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The Spring's Glorie


Shakespeare's Globe held a free open day of celebrations for Shakespeare's Birthday on 23rd April, St George's Day. We were asked to revive The Spring's Glorie, placing it as an interlude in our much loved St George and the Dragon also requested for the day's celebrations! It was with great delight that we were able to once again perform this lovely masque and we were especially delighted to be invited to perform on the Globe stage as part of a day of sonnets, dance, activities, games and other delights.

Written by Thomas Nabbes in 1638, and no doubt heavily influenced by many years of absorbing Elizabethan/Jacobean drama, (and therefore appropriate as a 'birthday present', we thought) The Spring's Glorie has a open air quality which lent itself to the Bankside venue.

The Green Man decked in spring flowers
Our Green Man dressed up in spring finery for the occasion

Venus, the goddess of pure love takes Bacchus the god of wine and Ceres the goddess of plenty to task for encouraging love to come from fulness and gorg'd appetite.

Bringing in such characters as Christmastide, Lent and Shrovetide to support their arguments, the feud between the deities is finally resolved by Spring who rejoices in the virtues of both goddesses and suggests we apply Things to their best ends: a joyful temperance which concludes the masque in a dance (and no doubt originally feasting and love-making).

In the 1630s, Masques remained highly elaborate, expensive diversions at Court and festive occasions. The Spring's Glorie is modest in that respect; it has, however, feisty characters and delightful verse, brimming with lyric wit and imagery and much which resonates with our own seasonal festivals and their respective celebrations of plenty, pleasure and goodwill.