Ben Jonson: The Irish Masque at Court

(902 words)

The Irish Masque at Court (1613) was staged in front of King James I and Queen Anne in the Great Hall of Whitehall Palace on 29 December 1613 and again on 3 January 1614. The performances were part of entertainments mounted to celebrate the wedding of the king’s favorite, Robert Carr, to Frances Howard. The lack of any explicit references to the marriage in The Irish Masque suggests that Jonson may have written the piece before preparations for the wedding had started and intended it simply as part of the annual Christmas festivities at the court. It is, however, possible that he strategically avoided such references because of the scandal surrounding the union between Carr and Howard. Howard had just been through a …

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Vyroubalova, Ema. "The Irish Masque at Court". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 March 2013
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]