st,' seem to me triumphant and unguided excursions of his own in the new field. But I think that Shakspere was attracted to this field by contemporary stage-successes, and that in seeking for novel and invented plots, in the contrast of tragic and idyllic elements, in the unusual and rapidly shifting situations, in the loose and parenthetical style, and in the elaboration of the dénouement, he was adapting himself to the new formulas and fashions in which Beaumont and Fletcher were the leaders.
Still another suggestion came from the theater, but this time from the court. The court shows of the sort which we have noticed as characteristic of the early years of Elizabeth's reign had given place to a better ordered and more sumptuous spectacle, the Court Masque. Under James I, with the great architect Inigo Jones to devise the machines and setting, and with Ben Jonson to write the librettos, one of these masques was a magnificent affair. It was given on festal occasions at court and often
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