Scene 2 (of 12) : Rex Humanitas, the Courtiers and Sensuality

lines 78-553

After Diligence has finished introducing the play Rex Humanitas enters and gives a soliloquy directed at God asking for his guidance and acknowledging the need to be ruled by counsel and reason. Almost immediately, however, Rex’s good intentions are undone with the entry of three merry courtiers, Wantonness, Placebo, and Solace. They immediately set about to persuade Rex that lechery is not a sin, and that as a king Humanitas should enjoy himself. In particular, Solace and his fellows celebrate the beauty of Sensuality and recommend her to the King.

Sensuality then enters, accompanied by Homeliness and Danger, asking the audience to behold the beauty of her head, neck, visage, and paps. Danger then invites Fund Jonet on stage and all four women sing a wanton song. Rex Humanitas asks Wantonness to intercede for him with Sensuality and the scene concludes with Sensuality, Danger, and Hameliness retiring with Rex and the three courtiers.

This section of the play follows the conventions of other political morality plays with Rex Humanitas proving as easily led astray as such other figures as Youth and Magnificence. The focus on sins of the flesh in this section, particularly lechery, does, however, have a specific Scottish relevance given the accusation that the Douglases had pursued precisely this policy to keep the young James V occupied when they controlled his person during the 1520s.

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