William D'Avenant: Salmacida Spolia

(901 words)

Salmacida Spolia was the last masque written by Sir William D'Avenant (1606-68), and the last one to be seen in England. It was performed in January 1640 when both King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria appeared in it, in front of Henrietta Maria's mother, Marie d'Medici, and it was probably shown again in February. This was not a celebratory masque like D'Avenant's earlier Britannia Triumphans. The title is an allusion to a Greek legend about a group of barbarians civilised by drinking the waters of Salmacis and thus becoming peaceable, and the theme suggests that Charles could have the same affect on the dissensions in the country. The discord is represented by a stormy opening scene, “as if darkness, confusion …

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Lewcock, Dawn. "Salmacida Spolia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 April 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=21268, accessed 07 July 2015.]