long, long wish'd and wanted pair
And as your softer times divide the air,
So shake all clouds off with your golden hair ;
For Spite is spent : the Iron Age is fled,
And, with her power on earth, her name is dead.

ASTRÆA and the GOLDEN AGE  descending with a

                                 SONG.

        Ast. G. Age.  And are we then
                                 To live again

                        With men ?
        Ast. Will Jove such pledges to the earth restore
                        As justice?

        G. Age.  Or the purer ore!
        Pal.                         Once more.
        G. Age.  But do they know,
                        How much they owe ?
                                        Below?
        Ast.  And will of grace receive it, not as due?
        Pal.  If not, they harm themselves, not you.
        Ast.  True.
          G. Age.  True.
  Cho.  Let narrow natures, how they will, mistake,
            The great should still be good for their own sake.
                                                                     [They come forward.

        Pal.  Welcome to earth, and reign.
        Ast. G. Age.  But how, without a train
                          Shall we our state sustain ?
        Pal.   Leave that to Jove :  therein you are
                No little part of his Minerva's care.

Expect awhile.—

You far-fam'd spirits of this happy isle,
That, for your sacred songs have gain'd the style
Of Phoebus' sons, whose notes the air aspire
Of  th' old Egyptian, or the Thracian lyre,
That CHAUCER, GOWER, LIDGATE, SPENSER hight,
Put on your better flames, and larger light,
To wait upon the Age that shall your names new nourish,
Since Virtue press'd shall grow, and buried Arts shall flourish.

          Chau. Gow.        We come.
          Lid. Spen.           We come. 
          Omnes.        Our best of fire,
                               Is that which Pallas doth inspire.
                                                                            [They descend.
 

     
Pal. Then see you yonder souls, set far within the shade,
That in Elysian bowers the blessed seats do keep,
That for their living good, now semigods are made,
And went away from earth, as if but tam'd with sleep ?
These we must join to wake ;  for these are of the strain
That justice dare defend, and will the age sustain.

         Cho.  Awake, awake, for whom these times were kept,
               
      O wake, wake, wake, as you had never slept !
               
      Make haste and put on air, to be their guard,
                     
Whom once but to defend, is still reward.

         Pal.  Thus Pallas throws a lightning from her shield.
                                             [The Scene of light discovered. 
         Cho. To which let all that doubtful darkness yield.
         Ast.   Now Peace.
         G. Age.  And Love.
         Ast.   Faith.
         G. Age.  Joys.
         Ast. G. Age.  All, all increase.                  [A  pause.
         Chau.  And Strife,
         Gow. And Hate,
         Lid.  And Fear,
         Spen.  And Pain,
         Omnes.  All cease.
         Pal.  No tumor of an iron vein.
The causes shall not come again.

             Cho.  But, as of old, all now be gold.
                            Move, move then to the sounds ;
                     And do not only walk your solemn rounds,
                     But give those light and airy bounds,
                     That fit the Genii of these gladder grounds.

                 
                          The first DANCE.

Pal. Already do not all things smile ?
Ast. But when they have enjoy'd awhile
            The Age's quickening power :
Age. That every thought a seed doth bring,
        And every look a plant doth spring,
        And every breath a flower,
Pal.  Then earth unplough'd shall yield her crop,
        Pure honey from the oak shall drop,
        The fountain shall run milk :
        The thistle shall the lily bear,
        And every bramble roses wear,
        And every worm make silk.

       Cho.  The very shrub shall balsam sweat,
                  And nectar melt the rock with heat,
                        Till earth have drank her fill :
               That she no harmful weed may know,
                Nor barren fern, nor mandrake low,
                Nor mineral to kill.

                    Here the main DANCE.
                               
                                   After which,

Pal.  But here's not all :  you must do more,
        Or else you do but half restore
            The Age's liberty.
Poe. The male and female us'd to join,
        And into all delight did coin
            That pure simplicity.
        Then Feature did to form advance,
        And Youth call'd Beauty forth to dance,
            And every grace was by :
        It was a time of no distrust,
        So much of love had nought of lust,
            None fear'd a jealous eye.
        The language melted in the ear,
        Yet all without a blush might hear,
            They lived with open vow.

       Cho. Each touch and kiss was so well placed,
              They were as sweet as they were chaste,
              And such must yours be now.

              Here they dance with the Ladies.

Ast.  What change is here ?   I had not more
        Desire to leave the earth before,
            Than I have now to stay ;
        My silver feet, like roots, are wreath'd
        Into the ground, my wings are sheath'd,
            And I cannot away.

        Of all there seems a second birth,
        It is become a heaven on earth,
            And Jove is present here,
        I feel the god-head ;  nor will doubt
        But he can fill the place throughout
            Whose power is every where.

        This, this, and only such as this,
        The bright Astræa's region is,
            Where she would pray to live,
        And in the midst of so much gold,
        Unbought with grace, or fear unsold,
            The law to mortals give.

     Here they dance the Galliards and Corantos.

Pallas.  [ascending, and calling the Poets.]
        'Tis now enough ;  behold you here,
        What Jove hath built to be your sphere,
            You hither must retire.
        And as his bounty gives you cause
        Be ready still without your pause,
            To shew the world your fire.

        Like lights about Astræa's throne,
        You here must shine, and all be one,
            In fervor and in flame ;
        That by your union she may grow,
        And you, sustaining her, may know
            The Age still by her name.

        Who vows, against or heat or cold,
        To spin you garments of her gold,
            That want may touch you never ;
        And making garlands every hour,
        To write your names in some new flower,
            That you may live for ever.

Cho.  To Jove, to Jove, be all the honor given,
           That thankful hearts can raise from earth to heaven.








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