Marianne Moore: Poetry

May 10, 2010

“New York:” Queen Full of Jewels, Beau with the Muff

Filed under: Poem Sources — by moore123 @ 2:58 pm
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New York, “the savage’s romance”

. . . is a far cry from the “queen full of jewels”

and the beau with the muff, . . .


Queen Anne, Less than Bejeweled

Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch of England (1702-1714)  gave rise to styles in both architecture and furniture but not to one of fashion. Short and dumpy, she was no Elizabeth I. However, diarist John Evelyn reports that at the ceremonies commemorating the victory of the British at Blenheim, two years into her reign, Anne paraded “full of jewels.” He contrasts her raiment to that of the plain dress of the Duchess or Marlborough, whose husband had won the battle:

“7th September. This day was celebrated the thanksgiving for the late great victory [over the French and Bavarians, at Blenheim, August 13, 1704], with the utmost pomp and splendour by the Queen, Court, great Officers, Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, Companies, &c. The streets were scaffolded from Temple Bar, where the Lord Mayor presented her Majesty with the sword, which she returned. Every Company was ranged under its banners, the City Militia without the rails, which were all hung with cloth suitable to the colour of the banner. The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen, were in their scarlet robes, with caparisoned horses; the Knight Marshal on horseback; the Foot Guards; the Queen in a rich coach with eight horses, none with her but the Duchess of Marlborough in a very plain garment, the Queen full of jewels. Music and trumpets at every City Company. The great officers of the Crown, Nobility, and Bishops, all in coaches with six horses, besides innumerable servants, went to St. Paul’s, where the Dean preached. After this, the Queen went back in the same order to St. James’s.”

John Evelyn. The Diary of John Evelyn. Edited by William Dent. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1914 (Third printing), first issued 1907.(Everyman’s Library). P. 374.

Queen Anne, Somewhat More Bejeweled

Tinted engraving from an atlas commissioned by Augustus the Strong (Duke of Saxony), 1706-1710.



MUFF. A warm covering for the hands. In a drawing by Gaspar Rutz of an English lady, 1588, she wears a small muff pendant from her girdle thus. In “Cynthia’s Revels,” 1601, Anaides says of Philantia, ” and she always wears a muff.” In the Wardrobe accounts of Prince Henry, 1608, is ” Embroidering two muffs, viz., one of cloth of silver, embroidered with purles, plates, and Venice twists of silver and gold, the other of black satten, embroidered with black silk and bugles, viz. for one £7, the other 60s.” In H. P(aine’s) ” Epigrams,” 1608, we have

” Should Spruso leave the wearing of his muffe.”

In Dekker’s ” Match me in London,” 1631, Tormiella asks, ” Is the embrodered muffe perfum’d for the Lady ? ” Two specimens of the time of Charles II. are given, from tapestry formerly in the possession of the late T. Crofton Croker, Esq. : the first is of yellow silk (probably thickly wadded), and edged with black fur ; the second, of white fur decorated with black tails, is further ornamented with a blue bow. In Davenant’s “The Wits, 1636,” Thwack says, ” I will waste her to her first wedding smock, her single ring, bodkin, and velvet muff.” They were not long confined to the ladies, but are mentioned as worn by gentlemen, in 1683 (see vol. i., p. 353), and were slung round the neck “by a silk ribbon, as there seen. In 1696, Dryden, in the epilogue to “The Husband his own Cuckold,” speaks of the monstrous muff worn by the beau.

From: Frederick W. Fairholt, Costume in England: A History of Dress to the End of the Eighteenth Century Volume 2.  London: George Bell, 1896, p. 291.

John Dryden’s Beau and Muff

IF Moore pursued Dryden’s original work, this passage salutes beau and muff:

John Dryden.




Like some raw sophister that mounts the pulpit,

So trembles a young poet at a full pit.

Unus’d to crowds, the parson quakes for fear,

And wonders how the devil he durst come there;

Wanting three talents needful for the place,

Some beard, some learning, and some little grace:

Nor is the puny poet void of care;

For authors, such as our new authors are,

Have not much learning, nor much wit to spare;

And as for grace, to tell the truth, there’s scarce one,

But has as little as the very parson:

Both say they preach and write for your instruction;

But ’tis for a third day, and for induction.

The difference is, that though you like the play,

The poet’s gain is ne’er beyond his day.

But with the parson ’tis another case,

He without holiness may rise to grace;

The poet has one disadvantage more,

That if his play be dull, he’s damned all o’er,

Not only a damned blockhead, but damned poor.

But dulness well becomes the sable garment;

I warrant that ne’er spoiled a priest’s preferment;

Wit’s not his business, and as wit now goes,

Sirs, ’tis not so much yours as you suppose,

For you like nothing now but nauseous beaux.

You laugh not, gallants, as by proof appears,

At what his beauship says, but what he wears;

So ’tis your eyes are tickled, not your ears.

The tailor and the furrier find the stuff,

The wit lies in the dress and monstrous muff.

The truth on’t is, the payment of the pit

Is like for like, dipt money for clipt wit.

You cannot from our absent author hope

He should equip the stage with such a fop.

Fools change in England, and new fools arise;

For, though the immortal species never dies,

Yet every year new maggots make new flies.

But where he lives abroad, he scarce can find

One fool for million that he left behind.

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