The Triumphs of Truth
The Triumphs of Truth
- Critical Introduction
- The Route
- Textual Introduction
- About Mayoral Pageantry
- About the Livery Companies
- About the Grocer’s Company
- About the Author
The Triumphs of Truth
Thomas Middleton wrote The Triumphs of Truth in 1613, to honour the Lord Mayor of the same name, Sir Thomas Middleton, Grocer. The Triumphs of Truth was "the most expensive mayoral pageant of the Renaissance," and, despite the propaganda that is construed negatively today, it was arguably Middleton’s "finest" (Bergeron Civic 179).
The Triumphs of Truth is what Margot Heinemann calls "a sustained moral allegory" (Heinemann 127). It relies on theme and symbolism rather than plot, and the theme that is "sustained" throughout the pageant is "Truth prevails over Error." Thomas Middleton also makes use of allegorical characters, such as Truth, Zeal, and Error, and costumes them emblematically so that the members of the civic audience will be able to know who each character is, even if they cannot hear the pageant. David M. Bergeron praises Middleton’s descriptions of the allegorical characters. He says, "No other pageant-dramatist [. . .] gives greater evidence of understanding the traditional iconographical presentation of allegorical figures. It is not merely a portrait, however, for it has a dramatic function: to sharpen the contrast between good and evil" (Bergeron Civic 182). Lawrence Manley says that "Middleton’s pageants, sponsored by such Puritan-dominated companies as the Grocers or the Skinners, were especially frank in their allusions to contemporary vices threatening the City rulers" (Manley 282). In The Triumphs of Truth , Middleton deals explicitly with bribery and corruption, which is atypical for the Lord Mayor’s Show (Heinemann 125), through the character of Error. Error, typifying how not to rule as Lord Mayor, promises to teach the Lord Mayor how to "cast mists," and to bring the Lord Mayor bribes.
The Lord Mayor’s Show was unlike a stage play in that the pageant was peripatetic, and no one member of the audience saw it from start to finish. There was a need to write in a simple style and incorporate repetitive action (like the struggle between Error and Truth with the mist), so that the "moral" or "theme" would be obvious to a person who had not seen or heard what came before. The "cause of dramatic unity" is strengthened in The Triumphs of Truth by the "movement throughout the processional of all the devices; thus the audience at almost any point has a chance to understand the dramatic action" (Bergeron Civic 186).
Unity in The Triumphs of Truth is also achieved by using simple imagery -- light to represent good and dark to represent evil (181). Truth’s Angel is wearing "white silk" which is "powdered with stars of gold" and Truth is adorned in "white satin," and wears a "diadem of stars," while Error wears "ash-colour silke."
Taking the conflict of the light/dark imagery a step further are the Moors. The King of the Moors makes reference to his dark face, but states that "Truth in [his] soul sets up the light of grace." It seems "that this King of Moors and his queen had been converted to Christianity by English merchants traveling in their land" (183), and they rejoice in their new found religion. As well as setting up a hierarchy with "Good" over "Evil," in this scene of The Triumphs of Truth a hierarchy is created with "Christian" over "Pagan." In this sense, The Triumphs of Truth is justifying the Christianization of far off lands, and promoting trade as a method to do so (Knowles 168).
- The Lord Mayor begins the day at Guildhall.
- Musicians are already playing as the Lord Mayor makes his way from Guildhall to Soper-Lane End. After a song, the Lord Mayor is welcomed with a trumpet flourish. London greets him and makes her first speech.
- The Lord Mayor, his company, and the waits of the city (a small body of wind instrumentalists maintained by a city), are led down to the banks of the Thames, where they see the five islands for the first time.
- The Lord Mayor then proceeds by water to Westminster where he swears his Oath of Mayoralty.
- The Lord Mayor returns to the City and is met by Truth’s Angel and Zeal at Baynard’s Castle. Lawrence Manley suggests that landing at Baynard’s Castle is a deviation from the standard route of the Lord Mayor’s show. In his Literature and Culture in Early Modern London, he shows the route using Paul’s Stairs instead (Manley 226-27). The green line on the map represents the route that Manley suggests was standard, and the yellow line represents the route that The Triumphs of Truth took.
- Truth’s Angel and Zeal accompany the Lord Mayor to Paul’s Chain, where he is "assaulted" by Error and his champion, Envy. Truth arrives with "her celestial handmaidens, the Graces and Virtues" to give the Lord Mayor some advice.
- Everyone moves to Paul’s Churchyard. The five islands seen earlier on the river are now set up in the Churchyard, but now they carry the Five Senses. A ship carrying Moorish royalty is "sailing" on dry land towards the party.
- The Pageant moves into Cheapside with the islands in the lead. Once at the Little Conduit they encounter "London’s Triumphant Mount," veiled in Error’s mist and guarded by his evil monsters. Truth drives the fog away to reveal London accompanied by Religion, Liberality, and Perfect Love.
- The whole "Triumph’ moves to the cross in Cheap. Error continuously shrouds "London’s Triumphant Mount" in his mist, and Truth keeps banishing it. This battle continues all the way to the Standard.
- At the Standard, Error succeeds in covering the Mount in mist until the Pageant reaches St. Laurence Lane End, where Truth drives the mist away.
- The Pageant makes its way back to Guildhall for the feast.
- Following the pink line on the map, the Lord Mayor, after feasting, is taken to St. Paul’s to "perform those yearly ceremonial rights which ancient and grave order hath determined," with Error and Truth shrouding and uncovering the Mount along the way.
- Following the orange line on the map, the Pageant moves from St. Paul’s to "the entrance of his lordship’s gate near Leadenhall," where Error is vanquished once and for all in a spectacular fireworks show.
This text is based on a collation of the two editions of The Triumphs of Truth . There are three surviving copies of the first edition (STC 17903), and seven copies of the second (STC 17904). This edition is based on the British Museum copies of both editions.
The two original editions were printed by Nicholas Okes in 1613. The central difference between the two editions of the pageant is the inclusion in the second edition of the entertainment at Amwell-Head on Michaelmas Day; it is absent from the first edition. The second edition has a new title page, reflecting the inclusion of the new section of text. The second edition corrects some textual errors that appeared in the first edition. The type does not appear to have been reset between the two editions, however; other than the compositor’s corrections in the second edition, the two texts are identical.
Unlilke other MoEML texts, this diplomatic transcription modernizes the u/v and i/j typographical conventions. The only other change that has been made has been the distinction between "then" and "than." In the original text it appears as "then" almost exclusively. Where appropriate, it has been changed to "than." This edition also corrects obvious compositional errors, noting these corrections in editorial notes.
The Triumphs of Truth.
A Solemnity unparaleld for Cost, Art,
and Magnificence at the Confirmation and
Establishment of that Worthy and true Nobly-
minded Gentleman, Sir THOMAS MIDDLETON,
Knight, in the Honorable Office of his mA-
jesties Lieuetenant, the Lord Maior of the
thrice famous Citty of LONDON.
Taking Beginning at his Lordship’s going,and proceeding
after his Returne from receiving the Oath of Maior-
alty at Westminster, on the Morrow next after
Simon and Judes day, October 29. 1613.
All the Showes, Pageants, Chariots, Morning, Noone,
Directed, Written, and redeem’d into forme, from the igno-
rance of some former times, and their
By THOMAS MIDDLETON.
Shewing also his Lordships Entertainement upon Mi-
chaelmas day last,being the day of his Election, at that
most Famous and Admired Worke of the Running
Streame, from Amwell-Head into the Cesterne at
Islington, being the sole Cost, Industry and Invention
of the Worthy Mr. HUGH MIDDLETON of London,
Printed by NICHOLAS OKES. 1613.
The Epistle Dedicatory
TO THE GREAT EXPectation of Vertue and Goodnesse, and most worthy of all those Costs and Honors, which the Noble Fellowship and Society of Grocers, and generall love of the whole City, in full heap’d bounties bestow upon him, the truly Generous and Judicious, Sir Thomas Middleton, Knight, Lord Maior of the Honorable Citty of London.
As often as we shall fixe our thoughts upon the Almighty Providence, so often they returne to our capacities laden with Admiration, either from the Divine workes of his Mercy, or those incomprehensible of his Justice: but here to instance onely his Omnipotent Mercy, it being the Health and Preservation of all his workes: and first not onely in raising, but also in preserving your Lordship from many great and insident  dangers, especially in forraine Countries in the time of your Youth and Travels: and now with Safety, Love and Triumph, to establish You in this yeares Honor: crowning the Perfection of your Daies, and the Gravity of your Life, with Power, Respect and Reverence. Next, in that my selfe (though unworthy) being of one Name with your Lordship, notwithstanding all Oppositions of Malice, Ignorance and Envy, should thus happily live, protected by part of that Mercy (as if one Fate did prosperously cleave to one Name) now to do Service to your Fame and Worthinesse, and my Pen, onely to be employd in these Bounteous and Honorable Tryumphs, being but shadowes to those Eternall Glories that stand ready for Deservers, to which I commend the Deserts of your Justice, remaining ever,
To your Lordship, in the best
of my observance,
The Tryumphs of Truth
SEarch all Chronicles, Histories, Records, in what language or letter soever; let the inquisitive man waste the dear Treasures of his Time and Eye sight, he shall conclude his life only in this certainty, that there is no subject upon earth received into the place of his governement with the like State and Magnificence as is the Lord Maior of the Citty of London. This being then infallible (like the Mistresse of our Triumphs) and not to be denied of any, how carefull ought those Gentlemen to be, to whose discretion and Judgement the weight and charge of such a businesse is entirely referred and committed by the whole Society, to have all things correspondent to that Generous and Noble freenesse of cost and liberality, the streames of Art, to equal those of Bounty, a Knowledge that may take the true height of such an Honorable Solemnity; the miserable want of both which in the impudent common writer, hath often forc’d from me much pitty and sorrow; and it would heartily grieve any understanding spirit to behold many times so glorious a fire in bounty and goodnesse offering to match itselfe with freezing Art, sitting in darknesse, with the candle out, looking like the picture of Blacke Monday  .
But to speake truth, which many beside myselfe can affirme upon knowledge, a care that hath beene seldome equal’d, and not easily imitated, hath been faithfully showne in the whole course of this businesse, both by the Wardens and Committies, men of much understanding, industry, and carefulnesse, little weighing the greatnesse of expence, so the cost might purchase perfection, so fervent hath beene their desire to excell in that (which is a learned and vertuous Ambition) and so unfainedly pure the loves and affections of the whole Company to his Lordship; If any shall imagine that I set fairer colours upon their Deserts, then they upon themselves, let them but reade and conceive, and their owne understandings will light them to the acknowledgement of their errors. First, they may here behold love and bounty opening with the morning, earlier then some of former yeares, ready at the first appearing of his Lordship, to give his eare a taste of the dayes succeeding glory, and thus the forme of it presents itselfe.
At Soper-lane end a Senate house erected, upon which Musicians sit playing; and more to quicken time, a sweet voyce married to these words:
Mother of many honorable Sonnes,
Think not the Glasse too slowly runnes
That in Times hand is set,
Because thy worthy Sonne appears not yet:
Lady be pleas’d, the hower growes on,
Thy joy will be compleate anon;
Thou shalt behold
The man enrol’d
In Honours bookes, whom Vertue raises,
His triumphs crownd
With all good wishes, prayers, and praises.
 What greater comfort to a mother’s heart,
Then to behold her sonnes desert:
Goe hand in hand with love,
Respect and honor (blessings from above)
It is of power all greefes to kill,
And with a floud of joy to fill.
Thy aged eyes,
To see him rise,
With glory dec’t,  where expectation.
Grace, truth, and fame,
Met in his name,
Attends his honors confirmation.
After this sweet aire hath liberally spent itselfe, at the first appearing of the Lord Maior from Guild-hall in the morning, a Trumpet plac’d upon that Scaffold sounds forth his welcome; then after a straine or two of Musicke, a Grave Feminine Shape presents itselfe, from behinde a silke curtain, representing London, attired like a reverend Mother, a long white haire naturally flowing on either side of her: on her head a modell of Steeples and Turrets, her habite Crimson silke, neere to the Honourable garment of the Citty: her left hand holding a Key of gold, who after a comely grace, equally mixt with Comfort and Reverence, sends from her lips this Motherly salutation:
The Speech of London
Honour and Joy salute thee, I am rais’d
In comfort and in love to see thee, glad
And happy in thy blessings, nor esteeme
My words the lesse, cause I a Woman speake,
A woman’s counsell is not always weake.
I am thy Mother, at that name I know
Thy heart do’s reverence to me, as becomes
A Sonne of Honour, in whose soule burnes cleere
The sacred lights of divine feare and knowledge,
I know, that at this instant, all the workes
Of Motherly love in me, showne to thy Youth
When it was soft and helplesse, are sum’d up
In thy most gratefull minde, thou well remembrest
All my deere paines and care, with what affection
I cherish thee in my bosome, watchfull still
Over thy wayes,
Set wholesome and Religious Lawes before
The foot-steps of thy youth, show’d Thee the way
That lead thee to the Glory of this Day.
To which (with teares of the most fruitfull joy
That ever Mother shed) I welcome Thee.
Oh I could be content to take my part
Out of Felicity onely in weeping,
Thy Presence and this Day is so deere to me.
Looke on my age (my Honorable Sonne)
And then begin to thinke upon thy Office:
See how on each side of mee hang the cares
Which I bestowd on Thee, in silver haires.
And now the Faith, the Love, the zealous Fires
With which I cheer’d thy Youth, my Age requires,
The duty of a Mother I have showne,
Through all the Rites of pure affection,
In Care, in Government, in Wealth, in Honour,
Brought Thee to what thou art, thow’st  all from mee,
Then what thou should’st be I expect from Thee.
Now to Thy Charge, Thy Government, Thy Cares,
Thy Mother in her age submits her yeares.
And though (to my abundant griefe I speake it,
Which now ore-flows my joy) some Sonnes I have
Thanklesse, unkind, and disobedient,
Rewarding all my Bounties with Neglect,
And will of purpose wilfully retire
Themselves, from doing grace and service to me,
When they have got all they can, or hope for, from me,
The thankfulnesse in which Thy Life doth move,
Did ever promise fairer fruits of Love,
And now they show themselves, yet they have all
My blessing with them, so the world shall see
’Tis their unkindnesse, no defect in me;
But go Thou forward (my thrice Honor’d Sonne)
In waies of goodnesse, Glory is best wunne
When Merit brings it home, disdaine all Titles
Purchas’d with Coine, of Honor take Thou hold,
By thy Desert let others buy’t with Gold;
Fixe thy most serious Thought upon the weight
Thou goest to undergo, ’tis the just Government
Of this Fam’d Citty, (Mee) whom other Nations call
Their brightest Eye, then with what care and feare
Ought I to be ore-seene to be kept cleare?
Spots in deformed Faces are scarce Noted,
Faire cheekes are strain’d if ner’e so little blotted.
See’st thou this Key of Gold? It shows thy charge,
This place is the King’s Chamber, all pollution,
Sinne and Uncleannesse must be lock’t out here,
And be kept sweet, with Sanctity, Faith and Feare,
I see Grace takes effect, Heavens joy upon her,
’Tis rare, when Vertue opes the Gate to Honor,
My blessing be upon thee, Sonne and Lord,
And on my Sonnes all, that obey my word.
Three Cranes Wharf
Then making her Honour, as before, the Waites of the Citty there in service, his Lordship and the Worthy Company, are lead [sic] forward toward the water side, where you shall finde the River deck’t in the richest glory to receive him; upon whose Christall Bosome stands five Islands art-fully garnished with all manner of Indian Fruite-Trees, Drugges, Spiceries, and the like, the middle Island with a faire Castle especially beautified.
But making haste to returne to the Citty againe, where Triumph waites in more Splendor and Magnificence, the first then that attends to receive his Lordship off the water at Bainards Castle , is Truth’s Angell on Horse-back, his Raiment of white Silke powdred with Starres of Gold: on his head a Crowne of Gold, a Trumpeter before him on Horse-back, and Zeale the Champion of Truth, in a Garment of Flame-coloured Silke, with a bright haire on his head, from which shoot Fire-beames, following close after him, mounted alike, his Right hand holding a flaming Scourge, intimating thereby that as hee is the manifester of Truth, he is likewise the chastizer of Ignorance and Error.
The Salutation of the Angell.
I have within mine Eye my blessed Charge,
Haile Friend of Truth, Safety and Joy attends  thee;
I am Truth’s Angell, by my Mistress sent
To guard and guid thee, when thou took’st thy Oath
I stood on thy Right hand, though to thy eye
In visible forme I did not then appeare,
Aske but thy Soule t’will tell thee I stood neere;
And ’twas a Time to take care of Thee then
At such a Marriage before Heaven and Men,
(Thy Faith wed to Honor) close behinde thee
Stood Error’s Minister, that still sought to blinde thee,
And wrap his subtill mists about thy Oath,
To hide it from the nakednesse of Troth, 
Which is Truth’s purest glory, but my light
Still as it shone, Expeld her blackest spite;
His Mists fled by, yet all I could devise,
Could hardly keepe them from some People’s eyes,
But thine they flew from, thy Care’s but begun
Wake on, the Victory is not halfe yet wun,
Thou wilt be still assaulted, thou shalt meete
With many dangers, that in voice seeme sweet,
And waies most pleasant to a worldling’s eye,
My Mistresse has but One, but that leads hye
To yon triumphant Citty follow mee,
Keepe thou to Truth, eternitie keepes to thee.
On boldly man of honor, thou shalt win,
I am Truth’s champion, Zeale, the scourge of sin.
The Trumpet then sounding, the Angell and Zeale ranke themselves just before his Lordship, and conduct him to Paul’s-chaine , where in the south-yard Error in a chariot with his infernall ministers attends to assault him, his garment of ash-colour silke, his head rowld in a cloud, over which stands, and owle, a moale  on one shoulder, a bat on the other, all symboles of blinde ignorance and darknesse, mists hanging at his eyes: close before him rides Envy his champion, eating of a humane heart, mounted on a Rhenoceros, attired in red silke, sutable to the bloudinesse of her manners, her left pap  bare, where a snake fastens, her armes halfe naked, holding in her right hand a dart tinted in bloud.
The Greeting of Error.
Art come? O welcome my triumphant Lord,
My glories sweet-heart! how many millions
Of happy wishes hath my love told out
For this desired minute, I was dead
Till I enjoyd thy presence, I saw nothing,
A blindnesse thicker than idolatry,
Clove to my eye-bals, now I am all of light,
Of fire, of joy, pleasure runs nimbly through mee,
Let’s joyne together both in state and triumph,
And down with beggarly and friendlesse vertue,
That hath so long impoverish’t this faire Citty,
My beasts shall trample on her naked breast,
Under my chariot-wheeles her bones lye prest,
She ner’e shall rise againe, great power this day,
Is given into thy hand, make use on’t Lord,
And let thy will and appetite sway the sword,
Downe with them all now, whom thy heart envies,
Let not thy conscience come into thine eyes
This twelve-month, if thou lov’st revenge or gaine,
Ile teach thee to cast mists, to blinde the plaine
And simple eye of man, he shall not know’t,
Nor see thy wrath when ’tis upon his throte,
All shall be carried with such art and wit,
That what thy lust acts, shal bee counted fit,
Then for attendants that may best observe thee,
Ile picke out serjantes of my band to serve thee,
Here’s Gluttony and Sloth, two pretious  slaves,
Wil tell thee more then a whole heard of knaves,
The worth of every office to a haire,
And who bids most, and how the markets are,
Let them alone to smell, and for a need,
They’l bring thee in bribes for measure and light bread, 
Keepe thy eye winking, and thy hand wide ope,
Then thou shalt know what wealth is, and the scope
Of rich authority, ho ’tis sweete and deere,
Make use of time then, thou’st but one poore yeare,
And that will quickly slide, then be not nice,
Both power and profite cleaves to my advice,
And what’s he lockes his eare from those sweet charmes,
Or runs not to meet gaine with wide stretch’t armes,
There is a poore thin thred-bare thing cal’d Truth,
I give thee warning of her, if shee speake
Stop both thine eares close, most professions breake
That ever delt with her, an unlucky thing,
Shee’s almost sworne to nothing, I can bring
A thousand of our parish, besides queanes, 
That nere knew what Truth meant, nor ever meanes.
Some I could cull out here, e’en in this throng,
If I would show my children, and how strong
I were in faction; ’lasse poore simple stray,
Shee’s all her lifetime finding out one way:
Shee’as but one foolish way, straight on, right forward,
And yet she makes a toyle on’t, and goes on
With care and feare forsooth, when I can run
Over a hundred with delight and pleasure,
Backe-waies, and by-waies, and fetch in my treasure
After the wishes of my heart, by shifts,
Deceits, and slightes, and Ile give thee those giftes;
Ile show thee all my corners yet untold,
The very nookes where bedlams  hide their gold,
In hollow wals and chimneys, where the sun
Never yet shone, nor Truth came ever neere,
This of thy life Ile make the golden yeare: follow me then.
Learne now to scorne thy inferiours, those must  love thee,
And wish to eat their hearts, that sit above thee.
Zeale stird up with divine indignation, at the impudence of these hel-hounds, both forces their retirement, and makes way for the chariot wherein Truth his mistresse sits, in a close garment of white satin, which makes her appeare thin and naked, figuring thereby her simplicity and neerenesse of heart to those that embrace her; a roabe of white silke cast over it, fil’d with the eies of eagles, shewing her deep insight, and height of wisedome, over her thrice sanctified head a milke-white dove, and on each shoulder one, the sacred emblems of purity, meeknesse, and innocency, under her feete, serpents, in that she treads downe all subtelty and fraud, her fore-head empal’d with a diadem of stars, the witnesse of her eternall descent; on her breast a pure round cristall, showing the brightnesse of her thoughts and actions; a sun in her right-hand, then which, nothing is truer, a fan fild all with starres in her left, with which she parts darkenesse, and strikes away the vapours of ignorance; if you hearken to Zeale her champion after his holy anger is past against Error, and his crue, hee will give it you in better tearmes, or at least more smoothly and pleasingly.
The Speech of Zeale.
Bold furies, backe, or with this scourge of fire
Whence sparkles out religious chast-desire
Ile whip you downe to darkenesse; this a place
Worthy my mistresse, her eternall grace
Be the full object to feast all these eies
But thine the first, hee that feeds here is wise;
Nor by the naked plainenesse of her weeds
Judge thou her worth, no burnisht glosse Truth needs;
That crowne of stares showes her descent from heaven;
That roabe of white fild all with eagles eies,
Her piercing sight through hidden mysteries;
Those milke-white doves her spotlesse innocence;
Those serpents at her feete her victory showes
Over deceit and guile, her rankest foes,
And by that cristall mirrour at her brest,
The cleerenesse of her conscience is exprest;
And showing that her deeds all darkenesse shun,
Her right-hand holds Truth’s symbole, the bright sunne;
A fan of stares shee in the other twists,
With which shee chaceth away Errors mists:
And now shee makes to thee, her so even grace,
For to her rich and poore looke upon with one face.
The Words of Truth
Man rays’d by faith and love, upon whose head
Honour sits fresh, let not thy heart be led
In ignorant waies of insolence and pride
From her, that to this day hath bene thy guide;
I never showed thee yet more paths then one,
And thou hast found sufficient that alone
To bring thee hether, then go forward still,
And having most power, first subject thy will,
Give the first fruits of justice to thy selfe,
Then dost thou wisely govern, though that else
Of sin and darkenesse still opposing mee,
Counsels thy appetite to master thee.
But call to minde what brought thee to this day,
Was falshood, cruelty, or revenge the way?
Thy lust or pleasures? people’s curse or hate?
These were no waies could raise thee to this state
The ignorant must acknowledge, if then from mee,
Which no ill dare deny, or sin controule,
Forsake mee not, that can advance thy soule:
I see a blessed yielding in thy eye,
Thour’t mine, leade on, thy name shall never dye.
These words ended, they all set forward, this chariot of Truth and her celestiall hand-maids the Graces and Vertues, taking place next before his Lordship, Zeale and the Angell before that, the chariot of Error following as neere as it can get, all passing on, till they come into Pauls Church-yard, where stand ready the five ilands, those dumbe glories that I spake of before upon the water, upon the heighth of these five ilands sit five persons representing the five sences, Visus, Auditus, Tactus, Gustus, Olfactus, (or) Seeing, Hearing, Touching, Tasting, Smelling; at their feete their proper emblems, Aquila, Cervus, Araneus, Simia, Canis, an eagle, a hart, a spider, an ape, a dogge.
No sooner can your eyes take leave of these, but they may suddenly espy a strange ship making toward, and that which may raise greater astonishment, it having neither saylor nor pilot, onely upon a white silke streamer these two words set in letters of gold, Veritate Gubernor, I am steer’d by Truth; the persons that are contained within this little vessel are onely foure; a king of the Moores,  his queene, and two attendants of their owne colour, the rest of their followers, people in the castle that stands in the middle iland, of which company two or three on the top appears to sight, this king seeming much astonished at the many eies of such a multitude, utters his thoughts in these words.
The Speech of that King
I see amazement set upon the faces
Of these white people, wondrings, and strange gazes,
Is it at mee? do’s my complexion draw
So many Christian eyes, that never saw
A king so blacke before? no, now I see
Their entire object, the’re all meant to thee
(Grave Citty governour) my queene and I
Well honor’d with the glances that [pass]  by,
I must confesse many wilde thoughts may rise,
Opinions, common murmurs, and fixt eyes
At my so strange arrival, in a land
Where true religion and her temple stand:
I being a moore,  then in opinions lightnesse
As far from sanctity as my face from whitenesse;
But I forgive the judgings of th’ unwise,
Whose censures ever quicken in their eyes,
Onely begot of outward forme and show,
And I thinke meete to let such censurers know,
How ever darkenesse dwels upon my face,
Truth in my soule sets up the light of grace;
And though in daies of Error I did runne
To give all adoration to the sunne,
The moone and stars; nay creatures base and poore,
Now onely their creator I adore:
My queene and people all, at one time wun,
By the religious conversation
Of English merchants, factors, travailers,
Whose Truth did with our spirits hold commerse
As their affaires with us, following their path
Wee all were brought to the Christian faith:
Such benefite on good example dwels,
It oft hath power to convert infidels;
Nor could our desires rest, till wee were led
Unto this place, where those good spirits were bred;
And see how we arriv’d, in blessed time,
To do that mistresse service, in the prime
Of these her spotlesse triumphs, and t’attend
That honorable man, her late sworne frend.
If any wonder at the safe arrive
Of this small vessel, which all wethers drive
According to their rages, where appears
Nor mariner nor pylot (arm’d gainst feares)
Know this came hether from man’s guidance free,
Onely by Truth steer’d; as our soules must bee;
And see where one of her faire temples stands,
Do reverence, moores, bow low, and kisse your hands,
Behold our queene.
Her goodnesses are such
Wee cannot Honour her, and her house too much.
All in the shippe and those in the castle bowing their bodies to the temple of
Saint Paul, but Error smiling betwixt scorne and anger to see such a devout humility take hold of that complexion breakes into these,
What, have my sweete-fac’t devils forsooke me too,
Nay, then my charmes will have enough to doo?
But Time, sitting by the frame of Truth his daughters chariot, attir’d agree-
able to his condition, with his hower-glasse, wings, and sithe, knowing best himselfe when it is fittest to speake, goes forward in this manner:
This Time hath brought t’effect, for on thy day
Nothing but Truth and Vertue shall display:
Their virgin ensigns, Infidelity,
Barbarisme and Guile shall in deepe darkenesse lye.
O I could ever stand still thus, and gaze,
Never turne glasse agen; with no more daies
So this might ever last, pitty the light
Of this rich glory must be casde in night;
But Time must on, I go, ’tis so decreed,
To blesse my daughter Truth, and all her seed
With joyes immortal, triumphs never ending:
And as her hand lifts mee, to thy ascending
May it be always ready (worthy sonne)
To hasten which, my howers shall quickly run,
Seest thou yon place,  thether Ile weekely bring thee,
Where Truth’s celestiall harmony thou shalt heare,
To which I charge thee bend a serious eare:
Lead in, Time’s swift attendants.
Then the five ilands passe along into Cheape-side, the ship next after them; the chariot of Truth still before his Lordship, and that of Error still Chac’st before it, where their eies meete with another more subtile object, planting itself close by the little conduite, which may beare this character, the true forme and fashion of a mount triumphant, but the beauty and glory thereof over-spread with a thicke sulphurous darkenesse, it being a fog or mist raisde from Error, enviously to blemish that place which beares the title London’s Triumphant Mount (the chiefe grace and luster of the whole triumph) at the foure corners sit foure monsters Error’s disciples, on whom hangs part of the mist for their cloathing, holding in their hands little thicke clubbes, coloured red like their garments; the names of these foure monsters, Barbarisme, Ignorance, Impudence, Falshood, who at the neere approaching of Truth’s chariot, are seene a little to tremble, whilst her deity gives life to these words.
What’s here? the mist of Error? dare his spight
Staine this Triumphant Mount? where our delight
Hath bene divinely fixt so many ages,
Dare darkenesse now breathe forth her insolent rages,
And hang in poysnous vapours o’re the place
From whence wee reciev’d love and return’d grace?
I see if Truth a while but turne her eies,
Thicke are the mists that o’re faire Citties rise:
Wee did expect to receive welcome here,
From no deform’d shapes but divine and cleere,
In steed of monsters that this place attends;
To meete with goodnesse and her glorious frends,
Nor can they so forget mee to bee far,
I know there stands no other envious bar:
But that foule cloude to darken this bright day,
Which with this fanne of stares Ile chace away.
Vanish infectious fog that I may see
This Cittie’s Grace, that takes her light from mee.
Vanish, give way. 
At this her powerfull command, the cloude suddenly rises, and changes into a bright spredding canopy, stucke thicke with stares, and beames of gold, shooting forth round about it, the mount appearing then most rich in beauty and glory, the foure monsters falling flat at the foote of the hill; that grave feminine shape, figuring London, sitting in greatest honour; next above her in the most eminent place, sits Religion, the model of a faire temple on her head, and a burning lampe in her hand, the proper emblemes of her sanctity, watchfulnesse, and zeale; on her right hand sits Liberality, her head circled with a wreath of gold, in her hand a Cornucopia, or Horne of Abundance, out of which rusheth a seeming floud of gold, but no way flowing to Prodigality; for as the sea is govern’d by the moone, so is that wealthy river by her eie, (for Bounty must bee led by judgement) and hence is art-fully derived the onely difference betweene Prodigality and Bounty, the one deales her giftes with open eyes, the other blind-fold; on her left side sits Perfect Love, his proper seate being nearest the heart, wearing upon his head a wreath of white and red roses mingled together, the antient witnesse of Peace, Love, and Union, wherein consists the happinesse of this land, his right hand holding a sphere, where in a circle of gold is contained all the Twelve Companies’ arms; and  therefore cal’d the Sphere of true Brother-hood, or Annulus Amoris, the Ring of Love: upon his left hand stand two billing turtles,  expressing thereby the happy condition of mutuall love and society: on either side of this mount are displaid the charitable and religious workes of London (especially the worthy Company of Grocers) in giving maintenance to schollers, souldiers, widdowes, orphans, and the like, where are plac’d one of each number: and on the two heights sit Knowledge and Modesty; Knowledge wearing a crowne of stares, in her hand a perspective glasse, betokening both her high judgement, and in deepe in-sight, the brow of Modestie circled with a wreath all of red roses, expressing her bashfulnesse and blushings, in her hand a crimson baner, fild with silver stars, figuring the white purity of her shamfastnesse, her cheeks not red with shame or guilt, but with virgin-feare, and honor. At the backe of this Triumphant Mount, Chastity, Fame, Simplicity, Meeknesse, have their seats, Chastity wearing on her head a garland of white roses, in her hand a white silke banner, fild with stares of gold, expressing the eternity of her un-spotted purenesse: Fame next under her, on her head a crowne of silver, and a silver trumpet in her hand, showing both her brightnesse and shrilnesse: Simplicity with a milke-white dove upon her head, and Meeknesse with a garland of mingled flowers, in her hand a white silke banner with a red crosse, a lambe at her feet, by which both their conditions are sufficiently exprest; the mount thus made glorious by the power of Truth, and the mist expeld, London thus speakes.
Thicke scales of darkenesse in a moment’s space
Are fell from both mine eyes, I see the face
Of all my friends about (now) most cleerely,
Religions sisters, whom I honour deerely;
Oh I behold the worke, it comes from thee
Illustrious patronesse, thou that mad’st me see
In dayes of blindest ignorance, when this light
Was ee’n extinguished, thou redeem’st my sight;
Then to thy charge (with reverence) I commend
That worthy son of mine, the vertuous friend,
Whom on my love and blessing I require,
To observe thee faithfully, and his desire
To imitate thy will, and there lye bounded,
For power’s a dangerous sea, which must be sounded
With Truth and Justice, or man soone runs on
’Gainst rockes and shelves to dissolution;
Then that thou mais’t the difference ever know,
Twixt Truth and Error, a few words shall show;
The many wayes that to blind Error slide
Are in the entrance broad, hell-mouth is wide,
But when man enters farre, he finds it then
Close, darke and straight, for hell returnes no men;
But the one sacred way which Truth directs,
Onely at entrance man’s affection checks,
And is there strict alone, to which place throngs
All world’s afflictions, calumnies and wrongs.
But having past those, then thou find’st a way
In bredth, whole heaven, in length eternall day,
Then following Truth, she brings thee to that way;
But first observe what workes she here requires,
Religion, knowledge, sanctity and chast desires,
Then charity, which bounty must expresse,
To schollers, souldiers, widdowes, fatherlesse;
These have been still my workes, they must be thine,
Honour and action must together shine,
Or the best part’s eclipst, behold but this,
Thy very crest showes bounty, here ’tis put,
Thou giv’st the open hand, keepe it not shut;
But to the needie, or deserving spirit,
Let it spred wide, and heaven enrowles that merit;
Do these, and prove my hopefull worthy sonne,
Yet nothing’s spoke, but needfully must bee done.
And so lead forward.
At which words the whole triumph moves in his richest glory toward the crosse in Cheape, at which place Error full of wrath and malice to see his mist so chaced away, falles into this fury.
Heart of all the fiends in hell!
Could her beggarly power expel
Such a thicke and poisonous mist
Which I set Envie’s snakes to twist;
Up monsters, was her feeble frowne
Of force to strike my officers downe?
Barbarisme, Impudence, Lies, Ignorance,
All your hell-bred heads advance,
And once againe with rotten darkenesse shroud
This Mount Triumphant drop downe sulphurous cloud.
At which the mist falles againe, and hangs over all the beauty of the mount, not a person of glory seene, onely the foure monsters gather courage againe, and take their seates, advancing their clubs above their heads, which no sooner perciev’d, but Truth in her chariot making neere to the place, willing still to rescue her friends and servants, from the powers of ignorance and darknesse, makes use of these words,
Dare yet the workes of uglinesse appeare
Gainst this dayes brightnesse, and see us so neere?
How bold is sinne and hell, that yet it dare
Rise against us? but know (perditions heire)
T’is idle to contend against our power,
Vanish againe fowle mist from honors bower.
St. Laurence Lane
Then the Cloud dispersing itselfe againe, and all the mount appearing glorious, passeth so on to the Standard , about which place, by elaborate action from Error it falles againe and goes so darkned, till it comes to St. Laurence lane end, where by the former words by Truth utter’d, being againe chac’d away, London thus gratefully requites her goodnesse.
Eternitie’s bright sister, by whose light,
Errors infectious workes still flye my sight.
Receive thy servant’s thankes; now Perfect Love
Whose right hand holds a sphere, wherein doe move
Twelve blest societies, whose belov’d encrease,
Stiles it the Ring of Brother-hood, Faith and Peace,
From thy harmonious lips let them all taste,
the golden counsel that makes health long last.
Perfect Love then standing up, holding in his right hand a sphere, on the other, two billing turtles, gives these words.
First then I banish from this feast of joy,
All excesse, epicurisme, both which destroy
The healths of soule and body, no such guest
Ought to be welcome to this reverend feast
Where Truth is mistresse, who’s admitted here,
Must come for vertues love more then for cheere,
These two white turtles may example give
How perfect joy and brother-hood should live,
And they from whom grave order is expected,
Of rude excesse must never bee detected;
This is the councell which that lady calles
Golden advice, for by it no man falles
Hee that desires dayes healthfull, sound and blest,
Let moderate judgement serve him at his feast,
And so lead on, may perfect brother-hood shine,
Still in sphere, and honor still in thine.
This speech so ended, his Lordship and the Companies passe on to Guild-hall ; and at their returning backe, these triumphs attend to bring his Lordship toward Saint Pauls Church , there to performe those yearely ceremoniall rites, which antient and grave order hath determined, Error by the way still busie and in action to drawe darknesse often upon that Mount of Triumph, which by Truth is as often disperst: then all returning homewards full of beauty and brightnesse, this mount and the chariot of Truth, both place’d neere to the entrance of his Lordship’s gate, neere Leaden-hall  ; London, the lady of that mount first gives utterance to these words,
Before the day from the morning’s wombe
I rose, my care was earlier then the light,
Nor would it rest till I now brought thee home,
Marrying to one joy both thy day and night;
Nor can we call this night, if our eyes count
The glorious beames that dance about this mount,
Sure did not custome guide’em, men would say
Two noones were seene together in one day,
The splendor is so piercing, triumph seemes
As if it sparkled, and to men’s esteemes
Threw forth his thankes, wrapt up in golden flames,
As if hee would give light to reade their names
That were at cost this day to make him shine,
And be as free in thankes, as they in coine,
But see Time checkes me, and his sithe stands ready
To cut all off, no state on earth is steady,
Therefore grave sonne the time that is to come,
Bestow in Truth, and so thour’t  welcome home.
Time standing up in Truth’s chariot, seeming to make an offer with his sithe to cut off the glories of the day, growing neere now to the season of rest and sleepe, his daughter Truth thus meekely stayes his hand.
Father desist a while till I send forth
A few words to our friend, that man of worth:
The power that heaven, love, and the Citie’s choice,
Have all confer’d on thee with mutuall voyce,
As it is great, reverend, and honorable,
Meet it with equall goodnesse, strive t’excell
Thy former selfe, as thy command exceeds
Thy last-yeares state, so let new acts, old deeds;
And as great men in riches and in birth
(Heightning their bloods, and joining earth to earth,)
Bestow their best houres and most serious cares
In chusing out fit matches for their heires:
So never give thou over day or howre
Till with a vertue thou hast match’t this power:
For what is greatnesse if not joyn’d with grace?
Like one of high-bloud that hath married base.
Who seekes authority with an ignorant eye,
Is like a man seekes out his enemy:
For where before his follies were not spred
Or his corruptions, then thei’re cleerely read
Ee’n by the eyes of all men; ’tis so pure
A cristall of it selfe, it will endure
No poison of oppression, bribes, hir’d law,
But ’twill appeare soone in some cracke or flaw,
How e’re men sooth  their hopes with popular breath,
If not in life, the’ile  finde that crack in death:
I was not made to fawne or stroake sin smooth
Bee wise and heare me then that cannot sooth:
I have set thee high now, bee so in example,
Made thee a pinacle in honor’s temple,
Fixing ten thousand eyes upon thy brow
There is no hiding of thy actions now,
They must abide the light, and imitate mee,
Or bee throwne downe to fire where Errors bee.
Nor onely with these words thy eare I feede,
But give those part that shall in time succeed,
To thee in present, and to them come
That Truth may bring you all with honour home
To these your gates, and to those, after these
Of which your owne good actions keepe the keyes;
Then as the loves of thy Society
Hath flowed in bounties on this day and thee,
Counting all cost too little for true art,
Doubling rewards there where they found desert,
In thankefulnesse, justice, and vertuous care
Perfect their hopes, those thy requitals are;
With fatherly respect embrace ’em all,
Faith in thy heart, and plenty in thy hall,
Love in thy walkes, but justice in thy state,
Zeale in thy chamber, bounty at thy gate:
And so to thee and these a blessed night,
To thee faire Citty, peace, my grace and light.
Trumpets Sounding Triumphantly,
Zeale, the champion of Truth on horse-backe, his head circled with strange fires, appeares to his mistresse, and thus speaks:
See yonder, lady, Errors chariot stands,
Braving the power of your incenst commands,
Emboldned by the priviledge of night
And her blacke faction, yet to crowne his spight
Which Ile confound, I burne in divine wrath.
Strike then, I give thee leave to shoote it forth.
Then here’s to the destruction of the seate,
There’s nothing seene of thee but fire shall eate.
At which, a Flame shootes from the head of Zeale, which fastening upon the chariot of Error sets it on fire, and all the beasts that are joynde to it.
The fire-worke being made by Maister Humphrey Nichols , a man excellent in his art: and the whole worke and body of the triumph, with all; the proper beauties af the workemanship most artfully and faithfully performed by John Grinkin: and those furnished with apparrell and porters by Anthony Monday, Gentleman.
This proud seate of Error lying now onely glowing in imbers, (being a figure or type of his Lordship’s justice on all wicked offenders in the time of his government,) I now conclude, holding it a more learned discretion to cease of my selfe, then to have Time cut mee off rudely, and now let him strike at his pleasure.
The Entertainment at Amwell-head 
The manner of his Lordship’s entertainment on Michaelmas day
last, being the day of his honorable election, together with the worthy Sir
John Swinarton, Knight, then Lord Maior, the learned and juditious, Sir
Henry Montague, Master Recorder, and many of the Right Worshipfull the
Aldermen of the Citty of London.
At that most famous and admired worke of the Running Streame
from Amwell Head, into the Cesterne neere Islington, being the sole
intention, cost and industry of that worthy maister Hugh Middleton , of
London Goldsmith, for the generall good of the Citty.
Perfection (which is the crowne of all inventions) swelling now high with happy welcomes to all the glad well-wishes of her admired maturity, the father and maister of this famous worke, expessing thereby both his thankefulnesse to heaven, and his zeale to the Citty of London, in true joy of heart to see his time, travailes and expences, so successively greeted, thus gives entertainment to that honorable assembly.
At their first appearing, the warlike musicke of drummes and trumpets liberally beates the aire, sounds as proper as in battell, for there is no labour that man undertakes, but hath a warre within itselfe, and perfection makes the conquest, and no few or meane on-sets of malice, calumnies and slanders, hath this resolved gentleman borne off, before his labours were invested with victory, as in this following speech to those honorable auditors then placed upon the mount, is more at large related.
A troope of labourers, to the number of three-score or upwards, all in greene cappes alike, bearing in their hands the symboles of their severall imployments in so great a businesse, with drummes before them, marching twice or thrice about the Cestern, orderly present themselves before the mount; and after their obeisance,
Long have wee labour’d, long desir’d and praid
For this great workes perfection, and by th’aide
Of heaven and good men’s wishes, ’tis at length
Happily conquer’d by cost, art, and strength;
And after five yeares deere expence in dayes,
Travaile and paines, besides the infinite wayes
Of malice, envy, false suggestions,
Able to daunt the spirits of mighty ones
In wealth and courage, this, a worke so rare,
Onely by one man’s industry, cost, and care
Is brought to blest effect, so much withstood,
His onely aime, the Cittie’s generall good,
And where before many unjust complaints
Enviously seated, hath oft caus’d restraints,
Stoppes and great crosses to our maisters charge,
And the workes hinderance; favour now at large
Spreds itself open to him, and commends
To admiration both his paines and ends.
(The kings most gracious love) perfection draws
Favour from princes, and from all applause,
Then worthy magistrates, to whose content
Next to the state, all this great care was bent,
And for the publicke good (which grace requires)
Your loves and furtherance chiefly he desires
To cherish the proceedings, which may give
Courage to some that may hereafter live
Top active deedes of goodnesse and of fame,
And cheerfully light their actions by his name.
Clearke of the worke, reach me the booke to show
How many arts from such a labour flow.
These lines following are read in the
First here’s the over-seer, this try’d man,
And antient souldier, and an artisan;
The clearke, next him mathematician;
The maister of the timber-worke takes place
Next after these, and the measurer in like case,
Bricke-layer, and enginer, and after those
The borer  and the pavier,  then it showes
The labourers next, keeper of Amwell-Head,
The walkers  last, so all their names are read,
Yet these but parcels of sixe hundred more,
That at one time have been employd before,
Yet these in sight, and all the rest will say,
That every weeke they had their royall pay.
Now for the fruits then, flow forth pretious spring
So long and deerely sought for, and now bring
Comfort to all that love thee, lowdly sing,
And with thy cristall murmurs strucke together,
Bid all thy true wel-wishers welcome hither.
At which words the floud-gate opens, the Streame let in into the Cestern, drummes and trumpets giving it triumphant welcomes, and for the close of this their honorable entertainment, a peale of chambers.
While much is known about the mechanics of the court masque, the mechanics of the Lord Mayor’s Show is an under-investigated field. In The Triumphs of Truth , Thomas Middleton worked with master Humphrey Nichols, who made "the fire-worke" that defeated Error, but what exactly is meant by "the firework" is unknown. The direction in the text for Error’s fiery defeat states that "a Flame shootes from the head of Zeale, which fastening upon the / chariot of Error sets it on fire, and all the beasts that are joynde to it." Robert Withington says that Error and his companions were "obviously not alive" (Withington 35), suggesting that effigies had replaced them in the chariot. This theory is sound because Error does not speak in the last scene of the Pageant, and an effigy could easily be substituted for the character of Error while everyone was distracted by the speeches of London and Truth. But how did Zeal shoot a flame from his head? Zeal could not have been an effigy, because he makes a speech as he shoots Error, saying "Then here’s to the destruction of the seate, / There’s nothing seene of thee but fire shall eate." With the danger involved, it seems unlikely that fireworks would have been rigged to an actor’s head. Perhaps Zeal shot some sort of symbolic flame towards Error’s chariot, and someone would have been standing by to start the fireworks and light the chariot on fire.
Somewhat easier to explain is the staging of the five islands that first appear in the river Thames. These pieces of "the set," presumably constructed by John Grinkin, are established as islands when they are seen surrounded by the water of the Thames. Later, in Paul’s Churchyard, they appear on dry land. George Unwin explains their amphibiousness with the use of "trolleys" (Unwin 279). By using trolleys, one could build a boat on which an "island" could be constructed, then, as the Lord Mayor makes his way to and from Westminster, the islands could be loaded onto carts and hauled up to St. Paul’s.
The last problem with staging The Triumphs of Truth is that of Error’s mist. It is described as "thick, sulphurous darkness," and as "a fog or mist." In reality, the "mist" was just material that Error used to shroud "London’s Triumphant Mount" over and over again. The reason Truth and Error raise and lower the shroud all the way from the cross in Cheap to the end of the pageant is so that all the onlookers get to see what is going on. This action basically sums up the entire "plot" of the play -- Truth wins over Error -- so it is important that the audience sees it. Had the shroud been raised only once, the majority of Londoners watching the Show would have missed its message.
About Mayoral Pageantry
Civic pageantry does not refer to court masques or plays produced in commercial theatres. Civic pageantry refers to entertainments that "were generally accessible to the public" (Bergeron Civic 2). Examples of civic pageantry include the Royal Entry and the Lord Mayor’s Show. David M. Bergeron also points out that "[t]he involvement of the trade guilds and the cities in preparation and production of many of these entertainments also accounts for the ‘civic’ nature of the shows" (3). The civic pageant, like the court masque, "was designed for a specific occasion" and therefore had a limited lifespan. When the occasion ended, "so did the dramatic life of the pageant" (3).
The Lord Mayor’s Show, celebrated on "the morrow next after Simon and Judes day," was probably the most familiar form of civic pageantry to a Londoner of the sixteenth or seventeenth century. The Show has its origins in another civic pageant called "The Midsummer Watch," which was what Robert J. Blackham calls "a sort of civic torchlight tattoo" (Blackham 41). The Watch, which was "part folk tradition, part military exercise, part civic display," consisted of a "night-time procession through the City streets" of "armed men, bowmen, cresset light bearers, [. . .] musicians, and morris dancers" (Lancashire 81). As with its successor, the Lord Mayor’s Show, the livery companies or trade guilds were involved in The Midsummer Watch. Each company was responsible for paying its cresset-bearers, archers, and men in harness, and the Company "to whom the mayor and sheriffs belonged provided their pageants, giants, and morris dancers" (Unwin 269). The expense of The Watch to the Companies was significantly less than the expense of a Lord Mayor’s Show. Compare the £3 that the Carpenters spent in 1548 (269), to the £900 The Grocers spent on The Triumphs of Truth in 1613 (278).
The Midsummer Watch was suppressed by royal edict in 1539 (Manley 264), probably because of its "traditional Catholic dates and elements" (Lancashire 83). Instead the "typical Watch pageantry" translated into the secular Lord Mayor’s Show (83), and it became the "one great civic pageant of the year" (Unwin 274), almost immediately after the suppression of The Watch (Manley 265).
Though the office of Lord Mayor has existed since 1189, the title of "Lord Mayor was not adopted until 1540" (The Lord Mayor’s Show 2002), and Robert Withington suggests that the "first definite Lord Mayor’s Show" was not until 1553 (Withington 13), though some sort of procession had been going on since much earlier. In 1215, King John granted a charter that allowed the citizens of the City of London to elect their own Mayor, on the condition that the Mayor "be presented to the Sovereign for approval and [. . .] swear fealty to the Crown" (The Lord Mayor’s Show 2002), and so the tradition of the procession to Westminster began. In fact, the original "Show" consisted of just the Mayor’s trip to Westminster (The Lord Mayor’s Show 2002). It wasn’t until the Elizabethan era that the Lord Mayor’s Show became extravagant (Unwin 275).
Before the mid-fifteenth century, "the journey [to Westminster] was normally made entirely by land" (Lancashire 82). It was not until 1453 that, according to popular legend, John Norman was the first Lord Mayor to make the trip to Westminster by water (Unwin 275). Robert Withington, however, disagrees, pointing out that Walderne, the Mayor of 1422, seems to have been the first to go by water (Withington 4). Perhaps John Norman is credited with making the first water journey because he was also the first to have "the barge that he sat in ‘burn on the water,’" making him the "originator of the fire-barge, which afterwards became a regular feature of all pageants" (Unwin 275). Eventually, all the Companies bought or hired barges for the procession on the Thames (Blackham 45), which progressed in the "traditional hierarchy" of the guilds (Knowles 166). Even if a Company was not a Great Company, its barge was still a "matter of guild pride" (166).
The Lord Mayor’s Shows were "[c]ommissioned and paid for by the ’bachelors’ (anchored link to page 4 of "Livery Companies" the part about the bachelors) of the company" (Manley 261), who were elected because they were the wealthiest men of the yeomanry, which was the general body of freemen of a livery company. The Lord Mayor’s Show was "the Company’s gift to one of its illustrious members" (261). As time went on, the "gifts" cost more each year.
The Companies showed their wealth and affluence through the extravagance of their pageant. This resulted in a "healthy rivalry" which also "generate[d] expensive productions" (Bergeron Civic 138). For example, the 1561 pageant costs £151, while the 1602 pageant cost an excess of £747 (138), and The Triumphs of Truth in 1613 cost around £900 (Unwin 278). Along with rising costs came the growing intricacy of the show itself. At first, the pageants consisted of a dumb show, but by the Elizabethan era "the characters were given long speeches" (Blackham 43). Eventually, the pageants had about a "half-dozen different scenes" and "numerous personages," all of which George Unwin calls "natural product[s] of the Elizabethan age" (Unwin 275).
The first pageant "text" that we know of was written by George Peele in 1585 for Sir Wolstone Dixie, Skinner. The "text" is a pamphlet which contains "only the speeches spoken by the characters in the pageant" (Withington 23), unlike Middleton’s text of The Triumphs of Truth (1613), which includes descriptions and explanations of the emblematic costumes. Peele’s 1585 text is also significant because it is the first time a "well-known dramatist [was] responsible for the entertainment" (Bergeron Civic 131). Other widely known writers who penned civic pageants were George Gascoigne, John Lyly, Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, John Webster, Thomas Heywood, and Anthony Munday ( 4).
"The pageant theatre," says David M. Bergeron, "is the quintessence of emblematic theatre" (Bergeron Civic 2), and the writer who was used to creating pieces for the theatre would have to take a different approach when writing civic pageantry. The pageant had to be accessible and understandable to those people watching, and therefore could not be plot-based, and if there is "little or no plot, then the dramatic burden of the pageant must fall on theme" (7). The theme of The Triumphs of Truth is "Truth conquers Error." Anyone watching the pageant at any point on the route would be able to discern this theme from the emblematic costumes and the simple action, even without being able to hear the speeches.
The Elizabethan and Jacobean eras were "sympathetic to and indeed educated to symbolism" (Bergeron Civic 2), and therefore playwrights and pageantwrights could use symbols and emblems to tell the crowd what exactly the pageant was about. At the same time, the symbols were used to reinforce the greatness of the host Company (like the five islands in The Triumphs of Truth "garnished" with fruit trees, drugs, and spiceries, which are meant to glorify the Grocers’ Company), and to promote the "oligarchic domination" of the Companies (Manley 267). The Lord Mayor’s Show "celebrat[ed] the power and the values of the City’s innermost mercantile elite" ( 284). As much as it was a day of fun for the average Londoner, the Show was also used as propaganda for the Companies.
The reign of James I "was the Golden Age of the Lord Mayor’s Show" (Unwin 277). As the seventeenth century progressed,the pageants reached the height of their extravagance (Blackham 43), only to move in a new direction during the Restoration. The Shows of the Restoration were comical, and replaced the "stilted speeches" of the Renaissance with "jocular songs and clowning" (43-44). Raymond D. Tumbleson says the shift from serious to silly is because "[b]y 1701, there was no longer a need to enact symbolic Triumphs of London because London had triumphed" (Tumbleson 54).
About the Livery Companies
The livery companies were the most important organizations in London in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and even more important to London, perhaps, than the monarchy. The livery companies were responsible in part for the extreme wealth in London, and even provided the monarch with money. Robert J. Blackham writes, "The livery companies, with their political and municipal power, are peculiar to London. No other city has permitted such a development of its mistries and trades, nowhere else in England have chartered associations of the kind attained such wealth and power" (Blackham 2).
The livery companies originated from medieval organizations called "guilds," which were "voluntary associations formed originally for mutual protection, with religious, benevolent and social elements" (Grocers’ 1). The guilds were a "mixture of worldly and religious ideals" and there was a strong sense of "Christian brotherhood" between the members of a particular guild (Blackham 2). Being a member of a "Worshipful Company" was a source of pride and dignity for "the old world trader" (3).
The guilds were not just for "social elements" and "mutual protection," they were also about money. The guildsmen were not just "merchants, traders and craftsmen," they were also "bankers and financiers" (13) helping to establish London as the commercial and financial capital of the world. Sir Thomas Gresham, a Mercer, was responsible for the building of the Royal Exchange, which helped develop overseas trade, and helped London expropriate the title of "commercial capital" from Antwerp (13).
Regarding the commercial aspect of the guilds, Blackham says they were "designed to represent the interests of [. . .] the employer, the workman and the consumer," though those interests may be "distinct and antagonistic" (12). The guilds protected its members by being able to regulate "the establishment of businesses in the crafts and trades they controlled" (Rappaport 29). No one could practice a certain trade except the members of the corresponding Company (Blackham 13), and this protected the employer from the "incompetency of the artisan" (11). The Company controlled the intake of apprentices and the rates of wages, and no journeyman was permitted to work outside his Company (13). The Company was committed to protecting the journeyman, who was a "trained workman," by "preventing his being undersold in the labour market by an unlimited number of competitors" (11).
It is no surprise, with their great financial and political power, that the livery companies were the "most important social organizations in sixteenth-century London" (Rappaport 26). By the early seventeenth century, two-thirds of the men in London were citizens of a livery company (53), and the responsibilities of the companies had been extended to providing relief for the poor, collecting taxes, and organizing pageants (26).
The first twelve companies eventually came to be known as "The Twelve Great Companies." They are: the Mercers, the Grocers (for whom Thomas Middleton wrote The Triumphs of Truth), the Drapers, the Fishmongers, the Goldsmiths, the Merchant Taylors, the Skinners, the Haberdashers, the Salters, the Ironmongers, the Vintners and the Clothworkers. These Companies wielded the true power in the City of London. Each year the Lord Mayor was selected from one of the twelve, and that Company was responsible for organizing and funding that year’s Lord Mayor’s Show.
In fact, citizens, or "freemen," were the only people who held any power in London. To become a "freeman," a man who had just finished his apprenticeship would swear an oath before his master and the governors of the Company associated with his trade in "a simple ceremony at the hall," and become a member of the Company (Rappaport 23-4). Soon after, the former apprentice (usually now a journeyman), would go to Guildhall where he would be sworn as a citizen or a "freeman" of London (24).
With his new found "freedom," the citizen acquired a number of rights that the "non-free" could not enjoy. These rights included the right to vote and the right to hold municipal office (30), and the right to "engage independently in economic activity" (29). It is interesting to note that, while there was no law preventing women from accepting the freedom, "it is clear they were excluded from the right and privileges of citizens" (49). In practice, they were excluded from becoming apprentices, with a few exceptions. There were only seventy-three women enrolled as apprentices during the entire sixteenth century (37), and in fact, the Weavers’ Company made it policy in 1550 "not to take on women apprentices" (37).
Apprentices were the bottom of the social hierarchy within the livery companies (232). Above them were the journeymen, the householders, the liverymen, and the assistants at the very top (217). The apprentices could work their way up through the ranks, but first they had to complete their apprenticeship. Apprenticed to a master for a certain number of years, the apprentice had a set of rules he was expected to follow. He was not allowed to marry or "commit fornication," nor take part in any "unlawful games" like dice or cards, and he was not supposed to go to the taverns or the theatres (234). The master provided his apprentice with clothing, as well as room and board (234). When the apprentice completed his term, the master also "paid the fees for making him a free man and a member of the company" (235).
Above the apprentices in the hierarchy were the journeymen, who worked for wages, and householders, who ran their own shops (221). These two groups formed a sub-organization in the Company called "the yeomanry." The origins of the yeomanry lie with "illegal fraternities of journeymen in late medieval London" (219). These journeymen capitalized on labour shortages, working only for double or triple the normal wage (219), and threatening "strikes against masters who employed foreigners" (220). It was like a union for journeymen. Something happened during the fifteenth century, in which the fraternities "underwent a striking transformation" (220), and by the sixteenth century London’s yeomanries included journeymen and householders -- the "employees and employers" (220).
The yeomanry of the Renaissance was a "somewhat autonomous organization" within a Company (219), and included the men who were "not elite" enough to be in "the livery," which was the other sub-organization within the Company. The livery included only one-fifth of all members, making the yeomanry the bulk of the company (219). The yeomanry was able to stay "somewhat autonomous" by providing its own income through the collection of "quarterage dues" (Archer 108). Among the responsibilities of the yeomanry was "enforcing many of the regulations governing a company’s craft or trade" (Rappaport 224).
In the Great Companies, there was a "separate livery of the yeomanry called ‘the bachelors’" (226). This special livery would be created only on the year when a member of that company was going to serve as Lord Mayor (226). The bachelors were responsible for "attend[ing] upon the Lord Mayor at his going to Westminster to take his oath and certain other days of like service" (226). On the day of the Lord Mayor’s Show, the bachelors would also be required to dress in special costume (226). Being elected to "bachelor" status "marked an important distinction between the men of substance who might eventually attain the livery of their company and the lesser artisans and shopkeeps who never would" (Manley 262-63).
Movement was possible between the members of the yeomanry and the elite livery. One could be promoted from the yeomanry to the livery (Rappaport 221), but "only the wealthiest householders were chosen" (256). It was expensive to stay in the livery. Upon being chosen, one would have to pay an admission fee (257), and buy a "fur-lined cloak and satin hood" for formal occasions (218). If a liveryman’s funds were dwindling, he could find himself back in the yeomanry (258).
The responsibilities of a liveryman included serving on committees which "performed important administrative, [and] deliberative [. . .] functions," as well as "overseeing lawsuits and appeals for action to the crown or parliament" (255). The elite liverymen, the "assistants," were required to attend court, and serve periodically as warden or master (268).
Since the Companies were so wealthy, the Tudor monarchy was "heavily dependent on the good will of the City" because "the City’s wealth was a source of financing more dependable than Parliament" (Manley 219). When a monarch demanded money from a Company, it would collect from its members to meet the sum of the request. When Queen Mary demanded a loan from the City in 1558, the Grocers Company had to come up with £7 555. These "compulsory loans" were called "Benevolences" (Grocers’ 10). Queen Elizabeth frequently demanded money, which she would borrow "free of interest, and then was graciously pleased to lend at 8 per cent!" (10). The Stuart family, however, was the worst for borrowing huge sums of money and seldom repaying it. To fund James I, the Companies "supplied the money first from their common stock, then by assessment, at first voluntary, subsequently compulsory of individual members" (10).
Despite being constantly squeezed for money, the Companies were still able to partake in good works, such as establishing almshouses and providing pensions (Archer 120). The Companies would also "assist" widows of Company men, and help the younger members of the Company by providing "two- to four-years interest-free loans of ten to fifty pounds to young men in need of capital to begin businesses" (Rappaport 39).
The livery companies have been described as "the rock upon which the life of the City was built" (Grocers’ 1), and their presence certainly helped London achieve great status during the Renaissance.
About the Grocer’s Company
The Grocers’ Company, one of the Twelve Great Companies, emerged from a much older Company -- the Pepperers. The Pepperers were first mentioned in 1180 as the "Gilda Piperariorum" (Grocers’ 1). Unlike many other guilds, the Pepperers did not specialize in one particular area, but rather in many areas. They were "recognised as general traders who bought and sold [. . .] all kinds of merchandise" (2). They were also the guild that was in charge of weighing merchandise in the City (2), and they had access to warehouses and shops for the purpose of "garbling or cleaning spices, drugs and kindred commodities" (2). "Garbling" meant to check for fraud by "cleansing" good that were sold by weight, like spices and drugs (6).
The first mention of the Grocers is in 1373, when they were referred to as the Company of "Grossers" (6). It was not until 1376, after revising their ordinances, that they came to be known as "the Grocers of London (Les Grocers de Loundres)" (6).
As was customary, the Grocers had a patron saint -- Saint Antony of Coma who was "credited with the power of curing skin diseases" (5). The reason for adopting Antony of Coma as their patron saint had little to do with curative powers and more to do with location. The Pepperers occupied Soper’s Lane and attended the church at the south end of the lane, the Church of St. Antolin (another form of "Antony") (5), and because of their membership in the church, St. Antony of Coma seemed a natural choice for a patron saint.
The Grocers Company was very wealthy during the reign of James I. When one of their members, Sir Thomas Middleton (not to be confused with Thomas Middleton the writer) was chosen to be the Lord Mayor in 1613, the Grocers were prepared to spend almost £900 on their pageant, The Triumphs of Truth (Unwin 278). The costs included: £200 for drapery, including blue gown sleeves for 124 aldermen; £48 for 288 white staves for the whifflers (men employed to keep the way clear for a procession), and for 780 torches; £67 for mercery; and £282 for the poetry, scene painting, and general upholstery. On top of these costs, the Grocers paid the wages of the city waits, 32 trumpeters, and 18 flourishers of long swords. The cost of the loot to be tossed into the crowd was also enormous as the Grocers provided 500 loaves of sugar, 36 lbs. of nutmegs, 24 lbs. of dates, and 114 lbs. of ginger (278).
As a salute to the Grocers’ Company, Thomas Middleton, author of The Triumphs of Truth, followed the tradition of including islands "garnished" with fruit trees, drugs, and spiceries. The tropical island was a "permanent feature of the Lord Mayor’s Shows in the seventeenth century" (271), as it served to indicate the Grocers’ "association with the East from which they imported their drugs and spices" (Blackham 41).
The Grocers were fond of Middleton’s work, and they hired him again in 1617, and several times more until his death in 1627.
About the Author
Thomas Middleton was born to William and Anne Middleton in London in 1580 (Heinemann 49). His father was a prosperous "brickmason and landlord," according to David M. Holmes (xvi), or a "bricklayer and builder," according to Margot Heinemann (49). William died in 1586, when Middleton and his sister Avice were just young (49).
His mother remarried a "broken grocer" named Thomas Harvey. Harvey spent the Middletons’ money recklessly, which resulted in a series of lawsuits against him (49).
At the age of eighteen, Middleton matriculated at Queen’s College Oxford (Holmes xvii), but he never finished his degree (Heinemann 49). In 1601, he decided to "accompany the players" in hopes of making some money (50), and ended up marrying Mary Marbecke (50), the sister of one of the Admiral’s Men. They had a son called Edward (Holmes xvii).
Critical opinion of Middleton varies. His works have been described in many different ways. His comedies have been called "cynical," "amoral," "disgusting," "boring," and "profoundly serious moral fables," and his tragedies, according to T.S. Eliot, have "no point of view" (qtd. in Heinemann 1). Some sense a "strong Calvinist bias" in his work (1), while others feel his work suggests that "he came from a moderate Puritan background" (51).
During his early years as a dramatist, Middleton wrote primarily for the boy players, "particularly for the Children of St. Paul’s" for whom "he did six plays" (63). Middleton also wrote for the Children of the Revels, Lady Elizabeth’s, and Prince Charles’s companies, and, from 1615 onward, the King’s Men (Holmes xviii). His play A Game at Chess (1624), a "sharp satire on royal policy," was the "greatest box-office success of the whole Jacobean period" (Heinemann 2). With such success came fame, or, in Middleton’s case, infamy. The King heard of the satirical A Game at Chess and "ordered it to be suppressed and the dramatist punished" (130). As a result of this decree, Middleton was forced into hiding in 1624 (130).
Middleton’s first experience with writing civic pageants was in 1603, when he contributed a speech for Zeal in Dekker’s entertainment for the Royal Entry of James I into London (124). He proceeded to write his own pageant in 1613 entitled The Triumphs of Truth. Critics assert that this pageant was his best work for the civic stage. It was his "finest and his most elaborate" pageant, as well as the "most expensive mayoral pageant of the Renaissance" (Bergeron Civic 179).
It is interesting to note that Middleton sneers at fellow dramatist, Anthony Munday, in the very beginning of the text, and later acknowledges him for providing "apparrell and porters." Middleton takes the opportunity to "hurl a few barbs at his rival" in The Triumphs of Love and Antiquity, written for the Skinners in 1619 (Bergeron Civic 189), but then collaborates with Munday in 1621 (191), and again in 1623 (195). Perhaps their rivalry was just for show, or maybe they were forced to collaborate because they needed the work and the money.
The Grocers’ Company hired Middleton once again to write the Lord Mayor’s Show of 1617. The Triumphs of Honour and Industry (for the record, six of the seven Shows written by Middleton were entitled The Triumphs of...), was more conservative and traditional than The Triumphs of Truth , and "the result is a rather undistinguished work" (186). Undistinguished or not, Middleton was paid handsomely for his efforts.
Middleton wrote seven Lord Mayor’s Pageants in all: The Triumphs of Truth (1613), The Triumphs of Honour and Industry (1617), The Triumphs of Love and Antiquity (1619), The Sun in Aries (1621), The Triumphs of Honour and Virtue (1622), The Triumphs of Integrity (1623), and The Triumphs of Health and Propsperity (1626) (Tumbleson 57). He was also the author or co-author of "some twenty plays," as well as several court masques (Heinemann vii). In addition to his creative work, Middleton was appointed City Chronologer in 1620, a position he held until his death in 1627 (Holmes xviii).
- Archer, Ian W. The Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. Print.
- Bergeron, David M. English Civic Pageantry 1558–1642. London: Edward Arnold, 1971. Print.
- Blackham, Colonel Robert J. The Soul of the City: London’s Livery Companies. Their Storied Past, Their Living Present. London: Sampson, Low, Marston & Co., 1932. Print.
- Bullen, A.H., ed. The Works of Thomas Middleton. 8 vols. London, 1886. 227–62. Print.
- Grocers’ Company. A Short History of the Grocers’ Company, Together With a Description of the Grocers’ Hall and the Principal Objects Therein. London: Metcalfe and Cooper, 1960. Print.
- Heinemann, Margot. Puritanism and Theatre: Thomas Middleton and Opposition Drama under the Early Stuarts. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1980. Print.
- Holmes, David M. The Art of Thomas Middleton. Oxford: Clarendon, 1970. Print.
The Spectacle of the Realm: Civic Consciousness, Rhetoric and Ritual in Early Modern London.Theatre and Government Under the Early Stuarts. Ed. J.R. Mulyne and Margaret Shewring. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. 157–89. Print.
Lancashire, Anne K.
Continuing Civic Ceremonies of 1530s London.Civic Ritual and Drama. Ed. Alexandra F. Johnston and Wim Hüsken. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1997. Print.
- Lord Mayor’s Show 2002. 16 December 2002 Web. [This website is regularly updated with information pertaining to the current year.]
- Manley, Lawrence. Literature and Culture in Early Modern London. Cambridge: Cambridge, UP, 1997. Print.
- Middleton, Thomas. The Triumphs of Truth. London, 1613. STC 17903. Rpt. Early English Books Online. Web. Differs from STC 17904 in that it does not contain the additional entertainment.
- Middleton, Thomas. The Triumphs of Truth. London, 1613. STC 17904. Rpt. Early English Books Online. Web. Differs from STC 17903 in that it contains an additional entertainment celebrating Hugh Middleton’s New River project, known as the Entertainment at Amwell Head.
- Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. Web. Subscr. OED.
- Rappaport, Steve. Worlds Within Worlds: Structures of Life in Sixteenth-Century London. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989. Print.
Tumbleson, Raymond D.
The Triumph of London: Lord Mayor’s Day Pageants and the Rise of the City.The Witness of Times: Manifestations of Ideology in Seventeenth Century England. Ed. Katherine Z. Keller and Gerald J. Schiffhorst. Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 1993. Print. 53–68.
- Unwin, George. The Gilds and Companies of London. 4th ed. London: Frank Cass, 1963. Print.
- Withington, Robert. English Pageantry: An Historical Outline. Vol. 2. 1926. Rpt. New York: Benjamin Blom, 1963. Print.
- This is the title page as it appears in the second edition. It differs only in the inclusion of the entertainment at Amwell-Head. The fourth paragraph does not appear in the first edition.
- insident: inherent
- Blacke Monday: Many scholars since the eighteenth century have commonly suggested that this is a reference to a rivalry with Anthony Munday, who produced the pageant for the following three years (Bullen 234). It has recently been suggested that this is a matter of inaccurate scholarly tradition, and that there is no evidence that the two had any rivalry (Bergeron 461).
- This second verse of the song does not appear in the text of either of the 1613 editions. It is reproduced at the end of the text, where the song is put to music.
- dec’t: decked; i.e. he rises decked in glory.
- thow’st: thou hast
- attends: 1613 eds.: atttnds.
- troth: truth
- moale: mole
- pap: nipple, breast
- pretious: precious, valuable
- light bread: [[Light bread note]]
- queanes: harlots, strumpets, prostitutes
- bedlams: Bedlam was a shortened name for St. Mary’s of Bethlehem, a lunatic asylum. Bedlams here likely refers to madmen.
- must: A.H. Bullen suggests in The Works of Thomas Middleton that this should read "most." I believe this to be incorrect, for Envy is saying that those inferior to Middleton (the mayor) must love him, and that he should worry only about those who are above him.
- Moores: Moor was the name for both a person from the Barbary region on Northern Africa, and for a Turkish Muslim. This king is most likely an African, because he refers to his own black complexion.
- Well honor’d with the glances that [pass]: (Bullen 248)
- moore: 1st ed. "moor,e"; 2nd ed. "moore,"
- yon place: Saint Paul’s Crosse (marginal note).
- Vanish, give way: In the first edition, a compositing error caused this line to be transposed into the body of the next paragraph. In the second edition of the text, the error was corrected to read as it does here.
- and: 1st ed. "aud"; 2nd ed. "and"
- billing turtles: Turtle-doves
- Leaden-hall: The residence of the Lord Mayor.
- thour’t: thou art
- sooth: soothe
- the’ile: they’ll
- This entertainment does not appear in the first edition. In the second edition, it is added after the end of the original pageant.
- borer: One who bores or pierces; especially earth, rock.
- pavier: Paver, one who paves, or lays pavement.
- walkers: "An officer of the New River Company, having the charge of a ’walk’ or section of the bank" ("walker" def. 6 OED).
This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
Share | |