||The entertainments offered by Elizabethan courtiers to their Queen are a central part of the elaborate cult surrounding the figure of Elizabeth. Yet the fascinating literary texts written for these occasions have been comparatively neglected, despite years of growing interest in both `Gloriana' herself and the masques in general. This book presents an extended study of the entertainments by way of introduction to four of the actual texts. The general introduction examines the origins of the entertainments in court spectacles and pageants of the early Tudor period, and shows how they underline the central place of the cult of Elizabethan court life during her reign, as well as considering the literary traditions of chivalry and romance on which the texts of the entertainments rely so heavily. The four major texts edited here are: The Four Foster Children of Desire (1581), and those at Cowdray in 1591, Elvetham (1591), and Ditchley (1592). Two minor texts, on Bisham and Rycote (1592), are also included. Each text is preceded by an introduction and is fully annotated; there are also notes on the music and a full bibliography.