The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Elizabethan Stage, Vol. 3

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Title: The Elizabethan Stage, Vol. 3

Author: E. K. Chambers

Release date: February 21, 2022 [eBook #67462]

Language: English

Original publication: United Kingdom: The Clarendon Press, 1923

Credits: Tim Lindell, Karin Spence and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at



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Printed in England


XIX. Staging at Court 1
XX. Staging in the Theatres: Sixteenth Century 47
XXI. Staging in the Theatres: Seventeenth Century 103
XXII. The Printing of Plays 157
XXIII. Playwrights 201


Coliseus sive Theatrum. From edition of Terence published by Lazarus Soardus (Venice, 1497 and 1499) Frontispiece
Diagrams of Stages pp. 84, 85


I have found it convenient, especially in Appendix A, to use the symbol < following a date, to indicate an uncertain date not earlier than that named, and the symbol > followed by a date, to indicate an uncertain date not later than that named. Thus 1903 <> 23 would indicate the composition date of any part of this book. I have sometimes placed the date of a play in italics, where it was desirable to indicate the date of production rather than publication.



[Bibliographical Note.—Of the dissertations named in the note to ch. xviii, T. S. Graves, The Court and the London Theatres (1913), is perhaps the most valuable for the subject of the present chapter, which was mainly written before it reached me. A general account of the Italian drama of the Renaissance is in W. Creizenach, Geschichte des neueren Dramas, vol. ii (1901). Full details for Ferrara and Mantua are given by A. D’Ancona, Origini del Teatro Italiano (1891), of which App. II is a special study of Il Teatro Mantovano nel secolo xvi. F. Neri, La Tragedia italiana del Cinquecento (1904), E. Gardner, Dukes and Poets at Ferrara (1904), and The King of Court Poets (1906), W. Smith, The Commedia dell’ Arte (1912), are also useful. Special works on staging are E. Flechsig, Die Dekorationen der modernen Bühne in Italien (1894), and G. Ferrari, La Scenografia (1902). The Terence engravings are described by M. Herrmann, Forschungen zur deutschen Theatergeschichte des Mittelalters und der Renaissance (1914). Of contemporary Italian treatises, the unprinted Spectacula of Pellegrino Prisciano is in Cod. Est. lat. d. x. 1, 6 (cf. G. Bertoni, La Biblioteca Estense, 13), and of L. de Sommi’s Dialoghi in materia di rappresentazione scenica (c. 1565) a part only is in L. Rasi, I Comici italiani (1897), i. 107. The first complete edition of S. Serlio, Architettura (1551), contains Bk. ii, on Perspettiva; the English translation was published by R. Peake (1611); extracts are in App. G; a biography is L. Charvet, Sébastien Serlio (1869). Later are L. Sirigatti, La pratica di prospettiva (1596), A. Ingegneri, Della poesia rappresentativa e del modo di rappresentare le favole sceniche (1598), and N. Sabbatini, Pratica di fabricar scene e macchine ne’ Teatri (1638).

For France, E. Rigal, Le Théâtre de la Renaissance and Le Théâtre au xviie siècle avant Corneille, both in L. Petit de Julleville, Hist. de la Langue et de la Litt. Françaises (1897), iii. 261, iv. 186, and the same writer’s Le Théâtre Français avant la Période Classique (1901), may be supplemented by a series of studies in Revue d’Histoire Littéraire de la France—P. Toldo, La Comédie Française de la Renaissance (1897–1900, iv. 336; v. 220, 554; vi. 571; vii. 263), G. Lanson, Études sur les Origines de la Tragédie Classique en France (1903, x. 177, 413) and L’Idée de la Tragédie en France avant Jodelle (1904, xi. 541), E. Rigal, La Mise en Scène dans les Tragédies du xvie siècle (1905, xii. 1, 203), J. Haraszti, La Comédie Française de la Renaissance et la Scène (1909, xvi. 285); also G. Lanson, Note sur un Passage de Vitruve, in Revue de la Renaissance (1904), 72. Less important is E. Lintilhac, Hist. Générale du Théâtre en France (1904–9, in progress). G. Bapst, Essai sur l’Histoire du Théâtre (1893), and D. C. Stuart, Stage Decoration and the Unity of Place in France in the Seventeenth Century (1913, M. P. x. 393), deal with staging, for which the chief material is E. Dacier, La Mise en Scène à Paris au xviie siècle: Mémoire de L. Mahelot et M. Laurent in Mémoires de la Soc. de l’Hist. de Paris et de l’Ile-de-France, xxviii (1901), 105. An edition by H. C. Lancaster (1920) adds Mahelot’s designs.]

We come now to the problems, reserved from treatment in the foregoing chapter, of scenic background. What sort of setting did the types of theatre described afford for the[2] plots, often complicated, and the range of incident, so extraordinarily wide, which we find in Elizabethan drama? No subject in literary history has been more often or more minutely discussed, during the quarter of a century since the Swan drawing was discovered, and much valuable spadework has been done, not merely in the collecting and marshalling of external evidence, but also in the interpretation of this in the light of an analysis of the action of plays and of the stage-directions by which these are accompanied.[1] Some points have emerged clearly enough; and if on others there is still room for controversy, this may be partly due to the fact that external and internal evidence, when put together, have proved inadequate, and partly also to certain defects of method into which some of the researchers have fallen. To start from the assumption of a ‘typical Shakespearian stage’ is not perhaps the best way of approaching an investigation which covers the practices of thirty or forty playing companies, in a score of theatres, over a period of not much less than a century. It is true that, in view of the constant shifting of companies and their plays from one theatre to another, some ‘standardization of effects’, in Mr. Archer’s phrase, may at any one date be taken for granted.[2] But analogous effects can be produced by very different arrangements, and even apart from the obvious probability that the structural divergences between public and private theatres led to corresponding divergences in the systems of setting adopted, it is hardly safe to neglect the possibility of a considerable evolution in the capacities of stage-management between 1558 and 1642, or even between 1576 and 1616. At any rate a historical treatment will be well advised to follow the historical method. The scope of the inquiry, moreover, must be wide enough to cover performances at Court, as well as those on the regular stage, since the plays used for both purposes were undoubtedly the same. Nor can Elizabethan Court performances, in their turn, be properly considered, except in the perspective afforded by a short preliminary survey of the earlier developments of the art of scenic representation at other Renaissance Courts.

The story begins with the study of Vitruvius in the latter part of the fifteenth century by the architect Alberti and others, which led scholars to realize that the tragedies of the pseudo-Seneca and the comedies of Terence and the recently discovered Plautus had been not merely recited, but acted much in the fashion already familiar in contemporary ludi of[3] the miracle-play type.[3] The next step was, naturally, to act them, in the original or in translations. Alberti planned a theatrum in the Vatican for Nicholas V, but the three immediate successors of Nicholas were not humanists, and it is not until the papacy of Innocent VIII that we hear of classical performances at Rome by the pupils of Pomponius Laetus. One of these was Tommaso Inghirami, who became a cardinal, without escaping the nickname of Phaedra from the part he had played in Hippolytus. This, as well as at least one comedy, had already been given before the publication (c. 1484–92) of an edition of Vitruvius by Sulpicius Verulanus, with an epistle addressed by the editor to Cardinal Raffaelle Riario, as a notable patron of the revived art. Sulpicius is allusive rather than descriptive, but we hear of a fair adorned stage, 5 ft. high, for the tragedy in the forum, of a second performance in the Castle of St. Angelo, and a third in Riario’s house, where the audience sat under umbracula, and of the ‘picturatae scenae facies’, which the cardinal provided for a comedy by the Pomponiani.[4][4] Performances continued after the death of Pomponius in 1597, but we get no more scenic details, and when the Menaechmi was given at the wedding of Alfonso d’Este and Lucrezia Borgia in 1502 it is noted that ‘non gli era scena alcuna, perchè la camera non era capace’.[5] It is not until 1513 that we get anything like a description of a Roman neo-classical stage, at the conferment of Roman citizenship on Giuliano and Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Florentine kinsmen of Leo X.[6] This had a decorated back wall divided by pilasters into five spaces, in each of which was a door covered by a curtain of golden stuff. There were also two side-doors, for entrance and exit, marked ‘via ad forum’.

An even more important centre of humanistic drama than Rome was Ferrara, where the poets and artists, who gathered round Duke Ercole I of Este, established a tradition which spread to the allied courts of the Gonzagas at Mantua and the Delle Rovere at Urbino. The first neo-classical revival on record at Ferrara was of the Menaechmi in 1486, from which we learn that Epidamnus was represented by five marvellous ‘case’ each with its door and window, and that a practicable boat moved across the cortile where the performance was given.[7]

In 1487 it was the turn of the Amphitrio ‘in dicto cortile a tempo di notte, con uno paradiso cum stelle et altre rode’.[8][5] Both the Amphitrio and the Menaechmi were revived in 1491; the former had its ‘paradiso’, while for the latter ‘nella sala era al prospecto de quattro castelli, dove avevano a uscire quilli dovevano fare la representatione’.[9] Many other productions followed, of some of which no details are preserved. For the Eunuchus, Trinummus, and Penulus in 1499 there was a stage, 4 ft. high, with decorated columns, hangings of red, white, and green cloth, and ‘cinque casamenti merlati’ painted by Fino and Bernardino Marsigli.[10] In 1502, when Lucrezia Borgia came, the stage for the Epidicus, Bacchides, Miles Gloriosus, Casina, and Asinaria was of the height of a man, and resembled a city wall, ‘sopra gli sono le case de le comedie, che sono sei, non avantagiate del consueto’.[11] The most elaborate description on record is, however, one of a theatre set up at Mantua during the carnival of 1501, for some play of which the name has not reached us. Unfortunately it is not very clearly worded, but the stage appears to have been rather wider than its depth, arcaded round, and hung at the back with gold and greenery. Its base had the priceless decoration of Mantegna’s Triumphs, and above was a heaven with a representation of the zodiac. Only one ‘casa’ is noted, a ‘grocta’ within four columns at a corner of the stage.[12]


The scanty data available seem to point to the existence of two rather different types of staging, making their appearance at Ferrara and at Rome respectively. The scene of the Ferrarese comedies, with its ‘case’ as the principal feature, is hardly distinguishable from that of the mediaeval sacre rappresentazioni, with its ‘luoghi deputati’ for the leading personages, which in their turn correspond to the ‘loci’, ‘domus’, or ‘sedes’ of the western miracle-plays.[13] The methods of the rappresentazioni had long been adopted for pieces in the mediaeval manner, but upon secular themes, such as Poliziano’s Favola d’Orfeo, which continued, side by side with the classical comedies, to form part of the entertainment of Duke Ercole’s Court.[14] The persistence of the mediaeval tradition is very clearly seen in the interspersing of the acts of the comedies, just as the rappresentazioni had been interspersed, with ‘moresche’ and other ‘intermedii’ of spectacle and dance, to which the ‘dumb-shows’ of the English drama owe their ultimate origin.[15] At Rome, on the other hand, it looks as if, at any rate by 1513, the ‘case’ had been conventionalized, perhaps under the influence of some archaeological theory as to classical methods, into nothing more than curtained compartments forming part of the architectural embellishments of the scena wall. It is a tempting conjecture that some reflex, both of the Ferrarese and of the Roman experiments, may be traced in the woodcut illustrations of a number of printed editions of Terence, which are all derived from archetypes published in the last decade of the fifteenth century. The synchronism between[7] the revival of classical acting and the emergence of scenic features in such illustrations is certainly marked. The Terentian miniatures of the earlier part of the century show no Vitruvian knowledge. If they figure a performance, it is a recitation by the wraith Calliopius and his gesticulating mimes.[16] Nor is there any obvious scenic influence in the printed Ulm Eunuchus of 1486, with its distinct background for each separate woodcut.[17] The new spirit comes in with the Lyons Terence of 1493, wherein may be seen the hand of the humanist Jodocus Badius Ascensius, who had certainly visited Ferrara, and may well also have been in touch with the Pomponiani.[18] The Lyons woodcuts, of which there are several to each play, undoubtedly represent stage performances, real or imaginary. The stage itself is an unrailed quadrangular platform, of which the supports are sometimes visible. The back wall is decorated with statuettes and swags of Renaissance ornament, and in front of it is a range of three, four, or five small compartments, separated by columns and veiled by fringed curtains. They have rather the effect of a row of bathing boxes. Over each is inscribed the name of a character, whose ‘house’ it is supposed to be. Thus for the Andria the inscriptions are ‘Carini’, ‘Chreme[tis]’, ‘Chrisidis’, ‘Do[mus] Symonis’. On the scaffold, before the houses, action is proceeding between characters each labelled with his name. Sometimes a curtain is drawn back and a character is emerging, or the interior of a house is revealed, with some one sitting or in bed, and a window behind. It is noteworthy that, while the decoration of the back wall and the arrangement of the houses remain uniform through all the woodcuts belonging to any one play, they vary from play to play. Sometimes the line of houses follows that of the wall; sometimes it advances and retires, and may leave a part of the wall uncovered, suggesting an entrance from without. In addition to the special woodcuts for each play, there is a large introductory design of a ‘Theatrum’. It is a round building, with an exterior staircase, to which spectators are proceeding,[8] and are accosted on their way by women issuing from the ‘Fornices’, over which the theatre is built. Through the removal of part of the walls, the interior is also made visible. It has two galleries and standing-room below. A box next the stage in the upper gallery is marked ‘Aediles’. The stage is cut off by curtains, which are divided by two narrow columns. In front of the curtains sits a flute-player. Above is inscribed ‘Proscenium’. Some of the Lyons cuts are adopted, with others from the Ulm Eunuchus, in the Strasburg Terence of 1496.[19] This, however, has a different ‘Theatrum’, which shows the exterior only, and also a new comprehensive design for each play, in which no scaffold or back wall appears, and the houses are drawn on either side of an open place, with the characters standing before them. They are more realistic than the Lyons ‘bathing boxes’ and have doors and windows and roofs, but they are drawn, like the Ulm houses, on a smaller scale than the characters. If they have a scenic origin, it may be rather in the ‘case’ of Ferrara than in the conventional ‘domus’ of Rome. Finally, the Venice Terence of 1497, while again reproducing with modifications the smaller Lyons cuts, replaces the ‘Theatrum’ by a new ‘Coliseus sive Theatrum’, in which the point of view is taken from the proscenium.[20] No raised stage is visible, but an actor or prologue is speaking from a semicircular orchestra on the floor-level. To right and left of him are two houses, of the ‘bathing-box’ type, but roofed, from which characters emerge. He faces an auditorium with two rows of seats and a gallery above.

We are moving in shadowy regions of conjecture, and if all the material were forthcoming, the interrelations of Rome and Ferrara and the Terentian editors might prove to have been somewhat different from those here sketched. After all, we have not found anything which quite explains the ‘picturatae scenae facies’ for which Cardinal Raffaelle Riario won such praise, and perhaps Ferrara is not really entitled to credit for the innovation, which is generally supposed to have accompanied the production of the first of Ariosto’s great Italian comedies on classical lines, the Cassaria of 1508. This is the utilization for stage scenery of the beloved Italian art of architectural perspective. It has been suggested, on no very secure grounds, that the first to experiment in this[9] direction may have been the architect Bramante Lazzari.[21] But the scene of the Cassaria is the earliest which is described by contemporary observers as a prospettiva, and it evidently left a vivid impression upon the imagination of the spectators.[22] The artist was Pellegrino da Udine, and the city represented was Mytilene, where the action of the Cassaria was laid. The same, or another, example of perspective may have served as a background in the following year for Ariosto’s second comedy, I Suppositi, of which the scene was Ferrara itself.[23] But other artists, in other cities, followed in the footsteps of Pellegrino. The designer for the first performance of Bernardo da Bibbiena’s Calandra at Urbino in 1513 was probably Girolamo Genga;[24] and for the second, at Rome in 1514, Baldassarre Peruzzi, to whom Vasari perhaps gives exaggerated credit for scenes which ‘apersono la via a coloro che ne hanno poi fatte a’ tempi nostri’.[25] Five years later, I Suppositi was also revived at Rome, in the Sala d’ Innocenzio of the Vatican, and on this occasion no less an artist was employed than Raphael himself.[26] As well as the scene, there was an elaborately painted front curtain, which fell at[10] the beginning of the performance. For this device, something analogous to which had almost certainly already been used at Ferrara, there was a precedent in the classical aulaeum. Its object was apparently to give the audience a sudden vision of the scene, and it was not raised again during the action of the play, and had therefore no strictly scenic function.[27]

The sixteenth-century prospettiva, of which there were many later examples, is the type of scenery so fully described and illustrated by the architect Sebastiano Serlio in the Second Book of his Architettura (1551). Serlio had himself been the designer of a theatre at Vicenza, and had also been familiar at Rome with Baldassarre Peruzzi, whose notes had passed into his possession. He was therefore well in the movement.[28] At the time of the publication of the Architettura he was resident in France, where he was employed, like other Italians, by Francis I upon the palace of Fontainebleau. Extracts from Serlio’s treatise will be found in an appendix and I need therefore only briefly summarize here the system of staging which it sets out.[29] This is a combination of the more or less solid ‘case’ with flat cloths painted in perspective. The proscenium is long and comparatively shallow, with an entrance at each end, and flat. But from the line of the scena wall the level of the stage slopes slightly upwards and backwards, and on this slope stand to right and left the ‘case’ of boards or laths covered with canvas, while in the centre is a large aperture, disclosing a space across which the flat cloths are drawn, a large one at the back and smaller ones on frames projecting by increasing degrees from behind the ‘case’. Out of these elements is constructed, by the art of perspective, a consistent scene with architectural perspectives facing the audience, and broken in the centre by a symmetrical vista. For the sake of variety, the action can use practicable doors and windows in the façades, and to some extent also within the central aperture, on the lower part of the slope. It was possible to arrange for interior action by discovering[11] a space within the ‘case’ behind the façades, but this does not seem to have been regarded as a very effective device.[30] Nor is there anything to suggest that Serlio contemplated any substantial amount of action within his central recess, for which, indeed, the slope required by his principles of perspective made it hardly suitable. As a matter of fact the action of the Italian commedia sostenuta, following here the tradition of its Latin models, is essentially exterior action before contiguous houses, and some amusing conventions, as Creizenach notes, follow from this fact; such as that it is reasonable to come out-of-doors in order to communicate secrets, that the street is a good place in which to bury treasure, and that you do not know who lives in the next house until you are told.[31] In discussing the decoration of the stage, Serlio is careful to distinguish between the kinds of scenery appropriate for tragedy, comedy, and the satyric play or pastoral, respectively, herein clearly indicating his debt and that of his school to the doctrine of Vitruvius.

It must not be supposed that Serlio said the last word on Italian Renaissance staging. He has mainly temporary theatres in his mind, and when theatres became permanent it was possible to replace laths and painted cloths by a more solid architectural scena in relief. Of this type was the famous Teatro Olympico of Vicenza begun by Andrea Palladio about 1565 and finished by Vincenzo Scamozzi about 1584.[32] It closely followed the indications of Vitruvius, with its porta regia in the middle of the scena, its portae minores to right and left, and its proscenium doors in versurae under balconies[12] for spectators. And it did not leave room for much variety in decoration, as between play and play.[33] It appears, indeed, to have been used only for tragedy. A more important tendency was really just in the opposite direction, towards change rather than uniformity of scenic effect. Even the perspectives, however beautiful, of the comedies did not prove quite as amusing, as the opening heavens and hells and other ingeniously varied backgrounds of the mediaeval plays had been, and by the end of the sixteenth century devices were being tried for movable scenes, which ultimately led to the complete elimination of the comparatively solid and not very manageable ‘case’.[34]

It is difficult to say how far the Italian perspective scene made its way westwards. Mediaeval drama—on the one hand the miracle-play, on the other the morality and the farce—still retained an unbounded vitality in sixteenth-century France. The miracle-play had its own elaborate and traditional system of staging. The morality and the farce required very little staging at all, and could be content at need with nothing more than a bare platform, backed by a semicircle or hollow square of suspended curtains, through the interstices of which the actors might come and go.[35] But from the beginning of the century there is observable in educated circles an infiltration of the humanist interest in the classical drama; and this, in course of time, was reinforced through two distinct channels. One of these was the educational influence, coming indirectly through Germany and the Netherlands, of the ‘Christian Terence’, which led about 1540 to the academic Latin tragedies of Buchanan and Muretus at Bordeaux.[36] The other was the direct contact with humanist civilization, which followed upon the Italian adventures of Charles VIII and Louis XII, and dominated the reigns of François I and his house, notably after the marriage of Catherine de’ Medici to the future Henri II in 1533. In 1541 came Sebastiano Serlio with his comprehensive knowledge of stage-craft; and the translation of his Architettura, shortly after its publication in 1545, by Jean Martin, a friend of Ronsard, may be taken as evidence of its vogue. In 1548 the French Court may be said to have[13] been in immediate touch with the nidus of Italian scenic art at Ferrara, for when Henri and Catherine visited Lyons it was Cardinal Hippolyte d’Este who provided entertainment for them with a magnificent performance of Bibbiena’s famous Calandra. This was ‘nella gran sala di San Gianni’ and was certainly staged in the full Italian manner, with perspective by Andrea Nannoccio and a range of terra-cotta statues by one Zanobi.[37] Henceforward it is possible to trace the existence of a Court drama in France. The Italian influence persisted. It is not, indeed, until 1571 that we find regular companies of Italian actors settling in Paris, and these, when they came, probably played, mainly if not entirely, commedie dell’ arte.[38] But Court performances in 1555 and 1556 of the Lucidi of Firenzuola and the Flora of Luigi Alamanni show that the commedia sostenuta was already established in favour at a much earlier date.[39] More important, however, is the outcrop of vernacular tragedy and comedy, on classical and Italian models, which was one of the literary activities of the Pléiade. The pioneer in both genres was Étienne Jodelle, whose tragedy of Cléopâtre Captive was produced before Henri II by the author and his friends at the Hôtel de Reims early in 1553, and subsequently repeated at the Collège de Boncour, where it was accompanied by his comedy of La Rencontre, probably identical with the extant Eugène, which is believed to date from 1552. Jodelle had several successors: in tragedy, Mellin de Saint-Gelais, Jacques and Jean de la Taille, Jacques Grévin, Robert Garnier, Antoine de Montchrestien; and in comedy, Rémy Belleau, Jean de Baïf, Jean de la Taille, Jacques Grévin, and Pierre Larivey. So far as tragedy was concerned, the Court representations soon came to an end. Catherine de’ Medici, always superstitious, believed that the Sophonisbe of Mellin de Saint-Gelais in 1556 had brought ill luck, and would have no more.[40] The academies may have continued to find hospitality for a few, but the best critical opinion appears to be that most of the tragedies of Garnier and his fellows were for the printing-press only, and that their scenic indications,[14] divorced from the actualities of representation, can hardly be regarded as evidence on any system of staging.[41] Probably this is also true of many of the literary comedies, although Court performances of comedies, apart from those of the professional players, continue to be traceable throughout the century. Unfortunately archaeological research has not succeeded in exhuming from the archives of the French royal households anything that throws much light on the details of staging, and very possibly little material of this kind exists. Cléopâtre is said to have been produced ‘in Henrici II aula ... magnifico veteris scenae apparatu’.[42] The prologue of Eugène, again, apologizes for the meagreness of an academic setting:

Quand au théâtre, encore qu’il ne soit
En demi-rond, comme on le compassoit,
Et qu’on ne l’ait ordonné de la sorte
Que l’on faisoit, il faut qu’on le supporte:
Veu que l’exquis de ce vieil ornement
Ores se voue aux Princes seulement.

Hangings round the stage probably sufficed for the colleges, and possibly even on some occasions for royal châteaux.[43] But Jodelle evidently envisaged something more splendid as possible at Court, and a notice, on the occasion of some comedies given before Charles IX at Bayonne in 1565, of ‘la bravade et magnificence de la dite scène ou théâtre, et des feux ou verres de couleur, desquelles elle etait allumée et enrichie’ at once recalls a device dear to Serlio, and suggests a probability that the whole method of staging, which Serlio expounds, may at least have been tried.[44] Of an actual theatre ‘en demi-rond’ at any French palace we have no clear proof. Philibert de l’Orme built a salle de spectacle for Catherine in the Tuileries, on a site afterwards occupied by the grand staircase, but its shape and dimensions are not[15] on record.[45] There was another in the pleasure-house, which he planned for Henri II in the grounds of Saint-Germain, and which was completed by Guillaume Marchand under Henri IV. This seems, from the extant plan, to have been designed as a parallelogram.[46] The hall of the Hôtel de Bourbon, hard by the Louvre, in which plays were sometimes given, is shown by the engravings of the Balet Comique, which was danced there in 1581, to have been, in the main, of similar shape. But it had an apse ‘en demi-rond’ at one end.[47] It may be that the Terence illustrations come again to our help, and that the new engravings which appear, side by side with others of the older tradition, in the Terence published by Jean de Roigny in 1552 give some notion of the kind of stage which Jodelle and his friends used.[48] The view is from the auditorium. The stage is a platform, about 3½ ft. high, with three shallow steps at the back, on which actors are sitting, while a prologue declaims. There are no hangings or scenes. Pillars divide the back of the stage from a gallery which runs behind and in which stand spectators. Obviously this is not on Italian lines, but it might preserve the memory of some type of academic stage.

If we know little of the scenic methods of the French Court, we know a good deal of those employed in the only public theatre of which, during the sixteenth century and the first quarter of the seventeenth, Paris could boast. This was the Hôtel de Bourgogne, a rectangular hall built by the Confrérie de la Passion in 1548, used by that body for the representation of miracle-plays and farces up to 1598, let between 1598 and 1608 to a succession of visiting companies, native and foreign, and definitively occupied from the latter year by the Comédiens du Roi, to whom Alexandre Hardy was dramatist in chief.[49] The Mémoire pour la décoration des pièces qui se représentent par les comediens du roy, entretenus de sa Magesté is one of the[16] most valuable documents of theatrical history which the hazard of time has preserved in any land. It, or rather the earlier of the two sections into which it is divided, is the work of Laurent Mahelot, probably a machinist at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and contains notes, in some cases apparently emanating from the authors, of the scenery required for seventy-one plays belonging to the repertory of the theatre, to which are appended, in forty-seven cases, drawings showing the way in which the requirements were to be met.[50] It is true that the Mémoire is of no earlier date than about 1633, but the close resemblance of the system which it illustrates to that used in the miracle-plays of the Confrèrie de la Passion justifies the inference that there had been no marked breach of continuity since 1598. In essence it is the mediaeval system of juxtaposed ‘maisons’, corresponding to the ‘case’ of the Italian and the ‘houses’ of the English tradition, a series of independent structures, visually related to each other upon the stage, but dramatically distinct and serving, each in its turn, as the background to action upon the whole of the free space—platea in mediaeval terminology, proscenium in that of the Renaissance—which stretched before and between them. The stage of the Hôtel de Bourgogne had room for five such ‘maisons’, one in the middle of the back wall, two in the angles between the back and side-walls, and two standing forward against the side-walls; but in practice two or three of these compartments were often devoted to a ‘maison’ of large size. A ‘maison’ might be a unit of architecture, such as a palace, a senate house, a castle, a prison, a temple, a tavern; or of landscape, such as a garden, a wood, a rock, a cave, a sea.[51] And very often it[17] represented an interior, such as a chamber with a bed in it.[52] A good illustration of the arrangement may be found in the scenario for the familiar story of Pyramus and Thisbe, as dramatized about 1617 by Théophile de Viaud.[53]

‘Il faut, au milieu du théâtre, un mur de marbre et pierre fermé; des ballustres; il faut aussi de chasque costé deux ou trois marches pour monster. A un des costez du théâtre, un murier, un tombeau entouré de piramides. Des fleurs, une éponge, du sang, un poignard, un voile, un antre d’où sort un lion, du costé de la fontaine, et un autre antre à l’autre bout du théâtre où il rentre.’

The Pandoste of Alexandre Hardy required different settings for the two parts, which were given on different days.[54] On the first day,

‘Au milieu du théâtre, il faut un beau palais; à un des costez, une grande prison où l’on paroist tout entier. A l’autre costé, un temple; au dessous, une pointe de vaisseau, une mer basse, des rozeaux et marches de degrez.’

The needs of the second day were more simply met by ‘deux palais et une maison de paysan et un bois’.

Many examples make it clear that the methods of the Hôtel de Bourgogne did not entirely exclude the use of perspective, which was applied on the back wall, ‘au milieu du théâtre’; and as the Italian stage, on its side, was slow to abandon altogether the use of ‘case’ in relief, it is possible that under favourable circumstances Mahelot and his colleagues may have succeeded in producing the illusion of a consistently built up background much upon the lines contemplated by Serlio.[55] There were some plays whose plot called for nothing more than a single continuous scene in a street, perhaps a known and nameable street, or a forest.[56][18] Nor was the illusion necessarily broken by such incidents as the withdrawal of a curtain from before an interior at the point when it came into action, or the introduction of the movable ship which the Middle Ages had already known.[57] It was broken, however, when the ‘belle chambre’ was so large and practicable as to be out of scale with the other ‘maisons’.[58] And it was broken when, as in Pandoste and many other plays, the apparently contiguous ‘maisons’ had to be supposed, for dramatic purposes, to be situated in widely separated localities. It is, indeed, as we shall find to our cost, not the continuous scene, but the need for change of scene, which constitutes the problem of staging. It is a problem which the Italians had no occasion to face; they had inherited, almost unconsciously, the classical tradition of continuous action in an unchanged locality, or in a locality no more changed than is entailed by the successive bringing into use of various apertures in a single façade. But the Middle Ages had had no such tradition, and the problem at once declared itself, as soon as the matter of the Middle Ages and the manner of the Renaissance began to come together in the ‘Christian Terence’. The protest of Cornelius Crocus in the preface to his Joseph (1535) against ‘multiple’ staging, as alike intrinsically absurd and alien to the practice of the ancients, anticipates by many years that law of the unity of place, the formulation of which is generally assigned to Lodovico Castelvetro, and which was handed down by the Italians to the Pléiade and to the ‘classical’ criticism of the seventeenth century.[59] We are not here concerned with the unity of place as a law of dramatic structure, but we are very much concerned with the fact that the romantic drama of western Europe did not observe unity of place in actual[19] practice, and that consequently the stage-managers of Shakespeare in England, as well as those of Hardy in France, had to face the problem of a system of staging, which should be able rapidly and intelligibly to represent shifting localities. The French solution, as we have seen, was the so-called ‘multiple’ system, inherited from the Middle Ages, of juxtaposed and logically incongruous backgrounds.

Geography would be misleading if it suggested that, in the westward drift of the Renaissance, England was primarily dependent upon the mediation of France. During the early Tudor reigns direct relations with Italy were firmly established, and the classical scholars of Oxford and Cambridge drew their inspiration at first hand from the authentic well-heads of Rome and Florence. In matters dramatic, in particular, the insular had little or nothing to learn from the continental kingdom. There were French players, indeed, at the Court of Henry VII in 1494 and 1495, who obviously at that date can only have had farces and morals to contribute.[60] And thereafter the lines of stimulus may just as well have run the other way. If the academic tragedy and comedy of the Pléiade had its reaction upon the closet dramas of Lady Pembroke, Kyd, Daniel, Lord Brooke, yet London possessed its public theatres long before the Parisian makeshift of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and English, no less than Italian, companies haunted the Court of Henri IV, while it is not until Caroline days that the French visit of 1495 can be shown to have had its successor. The earliest record of a classical performance in England was at Greenwich on 7 March 1519, when ‘there was a goodly commedy of Plautus plaied’, followed by a mask, in the great chamber, which the King had caused ‘to be staged and great lightes to be set on pillers that were gilt, with basons gilt, and the rofe was covered with blewe satyn set full of presses of fyne gold and flowers’.[61] The staging here spoken of, in association with lights, was probably for spectators rather than for actors, for in May 1527, when a dialogue, barriers, and mask were to be given in a banqueting-house at Greenwich, we are told that ‘thys chambre was raised with stages v. degrees on every syde, and rayled and counterailed, borne by pillars of azure, full[20] of starres and flower delice of gold; every pillar had at the toppe a basin silver, wherein stode great braunches of white waxe’.[62] In this same year 1527, Wolsey had a performance of the Menaechmi at his palace of York Place, and it was followed in 1528 by one of the Phormio, of which a notice is preserved in a letter of Gasparo Spinelli, the secretary to the Italian embassy in London.[63] Unfortunately, Spinelli’s description proves rather elusive. I am not quite clear whether he is describing the exterior or the interior of a building, and whether his zoglia is, as one would like to think, the framework of a proscenium arch, or merely that of a doorway.[64] One point, however, is certain. Somewhere or other, the decorations displayed in golden letters the title of the play which was about to be given. Perhaps this explains why, more than a quarter of a century later, when the Westminster boys played the Miles Gloriosus before Elizabeth in January 1565, one of the items of expenditure was for ‘paper, inke and colores for the wryting of greate letters’.[65]

Investigation of Court records reveals nothing more precise than this as to the staging of plays, whether classical or mediaeval in type, under Henry VIII. It is noticeable, however, that a play often formed but one episode in a composite entertainment, other parts of which required the elaborate pageantry which was Henry’s contribution to the development of the mask; and it may be conjectured that in these cases the structure of the pageant served also as a sufficient background for the play. Thus in 1527 a Latin tragedy celebrating the deliverance of the Pope and of France by Wolsey was given in the ‘great chamber of disguysings’, at the end of which stood a fountain with a mulberry and a hawthorn tree, about which sat eight fair ladies in strange attire upon ‘benches of rosemary fretted in braydes layd on gold, all the sydes sette wyth roses in braunches as they wer growyng about this fountayne’.[66] The device[21] was picturesque enough, but can only have had an allegorical relation to the action of the play. The copious Revels Accounts of Edward and of Mary are silent about play settings. It is only with those of Elizabeth that the indications of ‘houses’ and curtains already detailed in an earlier chapter make their appearance.[67] The ‘houses’ of lath and canvas have their analogy alike in the ‘case’ of Ferrara, which even Serlio had not abandoned, and in the ‘maisons’ which the Hôtel de Bourgogne inherited from the Confrérie de la Passion. We are left without guide as to whether the use of them at the English Court was a direct tradition from English miracle-plays, or owed its immediate origin to an Italian practice, which was itself in any case only an outgrowth of mediaeval methods familiar in Italy as well as in England. Nor can we tell, so far as the Revels Accounts go, whether the ‘houses’ were juxtaposed on the stage after the ‘multiple’ fashion of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, or were fused with the help of perspective into a continuous façade or vista, as Serlio bade. Certainly the Revels officers were not wholly ignorant of the use of perspective, but this is also true of the machinists of the Hôtel de Bourgogne.[68] Serlio does not appear to have used curtains, as the Revels officers did, for the discovery of interior scenes, but if, on the other hand, any of the great curtains of the Revels were front curtains, these were employed at Ferrara and Rome, and we have no knowledge that they were employed at Paris. At this point the archives leave us fairly in an impasse.

It will be well to start upon a new tack and to attempt to ascertain, by an analysis of such early plays as survive, what kind of setting these can be supposed, on internal evidence, to have needed. And the first and most salient fact which emerges is that a very large number of them needed practically no setting at all. This is broadly true, with exceptions which shall be detailed, of the great group of interludes which extends over about fifty years of the sixteenth century, from the end of Henry VII’s reign or the beginning of Henry VIII’s, to a point in Elizabeth’s almost coincident with the opening of the theatres. Of these, if mere fragments[22] are neglected, there are not less than forty-five. Twenty are Henrican;[69] perhaps seven Edwardian or Marian;[70] eighteen Elizabethan.[71] Characteristically, they are morals, presenting abstract personages varied in an increasing degree with farcical types; but several are semi-morals, with a sprinkling of concrete personages, which point backwards to the miracle-plays, or forward to the romantic or historical drama. One or two are almost purely miracle-play or farce; and towards the end one or two show some traces of classical influence.[72] Subject, then, to the exceptions, the interludes—and this, as already indicated, is a fundamental point for staging—call for no changes of locality, with which, indeed, the purely abstract themes of moralities could easily dispense. The action proceeds continuously in a locality, which is either wholly undefined, or at the most vaguely defined as in London (Hickscorner), or in England (King Johan). This is referred to, both in stage-directions and in dialogue, as ‘the place’, and with such persistency as inevitably to suggest a term of art, of which the obvious derivation is from the platea of the miracle-plays.[73] It may be either an exterior or an interior place, but often it is not clearly envisaged as either. In Pardoner and Friar and possibly in Johan the Evangelist[23] it is a church; in Johan Johan it is Johan’s house. Whether interior or exterior, a door is often referred to as the means of entrance and exit for the characters.[74] In Johan Johan a door is supposed to lead to the priest’s chamber, and there is a long colloquy at the ‘chamber dore’. In exterior plays some kind of a house may be suggested in close proximity to the ‘place’. In Youth and in Four Elements the characters come and go to a tavern. The ‘place’ of Apius and Virginia is before the gate of Apius. There is no obvious necessity why these houses should have been represented by anything but a door. The properties used in the action are few and simple; a throne or other seat, a table or banquet (Johan Johan, Godly Queen Hester, King Darius), a hearth (Nature, Johan Johan), a pulpit (Johan the Evangelist), a pail (Johan Johan), a dice-board (Nice Wanton). My inference is that the setting of the interludes was nothing but the hall in which performances were given, with for properties the plenishing of that hall or such movables as could be readily carried in. Direct hints are not lacking to confirm this view. A stage-direction in Four Elements tells us that at a certain point ‘the daunsers without the hall syng’. In Impatient Poverty (242) Abundance comes in with the greeting, ‘Joye and solace be in this hall!’ All for Money (1019) uses ‘this hall’, where we should expect ‘this place’. And I think that, apart from interludes woven into the pageantry of Henry VIII’s disguising chambers, the hall contemplated was at first just the ordinary everyday hall, after dinner or supper, with the sovereigns or lords still on the dais, the tables and benches below pushed aside, and a free space left for the performers on the floor, with the screen and its convenient doors as a background and the hearth ready to hand if it was wanted to figure in the action. If I am right, the staged dais, with the sovereign on a high state in the middle of the hall, was a later development, or a method reserved for very formal entertainments.[75] The actors of the more homely interlude would have had to rub shoulders all the time with the inferior members of their audience. And so they did. In Youth (39) the principal character enters, for all the world like the St. George of a village mummers’ play, with an

A backe, felowes, and gyve me roume
Or I shall make you to auoyde sone.[76]


In Like Will to Like the Vice brings in a knave of clubs, which he ‘offreth vnto one of the men or boyes standing by’. In King Darius (109) Iniquity, when he wants a seat, calls out

Syrs, who is there that hath a stoole?
I will buy it for thys Gentleman;
If you will take money, come as fast as you can.

A similar and earlier example than any of these now presents itself in Fulgens and Lucres, where there is an inductive dialogue between spectators, one of whom says to another

I thought verely by your apparel,
That ye had bene a player.

Of a raised stage the only indication is in All for Money, a late example of the type, where one stage-direction notes (203), ‘There must be a chayre for him to sit in, and vnder it or neere the same there must be some hollowe place for one to come vp in’, while another (279) requires ‘some fine conueyance’ to enable characters to vomit each other up.

I come now to nine interludes which, for various reasons, demand special remark. In Jacob and Esau (> 1558) there is coming and going between the place and the tent of Isaac, before which stands a bench, the tent of Jacob, and probably also the tent of Esau. In Wit and Wisdom (> 1579) action takes place at the entrances of the house of Wantonness, of the den of Irksomeness, of a prison, and of Mother Bee’s house, and the prison, as commonly in plays of later types, must have been so arranged as to allow a prisoner to take part in the dialogue from within. Some realism, also, in the treatment of the den may be signified by an allusion to ‘these craggie clifts’. In Misogonus (c. 1560–77), the place of which is before the house of Philogonus, there is one scene in Melissa’s ‘bowre’ (ii. 4, 12), which must somehow have been represented. In Thersites (1537), of which one of the characters is a snail that ‘draweth her hornes in’, Mulciber, according to the stage-directions, ‘must have a shop made in the place’, which he leaves and returns to, and in which he is perhaps seen making a sallet. Similarly, the Mater of Thersites, when she drops out of the dialogue, ‘goeth in the place which is prepared for her’, and hither later ‘Thersites must ren awaye, and hyde hym behynde hys mothers backe’. These four examples only differ from the normal interlude type by some multiplication of the houses suggested in the background, and probably by some closer approximation than a mere door to the visual realization of these. There is no change of locality, and only an adumbration of interior[25] action within the houses. Four other examples do entail some change of locality. Much stress must not be laid on the sudden conversions in the fourth act of The Conflict of Conscience (> 1581) and the last scene of Three Ladies of London of the open ‘place’ into Court, for these are very belated specimens of the moral. And the opening dialogue of the Three Ladies, on the way to London, may glide readily enough into the main action before two houses in London itself. But in The Disobedient Child (c. 1560) some episodes are before the house of the father, and others before that of the son in another locality forty miles away. In Mary Magdalene (< 1566), again, the action begins in Magdalo, but there is a break (842) when Mary and the Vice start on their travels, and it is resumed at Jerusalem, where it proceeds first in some public place, and afterwards by a sudden transition (1557) at a repast within the house of Simon. In both cases it may be conjectured that the two localities were indicated on opposite sides of the hall or stage, and that the personages travelled from one to the other over the intervening space, which was regarded as representing a considerable distance. You may call this ‘multiple staging’, if you will. The same imaginative foreshortening of space had been employed both in the miracle-plays and in the ‘Christian Terence’.[77] Simon’s house at Jerusalem was, no doubt, some kind of open loggia with a table in it, directly approachable from the open place where the earlier part of the Jerusalem action was located.

Godly Queen Hester (? 1525–9) has a different interest, in that, of all the forty-four interludes, it affords the only possible evidence for the use of a curtain. In most respects it is quite a normal interlude. The action is continuous, in a ‘place’, which represents a council-chamber, with a chair for Ahasuerus. But there is no mention of a door, and while the means of exit and entrance for the ordinary personages are unspecified, the stage-directions note, on two occasions (139, 635) when the King goes out, that he ‘entreth the trauerse’. Now ‘traverses’ have played a considerable part in attempts to reconstruct the Elizabethan theatre, and some imaginative writers have depicted them as criss-crossing about the stage in all sorts of possible and impossible directions.[78][26] The term is not a very happy one to employ in the discussion of late sixteenth-century or early seventeenth-century conditions. After Godly Queen Hester it does not appear again in any play for nearly a hundred years, and then, so far as I know, is only used by Jonson in Volpone, where it appears to indicate a low movable screen, probably of a non-structural kind, and by John Webster, both in The White Devil and in The Duchess of Malfi, where it is an exact equivalent to the ‘curtains’ or ‘arras’, often referred to as screening off a recess at the back of the stage.[79] Half a century later still, it is used in the Restoration play of The Duke of Guise to indicate, not this normal back curtain, but a screen placed across the recess itself, or the inner stage which had developed out of it, behind ‘the scene’.[80] Webster’s use seems to be an individual one. Properly a ‘traverse’ means, I think, not a curtain suspended from the roof, but a screen shutting off from view a compartment within a larger room, but leaving it open above. Such a screen might, of course, very well be formed by a curtain running on a rod or cord.[81] And a ‘traverse’ also certainly came to mean the compartment itself which was so shut off.[82] The construction is familiar in the old-fashioned pews of our churches, and as it happens, it is from the records of the royal chapel that its Elizabethan use can best be illustrated. Thus when Elizabeth took her Easter communion at St. James’s in 1593, she came down, doubtless from her ‘closet’ above, after the Gospel had been read, ‘into her Majestes Travess’, whence she emerged to[27] make her offering, and then ‘retorned to her princely travess sumptuously sett forthe’, until it was time to emerge again and receive the communion. So too, when the Spanish treaty was sworn in 1604, ‘in the chappell weare two traverses sett up of equall state in all thinges as neare as might be’. One was the King’s traverse ‘where he usually sitteth’, the other for the Spanish ambassador, and from them they proceeded to ‘the halfe pace’ for the actual swearing of the oath.[83] The traverse figures in several other chapel ceremonies of the time, and it is by this analogy, rather than as a technical term of stage-craft, that we must interpret the references to it in Godly Queen Hester. It is not inconceivable that the play, which was very likely performed by the Chapel, was actually performed in the chapel.[84] Nor is it inconceivable, also, that the sense of the term ‘traverse’ may have been wide enough to cover the screen at the bottom of a Tudor hall.

I come now to the group of four mid-century farces, Gammer Gurton’s Needle, Jack Juggler, Ralph Roister Doister, and Tom Tyler, which literary historians have distinguished from the interludes as early ‘regular comedies’. No doubt they show traces of Renaissance influence upon their dramatic handling. But, so far as scenic setting is concerned, they do not diverge markedly from the interlude type. Nor is this surprising, since Renaissance comedy, like the classical comedy upon which it was based, was essentially an affair of continuous action, in an open place, before a background of houses. Gammer Gurton’s Needle requires two houses, those of Gammer Gurton and of Dame Chat; Jack Juggler one, that of Boungrace; Ralph Roister Doister one, that of Christian Custance. Oddly enough, both Gammer Gurton’s Needle and Jack Juggler contain indications of the presence of a post, so placed that it could be used in the action.[85] Tom Tyler, which may have reached us in a sophisticated text, has a slightly more complicated staging. There are some quite early features. The locality is ‘this place’ (835), and the audience are asked (18), as in the much earlier Youth, to ‘make them room’. On the other hand, as in Mary Magdalene and[28] in The Conflict of Conscience, there is at one point (512) a transition from exterior to interior action. Hitherto it has been in front of Tom’s house; now it is within, and his wife is in bed. An open loggia here hardly meets the case. The bed demands some discovery, perhaps by the withdrawal of a curtain.

I am of course aware that the forty-four interludes and the four farces hitherto dealt with cannot be regarded as forming a homogeneous body of Court drama. Not one of them, in fact, can be absolutely proved to have been given at Court. Several of them bear signs of having been given elsewhere, including at least three of the small number which present exceptional features.[86] Others lie under suspicion of having been written primarily for the printing-press, in the hope that any one who cared to act them would buy copies, and may therefore never have been given at all; and it is obvious that in such circumstances a writer might very likely limit himself to demands upon stage-management far short of what the Court would be prepared to meet.[87] This is all true enough, but at the same time I see no reason to doubt that the surviving plays broadly represent the kind of piece that was produced, at Court as well as elsewhere, until well into Elizabeth’s reign. Amongst their authors are men, Skelton, Medwall, Rastell, Redford, Bale, Heywood, Udall, Gascoigne, who were about the Court, and some of whom we know to have written plays, if not these plays, for the Court; and the survival of the moral as a Court entertainment is borne witness to by the Revels Accounts of 1578–9, in which the ‘morrall of the Marriage of Mind and Measure’ still holds its own beside the classical and romantic histories which had already become fashionable. As we proceed, however, we come more clearly within the Court sphere. The lawyers stand very close, in their interests and their amusements, to the Court, and with the next group of plays, a characteristically Renaissance one, of four Italianate comedies and four Senecan tragedies, the lawyers had a good deal to do. Gascoigne’s Gray’s Inn Supposes is based directly upon one of Ariosto’s epoch-making comedies, I Suppositi, and adopts its staging. Jeffere’s Bugbears and the anonymous Two Italian Gentlemen are similarly indebted to their models[29] in Grazzini’s La Spiritata and Pasqualigo’s Il Fedele. Each preserves complete unity of place, and the continuous action in the street before the houses, two or three in number, of the principal personages, is only varied by occasional colloquies at a door or window, and in the case of the Two Italian Gentlemen by an episode of concealment in a tomb which stands in a ‘temple’ or shrine beneath a burning lamp. Whetstone’s Promos and Cassandra, the neo-classical inspiration of which is advertised in the prefatory epistle, follows the same formula with a certain freedom of handling. In the first part, opportunity for a certain amount of interior action is afforded by two of the three houses; one is a prison, the other a barber’s shop, presumably an open stall with a door and a flap-down shutter. The third is the courtesan’s house, on which Serlio insists. This reappears in the second part and has a window large enough for four women to sit in.[88] The other houses in this part are a temple with a tomb in it, and a pageant stage used at a royal entry. The conveniences of exterior action lead to a convention which often recurs in later plays, by which royal justice is dispensed in the street. And the strict unity of place is broken by a scene (iv. 2) which takes place, not like the rest of the action in the town of Julio, but in a wood through which the actors are approaching it. Here also we have, I think, the beginnings of a convention by which action on the extreme edge of a stage, or possibly on the floor of the hall or on steps leading to the stage, was treated as a little remote from the place represented by the setting in the background. The four tragedies were all produced at the Court itself by actors from the Inns of Court. It is a little curious that the earliest of the four, Gorboduc (1562), is also the most regardless of the unity of place. While Acts I and III-V are at the Court of Gorboduc, Act II is divided between the independent Courts of Ferrex and Porrex. We can hardly suppose that there was any substantial change of decoration, and probably the same[30] generalized palace background served for all three. Here also the convention, classical enough, rules, by which the affairs of state are conducted in the open. By 1562 the raised stage had clearly established itself. There are no regular stage-directions in Gorboduc, but the stage is often mentioned in the descriptions of the dumb-shows between the acts, and in the fourth of these ‘there came from vnder the stage, as though out of hell, three furies’. Similarly in Jocasta (1566) the stage opens in the dumb-shows to disclose, at one time a grave, at another the gulf of Curtius. The action of the play itself is before the palace of Jocasta, but there are also entrances and exits, which are carefully specified in stage-directions as being through ‘the gates called Electrae’ and ‘the gates called Homoloydes’. Perhaps we are to infer that the gates which, if the stage-manager had Vitruvius in mind, would have stood on the right and left of the proscenium, were labelled ‘in great letters’ with their names; and if so, a similar device may have served in Gorboduc to indicate at which of the three Courts action was for the time being proceeding. Gismond of Salerne has not only a hell, for Megaera, but also a heaven, for the descent and ascent of Cupid. Like Jocasta, it preserves unity of place, but it has two houses in the background, the palace of Tancred and an independent ‘chamber’ for Gismond, which is open enough and deep enough to allow part of the action, with Gismond lying poisoned and Tancred mourning over her, to take place within it. The Misfortunes of Arthur is, of course, twenty years later than the other members of the group. But it is true to type. The action is in front of three domus, the ‘houses’ of Arthur and of Mordred, which ought not perhaps historically to have been in the same city, and a cloister. A few years later still, in 1591, Wilmot, one of the authors of Gismond of Salerne, rewrote it as Tancred and Gismund. He did not materially interfere with the old staging, but he added an epilogue, of which the final couplet runs:

Thus end our sorrowes with the setting sun:
Now draw the curtens for our Scaene is done.

If these lines had occurred in the original version of the play, they would naturally have been taken as referring to curtains used to cover and discover Gismond’s death-chamber. But in this point Wilmot has modified the original action, and has made Gismund take her poison and die, not in her chamber, but on the open stage. Are we then faced, as part of the paraphernalia of a Court stage, at any rate by 1591, with a front curtain—a curtain drawn aside, and not sinking[31] like the curtains of Ferrara and Rome, but like those curtains used to mark the beginning and end of a play, rather than to facilitate any changing of scenes?[89] It is difficult to say. Wilmot, not re-writing for the stage, may have rewritten loosely. Or the epilogue may after all have belonged to the first version of the play, and have dropped out of the manuscript in which that version is preserved. The Revels Accounts testify that ‘great curtains’ were used in Court plays, but certainly do not prove that they were used as front curtains. The nearest approach to a corroboration of Wilmot is to be found in an epigram which exists in various forms, and is ascribed in some manuscripts to Sir Walter Raleigh.[90]

What is our life? a play of passion.
Our mirth? the musick of diuision.
Our mothers wombs the tyring houses bee
Where we are drest for liues short comedy.
The earth the stage, heauen the spectator is,
Who still doth note who ere do act amisse.
Our graues, that hyde vs from the all-seeing sun,
Are but drawne curtaynes when the play is done.

If these four comedies and four tragedies were taken alone, it would, I think, be natural to conclude that, with the Italianized types of drama, the English Court had also adopted the Italian type of setting.[91] Certainly the tragedies would fit[32] well enough into Serlio’s stately façade of palaces, and the comedies into his more homely group of bourgeois houses, with its open shop, its ‘temple’, and its discreet abode of a ruffiana.[92]

As courtly, beyond doubt, we must treat the main outlook of the choir companies during their long hegemony of the Elizabethan drama, which ended with the putting down of Paul’s in 1590. Unfortunately it is not until the last decade of this period, with the ‘court comedies’ of Lyly, that we have any substantial body of their work, differentiated from the interludes and the Italianate comedies, to go upon. The Damon and Pythias of Richard Edwardes has a simple setting before the gates of a court. Lyly’s own methods require rather careful analysis.[93] The locality of Campaspe is throughout at Athens, in ‘the market-place’ (III. ii. 56).[94] On this there are three domus: Alexander’s palace, probably represented by a portico in which he receives visitors, and from which inmates ‘draw in’ (IV. iii. 32) to get off the stage; a tub ‘turned towardes the sun’ (I. iii. 12) for Diogenes over which he can ‘pry’ (V. iii. 21); a shop for Apelles, which has a window (III. i. 18), outside which a page is posted, and open enough for Apelles to carry on dialogue with Campaspe (III. iii.; IV. iv), while he paints her within. These three domus are quite certainly all visible together, as continuous action can pass from one to another. At one point (I. iii. 110) the philosophers walk direct from the palace to the tub; at another (III. iv. 44, 57) Alexander, going to the shop, passes the tub on the way; at a third (V. iv. 82) Apelles, standing at the tub, is bidden ‘looke about you, your shop is on fire!’[33] As Alexander (V. iv. 71) tells Diogenes that he ‘wil haue thy cabin remoued nerer to my court’, I infer that the palace and the tub were at opposite ends of the stage, and the shop in the middle, where the interior action could best be seen. In Sapho and Phao the unity of place is not so marked. All the action is more or less at Syracuse, but, with the exception of one scene (II. iii), the whole of the first two acts are near Phao’s ferry outside the city. I do not think that the actual ferry is visible, for passengers go ‘away’ (I. i. 72; ii. 69) to cross, and no use is made of a ferryman’s house, but somewhere quite near Sibylla sits ‘in the mouth of her caue’ (II. i. 13), and talks with Phao.[95] The rest of the action is in the city itself, either before the palace of Sapho, or within her chamber, or at the forge of Vulcan, where he is perhaps seen ‘making of the arrowes’ (IV. iv. 33) during a song. Certainly Sapho’s chamber is practicable. The stage-directions do not always indicate its opening and shutting. At one point (III. iii. 1) we simply get ‘Sapho in her bed’ in a list of interlocutors; at another (IV. i. 20) ‘Exit Sapho’, which can only mean that the door closes upon her. It was a door, not a curtain, for she tells a handmaid (V. ii. 101) to ‘shut’ it. Curtains are ‘drawne’ (III. iii. 36; IV. iii. 95), but these are bed-curtains, and the drawing of them does not put Sapho’s chamber in or out of action. As in Campaspe, there is interplay between house and house. A long continuous stretch of action, not even broken by the act-intervals, begins with III. iii and extends to the end of V. ii, and in the course of this Venus sends Cupid to Sapho, and herself waits at Vulcan’s forge (V. i. 50). Presently (V. ii. 45) she gets tired of waiting, and without leaving the stage, advances to the chamber and says, ‘How now, in Saphoes lap?’ There is not the same interplay between the city houses and Sibylla’s cave, to which the last scene of the play returns. I think we must suppose that two neighbouring spots within the same general locality were shown in different parts of the stage, and this certainly entails a bolder use of dramatic foreshortening of distance than the mere crossing the market-place in Campaspe. This foreshortening recurs in Endymion. Most of the action is in an open place which must be supposed to be near the palace of Cynthia, or at the lunary bank (II. iii. 9), of Endymion’s slumber, which is also near the palace.[96] It stands in[34] a grove (IV. iii. 160), and is called a ‘caban’ (IV. iii. 111). Somewhere also in the open space is, in Act V, the aspen-tree, into which Dipsas has turned Bagoa and from which she is delivered (V. iii. 283). But III. ii and IV. i are at the door of ‘the Castle in the Deserte’ (III. i. 41; ii. 1) and III. iv is also in the desert (cf. V. iii. 35), before a fountain. This fountain was, however, ‘hard by’ the lunary bank (IV. ii. 67), and probably the desert was no farther off than the end of the stage.[97] In Midas the convention of foreshortening becomes inadequate, and we are faced with a definite change of locality. The greater part of the play is at the Court of Midas, presumably in Lydia rather than in Phrygia, although an Elizabethan audience is not likely to have been punctilious about Anatolian geography. Some scenes require as background a palace, to which it is possible to go ‘in’ (I. i. 117; II. ii. 83; III. iii. 104). A temple of Bacchus may also have been represented, but is not essential. Other scenes are in a neighbouring spot, where the speaking reeds grow. There is a hunting scene (IV. i) on ‘the hill Tmolus’ (cf. V. iii. 44). So far Lyly’s canons of foreshortening are not exceeded. But the last scene (V. iii) is out of the picture altogether. The opening words are ‘This is Delphos’, and we are overseas, before the temple of Apollo. In Galathea and in Love’s Metamorphosis, on the other hand, unity is fully achieved. The whole of Galathea may well proceed in a single spot, on the edge of a wood, before a tree sacred to Neptune, and in Lincolnshire (I. iv. 12). The sea is hard by, but need not be seen. The action of Love’s Metamorphosis is rather more diffuse, but an all-over pastoral setting, such as we see in Serlio’s scena satirica, with scattered domus in different glades, would serve it. Or, as the management of the Hôtel de Bourgogne would have put it, the stage is tout en pastoralle. There are a tree of Ceres and a temple of Cupid. These are used successively in the same scene (II. i). Somewhat apart, on the sea-shore, but close to the wood, dwells Erisichthon. There is a rock for the Siren, and Erisichthon’s house may also have been shown.[98] Finally, Mother Bombie is an extreme[35] example of the traditional Italian comic manner. The action comes and goes, rapidly for Lyly, in an open place, surrounded by no less than seven houses, the doors of which are freely used.

Two other Chapel plays furnish sufficient evidence that the type of staging just described was not Lyly’s and Lyly’s alone.[99] Peele’s Arraignment of Paris is tout en pastoralle. A poplar-tree dominates the stage throughout, and the only house is a bower of Diana, large enough to hold the council of gods (381, 915). A trap is required for the rising and sinking of a golden tree (489) and the ascent of Pluto (902). Marlowe’s Dido has proved rather a puzzle to editors who have not fully appreciated the principles on which the Chapel plays were produced. I think that one side of the stage was arranged en pastoralle, and represented the wood between the sea-shore and Carthage, where the shipwrecked Trojans land and where later Aeneas and Dido hunt. Here was the cave where they take shelter from the storm.[100] Here too must have been the curtained-off domus of Jupiter.[101] This is only used in a kind of prelude. Of course it ought to have been in heaven, but the Gods are omnipresent, and it is quite clear that when the curtain is drawn on Jupiter, Venus, who has been discoursing with him, is left in the wood, where she then meets[36] Aeneas (134, 139, 173). The other side of the stage represents Carthage. Possibly a wall with a gate in it was built across the stage, dividing off the two regions. In the opening line of Act II, Aeneas says,

Where am I now? these should be Carthage walles,

and we must think of him as advancing through the wood to the gate.[102] He is amazed at a carved or printed representation of Troy, which Virgil placed in a temple of Juno, but which Marlowe probably thought of as at the gate. He meets other Trojans who have already reached the city, and they call his attention to Dido’s servitors, who ‘passe through the hall’ bearing a banquet. Evidently he is now within the city and has approached a domus representing the palace. The so-called ‘hall’ is probably an open loggia. Here Dido entertains him, and in a later scene (773) points out to him the pictures of her suitors. There is perhaps an altar in front of the palace, where Iarbas does his sacrifice (1095), and somewhere close by a pyre is made for Dido (1692). Either within or without the walls may be the grove in which Ascanius is hidden while Cupid takes his place.[103] If, as is more probable, it is without, action passes through the gate when Venus beguiles him away. It certainly does at the beginning (912, 960) and end (1085) of the hunt, and again when Aeneas first attempts flight and Anna brings him back from the sea-shore (1151, 1207).

The plays of the Lylyan school, if one may so call it, seem to me to illustrate very precisely, on the side of staging, that blend of the classical and the romantic tempers which is characteristic of the later Renaissance. The mediaeval instinct for a story, which the Elizabethans fully shared, is with difficulty accommodated to the form of an action coherent in place and time, which the Italians had established on the basis of Latin comedy. The Shakespearian romantic drama is on the point of being born. Lyly and his fellow University wits deal with the problem to the best of their ability. They widen the conception of locality, to a city and its environs instead of a street; and even then the narrative[37] sometimes proves unmanageable, and the distance from one end of the stage to the other must represent a foreshortening of leagues, or even of the crossing of an ocean. In the hands of less skilful workmen the tendency was naturally accentuated, and plays had been written, long before Lyly was sent down from Magdalen, in which the episodes of breathless adventure altogether overstepped the most elastic confines of locality. A glance at the titles of the plays presented at Court during the second decade of Elizabeth’s reign will show the extent to which themes drawn from narrative literature were already beginning to oust those of the old interlude type.[104] The new development is apparent in the contributions both of men and of boys; with this distinction, that the boys find their sources mainly in the storehouse of classical history and legend, while the men turn either to contemporary events at home and abroad, or more often to the belated and somewhat jaded versions, still dear to the Elizabethan laity, of mediaeval romance. The break-down of the Italian staging must therefore be regarded from the beginning, as in part at least a result of the reaction of popular taste upon that of the Court. The noblemen’s players came to London when the winter set in, and brought with them the pieces which had delighted bourgeois and village audiences up and down the land throughout the summer; and on the whole it proved easier for the Revels officers to adapt the stage to the plays than the plays to the stage. Nor need it be doubted that, even in so cultivated a Court as that of Elizabeth, the popular taste was not without its echoes.

Of all this wealth of forgotten play-making, only five examples survive; but they are sufficient to indicate the scenic trend.[105] Their affiliation with the earlier interludes is direct. The ‘vice’ and other moral abstractions still mingle with the concrete personages, and the proscenium is still the ‘place’.[106] The simplest setting is that of Cambyses. All is at or within sight of the Persian Court. If any domus was represented, it was the palace, to which there are departures (567, 929). Cambyses consults his council (1–125) and there is a banquet (965–1042) with a ‘boorde’, at the[38] end of which order is given to ‘take all these things away’.[107] In other episodes the Court is ‘yonder’ (732, 938); it is only necessary to suppose that they were played well away from the domus. One is in a ‘feeld so green’ (843–937), and a stage-direction tells us ‘Heere trace up and downe playing’. In another (754–842) clowns are on their way to market.[108] The only other noteworthy point is that, not for the first nor for the last time, a post upon the stage is utilized in the action.[109] Patient Grissell, on the other hand, requires two localities. The more important is Salucia (Saluzzo), where are Gautier’s mansion, Janickell’s cottage, and the house of Mother Apleyarde, a midwife (1306). The other is Bullin Lagras (Bologna), where there are two short episodes (1235–92, 1877–1900) at the house of the Countess of Pango. There can be little doubt that all the domus were staged at once. There is direct transfer of action from Gautier’s to the cottage and back again (612–34; cf. 1719, 2042, 2090). Yet there is some little distance between, for when a messenger is sent, the foreshortening of space is indicated by the stage-direction (1835), ‘Go once or twise about the Staige’.[110] Similarly, unless an ‘Exiunt’ has dropped out, there is direct transfer (1900) from Bullin Lagras to Salucia. In Orestes the problem of discrete localities is quite differently handled. The play falls into five quasi-acts of unequal length, which are situated successively at Mycenae, Crete, Mycenae, Athens, Mycenae. For all, as in Gorboduc, the same sketchy palace background might serve, with one interesting and prophetic exception. The middle episodes (538–925), at Mycenae, afford the first example of those siege scenes which the Shakespearian stage came to love. A messenger brings warning to Aegisthus and Clytemnestra of the purpose of Orestes ‘to inuade this Mycoene Citie stronge’. Aegisthus goes into the ‘realme’, to take up men, and Clytemnestra will defend the city. There is a quarrel between a soldier and a woman and the Vice sings a martial song. Then ‘Horestes entrith with his bande and marcheth about the stage’. He instructs a Herald, who advances with his trumpeter.[39] ‘Let ye trumpet go towarde the Citie and blowe.’ Clytemnestra answers. ‘Let ye trumpet leaue soundyng and let Harrauld speake and Clytemnestra speake ouer ye wal.’ Summons and defiance follow, and Orestes calls on his men for an assault. ‘Go and make your liuely battel and let it be longe, eare you can win ye Citie, and when you haue won it, let Horestes bringe out his mother by the armes, and let ye droum sease playing and the trumpet also, when she is taken.’ But now Aegisthus is at hand. ‘Let Egistus enter and set hys men in a raye, and let the drom play tyll Horestes speaketh.’ There is more fighting, which ends with the capture and hanging of Aegisthus. ‘Fling him of ye lader, and then let on bringe in his mother Clytemnestra; but let her loke wher Egistus hangeth’. Finally Orestes announces that ‘Enter now we wyll the citie gate’. In the two other plays the changes of locality come thick and fast. The action of Clyomon and Clamydes begins in Denmark, and passes successively to Swabia, to the Forest of Marvels on the borders of Macedonia, to the Isle of Strange Marshes twenty days’ sail from Macedonia, to the Forest again, to the Isle again, to Norway, to the Forest, to the Isle, to the Forest, to a road near Denmark, to the Isle, to Denmark. Only two domus are needed, a palace (733) in the Isle, and Bryan Sans Foy’s Castle in the Forest. This is a prison, with a practicable door and a window, from which Clamydes speaks (872). At one point Providence descends and ascends (1550–64). In one of the Forest scenes a hearse is brought in and it is still there in the next (1450, 1534), although a short Isle scene has intervened. This looks as though the two ends of the stage may have been assigned throughout to the two principal localities, the Forest and the Isle. Some care is taken to let the speakers give the audience a clue when a new locality is made use of for the first time. Afterwards the recurrence of characters whom they had already seen would help them. The Norway episode (1121) is the only one which need have much puzzled them. But Clyomon and Clamydes may have made use of a peculiar device, which becomes apparent in the stage-directions of Common Conditions. The play opens in Arabia, where first a spot near the Court and then a wood are indicated; but the latter part alternates between Phrygia, near the sea-shore, and the Isle of Marofus. No domus is necessary, and it must remain uncertain whether the wood was represented by visualized trees. It is introduced (295) with the stage-direction, ‘Here enter Sedmond with Clarisia and Condicions out of the wood’. Similarly Phrygia is introduced (478) with ‘Here entreth Galiarbus out of Phrygia’,[40] and a few lines later (510) we get ‘Here enter Lamphedon out of Phrygia’. Now it is to be noted that the episodes which follow these directions are not away from, but in the wood and Phrygia respectively; and the inference has been drawn that there were labelled doors, entrance through one of which warned the spectators that action was about to take place in the locality whose title the label bore.[111] This theory obtains some plausibility from the use of the gates Homoloydes and Electrae in Jocasta; and perhaps also from the inscribed house of the ruffiana in Serlio’s scena comica, from the early Terence engravings, and from certain examples of lettered mansions in French miracle-plays.[112] But of course these analogies do not go the whole way in support of a practice of using differently lettered entrances to help out an imagined conversion of the same ‘place’ into different localities. More direct confirmation may perhaps be derived from Sidney’s criticism of the contemporary drama in his Defence of Poesie (c. 1583). There are two passages to be cited.[113] The first forms part of an argument that poets are not liars. Their feigning is a convention, and is accepted as such by their hearers. ‘What Childe is there’, says Sidney, ‘that, comming to a Play, and seeing Thebes written in great letters vpon an olde doore, doth beleeue that it is Thebes?’ Later on he deals more formally with the stage, as a classicist, writing after the unity of place had hardened into a doctrine. Even Gorboduc is no perfect tragedy.

‘For it is faulty both in place and time, the two necessary companions of all corporall actions. For where the stage should alwaies represent but one place, and the vttermost time presupposed in it should be, both by Aristotles precept and common reason, but one day, there is both many dayes, and many places, inartificially imagined. But if it be so in Gorboduck, how much more in al the rest? where you shal haue Asia of the one side, and Affrick of the other, and so many other vnder-kingdoms, that the Player, when he commeth in, must ever begin with telling where he is, or els the tale wil not be conceiued. Now ye shal haue three ladies walke to gather flowers, and then we must beleeue the stage to be a Garden. By and by, we heare [41]newes of shipwracke in the same place, and then wee are to blame if we accept it not for a Rock. Vpon the backe of that, comes out a hidious Monster, with fire and smoke, and then the miserable beholders are bounde to take it for a Caue. While in the meantime two Armies flye in, represented with foure swords and bucklers, and then what harde heart will not receiue it for a pitched fielde?’

It is evident that the plays which Sidney has mostly in mind, the ‘al the rest’ of his antithesis with Gorboduc, are precisely those romantic histories which the noblemen’s players in particular were bringing to Court in his day, and of which Clyomon and Clamydes and Common Conditions may reasonably be taken as the characteristic débris. He hints at what we might have guessed that, where changes of scene were numerous, the actual visualization of the different scenes left much to the imagination. He lays his finger upon the foreshortening, which permits the two ends of the stage to stand for localities separated by a considerable distance, and upon the obligation which the players were under to let the opening phrases of their dialogue make it clear where they were supposed to be situated. And it certainly seems from the shorter passage, as if he was also familiar with an alternative or supplementary device of indicating locality by great letters on a door. The whole business remains rather obscure. What happened if the distinct localities were more numerous than the doors? Were the labels shifted, or were the players then driven, as Sidney seems to suggest, to rely entirely upon the method of spoken hints? The labelling of special doors with great letters must be distinguished from the analogous use of great letters, as at the Phormio of 1528, to publish the title of a play.[114] That this practice also survived in Court drama may be inferred from Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy, in which Hieronimo gives a Court play, and bids his assistant (IV. iii. 17) ‘hang up the Title: Our scene is Rhodes’. Even if the ‘scene’ formed part of the title in such cases, it would only name a generalized locality or localities for the play, and would not serve as a clue to the localization of individual episodes.[115][42] A retrospect over this discussion of Tudor staging, which is mainly Court staging, up to a point well subsequent to the establishment of the first regular theatres, seems to offer the following results. The earliest interludes, other than revivals of Plautus and Terence or elements in spectacular disguisings, limited themselves to the setting of the hall in which they were performed, with its doors, hearth, and furniture. In such conditions either exterior or interior action could be indifferently represented. This arrangement, however, soon ceased to satisfy, in the Court at any rate, the sixteenth-century love of decoration; and one or more houses were introduced into the background, probably on a Renaissance rather than a mediaeval suggestion, through which, as well as the undifferentiated doors, the personages could come and go. The addition of an elevated stage enabled traps to be used (All for Money, Gorboduc, Jocasta, Gismond of Salerne, Arraignment of Paris); but here, as in the corresponding device of a descent from above (Gismond of Salerne, Clyomon and Clamydes), it is the mediaeval grading for heaven and hell which lies behind the Renaissance usage. With houses in the background, the normal action becomes uniformly exterior. If a visit is paid to a house, conversation takes place at its door rather than within. The exceptions are rare and tentative, amounting to little more than the provision of a shallow recess within a house, from which personages, usually one or two only, can speak. This may be a window (Two Italian Gentlemen, Promos and Cassandra), a prison (Wit and Wisdom, Promos and Cassandra, Clyomon and Clamydes), a bower (Misogonus, Endymion, Dido, Arraignment of Paris), a tub (Campaspe), a shrine or tomb (Two Italian Gentlemen, Promos and Cassandra), a shop (Thersites, Promos and Cassandra, Campaspe, Sapho and Phao), a bedchamber (Gismund of Salerne, Tom Tyler, Sapho and Phao). Somewhat more difficulty is afforded by episodes in which there is a banquet (Mary Magdalene, Dido, Cambyses), or a law court (Conflict of Conscience), or a king confers with his councillors (Midas, Cambyses). These, according to modern notions, require the setting of a hall; but my impression is that the Italianized imagination of the Elizabethans was content[43] to accept them as taking place more or less out-of-doors, on the steps or in the cortile of a palace, with perhaps some arcaded loggia, such as Serlio suggests, in the background, which would be employed when the action was supposed to be withdrawn from the public market-place or street. And this convention I believe to have lasted well into the Shakespearian period.[116]

The simplicity of this scheme of staging is broken into, when a mediaeval survival or the popular instinct for storytelling faces the producer with a plot incapable of continuous presentation in a single locality. A mere foreshortening of the distance between houses conceived as surrounding one and the same open platea, or as dispersed in the same wood, is hardly felt as a breach of unity. But the principle is endangered, when action within a city is diversified by one or more ‘approach’ episodes, in which the edge of the stage or the steps leading up to it must stand for a road or a wood in the environs (Promos and Cassandra, Sapho and Phao, Dido). It is on the point of abandonment, when the foreshortening is carried so far that one end of the stage represents one locality and the other end another at a distance (Disobedient Child, Mary Magdalene, Endymion, Midas, Patient Grissell). And it has been abandoned altogether, when the same background or a part of it is taken to represent different localities in different episodes, and ingenuity has to be taxed to find means of informing the audience where any particular bit of action is proceeding (Gorboduc, Orestes, Clyomon and Clamydes, Common Conditions).[117]

After considering the classicist group of comedies and tragedies, I suggested that these, taken by themselves, would point to a method of staging at the Elizabethan Court not unlike that recommended by Serlio. The more comprehensive survey now completed points to some revision of that judgement. Two localities at opposite ends of the stage could not, obviously, be worked into a continuous architectural façade. They call for something more on the lines of the multiple setting of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, although the width of the Elizabethan palace halls may perhaps have accommodated[44] a longer stage than that of the Hôtel, and permitted of a less crude juxtaposition of the houses belonging to distinct localities than Mahelot offers us. Any use of perspective, for which there is some Elizabethan evidence, was presumably within the limits of one locality.[118]

The indications of the Revels Accounts, scanty as they are, are not inconsistent with those yielded by the plays.[119] If the Orestes of 1567–8, as may reasonably be supposed, was Pikeryng’s, his ‘howse’ must have been the common structure used successively for Mycenae, Crete, and Athens. The ‘Scotland and a gret Castell on thothere side’ give us the familiar arrangement for two localities. I think that the ‘city’ of the later accounts may stand for a group of houses on one street or market-place, and a ‘mountain’ or ‘wood’ for a setting tout en pastoralle. There were tents for A Game of the Cards in 1582–3, as in Jacob and Esau, a prison for The Four Sons of Fabius in 1579–80, as in several extant plays. I cannot parallel from any early survival the senate house for the Quintus Fabius of 1573–4, but this became a common type of scene at a later date. These are recessed houses, and curtains, quite distinct from the front curtain, if any, were provided by the Revels officers to open and close them, as the needs of the action required. Smaller structures, to which the accounts refer, are also needed by the plays; a well by Endymion, a gibbet by Orestes, a tree by The Arraignment of Paris, and inferentially by all pastoral, and many other plays. The brief record of 1567–8 does not specify the battlement or gated wall, solid enough for Clytemnestra to speak ‘ouer ye wal’, which was a feature in the siege episode of Orestes. Presumably it was part of the ‘howse’, which is mentioned, and indeed it would by itself furnish sufficient background for the scenes alike at Mycenae, Crete, and Athens. If it stood alone, it probably extended along the back of the stage, where it would interfere least with the arrays of Orestes and of Aegisthus. But in the accounts of 1579–85, the plays, of which there are many, with battlements also, as a rule, have cities, and here we must suppose some situation for the battlement which will not interfere with the city. If it stood for the gate and wall of some other city, it may have been reared at an opposite end of the stage. In Dido, where the gate of Troy seems to have been shown, although there is no action ‘ouer’ it, I can visualize it best as extending across the middle of the stage from back to front. With an unchanging setting it need not[45] always have occupied the same place. The large number of plays between 1579 and 1585 which required battlements, no less than fourteen out of twenty-eight in all, is rather striking. No doubt the assault motive was beloved in the popular type of drama, of which Orestes was an early representative. A castle in a wood, where a knight is imprisoned, is assaulted in Clyomon and Clamydes, and the Shakespearian stage never wearied of the device. I have sometimes thought that with the Revels officers ‘battlement’ was a technical term for any platform provided for action at a higher level than the floor of the stage. Certainly a battlement was provided in 1585 for an entertainment which was not a play at all, but a performance of feats of activities.[120] But as a matter of fact raised action, so common in the Shakespearian period, is extremely rare in these early plays. With the exceptions of Clytemnestra peering over her wall, and the descents from heaven in Gismond of Salerne and Clyomon and Clamydes, which may of course have been through the roof rather than from a platform, the seventy or so plays just discussed contain nothing of the kind. There are, however, two plays still to be mentioned, in which use is made of a platform, and one of these gives some colour to my suggestion. In 1582 Derby’s men played Love and Fortune at Court, and a city and a battlement, together with some other structure of canvas, the name of which is left blank, were provided. This may reasonably be identified with the Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune, which claims on its title-page of 1589 to have been played before the Queen. It is a piece of the romantic type. The action is divided between a court and a cave in a wood, which account for the city and the unnamed structure of the Revels record. They were evidently shown together, at opposite ends of the stage, for action passes directly from one to the other. There is no assault scene. But there is an induction, in which the gods are in assembly, and Tisiphone arises from hell. At the end of it Jupiter says to Venus and Fortune:

Take up your places here, to work your will,

and Vulcan comments:

They are set sunning like a crow in a gutter.

They remain as spectators of the play until they ‘shew themselves’ and intervene in the dénouement. Evidently they are in a raised place or balcony. And this balcony must be the battlement. An exact analogy is furnished by[46] the one of Lyly’s plays to which I have not as yet referred. This is The Woman in the Moon, Lyly’s only verse play, and possibly of later date than his group of productions with the Paul’s boys. The first act has the character of an induction. Nature and the seven Planets are on the stage and ‘They draw the curtins from before Natures shop’. During the other four there is a human action in a pastoral setting with a cave, beneath which is a trap, a grove on the bank of Enipeus, and a spot near the sea-shore. And throughout one or other of the Planets is watching the play from a ‘seate’ (II. 176; III. i. 1) above, between which and the stage they ‘ascend’ and ‘descend’ (I. 138, 230; II. 174, 236; III. ii. 35; IV. 3).



[For Bibliographical Note, vide ch. xviii.]

In dealing with the groups of plays brought under review in the last chapter, the main problem considered has been that of their adaptability to the conditions of a Court stage. In the present chapter the point of view must be shifted to that of the common theatres. Obviously no hard and fast line is to be drawn. There had been regular public performances in London since the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign or earlier, and there is no reason to suppose that the adult companies at least did not draw upon the same repertory both for popular and for private representation. But there is not much profit in attempting to investigate the methods of staging in the inns, of which we know nothing more than that quasi-permanent structures of carpenter’s work came in time to supplement the doors, windows, and galleries which surrounded the yards; and so far as the published plays go, it is fairly apparent that, up to the date of the suppression of Paul’s, the Court, or at any rate the private, interest was the dominating one. A turning-point may be discerned in 1576, at the establishment, on the one hand of the Theatre and the Curtain, and on the other of Farrant’s house in the Blackfriars. It is not likely that the Blackfriars did more than reproduce the conditions of a courtly hall. But the investment of capital in the Theatre and the Curtain was an incident in the history of the companies, the economic importance of which has already been emphasized in an earlier discussion.[121] It was followed by the formation of strong theatrical organizations in the Queen’s men, the Admiral’s, Strange’s, the Chamberlain’s. For a time the economic changes are masked by the continued vogue of the boy companies; but when these dropped out at the beginning of the ’nineties, it is clear that the English stage had become a public stage, and that the eyes of its controllers were fixed primarily upon the pence gathered by the box-holders, and[48] only secondarily upon the rewards of the Treasurer of the Chamber.

The first play published ‘as it was publikely acted’ is the Troublesome Raigne of John of 1591, and henceforward I think it is true to say that the staging suggested by the public texts and their directions in the main represents the arrangements of the public theatres. There is no sudden breach of continuity with the earlier period, but that continuity is far greater with the small group of popular plays typified by Clyomon and Clamydes and Common Conditions, than with anything which Lyly and his friends produced at Paul’s or the Blackfriars. Again it is necessary to beware of any exaggeration of antithesis. There is one Chapel play, The Wars of Cyrus, the date of which is obscure, and the setting of which certainly falls on the theatre rather than the Court side of any border-line. On the other hand, the Queen’s men and their successors continued to serve the Court, and one of the published Queen’s plays, The Old Wive’s Tale, was evidently staged in a way exactly analogous to that adopted by Lyly, or by Peele himself in The Arraignment of Paris. It is tout en pastoralle, and about the stage are dispersed a hut with a door, at the threshold of which presenters sit to watch the main action (71, 128, 1163), a little hill or mound with a practicable turf (512, 734, 1034), a cross (173, 521), a ‘well of life’ (743, 773), an inn before which a table is set (904, 916), and a ‘cell’ or ‘studie’ for the conjurer, before which ‘he draweth a curten’ (411, 773, 1060).[122] Of one other play by Peele it is difficult to take any account in estimating evidence as to staging. This is David and Bethsabe, of which the extant text apparently represents an attempt to bring within the compass of a single performance a piece or fragments of a piece originally written in three ‘discourses’. I mention it here, because somewhat undue use has been made of its opening direction in speculations as to the configuration of the back wall of the public stage.[123] It uses the favourite assault motive, and has many changes of locality. The title-page suggests that in its present form it was meant for public performance. But almost anything may lie behind that present form, possibly a Chapel play, possibly a University play, or even a neo-miracle in the tradition of Bale; and the staging of any particular scene[49] may contain original elements, imperfectly adapted to later conditions.

Counting in The Wars of Cyrus then, and counting out The Old Wive’s Tale and David and Bethsabe, there are about seventy-four plays which may reasonably be taken to have been presented upon common stages, between the establishment of the Queen’s men in 1583 and the building of the Globe for the Chamberlain’s men in 1599 and of the Fortune for the Admiral’s men in 1600. With a few exceptions they were also published during the same period, and the scenic arrangements implied by their texts and stage-directions may therefore be looked upon as those of the sixteenth-century theatres. These form the next group for our consideration. Of the seventy-four plays, the original production of nine may with certainty or fair probability be assigned to the Queen’s men, of two to Sussex’s, five to Pembroke’s, fourteen to Strange’s or the Admiral’s or the two in combination, thirteen to the Admiral’s after the combination broke up, seventeen to the Chamberlain’s, three to Derby’s, one to Oxford’s, and one to the Chapel; nine must remained unassigned.[124] It is far less easy to make a guess at the individual theatre whose staging each play represents. The migrations of the companies before 1594 in the main elude us. Thereafter the Admiral’s were settled at the Rose until 1600. The Chamberlain’s may have passed from the Theatre to the Curtain about 1597. The habitations of the other later companies are very conjectural. Moreover, plays were carried[50] from theatre to theatre, and even transferred from company to company. Titus Andronicus, successively presented by Pembroke’s, Strange’s, Sussex’s, and the Chamberlain’s, is an extreme case in point. The ideal method would have been to study the staging of each theatre separately, before coming to any conclusion as to the similarity or diversity of their arrangements. This is impracticable, and I propose therefore to proceed on the assumption that the stages of the Theatre, the Curtain, and the Rose were in their main features similar. For this there is an a priori argument in the convenience of what Mr. Archer calls a ‘standardisation of effects’, especially at a time when the bonds between companies and theatres were so loose.[125] Moreover, the Theatre and the Curtain were built at much the same date, and although there was room for development in the art of theatrical architecture before the addition of the Rose, I am unable, after a careful examination of the relevant plays, to lay my finger upon any definite new feature which Henslowe can be supposed to have introduced. It is exceedingly provoking that the sixteenth-century repertory of the Swan has yielded nothing which can serve as a point de liaison between De Witt’s drawing and the mass of extant texts.

It will be well to begin with some analysis of the various types of scene which the sixteenth-century managers were called upon to produce; and these may with advantage be arranged according to the degree of use which they make of a structural background.[126] There are, of course, a certain number of scenes which make no use of a background at all, and may in a sense be called unlocated scenes—mere bits of conversation which might be carried on between the speakers wherever they happened to meet, and which give no indication of where that meeting is supposed to be. Perhaps these scenes are not so numerous as is sometimes suggested.[127] At any rate it must be borne in mind that they were located[51] to the audience, who saw them against a background, although, if they were kept well to the front or side of the stage, their relation to that background would be minimized.

A great many scenes are in what may be called open country—in a road, a meadow, a grove, a forest, a desert, a mountain, a sea-shore. The personages are travelling, or hunting, or in outlawry, or merely taking the air. The background does not generally include a house in the stricter sense; but there may be a cottage,[128] a hermit’s or friar’s cell,[129] a rustic bower,[130] a cave,[131] a beacon.[132] Even where there is no evidence, in dialogue or stage-directions, for a dwelling, a table or board may be suddenly forthcoming for a banquet.[133] There may be a fountain or well,[134] and a few scenes seem to imply the presence of a river.[135] But often there is no suggestion of any[52] surroundings but rocks or trees, and the references to the landscape, which are frequently put in the mouths of speakers, have been interpreted as intended to stimulate the imagination of spectators before whose eyes no representation, or a very imperfect representation, of wilderness or woodland had been placed.[136] But it is not likely that this literary artifice was alone relied upon, and in some cases practicable trees or rocks are certainly required by the action and must have been represented.[137] There are plays which are set continuously in the open country throughout, or during a succession of scenes, and are thus analogous to Court plays tout en pastoralle. But there are others in which the open-country scenes are only interspersed among scenes of a different type.[138]

Nothing was more beloved by a popular audience, especially in an historical play or one of the Tamburlaine order, than an episode of war. A war scene was often only a variety of the open-country scene. Armies come and go on the road, and a battle naturally takes place in more or less open ground. It may be in a wood, or a tree or river may be introduced.[139] Obviously large forces could not be shown on the stage.


We shall much disgrace,
With four or five most vile and ragged foils,
Right ill disposed in brawl ridiculous,
The name of Agincourt.[140]

The actual fighting tended to be sketchy and symbolical. There were alarums and excursions, much beating of drums and blowing of trumpets. But the stage was often only on the outskirts of the main battle.[141] It served for a duel of protagonists, or for a flight and pursuit of stragglers; and when all was over a triumphant train marched across it. There may be a succession of ‘excursions’ of this kind, in which the stage may be supposed, if you like, to stand for different parts of a battle-field.[142] Battle scenes have little need for background; the inn at St. Albans in Henry VI is an exception due to the fulfilment of an oracular prophecy.[143] A more natural indication of milieu is a tent, and battle scenes merge into camp scenes, in which the tents are sometimes elaborate pavilions, with doors and even locks to the doors. Seats and tables may be available, and the action is clearly sometimes within an opened tent.[144] Two opposing[54] camps can be concurrently represented, and action may alternate between them.[145] Another kind of background is furnished, as in Orestes, by the walls of a besieged city. On these walls the defenders can appear and parley with the besieging host. They can descend and open the gates.[146] They can shoot, and be shot at from below.[147] The walls can be taken by assault and the defenders can leap from them.[148] Such scenes had an unfailing appeal, and are sometimes repeated, before different cities, in the same play.[149]


Several scenes, analogous in some ways to those in the open country, are set in a garden, an orchard, a park. These also sometimes utilize tents.[150] Alternative shelter may be afforded by an arbour or bower, which facilitates eavesdropping.[151][56] The presence of trees, banks, or herbs is often required or suggested.[152] As a rule, the neighbourhood of a dwelling is implied, and from this personages may issue, or may hold discourse with those outside. Juliet’s balcony, overlooking Capulet’s orchard, is a typical instance.[153] A banquet may be brought out and served in the open.[154]

The next great group of scenes consists of those which pass in some public spot in a city—in a street, a market-place, or a churchyard. Especially if the play is located in[57] or near London, this may be a definite and familiar spot—Cheapside, Lombard Street, Paul’s Churchyard, Westminster.[155] Often the action is self-sufficient and the background merely suggestive or decorative. A procession passes; a watch is set; friends meet and converse; a stranger asks his way. But sometimes a structure comes into use. There is a scaffold for an execution.[156] Lists are set, and there must be at least a raised place for the judge, and probably a barrier.[157] One street scene in Soliman and Perseda is outside a tiltyard; another close to an accessible tower.[158] Bills may be set up.[159] In Lord Cromwell this is apparently done on a bridge, and twice in this play it is difficult to resist the conclusion, already[58] pointed to in certain open-country scenes, that some kind of representation of a river-side was feasible.[160] In Rome there are scenes in which the dialogue is partly amongst senators in the capitol and partly amongst citizens within ear-shot outside.[161] A street may provide a corner, again, whence passers-by can be overheard or waylaid.[162] And in it, just as well as in a garden, a lover may hold an assignation, or bring a serenade before the window of his mistress.[163] A churchyard,[59] or in a Roman play a market-place, may hold a tomb.[164] Finally one or more shops may be visible, and action may take place within them as well as before them.[165] Such a shop would, of course, be nothing more than a shallow stall, with an open front for the display of wares, which may be closed by a shutter or flap from above.[166] It may also, like the inn in Henry VI, have a sign.[167]

Where there is a window, there can of course be a door, and street scenes very readily become threshold scenes. I do not think that it has been fully realized how large a proportion[60] of the action of Elizabethan plays passes at the doors of houses; and as a result the problem of staging, difficult enough anyhow, has been rendered unnecessarily difficult. Here we have probably to thank the editors of plays, who have freely interspersed their texts with notes of locality, which are not in the original stage-directions, and, with eighteenth-century models before them, have tended to assume that action at a house is action in some room within that house. The playwrights, on the other hand, followed the neo-classic Italian tradition, and for them action at a house was most naturally action before the door of that house. If a man visited his friend he was almost certain to meet him on the doorstep; and here domestic discussions, even on matters of delicacy, commonly took place. Here too, of course, meals might be served.[168] A clue to this convention is afforded by the numerous passages in which a servant or other personage is brought on to the stage by a ‘Who’s within?’ or a call to ‘Come forth!’ or in which an episode is wound up by some such invitation as ‘Let us in!’ No doubt such phrases remain appropriate when it is merely a question of transference between an outer room and an inner; and no doubt also the point of view of the personages is sometimes deflected by that of the actors, to whom ‘in’ means ‘in the tiring-room’ and ‘out’ means ‘on the stage’.[169] But, broadly speaking, the frequency of their use points to a corresponding frequency of threshold scenes; and, where there is a doubt, they should, I think, be interpreted in the light of that economy of interior action which was very evident in the mid-sixteenth-century plays, and in my opinion continued to prevail after the opening of the theatres. The use of a house door was so frequent that the stage-directions do not, as a rule, trouble to specify it.[170] Two complications are, however, to be observed.[61] Sometimes, in a scene which employs the ‘Let us in!’ formula, or on other ground looks like a threshold scene, we are suddenly pulled up either by a suggestion of the host that we are ‘in’ his house or under his roof, or by an indication that persons outside are to be brought ‘in’.[171] The first answer is, I think, that the threshold is not always a mere doorstep opening from the street; it may be something of the nature of a porch or even a lobby, and that you may fairly be said to be under a man’s roof when you are in his porch.[172] The second is that in some threshold scenes the stage was certainly regarded as representing a courtyard, shut off from the street or road by an outer gate, through which strangers could quite properly be supposed to come ‘in’.[173] Such courtyard scenes are not out of place, even[62] before an ordinary private house; still less, of course, when the house is a castle, and in a castle courtyard scene we get very near the scenes with ‘walls’ already described.[174] Some prison scenes, in the Tower or elsewhere, are apparently of this type, although others seem to require interior action in a close chamber or even a dungeon.[175] Threshold scenes may also be before the outer gate of a palace or castle, where another analogy to assault scenes presents itself;[176] or before a church or temple, a friar’s cell, an inn, a stable, or the like.[177] Nor are shop scenes, since a shop may be a mere adjunct to a house, really different in kind.


The threshold theory must not be pushed to a disregard of the clear evidence for a certain amount of interior action. We have already come across examples of shallow recesses, such as a tent, a cave, a bower, a tomb, a shop, a window, within which, or from within which, personages can speak. There are also scenes which must be supposed to take place within a room. In dealing with these, I propose to distinguish between spacious hall scenes and limited chamber scenes. Hall scenes are especially appropriate to palaces. Full value should no doubt be given to the extension in a palace of a porch to a portico, and to the convention, which kings as well as private men follow in Elizabethan plays, especially those located in Italian or Oriental surroundings, of transacting much important business more or less out-of-doors.[178] The characteristic Roman ‘senate house’, already described, is a case in point.[179] But some scenes must be in a closed presence-chamber.[180] Others are in a formal council room or parliament house. The conception of a hall, often with a numerous company, cannot therefore be altogether excluded. Nor are halls confined to palaces. They must be assumed for law courts.[181] There are scenes in such buildings as the[64] London Exchange, Leadenhall, the Regent House at Oxford.[182] There are scenes in churches or heathen temples and in monasteries.[183] There are certainly also hall scenes in castles or private houses, and it is sometimes a matter of taste whether you assume a hall scene or a threshold scene.[184] Certain features of hall scenes may be enumerated. Personages can go into, or come forth from, an inner room. They can be brought in from without.[185] Seats are available, and a chair or ‘state’ for a sovereign.[186] A law court has its ‘bar’. Banquets can be served.[187] Masks[65] may come dancing in.[188] Even a play ‘within a play’ can be presented; that of Bottom and his fellows in ‘the great chamber’ of Theseus’ palace is an example.[189]

My final group is formed by the chamber scenes, in which the action is clearly regarded as within the limits of an ordinary room. They are far from numerous, in proportion to the total number of scenes in the seventy-three plays, and in view of their importance in relation to staging all for which there is clear evidence must be put upon record. Most of them fall under two or three sub-types, which tend to repeat themselves. The commonest are perhaps bedchamber scenes.[190] These, like prison scenes, which are also frequent,[66] give opportunity for tragic episodes of death and sickness.[191][67] There are scenes in living-rooms, often called ‘studies’.[192][68] A lady’s bower,[193] a counting-house,[194] an inn parlour,[195] a buttery,[196] a gallery,[197] may also be represented.


This then is the practical problem, which the manager of an Elizabethan theatre had to solve—the provision of settings,[70] not necessarily so elaborate or decorative as those of the Court, but at least intelligible, for open country scenes, battle and siege scenes, garden scenes, street and threshold scenes, hall scenes, chamber scenes. Like the Master of the Revels, he made far less use of interior action than the modern or even the Restoration producer of plays; but he could not altogether avoid it, either on the larger scale of a hall scene, in which a considerable number of persons had occasionally to be staged for a parliament or a council or the like, or on the smaller scale when only a few persons had to be shown in a chamber, or in the still shallower enclosure which might stand as part of a mainly out-of-doors setting for a cell, a bower, a cave, a tent, a senate house, a window, a tomb, a shop, a porch, a shrine, a niche.[198] Even more than the Master of the Revels, he had to face the complication due to the taste of an English audience for romantic or historical drama, and the changes of locality which a narrative theme inevitably involved. Not for him, except here and there in a comedy, that blessed unity of place upon which the whole dramatic art of the Italian neo-classic school had been built up. Our corresponding antiquarian problem is to reconstruct, so far as the evidence permits, the structural resources which were[71] at the Elizabethan manager’s disposal for the accomplishment of his task. As material we have the numerous indications in dialogue and stage-directions with which the footnotes to this chapter are groaning; we have such contemporary allusions as those of Dekker’s Gull’s Hornbook; we have the débris of Philip Henslowe’s business memoranda; we have the tradition inherited from the earlier Elizabethan period, for all the types of scene usual in the theatres had already made their appearance before the theatres came into existence; to a much less degree, owing to the interposition of the roofed and rectangular Caroline theatre, we have also the tradition bequeathed to the Restoration; and as almost sole graphic presentment we have that drawing of the Swan theatre by Johannes de Witt, which has already claimed a good deal of our consideration, and to which we shall have to return from time to time, as a point de repère, in the course of the forthcoming discussion. It is peculiarly unfortunate that of all the seventy-three plays, now under review, not one can be shown to have been performed at the Swan, and that the only relics of the productions at that house, the plot of England’s Joy of 1602 and Middleton’s Chaste Maid in Cheapside of 1611, stand at such a distance of time from DeWitt’s drawing as not to exclude the hypothesis of an intermediate reconstruction of its stage. One other source of information, which throws a sidelight or two upon the questions at issue, I will here deal with at more length, because it has been a good deal overlooked. The so-called ‘English Wagner Book’ of 1594, which contains the adventures of Wagner after the death of his master Faustus, although based upon a German original, is largely an independent work by an author who shows more than one sign of familiarity with the English theatre.[199] The most important of these is in chapter viii, which is headed ‘The Tragedy of Doctor Faustus seene in the Ayre, and acted in the presence of a thousand people of Wittenberg. An. 1540’. It describes, not an actual performance, but an aerial vision produced by Wagner’s magic arts for the bewilderment of an imperial pursuivant. The architecture has therefore, no doubt, its elements of fantasy. Nevertheless,[72] it is our nearest approach to a pen picture of an Elizabethan stage, whereby to eke out that of De Witt’s pencil.

‘They might distinctly perceiue a goodlye Stage to be reard (shining to sight like the bright burnish golde) uppon many a faire Pillar of clearest Cristall, whose feete rested uppon the Arch of the broad Raynebow, therein was the high Throne wherein the King should sit, and that prowdly placed with two and twenty degrees to the top, and round about curious wrought chaires for diverse other Potentates, there might you see the ground-worke at the one end of the Stage whereout the personated divels should enter in their fiery ornaments, made like the broad wide mouth of an huge Dragon ... the teeth of this Hels-mouth far out stretching.... At the other end in opposition was seene the place where in the bloudlesse skirmishes are so often perfourmed on the Stage, the Wals ... of ... Iron attempered with the most firme steele ... environed with high and stately Turrets of the like metall and beautye, and hereat many in-gates and out-gates: out of each side lay the bended Ordinaunces, showing at their wide hollowes the crueltye of death: out of sundry loopes many large Banners and Streamers were pendant, brieflye nothing was there wanting that might make it a faire Castle. There might you see to be short the Gibbet, the Posts, the Ladders, the tiring-house, there everything which in the like houses either use or necessity makes common. Now above all was there the gay Clowdes Vsque quaque adorned with the heavenly firmament, and often spotted with golden teares which men callen Stars. There was lively portrayed the whole Imperiall Army of the faire heavenly inhabitaunts.... This excellent faire Theator erected, immediatly after the third sound of the Trumpets, there entreth in the Prologue attired in a blacke vesture, and making his three obeysances, began to shew the argument of that Scenicall Tragedy, but because it was so far off they could not understand the wordes, and having thrice bowed himselfe to the high Throne, presently vanished.’

The action of the play is then described. Devils issue from hell mouth and besiege the castle. Faustus appears on the battlements and defies them. Angels descend from heaven to the tower and are dismissed by Faustus. The devils assault the castle, capture Faustus and raze the tower. The great devil and all the imperial rulers of hell occupy the throne and chairs and dispute with Faustus. Finally,

‘Faustus ... leapt down headlong of the stage, the whole company immediatly vanishing, but the stage with a most monstrous thundering crack followed Faustus hastely, the people verily thinking that they would have fallen uppon them ran all away.’

The three salient features of the Swan stage, as depicted by De Witt, are, firstly the two pairs of folding doors in the back wall; secondly, the ‘heavens’ supported on posts, which give the effect of a division of the space into a covered rear[73] and an uncovered front; and thirdly, the gallery or row of boxes, which occupies the upper part of the back wall. Each of these lends itself to a good deal of comment. The two doors find abundant confirmation from numerous stage-directions, which lead up to the favourite dramatic device of bringing in personages from different points to meet in the centre of the stage. The formula which agrees most closely with the drawing is that which directs entrance ‘at one door’ and ‘at the other door’, and is of very common use.[200] But there are a great many variants, which are used, as for example in the plot of 2 Seven Deadly Sins, with such indifference as to suggest that no variation of structure is necessarily involved.[201] Thus an equally common antithesis is that between ‘one door’ and, not ‘the other door’, but ‘an other door’.[202] Other analogous expressions are ‘one way’ and ‘at an other door’, ‘one way’ and ‘another way’, ‘at two sundry doors’, ‘at diverse doors’, ‘two ways’, ‘met by’;[203] or again, ‘at several doors’, ‘several ways’, ‘severally’.[204] There is a divergence, however, from De Witt’s indications, when we come upon terminology which suggests that more than two doors may have been available for entrances, a possibility with which the references to ‘one door’ and ‘an other’ are themselves not inconsistent. Thus in one of the 2 Seven Deadly Sins variants, after other personages have entered ‘seuerall waies’, we find ‘Gorboduk entreing in the midst between’. There are other examples of triple entrance in Fair Em, in Patient Grissell, and in The[74] Trial of Chivalry, although it is not until the seventeenth century that three doors are in so many words enumerated.[205] We get entrance ‘at every door’, however, in The Downfall of Robin Hood, and this, with other more disputable phrases, might perhaps be pressed into an argument that even three points of entrance did not exhaust the limits of practicability.[206] It should be added that, while doors are most commonly indicated as the avenue of entrance, this is not always the case. Sometimes personages are said to enter from one or other ‘end’, or ‘side’, or ‘part’ of the stage.[207] I take it that the three terms have the same meaning, and that the ‘end’ of a stage wider than its depth is what we should call its ‘side’. A few minor points about doors may be[75] noted, and the discussion of a difficulty may be deferred.[208] Some entrances were of considerable size; an animal could be ridden on and off.[209] There were practicable and fairly solid doors; in A Knack to Know an Honest Man, a door is taken off its hinges.[210] And as the doors give admittance indifferently to hall scenes and to out-of-door scenes, it is obvious that the term, as used in the stage-directions, often indicates a part of the theatrical structure rather than a feature properly belonging to a garden or woodland background.[211]

Some observations upon the heavens have already been made in an earlier chapter.[212] I feel little doubt that, while the supporting posts had primarily a structural object, and probably formed some obstacle to the free vision of the spectators, they were occasionally worked by the ingenuity of the dramatists and actors into the ‘business’ of the plays. The hints for such business are not very numerous, but they are sufficient to confirm the view that the Swan was not the only sixteenth-century theatre in which the posts existed. Thus in a street scene of Englishmen for my Money and in an open country scene of Two Angry Women of Abingdon we get episodes in which personages groping in the darkness stumble up against posts, and the second of these is particularly illuminating, because the victim utters a malediction upon the carpenter who set the post up, which a carpenter may have done upon the stage, but certainly did not do in a coney burrow.[213] In Englishmen for my Money the posts are taken for maypoles, and there are two of them. There[76] are two of them also in Three Lords and Three Ladies of London, a post and ‘the contrarie post’, and to one of them a character is bound, just as Kempe tells us that pickpockets taken in a theatre were bound.[214] The binding to a post occurs also in Soliman and Perseda.[215] In James IV and in Lord Cromwell bills are set up on the stage, and for this purpose the posts would conveniently serve.[216] All these are out-of-door scenes, but there was a post in the middle of a warehouse in Every Man In his Humour, and Miles sits down by a post during one of the scenes in the conjurer’s cell in Bacon and Bungay.[217] I am not oblivious of the fact that there were doubtless other structural posts on the stage besides those of the heavens, but I do not see how they can have been so conspicuous or so well adapted to serve in the action.[218] Posts may have supported the gallery, but I find it difficult to visualize the back of the stage without supposing these to have been veiled by the hangings. But two of them may have become visible when the hangings were drawn, or some porch-like projection from the back wall may have had its posts, and one of these may be in question, at any rate in the indoor scenes.

The roof of the heavens was presumably used to facilitate certain spectacular effects, the tradition of which the public theatres inherited from the miracle-plays and the Court stage.[219] Startling atmospheric phenomena were not infrequently represented.[220] These came most naturally in out-of-door scenes, but I have noted one example in a scene which on general grounds one would classify as a hall scene.[221] The[77] illusion may not have gone much beyond a painted cloth drawn under the roof of the heavens.[222] More elaborate machinery may have been entailed by aerial ascents and descents, which were also not uncommon. Many Elizabethan actors were half acrobats, and could no doubt fly upon a wire; but there is also clear evidence for the use of a chair let down from above.[223] And was the arrangement of cords and pulleys required for this purpose also that by which the chair of state, which figures in so many hall scenes and even a few out-of-door scenes, was put into position?[224] Henslowe had a throne made in the heavens of the Rose in 1595.[225] Jonson sneered at the jubilation of boyhood over the descent of the creaking chair.[226] The device would lighten the labours of the tire-man, for a state would be an awkward thing to carry on and off. It would avoid the presence of a large incongruous property on the stage during action to which it was inappropriate. And it would often serve as a convenient[78] signal for the beginning or ending of a hall scene. But to this aspect of the matter I must return.[227] Whatever the machinery, it must have been worked in some way from the upper part of the tire-house; possibly from the somewhat obscure third floor, which De Witt’s drawing leaves to conjecture; possibly from the superstructure known as the hut, if that really stood further forward than De Witt’s drawing suggests. Perhaps the late reference to Jove leaning on his elbows in the garret, or employed to make squibs and crackers to grace the play, rather points to the former hypothesis.[228] In favour of the latter, for what it is worth, is the description, also late, of a theatre set up by the English actors under John Spencer at Regensburg in 1613. This had a lower stage for music, over that a main stage thirty feet high with a roof supported by six great pillars, and under the roof a quadrangular aperture, through which beautiful effects were contrived.[229]

There has been a general abandonment of the hypothesis, which found favour when De Witt’s drawing was first discovered, of a division of the stage into an inner and an outer part by a ‘traverse’ curtain running between the two posts, perhaps supplemented by two other curtains running from the posts back to the tire-house.[230] Certainly I do not wish to revive it. Any such arrangement would be inconsistent with the use of the tire-house doors and gallery in out-of-door scenes; for, on the hypothesis, these were played with the traverse closed. And it would entail a serious interference with the vision of such scenes by spectators sitting far round in the galleries or ‘above the stage’. It does not, of course, follow that no use at all was made of curtains upon the stage. It is true that no hangings of any kind are shown by De Witt. Either there were none visible when he drew the Swan in 1596, or, if they were visible, he failed to draw them; it is impossible to say which. We know that even the Swan was not altogether undraped in 1602, for during the riot which followed the ‘cousening prancke’ of England’s Joy in that year the audience are said to have[79] ‘revenged themselves upon the hangings, curtains, chairs, stooles, walles, and whatsoever came in their way’.[231] It is not, indeed, stated that these hangings and curtains were upon the stage, and possibly, although not very probably, they may have been in the auditorium. Apart, however, from the Swan, there is abundant evidence for the use of some kind of stage hangings in the public theatres of the sixteenth century generally. To the references in dialogue and stage-directions quoted in the footnotes to this chapter may be added the testimony of Florio in 1598, of Ben Jonson in 1601, of Heywood in 1608, and of Flecknoe after the Restoration.[232] We can go further, and point to several passages which attest a well-defined practice, clearly going back to the sixteenth century, of using black hangings for the special purpose of providing an appropriate setting for a tragedy.[233] Where then were these hangings? For a front[80] curtain, on the public stage, as distinct from the Court stage, there is no evidence whatever, and the precautions taken to remove dead bodies in the course of action enable us quite safely to leave it out of account.[234] There may have been hangings of a decorative kind in various places, of course; round the base of the stage, for example, or dependent, as Malone thought, from the heavens. But the only place where we can be sure that there were hangings was what Heywood calls the ‘fore-front’ of the stage, by which it seems clear from Florio that he means the fore-front of the tiring-house, which was at the same time the back wall of the stage. It is, I believe, exclusively to hangings in this region that our stage-directions refer. Their terminology is not quite uniform. ‘Traverse’ I do not find in a sixteenth-century public play.[235] By far the most common term is ‘curtain’, but I do not think that there is any technical difference between ‘curtain’ and the not infrequent ‘arras’ or the unique ‘veil’ of The Death of Robin Hood.[236] ‘Arras’ is the ordinary Elizabethan name for a hanging[81] of tapestry used as a wall decoration, and often projected from a frame so as to leave a narrow space, valuable to eavesdroppers and other persons in need of seclusion, between itself and the wall. The stage arras serves precisely this purpose as a background to interior scenes. Here stand the murderers in King John; here Falstaff goes to sleep in 1 Henry IV; and here too he proposes to ‘ensconce’ himself, in order to avoid being confronted with both his ladyloves together in The Merry Wives.[237]

The stage-directions, however, make it quite clear that the curtains were not merely an immovable decoration of the back wall. They could be ‘opened’ and ‘shut’ or ‘closed’; and either operation could indifferently be expressed by the term ‘drawn’. This drawing was presumably effected by sliding the curtain laterally along a straight rod to which it was affixed by rings sewn on to its upper edge; there is no sign of any rise or fall of the curtain. The operator may be an actor upon the stage; in Bacon and Bungay Friar Bacon draws the curtains ‘with a white sticke’. He may be the speaker of a prologue.[238] Whether the ‘servitours’ of a theatre ever came upon the stage, undisguised, to draw the curtains, I am uncertain; but obviously it would be quite easy to work the transformation from behind, by a cord and pulley, without any visible intervention.[239] The object of the drawing is to introduce interior action, either in a mere recess, or in a larger space, such as a chamber; and this, not only where curtains are dramatically appropriate, as within a house, or at the door of a tent, but also where they are less so, as before a cave or a forest bower. One may further accept the term ‘discovered’ as indicating the unveiling of an interior by the play of a curtain, even when the curtain is not specifically mentioned;[240] and may recognize that the stage-directions sometimes use ‘Enter’ and ‘Exit’[82] in a loose sense of persons, who do not actually move in or out, but are ‘discovered’, or covered, by a curtain.[241]

Of what nature, then, was the space so disclosed? There was ordinarily, as already stated, a narrow space behind an arras; and if the gallery above the stage jutted forward, or had, as the Swan drawing perhaps indicates, a projecting weather-board, this might be widened into a six- or seven-foot corridor, still in front of the back wall.[242] Such a corridor would, however, hardly give the effect of a chamber, although it might that of a portico. Nor would it be adequate in size to hold all the scenes which it is natural to class as chamber scenes; such, for example, as that in Tamburlaine, where no less than ten persons are discovered grouped around Zenocrate’s bed.[243] The stage-directions themselves do not help us much; that in Alphonsus alone names ‘the place behind the stage’, and as this is only required to contain the head of Mahomet, a corridor, in this particular scene, would have sufficed.[244] There is, however, no reason why the opening curtains should not have revealed a quite considerable aperture in the back wall, and an alcove or recess of quite considerable size lying behind this aperture. With a 43-foot stage, as at the Fortune, and doors placed rather nearer the ends of it than De Witt shows them, it would be possible to get a 15-foot aperture, and still leave room for the drawn curtains to hang between the aperture and the doors. Allow 3 feet for the strip of stage between arras and wall, and a back-run of 10 feet behind the wall, and you get an adequate chamber of 15 feet × 13 feet. My actual measurements are, of course, merely illustrative. There would be advantages, as regards vision, in not making the alcove too deep. The height, if the gallery over the stage ran in a line with the middle gallery for spectators, would be about 8 feet or 9 feet; rather low, I admit.[245] A critic may point out that behind the back wall of the outer stage lay the tire-house, and that the 14-foot deep framework of a theatre no greater in dimensions than the Fortune does not leave room for an inner stage in addition to the tire-house. I think the answer is that the ‘place behind the stage’ was in fact nothing but an enclave within the tire-house, that its walls consisted of nothing but screens covered with some more arras, that these were only put up when they were needed for some particular scene, and that[83] when they were up, although they extended to nearly the full depth of the tire-house, they did not occupy its full width, but left room on either side for the actors to crowd into, and for the stairs leading to the upper floors. When no interior scene had to be set, there was nothing between the tire-house and the outer stage but the curtains; and this renders quite intelligible the references quoted in an earlier chapter to actors peeping through a curtain at the audience, and to the audience ‘banding tile and pear’ against the curtains, to allure the actors forth.[246] I do not think it is necessary to assume that there was a third pair of folding doors permanently fixed in the aperture.[247] They would be big and clumsy, although no doubt they would help to keep out noise. In any case, there is not much evidence on the point. If Tarlton’s head was seen ‘the Tire-House doore and tapistrie betweene’, he may very well have gone to the end of the narrow passage behind the arras, and looked out where that was broken by one of the side-doors. No doubt, however, the aperture is the third place of entrance ‘in the midst’, which the stage-directions or action of some plays require, and which, as such, came to be regarded as a third door.[248]

A. SQUARE THEATRE (Proportions of Fortune)

I conceive, therefore, of the alcove as a space which the tire-man, behind the curtains and in close proximity to the screens and properties stored in the tire-house, can arrange as he likes, without any interruption to continuous action proceeding on the outer stage. He can put up a house-front with a door, and if needed, a porch. He can put up a shop, or for that matter, a couple of adjacent shops. He can put up the arched gates of a city or castle. These are comparatively shallow structures. But he can also take advantage of the whole depth of the space, and arrange a chamber, a cave, or a bower, furnishing it as he pleases, and adding doors at the back or side, or a back window, which would enable him to give more light, even if only borrowed light from the tire-house, to an interior scene.[249] One point, however, is rather puzzling. There are some scenes which imply entrance to a chamber, not from behind, but from the open stage in front, and by a visible door which can be knocked at or locked. Thus in Romeo and Juliet, of which all the staging is rather difficult on any hypothesis, the Friar observes Juliet coming towards his cell, and after they have discoursed[84] Juliet bids him shut the door. Here, no doubt, the Friar may have looked out and seen Juliet through a back window, and she may have entered by a back door. But in an earlier scene, where we get the stage-direction ‘Enter Nurse and knockes’, and the knocking is repeated until the Nurse is admitted to the cell, we are, I think, bound to suppose that the entry is in front, in the sight of the audience, and antecedent to the knocking.[250] Perhaps an even clearer case is in Captain Thomas Stukeley, where Stukeley’s chamber in the Temple is certainly approached from the open stage by a door at which Stukeley’s father knocks, and which is unlocked and locked again.[251] Yet how can a door be inserted in that side of a chamber which is open to the stage and the audience. Possibly it was a very conventional door set across the narrow space between the arras and the back wall[85] of the main stage, at the corner of the aperture and at right angles to its plane. The accompanying diagrams will perhaps make my notion of the inner stage clearer.

B. OCTAGONAL THEATRE (e.g. Globe; size of Fortune)

It has been suggested, by me as well as by others, that the inner stage may have been raised by a step or two above the outer stage.[252] On reflection, I now think this unlikely. There would be none too much height to spare, at any rate if the height of the alcove was determined by that of the spectators’ galleries. The only stage-direction which suggests any such arrangement is in the Death of Robin Hood, where the King sits in a chair behind the curtains, and the Queen ascends to him and descends again.[253] But even if the tire-man put up an exalted seat in this case, there need have been no permanent elevation. The missing woodcut of the Anglo-German stage at Frankfort in 1597 is said to have shown a raised inner stage;[86] but until it is recovered, it is difficult to estimate its value as testimony upon the structure of the London theatres.[254]

It must not, of course, be taken for granted that every curtain, referred to in text or stage-directions as ‘drawn’, was necessarily a back curtain disclosing an alcove. In some, although not all, of the bedchamber scenes the indications do not of themselves exclude the hypothesis of a bed standing on the open stage and the revealing of the occupant by the mere drawing of bed-curtains.[255] I do not think there is any certain example of such an arrangement in a sixteenth-century play.[256] But tents also could be closed by curtains, and the plot of 2 Seven Deadly Sins requires Henry VI to lie asleep in ‘A tent being plast one the stage’, while dumb-shows enter ‘at one dore’ and ‘at an other dore’.[257] However it may have been with other theatres, we cannot, on the evidence before us, assert that the Swan had an alcove at all; and if it had not, it was probably driven to provide for chamber scenes by means of some curtained structure on the stage itself.

On the other hand, it must not be supposed that every case, in which a back curtain was drawn, will have found record in the printed book of the play concerned; and when the existence of an alcove has once been established, it becomes legitimate to infer its use for various chamber and analogous scenes, to the presentation of which it would have been well adapted. But this inference, again, must not be twisted into a theory that the stage in front of the back wall served only for out-of-door scenes, and that all interior action was housed, wholly or in part, in the alcove. This is, I think, demonstrably untrue, as regards the large group of indoor scenes which I have called hall scenes. In the first place, the alcove would not have been spacious enough to be of any value for a great many of the hall scenes. You could not stage spectacular action, such as that of a coronation, a sitting of parliament, or a trial at the bar, in a box of 15 by 13 feet and only 9 feet high. A group of even so many as ten persons clustered round a bed is quite another thing. I admit the device of the so-called ‘split’ scene, by which action[87] beginning in the alcove is gradually extended so as to take the whole of the stage into its ambit.[258] This might perhaps serve for a court of justice, with the judges in the alcove, the ‘bar’ drawn across the aperture, and the prisoners brought in before it. A scene in which the arras is drawn in Sir Thomas More points to such a setting.[259] But a scene in which a royal ‘state’ is the dominating feature would be singularly ineffective if the state were wedged in under the low roof of the alcove; and if I am right in thinking that the ‘state’ normally creaked down into its position from the heavens, it would clearly land, not within the alcove, but upon the open stage in front of it. Indeed, if it could be placed into position behind a curtain, there would be no reason for bringing it from the heavens at all. Then, again, hall scenes are regularly served by two or more doors, which one certainly would not suppose from the stage-directions to be any other than the doors similarly used to approach out-of-door scenes; and they frequently end with injunctions to ‘come in’, which would be superfluous if the personages on the stage could be withdrawn from sight by the closing of the curtain. Occasionally, moreover, the gallery over the stage comes into play in a hall scene, in a way which would not be possible if the personages were disposed in the alcove, over which, of course, this gallery projected.[260] Some of these considerations tell more directly against the exclusive use of the alcove for hall scenes, than against its use in combination with the outer stage; and this combined use, where suitable, I am quite prepared to allow. But ordinarily, I think, the hall scenes were wholly on the outer stage; and this must necessarily have been the case where two rooms were employed, of which one opens out behind the other.[261]

It may be said that the main object of the curtain is to allow of the furniture and decorations of a ‘set’ scene, which is usually an interior scene, being put in place behind it, without any interruption to the continuous progress of an[88] act; and that hall scenes cannot be set properly, unless they also are behind the curtain line. I do not think that there is much in this argument. A hall scene does not require so much setting as a chamber scene. It is sufficiently furnished, at any rate over the greater part of its area, with the state and such lesser seats as can very readily be carried on during the opening speeches or during the procession by which the action is often introduced. A bar can be set up, or a banquet spread, or a sick man brought in on his chair, as part of the action itself.[262] Even an out-of-door scene, such as an execution or a duel in the lists, sometimes demands a similar adjustment;[263] it need no more give pause than the analogous devices entailed by the removal of dead bodies from where they have fallen.

I must not be taken to give any countenance to the doctrine that properties, incongruous to the particular scene that was being played, were allowed to stand on the public Elizabethan stage, and that the audience, actually or through a convention, was not disturbed by them.[264] This doctrine appears to me to rest upon misunderstandings of the evidence produced in its support, and in particular upon a failure to distinguish between the transitional methods of setting employed by Lyly and his clan, and those of the permanent theatres with which we are now concerned. The former certainly permitted of incongruities in the sense that, as the neo-classic stage strove to adapt itself to a romantic subject-matter, separate localities, with inconsistent properties, came to be set at one and the same time in different regions of the stage. But the system proved inadequate to the needs of romanticism, as popular audiences understood it; and, apart from some apparent rejuvenescence in the ‘private’ houses, with which I must deal later, it gave way, about the time of the building of the permanent theatres, to the alternative system, by which different localities were represented, not synchronously but successively, and each in its turn had full occupation of the whole field of the stage. This full occupation[89] was not, I venture to think, qualified by the presence in any scene of a property inappropriate to that scene, but retained there because it had been used for some previous, or was to be used for some coming, scene. I do not mean to say that some colourless or insignificant property, such as a bench, may not have served, without being moved, first in an indoors and then in an out-of-doors scene. But that the management of the Theatre or the Rose was so bankrupt in ingenuity that the audience had to watch a coronation through a fringe of trees or to pretend unconsciousness while the strayed lovers in a forest dodged each other round the corners of a derelict ‘state’, I, for one, see no adequate reason to believe. It is chiefly the state and the trees which have caused the trouble. But, after all, a state which has creaked down can creak up again, just as a banquet or a gallows which has been carried on can be carried off. Trees are perhaps a little more difficult. A procession of porters, each with a tree in his arms, would be a legitimate subject for the raillery of The Admirable Bashville. A special back curtain painted en pastoralle would hardly be adequate, even if there were any evidence for changes of curtain; trees were certainly sometimes practicable and therefore quasi-solid.[265] The alcove, filled with shrubs, would by itself give the illusion of a greenhouse rather than a forest; moreover, the alcove was available in forest scenes to serve as a rustic bower or cottage.[266] Probably the number of trees dispersed over the body of the stage was not great; they were a symbolical rather than a realistic setting. On the whole, I am inclined to think that, at need, trees ascended and descended through traps; and that this is not a mere conjecture is suggested by a few cases in which the ascent and descent, being part of a conjuring action, are recorded in the stage-directions.[267] One of these shows that the traps would carry not merely a tree but an arbour. The traps had, of course, other functions. Through them[90] apparitions arose and sank;[268] Jonah was spewed up from the whale’s belly;[269] and the old device of hell-mouth still kept alive a mediaeval tradition.[270] Only primitive hydraulics would have been required to make a fountain flow or a fog arise;[271] although it may perhaps be supposed that the episodes, in which personages pass to and from boats or fling themselves into a river, were performed upon the extreme edge of the stage rather than over a trap.[272] I do not find any clear case, in the public sixteenth-century theatres, of the convention apparently traceable in Lyly and Whetstone, by which the extreme edge of the stage is used for ‘approach’ scenes, as when a traveller arrives from afar, or when some episode has to be represented in the environs of a city which furnishes the principal setting.[273] And I think it would certainly be wrong to regard the main stage, apart from the alcove, as divided into an inner area covered by the heavens and an outer area, not so covered and appropriate to open-country scenes. Indeed, the notion that any substantial section of the stage appeared to the audience not to lie under the heavens is in my view an illusion due to the unskilful draughtsmanship of De Witt or his copyist. Skyey phenomena belong most naturally to open-country scenes, nor are these wholly debarred from the use of the state; and the machinery employed in both cases seems to imply the existence of a superincumbent heavens.[274]

I come finally to the interesting question of the gallery above the stage. This, in the Swan drawing, may project very slightly over the scenic wall, and is divided by short vertical columns into six small compartments, in each of which one or two occupants are sitting. They might, of course, be personages in the play; but, if so, they seem curiously dissociated from the action. They might be musicians, but they appear to include women, and there is no clear sign of musical instruments. On the whole, they have the air of spectators.[275] However this may be, let us recall[91] what has already been established in an earlier chapter, that there is conclusive evidence for some use of the space above the stage for spectators, at least until the end of the sixteenth century, and for some use of it as a music-room, at least during the seventeenth century.[276] With these uses we have to reconcile the equally clear indications that this region, or some part of it, was available when needed, throughout the whole of the period under our consideration, as a field for dramatic action. For the moment we are only concerned with the sixteenth century. A glance back over my footnotes will show many examples in which action is said to be ‘above’ or ‘aloft’, or is accompanied by the ascent or descent of personages from or to the level of the main stage. This interplay of different levels is indeed the outstanding characteristic of the Elizabethan public theatre, as compared with the other systems of stage-presentment to which it stands in relation. There are mediaeval analogies, no doubt, and one would not wish to assert categorically that no use was ever made of a balcony or a house-roof in a Greek or Roman or Italian setting. But, broadly speaking, the classical and neo-classical stage-tradition, apart from theophanies, is one of action on a single level. Even in the Elizabethan Court drama, the platform comes in late and rarely, although the constant references to ‘battlements’ in the Revels Accounts enable us to infer that, by the time when the public theatres came to be built, the case of Orestes was not an isolated one. Battlements, whatever the extension which the Revels officers came to give to the term, were primarily for the beloved siege scenes, and to the way in which siege scenes were treated in the theatres I must revert. But from two plays, The Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune and The Woman in the Moon, both of which probably represent a late development of the Court drama, we may gather at least one other definite function of the platform, as a point of vantage from which presenters, in both cases of a divine type, may sit ‘sunning like a crow in a gutter’, and watch the evolution of their puppets on the stage below.[277] This disposition of presenters ‘aloft’ finds more than one parallel in the public theatres. The divine element is retained in The Battle of Alcazar, where Henslowe’s plot gives us, as part of the[92] direction for a dumb-show, ‘Enter aboue Nemesis’.[278] There are traces of it also in James IV and in A Looking Glass for London and England. In James IV the presenters are Bohan, a Scot, and Oberon, king of fairies. They come on the stage for an induction, at the end of which Bohan says, ‘Gang with me to the Gallery, and Ile show thee the same in action by guid fellowes of our country men’, and they ‘Exeunt’. Obviously they watch the action, for they enter again and comment upon it during act-intervals. One of their interpositions is closed with the words ‘Gow shrowd vs in our harbor’; another with ‘Lets to our sell, and sit & see the rest’.[279] In the Looking Glass we get after the first scene the direction, ‘Enters brought in by an angell Oseas the Prophet, and set downe ouer the Stage in a Throne’. Oseas is evidently a presenter; the actors ignore him, but he makes moral comments after various scenes, and at the end of Act IV comes the further direction, ‘Oseas taken away’.[280] Purely human presenters in The Taming of a Shrew are still on a raised level. Sly is removed from the main stage during the first scene of the induction. He is brought back at the beginning of the second scene, presumably above, whence he criticizes the play, for towards the end the lord bids his servants

lay him in the place where we did find him,
Just underneath the alehouse side below;

and this is done by way of an epilogue.[281]

I do not suggest that presenters were always above; it is not so when they merely furnish the equivalent of a prologue or epilogue, but only when it is desired to keep them visible during the action, and on the other hand they must not obstruct it. Sometimes, even when their continued presence might be desirable, it has to be dispensed with, or otherwise provided for. The presenters in Soliman and Perseda come and go; those in The Spanish Tragedy sit upon the stage itself. Why? I think the answer is the same in both cases. A platform was required for other purposes. In Soliman and Perseda one scene has the outer wall of a tiltyard reached by ladders from the stage; another has a tower, from which victims are tumbled down out of sight.[282] In the Spanish[93] Tragedy, apart from some minor action ‘above’, there is the elaborate presentation of Hieronimo’s ‘play within the play’ to be provided for. This must be supposed to be part of a hall scene. It occupies, with its preparations, most of the fourth, which is the last, act; and for it the King and his train are clearly seated in an upper ‘gallerie’, while the performance takes place on the floor of the hall below, with the body of Horatio concealed behind a curtain, for revelation at the appropriate moment.[283] We are thus brought face to face with an extension on the public stage of the use of ‘above’, beyond what is entailed by the needs of sieges or of exalted presenters. Nor, of course, are the instances already cited exhaustive. The gallery overlooking a hall in the Spanish Tragedy has its parallel in the window overlooking a hall in Dr. Faustus.[284] More frequent is an external window, door, or balcony, overlooking an external scene in street or garden.[285] In these cases the action ‘above’ is generally slight. Some one appears in answer to a summons from without; an eavesdropper listens to a conversation below; a girl talks to her lover, and there may be an ascent or descent with the help of a rope-ladder or a basket. But[94] there are a few plays in which we are obliged to constitute the existence of a regular chamber scene, with several personages and perhaps furniture, set ‘above’. The second scene of the induction to the Taming of the Shrew, just cited, is already a case in point. The presenters here do not merely sit, as spectators in the lord’s room might, and listen. They move about a chamber and occupy considerable space. Scenes which similarly require the whole interior of an upper room to be visible, and not merely its balcony or window bay, are to be found in 1 Sir John Oldcastle, in Every Man In his Humour, twice in The Jew of Malta, in 2 Henry IV, and in Look About You.[286] I do not know whether I ought to add Romeo and Juliet. Certainly the love scenes, Act II, scc. i and ii, and Act III, sc. v, require Juliet’s chamber to be aloft, and in these there is no interior action entailing more than the sound of voices, followed by the appearance of the speakers over Juliet’s shoulder as she stands at the casement or on a balcony.[287] It would be natural to assume that the chamber of Act IV, sc. iii, in which Juliet drinks her potion, and sc. v, in which she is found lying on her bed, is the same, and therefore also aloft. Obviously its interior, with the bed and Juliet, must be visible to the spectators. The difficulty is that it also appears to be visible to the wedding guests and the musicians, as they enter the courtyard from without; and this could only be, if it were upon the main[95] level of the stage. If the scene stood by itself, one would undoubtedly assign it to the curtained recess behind the stage; and on the whole it is probable that on this occasion architectural consistency was sacrificed to dramatic effect, and Juliet’s chamber was placed sometimes above and sometimes below.[288] There is one other type of scene which requires elevated action, and that is the senate-house scene, as we find it in The Wounds of Civil War and in Titus Andronicus, where the Capitol clearly stands above the Forum, but is within ear-shot and of easy approach.[289]

I think we are bound to assume that some or all of this action ‘above’ took place in the gallery ‘over the stage’, where it could be readily approached from the tiring-house behind, and could be disposed with the minimum of obstruction to the vision of the auditorium. A transition from the use of this region for spectators to its use for action is afforded by the placing there of those idealized spectators, the presenters. So far as they are concerned, all that would be needed, in a house arranged like the Swan, would be to assign to them one or more, according to their number, of the rooms or compartments, into which the gallery was normally divided. One such compartment, too, would serve well for a window, and would be accepted without demur as forming part of the same ‘domus’ to which a door below, or, as in The Merchant of Venice, a penthouse set in the central aperture, gave access. To get a practicable chamber, it would be necessary to take down a partition and throw two of the compartments, probably the two central compartments, into one; but there would still be four rooms left for the lords. As a matter of fact, most upper chamber scenes, even of the sixteenth century, are of later date than the Swan drawing, and some architectural evolution, including the provision of a music-room, may already have taken place, and have been facilitated by the waning popularity of the lord’s rooms. It will be easier to survey the whole evolution of the upper stage in the next chapter.[290] For the present, let us think of the upper chamber as running back on the first floor of the tiring-house above the alcove, and reached from within by stairs behind the scenic wall, of which, if desired, the foot could perhaps be made visible within the alcove.[291] Borrowed light could be[96] given by a window at the back, from which also the occupants of the room could pretend to look out behind.[292] Internal doors could of course also be made available. A scene in The Jew of Malta requires a trap in the floor of the upper chamber, over a cauldron discovered in the alcove below.[293] The upper chamber could be fitted, like the alcove itself, with an independent curtain for discoveries.[294]

Are we to conclude that all action ‘above’ was on or behind the back line of the stage? The point upon which I feel most uncertainty is the arrangement of the battlements in the stricter sense.[295] These appear to be generally regarded as running along the whole of the back line, with the gates of the town or castle represented in the central aperture below. Some writers suggest that they occupied, not the actual space of the rooms or boxes ‘over the stage’, but a narrow balcony running in front of these.[296] I cannot satisfy myself that the Swan drawing bears out the existence of any projecting ledge adequate for the purpose. On the other hand, if all the compartments of the gallery were made available and their partitions removed, all the spectators ‘over the stage’ must have been displaced; and siege scenes are early, and numerous. I do not know that it is essential to assume that the battlements extended beyond the width of two compartments. There is some definite evidence for a position of the ‘walles’ on the scenic line, apart from the patent convenience of keeping the main stage clear for besieging armies, in Jasper Mayne’s laudation of Ben Jonson:

Thou laid’st no sieges to the music-room.[297]

I am content to believe that this is where they normally stood. At the same time, it is possible that alternative arrangements were not unknown. In the Wagner Book, which must be supposed to describe a setting of a type not incredible on the public stage, we are told of a high throne,[97] presumably at the back, of hell mouth ‘at the one end of the stage’, and of an elaborate castle ‘at the other end in opposition’. This is ‘the place where in the bloudlesse skirmishes are so often perfourmed upon the stage’, and although I should not press this as meaning that the walls were always at an ‘end’ of the stage, the passage would be absurd, if they were invariably at the back.[298] Further, there is at least one extant play in which it is very difficult to envisage certain scenes with the walls at the back. This is 1 Henry VI, the Orleans scenes of which, with the leaping over the walls, and the rapid succession of action in the market-place within the town and in the field without, seem to me clearly to point to walls standing across the main stage from back to front.[299] But if so, how were such walls put into place? The imagination boggles at the notion of masons coming in to build a wall during the action, in the way in which attendants might set up a bar or a lists, or carpenters the gibbet for an execution. Bottom’s device for Pyramus and Thisbe would hardly be more grotesque. Yet the Orleans siege scenes in 1 Henry VI are by no means coincident with acts, and could not therefore be set in advance and dismantled at leisure when done with. Can the walls have been drawn forwards and backwards, with the help of some machine, through the doors or the central aperture?[300] It is not inconceivable, and possibly we have here the explanation of the ‘j whell and frame in the Sege of London’, which figures in the Admiral’s inventories. Once the possibility of a scenic structure brought on to the main stage is mooted, one begins to look for other kinds of episode in which it would be useful. This, after all, may have been the way in which a gibbet was introduced, and the Admiral’s had also ‘j frame for the heading in Black Jone’, although nothing is said of a wheel.[301] The senate houses could, I think, have been located in the gallery, but the beacon in King Leir would not look plausible there,[98] and the Admiral’s had a beacon, apparently as a detached property.[302] I am also inclined to think that a wall may occasionally have been drawn across the stage to make a close of part of it for a garden scene. In Act II of Romeo and Juliet Romeo pretty clearly comes in with his friends in some public place of the city, and then leaps a wall into an orchard, where he is lost to their sight, and finds himself under Juliet’s window. He must have a wall to leap. I mentioned Pyramus and Thisbe just above with intent, for what is Pyramus and Thisbe but a burlesque of the Romeo and Juliet motive, which would have been all the more amusing, if a somewhat conspicuous and unusual wall had been introduced into its model? Another case in point may be the ‘close walk’ before Labervele’s house in A Humorous Day’s Mirth.[303] I have allowed myself to stray into the field of conjecture.

One other possible feature of action ‘above’ must not be left out of account. The use of the gallery may have been supplemented on occasion by that of some window or balcony in the space above it, which De Witt’s drawing conceals from our view. Here may have been the ‘top’ on which La Pucelle appears in the Rouen episode of 1 Henry VI, and the towers or turrets, which are sometimes utilized or referred to in this and other plays.[304] It would be difficult to describe the central boxes of the Swan gallery as a tower.

Before any attempt is made to sum up the result of this long chapter, one other feature of sixteenth-century staging, which is often overlooked, requires discussion. In the majority of cases the background of an out-of-door scene need contain at most a single domus; and this, it is now clear, can be represented either by a light structure, such as a tent or arbour, placed temporarily upon the floor of the stage, or more usually by the scena or back wall, with its doors, its central aperture, and its upper gallery. There are, however, certain scenes in which one domus will not suffice, and two or possibly even three, must be represented. Thus, as in Richard III, there may be two hostile camps, with alternating action at tents in each of them.[305] There may also be interplay, without change of scene, between different houses in[99] one town or village. In Arden of Feversham, Arden’s house and the painter’s are set together;[306] in The Taming of A Shrew, the lord’s house and the alehouse for the induction, and Polidor’s and Alphonso’s during the main play;[307] in The Blind Beggar of Alexandria, the houses of Elimine and Samethis;[308] in 1 Sir John Oldcastle, Cobham’s gate and an inn;[309] in Stukeley, Newton’s house and a chamber in the Temple;[310] in A Knack to Know an Honest Man, Lelio’s and Bristeo’s for one scene, Lelio’s and a Senator’s for another, possibly Lelio’s and Servio’s, though of this I am less sure, for a third.[311] These are the most indisputable cases; given the principle, we are at liberty to conjecture its application in other plays. Generally the houses may be supposed to be contiguous; it is not so in Stukeley, where Old Stukeley clearly walks some little distance to the Temple, and here therefore we get an example of that foreshortening of distance between two parts of a city, with which we became familiar in the arrangement of Court plays.[312] It is not the only example. In George a Greene Jenkin and the Shoemaker walk from one end to the other of Wakefield.[313] In Arden of Feversham, although this is an open-country and not an urban scene, Arden and Francklin travel some little way to Raynham Down.[314] In Dr. Faustus, so far as we can judge from the unsatisfactory text preserved, any limitation to a particular neighbourhood is abandoned, and Faustus passes without change of scene from the Emperor’s Court to his own home in Wittenberg.[315] Somewhat analogous is the curious device in Romeo and Juliet, where the maskers, after preparing[100] in the open, ‘march about the stage’, while the scene changes to the hall of Capulet, which they then enter.[316]

I think, then, it must be taken that the background of a public stage could stand at need, not merely for a single domus, but for a ‘city’. Presumably in such cases the central aperture and the gallery above it were reserved for any house in which interior action was to proceed, and for the others mere doors in the scenic wall were regarded as adequate. I do not find any sixteenth-century play which demands either interior action or action ‘above’ in more than one house.[317] But a question arises as to how, for a scene in which the scenic doors had to represent house doors, provision was made for external entrances and exits, which certainly cannot be excluded from such scenes. Possibly the answer is, although I feel very doubtful about it, that there were never more than two houses, and that therefore one door always remained available to lead on and off the main stage.[318] Possibly also entrances and exits by other avenues than the two scenic doors, which we infer from the Swan drawing, and the central aperture which we feel bound to add, are not inconceivable. We have already had some hint that three may not have been the maximum number of entrances. If the Elizabethan theatre limited itself to three, it would have been worse off than any of the early neo-classic theatres based upon Vitruvius, in which the porta regia and portae minores of the scenic wall were regularly supplemented by the viae ad forum in the versurae to right and left of the proscenium.[319] No doubt such wings could not be constructed at the Swan, where a space was left on the level of the ‘yard’ between the spectators’ galleries and the right and left edges of a narrow stage. But they would be feasible in theatres with wider stages, and the arrangement, if it existed, would make the problem of seats on the stage easier.[320] It is no more than a conjecture. It has also been suggested that the heavy[101] columns drawn by De Witt may have prevented him from showing two entrances round the extreme ends of the scenic wall, such as are perhaps indicated in some of the Terentian woodcuts of 1493.[321] Or, finally, actors might have emerged from the tiring-house into the space on the level of the yard just referred to, and thence reached the stage, as from without, by means of a short flight of steps.[322]

Working then from the Swan stage, and only departing in any essential from De Witt’s drawing by what appears to be, at any rate for theatres other than the Swan, the inevitable addition of a back curtain, we find no insuperable difficulty in accounting for the setting of all the types of scenes recognizable in sixteenth-century plays. The great majority of them, both out-of-door scenes and hall scenes, were acted on the open stage, under the heavens, with no more properties and practicable terrains than could reasonably be carried on by the actors, lowered from the heavens, raised by traps, or thrust on by frames and wheels. For more permanent background they had the scenic doors, the gallery above, the scenic curtain, and whatever the tire-man might choose to insert in the aperture, backed by an alcove within the tire-house, which the drawing of the curtain discovered. For entrances they had at least the scenic doors and aperture. The comparatively few chamber scenes were set either in the alcove or in a chamber ‘above’, formed by throwing together two compartments of the gallery. A window in a still higher story could, if necessary, be brought into play. So, with all due respect to the obscurities of the evidence, I reconstruct the facts. It will, I hope, be apparent without any elaborate demonstration that this system of public staging, as practised by Burbadge at the Theatre, by Lanman at the Curtain, by Henslowe at the Rose, and perhaps with some modifications by Langley at the Swan, is very fairly in line with the earlier sixteenth-century tradition, as we have studied it in texts in which the Court methods are paramount. This is only natural, in view of the fact that the same plays continued to be presented to the public and to the sovereign. There is the same economy of recessed action, the same conspicuous tendency to dialogue on a threshold, the same unwillingness to break the flow of an act by any deliberate pause for resetting. The public theatre gets in some ways a greater variety of dramatic situation, partly[102] owing to its free use of the open stage, instead of merely a portico, for hall scenes, partly owing to its characteristic development of action ‘above’. This, in spite of the battlements of the Revels accounts, may perhaps be a contribution of the inn-yard. The main change is, of course, the substitution for the multiple staging of the Court, with its adjacent regions for different episodes, of a principle of successive staging, by which the whole space became in turn available for each distinct scene. This was an inevitable change, as soon as the Elizabethan love for history and romance broke down the Renaissance doctrine of the unity of place; and it will not be forgotten that the beginnings of it are already clearly discernible in the later Court drama, which of course overlaps with the popular drama, itself. Incidentally the actors got elbow-room; some of the Lylyan scenes must have been very cramped. But they had to put up with a common form setting, capable only of minor modifications, and no doubt their architectural decorations and unvarying curtain were less interesting from the point of view of spectacle, than the diversity of ‘houses’ which the ingenuity and the resources of the Court architects were in a position to produce. In any case, however, economy would probably have forbidden them to enter into rivalry with the Revels Office. Whether the Elizabethan type of public stage was the invention of Burbadge, the ‘first builder of theatres’, or had already come into use in the inn-yards, is perhaps an idle subject for wonder. The only definite guess at its origin is that of Professor Creizenach, who suggests that it may have been adapted from the out-of-door stages, set up from time to time for the dramatic contests held by the Rederijker or Chambers of Rhetoric in Flanders.[323] Certainly there are common features in the division of the field of action into two levels and the use of curtained apertures both below and above. But the latest examples of the Flemish festivals were at Ghent in 1539 and at Antwerp in 1561 respectively; and it would be something of a chance if Burbadge or any other English builder had any detailed knowledge of them.[324]



[For Bibliographical Note, vide ch. xviii.]

The turn of the century is also a turning-point in the history of the public theatres. In 1599 the Chamberlain’s men built the Globe, and in 1600, not to be outdone, the Admiral’s men built upon the same model the Fortune. These remained the head-quarters of the same companies, when at the beginning of the reign of James the one became the King’s and the other the Prince’s men. Worcester’s, afterwards the Queen’s, men were content for a time with the older houses, first the Rose, then the Curtain and the Boar’s Head, but by 1605 or 1606 they were occupying the Red Bull, probably a new building, but one of which we know very little. Meanwhile the earlier Tudor fashion of plays by boys had been revived, both at Paul’s, and at the Blackfriars, where a theatre had been contrived by James Burbadge about 1596 in a chamber of the ancient priory, for the purposes of a public stage.

We cannot on a priori grounds assume that the structural arrangements of the sixteenth-century houses were merely carried into those of the seventeenth century without modification; the experience of twenty-five years’ working may well have disclosed features in the original plan of James Burbadge which were not altogether convenient or which lent themselves to further development. On the other hand, we have not got to take into account the possibility of any fundamental change or sharp breach of continuity. The introduction of a new type of stage, even if it escaped explicit record, would inevitably have left its mark both upon the dramatic construction of plays and upon the wording of their stage-directions. No such mark can be discerned. You cannot tell an early seventeenth-century play from a late sixteenth-century one on this kind of evidence alone; the handling and the conventions, the situations and the spectacular effects, remain broadly the same, and such differences as do gradually become apparent, concern rather the trend of dramatic interest than the external methods of [104]stage-presentation. Moreover, it is evident that the sixteenth-century plays did not pass wholly into disuse. From time to time they were revived, and lent themselves, perhaps with some minor adaptation, to the new boards as well as to the old. In dealing with early seventeenth-century staging, then, I will assume the general continuance of the sixteenth-century plan, and will content myself with giving some further examples of its main features, and with considering any evidence which may seem to point to specific development in one or more particular directions. And on the whole it will be convenient to concentrate now mainly upon the theatres occupied by the King’s men. For this there are various reasons. One is that the possession of Shakespeare’s plays gives them a prerogative interest in modern eyes; another that the repertories of the other companies have hardly reached us in a form which renders any very safe induction feasible.

Even in the case of the King’s men, the material is not very ample, and there are complications which make it necessary to proceed by cautious steps to somewhat tentative conclusions. The Globe was probably opened in the autumn of 1599. The first play which we can definitely locate there is Every Man Out of his Humour; but I have decided with some hesitation to treat Henry V and Much Ado about Nothing, for the purposes of these chapters, as Globe plays.[325] So far as we know, the Globe was the only theatre used by the company up to the winter of 1609, when they also came into possession of the Blackfriars. From 1609 to 1613 they used both houses, but probably the Globe was still the more important of the two, for when it was burnt in 1613 they found it worth while to rebuild it fairer than before. At some time, possibly about the end of James’s reign, the Blackfriars began to come into greater prominence, and gradually displaced the Globe as the main head-quarters of the London drama. This, however, is a development which lies outside the scope of these volumes; nor can I with advantage inquire in detail whether there were any important structural features in which the new Globe is likely to have differed from the old Globe. At the most I can only offer a suggestion for the historian of the Caroline stage to take up in his turn. In the main, therefore, we have to consider the staging of the Globe from 1599 to 1609, and of the Globe and the Blackfriars from 1609 to 1613. The plays available fall into four groups.[105] There are nineteen or twenty printed and probably produced during 1599–1609, of which, however, one or two were originally written for private theatres.[326] There are two produced and printed during 1609–12, and one preserved in manuscript from the same period.[327] There are ten probably produced during 1599–1603, but not printed before 1622 or 1623.[328] There are perhaps nine or ten produced during 1609–13, and printed at various dates from 1619 to 1634.[329] It will be seen that the first group is of much the greatest value evidentially, as well as fortunately the longest, but that it only throws light upon the Globe and not upon the Blackfriars; that the value of the second and fourth groups is discounted by our not knowing how far they reflect Globe and how far Blackfriars conditions; and that the original features of the third and fourth groups may have been modified in revivals, either at the Blackfriars or at the later Globe, before they got into print. I shall use them all, but, I hope, with discrimination.[330] I shall also use, for illustration and confirmation, rather than as direct evidence, plays from other seventeenth-century theatres. The Prince’s men were at the Fortune during the whole of the period with which we are concerned, and then on to and after the fire of 1621, and the reconstruction, possibly on new lines, of 1623. We know that its staging arrangements resembled those of the Globe, for it was provided in the builder’s contract that this should be so, and also that the stage should be ‘placed and sett’ in accordance with ‘a plott thereof drawen’. Alleyn would have saved me a great deal of trouble if he had put away this little piece of paper along with so many others. Unfortunately, the Prince’s men kept their plays very close, and only five or[106] six of our period got into print before 1623.[331] From the Queen’s men we have rather more, perhaps sixteen in all; but we do not always know whether these were given at the Red Bull or the Curtain. Nor do we know whether any structural improvements introduced at the Globe and Fortune were adopted at the Red Bull, although this is a priori not unlikely.[332] From the Swan we have only The Chaste Maid of Cheapside, and from the Hope only Bartholomew Fair.

At the Globe, then, the types of scene presented are much the same as those with which we have become familiar in the sixteenth century; the old categories of open-country scenes, battle scenes, garden scenes, street scenes, threshold scenes, hall scenes, and chamber scenes will still serve. Their relative importance alters, no doubt, as the playwrights tend more and more to concern themselves with subjects of urban life. But there are plenty of battle scenes in certain plays, much on the traditional lines, with marchings and counter-marchings, alarums for fighting ‘within’, and occasional ‘excursions’ on the field of the stage itself.[333] Practicable tents still afford a convenient camp background, and these, I think, continue to be pitched on the open boards.[334] The opposing camps of Richard III are precisely repeated in Henry V.[335] There are episodes before the ‘walls’ too, with defenders speaking from above, assaults by means of scaling ladders, and coming and going through the gates.[336] I find no example in which[107] a wall inserted on the line of the scenic curtain would not meet the needs of the situation. Pastoral scenes are also common, for the urban preoccupation has its regular reaction in the direction of pastoral. There is plenty of evidence for practicable trees, such as that on which Orlando in As You Like It hangs his love verses, and the most likely machinery for putting trees into position still seems to me to be the trap.[337] A trap, too, might bring up the bower for the play within the play of Hamlet, the pleached arbour of Much Ado about Nothing, the pulpit in the forum of Julius Caesar, the tombstone in the woods of Timon of Athens, the wayside cross of Every Man Out of his Humour, and other terrains most easily thought of as free-standing structures.[338] It would open for Ophelia’s grave, and for the still beloved ascents of spirits from the lower regions.[339] It remains difficult to see how a riverbank or the sea-shores was represented.[340] As a rule, the edge of the stage, with steps into the auditorium taken for water stairs, seems most plausible. But there is a complicated episode in The Devil’s Charter, with a conduit and a bridge over the Tiber, which I do not feel quite able to envisage.[341] There is another bridge over the Tiber for Horatius Cocles in the Red Bull play of the Rape of Lucrece. But this is easier; it is projected from the walls of Rome, and there must be a trapped cavity on the scenic line, into which Horatius leaps.[342]


The Hope contract of 1613 provides for the heavens to be supported without the help of posts rising from the stage. For this there was a special reason at the Hope, since the stage had to be capable of removal to make room for bear-baitings. But the advantage of dispensing with the posts and the obstacle to the free vision of the spectators which they presented must have been so great, that the innovation may well have occurred to the builders of the Globe. Whether it did, I do not think that we can say. There are one or two references to posts in stage-directions, but they need not be the posts of the heavens.[343] Possibly, too, there was less use of the descending chair. One might even fancy that Jonson’s sarcasm in the prologue to Every Man In his Humour discredited it. The new type of play did not so often call for spectacular palace scenes, and perhaps some simpler and more portable kind of ‘state’ was allowed to serve the turn. There is no suggestion of a descent from the heavens in the theophanies of As You Like It and Pericles; Juno, however, descends in The Tempest.[344] This, although it has practically no change of setting, is in some ways, under the mask influence, the most spectacular performance attempted by the King’s men at Globe or Blackfriars during our period.[345] But it is far outdone by the Queen’s plays of the Golden, Silver,[109] and Brazen Ages, which, if they were really given just as Heywood printed them, must have strained the scenic resources of the Red Bull to an extreme. Here are ascents and descents and entries from every conceivable point of the stage;[346] divinities in fantastic disguise;[347] mythological dumb-shows;[348] battles and hunting episodes and revels;[349] ingenious properties, often with a melodramatic thrill;[350] and from[110] beginning to end a succession of atmospheric phenomena, which suggest that the Jacobeans had made considerable progress in the art of stage pyrotechnics.[351] The Globe, with its traditional ‘blazing star’, is left far behind.[352]

The critical points of staging are the recesses below and above. Some kind of recess on the level of the main stage is often required by the King’s plays; for action in or before a prison,[353] a cell,[354] a cave,[355] a closet,[356] a study,[357] a tomb,[358] a chapel,[359] a shop;[360] for the revelation of dead bodies or other concealed[111] sights.[361] In many cases the alcove constructed in the tiring-house behind the scenic wall would give all that is required, and occasionally a mention of the ‘curtains’ or of ‘discovery’ in a stage-direction points plainly to this arrangement. The ‘traverse’ of Webster’s plays, both for the King’s and the Queen’s men, appears, as already pointed out, to be nothing more than a terminological variant.[362] Similarly, hall scenes have still their ‘arras’ or their ‘hangings’, behind which a spy can post himself.[363] A new feature, however, now presents itself in the existence of certain scenes, including some bedchamber scenes, which entail the use of properties and would, I think, during the sixteenth century have been placed in the alcove, but now appear to have been brought forward and to occupy, like hall scenes, the main stage. The usage is by no means invariable. Even in so late a play as Cymbeline, Imogen’s chamber, with Iachimo’s trunk and the elaborate fire-places in it, must, in spite of the absence of any reference to curtains, have been disposed in the alcove; for the trunk scene is immediately followed by another before[112] the door of the same chamber, from which Imogen presently emerges.[364] But I do not think that the alcove was used for Gertrude’s closet in Hamlet, the whole of which play seems to me to be set very continuously on the outer stage.[365] Hamlet does not enter the closet direct from in front, but goes off and comes on again. A little distance is required for the vision of the Ghost, who goes out at a visible ‘portal’. When Hamlet has killed Polonius, he lugs the guts into the neighbour room, according to the ordinary device for clearing a dead body from the main stage, which is superfluous when the death has taken place in the alcove. There is an arras, behind which Polonius esconces himself, and on this, or perhaps on an inner arras disclosed by a slight parting of the ordinary one, hangs the picture of Hamlet’s father. Nor do I think, although it is difficult to be certain, that the alcove held Desdemona’s death-chamber in Othello.[366] True, there are curtains drawn here, but they may be only bed-curtains. A longish chamber, with an outer door, seems to be indicated. A good many persons, including Cassio ‘in a chaire’, have to be accommodated, and when Emilia enters, it is some time before her attention is drawn to Desdemona behind the curtains. If anything is in the alcove, it can only be just the bed itself. The best illustrations of my point, however, are to be found in The Devil’s Charter, a singular play, with full and naïve stage-directions, which perhaps betray the hand of an inexperienced writer. Much of the action takes place in the palace of Alexander Borgia at Rome. The alcove seems to be reserved for Alexander’s study. Other scenes of an intimately domestic character are staged in front, and the necessary furniture is very frankly carried on, in one case by a protagonist. This is a scene in a parlour by night, in which Lucrezia Borgia[113] murders her husband.[367] Another scene represents Lucrezia’s toilet;[368] in a third young men come in from tennis and are groomed by a barber.[369] My impression is that in the seventeenth century, instead of discovering a bedchamber in the alcove, it became the custom to secure more space and light by projecting the bed through the central aperture on to the main stage, and removing it by the same avenue when the scene was over. As to this a stage-direction in 2 Henry VI may be significant. There was a scene in 1 Contention in which the murdered body of the Duke of Gloucester is discovered in his bedchamber. This recurs in 2 Henry VI, but instead of a full direction for the drawing of curtains, the Folio has the simple note ‘Bed put forth’.[370] This is one of a group of formulas which have been the subject of some discussion.[371] I do not think that either ‘Bed put forth’ or still less ‘Bed thrust out’ can be dismissed as a mere equivalent of ‘Enter in a bed’, which may admittedly cover a parting of the curtains, or of such a warning to the tire-man as ‘Bed set out’ or ‘ready’ or ‘prepared’.[372] There is a difference between ‘setting out’ and ‘thrusting out’, for the one does and the other does not carry the notion of a push. And if ‘Bed put forth’ is rather more colourless, ‘Bed drawn out’, which also occurs, is clear enough. Unfortunately the extant text of 2 Henry VI may be of any date up to 1623, and none of the other examples of the formulas in question are direct evidence for the Globe in 1599–1613.[373] To be sure of the projected bed at so early[114] a date, we have to turn to the Red Bull, where we find it both in the Golden and the Silver Age, as well as the amateur Hector of Germany, or to the Swan, where we find it in The Chaste Maid of Cheapside.[374] The Golden Age particularly repays study. The whole of the last two acts are devoted to the episode of Jupiter and Danae. The scene is set in

the Darreine Tower
Guirt with a triple mure of shining brasse.

Most of the action requires a courtyard, and the wall and gate of this, with a porter’s lodge and an alarm-bell, must have been given some kind of structural representation on the stage. An inner door is supposed to lead to Danae’s chamber above. It is in this chamber, presumably, that attendants enter ‘drawing out Danae’s bed’, and when ‘The bed is drawn in’, action is resumed in the courtyard below.[375]


There are chamber scenes in the King’s plays also, which are neither in the alcove nor on the main stage, but above. This is an extension of a practice already observable in pre-Globe days. Hero’s chamber in Much Ado about Nothing is above.[376] So is Celia’s in Volpone.[377] So is Falstaff’s at the Garter Inn in The Merry Wives of Windsor.[378] In all these examples, which are not exhaustive, a reasonable amount of space is required for action.[379] This is still more the case in The Yorkshire Tragedy, where the violent scene of the triple murder at Calverley Hall is clearly located upstairs.[380] Moreover, there are two plays which stage above what one would normally regard as hall rather than chamber scenes. One is Sejanus, where a break in the dialogue in the first act can best be explained by the interpretation of a scene in an upper ‘gallery’.[381] The other is Every Man Out of his Humour, where the personages go ‘up’ to the great chamber at Court.[382] Elaborate use is also made of the upper level in Antony and[116] Cleopatra, where it represents the refuge of Cleopatra upon a monument, to which Antony is heaved up for his death scene, and on which Cleopatra is afterwards surprised by Caesar’s troops.[383] But I do not agree with the suggestion that it was used in shipboard scenes, for which, as we learn from the presenter’s speeches in Pericles, the stage-manager gave up the idea of providing a realistic setting, and fell back upon an appeal to the imagination of the audience.[384] Nor do I think that it was used for the ‘platform’ at Elsinore Castle in Hamlet;[385] or, as it was in the sixteenth century, for scenes in a Capitoline senate overlooking the forum at Rome.[386] In Bonduca, if that is of our period, it was adapted for a high rock, with fugitives upon it, in a wood.[387] I do not find extensive chamber scenes ‘above’ in any King’s play later than 1609, and that may be a fact of significance to which I shall return.[388] But shallow action, at windows or in a gallery overlooking a hall or open space, continues to be frequent.[389][117] In The Devil is an Ass, which is a Blackfriars play of 1616, a little beyond the limits of our period, there is an interesting scene played out of two contiguous upper windows, supposed to be in different houses.[390]

There is other evidence to show that in the seventeenth century as in the sixteenth, the stage was not limited to the presentation of a single house only at any given moment. A multiplicity of houses would fit the needs of several plays, but perhaps the most striking instance for the Globe is afforded by The Merry Devil of Edmonton, the last act of which requires two inns on opposite sides of the stage, the signs of which have been secretly exchanged, as a trick in the working out of the plot.[391] The King’s plays do not often require any marked foreshortening of distance in journeys over the stage. Hamlet, indeed, comes in ‘a farre off’, according to a stage-direction of the Folio, but this need mean no more than at the other end of the graveyard, although Hamlet is in fact returning from a voyage.[392] In Bonduca the Roman army at one end of the stage are said to be half a furlong from the rock occupied by Caractacus, which they cannot yet see; but they go off, and their leaders subsequently emerge upon the rock from behind.[393] The old device endured at the Red Bull, but even here the flagrant example usually cited is of a very special type.[394] At the end of The Travels of the Three English Brothers, the action of[118] which ranges widely over the inhabited world, there is an appeal to imagination by Fame, the presenter, who says,

Would your apprehensions helpe poore art,
Into three parts deuiding this our stage,
They all at once shall take their leaues of you.
Thinke this England, this Spaine, this Persia.

Then follow the stage-directions, ‘Enter three seuerall waies the three Brothers’, and ‘Fame giues to each a prospective glasse, they seme to see one another’. Obviously such a visionary dumb-show cannot legitimately be twisted into an argument that the concurrent representation of incongruous localities was a matter of normal staging. Such interplay of opposed houses, as we get in The Merry Devil of Edmonton, would no doubt seem more effective if we could adopt the ingenious conjecture which regards the scenic wall as not running in a straight line all the way, but broken by two angles, so that, while the central apertures below and above directly front the spectators, the doors to right and left, each with a room or window above it, are set on a bias, and more or less face each other from end to end of the stage.[395] I cannot call this more than a conjecture, for there is no direct evidence in its favour, and the Swan drawing, for what that is worth, is flatly against it. Structurally it would, I suppose, fit the round or apsidal ended Globe better than the rectangular Fortune or Blackfriars. The theory seems to have been suggested by a desire to make it possible to watch action within the alcove from a gallery on the level above. I have not, however, come across any play which can be safely assigned to a public theatre, in which just this situation presents itself, although it is common enough for persons above to watch action in a threshold or hall scene. Two windows in the same plane would, of course, fully meet the needs of The Devil is an Ass. There is, indeed, the often-quoted scene from David and Bethsabe, in which the King watches the Hittite’s wife bathing at a fountain; but the provenance of David and Bethsabe is so uncertain and its text so evidently manipulated, that it would be very temerarious to rely upon it as affording any proof of public usage.[396] On the other hand, if it is the case, as seems almost certain, that the boxes over the doors were originally the lord’s rooms, it[119] would no doubt be desirable that the occupants of those rooms should be able to see anything that went on within the alcove. I do not quite know what weight to attach to Mr. Lawrence’s analogy between the oblique doors which this theory involves and the familiar post-Restoration proscenium doors, with stage-boxes above them, at right angles to the plane of the footlights.[397] The roofed Caroline theatres, with their side-walls to the stage, and the proscenium arch, probably borrowed from the masks, have intervened, and I cannot pretend to have traced the history of theatrical structure during the Caroline period.

I have felt justified in dealing more briefly with the early seventeenth-century stages than with those of the sixteenth century, for, after all, the fundamental conditions, so far as I can judge, remained unaltered. I seem able to lay my finger upon two directions in which development took place, and both of these concern the troublesome problem of interior action. First of all there is the stage gallery. Of this I venture to reconstruct the story as follows. Its first function was to provide seating accommodation for dignified and privileged spectators, amongst whom could be placed, if occasion arose, presenters or divine agents supposed to be watching or directing the action of a play. Perhaps a differentiation took place. Parts of the gallery, above the doors at either end of the scene, were set aside as lord’s rooms. The central part, with the upper floor of the tiring-house behind it, was used for the musicians, but was also available for such scenes as could effectively be staged above, and a curtain was fitted, corresponding to that below, behind which the recess could be set as a small chamber. Either as a result of these changes or for other reasons, the lord’s rooms, about the end of the sixteenth century, lost their popularity, and it became the fashion for persons of distinction, or would-be distinction, to sit upon the stage itself instead.[398] This left additional space free above, and the architects of the Globe and Fortune took the opportunity to enlarge the accommodation for their upper scenes. Probably they left windows over the side-doors, so that the upper parts of three distinct houses could, if necessary, be represented; and it may be that spectators were not wholly excluded from these.[399] But they widened[120] the music-room, so that it could now hold larger scenes, and in fact now became an upper stage and not a mere recess. Adequate lighting from behind could probably be obtained rather more easily here than on the crowded floor below. There is an interesting allusion which I have not yet quoted, and which seems to point to an upper stage of substantial dimensions in the public theatres of about the year 1607. It is in Middleton’s Family of Love, itself a King’s Revels play.[400] Some of the characters have been to a performance, not ‘by the youths’, and there ‘saw Sampson bear the town-gates on his neck from the lower to the upper stage’. You cannot carry a pair of town-gates into a mere box, such as the Swan drawing shows.

Meanwhile, what of the alcove? I think that it proved too dark and too cramped for the convenient handling of chamber scenes, and that the tendency of the early seventeenth century was to confine its use to action which could be kept shallow, or for which obscurity was appropriate. It could still serve for a prison, or an ‘unsunned lodge’, or a chamber of horrors. For scenes requiring more light and movement it was replaced, sometimes by the more spacious upper stage, sometimes by the main stage, on to which beds and other properties were carried or ‘thrust out’, just as they had always been on a less extensive scale for hall scenes. The difficulties of shifting were, on the whole, compensated for by the greater effectiveness and visibility which action on the main scene afforded. I do not therefore think it possible to accept even such a modified version of the old ‘alternationist’ theory as I find set out in Professor Thorndike’s recent Shakespeare’s Theater. The older alternationists, starting from the principle, sound enough in itself, of continuous action within an act, assumed that all interior or other propertied scenes were played behind the curtains, and were set there while unpropertied action was played outside; and they deduced a method of dramatic construction, which required the dramatists to alternate exterior and interior scenes so as to allow time for the settings to be carried out.[401] The theory breaks down, not merely because it entails a much more constant[121] use of the curtains than the stage-directions give us any warrant for, but also because it fails to provide for the not infrequent event of a succession of interior scenes; and in its original form it is abandoned by Professor Thorndike in common with other recent scholars, who see plainly enough that what I have called hall scenes must have been given on the outer stage. I do not think that they have always grasped that the tendency of the seventeenth century was towards a decreased and not an increased reliance upon the curtained space, possibly because they have not as a rule followed the historical method in their investigations; and Professor Thorndike, although he traces the earlier employment of the alcove much as I do, treats the opening and closing of the curtains as coming in time to be used, in Antony and Cleopatra for example and in Cymbeline, as little more than a handy convention for indicating the transference of the scene from one locality to another.[402] Such a usage would not of course mean that the new scene was played wholly or even partly within the alcove itself; the change might be merely one of background. But, although I admit that there would be a convenience in Professor Thorndike’s development, I do not see that there is in fact any evidence for it. The stage-directions never mention the use of curtains in such circumstances as he has in mind; and while I am far from supposing that they need always have been mentioned, and have myself assumed their use in one scene of Cymbeline where they are not mentioned, yet mentions of them are so common in connexion with the earlier and admitted functions of the alcove, that I should have expected Professor Thorndike’s view, if it were sound, to have proved capable of confirmation from at least one unconjectural case.

The difficulty which has led Professor Thorndike to his conclusion is, however, a real one. In the absence of a scenario with notes of locality, for which certainly there is no evidence, how did the Elizabethan managers indicate to their audiences the shifts of action from one place to another? This is both a sixteenth- and a seventeenth-century problem. We have noted in a former chapter that unity of place was characteristic of the earlier Elizabethan interlude; that it failed to impose itself upon the romantic narrative plots of the popular drama; that it was departed from through the device of letting two ends of a continuously set stage stand for discrete localities; that this device proved only a transition to a system in which the whole stage stood successively for different localities;[122] and that there are hints of a convention by which the locality of each scene was indicated with the help of a label, placed over the door through which the personages in that scene made their exits and their entrances.[403] The public stage of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries experienced no re-establishment of the principle of unity; broadly speaking, it presents an extreme type of romantic drama, with an unfettered freedom of ranging from one to another of any number of localities required by a narrative plot. But the practice, or the instinct, of individual playwrights differs. Ben Jonson is naturally the man who betrays the most conscious preoccupation with the question. He is not, however, a rigid or consistent unitarian. In his two earliest plays the scene shifts from the country to a neighbouring town, and the induction to Every Man Out of his Humour is in part an apology for his own liberty, in part a criticism of the licence of others.

Mitis.What’s his scene?

Cordatus. Mary Insula Fortunata, sir.

Mitis. O, the fortunate Iland? masse he has bound himself to a strict law there.

Cordatus. Why so?

Mitis. He cannot lightly alter the scene without crossing the seas.

Cordatus. He needs not, hauing a whole Ilande to runne through, I thinke.

Mitis. No? howe comes it then, that in some one play we see so many seas, countries, and kingdomes, past over with such admirable dexteritie?

Cordatus. O, that but shewes how well the Authors can travaile in their vocation, and out-run the apprehension of their Auditorie.

Sejanus is throughout in Rome, but five or six distinct houses are required, and it must be doubtful whether such a multiplicity of houses could be shown without a change of scene.[404] The prologue to Volpone claims for the author that ‘The laws of time, place, persons he obserueth’, and this has no more than four houses, all in Venice.[405] In Catiline the scenes in Rome, with some ten houses, are broken by two in open country.[406] In Bartholomew Fair a preliminary act at a London[123] house is followed by four set continuously before the three booths of the fair. Absolute unity, as distinct from the unity of a single country, or even a single town, is perhaps only attained in The Alchemist. Here everything takes place, either in a single room in Lovewit’s house in the Blackfriars, or in front of a door leading from the street into the same room. Evidently advantage was taken of the fact that the scene did not have to be changed, to build a wall containing this door out on to the stage itself, for action such as speaking through the keyhole requires both sides of the door to be practicable.[407] There is also a window from which persons approaching can be seen. Inner doors, presumably in the scenic wall, lead to a laboratory and other parts of the house, but these are not discovered, and no use is made of the upper level. Jonson here is a clear innovator, so far as the English public theatre is concerned; no other play of our period reproduces this type of permanent interior setting.

Shakespeare is no classicist; yet in some of his plays, comedies and romantic tragedies, it is, I think, possible to discern at least an instinctive feeling in the direction of scenic unity. The Comedy of Errors, with its action in the streets of Syracuse, near the mart, or before the Phoenix, the Porpentine, or the priory, follows upon the lines of its Latin model, although here, as in most of Jonson’s plays, it is possible that the various houses were shown successively rather than concurrently. Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing, and Measure for Measure each require a single town, with two, three, and five houses respectively; Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, As You Like It, Troilus and Cressida, Timon of Athens, each a single town, with open country environs. Love’s Labour’s Lost has the unity of a park, with perhaps a manor-house as background at one end and tents at the other; The Tempest complete pastoral unity after the opening scene on shipboard. Hamlet would all be Elsinore, but for one distant open-country scene; Romeo and Juliet all Venice, but for one scene in Mantua. In another group of plays the action is divided between two towns. It alternates from Padua to near Verona in The Taming of the Shrew, from Verona to Milan in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, from Venice to Belmont in The Merchant of Venice; in Othello an act in Venice is followed by four in Cyprus. On the other hand, in[124] a few comedies and in the histories and historical tragedies, where Shakespeare’s sources leave him less discretion, he shifts his scenes with a readiness outdone by no other playwright. The third act of Richard II requires no less than four localities, three of which have a castle, perhaps the same castle from the stage-manager’s point of view, in the background. The second act of 1 Henry IV has as many. King John and Henry V pass lightly between England and France, All’s Well that Ends Well between France and Italy, The Winter’s Tale between Sicily and Bohemia, Cymbeline between Britain, Italy, and Wales. Quite a late play, Antony and Cleopatra, might almost be regarded as a challenge to classicists. Rome, Misenum, Athens, Actium, Syria, Egypt are the localities, with much further subdivision in the Egyptian scenes. The second act has four changes of locality, the third no less than eight, and it is noteworthy that these changes are often for quite short bits of dialogue, which no modern manager would regard as justifying a resetting of the stage. Shakespeare must surely have been in some danger, in this case, of outrunning the apprehension of his auditory, and I doubt if even Professor Thorndike’s play of curtains would have saved him.

It is to be observed also that, in Shakespeare’s plays as in those of others, no excessive pains are taken to let the changes of locality coincide with the divisions between the acts. If the second and third acts of All’s Well that Ends Well are at Paris, the fourth at Florence, and the fifth at Marseilles, yet the shift from Roussillon to Paris is in the middle and not at the end of the first act. The shift from Sicily to Bohemia is in the middle of the third act of The Winter’s Tale; the Agincourt scenes begin in the middle of the third act of Henry V. Indeed, although the poets regarded the acts as units of literary structure, the act-divisions do not appear to have been greatly stressed, at any rate on the stages of the public houses, in the actual presentation of plays.[408] I do not think that they were wholly disregarded, although the fact that they are so often unnoted in the prints of plays based on stage copies might point to that conclusion.[409] The act-interval did not necessarily denote any substantial time-interval in the action of the play, and perhaps the actors did not invariably leave the stage. Thus the lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream sleep through the interval between the third and fourth acts.[410] But some sort of break in the[125] continuity of the performance is a natural inference from the fact that the act-divisions are the favourite, although not the only, points for the intervention of presenters, dumb-shows, and choruses.[411] The act-intervals cannot have been long, at any rate if the performance was to be completed in two hours. There may sometimes have been music, which would not have prevented the audience from stretching themselves and talking.[412] Short intervals, rather than none at all, are, I think, suggested by the well-known passage in the induction of The Malcontent, as altered for performance at the Globe, in which it is explained that passages have been added to the play as originally written for Revels boys, ‘to entertain a little more time, and to abridge the not-received custom of music in our theatre’.[413] Some information is perhaps to be gleaned from the ‘plots’ of plays prepared for the guidance of the book-keeper or tire-man, of which examples are preserved at Dulwich.[414] These have lines drawn across them at points which pretty clearly correspond to the beginnings of scenes, although it can hardly be assumed that each new scene meant a change of locality. The act-divisions can in some, but not all, cases be inferred from the occurrence of dumb-shows and choruses; in one, The Dead Man’s Fortune, they are definitely marked by lines of crosses, and against each such line there is the marginal note ‘musique’. Other musical directions, ‘sound’, ‘sennet’, ‘alarum’, ‘flourish’, come sometimes at the beginning, sometimes in the middle of scenes.

We do not get any encouragement to think that a change of locality was regularly heralded by notes of music, even if this may incidentally have been the case when a procession or an army or a monarch was about to enter. Possibly the lines on the plots may signify an even slighter pause than that between the acts, such as the modern stage provides[126] with the added emphasis of a drop-curtain; but of this there is no proof, and an allusion in Catiline to action as rapid

As is a veil put off, a visor changed,
Or the scene shifted, in our theatres,

is distinctly against it.[415] A mere clearance of the stage does not necessarily entail a change of scene, although there are one or two instances in which the exit of personages at one door, followed by their return at another, seems to constitute or accompany such a change.[416] And even if the fact of a change could be signified in one or other of these ways, the audience would still be in the dark as to what the new locality was supposed to be. Can we then assume a continuance of the old practice of indicating localities by labels over the doors? This would entail the shifting of the labels themselves during the progress of the play, at any rate if there were more localities than entrances, or if, as might usually be expected, more entrances than one were required to any locality. But there would be no difficulty about this, and in fact we have an example of the shifting of a label by a mechanical device in the introduction to Wily Beguiled.[417] This was not a public theatre play, and the label concerned was one giving the title of the play and not its locality, but similar machinery could obviously have been applied. There is not, however, much actual evidence for the use either of title-labels or of locality-labels on the public stage. The former are perhaps the more probable of the two, and the practice of posting play-bills at the theatre door and in places[127] of public resort would not render them altogether superfluous.[418] In favour of locality-labels it is possible to quote Dekker’s advice to those entering Paul’s, and also the praise given to Jonson by Jasper Mayne in Jonsonus Virbius:

Thy stage was still a stage, two entrances
Were not two parts o’ the world, disjoined by seas.[419]

These, however, are rather vague and inconclusive allusions on which to base a whole stage practice, and there is not much to be added to them from the texts and stage-directions of the plays themselves. Signs are of course used to distinguish particular taverns and shops, just as they would be in real life.[420] Occasionally, moreover, a locality is named in a stage-direction in a way that recalls Common Conditions, but this may also be explained as no more than a descriptive touch such as is not uncommon in stage-directions written by authors.[421] It is rather against the theory of labels that care is often taken, when a locality is changed, to let the personages themselves declare their whereabouts. A careful reader of such rapidly shifting plays as Edward I, James IV, The Battle of Alcazar, or King Leir will generally be able to orientate himself with the aid of the opening passages of dialogue in each new scene, and conceivably a very attentive spectator might do the same. Once the personages have got themselves grouped in the mind in relation to their localities, the recurrence of this or that group would help. It would require a rather careful examination of texts to enable one to judge how far this method of localization by dialogue[128] continues throughout our period. I have been mainly struck by it in early plays. The presenters may also give assistance, either by declaring the general scene in a prologue, or by intervening to call attention to particular shifts.[422] Thus in Dr. Faustus the original scene in Wittenberg is indicated by the chorus, a shift to Rome by speeches of Wagner and Faustus, a shift to the imperial court by the chorus, and the return to Wittenberg by a speech of Faustus.[423] Jonson makes a deliberate experiment with this method in Every Man Out of his Humour, which it is worth while following in detail. It is the Grex of presenters, Mitis and Cordatus, who serve as guides. The first act is in open country without background, and it is left to the rustic Sogliardo to describe it (543) as his lordship. A visit to Puntarvolo’s is arranged, and at the beginning of the second act Cordatus says, ‘The Scene is the countrey still, remember’ (946). Presently the stage is cleared, with the hint, ‘Here he comes, and with him Signior Deliro a merchant, at whose house hee is come to soiourne. Make your owne obseruation now; only transferre your thoughts to the Cittie with the Scene; where, suppose they speake’ (1499). The next scene then is at Deliro’s. Then, for the first scene of the third act, ‘We must desire you to presuppose the Stage, the middle Isle in Paules; and that, the West end of it’ (1918). The second scene of this act is in the open country again, with a ‘crosse’ on which Sordido hangs himself; we are left to infer it from the reappearance of the rustic characters. It is closed with ‘Let your minde keepe companie with the Scene stil, which now remoues it selfe from the Countrie to the Court’ (2555). After a scene at Court, ‘You vnderstand where the scene is?’ (2709), and presumably the entry of personages already familiar brings us back for the first scene of Act IV to Deliro’s. A visit to ‘the Notaries by the Exchange’ is planned, and for the second and third scenes the only note is of the entry of Puntarvolo and the Scrivener; probably a scrivener’s shop was discovered. Act V is introduced by ‘Let your imagination be swifter than a paire of oares, and by this, suppose Puntarvolo, Briske, Fungoso, and the Dog, arriu’d at the court gate, and going vp to the great chamber’ (3532). The action of the next scene begins in the great chamber and then shifts to the court gate again. Evidently the two localities were in some way staged together, and a guide is not[129] called upon to enlighten us. There are yet two more scenes, according to the Grex. One opens with ‘Conceiue him but to be enter’d the Mitre’ (3841), and as action shifts from the Mitre to Deliro’s and back again without further note, these two houses were probably shown together. The final scene is introduced by ‘O, this is to be imagin’d the Counter belike’ (4285). So elaborate a directory would surely render any use of labels superfluous for this particular play; but, so far as we know, the experiment was not repeated.[424]

When Cordatus points to ‘that’, and calls it the west end of Paul’s, are we to suppose that the imagination of the audience was helped out by the display of any pictorial background? It is not impossible. The central aperture, disclosed by the parting curtains, could easily hold, in place of a discovered alcove or a quasi-solid monument or rock, any kind of painted cloth which might give colour to the scene. A woodland cloth or a battlement cloth could serve for play after play, and for a special occasion something more distinctive could be attempted without undue expense. Such a back-cloth, perhaps for use in Dr. Faustus, may have been ‘the sittie of Rome’ which we find in Henslowe’s inventory of 1598.[425] And something of this kind seems to be required in 2 If You Know not Me, You Know Nobody, where the scene is before Sir Thomas Gresham’s newly completed Burse, and the personages say ‘How do you like this building?’ and ‘We are gazing here on M. Greshams work’.[426] Possibly Elizabethan imaginations were more vivid than a tradition of scene-painters allows ours to be, but that does not mean that an Elizabethan audience did not like to have its eyes tickled upon occasion. And if as a rule the stage-managers relied mainly upon garments and properties to minister to this instinct, there is no particular reason why they should not also have had recourse to so simple a device as a back-cloth. This conjecture is hardly excluded by the very general terms in which post-Restoration writers deny ‘scenes’ and all decorations other than ‘hangings’ to the earlier stage.[427] By ‘scenes’ they no doubt mean the complete settings with[130] shuttered ‘wings’ as well as back-cloths which Inigo Jones had devised for the masks and the stage had adopted. Even these were not absolutely unknown in pre-Restoration plays, and neither this fact nor the incidental use of special cloths over the central aperture would make it untrue that the normal background of an Elizabethan or Jacobean play was an arras.[428]

The discussions of the last chapter and a half have envisaged the plays presented, exclusively in open theatres until the King’s took over the Blackfriars, by professional companies of men. I must deal in conclusion, perhaps more briefly than the interest of the problem would itself justify, with those of the revived boy companies which for a time carried on such an active rivalry with the men, at Paul’s from 1599 to 1606 and at the Blackfriars from 1600 to 1609. It is, I think, a principal defect of many investigations into Jacobean staging, that the identity of the devices employed in the so-called ‘public’ and ‘private’ houses has been too hastily assumed, and a uniform hypothesis built up upon material taken indifferently from both sources, without regard to the logical possibility of the considerable divergences to which varying conditions of structure and of tradition may have given rise. This is a kind of syncretism to which an inadequate respect for the historic method naturally tends. It is no doubt true that the ‘standardization’ of type, which I have accepted as likely to result from the frequent migration of companies and plays from one public house to another, may in a less degree have affected the private houses also. James Burbadge originally built the Blackfriars for public performances, and we know that Satiromastix was produced both at the Globe and at Paul’s in 1601, and that in 1604 the Revels boys and the King’s men were able to effect mutual piracies of Jeronimo and The Malcontent. Nor is there anything in the general character of the two groups of ‘public’ and ‘private’ plays, as they have come down to us, which is in any obvious way inconsistent with some measure of standardization. It is apparent, indeed, that the act-interval was of far more importance at both Paul’s and the Blackfriars than elsewhere. But this is largely a matter of degree. The inter-acts of music and song and dance were more universal and longer.[429] But[131] the relation of the acts to each other was not essentially different. The break in the representation may still correspond to practically no interval at all in the time-distribution of the play; and there are examples in which the action continues to be carried on by the personages in dumb-show, while the music is still sounding.[430] In any case this particular distinction, while it might well modify the methods of the dramatist, need only affect the economy of the tire-house in so far as it would give more time for the preparation of[132] an altered setting at the beginning of an act. When The Malcontent was taken over at the Globe, the text had to be lengthened that the music might be abridged, but there is no indication of any further alteration, due to a difficulty in adapting the original situations to the peculiarities of the Globe stage. The types of incident, again, which are familiar in public plays, reappear in the private ones; in different proportions, no doubt, since the literary interest of the dramatists and their audiences tends rather in the directions, on the one hand of definite pastoral, and on the other of courtly crime and urban humour, than in that of chronicle history. And there is a marked general analogy in the stage-directions. Here also those who leave the stage go ‘in’, and music and voices can be heard ‘within’. There are the same formulae for the use of several doors, of which one is definitely a ‘middle’ door.[431] Spirits and so forth can ‘ascend’ from under the stage by the convenient traps.[432] Possibly they can also ‘descend’ from the heavens.[433] The normal backing[133] of the stage, even in out-of-door scenes, is an arras or hanging, through which at Paul’s spectators can watch a play.[434] At the Blackfriars, while the arras, even more clearly than in the public theatres, is of a decorative rather than a realistic kind, it can also be helped out by something in the nature of perspective.[435] There is action ‘above’, and interior action, some of which is recessed or ‘discovered’. It must be added, however, that these formulae, taken by themselves, do not go very far towards determining the real character of the staging. They make their first appearance, for the most part, with the interludes in which the Court influence is paramount, and are handed down as a tradition to the public and the private plays alike. They would hardly have been sufficient, without the Swan drawing and other collateral evidence, to disclose even such a general conception of the various uses and interplay, at the Globe and elsewhere, of main stage, alcove, and gallery, as we believe ourselves to have succeeded in adumbrating. And it is quite possible that at Paul’s and the Blackfriars they may not—at any rate it must not be taken for granted without inquiry that they do—mean just the same things. Thus, to take the doors alone, we infer with the help of the Swan drawing, that in the public[134] theatres the three main entrances were in the scenic wall and on the same or nearly the same plane. But the Blackfriars was a rectangular room. We do not know that any free space was left between its walls and the sides of the stage. And it is quite conceivable that there may have been side-doors in the planes of these walls, and at right angles to the middle door. Whether this was so or not, and if so how far forward the side-doors stood, there is certainly nothing in the formulae of the stage-directions to tell us. Perhaps the most noticeable differentiation, which emerges from a comparative survey of private and public plays, is that in the main the writers of the former, unlike those of the latter, appear to be guided by the principle of unity of place; at any rate to the extent that their domus are generally located in the same town, although they may be brought for purposes of representation into closer contiguity than the actual topography of that town would suggest. There are exceptions, and the scenes in a town are occasionally broken by one or two, requiring at the most an open-country background, in the environs. The exact measure in which the principle is followed will become sufficiently evident in the sequel. My immediate point is that it was precisely the absence of unity of place which drove the public stage back upon its common form background of a curtained alcove below and a curtained gallery above, supplemented by the side-doors and later the windows above them, and convertible to the needs of various localities in the course of a single play.

Let us now proceed to the analysis, first of the Paul’s plays and then of the Chapel and Revels plays at the Blackfriars; separately, for the same caution, which forbids a hasty syncretism of the conditions of public and private houses, also warns us that divergences may conceivably have existed between those of the two private houses themselves. But here too we are faced with the fact that individual plays were sometimes transferred from one to the other, The Fawn from Blackfriars to Paul’s, and The Trick to Catch the Old One in its turn from Paul’s to Blackfriars.[436]

Seventeen plays, including the two just named and Satiromastix, which was shared with the Globe, are assigned to Paul’s by contemporary title-pages.[437] To these may be[135] added, with various degrees of plausibility, Histriomastix, What You Will, and Wily Beguiled. For Paul’s were also certainly planned, although we cannot be sure whether, or if so when, they were actually produced, the curious series of plays left in manuscript by William Percy, of which unfortunately only two have ever been published. As the company only endured for six or seven years after its revival, it seems probable that a very fair proportion of its repertory has reached us. Jack Drum’s Entertainment speaks of the ‘mustie fopperies of antiquitie’ with which the company began its career, and one of these is no doubt to be found in Histriomastix, evidently an old play, possibly of academic origin, and recently brought up to date.[438] The staging of Histriomastix would have caused no difficulty to the Revels officers, if it had been put into their hands as a Paul’s play of the ’eighties. The plot illustrates the cyclical progression of Peace, Plenty, Pride, Envy, War, Poverty, each of whom in turn occupies a throne, finally resigned to Peace, for whom in an alternative ending for Court performance is substituted Astraea, who is Elizabeth.[439] This arrangement recalls that of The Woman in the Moon, but the throne seems to have its position on the main stage rather than above. Apart from the abstractions, the whole of the action may be supposed to take place in a single provincial town, largely in an open street, sometimes in the hall of a lord called Mavortius, on occasion in or before smaller domus representing the studies of Chrisoganus, a scholar, and Fourcher, a lawyer, the shop of Velure, a merchant, a market-cross, which is discovered by a curtain, perhaps a tavern.[440] Certainly in the ’eighties these would have been disposed together around the stage, like the domus of Campaspe about the market-place at Athens.[136] And I believe that this is in fact how Histriomastix was staged, more particularly as at one point (v. 259) the action appears to pass directly from the street to the hall without a clearance. Similarly The Maid’s Metamorphosis is on strictly Lylyan lines. It is tout en pastoralle, in a wood, about whose paths the characters stray, while in various regions of it are located the cave of Somnus (II. i. 148), the cottage of Eurymine (IV. ii. 4), and a palace where ‘Phoebus appeares’ (V. ii. 25), possibly above. Wily Beguiled needs a stage of which part is a wood, and part a village hard by, with some suggestion of the doors of the houses of Gripe, Ploddall, Churms, and Mother Midnight. Somewhat less concentration is to be found in The Wisdom of Dr. Dodipoll. Here too, a space of open country, a green hill with a cave, the harbourage and a bank, is neighboured by the Court of Alphonso and the houses of Cassimere and of Flores, of which the last named is adapted for interior action.[441] All this is in Saxony, but there is also a single short scene (I. iii) of thirty-two lines, not necessarily requiring a background, in Brunswick. The plays of William Percy are still, it must be admitted, rather obscure, and one has an uneasy feeling that the manuscript may not yet have yielded up all its indications as to date and provenance. But on the assumption that the conditions contemplated are those of Paul’s in 1599–1606, we learn some curious details of structure, and are face to face with a technique which is still closely reminiscent of the ’eighties. Percy, alone of the dramatists, prefixes to his books, for the guidance of the producer, a note of the equipment required to set them forth. Thus for Cuckqueans and Cuckolds Errant he writes:

‘The Properties.

‘Harwich, In Midde of the Stage Colchester with Image of Tarlton, Signe and Ghirlond under him also. The Raungers Lodge, Maldon, A Ladder of Roapes trussed up neare Harwich. Highest and Aloft the Title The Cuck-Queanes and Cuckolds Errants. A Long Fourme.’

The house at Colchester is the Tarlton Inn, and here the ghost of Tarlton prologizes, ‘standing at entrance of the doore and right under the Beame’. That at Harwich is the house of Floredin, and the ladder leads to the window of his wife Arvania. Thus we have the concurrent representation of three localities, in three distinct towns of Essex. To each[137] is assigned one of three doors and, as in Common Conditions of old, entry by a particular door signifies that a scene is to take place at the locality to which it belongs.[442] One is at liberty to conjecture that the doors were nominated by labels, but Percy does not precisely say so, although he certainly provides for a title label. Journeys from one locality to another are foreshortened into a crossing of the stage.[443] For The Aphrodysial there were at least two houses, the palace of Oceanus ‘in the middle and alofte’, and Proteus Hall, where interior action takes place.[444] For The Faery Pastoral there is an elaborate note:

‘The Properties

‘Highest, aloft, and on the Top of the Musick Tree the Title The Faery Pastorall, Beneath him pind on Post of the Tree The Scene Elvida Forrest. Lowest of all over the Canopie ΝΑΠΑΙΤΒΟΔΑΙΟΝ or Faery Chappell. A kiln of Brick. A Fowen Cott. A Hollowe Oake with vice of wood to shutt to. A Lowe well with Roape and Pullye. A Fourme of Turves. A greene Bank being Pillowe to the Hed but. Lastly A Hole to creepe in and out.’

Having written so far, Percy is smitten with a doubt. The stage of Paul’s was a small one, and spectators sat on it. If he clutters it up like this with properties, will there be room to act at all? He has a happy thought and continues:

‘Now if so be that the Properties of any These, that be outward, will not serve the turne by reason of concourse of the People on the Stage, Then you may omitt the sayd Properties which be outward and supplye their Places with their Nuncupations onely in Text Letters. Thus for some.’

Whether the master of Paul’s was prepared to avail himself of this ingenious device, I do not know. There is no other reference to it, and I do not think it would be safe to assume that it was in ordinary use upon either the public or the private stage. There is no change of locality in The Faery Pastoral, which is tout en pastoralle, but besides the title label, there was a general scenic label and a special one for[138] the fairy chapel. This, which had seats on ‘degrees’ (v. 5), occupied the ‘Canopie, Fane or Trophey’, which I take to have been a discovered interior under the ‘Beame’ named in the other play, corresponding to the alcove of the public theatres. The other properties were smaller ‘practicables’ standing free on the stage, which is presumably what Percy means by ‘outward’. The arrangement must have closely resembled that of The Old Wive’s Tale. The ‘Fowen Cott’ is later described as ‘tapistred with cats and fowëns’—a gamekeeper’s larder. Some kind of action from above was possible; it may have been only from a tree.[445]

The plays so far considered seem to point to the use at Paul’s of continuous settings, even when various localities had to be shown, rather than the successive settings, with the help of common form domus, which prevailed at the contemporary Globe and Fortune. Perhaps there is rather an archaistic note about them. Let us turn to the plays written for Paul’s by more up-to-date dramatists, by Marston, Dekker and Webster, Chapman, Middleton, and Beaumont. Marston’s hand, already discernible in the revision of Histriomastix, appears to be dominant in Jack Drum’s Entertainment, although neither play was reclaimed for him in the collected edition of 1633. Unity of locality is not observed in Jack Drum. By far the greater part of the action takes place on Highgate Green, before the house of Sir Edward Fortune, with practicable windows above.[446] But there are two scenes (I. 282–428; IV. 207–56) in London, before a tavern (I. 345), which may be supposed to be also the house where Mistress Brabant lies ‘private’ in an ‘inner chamber’ (IV. 83, 211). And there are three (II. 170–246; III. 220–413; V) in an open spot, on the way to Highgate (II. 228) and near a house, whence a character emerges (III. 249, 310). It is described as ‘the crosse stile’ (IV. 338), and is evidently quite near Fortune’s house, and still on the green (V. 96, 228). This suggests to me a staging closely analogous to that of Cuckqueans and Cuckolds, with Highgate at one end of the stage, London at the other, and the cross stile between them. It is true that there is no very certain evidence of direct transference of action from one spot to another, but the use of two doors at the beginning of the first London scene is consistent, on my theory, with the fact that one entrant comes from Highgate, whither also he goes at the end of the scene, and the similar use at the beginning of the second cross-stile scene is consistent[139] with the fact that the two entrants are wildly seeking the same lady, and one may well have been in London and the other at Highgate. She herself enters from the neighbouring house; that is to say, a third, central, door. With Marston’s acknowledged plays, we reach an order of drama in which interior action of the ‘hall’ type is conspicuous.[447] There are four plays, each limited to a single Italian city, Venice or Urbino. The main action of 1 Antonio and Mellida is in the hall of the doge’s palace, chiefly on ‘the lower stage’, although ladies discourse ‘above’, and a chamber can be pointed to from the hall.[448] One short scene (V. 1–94), although near the Court, is possibly in the lodging of a courtier, but probably in the open street. And two (III. i; IV) are in open country, representing ‘the Venice marsh’, requiring no background, but approachable by more than one door.[449] The setting of 2 Antonio and Mellida is a little more complicated. There is no open-country scene. The hall recurs and is still the chief place of action. It can be entered by more than one door (V. 17, &c.) and has a ‘vault’ (II. 44) with a ‘grate’ (II. ii. 127), whence a speaker is heard ‘under the stage’ (V. 1). The scenes within it include several episodes discovered by curtains. One is at the window of Mellida’s chamber above.[450] Another, in Maria’s chamber, where the discovery is only of a bed, might be either above or below.[451] A third involves the appearance of a ghost ‘betwixt the music-houses’, probably above.[452] Concurrently, a fourth[140] facilitates a murder in a recess below.[453] Nor is the hall any longer the only interior used. Three scenes (II. 1–17; III. 1–212; IV. ii) are in an aisle (III. 128) of St. Mark’s, with a trapped grave.[454] As a character passes (ii. 17) directly from the church to the palace in the course of a speech, it is clear that the two ‘houses’, consistently with actual Venetian topography, were staged together and contiguously. The Fawn was originally produced at Blackfriars and transferred to Paul’s. I deal with it here, because of the close analogy which it presents to 1 Antonio and Mellida. It begins with an open-country scene within sight of the ‘far-appearing spires’ of Urbino. Thereafter all is within the hall of the Urbino palace. It is called a ‘presence’ (I. ii. 68), but one must conceive it as of the nature of an Italian colonnaded cortile, for there is a tree visible, up which a lover climbs to his lady’s chamber, and although both the tree and the chamber window might have occupied a bit of façade in the plane of the aperture showing the hall, they appear in fact to have been within the hall, since the lovers are later ‘discovered’ to the company there.[455] What You Will, intermediate in date between Antonio and Mellida and The Fawn, has a less concentrated setting than either of them. The principal house is Albano’s (I; III. ii; IV; V. 1–68), where there is action at the porch, within the hall, and in a discovered room behind.[456] But there are also scenes in a shop (III. ii), in Laverdure’s lodging (II. ii), probably above, and in a schoolroom (II. ii). The two latter are also discovered.[457][141] Nevertheless, I do not think that shifting scenes of the public theatre type are indicated. Albano’s house does not lend itself to public theatre methods. Act I is beneath his wife Celia’s window.[458] Similarly III. ii is before his porch. But III. iv is in his hall, whence the company go to dinner within, and here they are disclosed in V. Hence, from V. 69 onwards, they begin to pass to the street, where they presently meet the duke’s troop. I do not know of any public play in which the porch, the hall, and an inner room of a house are all represented, and my feeling is that Albano’s occupied the back corner of a stage, with the porch and window above to one side, at right angles to the plane of the hall. At any rate I do not see any definite obstacle to the hypothesis that all Marston’s plays for Paul’s had continuous settings. For What You Will the ‘little’ stage would have been rather crowded. The induction hints that it was, and perhaps that spectators were on this occasion excluded, while the presenters went behind the back curtains.

Most of the other Paul’s plays need not detain us as long as Marston’s. He has been thought to have helped in Satiromastix, but that must be regarded as substantially Dekker’s. Obviously it must have been capable of representation both at Paul’s and at the Globe. It needs the houses of Horace, Shorthose, and Vaughan, Prickshaft’s garden with a ‘bower’ in it, and the palace. Interior action is required in Horace’s study, which is discovered,[459] the presence-chamber at the palace, where a ‘chaire is set under a canopie’,[460] and Shorthose’s hall.[461] The ordinary methods at the Globe would be adequate. On the other hand, London, in spite of Horace, is the locality throughout, and at Paul’s the setting may have been continuous, just as well as in What You Will. Dekker is also the leading spirit in Westward Ho! and Northward Ho!, and in these we get, for the first time at Paul’s, plays for which a continuous setting seems quite impossible. Not only does Westward Ho! require no less than ten houses and[142] Northward Ho! seven, but also, although the greater part of both plays takes place in London, Westward Ho! has scenes at Brentford and Northward Ho! at Ware.[462] The natural conclusion is that, for these plays at least, the procedure of the public theatres was adopted. It is, of course, the combination of numerous houses and changes of locality which leads me to this conclusion. Mahelot shows us that the ‘multiple’ staging of the Hôtel de Bourgogne permitted inconsistencies of locality, but could hardly accommodate more than five, or at most six, maisons. Once given the existence of alternative methods at Paul’s, it becomes rather difficult to say which was applied in any particular case. Chapman’s Bussy d’Ambois begins, like The Fawn, with an open-country scene, and thereafter uses only three houses, all in Paris; the presence-chamber at the palace (I. ii; II. i; III. ii; IV. i), Bussy’s chamber (V. iii), and Tamyra’s chamber in another house, Montsurry’s (II. ii; III. i; IV. ii; V. i, ii, iv). Both chambers are trapped for spirits to rise, and Tamyra’s has in it a ‘gulfe’, apparently screened by a ‘canopie’, which communicates with Bussy’s.[463] As the interplay of scenes in Act V requires transit through the passage from one chamber to the other, it is natural to assume an unchanged setting.[464]

The most prolific contributor to the Paul’s repertory was Middleton. His first play, Blurt Master Constable, needs five houses. They are all in Venice, and as in certain scenes more than one of them appears to be visible, they were[143] probably all set together.[465] Similarly, The Phoenix has six houses, all in Ferrara;[466] and Michaelmas Term has five houses, all in London.[467] On the other hand, although A Mad World, my Masters has only four houses,[468] and A Trick to Catch the Old One seven,[469] yet both these plays resemble Dekker’s, in that the action is divided between London and one or more places in the country; and this, so far as it goes, seems to suggest settings on public theatre lines. I do not know whether Middleton wrote The Puritan, but I think that this play clearly had a continuous setting with only four houses, in London.[470] And although Beaumont’s Woman Hater requires[144] seven houses, these are all within or hard by the palace in Milan, and action seems to pass freely from one to another.[471]

The evidence available does not dispose one to dogmatism. But this is the general impression which I get of the history of the Paul’s staging. When the performances were revived in 1599, the master had, as in the days before Lyly took the boys to Blackfriars, to make the best of a room originally designed for choir-practices. This was circular, and only had space for a comparatively small stage. At the back of this, entrance was given by a curtained recess, corresponding to the alcove of the public theatres, and known at Paul’s as the ‘canopy’.[472] Above the canopy was a beam, which bore the post of the music-tree. On this post was a small stand, perhaps for the conductor of the music, and on each side of it was a music-house, forming a gallery,[473] which could represent a window or balcony. There were at least two other doors, either beneath the music-houses or at right angles to these, off the sides of the stage. The master began with continuous settings on the earlier sixteenth-century court model, using the doors and galleries as far as he could to represent houses, and supplementing these by temporary structures; and this plan fitted in with the general literary trend of his typical dramatists, especially Marston, to unity of locality. But in time the romantic element proved too much for him, and when he wanted to enlist the services of writers of the popular school, such as Dekker, he had to compromise. It may be that some structural change was carried out during the enforced suspension of performances in 1603. I do not think that there is any Paul’s play of earlier date which could not have been given in the old-fashioned manner. In any event, the increased number of houses and the not infrequent shiftings of locality from town to country, which are apparent in the Jacobean plays, seem to me, taken together, to be more than can be accounted for[145] on a theory of clumsy foreshortening, and to imply the adoption, either generally or occasionally, of some such principle of convertible houses, as was already in full swing upon the public stage.[474]

I do not think that the history of the Blackfriars was materially different from that of Paul’s. There are in all twenty-four plays to be considered; an Elizabethan group of seven produced by the Children of the Chapel, and a Jacobean group of seventeen produced by the successive incarnations of the Revels company.[475] Structural alterations during 1603 are here less probable, for the house only dated from Burbadge’s enterprise of 1596. Burbadge is said to have intended a ‘public’ theatre, and it may be argued on a priori grounds that he would have planned for the type of staging familiar to him at the Theatre and subsequently elaborated at the Globe. The actual character of the plays does not, however, bear out this view. Like Paul’s, the Blackfriars relied at first in part upon revivals. One was Love’s Metamorphosis, already produced by Lyly under Court conditions with the earlier Paul’s boys, and tout en pastoralle.[476] Another, or if not, quite an archaistic play, was Liberality and Prodigality, the abstract plot of which only needs an equally abstract scene, with a ‘bower’ for Fortune, holding a throne and scaleable by a ladder (30, 290, 903, 932, 953), another ‘bower’ for Virtue (132), an inn (47, 192, 370), and a high seat for a judge with his clerks beneath him (1245).[477] The two new playwrights may reasonably be supposed to have conformed to the traditional methods. Jonson’s Cynthia’s Revels has a preliminary act of open country, by the Fountain of Self-Love, in Gargaphia. The rest is all at the Gargaphian palace, either in the presence, or in an ante-chamber thereto, perhaps before a curtain, or for one or two scenes in the[146] nymphs’ chamber (IV. i-v), and in or before the chamber of Asotus (III. v).[478] Poetaster is all at Rome, within and before the palace, the houses of Albius and Lupus, and the chamber of Ovid.[479] There is certainly no need for any shifting of scenes so far. Nor does Chapman demand it. Sir Giles Goosecap, except for one open-country scene, has only two houses, which are demonstrably contiguous and used together.[480] The Gentleman Usher has only two houses, supposed to be at a little distance from each other, and entailing a slight foreshortening, if they were placed at opposite ends of the stage.[481] All Fools adopts the Italian convention of action in an open city space before three houses.[482]

To the Jacobean repertory not less than nine writers contributed. Chapman still takes the lead with three more comedies and two tragedies of his own. In the comedies he tends somewhat to increase the number of his houses, although without any change of general locality. M. d’Olive has five houses.[483][147] May Day has four.[484] The Widow’s Tears has four.[485] But in all cases there is a good deal of interplay of action between one house and another, and all the probabilities are in favour of continuous setting. The tragedies are perhaps another matter. The houses are still not numerous; but the action is in each play divided between two localities. The Conspiracy of Byron is partly at Paris and partly at Brussels; the Tragedy of Byron partly at Paris and partly at Dijon.[486] Jonson’s Case is Altered has one open-country scene (V. iv) near Milan. The other scenes require two houses within the city. One is Farneze’s palace, with a cortile where servants come and go, and a colonnade affording a private ‘walk’ for his daughters (II. iii; IV. i). Hard by, and probably in Italian fashion forming part of the structure of the palace itself, is the cobbler’s shop of Farneze’s retainer, Juniper.[487] Near, too, is the house of Jaques, with a little walled backside, and a tree in it.[488] A link with Paul’s is provided by three Blackfriars plays from Marston. Of these, the Malcontent is in his characteristic Italian manner. There is a short hunting scene (III. ii) in the middle of the play. For nearly all the rest the scene is the ‘great chamber’ in the palace at Genoa, with a door to the apartment of the duchess at the back (II. i. 1) and the chamber of Malevole visible above.[489] Part[148] of the last act, however, is before the citadel of Genoa, from which the action passes direct to the palace.[490] The Dutch Courtesan is a London comedy with four houses, of the same type as What You Will, but less crowded.[491] In the tragedy of Sophonisba, on the other hand, we come for the first time at Blackfriars to a piece which seems hopelessly unamenable to continuous setting. It recalls the structure of such early public plays as the Battle of Alcazar. ‘The scene is Libya’, the prologue tells us. We get the camps of Massinissa (II. ii), Asdrubal (II. iii), and Scipio (III. ii; V. iv). We get a battle-field with a ‘mount’ and a ‘throne’ in it (V. ii). We get the forest of Belos, with a cave’s mouth (IV. i). The city scenes are divided between Carthage and Cirta. At Carthage there is a council-chamber (II. i) and also the chamber of Sophonisba (I. ii), where her bed is ‘discovered’.[492] At Cirta there is the similar chamber of Syphax (III. i; IV. ii) with a trapped altar.[493] A curious bit of continuous action, difficult to envisage, comprehends this and the forest at the junction of Acts IV and V. From a vault within it, a passage leads to the cave. Down this, in III. i, Sophonisba descends, followed by Syphax. A camp scene intervenes, and at the beginning of IV Sophonisba emerges in the forest, is overtaken by Syphax, and sent back to Cirta. Then Syphax remembers that ‘in this desert’ lives the witch Erichtho. She enters, and promises to charm Sophonisba to his bed. Quite suddenly, and without any Exit or other indication of a change of locality, we are back in the chamber at Cirta. Music sounds within ‘the canopy’ and ‘above’. Erichtho, disguised as Sophonisba, enters the canopy, as to bed. Syphax[149] follows, and only discovers his misadventure at the beginning of Act V.[494] Even if the play was staged as a whole on public theatre methods, it is difficult not to suppose that the two entrances to the cave, at Cirta and in the forest, were shown together. It is to be added that, in a note to the print, Marston apologizes for ‘the fashion of the entrances’ on the ground that the play was ‘presented by youths and after the fashion of the private stage’. Somewhat exceptional also is the arrangement of Eastward Ho!, in which Chapman, Jonson, and Marston collaborated. The first three acts, taken by themselves, are easy enough. They need four houses in London. The most important is Touchstone’s shop, which is ‘discovered’.[495] The others are the exteriors of Sir Petronel’s house and Security’s house, with a window or balcony above, and a room in the Blue Anchor tavern at Billingsgate.[496] But throughout most of Act IV the whole stage seems to be devoted to a complicated action, for which only one of these houses, the Blue Anchor, is required. A place above the stage represents Cuckold’s Haven, on the Surrey side of the Thames near Rotherhithe, where stood a pole bearing a pair of ox-horns, to which butchers did a folk-observance. Hither climbs Slitgut, and describes the wreck of a boat in the river beneath him.[497] It is the boat in which an elopement was planned from the Blue Anchor in Act III. Slitgut sees[150] passengers landed successively ‘even just under me’, and then at St. Katharine’s, Wapping, and the Isle of Dogs. These are three places on the north bank, all to the east of Billingsgate and on the other side of the Tower, but as each rescue is described, the passengers enter the stage, and go off again. Evidently a wild foreshortening is deliberately involved. Now, although the print obscures the fact, must begin a new scene.[498] A night has passed, and Winifred, who landed at St. Katharine’s, returns to the stage, and is now before the Blue Anchor.[499] From IV. ii onwards the setting is normal again, with three houses, of which one is Touchstone’s. But the others are now the exterior of the Counter and of the lodging of Gertrude. One must conclude that in this play the Blackfriars management was trying an experiment, and made complete, or nearly complete, changes of setting, at the end of Act III and again after IV. i. Touchstone’s, which was discovered, could be covered again. The other houses, except the tavern, were represented by mere doors or windows, and gave no trouble. The tavern, the introduction of which in the early acts already entailed foreshortening, was allowed to stand for IV. i, and was then removed, while Touchstone’s was discovered again.

Middleton’s tendency to multiply his houses is noticeable, as at Paul’s, in Your Five Gallants. There are eight, in London, with an open-country scene in Combe Park (III. ii, iii), and one cannot be confident of continuous setting.[500] But a group of new writers, enlisted at Blackfriars in Jacobean days, conform well enough to the old traditions of the house. Daniel’s Philotas has the abstract stage characteristic of the closet tragedies to the type of which it really belongs. Any Renaissance façade would do; at most a hall in the court and the lodging of Philotas need be distinguished. Day’s Isle of Gulls is tout en pastoralle.[501] His Law Tricks has[151] only four houses, in Genoa.[502] Sharpham’s Fleir, after a prelude at Florence, which needs no house, has anything from three to six in London.[503] Fletcher’s Faithful Shepherdess, again, is tout en pastoralle.[504] Finally, The Knight of the Burning Pestle is, in the strict sense, an exception which proves the rule. Its shifts of locality are part of the burlesque, in which the popular plays are taken off for the amusement of the select audience of the Blackfriars. Its legitimate houses are only two, Venturewell’s shop and Merrithought’s dwelling, hard by one another.[505] But the adventures of the prentice heroes take them not only over down and through forest to Waltham, where the Bell Inn must serve for a knightly castle, and the barber’s shop for Barbaroso’s cave, but also to the court of Moldavia, although the players regret that they cannot oblige the Citizen’s Wife by showing a house covered with black velvet and a king’s daughter standing in her window all in beaten gold, combing her golden locks with a comb of ivory.[506] What visible parody of public stage methods heightened the fun, it is of course impossible to say.

I do not propose to follow the Queen’s Revels to the Whitefriars, or to attempt any investigation into the characteristics of that house. It was occupied by the King’s Revels before the Queen’s Revels, and probably the Lady Elizabeth’s[152] joined the Queen’s Revels there at a later date. But the number of plays which can definitely be assigned to it is clearly too small to form the basis of any satisfactory induction.[507] So far as the Blackfriars is concerned, my conclusion must be much the same as for Paul’s—that, when plays began in 1600, the Chapel revived the methods of staging with which their predecessors had been familiar during the hey-day of the Court drama under Lyly; that these methods held their own in the competition with the public theatres, and were handed on to the Queen’s Revels; but that in course of time they were sometimes variegated by the introduction, for one reason or another, of some measure of scene-shifting in individual plays. This reason may have been the nature of the plot in Sophonisba, the desire to experiment in Eastward Ho!, the restlessness of the dramatist in Your Five Gallants, the spirit of raillery in The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Whether Chapman’s tragedies involved scene-shifting, I am not quite sure. The analogy of the Hôtel de Bourgogne, where a continuous setting was not inconsistent with the use of widely distant localities, must always be kept in mind. On the other hand, what did not appear absurd in Paris, might have appeared absurd in London, where the practice of the public theatres had taught the spectators to expect a higher degree of consistency. I am far from claiming that my theory of the survival of continuous setting at Paul’s and the Blackfriars has been demonstrated. Very possibly the matter is not capable of demonstration. Many, perhaps most, of the plays could be produced, if need be, by alternative methods. It is really on taking them in the mass that I cannot resist the feeling that ‘the fashion of the private stage’, as Marston called it, was something different from the fashion of the public stage. The technique of the dramatists corresponds to the structural conditions. An increased respect for unity of place is not the only factor, although it is the most important. An unnecessary multiplicity of houses is, except by Dekker and Middleton, avoided. Sometimes one or two suffice. There is much more interior action than in the popular plays. One hall or chamber scene can follow upon[153] another more freely. A house may be used for a scene which would seem absurdly short if the setting were altered for it. More doors are perhaps available, so that some can be spared for entrance behind the houses. There is more coming and going between one house and another, although I have made it clear that even the public stage was not limited to one house at a time.[508] One point is, I think, quite demonstrable. Marston has a reference to ‘the lower stage’ at Paul’s, but neither at Paul’s nor at the Blackfriars was there an upper stage capable of holding the action of a complete scene, such as we found at the sixteenth-century theatres, and apparently on a still larger scale at the Globe and the Fortune. A review of my notes will show that, although there is action ‘above’ in many private house plays, it is generally a very slight action, amounting to little more than the use by one or two persons of a window or balcony. Bedchamber scenes or tavern scenes are provided for below; the public theatre, as often as not, put them above.[509] I may recall, in confirmation, that the importance of the upper stage in the plays of the King’s men sensibly diminishes after their occupation of the Blackfriars.[510]

There are enigmas still to be solved, and I fear insoluble. Were the continuous settings of the type which we find in Serlio, with the unity of a consistent architectural picture, or of the type which we find at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, with independent and sometimes incongruous juxtaposed mansions? The taste of the dramatists for Italian cities and the frequent recurrence of buildings which fit so well into a Serliesque scheme as the tavern, the shop, the house of the ruffiana or courtesan, may tempt one’s imagination towards the former. But Serlio does not seem to contemplate much interior action, and although the convention of a half out-of-doors cortile or loggia may help to get over this difficulty, the often crowded presences and the masks seem to call for an arrangement by which each mansion can at need become in its turn the background to the whole of the stage and attach to itself all the external doors. How were the open-country scenes managed, which we have noticed in several plays, as a prelude, or even an interruption, to the strict[154] unity of place?[511] Were these merely played on the edge of the stage, or are we to assume a curtain, cutting off the background of houses, and perhaps painted with an open-country or other appropriate perspective? And what use, if any, can we suppose to have been made of title or locality labels? The latter would not have had much point where the locality was unchanged; but Envy calls out ‘Rome’ three times in the prologue to the Poetaster, as if she saw it written up in three places. Percy may more naturally use them in Cuckqueans and Cuckolds, on a stage which represents a foreshortening of the distance between three distinct towns. Title-labels seem fairly probable. Cynthia’s Revels and The Knight of the Burning Pestle bear testimony to them at the Blackfriars; Wily Beguiled perhaps at Paul’s.[512] And if the prologues none the less thought it necessary to announce ‘The scene is Libya’, or ‘The scene Gargaphia, which I do vehemently suspect for some fustian country’, why, we must remember that there were many, even in a select Elizabethan audience, that could not hope to be saved by their book.



Tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable or poem unlimited.—Hamlet.



[Bibliographical Note.—The records of the Stationers’ Company were utilized by W. Herbert in Typographical Antiquities (1785–90), based on an earlier edition (1749) by J. Ames, and revised, but not for the period most important to us, by T. F. Dibdin (1810–19). They are now largely available at first hand in E. Arber, Transcript of the Registers of the Stationers’ Company, 1554–1640 (1875–94), and G. E. B. Eyre, Transcript of the Registers of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, 1640–1708 (1913–14). Recent investigations are to be found in the Transactions and other publications of the Bibliographical Society, and in the periodicals Bibliographica and The Library. The best historical sketches are H. R. Plomer, A Short History of English Printing (1900), E. G. Duff, The Introduction of Printing into England (1908, C. H. ii. 310), H. G. Aldis, The Book-Trade, 1557–1625 (1909, C. H. iv. 378), and R. B. McKerrow, Booksellers, Printers, and the Stationers’ Trade (1916, Sh. England, ii. 212). Of somewhat wider range is H. G. Aldis, The Printed Book (1916). Records of individual printers are in E. G. Duff, A Century of the English Book Trade, 1457–1557 (1905), R. B. McKerrow, Dictionary of Printers and Booksellers, 1557–1640 (1910), and H. R. Plomer, Dictionary of Booksellers and Printers, 1641–67 (1907). Special studies of value are R. B. McKerrow, Printers and Publishers’ Devices (1913), and Notes on Bibliographical Evidence for Literary Students (1914). P. Sheavyn, The Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age (1909), is not very accurate. The early history of the High Commission (1558–64) is studied in H. Gee, The Elizabethan Clergy and the Settlement of Religion (1898). The later period awaits fuller treatment than that in An Account of the Courts Ecclesiastical by W. Stubbs in the Report of the Commission on Ecclesiastical Courts (1883), i. 21. J. S. Burn, The High Commission (1865), is scrappy.

For plays in particular, W. W. Greg, List of English Plays (1900), gives the title-pages, and Arber the registration entries. Various problems are discussed by A. W. Pollard, Shakespeare Folios and Quartos (1909) and Shakespeare’s Fight with the Pirates (1917, ed. 2, 1920), and in connexion with the Shakespearian quartos of 1619 (cf. ch. xxiii). New ground is opened by A. W. Pollard and J. D. Wilson, The ‘Stolne and Surreptitious’ Shakespearian Texts (T. L. S. Jan.–Aug. 1919), and J. D. Wilson, The Copy for Hamlet, 1603, and the Hamlet Transcript, 1593 (1918). Other studies are C. Dewischeit, Shakespeare und die Stenographie (1898, Jahrbuch, xxxiv. 170), B. A. P. van Dam and C. Stoffel, William Shakespeare, Prosody and Text (1900), Chapters in English Printing, Prosody, and Pronunciation (1902), P. Simpson, Shakespearian Punctuation (1911), E. M. Albright, ‘To be Staied’ (1915, M. L. A. xxx. 451; cf. M. L. N., Feb. 1919), A. W. Pollard, Ad Imprimendum Solum (1919, 3 Library, x. 57), H. R. Shipheard, Play-Publishing in Elizabethan Times (1919, M. L. A. xxxiv. 580); M. A. Bayfield, Shakespeare’s Versification (1920); cf. T. L. S. (1919–20).

The nature of stage-directions is considered in many works on staging (cf. Bibl. Note to ch. xviii), and in N. Delius, Die Bühnenweisungen in den alten Shakespeare-Ausgaben (1873, Jahrbuch, viii. 171), R. Koppel, Scenen-Einteilung und Orts-Angaben in den Shakespeareschen Dramen (1874, Jahrbuch, ix. 269), Die unkritische Behandlung dramaturgischer Angaben[158] und Anordnungen in den Shakespeare-Ausgaben (1904, E. S. xxxiv. 1). The documents printed by Arber are so fundamental as to justify a short description. Each of his vols. i-iv gives the text, or most of the text, of four books, lettered A-D in the Company’s archives, interspersed with illustrative documents from other sources; vol. v consists of indices. Another series of books, containing minutes of the Court of Assistants from 1603 onwards, remains unprinted (ii. 879). Book A contains the annual accounts of the wardens from 1554 to 1596. The Company’s year began on varying dates in the first half of July. From 1557 to 1571 the accounts include detailed entries of the books for which fees were received and of the fines imposed upon members of the Company for irregularities. Thereafter they are abstracts only, and reference is made for the details of fees to ‘the register in the clarkes booke’ (i. 451). Unfortunately this book is not extant for 1571–6. After the appointment of Richard Collins in place of George Wapull as clerk in 1575, a new ‘booke of entrances’ was bought for the clerk (i. 475). This is Book B, which is divided into sections for records of different character, including book entries for 1576–95, and fines for 1576–1605. There are also some decrees and ordinances of the Court, most of which Arber does not print, and a few pages of miscellaneous memoranda at the beginning and end (ii. 33–49, 884–6). Book C, bought ‘for the entrance of copies’ in 1594–5 (i. 572), has similar memoranda (iii. 35–8, 677–98). It continues the book entries, and these alone, for 1595–1620. Book D continues them for 1620–45. Arber’s work stops at 1640. Eyre prints a transcript by H. R. Plomer of the rest of D and of Books E, F, and G, extending to 1708.]

A historian of the stage owes so much of his material to the printed copies of plays, with their title-pages, their prefatory epistles, and their stage-directions, that he can hardly be dispensed from giving some account of the process by which plays got into print. Otherwise I should have been abundantly content to have left the subject with a reference to the researches of others, and notably of that accomplished bibliographer, my friend Mr. A. W. Pollard, to whom in any event the debt of these pages must be great. The earliest attempts to control the book-trade are of the nature of commercial restrictions, and concern themselves with the regulation of alien craftsmanship.[513] But when Tudor policy had to deal with expressions of political and religious opinion, and in particular when the interlude as well as the pamphlet, not without encouragement from Cranmer and Cromwell, became an instrument of ecclesiastical controversy, it was not long before the State found itself committed to the methods of a literary censorship. We have already followed in detail the phases of the control to which the spoken play was subjected.[514] The story of the printed play was closely analogous; and in both cases the ultimate term of the evolution, so far as our period is concerned, was the establishment of the authority of the Master of the Revels. The[159] printing and selling of plays, however, was of course only one fragment of the general business of book-production. Censorship was applied to many kinds of books, and was also in practice closely bound up with the logically distinct problem of copyright. This to the Elizabethan mind was a principle debarring one publisher from producing and selling a book in which another member of his trade had already a vested interest. The conception of a copyright vested in the author as distinct from the publisher of a book had as yet hardly emerged.

The earliest essay in censorship in fact took the form of an extension of the procedure, under which protection had for some time past been given to the copyright in individual books through the issue of a royal privilege forbidding their republication by any other than the privileged owner or printer.[515] Three proclamations of Henry VIII against heretical or seditious books, in 1529, 1530, and 1536, were followed in 1538 by a fourth, which forbade the printing of any English book except with a licence given ‘upon examination made by some of his gracis priuie counsayle, or other suche as his highnes shall appoynte’, and further directed that a book so licensed should not bear the words ‘Cum priuilegio regali’ without the addition of ‘ad imprimendum solum’, and that ‘the hole copie, or els at the least theffect of his licence and priuilege be therwith printed’.[516] The intention was apparently to distinguish between a merely regulative privilege or licence to print, and the older and fuller type of privilege which also conveyed a protection of copyright. Finally, in 1546, a fifth proclamation laid down that every ‘Englishe boke, balet or playe’ must bear the names of the printer and author and the ‘daye of the printe’, and that an advance copy must be placed in the hands of the local mayor two days before publication.[517] It is not quite[160] clear whether these requirements were intended to replace, or merely to reinforce, that of a licence. Henry’s proclamations lost their validity upon his death in 1547, but the policy of licensing was continued by his successors. Under Edward VI we get, first a Privy Council order of 1549, directing that all English books printed or sold should be examined and allowed by ‘Mr Secretary Peter, Mr Secretary Smith and Mr Cicill, or the one of them’, and secondly a proclamation of 1551, requiring allowance ‘by his maiestie, or his priuie counsayl in writing signed with his maiesties most gratious hand or the handes of sixe of his sayd priuie counsayl’.[518] Mary in her turn, though with a different emphasis on the kind of opinion to be suppressed, issued three proclamations against heretical books in 1553, 1555, and 1558, and in the first of these limited printers to books for which they had ‘her graces speciall licence in writynge’.[519] It is noteworthy that both in 1551 and in 1553 the printing and the playing of interludes were put upon exactly the same footing.

Mary, however, took another step of the first importance for the further history of publishing, by the grant on 4 May 1557 a charter of incorporation to the London Company of Stationers.[520] This was an old organization, traceable as far back as 1404.[521] By the sixteenth century it had come to include the printers who manufactured, as well as the stationers who sold, books; and many, although not all of its members, exercised both avocations. No doubt the issue of the charter had its origin in mixed motives. The stationers wanted the status and the powers of economic regulation within their trade which it conferred; the Government wanted the aid of the stationers in establishing a more effective control over the printed promulgation of inconvenient doctrines. This preoccupation is clearly manifested in the preamble to the charter, with its assertion that ‘seueral seditious and heretical books’ are ‘daily published’; and the objects of both parties were met by a provision that ‘no person shall practise or exercise the art or mystery of printing or stamping any book unless the same person is, or shall be,[161] one of the society of the foresaid mystery of a stationer of the city aforesaid, or has for that purpose obtained our licence’. This practically freed the associated stationers from any danger of outside competition, and it immensely simplified the task of the heresy hunters by enlisting the help of the Company against the establishment of printing-presses by any but well-known and responsible craftsmen. Registration is always half-way towards regulation. The charter did not, however, dispense, even for the members of the Company, with the requirement of a licence; nor did it give the Company any specific functions in connexion with the issue of licences, and although Elizabeth confirmed her sister’s grant on 10 November 1559, she had already, in the course of the ecclesiastical settlement earlier in the year, taken steps to provide for the continuance of the old system, and specifically laid it down that the administration of the Company was to be subordinate thereto. The licensing authority rested ultimately upon the Act of Supremacy, by which the power of ecclesiastical jurisdiction for the ‘reformation, order, and correction’ of all ‘errors, heresies, schisms, abuses, offences, contempts, and enormities’ was annexed to the Crown, and the Crown was authorized to exercise its jurisdiction through the agency of a commission appointed under letters patent.[522] This Act received the royal assent on 8 May 1559, together with the Act of Uniformity which established the Book of Common Prayer, and made it an offence ‘in any interludes, plays, songs, rhymes, or by other open words’ to ‘declare or speak anything in the derogation, depraving, or despising’ of that book.[523] In the course of June followed a body of Injunctions, intended as a code of ecclesiastical discipline to be promulgated at a series of diocesan visitations held by commissioners under the Act of Supremacy. One of these Injunctions is directly concerned with the abuses of printers of books.[524] It begins by forbidding any book or paper to be printed without an express written licence either from the Queen herself or from six of the Privy Council, or after perusal from two persons being either the Archbishop of Canterbury or York, the Bishop of London, the Chancellor of Oxford or Cambridge, or the Bishop or Archdeacon for the place of printing. One of the two must always be the Ordinary, and the names of the licensers are to be ‘added in the end’ of every book. This seems sufficiently to cover the ground, but the Injunction goes on to make a special reference to ‘pamphlets, plays and ballads’, from which anything[162] ‘heretical, seditious, or unseemly for Christian ears’ ought to be excluded; and for these it prescribes a licence from ‘such her majesty’s commissioners, or three of them, as be appointed in the city of London to hear and determine divers causes ecclesiastical’. These commissioners are also to punish breaches of the Injunction, and to take and notify an order as to the prohibition or permission of ‘all other books of matters of religion or policy, or governance’. An exemption is granted for books ordinarily used in universities or schools. The Master and Wardens of the Stationers’ Company are ‘straitly’ commanded to be obedient to the Injunction. The commission here referred to was not one of those entrusted with the diocesan visitations, but a more permanent body sitting in London itself, which came to be known as the High Commission. The reference to it in the Injunction reads like an afterthought, but as the principal members of this commission were the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, there is not so much inconsistency between the two forms of procedure laid down as might at first sight appear. The High Commission was not in fact yet in existence when the Injunctions were issued, but it was constituted under a patent of 19 July 1559, and was renewed from time to time by fresh patents throughout the reign.[525] The original members, other than the two prelates, were chiefly Privy Councillors, Masters of Requests, and other lawyers. The size of the body was considerably increased by later patents, and a number of divines were added. The patent of 1559 conferred upon the commissioners a general power to exercise the royal jurisdiction in matters ecclesiastical. It does not repeat in terms the provisions for the ‘allowing’ of books contained in the Injunctions, but merely recites that ‘divers seditious books’ have been set forth, and empowers the commissioners to inquire into them.

The Injunctions and the Commission must be taken as embodying the official machinery for the licensing of books up to the time of the well-known Star Chamber order of 1586, although the continued anxiety of the government in the matter is shown by a series of proclamations and orders which suggest that no absolutely effective method of suppressing undesirable publications had as yet been attained.[526][163] Mr. Pollard, who regards the procedure contemplated by the Injunctions as ‘impossible’, believes that in practice the Stationers’ Company, in ordinary cases, itself acted as a licensing authority.[527] Certainly this is the testimony, as regards the period 1576–86, of a note of Sir John Lambe, Dean of the Arches, in 1636, which is based wholly or in part upon information derived from Felix Kingston, then Master of the Company.[528] Kingston added the detail that in the case of a divinity book of importance the opinion of theological experts was taken. Mr. Pollard expresses a doubt whether Lambe or Kingston had much evidence before them other than the registers of the Company which are still extant, and to these we are in a position to turn for confirmation or qualification of their statements.[529] Unfortunately, the ordinances or constitutions under which the master and wardens acted from the time of the incorporation have not been preserved, and any additions made to these by the Court of Assistants before the Restoration have not been printed.[530] We have some revised ordinances of 1678–82, and these help us by recording as of ‘ancient usage’ a practice of entering all publications, other than those under letters patent, in ‘the register-book of this company’.[531][164] It is in fact this register, incorporated from 1557 to 1571 in the annual accounts of the wardens and kept from 1576 onwards as a subsidiary book by the clerk, which furnishes our principal material. During 1557–71 the entries for each year are collected under a general heading, which takes various forms. In 1557–8 it is ‘The entrynge of all such copyes as be lycensed to be prynted by the master and wardyns of the mystery of stacioners’; in 1558–9 simply ‘Lycense for pryntinge’; in 1559–60, for which year the entries are mixed up with others, ‘Receptes for fynes, graunting of coppyes and other thynges’; in 1560–1 ‘For takynge of fynes for coppyes’. This formula lasts until 1565–6, when ‘The entrynge of coopyes’ takes its place. The wording of the individual entries also varies during the period, but generally it indicates the receipt of a money payment in return for a license.[532] In a very few cases, by no means always of divinity books, the licence is said to be ‘by’, or the licence or perhaps the book itself, to be ‘authorized’ or ‘allowed’ or ‘perused’ or ‘appointed’ by the Bishop of London; still more rarely by the Archbishop of Canterbury or by both prelates; once by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York; once by the Council.[533]


Richard Collins, on his appointment as Clerk of the Company in 1575, records that one of his duties was to enter ‘lycences for pryntinge of copies’ and one section of his register is accordingly devoted to this purpose.[534] It has no general heading, but the summary accounts of the wardens up to 1596 continue to refer to the receipts as ‘for licencinge of copies’.[535] The character of the individual entries between 1576 and 1586 is much as in the account books. The name of a stationer is given in the margin and is followed by some such formula as ‘Receyved of him for his licence to prynte’ or more briefly ‘Lycenced vnto him’, with the title of the book, any supplementary information which the clerk thought relevant, and a note of the payment made. Occasional alternatives are ‘Allowed’, ‘Admitted’, ‘Graunted’ or ‘Tolerated’ ‘vnto him’, of which the three first appear to have been regarded as especially appropriate to transfers of existing copyrights;[536] and towards the end of the period appears the more important variant ‘Allowed vnto him for his copie’.[537] References to external authorizers gradually become rather more frequent, although they are still the exception and not the rule; the function is fulfilled, not only by the bishop, the archbishop, or the Council, but also upon occasion by the Lord Chancellor or the Secretary, by individual Privy Councillors, by the Lord Mayor, the Recorder or the Remembrancer of the City, and by certain masters and doctors, who may be the ministers mentioned by Felix Kingston, and who probably held regular deputations from a proper ecclesiastical authority as ‘correctors’ to the printers.[538] It is certain that such a post was held in 1571 by one Talbot, a servant of the Archbishop of Canterbury. On the other hand the clerk, at first tentatively and then as a matter of[166] regular practice, begins to record the part taken by the master and wardens. The first example is a very explicit entry, in which the book is said to be ‘licensed to be printed’ by the archbishop and ‘alowed’ by the master and a warden.[539] But the formula which becomes normal does not dwell on any differentiation of functions, and merely states the licence as being ‘under the hands of’ the wardens or of one of them or the master, or of these and of some one who may be presumed to be an external corrector. To the precise significance of ‘under the hands of’ I must return. Increased caution with regard to dangerous books is also borne witness to during this period by the occasional issue of a qualified licence. In 1580 Richard Jones has to sign his name in the register to a promise ‘to bring the whole impression’ of The Labyrinth of Liberty ‘into the Hall in case it be disliked when it is printed’.[540] In 1583 the same stationer undertakes ‘to print of his own perill’.[541] In 1584 it is a play which is thus brought into question, Lyly’s Sapho and Phao, and Thomas Cadman gets no more than ‘yt is graunted vnto him yat yf he gett ye commedie of Sappho laufully alowed vnto him, then none of this cumpanie shall interrupt him to enjoye yt’. Other entries direct that lawful authority must be obtained before printing, and in one case there is a specific reference to the royal Injunctions.[542] Conditions of other kinds are also sometimes found in entries; a book must be printed at a particular press, or the licence is to be voided if it prove to be another man’s copy.[543] The caution of the Stationers may have been motived by dissatisfaction on the part of the government which finally took shape in the issue of the Star Chamber order of 23 June 1586. This was a result of the firmer policy towards Puritan indiscipline initiated by Whitgift and the new High Commission which he procured on his succession to the primacy in 1583.[544] It had two main[167] objects. One, with which we are not immediately concerned, was to limit the number of printers and their presses; the other, to concentrate the censorship of all ordinary books, including plays, in the hands of the archbishop and the bishop. It is not clear whether the prelates were to act in their ordinary capacity or as High Commissioners; anyhow they had the authority of the High Commission, itself backed by the Privy Council, behind them. The effect of the order is shown in a bustle amongst the publishers to get on to the register a number of ballads and other trifles which they had hitherto neglected to enter, and in a considerable increase in the submissions of books for approval, either to the prelates themselves, or to persons who are now clearly acting as ecclesiastical deputies.[545] On 30 June 1588 an official list of deputies was issued by the archbishop, and amongst these were several who had already authorized books before and after 1586. These deputies, and other correctors whose names appear in the register at later dates, are as a rule traceable as episcopal chaplains, prebendaries of St. Paul’s, or holders of London benefices.[546] Some of them were themselves[168] members of the High Commission. Occasionally laymen were appointed.[547] The main work of correction now fell to these officials, but books were still sometimes allowed by the archbishop or bishop in person, or by the Privy Council or some member of that body.

The reaction of the changes of 1586–88 upon the entries in the register is on the whole one of degree rather than of kind. Occasionally the wording suggests a differentiation between the functions of the wardens and those of the ecclesiastical licensers, but more often the clerk contents himself with a mere record of what ‘hands’ each book was under.[548] Some shifting of the point of view is doubtless involved in the fact that ‘Entered vnto him for his copie’ and ‘Allowed vnto him for his copie’ now become the normal formulas, and by 1590–1 ‘Licenced vnto him’ has disappeared altogether.[549] But a great number of books, including most ballads and pamphlets and some plays, are still entered without note of any authority other than that of the wardens, and about 1593 the proportion of cases submitted to the ecclesiastical deputies sensibly begins to slacken, although the continuance of conditional entries shows that some caution was exercised. An intervention of the prelates in 1599 reversed the tendency again.[550] As regards plays in particular,[169] the wardens received a sharp reminder, ‘that noe playes be printed except they be allowed by suche as haue authority’; and although they do not seem to have interpreted this as requiring reference to a corrector in every case, conditional entries of plays become for a time numerous.[551] They stop altogether in 1607, when the responsibility for play correction appears to have been taken over, presumably under an[170] arrangement with the prelates, by the Master of the Revels.[552] Henceforward and to the end of Buck’s mastership, nearly all play entries are under the hands not only of the wardens, but of the Master or of a deputy acting on his behalf. Meanwhile, for books other than plays, the ecclesiastical authority succeeded more and more in establishing itself, although even up to the time of the Commonwealth the wardens never altogether ceased to enter ballads and such small deer on their own responsibility.

A little more may be gleaned from the ‘Fynes for breakinge of good orders’, which like the book entries were recorded by the wardens in their annual accounts up to 1571 and by the clerk in his register from 1576 to 1605.[553] But many of these were for irregularities in apprenticeship and the like, and where a particular book was concerned, the book is more often named than the precise offence committed in relation to it. The fine is for printing ‘contrary to the orders of this howse’, ‘contrary to our ordenaunces’, or merely ‘disorderly’. Trade defects, such as ‘stechyng’ of books, are sometimes in question, and sometimes the infringement of other men’s copies.[554] But the character of the books concerned suggests that some at least of the fines for printing ‘without lycense’, ‘without aucthoritie’, ‘without alowance’, ‘without entrance’, ‘before the wardyns handes were to yt’ were due to breaches of the regulations for censorship, and in a few instances the information is specific.[555] The book is a ‘lewde’ book, or ‘not tolerable’, or has already been condemned to be burnt, or the printing is contrary to ‘her maiesties prohibicon’ or ‘the decrees of the star chamber’.[556] More rarely a fine was accompanied by the sequestration of the offending books, or the breaking up of a press, or even imprisonment. In these cases the company may have been acting under stimulus[171] from higher powers; in dealing with a culprit in 1579, they direct that ‘for his offence, so farre as it toucheth ye same house only, he shall paye a fine’.[557]

Putting together the entries and the fines, we can arrive at an approximate notion of the position occupied by the Stationers’ Company as an intermediary between the individual stationers and the higher powers in Church and State. That it is only approximate and that many points of detail remain obscure is largely due to the methods of the clerk. Richard Collins did not realize the importance, at least to the future historian, of set diplomatic formulas, and it is by no means clear to what extent the variations in the phrasing of his record correspond to variations in the facts recorded. But it is my impression that he was in substance a careful registrar, especially as regards the authority under which his entries were made, and that if he did not note the presence in any case of a corrector’s ‘hand’ to a book, it is fair evidence that such a hand was not before him. On this assumption the register confirms the inference to be drawn from the statements of Lambe and Kingston in 1636, that before 1586 the provision of the Injunctions for licensing by the High Commission for London was not ordinarily operative, and that as a rule the only actual licences issued were those of the Stationers’ Company, who used their own discretion in submitting books about which they felt doubtful to the bishop or the archbishop or to an authorized corrector.[558] That books licensed by the Company without such reference were regarded as having been technically licensed under the Injunctions, one would hesitate to say. Licence is a fairly general term, and as used in the Stationers’ Register it does not necessarily cover anything more than a permit required by the internal ordinances of the Company itself. Certainly its officials claimed to issue licences to its members for other purposes than printing.[559] What Lambe and Kingston do not tell us, and perhaps ought to have told us, is that, when the master and wardens did call in the assistance of expert referees, it was not to ‘ministers’ merely chosen by themselves that they applied, but to official correctors nominated by the High Commission, or by the archbishop or bishop on[172] its behalf. Nor must it be supposed that no supervision of the proceedings of the company was exercised by the High Commission itself. We find that body writing to the Company to uphold a patent in 1560.[560] It was upon its motion in 1566 that the Privy Council made a Star Chamber order calling attention to irregularities which had taken place, and directing the master and wardens to search for the offenders.[561] And its authority, concurrent with that of the Privy Council itself, to license books, is confirmed by a letter of the Council to the company in 1570.[562] So much for the period before 1586. Another thing which Lambe and Kingston do not tell us, and which the register, if it can be trusted, does, is that the effective change introduced by the Star Chamber of that year was only one of degree and not of kind. It is true that an increasing number of books came, after one set-back, to be submitted to correctors; that the clerk begins to lay emphasis in his wording upon entrance rather than upon licence; that there are some hints that the direct responsibility of the wardens was for a kind of ‘allowance’ distinct from and supplementary to that of censorship. But it does not appear to be true that, then or at any later time, they wholly refused to enter any book except after taking cognizance of an authority beyond their own.

In fact the register, from the very beginning, was not purely, or perhaps even primarily, one of allowances. It had two other functions, even more important from the point of view of the internal economy of the Company. It was a fee-book, subsidiary to the annual accounts of the wardens, and showing the details of sums which they had to return in those accounts.[563] And it was a register of copyrights. A stationer[173] brought his copy to the wardens and paid his fee, in order that he might be protected by an official acknowledgement of his interest in the book against any infringement by a trade competitor. No doubt the wardens would not, and under the ordinances of the company might not, give this acknowledgement, unless they were satisfied that the book was one which might lawfully be printed. But copyright was what the stationer wanted, for after all most books were not dangerous in the eyes even of an Elizabethan censorship, whereas there would be little profit in publishing, if any rival were at liberty to cut in and reprint for himself the result of a successful speculation. It is a clear proof of this that the entrances include, not only new books, but also those in which rights had been transferred from one stationer to another.[564] Obviously no new allowance by a corrector would be required in such cases. And as regards copyright and licence alike, the entry in the register, although convenient to all concerned, was in itself no more than registration, the formal putting upon record of action already taken upon responsible authority. This authority did not rest with the clerk. In a few cases, indeed, he does seem to have entered an unimportant book at his own discretion.[565] But his functions were really subordinate to those of the wardens, as is shown by his practice from about 1580, of regularly citing the ‘hands’ or signed directions of those officers, as well as of the correctors, upon which he was acting. These ‘hands’ are not in the register, and there is sufficient evidence that they were ordinarily endorsed upon the manuscript or a printed copy of the book itself.[566][174] Exceptionally there might be an oral direction, or a separate letter or warrant of approval, which was probably preserved in a cupboard at the company’s hall.[567] Here too were kept copies of prints, although not, I think, the endorsed copies, which seem to have remained with the stationers.[568] I take it that the procedure was somewhat as follows. The stationer would bring his book to a warden together with the fee or some plausible excuse for deferring payment to a later date. The warden had to consider the questions both of property and of licence. Possibly the title of each book was published in the hall, in order that any other stationer who thought that he had an interest in it might make his claim.[569] Cases of disputed interest would go for determination to the Court of Assistants, who with the master and wardens for the year formed the ultimate governing body of the company, and had power in the last resort to revoke an authority to print already granted.[570] But if no difficulty as to ownership arose,[175] and if the book was already endorsed as allowable by a corrector, the warden would add his own endorsement, and it was then open to the stationer to take the book to the clerk, show the ‘hands’, pay the fee if it was still outstanding, and get the formalities completed by registration.[571] If, however, the warden found no endorsement by a corrector on the copy, then there were three courses open to him. He might take the risk of passing an obviously harmless book on his own responsibility. He might refuse his ‘hand’ until the stationer had got that of the corrector. Or he might make a qualified endorsement, which the clerk would note in the register, sanctioning publication so far as copyright was concerned, but only upon condition that proper authority should first be obtained. The dates on the title-pages of plays, when compared with those of the entries, suggest that, as would indeed be natural, the procedure was completed before publication; not necessarily before printing, as the endorsements were sometimes on printed copies.[572] Several cases of re-entry after a considerable interval may indicate that copyright lapsed unless it was exercised within a reasonable time. As a rule, a play appeared within a year or so after it was entered, and was either printed or published by the stationer who had entered it, or by some other to whom he is known, or may plausibly be supposed, to have transferred his interest. Where a considerable interval exists between the date of an entry and that of the first known print, it is sometimes possible that an earlier print has been lost.[573]


I do not think that it can be assumed that the absence of an entry in the register is evidence that the book was not duly licensed, so far as the ecclesiastical authorities were concerned. If its status was subsequently questioned, the signed copy could itself be produced. Certainly, when a conditional entry had been made, requiring better authority to be obtained, the fulfilment of the condition was by no means always, although it was sometimes, recorded. Possibly the ‘better authority’ was shown to the warden rather than the clerk. On the other hand, it is certain that, under the ordinances of the Company, publication without entrance exposed the stationer to a fine, and it is therefore probable that entrance was also necessary to secure copyright.[574] Sometimes the omission was repaired on the occasion of a subsequent transfer of interest. So far as plays are concerned, there seems to have been greater laxity in this respect as time went on. Before 1586, or at any rate before 1584, there are hardly any unentered plays, if we make the reasonable assumption that certain prints of 1573 and 1575 appeared in the missing lists for 1571–5.[575] Between 1584 and 1615 the number is considerable, being over fifty, or nearly a quarter of the total number of plays printed during that period. An examination of individual cases does not disclose any obvious reason why some plays should be entered and others not. The unentered plays are spread over the whole period concerned. They come from the repertories of nearly all the theatres. They include ‘surreptitious’ plays, which may be supposed to have been printed without the consent of the authors or owners, but they also include plays to which prefaces by authors or owners are prefixed. They were issued by publishers of good standing as well as by others less reputable; and as a rule their publishers appear to have been entering or not entering, quite indifferently, at about the same[177] date. To this generalization I find an exception, in Thomas Archer, who printed six plays without entry between 1607 and 1613 and entered none.[576] The large number of unentered plays is rather a puzzle, and I do not know the solution. In some cases, as we shall see, the publishers may have preferred not to court publicity for their enterprises by bringing them before the wardens. In others they may merely have been unbusinesslike, or may have thought that the chances of profit hardly justified the expenditure of sixpence on acquiring copyright. Yet many of the unentered plays went through more than one edition, including Mucedorus, a book of enduring popularity, and they do not appear to have been particularly subject to invasion by rival publishers. I will leave it to Mr. Pollard.

These being the conditions, let us consider what number and what kinds of plays got into print. It will be convenient to deal separately with the two periods 1557–85 and 1586–1616. The operations of the Company under their charter had hardly begun before Mary died. The Elizabethan printing of plays opens in 1559 and for the first five years is of a retrospective character. Half a dozen publishers, led by John King, who died about 1561, and Thomas Colwell, who started business in the same year, issued or entered seventeen plays. Of these one is not extant. One is a ‘May-game’, perhaps contemporary. Five are translations; four are Marian farces of the school of Udall, one a débat by John Heywood, and five Protestant interludes of the reigns of Henry and Edward, roughly edited in some cases so as to adapt them to performance under the new queen.[577] One more example of earlier Tudor drama, Ralph Roister Doister, in addition to mere reprints, appeared after 1565.[578] And with that year, after a short lull of activity, begins the genuine Elizabethan harvest, which by 1585 had yielded forty-two[178] plays, of which thirty-nine are extant, although two only in the form of fragments. On analysis, the greater number of these, seventeen in all, fall into a group of moral interludes, often controversial in tone, and in some cases approximating, through the intermingling of concrete with abstract personages, on the one hand to classical comedy, on the other to the mediaeval miracle-play. There are also twelve translations or adaptations, including two from Italian comedy. There is one neo-classical tragedy. And there are nine plays which can best be classified as histories, of which seven have a classical and two a romantic colouring.[579] It is of interest to compare this output of the printing-press with the chronicle of Court performances over the same years which is recorded in the Revels Accounts.[580] Here we get, so far of course as can be judged from a bare enumeration of titles, fourteen morals, twenty-one classical histories, mainly shown by boys, twenty-two romantic histories, mainly shown by men, and perhaps three farces, two plays of contemporary realism, with one ‘antick’ play and two groups of short dramatic episodes. It is clear that the main types are the same in both lists. But only one of the printed plays, Orestes, actually appears in the Court records, although Damon and Pythias, Gorboduc, Sapho and Phao, Campaspe, and The Arraignment of Paris were also given at Court, and the Revels Accounts after[179] all only cover comparatively few years out of the whole period.[581] And there is a great discrepancy in the proportions in which the various types are represented. The morals, which were obsolescent at Court, are far more numerous in print than the classical and romantic histories, which were already in enjoyment of their full vogue upon the boards. My definite impression is that these early printed morals, unlike the prints of later date, were in the main not drawn from the actual repertories of companies, but were literary products, written with a didactic purpose, and printed in the hope that they would be bought both by readers and by schoolmasters in search of suitable pieces for performance by their pupils. They belong, like some similar interludes, both original and translated, of earlier date, rather to the tradition of the humanist academic drama, than to that of the professional, or even quasi-professional, stage. There are many things about the prints which, although not individually decisive, tend when taken in bulk to confirm this theory. They are ‘compiled’, according to their title-pages; sometimes the author is declared a ‘minister’ or a ‘learned clerke’.[582] Nothing is, as a rule, said to indicate that they have been acted.[583] They are advertised, not only as ‘new’, ‘merry’, ‘pretty’, ‘pleasant’, ‘delectable’, ‘witty’, ‘full of mirth and pastime’, but also as ‘excellent’, ‘worthy’, ‘godly’, ‘pithy’, ‘moral’, ‘pityfull’, ‘learned’, and ‘fruitfull’, and occasionally the precise didactic intention is more elaborately expounded either on the title-page or in a prologue.[584] They are furnished with analyses showing the number of actors necessary to take all the parts, and in one case there is a significant note that the arrangement is ‘most convenient for such as be disposed, either to shew this comedie in priuate houses, or otherwise’.[585] They often conclude with a generalized[180] prayer for the Queen and the estates of the realm, which omits any special petition for the individual lord such as we have reason to believe the protected players used.[586] The texts are much better than the later texts based upon acting copies. The stage-directions read like the work of authors rather than of book-keepers, notably in the use of ‘out’ rather than of ‘in’ to indicate exits, and in the occasional insertion both of hints for ‘business’ and of explanatory comments aimed at a reader rather than an actor.[587] It should be added that this type of play begins to disappear at the point when the growing Calvinist spirit led to a sharp breach between the ministry and the stage, and discredited even moral play-writing amongst divines. The latest morals, of which there are some even during the second period of play-publication, have much more the look of rather antiquated survivals from working repertories.[588] The ‘May-game’ of[181] Robin Hood seems to me to be of a literary origin similar to that of the contemporary ‘morals’.

Towards the end of the period a new element is introduced with Lyly and Peele, who, like Edwardes before them, were not divines but secular scholars, and presumably desired a permanent life for their literary achievements. The publication of Lyly’s plays for Paul’s carries us on into the period 1586–1616, and the vaunting of their performance before the Queen is soon followed by that of other plays, beginning with The Troublesome Reign of John, as publicly acted in the City of London. During 1586–1616 two hundred and thirty-seven plays in all were published or at least entered on the Stationers’ Register, in addition to thirteen printed elsewhere than in London. Of many of these, and of some of those earlier published, there were one or more reprints. It is not until the last year of the period that the first example of a collective edition of the plays of any author makes its appearance. This is The Workes of Benjamin Jonson, which is moreover in folio, whereas the prints of individual plays were almost invariably in quarto.[589] A second volume of Jonson’s Works was begun in 1631 and completed in 1640. Shakespeare’s plays had to wait until 1623 for collective treatment, Lyly’s until 1632, Marston’s until 1633, and Beaumont and Fletcher’s until 1647 and 1679, although a partial collection of Shakespearian plays in quarto has been shown to have been contemplated and abandoned in 1619.[590] Of the two hundred and thirty-seven plays proposed for publication two hundred and fourteen are extant. Twenty-three are only known by entries in the Stationers’ Register, and as plays were not always entered, it is conceivable that one or two may have been published, and have passed into oblivion. Of the two hundred and fourteen extant plays, six are translations from the Latin, Italian, or French, and seven may reasonably be suspected of being merely closet plays, intended for the eye of the reader alone. The other two hundred and one may be taken to have undergone the test[182] of actual performance. Six were given by amateurs, at Court or elsewhere, and eleven, of which three are Latin and eight English, are University plays. So far as the professional companies are concerned, the repertories which have probably been best preserved, owing to the fact that the poets were in a position to influence publication, are those of the boys. We have thirty-one plays which, certainly or probably, came to the press from the Chapel and Queen’s Revels boys, twenty-five from the Paul’s boys, and eight from the King’s Revels boys. To the Queen’s men we may assign eleven plays, to Sussex’s three, to Pembroke’s five, to Derby’s four, to Oxford’s one, to Strange’s or the Admiral’s and Henry’s thirty-two, to the Chamberlain’s and King’s thirty-four, to Worcester’s and Anne’s sixteen, to Charles’s one. Some of these had at earlier dates been played by other companies. Fifteen plays remain, not a very large proportion, which cannot be safely assigned.[591] There are twenty-seven manuscript English plays or fragments of plays or plots of plays, and twenty-one Latin ones, mostly of a university type, which also belong to the period 1586–1616. There are fifty-one plays which were certainly or probably produced before 1616, but were not printed until later, many of them in the Shakespeare and Beaumont and Fletcher folios. And there are some twenty-two others, which exist in late prints, but may be wholly, or more often partially, of early workmanship. The resultant total of three hundred and seven is considerable, but there is reason to suppose that it only represents a comparatively small fraction of the complete crop of these thirty pullulating dramatic years. Of over two hundred and eighty plays recorded by Henslowe as produced or commissioned by the companies for whom he acted as banker between 1592 and 1603, we have only some forty and perhaps revised versions of a few others.[592] Thomas Heywood claimed in 1633 to have had ‘an entire hand, or at least a maine finger’, in not less than two hundred and twenty plays, and of these we can only identify or even guess at about two score, of which several are certainly lost. That any substantial number of plays got printed, but have failed to reach us, is improbable. From time to time an unknown print, generally of early date, turns up in some bibliographical backwater, but of the seventy-five titles which I have brought together under the head of ‘Lost Plays’ some[183] probably rest upon misunderstandings and others represent works which were not plays at all, while a large proportion are derived from late entries in the Stationers’ Register by Humphrey Moseley of plays which he may have possessed in manuscript but never actually proceeded to publish.[593] Some of the earlier unfulfilled entries may be of similar type. An interesting piece of evidence pointing to the practically complete survival at any rate of seventeenth-century prints is afforded in a catalogue of his library of plays made by Sir John Harington in or about 1610.[594] Harington possessed 129 distinct plays, as well as a number of duplicates. Only 9 of these were printed before 1586. He had 14 out of 38 printed during 1588–94, and 15 out of 25 printed during 1595–99. His absence in Ireland during 1599 probably led him to miss several belonging to that year, and his most vigorous period as a collector began with 1600. During 1600–10 he secured 90 out of 105; that is to say exactly six-sevenths of the complete output of the London press. I neglect plays printed outside London in these figures. There is only one play among the 129 which is not known to us. Apparently it bore the title Belinus and Brennus.

It is generally supposed, and I think with justice, that the acting companies did not find it altogether to their advantage to have their plays printed. Heywood, indeed, in the epistle to his English Traveller (1633) tells us that this was sometimes the case.[595] Presumably the danger was not so much that readers would not become spectators, as that other companies might buy the plays and act them; and of this practice there are some dubious instances, although at any rate by Caroline times it had been brought under control by the Lord Chamberlain.[596] At any rate, we find the Admiral’s[184] in 1600 borrowing 40s. ‘to geue vnto the printer, to staye the printing of Patient Gresell’.[597] We find the King’s Revels syndicate in 1608 entering into a formal agreement debarring its members from putting any of the play-books jointly owned by them into print. And we find the editor and publisher of Troilus and Cressida, although that had in fact never been played, bidding his readers in 1609 ‘thanke fortune for the scape it hath made amongst you; since by the grand possessors wills I beleeue you should have prayd for them rather than beene prayd’. The marked fluctuation in the output of plays in different years is capable of explanation on the theory that, so long as the companies were prosperous, they kept a tight hold on their ‘books’, and only let them pass into the hands of the publishers when adversity broke them up, or when they had some special need to raise funds. The periods of maximum output are 1594, 1600, and 1607. In 1594 the companies were reforming themselves after a long and disastrous spell of plague; and in particular the Queen’s, Pembroke’s, and Sussex’s men were all ruined, and their books were thrown in bulk upon the market.[598] It has been suggested that the sales of 1600 may have been due to Privy Council restrictions of that year, which limited the number of companies, and forbade them to play for more than two days in the week.[599] But it is very doubtful whether the limitation of days really became operative, and many of the plays published belonged to the two companies, the Chamberlain’s and the Admiral’s, who stood to gain by the elimination of competitors. An alternative reason might be found in the call for ready money involved by the building of the Globe in 1599 and the Fortune in 1600. The main factor in 1607 was the closing of Paul’s and the sale of the plays acted there.

Sometimes the companies were outwitted. Needy and unscrupulous stationers might use illegitimate means to[185] acquire texts for which they had not paid as a basis for ‘surreptitious’ or ‘piratical’ prints.[600] A hired actor might be bribed to disclose his ‘part’ and so much as he could remember of the ‘parts’ of others. Dr. Greg has made it seem probable that the player of the Host was an agent in furnishing the text of the Merry Wives.[601] A player of Voltimand and other minor parts may have been similarly guilty as regards Hamlet.[602] Long before, the printer of Gorboduc had succeeded in ‘getting a copie thereof at some yongmans hand that lacked a little money and much discretion’. Or the poet himself might be to blame. Thomas Heywood takes credit in the epistle to The Rape of Lucrece that it had not been his custom ‘to commit my playes to the presse’, like others who ‘have vsed a double sale of their labours, first to the stage, and after to the presse’. Yet this had not saved his plays from piracy, for some of them had been ‘copied only by the eare’ and issued in a corrupt and mangled form. A quarter of a century later, in writing a prologue for a revival of his If You Know not Me, You Know Nobody, he tells us that this was one of the corrupt issues, and adds that

Some by Stenography drew
The plot: put it in print: (scarce one word trew).

Modern critics have sought in shorthand the source of other ‘bad’ and probably surreptitious texts of plays, and one has gone so far as to trace in them the peculiarities of a particular system expounded in the Characterie (1588) of Timothy Bright.[603] The whole question of surreptitious prints has naturally been explored most closely in connexion with the textual criticism of Shakespeare, and the latest investigator, Mr. Pollard, has come to the conclusion that, in spite of the general condemnation of the Folio editors, the only Shakespearian Quartos which can reasonably be labelled as surreptitious or as textually ‘bad’ are the First Quartos of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, and[186] Pericles, although he strongly suspects that there once existed a similar edition of Love’s Labour’s Lost.[604] I have no ground for dissenting from this judgement.

The question whether the actors, in protecting their property from the pirates, could look for any assistance from the official controllers of the press is one of some difficulty. We may perhaps infer, with the help of the conditional entries of The Blind Beggar of Alexandria and The Spanish Tragedy, and the special order made in the case of Dr. Faustus, that before assigning a ‘copy’ to one stationer the wardens of the Company took some steps to ascertain whether any other stationer laid a claim to it. It does not follow that they also inquired whether the applicant had come honestly or dishonestly by his manuscript.[605] Mr. Pollard seems inclined to think that, although they were under no formal obligation to intervene, they would not be likely, as men of common sense, to encourage dishonesty.[606] If this argument stood alone, I should not have much confidence in it. There is a Publishers’ Association to-day, doubtless composed of men of common sense, but it is not a body to which one[187] would naturally commit interests which might come into conflict with those of members of the trade. It would be another matter, however, if the actors were in a position to bring outside interest to bear against the pirates, through the licensers, or through the Privy Council on whom ultimately the licensers depended. And this in fact seems to have been the way in which a solution of the problem was gradually arrived at. Apart altogether from plays, there are instances upon record in which individuals, who were in a position to command influence, successfully adopted a similar method. We find Fulke Greville in 1586 writing to Sir Francis Walsingham, on the information of the stationer Ponsonby, to warn him that the publication of the Arcadia was being planned, and to advise him to get ‘made stay of that mercenary book’ by means of an application to the Archbishop or to Dr. Cosin, ‘who have, as he says, a copy to peruse to that end’.[607] Similarly we find Francis Bacon, in the preface to his Essayes of 1597, excusing himself for the publication on the ground that surreptitious adventurers were at work, and ‘to labour the staie of them had bin troublesome and subiect to interpretation’. Evidently he had come to a compromise, of which the Stationers’ Register retains traces in the cancellation by a court of an entry of the Essayes to Richard Serger, and a re-entry to H. Hooper, the actual publisher, ‘under the handes of Master Francis Bacon, Master Doctor Stanhope, Master Barlowe, and Master Warden Lawson’.[608] The actors, too, were not wholly without influence. They had their patrons and protectors, the Lord Chamberlain and the Lord Admiral, in the Privy Council, and although, as Mr. Pollard points out, it certainly would not have been good business to worry an important minister about every single forty-shilling piracy, it may have been worth while to seek a standing protection, analogous to the old-fashioned ‘privilege’, against a series of such annoyances. At any rate, this is what, while the Admiral’s contented themselves with buying off the printer of Patient Grissell, the Chamberlain’s apparently attempted, although at first with indifferent success, to secure. In 1597 John Danter, a stationer of the worst reputation, had printed a surreptitious and ‘bad’ edition of Romeo and Juliet, and possibly, if[188] Mr. Pollard’s conjecture is right, another of Love’s Labour’s Lost. He had made no entry in the Register, and it was therefore open to another publisher, Cuthbert Burby, to issue, without breach of copyright, ‘corrected’ editions of the same plays.[609] This he did, with suitable trumpetings of the corrections on the title-pages, and presumably by arrangement with the Chamberlain’s men. It was this affair which must, I think, have led the company to apply for protection to their lord. On 22 July 1598 an entry was made in the Stationers’ Register of The Merchant of Venice for the printer James Roberts. This entry is conditional in form, but it differs from the normal conditional entries in that the requirement specified is not an indefinite ‘aucthoritie’ but a ‘lycence from the Right honorable the lord chamberlen’. Roberts also entered Cloth Breeches and Velvet Hose on 27 May 1600, A Larum for London on 29 May 1600, and Troilus and Cressida on 7 February 1603. These also are all conditional entries but of a normal type. No condition, however, is attached to his entry of Hamlet on 26 July 1602. Now comes a significant piece of evidence, which at least shows that in 1600, as well as in 1598, the Stationers’ Company were paying particular attention to entries of plays coming from the repertory of the Chamberlain’s men. The register contains, besides the formal entries, certain spare pages upon which the clerk was accustomed to make occasional memoranda, and amongst these memoranda we find the following:[610]

My lord chamberlens menns plaies Entred
A moral of ‘clothe breches and velvet hose’

27 May 1600
To Master
27 May
To hym
Allarum to London
4 Augusti to be staied
As you like yt, a booke
Henry the ffift, a booke
Every man in his humour, a booke
The commedie of ‘muche A doo about nothing’, a booke
big right bracket


There are possibly two notes here, but we may reasonably date them both in 1600, as Every Man In his Humour was entered to Cuthbert Burby and Walter Burre on 14 August 1600 and Much Ado about Nothing to Andrew Wise and William Aspley on 23 August 1600, and these plays appeared in 1601 and 1600 respectively. Henry V was published, without entry and in a ‘bad’ text by Thomas Millington and John Busby, also in 1600, while As You Like It remained unprinted until 1623. Many attempts have been made to explain the story of 4 August. Mr. Fleay conjectured that it was due to difficulties of censorship; Mr. Furness that it was directed against James Roberts, whom he regarded on the strength of the conditional entries as a man of ‘shifty character’.[611] But there is no reason to read Roberts’s name into the August memorandum at all; and I agree with Mr. Pollard that the evidence of dishonesty against him has been exaggerated, and that the privilege which he held for printing all play-bills for actors makes it prima facie unlikely that his relations with the companies would be irregular.[612] On the other hand, I hesitate to accept Mr. Pollard’s counter-theory that the four conditional Roberts entries were of the nature of a deliberate plan ‘in the interest of the players in order to postpone their publication till it could not injure the run of the play and to make the task of the pirates more difficult’. One would of course suppose that any entry, conditional or not, might serve such a purpose, if the entering stationer was in league with the actors and deliberately reserved publication. This is presumably what the Admiral’s men paid Cuthbert Burby to do for Patient Grissell. Mr. Pollard applies the same theory to Edward Blount’s unconditional entries of Pericles and Antony and Cleopatra in 1608, and it would certainly explain the delays in the publication of Troilus and Cressida from 1603 to 1609 and of Antony and Cleopatra from 1608 to 1623, and the absence of any edition of Cloth Breeches and Velvet Hose. But it does not explain why Hamlet, entered by Roberts in 1602, was issued by others in the ‘bad’ text of 1603, or why Pericles was issued by Henry Gosson in the ‘bad’ text of 1609.[613] Mr. Pollard’s interpretation of the facts appears to be influenced by the conditional character of four out of Roberts’s five entries[190] during 1598–1603, and I understand him to believe that the ‘further aucthoritie’ required for Cloth Breeches and Velvet Hose and A Larum for London and the ‘sufficient aucthoritie’ required for Troilus and Cressida were of the same nature as the licence from the Lord Chamberlain specifically required for The Merchant of Venice.[614] It is not inconceivable that this may have been so, but one is bound to take the Roberts conditional entries side by side with the eight similar entries made between 1601 and 1606 for other men, and in three at least of these (The Dutch Courtesan, Sir Giles Goosecap, The Fleir) it is obvious that the authority demanded was that of the official correctors. Of course, the correctors may themselves have had a hint from the Lord Chamberlain to keep an eye upon the interests of his servants, but if the eleven conditionally entered plays of 1600–6 be looked at as a group, it will be seen that they are all plays of either a political or a satirical character, which might well therefore call for particular attention from the correctors in the discharge of their ordinary functions. I have already suggested that the normal conditional entries represent cases in which the wardens of the Stationers’ Company, while not prepared to license a book on their own responsibility, short-circuited as far as they could the procedure entailed. Properly they ought to have seen the corrector’s hand before adding their own endorsement. But if this was not forthcoming, the applicant may have been allowed, in order to save time, to have the purely trade formalities completed by a conditional entry, which would be a valid protection against a rival stationer, but would not, until the corrector’s hand was obtained, be sufficient authority for the actual printing. No doubt the clerk should have subsequently endorsed the entry after seeing the corrector’s hand, but he did not always do so, although in cases of transfer the transferee might ask for a record to be made, and in any event the owner of the copy had the book with the ‘hand’ to it. The Lord Chamberlain’s ‘stay’ was, I think, another matter. I suppose it to have been directed, not to the correctors, but to the wardens, and to have taken the form of a request not to enter any play of the Chamberlain’s men, otherwise entitled to licence or not, without satisfying themselves that the actors were assenting parties to the transaction. Common sense would certainly dictate compliance with such a request, coming from such a source. The plan seems to have worked well enough so far as As You Like It, Every Man In his[191] Humour, and Much Ado about Nothing were concerned, for we have no reason to doubt that the subsequent publication of two of these plays had the assent of the Chamberlain’s men, and the third was effectively suppressed. But somehow not only Hamlet but also The Merry Wives of Windsor slipped through in 1602, and although the actors apparently came to some arrangement with Roberts and furnished a revised text of Hamlet, the other play seems to have gone completely out of their control. Moreover, it was an obvious weakness of the method adopted, that it gave no security against a surreptitious printer who was in a position to dispense with an entry. Danter, after all, had published without entry in 1597. He had had to go without copyright; but an even more audacious device was successfully tried in 1600 with Henry V. This was one of the four plays so scrupulously ‘staied’ by the Stationers’ clerk on 4 August. Not merely, however, was the play printed in 1600 by Thomas Creede for Thomas Millington and John Busby, but on 21 August it was entered on the Register as transferred to Thomas Pavier amongst other ‘thinges formerlye printed and sett ouer to’ him. I think the explanation is that the print of 1600 was treated as merely a reprint of the old play of The Famous Victories of Henry V, which was indeed to some extent Shakespeare’s source, and of which Creede held the copyright.[615] Similarly, it is conceivable that the same John Busby and Nathaniel Butter forced the hands of the Chamberlain’s men into allowing the publication of King Lear in 1608 by a threat to issue it as a reprint of King Leir.[616] Busby was also the enterer of The Merry Wives, and he and Butter, at whose hands it was that Heywood suffered, seem to have been the chief of the surreptitious printers after Danter’s death.

The Chamberlain’s men would have been in a better position if their lord had brought his influence to bear, as Sidney’s friends had done, upon the correctors instead of the Stationers’ Company. Probably the mistake was retrieved in 1607 when the ‘allowing’ of plays for publication passed to the Master of the Revels, and he may even have extended his protection to the other companies which, like the Chamberlain’s, had now passed under royal protection. I do not suggest that the convenience of this arrangement was the sole[192] motive for the change; the episcopal correctors must have got into a good deal of hot water over the affair of Eastward Ho![617] Even the Master of the Revels did not prevent the surreptitious issue of Pericles in 1609. In Caroline times we find successive Lord Chamberlains, to whom the Master of the Revels continued to be subordinate, directing the Stationers’ Company not to allow the repertories of the King’s men or of Beeston’s boys to be printed, and it is implied that there were older precedents for these protections.[618]

A point might come at which it was really more to the advantage of the actors to have a play published than not. The prints were useful in the preparation of acting versions, and they saved the book-keepers from the trouble of having to prepare manuscript copies at the demand of stage-struck amateurs.[619] The influence of the poets again was on the side of publication, and it is perhaps due to the greater share which they took in the management of the boys’ companies that so disproportionate a number of the plays preserved are of their acting. Heywood hints that thereby the poets sold their work twice. It is more charitable to assume that literary vanity was also a factor; and it is with playwrights of the more scholarly type, Ben Jonson and Marston, that a practice first emerges of printing plays at an early date after publication, and in the full literary trappings of dedicatory epistles and commendatory verses. Actor-playwrights, such as Heywood himself and Dekker, followed suit; but not Shakespeare, who had long ago dedicated his literary all to Southampton and penned no prefaces. The characteristic Elizabethan apologies, on such grounds as the pushfulness of publishers or the eagerness of friends to see the immortal work in type, need not be taken at their full face value.[620] Opportunity was afforded on publication to restore passages which had been ‘cut’ to meet the necessities of stage-presentation, and of this, in the Second Quarto of Hamlet, even Shakespeare may have availed himself.[621]


The conditions of printing therefore furnish us with every variety of text, from the carefully revised and punctuated versions of Ben Jonson’s Works of 1616 to the scrappy notes, from memory or shorthand, of an incompetent reporter. The average text lies between these extremes, and is probably derived from a play-house ‘book’ handed over by the actors to the printer. Mr. Pollard has dealt luminously with the question of the nature of the ‘book’, and has disposed of the assumption that it was normally a copy made by a ‘play-house’ scrivener of the author’s manuscript.[622] For this assumption there is no evidence whatever. There is, indeed, little direct evidence, one way or other; but what there is points to the conclusion that the ‘original’ or standard copy of a play kept in the play-house was the author’s autograph manuscript, endorsed with the licence of the Master of the Revels for performance, and marked by the book-keeper or for his use with indications of cuts and the like, and with stage-directions for exits and entrances and the disposition of properties, supplementary to those which the author had furnished.[623] Most of the actual manuscripts of this type which remain in existence are of Caroline, rather than Elizabethan or Jacobean, date.[624] But we have one of The Second Maid’s Tragedy, bearing Buck’s licence of 1611, and one of Sir Thomas More, belonging to the last decade of the sixteenth century, which has been submitted for licence without success, and is marked with instructions by the[194] Master for the excision or alteration of obnoxious passages. It is a curious document. The draft of the original author has been patched and interpolated with partial redrafts in a variety of hands, amongst which, according to some palaeographers, is to be found that of Shakespeare. One wonders that any licenser should have been complaisant enough to consider the play at all in such a form; and obviously the instance is a crucial one against the theory of scrivener’s copies.[625] It may also be argued on a priori grounds that such copies would be undesirable from the company’s point of view, both as being costly and as tending to multiply the opportunities for ‘surreptitious’ transmission to rivals or publishers. Naturally it was necessary to copy out individual parts for the actors, and Alleyn’s part in Orlando Furioso, with the ‘cues’, or tail ends of the speeches preceding his own, can still be seen at Dulwich.[626] From these ‘parts’ the ‘original’ could be reconstructed or ‘assembled’ in the event of destruction or loss.[627] Apparently the book-keeper also made a ‘plot’ or scenario of the action, and fixed it on a peg for his own guidance and that of the property-man in securing the smooth progress of the play.[628] Nor could the companies very well prevent the poets from keeping transcripts or at any rate rough copies, when they handed over their ‘papers’, complete or in instalments, as they drew their ‘earnests’ or payments ‘in full’.[629] It does not follow that they always did so. We know that Daborne made fair copies for Henslowe;[630] but the Folio editors tell us that what Shakespeare thought ‘he vttered with that easinesse,[195] that we haue scarse receiued from him a blot in his papers’, and Mr. Pollard points out that there would have been little meaning in this praise if what Shakespeare sent in had been anything but his first drafts.[631]

The character of the stage-directions in plays confirm the view that many of them were printed from working play-house ‘originals’. They are primarily directions for the stage itself; it is only incidentally that they also serve to stimulate the reader’s imagination by indicating the action with which the lines before him would have been accompanied in a representation.[632] Some of them are for the individual guidance of the actors, marginal hints as to the ‘business’ which will give point to their speeches. These are not very numerous in play-house texts; the ‘kneeling’ and ‘kisses her’ so frequent in modern editions are merely attempts of the editors to show how intelligently they have interpreted the quite obvious implications of the dialogue. The more important directions are addressed rather to the prompter and the tire-man; they prescribe the exits and the entrances, the ordering of a procession or a dumb-show, the use of the curtains or other structural devices, the introduction of properties, the precise moment for the striking up of music or sounds ‘within’. It is by no means always possible, except where a manuscript betrays differences of handwriting, to distinguish between what the author, often himself an actor familiar with the possibilities of the stage, may have originally written, and what the book-keeper may have added. Either may well use the indicative or the imperative form, or merely an adverbial, participial, or substantival expression.[633] But it is natural to trace the hand of the book-keeper where the direction reduces itself to the bare name of a property noted in the margin; even more so when it is followed by some such phrase as ‘ready’, ‘prepared’, or ‘set out’;[634] and still more so when the note occurs at the point when the property has to be brought from the tire-room,[196] and some lines before it is actually required for use.[635] The book-keeper must be responsible, too, for the directions into which, as not infrequently happens, the name of an actor has been inserted in place of that of the personage whom that actor represented.[636] On the other hand, we may perhaps safely assign to the author directions addressed to some one else in the second person, those which leave something to be interpreted according to discretion, and those which contain any matter not really necessary for stage guidance.[637] Such superfluous matter is only rarely found in texts of pure play-house origin, although even here an author may occasionally insert a word or two of explanation or descriptive colouring, possibly taken from the source upon which he has been working.[638] In the main, however, descriptive stage-directions are characteristic of texts which, whether ultimately based upon play-house copies or not, have undergone a process of editing by the author or his representative, with an eye[197] to the reader, before publication. Some literary rehandling of this sort is traceable, for example, in the First Folio of Shakespeare, although the hearts of the editors seem to have failed them before they had got very far with the task.[639] Yet another type of descriptive stage-direction presents itself in certain ‘surreptitious’ prints, where we find the reporter eking out his inadequately recorded text by elaborate accounts of the details of the business which he had seen enacted before him.[640] So too William Percy, apparently revising plays some of which had already been acted and which he hoped to see acted again, mingles his suggestions to a hypothetical manager with narratives in the past tense of how certain actors had carried out their parts.[641]

It must not be assumed that, because a play was printed from a stage copy, the author had no chance of editing it. Probably the compositors treated the manuscript put before them very freely, modifying, if they did not obliterate, the individual notions of the author or scribe as to orthography and punctuation; and the master printer, or some press corrector in his employment, went over and ‘improved’ their work, perhaps not always with much reference to the original ‘copy’.[642] This process of correction continued during the printing off of the successive sheets, with the result that different examples of the same imprint often show the same sheet in corrected and in uncorrected states.[643] The trend of modern criticism is in the direction of regarding Shakespeare’s plays as printed, broadly speaking, without any editorial assistance from him; the early quartos from play-house manuscripts, the later quartos from the earlier quartos, the folio partly from play-house manuscripts, partly from earlier quartos used in the play-house instead of manuscripts, and bearing marks of adaptation to shifting stage requirements.[644] On this theory, the aberrations of the printing-house, even with the author’s original text before them, have to account in the main for the unsatisfactory condition in which, in spite of such posthumous editing, not very[198] extensive, as was done for the folio, even the best texts of the plays have reached us. Whether it is sound or not—I think that it probably is—there were other playwrights who were far from adopting Shakespeare’s attitude of detachment from the literary fate of his works. Jonson was a careful editor. Marston, Middleton, and Heywood all apologize for misprints in various plays, which they say were printed without their knowledge, or when they were urgently occupied elsewhere; and the inference must be that in normal circumstances the responsibility would have rested with them.[645] Marston, indeed, definitely says that he had ‘perused’ the second edition of The Fawn, in order ‘to make some satisfaction for the first faulty impression’.[646]

The modern editions, with their uniform system of acts and scenes and their fanciful notes of locality—‘A room in the palace’, ‘Another room in the palace’—are again misleading in their relation to the early prints, especially those based upon the play-house. Notes of locality are very rare. Occasionally a definite shift from one country or town to another is recorded;[647] and a few edited plays, such as Ben Jonson’s, prefix, with a ‘dramatis personae’, a general indication of ‘The scene’.[648] For the rest, the reader is left to his own inferences, with such help as the dialogue and the presenters give him; and the modern editors, with a post-Restoration tradition of staging in their minds, have often inferred wrongly. Even the shoulder-notes appended to the accurate reprints of the Malone Society, although they do not attempt localities, err by introducing too many new scenes. In the[199] early prints the beginnings of scenes are rarely marked, and the beginnings of acts are left unmarked to an extent which is rather surprising. The practice is by no means uniform, and it is possible to distinguish different tendencies in texts of different origin. The Tudor interludes and the early Elizabethan plays of the more popular type are wholly undivided, and there was probably no break in the continuity of the performances.[649] Acts and scenes, which are the outward form of a method of construction derived from the academic analysis of Latin comedy and tragedy, make their appearance, with other notes of neo-classic influence, in the farces of the school of Udall, in the Court tragedies, in translated plays, in Lyly’s comedies, and in a few others belonging to the same milieu of scholarship.[650] Ben Jonson and a few other later writers adopt them in printing plays of theatrical origin.[651] But the great majority of plays belonging to the public theatres continue to be printed without any divisions at all, while plays from the private houses are ordinarily divided into acts, but not into scenes, although the beginning of each act has usually some such heading as ‘Actus Primus, Scena prima’.[652] This distinction corresponds to the greater significance of the act-interval in the performance of the boy companies; but, as I have pointed out in an earlier chapter, it is difficult to suppose that the public theatres paid no regard to act-intervals, and one cannot therefore quite understand why neither the poets nor the book-keepers were in the habit of showing them in the play-house ‘originals’ of plays.[653][200] Had they been shown there, they would almost inevitably have got into the prints. It is a peculiarity of the surreptitious First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet, that its later sheets, which differ typographically from the earlier ones, although they do not number either acts or scenes, insert lines of ornament at the points at which acts and scenes may be supposed to begin. It must be added that, so far as an Elizabethan playwright looked upon his work as made up of scenes, his conception of a scene was not as a rule that familiar to us upon the modern stage. The modern scene may be defined as a piece of action continuous in time and place between two falls of a drop-curtain. The Elizabethans had no drop-curtain, and the drawing of an alcove curtain, at any rate while personages remain on the stage without, does not afford the same solution of continuity. The nearest analogy is perhaps in such a complete clearance of the stage, generally with a shift of locality, as enables the imagination to assume a time interval. A few texts, generally of the seventeenth century, are divided into scenes on this principle of clearance; and it was adopted by the editors of the First Folio, when, in a half-hearted way, they attempted to divide up the continuous texts of their manuscripts and quartos.[654] But it was not the principle of the neo-classic dramatists, or of Ben Jonson and his school. For them a scene was a section, not of action, but of dialogue; and they started a new scene whenever a speaker, or at any rate a speaker of importance, entered or left the stage. This is the conception which is in the mind of Marston when he regrets, in the preface to The Malcontent, that ‘scenes, invented merely to be spoken, should be enforcively published to be read’. It is also the conception of the French classicist drama, although the English playwrights do not follow the French rule of liaison, which requires at least one speaker from each scene to remain on into the next, and thus secures continuity throughout each act by making a complete clearance of the stage impossible.[655]



[Bibliographical Note.—The abundant literature of the drama is more satisfactorily treated in the appendices to F. E. Schelling, Elizabethan Drama (1908), and vols. v and vi (1910) of the Cambridge History of English Literature, than in R. W. Lowe, Bibliographical Account of English Theatrical Literature (1888), K. L. Bates and L. B. Godfrey, English Drama: a Working Basis (1896), or W. D. Adams, Dictionary of the Drama (1904). There is an American pamphlet on Materials for the Study of the English Drama, excluding Shakespeare (1912, Newbery Library, Chicago), which I have not seen. Periodical lists of new books are published in the Modern Language Review, the Beiblatt to Anglia, and the Bulletin of the English Association, and annual bibliographies by the Modern Humanities Research Association (from 1921) and in the Shakespeare Jahrbuch. The bibliography by H. R. Tedder in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th ed.) s.v. Shakespeare, A. C. Shaw, Index to the Shakespeare Memorial Library (1900–3), and W. Jaggard, Shakespeare Bibliography (1911), on which, however, cf. C. S. Northup in J. G. P. xi. 218, are also useful.

W. W. Greg, Notes on Dramatic Bibliographers (1911, M. S. C. i. 324), traces from the publishers’ advertisements of the Restoration a catena of play-lists in E. Phillips, Theatrum Poetarum (1675), W. Winstanley, Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687), G. Langbaine, Momus Triumphans (1688) and Account of the English Dramatick Poets (1691), C. Gildon, Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets (1698), W. R. Chetwood, The British Theatre (1750), E. Capell, Notitia Dramatica (1783), and the various editions of the Biographica Dramatica from 1764 to 1812. More recent are J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, Dictionary of Old English Plays (1860), and W. C. Hazlitt, Manual of Old English Plays (1892); but all are largely superseded by W. W. Greg, A List of English Plays (1900) and A List of Masques, Pageants, &c. (1902). His account of Warburton’s collection in The Bakings of Betsy (Library, 1911) serves as a supplement. A few plays discovered later than 1900 appeared in an Irish sale of 1906 (cf. Jahrbuch, xliii. 310) and in the Mostyn sale of 1919 (cf. t.p. facsimiles in Sotheby’s sale catalogue). For the problems of the early prints, the Bibliographical Note to ch. xxii should be consulted.

I ought to add that the notices of the early prints of plays in this and the following chapter lay no claim to minute bibliographical erudition, and that all deficiencies in this respect are likely to be corrected when the full results of Dr. Greg’s researches on the subject are published.

The fundamental works on the history of the drama are A. W. Ward, History of English Dramatic Literature (1875, 1899), F. G. Fleay, Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama (1891), F. E. Schelling, Elizabethan Drama (1908), the Cambridge History of English Literature, vols. v and vi (1910), and W. Creizenach, Geschichte des neueren Dramas, vols. iv, v (1909, 1916). These and others, with the relevant periodicals, are set out in the General Bibliographical Note (vol. i); and to them may be added F. S. Boas, Shakspere and his Predecessors (1896), B. Matthews, The Development of the Drama (1904), F. E. Schelling, English Drama (1914), A. Wynne, The Growth of English Drama (1914). Less systematic collections of studies[202] are L. M. Griffiths, Evenings with Shakespeare (1889), J. R. Lowell, Old English Dramatists (1892), A. H. Tolman, The Views about Hamlet (1904), C. Crawford, Collectanea (1906–7), A. C. Swinburne, The Age of Shakespeare (1908). The older critical work of Charles Lamb, William Hazlitt, and others cannot be neglected, but need not be detailed here.

Special dissertations on individual plays and playwrights are recorded in the body of this chapter. A few of wider scope may be roughly classified; as dealing with dramatic structure, H. Schwab, Das Schauspiel im Schauspiel zur Zeit Shakespeares (1896), F. A. Foster, Dumb Show in Elizabethan Drama before 1620 (1911, E. S. xliv. 8); with types of drama, H. W. Singer, Das bürgerliche Trauerspiel in England (1891), J. Seifert, Wit-und Science Moralitäten (1892), J. L. McConaughty, The School Drama (1913), E. N. S. Thompson, The English Moral Plays (1910), R. Fischer, Zur Kunstentwickelung der englischen Tragödie bis zu Shakespeare (1893), A. C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy (1904), F. E. Schelling, The English Chronicle Play (1902), L. N. Chase, The English Heroic Play (1903), C. G. Child, The Rise of the Heroic Play (1904, M. L. N. xix), F. H. Ristine, English Tragicomedy (1910), C. R. Baskervill, Some Evidence for Early Romantic Plays in England (1916, M. P. xiv. 229, 467), L. M. Ellison, The Early Romantic Drama at the English Court (1917), H. Smith, Pastoral Influence in the English Drama (1897, M. L. A. xii. 355). A. H. Thorndike, The Pastoral Element in the English Drama before 1605 (1900, M. L. N. xiv. 228), J. Laidler, History of Pastoral Drama in England (1905, E. S. xxxv. 193), W. W. Greg, Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906); with types of plot and characterization, H. Graf, Der Miles Gloriosus im englischen Drama (1891), E. Meyer, Machiavelli and the Elizabethan Drama (1897), G. B. Churchill, Richard the Third up to Shakespeare (1900), L. W. Cushman, The Devil and the Vice in the English Dramatic Literature before Shakespeare (1900), E. Eckhardt, Die lustige Person im älteren englischen Drama (1902), F. E. Schelling, Some Features of the Supernatural as Represented in Plays of the Reigns of Elizabeth and James (1903, M. P. i), H. Ankenbrand, Die Figur des Geistes im Drama der englischen Renaissance (1906), F. G. Hubbard, Repetition and Parallelism in the Earlier Elizabethan Drama (1905, M. L. A. xx), E. Eckhardt, Die Dialekt-und Ausländertypen des älteren englischen Dramas (1910–11), V. O. Freeburg, Disguise Plots in Elizabethan Drama (1915); with Quellenforschung and foreign influences, E. Koeppel, Quellen-Studien zu den Dramen Jonson’s, Marston’s, und Beaumont und Fletcher’s (1895), Quellen-Studien zu den Dramen Chapman’s, Massinger’s und Ford’s (1897), Zur Quellen-Kunde der Stuarts-Dramen (1896, Archiv, xcvii), Studien zur Geschichte der italienischen Novelle in der englischen Litteratur des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts (1892), L. L. Schücking, Studien über die stofflichen Beziehungen der englischen Komödie zur italienischen bis Lilly (1901), A. Ott, Die italienische Novelle im englischen Drama von 1600 (1904), W. Smith, The Commedia dell’ Arte (1912), M. A. Scott, Elizabethan Translations from the Italian (1916), A. L. Stiefel, Die Nachahmung spanischer Komödien in England unter den ersten Stuarts (1890), Die Nachahmung spanischer Komödien in England (1897, Archiv, xcix), L. Bahlsen, Spanische Quellen der dramatischen Litteratur besonders Englands zu Shakespeares Zeit (1893, Z. f. vergleichende Litteraturgeschichte, N. F. vi), A. S. W. Rosenbach, The Curious Impertinent in English Drama (1902, M. L. N. xvii), J. Fitzmaurice-Kelly, Cervantes in England (1905), J. W. Cunliffe, The Influence of Seneca on Elizabethan Tragedy (1893), O. Ballweg, Das klassizistische Drama zur Zeit Shakespeares (1909), O. Ballmann, Chaucers Einfluss auf das englische Drama (1902, Anglia, xxv), R. M. Smith, Froissart and the English Chronicle Play (1915); with the interrelations of dramatists, A. H. Thorndike, The Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on[203] Shakespeare (1901), E. Koeppel, Studien über Shakespeares Wirkung auf zeitgenössische Dramatiker (1905), Ben Jonson’s Wirkung auf zeitgenössische Dramatiker (1906).

The special problem of the authorship of the so-called Shakespeare Apocrypha is dealt with in the editions thereof described below, and by Halliwell-Phillipps (ii. 413), Ward (ii. 209), R. Sachs, Die Shakespeare zugeschriebenen zweifelhaften Stücke (1892, Jahrbuch, xxvii), and A. F. Hopkinson, Essays on Shakespeare’s Doubtful Plays (1900). The analogous question of the possible non-Shakespearian authorship of plays or parts of plays published as his is too closely interwoven with specifically Shakespearian literature to be handled here; J. M. Robertson, in Did Shakespeare Write Titus Andronicus? (1905), Shakespeare and Chapman (1917), The Shakespeare Canon (1922), is searching; other dissertations are cited under the plays or playwrights concerned. The attempts to use metrical or other ‘tests’ in the discrimination of authorship or of the chronology of work have been predominantly applied to Shakespeare, although Beaumont and Fletcher (vide infra) and others have not been neglected. The broader discussions of E. N. S. Thompson, Elizabethan Dramatic Collaboration (1909, E. S. xl. 30) and E. H. C. Oliphant, Problems of Authorship in Elizabethan Dramatic Literature (1911, M. P. viii, 411) are of value.

To the general histories of Elizabethan literature named in the General Bibliographical Note may be added Chambers’s Cyclopaedia of English Literature (1901–3), E. Gosse, Modern English Literature (1897), G. Saintsbury, Short History of English Literature (1900), A. Lang, English Literature from ‘Beowulf’ to Swinburne (1912), W. Minto, Characteristics of English Poets from Chaucer to Shirley (1874), G. Saintsbury, Elizabethan Literature (1887), E. Gosse, The Jacobean Poets (1894), T. Seccombe and J. W. Allen, The Age of Shakespeare (1903), F. E. Schelling, English Literature during the Lifetime of Shakespeare (1910); and for the international relations, G. Saintsbury, The Earlier Renaissance (1901), D. Hannay, The Later Renaissance (1898), H. J. C. Grierson, The First Half of the Seventeenth Century (1906), C. H. Herford, The Literary Relations of England and Germany in the Sixteenth Century (1886), L. Einstein, The Italian Renaissance in England (1902), S. Lee, The French Renaissance in England (1910), J. G. Underhill, Spanish Literature in the England of the Tudors (1899).

I append a chronological list of miscellaneous collections of plays, covering those of more than one author. A few of minimum importance are omitted.

(a) Shakespeare Apocrypha

1664. Mr William Shakespear’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Original Copies. The Third Impression. And unto this Impression is added seven Playes, never before printed in Folio, viz. Pericles Prince of Tyre. The London Prodigall. The History of Thomas Ld Cromwell. Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham. The Puritan Widow. A Yorkshire Tragedy. The Tragedy of Locrine. For P[hilip] C[hetwinde]. [A second issue of the Third Folio (F3) of Shakespeare. I cite these as ‘The 7 Plays’.]

1685. Mr William Shakespear’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.... The Fourth Edition. For H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley. [The Fourth Folio (F4) of Shakespeare, The 7 Plays.]

1709, 1714. N. Rowe, The Works of Sh. [The 7 Plays in vol. vi of 1709 and vol. viii of 1714.]

1728, &c. A. Pope, The Works of Sh. [The 7 Plays in vol. ix of 1728.]

1780. [E. Malone], Supplement to the Edition of Sh.’s Plays published in 1778 by S. Johnson and G. Steevens. [The 7 Plays in vol. ii.]


1848, 1855. W. G. Simms, A Supplement to the Works of Sh. (New York). [T. N. K. and the 7 Plays, except Pericles.]

N.D. [1851?]. H. Tyrrell, The Doubtful Plays of Sh. [The 7 Plays, T. A., Edward III, Merry Devil of Edmonton, Fair Em, Mucedorus, Arden of Feversham, Birth of Merlin, T. N. K.]

1852, 1887. W. Hazlitt, The Supplementary Works of Sh. [The 7 Plays, T. A.]

1854–74. N. Delius, Pseudo-Shakespere’sche Dramen. [Edward III (1854), Arden of Feversham (1855), Birth of Merlin (1856), Mucedorus (1874), Fair Em (1874), separately.]

1869. M. Moltke, Doubtful Plays of Sh. (Tauchnitz). [Edward III, Thomas Lord Cromwell, Locrine, Yorkshire Tragedy, London Prodigal, Birth of Merlin.]

1883–8. K. Warnke und L. Proescholdt, Pseudo-Shakespearian Plays. [Fair Em (1883), Merry Devil of Edmonton (1884), Edward III (1886), Birth of Merlin (1887), Arden of Feversham (1888), separately, with Mucedorus (1878) outside the series.]

1891–1914. A. F. Hopkinson, Sh.’s Doubtful Plays (1891–5). Old English Plays (1901–2). Sh.’s Doubtful Works (1910–11). [Under the above collective titles were issued some, but not all, of a series of plays bearing separate dates as follows: Thomas Lord Cromwell (1891, 1899), Yorkshire Tragedy (1891, 1910), Edward III (1891, 1911), Merry Devil of Edmonton (1891, 1914), Warning for Fair Women (1891, 1904), Locrine (1892), Birth of Merlin (1892, 1901), London Prodigal (1893), Mucedorus (1893), Sir John Oldcastle (1894), Puritan (1894), T. N. K. (1894), Fair Em (1895), Famous Victories of Henry V (1896), Contention of York and Lancaster (1897), Arden of Feversham (1898, 1907), True Tragedy of Richard III (1901), Sir Thomas More (1902). My list may not be complete.]

1908. C. F. T. Brooke, The Sh. Apocrypha. [The 7 Plays except Pericles, Arden of Feversham, Edward III, Mucedorus, Merry Devil of Edmonton, Fair Em, T. N. K., Birth of Merlin, Sir Thomas More.]

(b) General Collections

1744. A Select Collection of Old Plays. 12 vols. (Dodsley). [Cited as Dodsley1.]

1750. [W. R. Chetwood], A Select Collection of Old Plays (Dublin).

1773. T. Hawkins, The Origin of the English Drama. 3 vols.

1779. [J. Nichols], Six Old Plays. 2 vols.

1780. A Select Collection of Old Plays. The Second Edition ... by I. Reed. 12 vols. (Dodsley). [Cited as Dodsley2.]

1810. [Sir W. Scott], The Ancient British Drama. 3 vols. (W. Miller). [Cited as A. B. D.]

1811. [Sir W. Scott], The Modern British Drama. 5 vols. (W. Miller). [Cited as M. B. D.]

1814–15. [C. W. Dilke], Old English Plays. 6 vols. [Cited as O. E. P.]

1825. The Old English Drama. 2 vols. (Hurst, Robinson, & Co., and A. Constable). [Most of the plays have the separate imprint of C. Baldwyn, 1824.]

1825–7. Select Collection of Old Plays. A new edition ... by I. Reed, O. Gilchrist and [J. P. Collier]. 12 vols. [Cited as Dodsley3.]

1830. The Old English Drama. 3 vols. (Thomas White).

1833. J. P. Collier, Five Old Plays (W. Pickering). [Half-title has ‘Old Plays, vol. xiii’, as a supplement to Dodsley.]

1841–53. Publications of the Shakespeare Society. [Include, besides several plays of T. Heywood (q.v.), Dekker, Chettle, and Haughton’s[205] Patient Grissell, Munday’s John a Kent and John a Cumber, Legge’s Richardus Tertius, Norton and Sackville’s Gorboduc, Merbury’s Marriage between Wit and Wisdom, and Sir Thomas More, True Tragedy of Richard III, 1 Contention, True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, Taming of A Shrew, Timon, by various editors. Some copies of these plays, not including Heywood’s, were bound up in 4 vols., with the general date 1853, as a Supplement to Dodsley.]

1848. F. J. Child, Four Old Plays.

1851. J. P. Collier, Five Old Plays (Roxburghe Club).

1870. J. S. Keltie, The Works of the British Dramatists.

[Many of the collections enumerated above are obsolete, and I have not usually thought it worth while to record here the plays included in them. Lists of the contents of most of them are given in Hazlitt; Manual, 267.]

1874–6. A Select Collection of Old English Plays: Fourth Edition, now first Chronologically Arranged, Revised and Enlarged; with the notes of all the Commentators, and New Notes, by W. C. Hazlitt. Vols. i-ix (1874), x-xiv (1875), xv (1876). [Cited as Dodsley, or Dodsley4; incorporates with Collier’s edition of Dodsley the collections of 1833, 1848, 1851, and 1853.]

1875. W. C. Hazlitt, Shakespeare’s Library. Second Edition. Part i, 4 vols.; Part ii, 2 vols. [Part i is based on Collier’s Shakespeare’s Library (1844). Part ii, based on the collections of 1779 and 1841–53, adds the dramatic sources, Warner’s Menaechmi, True Tragedie of Richard III, Legge’s Richardus Tertius, Troublesome Raigne of John, Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, 1 Contention of York and Lancaster, True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor (Q1), Whetstone’s Promos and Cassandra, King Leire, Timon, Taming of A Shrew.]

1878. R. Simpson, The School of Shakspere. 2 vols. [Captain Thomas Stukeley, Nobody and Somebody, Histriomastix, Jack Drum’s Entertainment, Warning for Fair Women, Fair Em, with A Larum for London (1872) separately printed.]

1882–5. A. H. Bullen, A Collection of Old English Plays. 4 vols. [Cited as Bullen, O. E. P. Maid’s Metamorphosis, Noble Soldier, Sir Giles Goosecap, Wisdom of Doctor Dodipoll, Charlemagne or The Distracted Emperor, Trial of Chivalry, Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies, Costly Whore, Every Woman in her Humour, with later plays.]

[1885]-91. 43 Shakspere Quarto Facsimiles. Issued under the superintendence of F. J. Furnivall. [Photographic facsimiles by W. Griggs and C. Praetorius, with introductions by various editors, including, besides accepted Shakespearian plays, Pericles (Q1, Q2), 1 Contention (Q1), True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York (Q1), Whole Contention (Q3), Famous Victories of Henry V (Q1), Troublesome Raigne of John (Q1), Taming of A Shrew (Q1).]

1888. Nero and other Plays (Mermaid Series). [Nero (1624), Porter’s Two Angry Women of Abingdon, Day’s Parliament of Bees and Humour Out of Breath, Field’s Woman is a Weathercock and Amends for Ladies, by various editors.]

1896–1905. The Temple Dramatists. [Cited as T. D. Single plays by various editors, including, besides plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, Dekker, Heywood, Jonson, Kyd, Marlowe, Peele, Udall, Webster (q.v.), Arden of Feversham, Edward III, Merry Devil of Edmonton, Selimus, T. N. K., Return from Parnassus.]

1897. J. M. Manly, Specimens of the Pre-Shakspearean Drama. 2 vols. issued. [Udall’s Roister Doister, Gammer Gurton’s Needle, Preston’s Cambyses, Norton and Sackville’s Gorboduc, Lyly’s Campaspe, Greene’s James IV, Peele’s David and Bethsabe, Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy in vol. ii; earlier plays in vol. i.]


1897. H. A. Evans, English Masques (Warwick Library). [Ten masks by Jonson (q.v.), Daniel’s Twelve Goddesses, Campion’s Lords’ Mask, Beaumont’s Inner Temple Mask, Mask of Flowers, and later masks.]

1897–1912. Jahrbuch der deutschen Shakespeare-Gesellschaft, vols. xxxiii-xlviii. [Wilson’s Cobbler’s Prophecy (1897), 1 Richard II (1899), Wager’s The Longer Thou Livest, the More Fool Thou Art (1900), The Wars of Cyrus (1901), Jonson’s E. M. I. (1902), Lupton’s All for Money (1904), Wapull’s The Tide Tarrieth No Man (1907), Lumley’s translation of Iphigenia (1910), Caesar and Pompey, or Caesar’s Revenge (1911, 1912), by various editors.]

1898. A. Brandl, Quellen des weltlichen Dramas in England vor Shakespeare. Ein Ergänzungsband zu Dodsley’s Old English Plays. (Quellen und Forschungen, lxxx.) [King Darius, Misogonus, Horestes, Wilmot’s Gismond of Salern, Common Conditions, and earlier plays.]

1902–8. The Belles Lettres Series. Section iii. The English Drama. General Editor, G. P. Baker. [Cited as B. L. Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, Chapman, Dekker, Gascoigne, Jonson, Webster (q.v.), in separate volumes by various editors.]

1902–14. Materialien zur Kunde des älteren englischen Dramas ... begründet und herausgegeben von W. Bang. 44 vols. issued. (A. Uystpruyst, Louvain.) [Includes, with other ‘material’, text facsimile reprints of plays, &c., of Barnes, Brewer, Daniel, Chettle and Day, Dekker, Heywood, Jonson, Mason, Sharpham (q.v.), with How a Man may Choose a Good Wife from a Bad, Sir Giles Goosecap, the Latin Victoria of A. Fraunce and Pedantius, and translations from Seneca.]

1903, 1913, 1914. C. M. Gayley, Representative English Comedies. 3 vols. [Plays of Udall, Lyly, Peele, Greene, Porter, Jonson, and Dekker, with Gammer Gurton’s Needle, Eastward Ho!, Merry Devil of Edmonton, and later plays, by various editors.]

1905–8. J. S. Farmer, Publications of the Early English Drama Society. [Modernized texts, mainly of little value, but including a volume of Recently Recovered Plays, from the quartos in the Irish sale of 1906.]

1907–20. Malone Society Reprints. 46 vols. issued. [In progress; text-facsimile reprints of separate plays, by various editors, under general editorship of W. W. Greg; cited as M. S. R.]

1907–14. J. S. Farmer, The Tudor Facsimile Texts, with a Hand List (1914). [Photographic facsimiles, mostly by R. B. Fleming; cited as T. F. T. The Hand List states that 184 vols. are included in the collection, but I believe that some were not actually issued before the editor’s death. Some or all of these, with reissues of others, appear in Old English Plays, Student’s Facsimile Edition; cited as S. F. T.]

1908–14. The Shakespeare Classics. General Editor, I. Gollancz. (The Shakespeare Library). [Includes Warner’s Menaechmi and Leire, Taming of A Shrew, and Troublesome Reign of King John.]

1911. W. A. Neilson, The Chief Elizabethan Dramatists excluding Shakespeare. [Plays by Lyly, Peele, Greene, Marlowe, Kyd, Chapman, Jonson, Dekker, Marston, Heywood, Beaumont, Fletcher, Webster, Middleton, and later writers; cited as C. E. D.]

1911. R. W. Bond, Early Plays from the Italian. [Gascoigne’s Supposes, Bugbears, Misogonus.]

1912. J. W. Cunliffe, Early English Classical Tragedies. [Norton and Sackville’s Gorboduc, Gascoigne and Kinwelmersh’s Jocasta, Wilmot’s Gismond of Salerne, Hughes’s Misfortunes of Arthur.]

1912. Masterpieces of the English Drama. General Editor, F. E. Schelling, [Cited as M. E. D. Plays of Marlowe, Beaumont and Fletcher, Webster and Tourneur (q.v.), with Massinger and Congreve, in separate volumes by various editors.]


1915. C. B. Wheeler, Six Plays by Contemporaries of Shakespeare (World’s Classics). [Dekker’s Shoemaker’s Holiday, Beaumont and Fletcher’s K. B. P. and Philaster, Webster’s White Devil and Duchess of Malfi, Massinger’s New Way to Pay Old Debts.]

[In this chapter I give under the head of each playwright (a) a brief sketch of his life in relation to the stage, (b) a list of contemporary and later collections of his dramatic works, (c) a list of dissertations (books, pamphlets, articles in journals) bearing generally upon his life and works. Then I take each play, mask, &c., up to 1616 and give (a) the MSS. if any; (b) the essential parts of the entry, if any, on the Stationers’ Register, including in brackets the name of any licenser other than an official of the Company, and occasionally adding a note of any transfer of copyright which seems of exceptional interest; (c) the essential parts of the title-page of the first known print; (d) a note of its prologues, epilogues, epistles, and other introductory matter; (e) the dates and imprints of later prints before the end of the seventeenth century with any new matter from their bearing on stage history; (f) lists of all important 18th-20th century editions and dissertations, not of the collective or general type already dealt with; (g) such notes as may seem desirable on authorship, date, stage history and the like. Some of these notes are little more than compilations; others contain the results of such work as I have myself been able to do on the plays concerned. Similarly, I have in some cases recorded, on the authority of others, editions and dissertations which I have not personally examined. The section devoted to each playwright concludes with lists of work not extant and of work of which his authorship has, often foolishly, been conjectured. I ought to make it clear that many of my title-pages are borrowed from Dr. Greg, and that, while I have tried to give what is useful for the history of the stage, I have no competence in matters of minute bibliographical accuracy.]


Alabaster, or Alablaster, was born at Hadleigh, Suffolk, in 1567 and entered Trinity College, Cambridge, from Westminster in 1583. His Latin poem Eliseis is mentioned by Spenser in Colin Clout’s Come Home Again (1591). He was incorporated M.A. of Oxford in 1592, and went as chaplain to Essex in the Cadiz expedition of 1596. On 22 Sept. 1597 Richard Percival wrote to Sir Robert Cecil (Hatfield MSS. vii. 394), ‘Alabaster has made a tragedy against the Church of England’. Perhaps this is not to be taken literally, but only refers to his conversion to Catholicism. Chamberlain, 7, 64, records that he was ‘clapt up for poperie’, had escaped from the Clink by 4 May 1598, but was recaptured at Rochelle. This was about the beginning of Aug. 1599 (Hatfield MSS. ix. 282). Later he was reconverted and at his death in 1640 held the living of Therfield, Herts. He wrote on mystical theology, and a manuscript collection of 43 sonnets, mostly unprinted, is described by B. Dobell in Athenaeum (1903), ii. 856.


Roxana. c. 1592

[MSS.] T. C. C. MS. (‘Authore Domino Alabaster’); Camb. Univ. MS. Ff. ii. 9; Lambeth MS. 838 (‘finis Roxanae Alabastricae’).

S. R. 1632, May 9 (Herbert). ‘A Tragedy in Latyn called Roxana &c.’ Andrew Crooke (Arber, iv. 277).

1632. Roxana Tragædia olim Cantabrigiae, Acta in Col. Trin. Nunc primum in lucem edita, summaque cum diligentia ad castigatissimum exemplar comparata. R. Badger for Andrew Crook. [At end is Herbert’s imprimatur, dated ‘1 March, 1632’.]

1632. Roxana Tragædia a plagiarii unguibus vindicata, aucta, & agnita ab Authore Gulielmo Alabastro. William Jones. [Epistle by Gulielmus Alabaster to Sir Ralph Freeman; commendatory verses by Hugo Hollandius and Tho. Farnabius; engraved title-page, with representation of a stage (cf. ch. xviii, Bibl. Note).]

The Epistle has ‘Ante quadraginta plus minus annos, morticinum hoc edidi duarum hebdomadarum abortum, et unius noctis spectaculo destinatum, non aevi integri’. The play is a Latin version of Luigi Groto’s La Dalida (1567).


William Alexander of Menstrie, after an education at Glasgow and Leyden and travel in France, Spain, and Italy, was tutor to Prince Henry before the accession of James, and afterwards Gentleman extraordinary of the Privy Chamber both to Henry and to Charles. He was knighted about 1609, appointed a Master of Requests in 1614 and Secretary for Scotland in 1626. He was created Earl of Stirling in 1633. He formed literary friendships with Michael Drayton and William Drummond of Hawthornden, but Jonson complained (Laing, 11) that ‘Sir W. Alexander was not half kinde unto him, and neglected him, because a friend to Drayton’. His four tragedies read like closet plays, and his only connexion with the stage appears to be in some verses to Alleyn after the foundation of Dulwich in 1619 (Collier, Memoirs of Alleyn, 178).


S. R. 1604, April 30 (by order of Court). ‘A booke Called The Woorkes of William Alexander of Menstrie Conteyninge The Monarchicke Tragedies, Paranethis to the Prince and Aurora.’ Edward Blunt (Arber, iii. 260).

1604. The Monarchicke Tragedies. By William Alexander of Menstrie. V. S. for Edward Blount. [Croesus and Darius (with a separate t.p.).]

1607. The Monarchick Tragedies; Croesus, Darius, The Alexandraean, Iulius Caesar, Newly enlarged. By William Alexander, Gentleman of the Princes priuie Chamber. Valentine Simmes for Ed. Blount. [New issue, with additions. Julius Caesar has separate t.p. Commendatory verses, signed ‘Robert Ayton’.]

1616. The Monarchicke Tragedies. The third Edition. By Sr. W. Alexander Knight. William Stansby. [Croesus, Darius, The Alexandraean[209] Tragedy, Julius Caesar, in revised texts, the last three with separate]

1637. Recreations with the Muses. By William Earle of Sterline. Tho. Harper. [Croesus, Darius, The Alexandraean Tragedy, Julius Caesar.]

1870–2. Poetical Works. 3 vols.

1921. L. E. Kastner and H. B. Charlton, The Poetical Works of Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling. Vol. i. The Dramatic Works.—Dissertations: C. Rogers, Memorials of the Earl of S. and the House of A. (1877); H. Beumelburg, Sir W. A. Graf von S., als dramatischer Dichter (1880, Halle diss.).

Darius > 1603

1603. The Tragedie of Darius. By William Alexander of Menstrie. Robert Waldegrave. Edinburgh. [Verses to James VI; Epistle to Reader; Commendatory verses by ‘Io Murray’ and ‘W. Quin’.]

1604. G. Elde for Edward Blount. [Part of Coll. 1604, with separate t.p.; also in later Colls. Two sets of verses to King at end.]

Croesus > 1604

1604. [Part of Coll. 1604; also in later Colls. Argument; Verses to King at end.]

The Alexandraean Tragedy > 1607

1605? [Hazlitt, Manual, 7, and others cite a print of this date, which is not confirmed by Greg, Plays, 1.]

1607. (Running Title). The Alexandraean Tragedie. [Part of Coll. 1607; also in later Colls. Argument.]

Julius Caesar > 1607

1607. The Tragedie of Iulius Caesar. By William Alexander, Gentleman of the Princes priuie Chamber. Valentine Simmes for Ed. Blount. [Part of Coll. 1607, with separate t.p.; also in later Colls. Argument.]

Edition in H. H. Furness, Julius Caesar (1913, New Variorum Shakespeare, xvii).

WILLIAM ALLEY (c. 1510–70).

Alley’s Πτωχὸμυσεῖον. The Poore Mans Librarie (1565) contains three and a half pages of dialogue between Larymos and Phronimos, described as from ‘a certaine interlude or plaie intituled Aegio. In the which playe ij persons interlocutorie do dispute, the one alledging for the defence of destenie and fatall necessitie, and the other confuting the same’. P. Simpson (9 N. Q. iii. 205) suggests that Alley was probably himself the author. The book consists of praelectiones delivered in 1561 at St. Paul’s, of which Alley had been a Prebendary. He became Bishop of Exeter in 1560. On his attitude to the public stage, cf. App. C. No. viii. It is therefore odd to find the Lord Bishop’s players at Barnstaple and Plymouth in 1560–1 (Murray, ii. 78).


ROBERT AMERIE (c. 1610).

The deviser of the show of Chester’s Triumph (1610). See ch. xxiv (C).

ROBERT ARMIN (> 1588–1610 <). For biography see Actors (ch. xv).

The Two Maids of Moreclacke. 1607–8 (?)

1609. The History of the two Maids of Moreclacke, With the life and simple maner of Iohn in the Hospitall. Played by the Children of the Kings Maiesties Reuels. Written by Robert Armin, seruant to the Kings most excellent Maiestie. N. O. for Thomas Archer. [Epistle to Reader, signed ‘Robert Armin’.]

Editions in A. B. Grosart, Works of R. A. Actor (1880, Choice Rarities of Ancient English Poetry, ii), 63, and J. S. Farmer (1913, S. F. T.). The epistle says that the play was ‘acted by the boyes of the Reuels, which perchaunce in part was sometime acted more naturally in the Citty, if not in the hole’, that the writer ‘would haue againe inacted Iohn my selfe but ... I cannot do as I would’, and that he had been ‘requested both of Court and Citty, to show him in priuate’. John is figured in a woodcut on the title-page, which is perhaps meant for a portrait of Armin. As a King’s man, and no boy, he can hardly have played with the King’s Revels; perhaps we should infer that the play was not originally written for them. All their productions seem to date from 1607–8.

Doubtful Play

Armin has been guessed at as the R. A. of The Valiant Welshman.

THOMAS ASHTON (ob. 1578).

Ashton took his B.A. in 1559–60, and became Fellow of Trinity, Cambridge. He was appointed Head Master of Shrewsbury School from 24 June 1561 (G. W. Fisher, Annals of Shrewsbury School, 4). To the same year a local record, Robert Owen’s Arms of the Bailiffs (17th c.), assigns ‘Mr Astons first playe upon the Passion of Christ’, and this is confirmed by an entry in the town accounts (Owen and Blakeway, Hist. of Shrewsbury, i. 353) of 20s. ‘spent upon Mr Aston and a other gentellmane of Cambridge over pareadijs’ on 25 May 1561. Whitsuntide plays had long been traditional at Shrewsbury (Mediaeval Stage, ii. 250, 394, where the dates require correction). A local chronicle (Shropshire Arch. Soc. Trans. xxxvii. 54) has ‘Elizabeth 1565 [i. e. 1566; cf. App. A], The Queen came to Coventry intending for Salop to see Mr Astons Play, but it was ended. The Play was performed in the Quarry, and lasted the Whitson [June 2] hollydays’. This play is given in Mediaeval Stage, from local historians, as Julian the Apostate, but the same chronicle assigns that to 1556. Another chronicle (Taylor MS. of 16th-17th c.) records for 1568–9 (Shropshire Arch. Soc. Trans. iii. 268), ‘This yeare at Whytsoontyde [29 May] was a notable stage playe playeed in Shrosberie in a place there callyd the quarrell which lastid all the hollydayes unto the which cam greate number of people of noblemen and others the which[211] was praysed greatlye and the chyff aucter therof was one Master Astoon beinge the head scoolemaster of the freescole there a godly and lernyd man who tooke marvelous greate paynes therin’. Robert Owen, who calls this Aston’s ‘great playe’ of the Passion of Christ, assigns it to 1568, but it is clear from the town accounts that 1569 is right (Fisher, 18). This is presumably the play referred to by Thomas Churchyard (q.v.) in The Worthiness of Wales (1587, ed. Spenser Soc. 85), where after describing ‘behind the walles ... a ground, newe made Theator wise’, able to seat 10,000, and used for plays, baiting, cockfights, and wrestling, he adds:

At Astons Play, who had beheld this then,
Might well have seene there twentie thousand men.

In the margin he comments, ‘Maister Aston was a good and godly Preacher’. A ‘ludus in quarell’ is noted in 1495, and this was ‘where the plases [? playes] have bine accustomyd to be usyd’ in 1570 (Mediaeval Stage, ii. 251, 255). Ashton resigned his Mastership about 1571 and was in the service of the Earl of Essex at Chartley in 1573. But he continued to work on the Statutes of the school, which as settled in 1578, the year of his death, provide that ‘Everie Thursdaie the Schollers of the first forme before they goo to plaie shall for exercise declame and plaie one acte of a comedie’ (Fisher, 17, 23; E. Calvert, Shrewsbury School Register). It is interesting to note that among Ashton’s pupils were Sir Philip Sidney and Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, who entered the school together on 16 Nov. 1564.

JAMES ASKE (c. 1588).

Author of Elizabetha Triumphans (1588), an account of Elizabeth’s visit to Tilbury. See ch. xxiv (C).


The reference to him in Nashe’s Menaphon epistle (App. C, No. xlii) rather suggests that he may have written plays.

FRANCIS BACON (1561–1626).

Bacon was son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper, by Anne, daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke. He was at Trinity, Cambridge, from April 1573 to March 1575, and entered Gray’s Inn in June 1576. He sat in the Parliaments of 1584 and 1586, and about 1591 attached himself to the rising fortunes of the Earl of Essex, who in 1595 gave him an estate at Twickenham. His public employment began as a Queen’s Counsel about 1596. He was knighted on 23 July 1603, became Solicitor-General on 25 June 1607, Attorney-General on 27 Oct. 1613, Lord Keeper on 7 March 1617, and Lord Chancellor on 7 Jan. 1618. He was created Lord Verulam on 12 July 1618, and Viscount St. Albans on 27 Jan. 1621. Later in the same year he was disgraced for bribery. The edition of his Works (with his Letters and Life) by J. Spedding, R. L. Ellis, and D. D. Heath (1857–74) is exhaustive. Many papers of his brother Anthony are at Lambeth, and are drawn on by T. Birch, Memoirs of the Reign of Elizabeth (1754). F. J. Burgoyne, Facsimile of a Manuscript at Alnwick (1904), reproduces[212] the Northumberland MS. which contains some of his writings, with others that may be his, and seems once to have contained more. Apart from philosophy, his chief literary work was The Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall, of which 10 appeared in 1597, and were increased to 38 in 1612 and 58 in 1625. Essay xxxvii, added in 1625, is Of Masks and Triumphs, and, although Bacon was not a writer for the public stage, he had a hand, as deviser or patron, in several courtly shows.

(i) He helped to devise dumb-shows for Thomas Hughes’s Misfortunes of Arthur (q.v.) given by Gray’s Inn at Greenwich on 28 Feb. 1588.

(ii) The list of contents of the Northumberland MS. (Burgoyne, xii) includes an item, now missing from the MS., ‘Orations at Graies Inne Revells’, and Spedding, viii. 342, conjectures that Bacon wrote the speeches of the six councillors delivered on 3 Jan. 1595 as part of the Gesta Grayorum (q.v.).

(iii) Rowland Whyte (Sydney Papers, i. 362) describes a device on the Queen’s day (17 Nov.), 1595, in which the speeches turned on the Earl of Essex’s love for Elizabeth, who said that, ‘if she had thought there had been so much said of her, she would not have been there that night’. A draft list of tilters, of whom the challengers were led by the Earl of Cumberland and the defendants by the Earl of Essex, is in Various MSS. iv. 163, and a final one, with descriptions of their appearance, in the Anglorum Feriae of Peele (q.v.). They were Cumberland, Knight of the Crown, Essex, Sussex, Southampton, as Sir Bevis, Bedford, Compton, Carew, the three brothers Knollys, Dudley, William Howard, Drury, Nowell, John Needham, Skydmore, Ratcliffe, Reynolds, Charles Blount, Carey. The device took place partly in the tiltyard, partly after supper. Before the entry of the tilters a page made a speech and secured the Queen’s glove. A dialogue followed between a Squire on one hand, and a Hermit, a Secretary, and a Soldier, who on the entry of Essex tried to beguile him from love. A postboy brought letters, which the Secretary gave to Essex. After supper, the argument between the Squire and the three tempters was resumed. Whyte adds, ‘The old man [the Hermit] was he that in Cambridg played Giraldy; Morley played the Secretary; and he that plaid Pedantiq was the soldior; and Toby Matthew acted the Squires part. The world makes many untrue constructions of these speaches, comparing the Hermitt and the Secretary to two of the Lords [Burghley and Robert Cecil?]; and the soldier to Sir Roger Williams.’ The Cambridge reference is apparently to Laelia (q.v.) and the performers of the Hermit and Soldier were therefore George Meriton and George Mountaine, of Queen’s. Morley might perhaps be Thomas Morley, the musician, a Gentleman of the Chapel.

Several speeches, apparently belonging to this device, are preserved. Peele speaks of the balancing of Essex between war and statecraft as indicated in the tiltyard by ‘His mute approach and action of his mutes’, but they may have presented a written speech.


(a) Lambeth MS. v. 118 (copied by Birch in Sloane MS. 4457, f. 32) has, in Bacon’s hand, a speech by the Squire in the tiltyard, and four speeches by the Hermit, Soldier, Secretary, and Squire ‘in the Presence’. These are printed by Birch (1763), Nichols, Eliz. iii. 372, and Spedding, viii. 378.

(b) Lambeth MS. viii. 274 (copied by Birch in Addl. MS. 4164, f. 167) has, in Bacon’s hand, the beginning of a speech by the Secretary to the Squire, which mentions Philautia and Erophilus, and a letter from Philautia to the Queen. These are printed in Spedding, viii. 376.

(c) The Northumberland MS. ff. 47–53 (Burgoyne, 55) has ‘Speeches for my Lord of Essex at the tylt’. These deal with the attempts of Philautia to beguile Erophilus. Four of them are identical with the four speeches ‘in the Presence’ of (a); the fifth is a speech by the Hermit in the tiltyard. They were printed by Spedding, separately, in 1870, as A Conference of Pleasure composed for some festive occasion about the year 1592 by Francis Bacon; but 1592 is merely a guess which Whyte’s letter corrects.

(d) S. P. D. Eliz. ccliv. 67, 68, docketed ‘A Device made by the Earl of Essex for the Entertainment of her Majesty’, has a speech by the Squire, distinct from any in the other MSS., a speech by the Attendant on an Indian Prince, which mentions Philautia, and a draft by Edward Reynolds, servant to Essex, of a French speech by Philautia. The two first of these are printed by Spedding, viii. 388, and Devereux, Lives of the Earls of Essex, ii. 501. The references to Philautia are rather against Spedding’s view that these belong to some occasion other than that of 1595.

Sir Henry Wotton says of Essex (Reliquiae Wottonianae, 21), ‘For his Writings, they are beyond example, especially in his ... things of delight at Court ... as may be yet seen in his Impresses and Inventions of entertainment; and above all in his darling piece of love, and self love’. This, for what it is worth—and Wotton was secretary to Essex in 1595, suggests that the Earl himself, rather than Bacon, was the author of the speeches, which in fact none of the MSS. directly ascribe to Bacon. But it is hard to distinguish the literary productions of a public man from those of his staff.

(iv) The Northumberland MS. (Burgoyne, 65) has a speech of apology for absence, headed ‘ffor the Earle of Sussex at ye tilt an: 96’, which might be Bacon’s, especially as he wrote from Gray’s Inn to the Earl of Shrewsbury on 15 Oct. 1596, ‘to borrow a horse and armour for some public show’ (Lodge, App. 79).

(v) Beaumont (q.v.) acknowledges his encouragement of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn mask on 20 Feb. 1613, for the Princess Elizabeth’s wedding.

(vi) He bore the expenses of the Gray’s Inn Mask of Flowers (q.v.) on 6 Jan. 1614 for the Earl of Somerset’s wedding. To this occasion probably belongs an undated letter signed ‘Fr. Bacon’, and addressed to an unknown lord (M. S. C. i. 214 from Lansdowne MS. 107, f. 13; Spedding, ii. 370; iv. 394), in which he expresses regret that ‘the joynt maske from the fowr Innes of Cowrt faileth’, and offers a mask[214] for ‘this occasion’ by a dozen gentlemen of Gray’s Inn, ‘owt of the honor which they bear to your lordship, and my lord Chamberlayne, to whome at theyr last maske they were so much bownde’. The last mask would be (v) above, and the then Lord Chamberlain was Suffolk, prospective father-in-law of Somerset, to whom the letter may be supposed to be addressed. But it is odd that the letter is endorsed ‘Mr’ Fr. Bacon, and bound up with papers of Burghley, and it is just possible, although not, I think, likely, that the reference may be to some forgotten Elizabethan mask.

(vii) A recent attempt has been made to assign to Bacon the academic Pedantius (cf. App. K).

JOHN BADGER (c. 1575).

A contributor to the Kenilworth entertainment (cf. ch. xxiv, C). Gascoigne calls him ‘Master Badger of Oxenforde, Maister of Arte, and Bedle in the same Universitie’. A John Badger of Ch. Ch. took his M.A. in 1555, and a superior bedel of divinity of the same name made his will on 15 July 1577 (Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, i. 54).


For biography, cf. ch. xv (Actors), and for his share in The Insatiate Countess, s.v. Marston.

There is no reason to regard him as the ‘William Buckstead, Comedian’, whose name is at the end of a Prologue to a playe to the cuntry people in Bodl. Ashm. MS. 38 (198).

BARNABE BARNES (c. 1569–1609).

Barnes was born in Yorkshire, the son of Richard Barnes, bishop of Durham. He entered Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1586, but took no degree, accompanied Essex to France in 1591, and dedicated his poems Parthenophil and Parthenophe (1593) to William Percy (q.v.). He was a friend of Gabriel Harvey and abused by Nashe and Campion. In 1598 he was charged with an attempt at poison, but escaped from prison (Athenaeum, 1904, ii. 240). His Poems were edited by A. B. Grosart in Occasional Issues (1875). Hazlitt, Manual, 23, states that a manuscript of a play by him with the title The Battle of Hexham was sold with Isaac Reed’s books in 1807, but this, which some writers call The Battle of Evesham, has not been traced. As Barnes was buried at Durham in Dec. 1609, it is probable that The Madcap ‘written by Barnes’, which Herbert licensed for Prince Charles’s men on 3 May 1624, was by another of the name.

The Devil’s Charter. 2 Feb. 1607

S. R. 1607, Oct. 16 (Buck). ‘The Tragedie of Pope Alexander the Sixt as it was played before his Maiestie.’ John Wright (Arber, iii. 361).

1607. The Divils Charter: A Tragedie Conteining the Life and Death of Pope Alexander the sixt. As it was plaide before the Kings Maiestie, vpon Candlemasse night last: by his Maiesties Seruants. But more exactly reuewed, corrected and augmented since by the Author, for the more pleasure and profit of the Reader. G. E. for[215] John Wright. [Dedication by Barnabe Barnes to Sir William Herbert and Sir William Pope; Prologue with dumb-show and Epilogue.]

Extracts by A. B. Grosart in Barnes’s Poems (1875), and editions by R. B. McKerrow (1904, Materialien, vi) and J. S. Farmer (1913, S. F. T.)—Dissertation: A. E. H. Swaen, G. C. Moore Smith, and R. B. McKerrow, Notes on the D. C. by B. B. (1906, M. L. R. i. 122).

DAVID, LORD BARRY (1585–1610).

David Barry was the eldest son of the ninth Viscount Buttevant, and the ‘Lo:’ on his title-page represents a courtesy title of ‘Lord’, or ‘Lording’ as it is given in the lawsuit of Androwes v. Slater, which arose out of the interest acquired by him in 1608 in the Whitefriars theatre (q.v.). Kirkman’s play-lists (Greg, Masques, ci) and Wood, Athenae Oxon. ii. 655, have him as ‘Lord’ Barrey, which did not prevent Langbaine (1691) and others from turning him into ‘Lodowick’.—Dissertations: J. Q. Adams, Lordinge (alias Lodowick) Barry (1912, M. P. ix. 567); W. J. Lawrence, The Mystery of Lodowick Barry (1917, University of North Carolina Studies in Philology, xiv. 52).

Ram Alley. 1607–8

S. R. 1610, Nov. 9 (Buck). ‘A booke called, Ramme Alley, or merry trickes. Robert Wilson (Arber, iii. 448).

1611. Ram-Alley: Or Merrie-Trickes. A Comedy Diuers times heretofore acted. By the Children of the Kings Reuels. Written by Lo: Barrey. G. Eld for Robert Wilson. [Prologue and Epilogue.]

1636; 1639.

Editions in Dodsley4 (1875, x) and by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. ii) and J. S. Farmer (1913, S. F. T.).

Fleay, i. 31, attempts to place the play at the Christmas of 1609, but it is improbable that the King’s Revels ever played outside 1607–8. Archer’s play-list of 1656 gives it to Massinger. There are references (ed. Dodsley, pp. 280, 348, 369) to the baboons, which apparently amused London about 1603–5 (cf. s.v. Sir Giles Goosecap), and to the Jacobean knightings (p. 272).

FRANCIS BEAUMONT (c. 1584–1616).

Beaumont was third son of Francis Beaumont, Justice of Common Pleas, sprung from a gentle Leicestershire family, settled at Grace Dieu priory in Charnwood Forest. He was born in 1584 or 1585 and had a brother, Sir John, also known as a poet. He entered Broadgates Hall, Oxford, in 1597, but took no degree, and the Inner Temple in 1600. In 1614 or 1615 he had a daughter by his marriage, probably recent, to Ursula Isley of Sundridge Hall, Kent, and another daughter was born after his death on 6 March 1616. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Beaumont contributed a humorous grammar lecture (preserved in Sloane MS. 1709, f. 13; cf. E. J. L. Scott in Athenaeum for 27 Jan. 1894) to some Inner Temple Christmas revels of uncertain date. This has allusions to ‘the most plodderly plotted shew of Lady Amity’[216] given ‘in this ill-instructed hall the last Christmas’, and to seeing a play at the Bankside for sixpence. His poetical career probably begins with the anonymous Salmacis and Hermaphroditus of 1602. His non-dramatic poems, of which the most important is an epistle to Elizabeth Countess of Rutland in 1612, appeared after his death in volumes of 1618, 1640, and 1653, which certainly ascribe to him much that is not his. His connexion with the stage seems to have begun about 1606, possibly through Michael Drayton, a family friend, in whose Eglogs of that year he appears as ‘sweet Palmeo’. But his first play, The Woman Hater, written independently for Paul’s, shows him under the influence of Ben Jonson, who wrote him an affectionate epigram (lv), told Drummond in 1619 that ‘Francis Beaumont loved too much himself and his own verses’ (Laing, 10), and according to Dryden (Essay on Dramatick Poesie) ‘submitted all his writings to his censure, and, ’tis thought, used his judgment in correcting, if not contriving, all his plots’. To Jonson’s Volpone (1607) commendatory verses were contributed both by Beaumont, whose own Knight of the Burning Pestle was produced in the same year, and by John Fletcher, whose names are thus first combined. Jonson and Beaumont, in their turn, wrote verses for Fletcher’s The Faithful Shepherdess, probably written in 1608 or 1609 and published in 1609 or 1610. About 1608 or 1609 it may also be supposed that the famous literary collaboration began. This, although it can only be proved to have covered some half-dozen plays, left the two names so closely associated that when, in 1647 and 1679, the actors and publishers issued collections of fifty-three pieces, in all or most of which Fletcher had had, or was supposed to have had, a hand, they described them all as ‘by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher’, and thus left to modern scholarship a task with which it is still grappling. A contemporary protest by Sir Aston Cockaine pointed out the small share of Beaumont and the large share of Massinger in the 1647 volume; and the process of metrical analysis initiated by Fleay and Boyle may be regarded as fairly successful in fixing the characteristics of the very marked style of Fletcher, although it certainly raises more questions than it solves as to the possible shares not only of Massinger, but of Jonson, Field, Tourneur, Daborne, Middleton, Rowley, and Shirley, as collaborators or revisers, in the plays as they have come down to us. Since Fletcher wrote up to his death in 1625, much of this investigation lies outside my limits, and it is fortunate that the task of selecting the plays which may, certainly or possibly, fall before Beaumont’s death in 1616 is one in which a fair number of definite data are available to eke out the slippery metrical evidence. It would seem that the collaboration began about 1608 and lasted in full swing for about four or five years, that in it Beaumont was the ruling spirit, and that it covered plays, not only for the Queen’s Revels, for whom both poets had already written independently, and for their successors the Lady Elizabeth’s, but also, and concurrently, for the King’s. According to Dryden, two or three plays were written ‘very unsuccessfully’ before the triumph of Philaster, but these may include the independent[217] plays, of which we know that the Knight of the Burning Pestle and the Faithful Shepherdess failed. The Folios contain a copy of verses written by Beaumont to Jonson (ed. Waller, x. 199) ‘before he and Mr. Fletcher came to London, with two of the precedent Comedies then not finish’d, which deferr’d their merry meetings at the Mermaid’, but this probably relates to a temporary villeggiatura and cannot be precisely dated. It is no doubt to this period of 1608–13 that we may refer the gossip of Aubrey, i. 96, who learnt from Sir James Hales and others that Beaumont and Fletcher ‘lived together on the Banke-Side, not far from the Play-house, both batchelors; lay together; had one wench in the house between them, which they did so admire; the same cloathes and cloake, &c., betweene them’. Obviously these conditions ended when Beaumont married an heiress about 1613, and it seems probable that from this date onwards he ceased to be an active playwright, although he contributed a mask to the Princess Elizabeth’s wedding at Shrovetide of that year, and his hand can be traced, perhaps later still, in The Scornful Lady. At any rate, about 1613 Fletcher was not merely writing independent plays—a practice which, unlike Beaumont, he may never have wholly dropped—but also looking about for other contributors. There is some converging evidence of his collaboration about this date with Shakespeare; and Henslowe’s correspondence (Henslowe Papers, 66) shows him quite clearly as engaged on a play, possibly The Honest Man’s Fortune, with no less than three others, Daborne, Field, and Massinger. It is not probable that, from 1616 onwards, Fletcher wrote for any company but the King’s men. Of the fifty-two plays included in the Ff., forty-four can be shown from title-pages, actor-lists, licences by the Master of the Revels, and a Lord Chamberlain’s order of 1641 (M. S. C. i. 364) to have belonged to the King’s, six by title-pages and another Lord Chamberlain’s order (Variorum, iii. 159) to have belonged to the Cockpit theatre, and two, Wit at Several Weapons and Four Plays in One, together with The Faithful Friends, which does not appear in the Ff., cannot be assigned to any company. But some of the King’s men’s plays and some or all of the Cockpit plays had originally belonged to Paul’s, the Queen’s Revels, or the Lady Elizabeth’s, and it is probable that all these formed part of the Lady Elizabeth’s repertory in 1616, and that upon the reorganization of the company which then took place they were divided into two groups, of which one passed with Field to the King’s, while the other remained with his late fellows and was ultimately left with Christopher Beeston when their occupation of the Cockpit ended in 1625.

I classify the plays dealt with in these notes as follows: (a) Plays wholly or substantially by Beaumont—The Woman Hater, The Knight of the Burning Pestle; (b) Plays of the Beaumont-Fletcher collaboration—Philaster, A Maid’s Tragedy, A King and No King, Four Plays in One, Cupid’s Revenge, The Coxcomb, The Scornful Lady; (c) Plays wholly or substantially by Fletcher—The Woman’s Prize, The Faithful Shepherdess, Monsieur Thomas, Valentinian, Bonduca, Wit Without Money; (d) Plays of doubtful authorship and, in some[218] cases, period—The Captain, The Honest Man’s Fortune, The Two Noble Kinsmen, The Faithful Friends, Thierry and Theodoret, Wit at Several Weapons, Love’s Cure, The Night Walker. Full treatment of The Two Noble Kinsmen, as of Henry VIII, in which Fletcher certainly had a hand, is only possible in relation to Shakespeare. I have not thought it necessary to include every play which, or a hypothetical version of which, an unsupported conjecture, generally from Mr. Oliphant, puts earlier than 1616. The Queen of Corinth, The Noble Gentleman, The Little French Lawyer, The Laws of Candy, The Knight of Malta, The Fair Maid of the Inn, The Chances, Beggar’s Bush, The Bloody Brother, Love’s Pilgrimage, Nice Valour, and Rule a Wife and Have a Wife are omitted on this principle, and I believe I might safely have extended the same treatment to some of those in my class (d).


S. R. 1646, Sept. 4 (Langley). ‘These severall Tragedies & Comedies hereunder mencioned (vizt.) ... [thirty plays named] ... by Mr. Beamont and Mr. Flesher.’ H. Robinson and H. Moseley (Eyre, i. 244).

1660, June 29. ‘The severall Plays following, vizt.... [names] ... all six copies written by Fra: Beamont & John Fletcher.’ H. Robinson and H. Moseley (Eyre, ii. 268).

F1, 1647. Comedies and Tragedies Written by Francis Beaumont and Iohn Fletcher Gentlemen. Never printed before, And now published by the Authours Originall Copies. For H. Robinson and H. Moseley. [Twenty-nine plays of the 1646 entry, excluding The Wildgoose Chase, and the five plays and one mask of the 1660 entry, none but the mask previously printed; Portrait of Fletcher by W. Marshall; Epistle to Philip Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, signed ‘John Lowin, Richard Robinson, Eylaerd Swanston, Hugh Clearke, Stephen Hammerton, Joseph Taylor, Robert Benfield, Thomas Pollard, William Allen, Theophilus Bird’; Epistle to the Reader, signed ‘Ja. Shirley’; The Stationer to the Readers, signed ‘Humphrey Moseley’ and dated ‘Feb. 14th 1646’; Thirty-seven sets of Commendatory verses, variously signed; Postscript; cf. W. W. Greg in 4 Library, ii. 109.]

F2, 1679. Fifty Comedies and Tragedies. Written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, Gentlemen. All in one Volume. Published by the Authors Original Copies, the Songs to each Play being added. J. Macock, for John Martyn, Henry Herringman, Richard Marriot. [The thirty-four plays and one mask of F1, with eighteen other plays, all previously printed; Epistle by the Stationers to the Reader; Actor Lists prefixed to many of the plays.]

1711. The Works of B. and F. 7 vols. Jacob Tonson.

Editions by Theobald, Seward and Sympson (1750, 10 vols.), G. Colman (1778, 10 vols.; 1811, 3 vols.), H. Weber (1812, 14 vols., adding The Faithful Friends), G. Darley (1839, 2 vols.; 1862–6, 2 vols.), A. Dyce (1843–6, 11 vols.; 1852, 2 vols.).

1905–12. A. Glover and A. R. Waller. The Works of F. B. and[219] J. F. 10 vols. (C. E. C.). [Text of F2, with collations of F1 and Qq.]

1904–12 (in progress). A. H. Bullen, The Works of F. B. and J. F. Variorum Edition. 4 vols. issued. [Text based on Dyce; editions of separate plays by P. A. Daniel, R. W. Bond, W. W. Greg, R. B. McKerrow, J. Masefield, M. Luce, C. Brett, R. G. Martin, E. K. Chambers.]


1887. J. S. L. Strachey, The Best Plays of B. and F. 2 vols. (Mermaid Series). [Maid’s Tragedy, Philaster, Thierry and Theodoret, K. B. P., King and No King, Bonduca, Faithful Shepherdess, Valentinian, and later plays.]

1912. F. E. Schelling, Beaumont and Fletcher (M. E. D.). [Philaster, Maid’s Tragedy, Faithful Shepherdess, Bonduca.]

Dissertations: A. C. Swinburne, B. and F. (1875–94, Studies in Prose and Poetry), The Earlier Plays of B. and F. (1910, English Review); F. G. Fleay, On Metrical Tests as applied to Dramatic Poetry: Part ii, B., F., Massinger (1874, N. S. S. Trans. 51, 23*, 61*, reprinted, 1876–8, with alterations in Shakespeare Manual, 151), On the Chronology of the Plays of F. and Massinger (1886, E. S. ix. 12), and in B. C. (1891), i. 164; R. Boyle, B., F., and Massinger (1882–7, E. S. v. 74, vii. 66, viii. 39, ix. 209, x. 383), B., F., and Massinger (1886, N. S. S. Trans. 579), Mr. Oliphant on B. and F. (1892–3, E. S. xvii. 171, xviii. 292), Daborne’s Share in the B. and F. Plays (1899, E. S. xxvi. 352); G. C. Macaulay, F. B.: a Critical Study (1883), B. and F. (1910, C. H. vi. 107); E. H. C. Oliphant, The Works of B. and F. (1890–2, E. S. xiv. 53, xv. 321, xvi. 180); E. Koeppel, Quellen-Studien zu den Dramen Ben Jonson’s, John Marston’s und B. und F.’s (1895, Münchener Beiträge, xi); C. E. Norton, F. B.’s Letter to Ben Jonson (1896, Harvard Studies and Notes, v. 19); A. H. Thorndike, The Influence of B. and F. on Shakspere (1901); O. L. Hatcher, J. F.: a Study in Dramatic Method (1905); R. M. Alden, Introduction to B.’s Plays (1910, B. L.); C. M. Gayley, F. B.: Dramatist (1914); W. E. Farnham, Colloquial Contractions in B., F., Massinger and Shakespeare as a Test of Authorship (1916, M. L. A. xxxi. 326).

Bibliographies: A. C. Potter, A Bibl. of B. and F. (1890, Harvard Bibl. Contributions, 39); B. Leonhardt, Litteratur über B. und F. (1896, Anglia, xix. 36, 542).

The Woman Hater, c. 1606

S. R. 1607, May 20 (Buck). ‘A booke called “The Woman Hater” as it hath ben lately acted by the Children of Powles.’ Eleazar Edgar and Robert Jackson (Arber, iii. 349). [A note ‘Sir George Buckes hand alsoe to it’.]

1607. The Woman Hater. As it hath beene lately Acted by the Children of Paules. Sold by John Hodgets. [Prologue in prose.]

1607. R. R. sold by John Hodgets. [A reissue.]


S. R. 1613, April 19. Transfer of Edgar’s share to John Hodgettes (Arber, iii. 521).

1648.... As it hath beene Acted by his Majesties Servants with great Applause. Written by John Fletcher Gent. For Humphrey Moseley.

1649. The Woman Hater, or the Hungry Courtier. A Comedy ... Written by Francis Beamont and John Fletcher, Gent. For Humphrey Moseley. [A reissue. Prologue in verse, said by Fleay, i. 177, to be Davenant’s, and Epilogue, used also for The Noble Gentleman.]

Fleay, i. 177, and Gayley, 73, put the date in the spring of 1607, finding a reference in ‘a favourite on the sudden’ (I. iii) to the success of Robert Carr in taking the fancy of James at the tilt of 24 March 1607, to which Fleay adds that ‘another inundation’ (III. i) recalls a flood of 20 Jan. 1607. Neither argument is convincing, and it is not known that the Paul’s boys went on into 1607; they are last heard of in July 1606. The prologue expresses the author’s intention not to lose his ears, perhaps an allusion to Jonson’s and Chapman’s peril after Eastward Ho! in 1605. Gayley notes in II. iii what certainly looks like a reminiscence of Antony and Cleopatra, IV. xiv. 51 and xv. 87, but it is no easier to be precise about the date of Antony and Cleopatra than about that of The Woman Hater. The play is universally regarded as substantially Beaumont’s and the original prologue only speaks of a single author, but Davenant in 1649 evidently supposed it to be Fletcher’s, saying ‘full twenty yeares, he wore the bayes’. Boyle, Oliphant, Alden, and Gayley suggest among them III. i, ii; IV. ii; V. i, ii, v as scenes to which Fletcher or some other collaborator may have given touches.

The Knight of the Burning Pestle. 1607

1613. The Knight of the Burning Pestle. For Walter Burre. [Epistle to Robert Keysar, signed ‘W. B.’, Induction with Prologue, Epilogue.]

1635.... Full of Mirth and Delight. Written by Francis Beaumont and Iohn Fletcher, Gent. As it is now Acted by Her Maiesties Servants at the Private house in Drury Lane. N. O. for I. S. [Epistle to Readers, Prologue (from Lyly’s Sapho and Phaon).]

1635.... Francis Beamont....

Editions by F. W. Moorman (1898, T. D.), H. S. Murch (1908, Yale Studies, xxxiii), R. M. Alden (1910, B. L.), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.).—Dissertations: R. Boyle, B. and F.’s K. B. P. (1889, E. S. xiii. 156); B. Leonhardt, Ueber B. und F.’s K. B. P. (1885, Annaberg programme), Die Text-Varianten von B. und F.’s K. B. P. (1896, Anglia, xix. 509).

The Epistle tells us that the play was ‘in eight daies ... begot and borne’, ‘exposed to the wide world, who ... utterly reiected it’, preserved by Keysar and sent to Burre, who had ‘fostred it priuately in my bosome these two yeares’. The play ‘hopes his father will beget him a yonger brother’. Burre adds, ‘Perhaps it will be thought to bee of the race of Don Quixote: we both may confidently sweare, it is his elder aboue a yeare’. The references to the actors in the induction as boys and the known connexion of Keysar with the Queen’s[221] Revels fix the company. The date is more difficult. It cannot be earlier than 1607, since the reference to a play at the Red Bull in which the Sophy of Persia christens a child (IV. i. 46) is to Day’s Travels of Three English Brothers of that year. With other allusions, not in themselves conclusive, 1607 would agree well enough, notably with Ind. 8, ‘This seuen yeares there hath beene playes at this house’, for it was just seven years in the autumn of 1607 since Evans set up plays at the Blackfriars. The trouble is IV. i. 73, ‘Read the play of the Foure Prentices of London, where they tosse their pikes so’, for this implies that the Four Prentices was not merely produced but in print, and the earliest extant edition is of 1615. It is, however, quite possible that the play may have been in print, even as far back as 1594 (cf. s.v. Heywood). Others put it, and with it the K. B. P., in 1610, in which case the production would have been at the Whitefriars, the history of which can only be traced back two or three years and not seven years before 1610. On the whole, I think the reference to Don Quixote in the Epistle is in favour of 1607 rather than 1610. It is, of course, conceivable that Burre only meant to claim that the K. B. P. was a year older than Thomas Shelton’s translation of Don Quixote, which was entered in S. R. on 19 Jan. 1611 and published in 1612. Even this brings us back to the very beginning of 1610, and the boast would have been a fairly idle one, as Shelton states in his preface that the translation was actually made ‘some five or six yeares agoe’. Shelton’s editor, Mr. Fitzmaurice-Kelly, has shown that it was based on the Brussels edition of 1607. If we put it in 1608 and the K. B. P. in 1607 the year’s priority of the latter is preserved. Most certainly the K. B. P. was not prior to the Spanish Don Quixote of 1605. Its dependence on Cervantes is not such as necessarily to imply that Beaumont had read the romance, but he had certainly heard of its general drift and of the particular episodes of the inn taken for a castle and the barber’s basin. Fleay, Boyle, Moorman, Murch, and Alden are inclined to assign to Fletcher some or all of the scenes in which Jasper and Luce and Humphrey take part; but Macaulay, Oliphant and Gayley regard the play, except perhaps for a touch or two, as wholly Beaumont’s. Certainly the Epistle suggests that the play had but one ‘father’.

The Faithful Shepherdess. 1608–9

N.D. The Faithfull Shepherdesse. By John Fletcher. For R. Bonian and H. Walley. [Commendatory verses by N. F. (‘Nath. Field’, Q2), Fr. Beaumont, Ben Jonson, G. Chapman; Dedicatory verses to Sir Walter Aston, Sir William Skipwith, Sir Robert Townsend, all signed ‘John Fletcher’; Epistle to Reader, signed ‘John Fletcher’.]

S. R. 1628, Dec. 8. Transfer from Walley to R. Meighen (Arber, iv. 206).

1629.... newly corrected ... T. C. for R. Meighen.

1634.... Acted at Somerset House before the King and Queene on Twelfe night last, 1633. And divers times since with great applause[222] at the Private House in Blacke-Friers, by his Majesties Servants.... A. M. for Meighen. [Verses to Joseph Taylor, signed ‘Shakerley Marmion’, and Prologue, both for the performance of 6 Jan. 1634.]

1656; 1665.

Editions by F. W. Moorman (1897, T. D.), W. W. Greg (1908, Bullen, iii), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.).

Jonson told Drummond in the winter of 1618–19 (Laing, 17) that ‘Flesher and Beaumont, ten yeers since, hath written the Faithfull Shipheardesse, a Tragicomedie, well done’. This gives us the date 1608–9, which there is nothing to contradict. The undated Q1 may be put in 1609 or 1610, as Skipwith died on 3 May 1610 and the short partnership of the publishers is traceable from 22 Dec. 1608 to 14 Jan. 1610. It is, moreover, in Sir John Harington’s catalogue of his plays, which was made up in 1609 or 1610 (cf. ch. xxii). The presence of Field, Chapman, and Jonson amongst the verse-writers and the mentions in Beaumont’s verses of ‘the waxlights’ and of a boy dancing between the acts point to the Queen’s Revels as the producers. It is clear also from the verses that the play was damned, and that Fletcher alone, in spite of Drummond’s report, was the author. This is not doubted on internal grounds.

The Woman’s Prize, or, The Tamer Tamed. 1604 <

1647. The Womans Prize, or The Tamer Tam’d. A Comedy. [Part of F1. Prologue and Epilogue.]

1679. [Part of F2.]

Fleay, i. 198, Oliphant, and Thorndike, 70, accumulate inconclusive evidence bearing on the date, of which the most that can be said is that an answer to The Taming of the Shrew would have more point the nearer it came to the date of the original, and that the references to the siege of Ostend in I. iii would be topical during or not long after that siege, which ended on 8 Sept. 1604. On the other hand, Gayley (R. E. C. iii, lxvi) calls attention to possible reminiscences of Epicoene (1609) and Alchemist (1610). I see no justification for supposing that a play written in 1605 would undergo revision, as has been suggested, in 1610–14. A revival by the King’s in 1633 got them into some trouble with Sir Henry Herbert, who claimed the right to purge even an old play of ‘oaths, prophaness, and ribaldrye’ (Variorum, iii. 208). Possibly the play is also The Woman is too Hard for Him, which the King’s took to Court on 26 Nov. 1621 (Murray, ii. 193). But the original writing was not necessarily for this company. There is general agreement in assigning the play to Fletcher alone.

Philaster > 1610

S. R. 1620, Jan. 10 (Taverner). ‘A Play Called Philaster.’ Thomas Walkley (Arber, iii. 662).

1620. Phylaster, Or Loue lyes a Bleeding. Acted at the Globe by his Maiesties Seruants. Written by Francis Baymont and Iohn Fletcher. Gent. For Thomas Walkley.

1622.... As it hath beene diuerse times Acted, at the Globe, and[223] Blacke-friers, by his Maiesties Seruants.... The Second Impression, corrected, and amended. For Thomas Walkley. [Epistle to the Reader by Walkley. Different text of I. i; V. iv, v.]

1628. A. M. for Richard Hawkins. [Epistle by the Stationer to the Understanding Gentry.]

1634; 1639; 1652; N.D. [1663]; 1687.

Editions by J. S. L. Strachey (1887, Mermaid, i), F. S. Boas (1898, T. D.), P. A. Daniel (1904, Variorum, i), A. H. Thorndike (1906, B. L.), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.).—Dissertations: B. Leonhardt, Über die Beziehungen von B. und F.’s P. zu Shakespeare’s Hamlet und Cymbeline (1885, Anglia, viii. 424) and Die Text-Varianten von B. und F.’s P. (1896, Anglia, xix. 34).

The play is apparently referred to in John Davies of Hereford, Scourge of Folly (S. R. 8 Oct. 1610), ep. 206:

To the well deseruing M^r John Fletcher.
Loue lies ableeding, if it should not proue
Her vttmost art to shew why it doth loue.
Thou being the Subiect (now) It raignes vpon:
Raign’st in Arte, Iudgement, and Inuention:
For this I loue thee: and can doe no lesse
For thine as faire, as faithfull Shepheardesse.

If so, the date 1608–10 is suggested, and I do not think that it is possible to be more precise. No trustworthy argument can be based with Gayley, 342, on the fact that Davies’s epigram follows that praising Ostler as ‘Roscius’ and ‘sole king of actors’; and I fear that the view of Thorndike, 65, that 1608 is a ‘probable’ conjecture is biased by a desire to assume priority to Cymbeline. There were two Court performances in the winter of 1612–13, and Fleay, i. 189, suggests that the versions of I. i and V. iv, v which appear in Q1 were made for these. The epistle to Q2 describes them as ‘dangerous and gaping wounds ... received in the first impression’. There is general agreement that most of the play, whether Davies knew it or not, is Beaumont’s. Most critics assign V. iii, iv and some the whole or parts of I. i, ii, II. ii, iv, and III. ii to Fletcher.

The Coxcomb. 1608 < > 10

1647. The Coxcomb. [Part of F1. Prologue and Epilogue.]

1679. [Part of F2. ‘The Principal Actors were Nathan Field, Joseph Taylor, Giles Gary, Emanuel Read, Rich. Allen, Hugh Atawell, Robert Benfeild, Will Barcksted.’]

Dissertation: A. S. W. Rosenbach, The Curious Impertinent in English Dramatic Literature (1902, M. L. N. xvii. 179).

The play was given at Court by the Queen’s Revels on 2 or 3 Nov. 1612. It passed, doubtless, through the Lady Elizabeth’s, to whom the actor-list probably belongs, to the King’s, who took it to Court on 5 March 1622 (Murray, ii. 193) and again on 17 Nov. 1636 (Cunningham, xxiv). There was thus more than one opportunity for the prologue, which speaks of the play as having a mixed reception at first, partly because of its length, then ‘long forgot’, and now revived[224] and shortened. The original date may be between the issue in 1608 of Baudouin’s French translation of The Curious Impertinent from Don Quixote, which in original or translation suggested its plot, and Jonson’s Alchemist (1610), IV. vii. 39, ‘You are ... a Don Quixote. Or a Knight o’ the curious coxcombe’. The prologue refers to ‘makers’, and there is fair agreement in giving some or all of I. iv, vi, II. iv, III. iii, and V. ii to Beaumont and the rest to Fletcher. Fleay, Boyle, Oliphant, and Gayley think that there has been revision by a later writer, perhaps Massinger or W. Rowley.

The Maid’s Tragedy > 1611

S. R. 1619, April 28 (Buck). ‘A play Called The maides tragedy.’ Higgenbotham and Constable (Arber, iii. 647).

1619. The Maides Tragedy. As it hath beene divers times Acted at the Blacke-friers by the King’s Maiesties Seruants. For Francis Constable.

1622.... Newly perused, augmented, and inlarged, This second Impression. For Francis Constable.

1630.... Written by Francis Beaumont, and Iohn Fletcher Gentlemen. The Third Impression, Reuised and Refined. A. M. for Richard Hawkins.

1638; 1641; 1650 [1660?]; 1661.

Editions by J. S. L. Strachey (1887, Mermaid, i), P. A. Daniel (1904, Variorum, i), A. H. Thorndike (1906, B. L.), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.).—Dissertation: B. Leonhardt, Die Text-Varianten in B. und F.’s M. T. (1900, Anglia, xxiii. 14).

The play must have been known by 31 Oct. 1611 when Buck named the Second Maiden’s Tragedy (q.v.) after it, and it was given at Court during 1612–13. An inferior limit is not attainable and any date within c. 1608–11 is possible. Gayley, 349, asks us to accept the play as more mature than, and therefore later than, Philaster. Fleay, i. 192, thinks that the mask in I. ii was added after the floods in the winter of 1612, but you cannot bring Neptune into a mask without mention of floods. As to authorship there is some division of opinion, especially on II. ii and IV. iii; subject thereto, a balance of opinion gives I, II, III, IV. ii, iv and V. iv to Beaumont, and only IV. i and V. i, ii, iii to Fletcher.

An episode (I. ii) consists of a mask at the wedding of Amintor and Evadne, with an introductory dialogue between Calianax, Diagoras, who keeps the doors, and guests desiring admission. ‘The ladies are all placed above,’ says Diagoras, ‘save those that come in the King’s troop.’ Calianax has an ‘office’, evidently as Chamberlain. ‘He would run raging among them, and break a dozen wiser heads than his own in the twinkling of an eye.’

The maskers are Proteus and other sea-gods; the presenters Night, Cinthia, Neptune, Aeolus, Favonius, and other winds, who ‘rise’ or come ‘out of a rock’. There are two ‘measures’ between hymeneal songs, but no mention of taking out ladies.

In an earlier passage (I. i. 9) a poet says of masks, ‘They must[225] commend their King, and speak in praise Of the Assembly, bless the Bride and Bridegroom, In person of some God; th’are tyed to rules Of flattery’.

A King and No King. 1611

S. R. 1618, Aug. 7 (Buck). ‘A play Called A king and noe kinge.’ Blount (Arber, iii. 631).

1619. A King and no King. Acted at the Globe, by his Maiesties Seruants: Written by Francis Beamount and Iohn Flecher. For Thomas Walkley. [Epistle to Sir Henry Nevill, signed ‘Thomas Walkley’.]

1625.... Acted at the Blacke-Fryars, by his Maiesties Seruants. And now the second time Printed, according to the true Copie.... For Thomas Walkley.

1631; 1639; 1655; 1661; 1676.

Editions by R. W. Bond (1904, Bullen, i), R. M. Alden (1910, B. L.).—Dissertation: B. Leonhardt, Die Text-Varianten von B.’s und F.’s A K. and No K. (1903, Anglia, xxvi. 313).

This is a fixed point, both for date and authorship, in the history of the collaboration. Herbert records (Var. iii. 263) that it was ‘allowed to be acted in 1611’ by Sir George Buck. It was in fact acted at Court by the King’s on 26 Dec. 1611 and again during 1612–13. A performance at Hampton Court on 10 Jan. 1637 is also upon record (Cunningham, xxv). The epistle, which tells us that the publisher received the play from Nevill, speaks of ‘the authors’ and of their ‘future labours’; rather oddly, as Beaumont was dead. There is practical unanimity in assigning I, II, III, IV. iv, and V. ii, iv to Beaumont and IV. i, ii, iii and V. i, iii to Fletcher.

Cupid’s Revenge > 1612

S. R. 1615, April 24 (Buck). ‘A play called Cupid’s revenge.’ Josias Harrison (Arber, iii. 566).

1615. Cupid’s Revenge. As it hath beene diuers times Acted by the Children of her Maiesties Reuels. By Iohn Fletcher. Thomas Creede for Josias Harrison. [Epistle by Printer to Reader.]

1630.... As it was often Acted (with great applause) by the Children of the Reuells. Written by Fran. Beaumont & Io. Fletcher. The second edition. For Thomas Jones.

1635.... The third Edition. A. M.

The play was given by the Queen’s Revels at Court on 5 Jan. 1612, 1 Jan. 1613, and either 9 Jan. or 27 Feb. 1613. It was revived by the Lady Elizabeth’s at Court on 28 Dec. 1624, and is in the Cockpit list of 1639. It cannot therefore be later than 1611–12, while no close inferior limit can be fixed. Fleay, i. 187, argues that it has been altered for Court, chiefly by turning a wicked king, queen, and prince into a duke, duchess, and marquis. I doubt if this implies revision as distinct from censorship, and in any case it does not, as Fleay suggests, imply the intervention of a reviser other than the original authors. The suggestion has led to chaos in the distribution of authorship, since various critics have introduced Daborne, Field, and Massinger as[226] possible collaborators or revisers. The stationer speaks of a single ‘author’, meaning Fletcher, but says he was ‘not acquainted with him’. And the critics at least agree in finding both Beaumont and Fletcher, pretty well throughout.

The Captain. 1609 < > 12

1647. The Captain. [Part of F1. Prologue and Epilogue.]

1679. The Captain. A Comedy. [Part of F2.] ‘The principal Actors were, Richard Burbadge, Henry Condel, William Ostler, Alexander Cooke.’

The play was given by the King’s at Court during 1612–13, and presumably falls between that date and the admission of Ostler to the company in 1609. The 1679 print, by a confusion, gives the scene as ‘Venice, Spain’, but this hardly justifies the suggestion of Fleay, i. 195, that we have a version of Fletcher’s work altered for the Court by Barnes. He had formerly conjectured collaboration between Fletcher and Jonson (E. S. ix. 18). The prologue speaks of ‘the author’; Fleay thinks that the mention of ‘twelve pence’ as the price of a seat indicates a revival. Several critics find Massinger; Oliphant finds Rowley; and Boyle and Oliphant find Beaumont, as did Macaulay, 196, in 1883, but apparently not in 1910 (C. H. vi. 137).

Two Noble Kinsmen. 1613

S. R. 1634, April 8 (Herbert). ‘A Tragicomedy called the two noble kinsmen by John Fletcher and William Shakespeare.’ John Waterson (Arber, iv. 316).

1634. The Two Noble Kinsmen: Presented at the Black-friers by the Kings Maiesties servants, with great applause: Written by the memorable Worthies of their time; Mr. John Fletcher, and Mr. William Shakspeare. Gent. Tho. Cotes for Iohn Waterson. [Prologue and Epilogue.]

1679. [Part of F2 of Beaumont and Fletcher.]

Editions by W. W. Skeat (1875), H. Littledale (1876–85, N. S. S.), C. H. Herford (1897, T. D.), J. S. Farmer (1910, T. F. T.), and with Works of Beaumont and Fletcher, Sh. Apocrypha, and sometimes Works of Shakespeare.—Dissertations: W. Spalding, A Letter on Sh.’s Authorship of T. N. K. (1833; 1876, N. S. S.); S. Hickson, The Shares of Sh. and F. in T. N. K. (1847, Westminster Review, xlvii. 59; 1874, N. S. S. Trans. 25*, with additions by F. G. Fleay and F. J. Furnivall); N. Delius, Die angebliche Autorschaft des T. N. K. (1878, Jahrbuch, xiii. 16); R. Boyle, Sh. und die beiden edlen Vettern (1881, E. S. iv. 34), On Massinger and T. N. K. (1882, N. S. S. Trans. 371); T. Bierfreund, Palamon og Arcite (1891); E. H. C. Oliphant (1892, E. S. xv. 323); B. Leuschner, Über das Verhältniss von T. N. K. zu Chaucer’s Knightes Tale (1903, Halle diss.); O. Petersen, The T. N. K. (1914, Anglia, xxxviii. 213); H. D. Sykes, The T. N. K. (1916, M. L. R. xi. 136); A. H. Cruickshank, Massinger and T. N. K. (1922).

The date of T. N. K. is fairly well fixed to 1613 by its adaptation of[227] Beaumont’s wedding mask of Shrovetide in that year; there would be a confirmation in Jonson, Bartholomew Fair (1614), iv. 3,

Quarlous. Well my word is out of the Arcadia, then: Argalus.
Win-wife. And mine out of the play, Palemon;

did not the juxtaposition of the Arcadia suggest that the allusion may be, not to the Palamon of T. N. K. but to the Palaemon of Daniel’s The Queen’s Arcadia (1606). In spite of the evidence of the t.p. attempts have been made to substitute Beaumont, or, more persistently, Massinger, for Shakespeare as Fletcher’s collaborator. This question can only be discussed effectively in connexion with Shakespeare.

The Honest Man’s Fortune. 1613

[MS.] Dyce MS. 9, formerly in Heber collection.

1647. The Honest Mans Fortune. [Part of F1. After play, verses ‘Upon an Honest Mans Fortune. By Mr. John Fletcher’, beginning ‘You that can look through Heaven, and tell the Stars’.]

1679. The Honest Man’s Fortune. A Tragicomedie. [Part of F2. ‘The principal actors were Nathan Field, Joseph Taylor, Rob. Benfield, Will Eglestone, Emanuel Read, Thomas Basse.’]

Dissertation: K. Richter, H. M. F. und seine Quellen (1905, Halle diss.).

On the fly-leaf of the MS. is ‘The Honest Man’s Fortune, Plaide in the yeare 1613’, and in another hand at the end of the text, ‘This Play, being an olde one, and the Originall lost was reallow’d by mee this 8 Febru. 1624. Att the intreaty of Mr.   .’ The last word is torn off, but a third hand has added ‘Taylor’. The MS. contains some alterations, partly by the licenser, partly by the stage-manager or prompter. The latter include the names of three actors, ‘G[eorge] Ver[non]’, ‘J: R Cro’ and ‘G. Rick’. The ending of the last scene in the MS. differs from that of the Ff. The endorsement is confirmed by Herbert’s entry in his diary (Variorum, iii. 229), ‘For the King’s company. An olde play called The Honest Mans Fortune, the originall being lost, was re-allowed by mee at Mr. Taylor’s intreaty, and on condition to give mee a booke [The Arcadia], this 8 Februa. 1624.’ The actor-list suggests that the original performers were Lady Elizabeth’s men, after the Queen’s Revels had joined them in March 1613. Fleay, i. 196, suggests that this is the play by Fletcher, Field, Massinger, and Daborne which is the subject of some of Henslowe’s correspondence and was finally delivered on 5 Aug. 1613 (Greg, Henslowe Papers, 65, 90). Attempts to combine this indication with stylistic evidence have led the critics to some agreement that Fletcher is only responsible for V and that Massinger is to be found in III, and for the rest into a quagmire of conjecture amongst the names of Beaumont, Fletcher, Massinger, Field, Daborne, Tourneur, and Cartwright. The appended verses of the Ff. are not in the Dyce MS., but they are in Addl. MS. 25707, f. 66, and Bodl. Rawlinson Poet. MS. 160, f. 20, where they are ascribed to Fletcher, and in Beaumont’s Poems (1653).


Bonduca. 1609 < > 14

1647. Bonduca, A Tragedy. [Part of F1.]

1679. [Part of F2. ‘The Principal Actors were Richard Burbadge, Henry Condel, William Eglestone, Nich. Toolie, William Ostler, John Lowin, John Underwood, Richard Robinson.’]

Dissertations: B. Leonhardt, Die Text-Varianten von B. und F.’s B. (1898, Anglia, xx. 421) and Bonduca (E. S. xiii. 36).

The actor-list is of the King’s men between 1609–11 or between 1613–14, as these are the only periods during which Ecclestone and Ostler can have played together. The authorship is generally regarded as substantially Fletcher’s; and the occasional use of rhyme in II. i and IV. iv hardly justifies Oliphant’s theory of an earlier version by Beaumont, or the ascription by Fleay and Macaulay of these scenes to Field, whose connexion with the King’s does not seem to antedate 1616.

Monsieur Thomas. 1610 < > 16

S. R. 1639, Jan. 22 (Wykes). ‘A Comedy called Monsieur Thomas, by master John Fletcher.’ Waterson (Arber, iv. 451).

1639. Monsieur Thomas. A Comedy. Acted at the Private House in Blacke Fryers. The Author, Iohn Fletcher, Gent. Thomas Harper for John Waterson. [Epistle to Charles Cotton, signed ‘Richard Brome’ and commendatory verses by the same.]

N.D. [c. 1661]. Fathers Own Son. A Comedy. Formerly Acted at the Private House in Black Fryers; and now at the Theatre in Vere Street by His Majesties Servants. The Author John Fletcher Gent. For Robert Crofts. [Reissue with fresh t.p.]

Edition by R. G. Martin (1912, Bullen, iv).—Dissertations: H. Guskar, Fletcher’s Monsieur Thomas und seine Quellen (1905, Anglia, xxviii. 397; xxix. 1); A. L. Stiefel, Zur Quellenfrage von John Fletcher’s Monsieur Thomas (1906, E. S. xxxvi. 238); O. L. Hatcher, The Sources of Fletcher’s Monsieur Thomas (1907, Anglia, xxx. 89).

The title-page printed at the time of the revival by the King’s men of the Restoration enables us to identify Monsieur Thomas with the Father’s Own Son of the Cockpit repertory in 1639, and like the other plays of the Beaumont and Fletcher series in that repertory it was probably written by 1616, and either for the Queen’s Revels or for the Lady Elizabeth’s. An allusion in II. iii. 104 to ‘all the feathers in the Friars’ might indicate production at Porter’s Hall in the Blackfriars about that year. The play cannot be earlier than its source, Part ii (1610) of H. d’Urfé’s Astrée, and by 1610 the more permanent Blackfriars house had passed to the King’s, by whom the performances referred to on the original title-page must therefore have been given. Perhaps the explanation is that there had been some misunderstanding about the distribution of the Lady Elizabeth’s men’s plays between the King’s and the Cockpit, and that a revival by the King’s in 1639 led the Cockpit managers to get the Lord Chamberlain’s order of 10 Aug. 1639 (Variorum, iii. 159) appropriating their repertory to them. The authorship is ascribed with general assent to Fletcher alone.


Valentinian. 1610 < > 14

1647. The Tragedy of Valentinian. [Part of F1. Epilogue.]

1679. [Part of F2. ‘The principal Actors were, Richard Burbadge, Henry Condel, John Lowin, William Ostler, John Underwood.’]

Edition by R. G. Martin (1912, Bullen, iv).

The actor-list is of the King’s men before the death of Ostler on 16 Dec. 1614, and the play must fall between this date and the publication of its source, Part ii (1610) of H. d’Urfé’s Astrée. There is general agreement in assigning it to Fletcher alone.

Wit Without Money, c. 1614

S. R. 1639, April 25 (Wykes). ‘These fiue playes ... Witt without money.’ Crooke and William Cooke (Arber, iv. 464).

1639. Wit Without Money. A Comedie, As it hath beene Presented with good Applause at the private house in Drurie Lane, by her Majesties Servants. Written by Francis Beamount and John Flecher. Gent. Thomas Cotes for Andrew Crooke and William Cooke.

1661.... The Second Impression Corrected. For Andrew Crooke.

Edition by R. B. McKerrow (1905, Bullen, ii).

Allusions to the New River opened in 1613 (IV. v. 61) and to an alleged Sussex dragon of Aug. 1614 (II. iv. 53) suggest production not long after the latter date. There is general agreement in assigning the play to Fletcher alone. It passed into the Cockpit repertory and was played there both by Queen Henrietta’s men and in 1637 by Beeston’s boys (Variorum, iii. 159, 239). Probably, therefore, it was written for the Lady Elizabeth’s.

The Scornful Lady. 1613 < > 17

S. R. 1616, March 19 (Buck). ‘A plaie called The scornefull ladie written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher.’ Miles Partriche (Arber, iii. 585).

1616. The Scornful Ladie. A Comedie. As it was Acted (with great applause) by the Children of Her Maiesties Reuels in the Blacke-Fryers. Written by Fra. Beaumont and Io. Fletcher, Gent. For Miles Partriche.

1625.... As it was now lately Acted (with great applause) by the Kings Maiesties seruants, at the Blacke-Fryers.... For M. P., sold by Thomas Jones.

1630, 1635, 1639, 1651 (bis).

Edition by R. W. Bond (1904, Bullen, i).

References to ‘talk of the Cleve wars’ (V. iii. 66) and ‘some cast Cleve captain’ (V. iv. 54) cannot be earlier than 1609 when the wars broke out after the death of the Duke of Cleves on 25 March, and there can hardly have been ‘cast’ captains until some time after July 1610 when English troops first took part. Fleay, i. 181, calls attention to an allusion to the binding by itself of the Apocrypha (I. ii. 46) which was discussed for the A. V. and the Douay Version, both completed in 1610; and Gayley to a reminiscence (IV. i. 341)[230] of Epicoene which, however, was acted in 1609, not, as Gayley thinks, 1610. None of these indications, however, are of much importance in view of another traced by Gayley (III. ii. 17):

I will style thee noble, nay, Don Diego;
I’ll woo thy infanta for thee.

Don Diego Sarmiento’s negotiations for a Spanish match with Prince Charles began on 27 May 1613. The play must therefore be 1613–16. In any case the ‘Blackfriars’ of the title-page must be the Porter’s Hall house of 1615–17. Even if the end of 1609 were a possible date, Murray, i. 153, is wrong in supposing that the Revels were then at Blackfriars. There is fair unanimity in assigning I, the whole or part of II, and V. ii to Beaumont, and the rest to Fletcher, but Bond and Gayley suggest that III. i, at least, might be Massinger’s.

Thierry and Theodoret (?)

1621. The Tragedy of Thierry King of France, and his Brother Theodoret. As it was diuerse times acted at the Blacke-Friers by the Kings Maiesties Seruants. For Thomas Walkley.

1648.... Written by John Fletcher Gent. For Humphrey Moseley.

1649.... Written by Fracis Beamont and John Fletcher Gent. For Humphrey Moseley. [A reissue, with Prologue and Epilogue, not written for the play; cf. Fleay, i. 205.]

Dissertation: B. Leonhardt, Die Text-Varianten von B. und F.’s T. and T. (1903, Anglia, xxvi. 345).

Fleay, i. 205, dates the play c. 1617, supposing it to be a satire on the French Court, and the name De Vitry to be that of the slayer of the Maréchal d’Ancre. Thorndike, 79, has little difficulty in disposing of this theory, although it may be pointed out that the Privy Council did in fact intervene to suppress a play about the Maréchal in 1617 (Gildersleeve, 113); but he is less successful in attempting to show any special plausibility in a date as early as 1607. A former conjecture by Fleay (E. S. ix. 21) that III and V. i are fragments of the anonymous Branholt of the Admiral’s in 1597 may also be dismissed with Greg (Henslowe, ii. 188). Most critics find, in addition to Fletcher, Massinger, as collaborator or reviser, according to the date given to the play, and some add Field or Daborne. Oliphant and Thorndike find Beaumont. So did Macaulay, 196, in 1883, but apparently not in 1910 (C. H. vi. 138).

The Nightwalker or The Little Thief (?)

S. R. 25 April 1639 (Wykes). ‘These fiue playes ... Night walters.... Crooke and William Cooke (Arber, iv. 464).

1640. The Night-Walker, or the Little Theife. A Comedy, As it was presented by her Majesties Servants, at the Private House in Drury Lane. Written by John Fletcher. Gent. Tho. Cotes for Andrew Crooke and William Cooke. [Epistle to William Hudson, signed ‘A. C.’.]

1661. For Andrew Crook.

Herbert licensed this as ‘a play of Fletchers corrected by Sherley’[231] on 11 May 1633 and it was played at Court by Queen Henrietta’s men on 30 Jan. 1634 (Variorum, iii. 236). The only justification for placing Fletcher’s version earlier than 1616 is the suspicion that the only plays of Beaumont or Fletcher which passed to the Cockpit repertory were some of those written for the Queen’s Revels or the Lady Elizabeth’s before that date.

Four Plays in One (?)

1647. Four Plays, or Moral Representations in One. [Part of F1. Induction with 2 Prologues, The Triumph of Honour, the Triumph of Love with Prologue, the Triumph of Death with Prologue, the Triumph of Time with Prologue, Epilogue.]

Dissertation: W. J. Lawrence, The Date of F. P. in O. (T. L. S. 11 Dec. 1919).

This does not seem to have passed to the King’s men or the Cockpit, and cannot be assigned to any particular company. It has been supposed to be a boys’ play, presumably because it has much music and dancing. It has also much pageantry in dumb-shows and so forth and stage machinery. Conceivably it might have been written for private performance in place of a mask. Time, in particular, has much the form of a mask, with antimask. But composite plays of this type were well known on the public stage. There is no clear indication of date. Fleay, i. 179, suggested 1608 because The Yorkshire Tragedy, printed that year, is also described in its heading as ‘one of the Four Plays in One’, but presumably it belonged to another series. Thorndike, 85, points out that the antimask established itself in Court masks in 1608. Gayley, 301, puts Death and Time in 1610, because he thinks that they fall stylistically between The Faithfull Shepherdess and Philaster, and the rest in 1612, because he thinks they are Field’s and that they cannot be before 1611, since they are not mentioned, like Amends for Ladies, as forthcoming in the epistle to Woman a Weathercock in that year. This hardly bears analysis, and indeed Field is regarded as the author of the Induction and Honour only by Oliphant and Gayley and of Love only by Gayley himself. All these are generally assigned to Beaumont, and Death and Time universally to Fletcher. Lawrence’s attempt to attach the piece to the wedding festivities of 1612–13 does not seem to me at all convincing.

Love’s Cure; or, The Martial Maid (?)

1647. Loves Cure, or the Martial Maid. [Part of F1. A Prologue at the reviving of this Play. Epilogue.]

1679. Loves Cure, or the Martial Maid A Comedy. [Part of F2.]

Dissertation: A. L. Stiefel, Die Nachahmung spanischer Komödien in England (1897, Archiv, xcix. 271).

The prologue, evidently later than Fletcher’s death in 1625, clearly assigns the authorship to Beaumont and Fletcher, although the epilogue, of uncertain date, speaks of ‘our author’. This is the only sound reason for thinking that the original composition was in Beaumont’s lifetime. The internal evidence for an early date cited[232] by Fleay, i. 180, and Thorndike, 72, becomes trivial when we eliminate what merely fixes the historic time of the play to 1604–9, and proves nothing as to the time of composition. On the other hand, II. ii,

the cold Muscovite ...
That lay here lieger in the last great frost,

points to a date later than the winter of 1621, as I cannot trace any earlier great frost in which a Muscovite embassy can have been in London (S. P. D. Jac. I, cxxiii, 11, 100; cxxiv. 40). Further, the critics seem confident that the dominant hand in the play as it exists is Massinger’s, and that Beaumont and Fletcher show, if at all, faintly through his revision. The play belonged to the repertory of the King’s men by 1641 (M. S. C. i. 364).

Wit at Several Weapons (?)

1647. Wit at several weapons. A Comedy. [Part of F1. The epilogue at the reviving of this Play.]

1679. [Part of F2.]

The history of the play is very obscure. It is neither in the Cockpit repertory of 1639 nor in that of the King’s in 1641, and the guesses of Fleay, i. 218, that it may be The Devil of Dowgate or Usury Put to Use, licensed by Herbert for the King’s on 17 Oct. 1623, and The Buck is a Thief, played at Court by the same men on 28 Dec. 1623, are unsupported and mutually destructive. The epilogue, clearly written after the death of Fletcher, tells us that ‘’twas well receiv’d before’ and that Fletcher ‘had to do in’ it, and goes on to qualify this by adding—

that if he but writ
An Act, or two, the whole Play rose up wit.

The critics find varying amounts of Fletcher, with work of other hands, which some of them venture to identify as those of Middleton and Rowley. Oliphant, followed by Thorndike, 87, finds Beaumont, and the latter points to allusions which are not inconsistent with, but certainly do not prove, 1609–10, or even an earlier date. Macaulay, 196, also found Beaumont in 1883, but seems to have retired upon Middleton and Rowley in 1910 (C. H. vi. 138).

The Faithful Friends (?)

[MS.] Dyce MS. 10, formerly in the Heber collection.

S. R. 1660, June 29. ‘The Faithfull Friend a Comedy, by Francis Beamont & John Fletcher’. H. Moseley (Eyre, ii. 271).

Edition by A. Dyce in Works (1812).

Fleay in 1889 (E. S. xiii. 32) saw evidence of a date in 1614 in certain possible allusions (I. i. 45–52, 123–6) to the Earl of Somerset and his wedding on 26 Dec. 1613, and suggested Field and Daborne as the authors. In 1891 (i. 81, 201) he gave the whole to Daborne, except IV. v, which he thought of later date, and supposed it to be the subject of Daborne’s letter of 11 March 1614 to Henslowe, which was in fact probably The Owl (Greg, Henslowe Papers, 82). Oliphant thinks it[233] a revision by Massinger and Field in 1614 of a play by Beaumont and Fletcher, perhaps as early as 1604. With this exception no critic seems much to believe in the presence of Beaumont or Fletcher, and Boyle, who suggests Shirley, points out that the allusion in I. i. 124 to the relation between Philip III and the Duke of Lerma as in the past would come more naturally after Philip’s death in 1621 or at least after Lerma’s disgrace in 1618. The MS. is in various hands, one of which has made corrections. Some of these seem on internal evidence to have been due to suggestions of the censor, others to play-house exigencies.

Lost Play

Among plays entered in S. R. by Humphrey Moseley on 29 June 1660 (Eyre, ii. 271) is ‘The History of Madon King of Brittain, by F. Beamont’. Madan is a character in Locrine, but even Moseley can hardly have ascribed that long-printed play to Beaumont.

Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn Mask. 20 Feb. 1613

S. R. 1613, Feb. 27 (Nidd). ‘A booke called the [description] of the maske performed before the kinge by the gent. of the Myddle temple and Lincolns Inne with the maske of Grayes Inne and the Inner Temple.’ George Norton (Arber, iii. 516).

N.D. The Masque of the Inner Temple and Grayes Inn: Grayes Inne and the Inner Temple, presented before his Maiestie, the Queenes Maiestie, the Prince, Count Palatine and the Lady Elizabeth their Highnesses, in the Banquetting-house at Whitehall on Saturday the twentieth day of Februarie, 1612. F. K. for George Norton. [Epistle to Sir Francis Bacon and the Benchers.]

N.D. ... By Francis Beaumont, Gent. F. K. for George Norton.

1647. [Part of F1.]

1653. Poems: by Francis Beaumont, Gent. [&c.] for Laurence Blaiklock. [The Masque is included.]

1653. Poems ... for William Hope. [A reissue.]

1660. Poems. The golden remains of those so much admired dramatick poets, Francis Beaumont & John Fletcher, Gent. [&c.] for William Hope. [A reissue.]

1679. [Part of F2.]

The texts of 1647–79 give a shorter description than the original Qq, and omit the epistle.

Edition in Nichols, James (1828), ii. 591.

For general notices of the wedding masks, see ch. xxiv and the account of Campion’s Lords’ Mask; but it may be noted that the narrative in the Mercure François gives a very inaccurate description of Beaumont’s work as left to us, introducing an Atlas and an Aletheia who find no places in the text.

The maskers, in carnation, were fifteen knights of Olympia; the musicians twelve priests of Jove; the presenters Mercury and Iris. There were two antimasks, Mercury’s of four Naiads, five Hyades, four Cupids, and four Statues, ‘not of one kinde or liverie (because[234] that had been so much in use heretofore)’, and Iris’s of a ‘rurall company’ consisting of a Pedant, a May Lord and Lady, a Servingman and Chambermaid, a Country Clown or Shepherd and Country Wench, a Host and Hostess, a He Baboon and She Baboon, and a He Fool and She Fool ‘ushering them in’.

The locality was the Banqueting House at Whitehall. The Hall was originally appointed, and on Shrove-Tuesday, 16 Feb., the mask came by water from Winchester House in the royal barge, attended by many gentlemen of the Inns in other barges. They landed at the Privy Stairs, watched by the King and princes from the Privy Gallery, and were conducted to the Vestry. But the actual mask was put off until 20 Feb., in view of the press in the Hall, and then given in Banqueting House. Beaumont’s description passes lightly over this contretemps, but cf. infra.

The ‘fabricke’ was a mountain, with separate ‘traverses’ discovering its lower and its higher slopes. From the former issued the presenters and antimasks, whose ‘measures’ were both encored by the King, but unluckily ‘one of the Statuaes by that time was undressed’. The latter bore the ‘maine masque’ in two pavilions before the altar of Jupiter. The maskers descended, danced two measures, then took their ladies to dance galliards, durets, corantoes, &c., then danced ‘their parting measure’ and ascended.

Phineas Pett, Master of the Shipwrights’ Company in 1613, relates (Archaeologia, xii. 266) that he was

‘intreated by divers gentlemen of the inns of business, whereof Sir Francis Bacon was chief, to attend the bringing of a mask by water in the night from St. Mary Over’s to Whitehall in some of the gallies; but the tide falling out very contrary and the company attending the maskers very unruly, the project could not be performed so exactly as was purposed and expected. But yet they were safely landed at the plying stairs at Whitehall, for which my paines the gentlemen gave me a fair recompence.’

Chamberlain (Birch, i. 227) says:

‘On Tuesday it came to Gray’s Inn and the Inner Temple’s turn to come with their mask, whereof Sir Francis Bacon was the chief contriver; and because the former came on horseback and in open chariots, they made choice to come by water from Winchester Place, in Southwark, which suited well with their device, which was the marriage of the river of Thames to the Rhine; and their show by water was very gallant, by reason of infinite store of lights, very curiously set and placed, and many boats and barges, with devices of light and lamps, with three peals of ordnance, one at their taking water, another in the Temple garden, and the last at their landing; which passage by water cost them better than three hundred pounds. They were received at the Privy Stairs, and great expectation there was that they should every way excel their competitors that went before them; both in device, daintiness of apparel, and, above all, in dancing, wherein they are held excellent, and esteemed for the properer men. But by what ill planet it fell out, I know not, they came home as they went, without doing anything; the reason whereof I cannot yet learn thoroughly, but only that the hall was so full that it was not possible to avoid it, or make room for them; besides that, most of the ladies were in the galleries to see them land, and could not get in.


But the worst of all was, that the King was so wearied and sleepy, with sitting up almost two whole nights before, that he had no edge to it. Whereupon, Sir Francis Bacon adventured to entreat of his majesty that by this difference he would not, as it were, bury them quick; and I hear the King should answer, that then they must bury him quick, for he could last no longer, but withal gave them very good words, and appointed them to come again on Saturday. But the grace of their mask is quite gone, when their apparel hath been already showed, and their devices vented, so that how it will fall out God knows, for they are much discouraged and out of countenance, and the world says it comes to pass after the old proverb, the properer man the worse luck.’

In a later letter (Birch, i. 229) Chamberlain concludes the story:

‘And our Gray’s Inn men and the Inner Templars were nothing discouraged, for all the first dodge, but on Saturday last performed their parts exceeding well and with great applause and approbation, both from the King and all the company.’

In a third letter, to Winwood (iii, 435), he describes the adventures of the mask more briefly, and adds the detail that the performance was

‘in the new bankquetting house, which for a kind of amends was granted to them, though with much repining and contradiction of their emulators.’

Chamberlain refers to the ‘new’ room of 1607, and not to that just put up for the wedding. This was used for the banquet. Foscarini reports (V. P. xii. 532) that:

‘After the ballet was over their Majesties and their Highnesses passed into a great Hall especially built for the purpose, where were long tables laden with comfits and thousands of mottoes. After the King had made the round of the tables, everything was in a moment rapaciously swept away.’

The records of the Inns throw light on the finance and organization of the mask. From those of the Inner Temple (Inderwick, ii. 72, 76, 81, 92, 99) we learn that the Inn’s share of the cost was ‘not so little as 1200li’, that there were payments to Lewis Hele, Nicholas Polhill, and Fenner, and for ‘scarlet for the marshal of the mask’, that there was a rehearsal for the benchers at Ely House, and that funds were raised up to 1616 by assessments of £2 and £1 and by assigning the revenue derived from admission fees to chambers. Those of Gray’s Inn (Fletcher, 201–8) contain an order for such things to be bought ‘as Mr. Solicitor [Bacon] shall thinke fitt’. One Will Gerrard was appointed Treasurer, and an assessment of from £1 to £4 according to status was to be made for a sum equal to that raised by the Inner Temple. There was evidently some difficulty in liquidating the bills. In May 1613 an order was made ‘that the gent. late actors in the maske at the court shall bring in all ther masking apparrel wch they had of the howse charge ... or else the value therof’. In June a further order was drafted and then stayed, calling attention to the ‘sad contempts’ of those affected by the former, ‘albeit none of them did contribute anything to the charge’. Each suit had cost 100 marks. The offenders were to be discommonsed. In November and again in the following February it was found necessary to appropriate admission fees towards the debt.


RICHARD BERNARD (1568–1641).

The translator was born at Epworth, Lincolnshire, took his M.A. from Christ’s, Cambridge, in 1598, and became incumbent successively of Worksop, Notts., and Batcombe, Somerset.

Terence in English > 1598

1598. Terence in English. Fabulae comici facetissimi et elegantissimi poetae Terentii omnes Anglice factae primumque hac nova forma nunc editae: opera ac industria R. B. in Axholmiensi insula Lincolnsherii Epwortheatis. John Legat, Cambridge. [Epistle to Christopher and other sons of Sir W. Wray and nephews of Lady Bowes and Lady St. Paul, signed by ‘Richard Bernard’, and dated from Epworth, 30 May; Epistle to Reader. Includes Adelphi, Andria, Eunuchus, Heautontimorumenus, Hecyra, Phormio.]

1607.... Secunda editio multo emendatior ... John Legat.

1614, 1629, 1641.

WILLIAM BIRD (>1597–1619<).

One of the Admiral’s men (cf. ch. xiii), who collaborated with S. Rowley (q.v.) in Judas (1601) and in additions to Dr. Faustus in 1602.


On his Mastership of the Chapel, cf. ch. xii. He has been supposed to be the R. B. who wrote Apius and Virginia, and his hand has also been sought in the anonymous Clyomon and Clamydes and Common Conditions.


Beyond his play, nothing is known of him.

The Virtuous Octavia. 1594 < > 8

S. R. 1598, Oct. 5. ‘A booke, intituled, The Tragicomoedye of the vertuous Octavia, donne by Samuell Brandon.’ Ponsonby (Arber, iii. 127).

1598. The Tragicomoedi of the vertuous Octauia. Done by Samuel Brandon. For William Ponsonby. [Verses to Lady Lucia Audelay; All’autore, signed ‘Mia’; Prosopopeia al libro, signed ‘S. B.’; Argument. After text, Epistle to Mary Thinne, signed ‘S. B.’; Argument; verse epistles Octavia to Antonius and Antonius to Octavia.’]

Editions by R. B. McKerrow (1909, M. S. R.) and J. S. Farmer (1912, S. F. T.).

This is in the manner of Daniel’s Cleopatra (1594), and probably a closet drama.

NICHOLAS BRETON (c. 1545–c. 1626).

A poet and pamphleteer, who possibly contributed to the Elvetham entertainment (cf. ch. xxiv, C) in 1591.



Nothing is known of Brewer beyond his play, unless, as is possible, he is the ‘Anth. Brew’ who was acting c. 1624 at the Cockpit (cf. F. S. Boas, A Seventeenth Century Theatrical Repertoire in 3 Library for July 1917).

The Lovesick King. c. 1607

S. R. 1655, June 20. ‘A booke called The Lovesick King, an English tragicall history with the life & death of Cartis Mundy the faire Nunne of Winchester. Written by Anthony Brewer, gent.’ John Sweeting (Eyre, i. 486).

1655. The Lovesick King, An English Tragical History: With The Life and Death of Cartesmunda, the fair Nun of Winchester. Written by Anth. Brewer, Gent. For Robert Pollard, and John Sweeting.

1680. The Perjured Nun.

Editions by W. R. Chetwood (1750, S. C.) and A. E. H. Swaen (1907, Materialien, xviii).—Dissertation: A. E. H. Swaen, The Date of B.’s L. K. (1908, M. L. R. iv. 87).

There are small bits of evidence, in the use of Danish names from Hamlet and other Elizabethan plays, and in a jest on ‘Mondays vein to poetize’ (l. 548), to suggest a date of composition long before that of publication, but a borrowing from The Knight of the Burning Pestle makes it improbable that this can be earlier than 1607. The amount of Newcastle local colour and a special mention of ‘those Players of Interludes that dwels at Newcastle’ (l. 534) led Fleay, i. 34, to conjecture that it was acted in that town.

Doubtful Plays

Anthony Brewer has been confused with Thomas Brewer, or perhaps with more than one writer of that name, who wrote various works of popular literature, and to whom yet others bearing only the initials T. B. are credited, between 1608 and 1656. Thus The Country Girl, printed as by T. B. in 1647, is ascribed in Kirkman’s play-lists of 1661 and 1671 to Antony Brewer, but in Archer’s list of 1656 to Thomas. Oliphant (M. P. viii. 422) points out that the scene is in part at Edmonton, and thinks it a revision by Massinger of an early work by Thomas, who published a pamphlet entitled The Life and Death of the Merry Devil of Edmonton in 1608.

ARTHUR BROOKE (ob. 1563).

In 1562 he was admitted to the Inner Temple without fee ‘in consideration of certain plays and shows at Christmas last set forth by him’ (Inderwick, Inner Temple Records, i. 219). Possibly he refers to one of these plays when he says in the epistle to his Romeus and Juliet (1562), ‘I saw the same argument lately set foorth on stage with more commendation then I can looke for: (being there much better set forth then I have or can dooe)’; but if so, he clearly was not himself the author.


SAMUEL BROOKE (c. 1574–1631).

Brooke was of a York family, and, like his brother Christopher, the poet, a friend of John Donne, whose marriage he earned a prison by celebrating in 1601. He entered Trinity, Cambridge, c. 1592, took his B.A. in 1595 and his M.A. in 1598. He became chaplain to Prince Henry, and subsequently Gresham Professor of Divinity and chaplain successively to James and Charles. In 1629 he became Master of Trinity, and in 1631, just before his death, Archdeacon of Coventry.

Adelphe. 27 Feb. 1613

[MSS.] T. C. C. MS. R. 3. 9. ‘Comoedia in Collegii Trin. aula bis publice acta. Authore Dno Dre Brooke, Coll. Trin.’; T. C. C. MS. R. 10. 4, with prologue dated 1662.

The play was produced on 27 Feb. 1613 and repeated on 2 March 1613 during the visit of Charles and the Elector Frederick to Cambridge.

Scyros. 3 March 1613

[MSS.] T. C. C. MS. R. 3. 9. ‘Fabula Pastoralis acta coram Principe Charolo et comite Palatino mensis Martii 30 A. D. 1612. Authore Dre Brooke Coll. Trin.’; T. C. C. MSS. R. 3. 37; R. 10. 4; R. 17. 10; O. 3. 4; Emanuel, Cambridge, MS. iii. i. 17; Cambridge Univ. Libr. MS. Ee. v. 16.

This also was produced during the visit of Charles and Frederick to Cambridge. As pointed out by Greg, Pastoral, 251, the ‘Martii 30’ of the MSS. is an error for ‘Martii 3o’. The play is a version of the Filli di Sciro (1607) of G. Bonarelli della Rovere.

Melanthe. 10 March 1615

1615, March 27. Melanthe Fabula pastoralis acta cum Jacobus, Magnae Brit. Franc. & Hiberniae Rex, Cantabrigiam suam nuper inviseret, ibidemque Musarum atque eius animi gratia dies quinque commoraretur. Egerunt Alumni Coll. San. et Individuae Trinitatis. Cantabrigiae. Cantrellus Legge.

The ascription to Brooke is due to the Dering MS. (Gent. Mag. 1756, p. 223). Chamberlain (Birch, i. 304) says that the play was ‘excellently well written, and as well acted’.

WILLIAM BROWNE (1591–1643?).

Browne was born at Tavistock, educated at the Grammar School there and at Exeter College, Oxford, and entered the Inner Temple from Clifford’s Inn in Nov. 1611. He is known as a poet, especially by Britannia’s Pastorals (1613, 1616), but beyond his mask has no connexion with the stage. In later life he was of the household of the Herberts at Wilton.

Ulysses and Circe. 13 Jan. 1615

[MSS.] (a) Emmanuel College, Cambridge, with title, ‘The Inner Temple Masque. Presented by the gentlemen there. Jan. 13, 1614.’ [Epistle to Inner Temple, signed ‘W. Browne’.]


(b) Collection of H. Chandos Pole-Gell, Hopton Hall, Wirksworth (in 1894).

Editions with Browne’s Works by T. Davies (1772), W. C. Hazlitt (1868), and G. Goodwin (1894).

The maskers, in green and white, were Knights; the first antimaskers, with an ‘antic measure’, two Actaeons, two Midases, two Lycaons, two Baboons, and Grillus; the second antimaskers, ‘to a softer tune’, four Maids of Circe and three Nereids; the musicians Sirens, Echoes, a Woodman, and others; the presenters Triton, Circe, and Ulysses.

The locality was the hall of the Inner Temple. Towards the lower end was discovered a sea-cliff. The drawing of a traverse discovered a wood, in which later two gates flew open, disclosing the maskers asleep in an arbour at the end of a glade. Awaked by a charm, they danced their first and second measures, took out ladies for ‘the old measures, galliards, corantoes, the brawls, etc.’, and danced their last measure.

The Inner Temple records (Inderwick, ii. 99) mention an order of 21 April 1616 for recompense to the chief cook on account of damage to his room in the cloister when it and its chimney were broken down at Christmas twelvemonth ‘by such as climbed up at the windows of the hall to see the mask’.

SIR GEORGE BUCK (ob. 1623).

He was Master of the Revels (cf. ch. iii). For a very doubtful ascription to him, on manuscript authority alleged by Collier, of the dumb-shows to Locrine, cf. ch. xxiv.

JAMES CALFHILL (1530?-1570).

Calfhill was an Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, man, who migrated to Oxford and became Student of Christ Church in 1548 and Canon in 1560. He was in Orders and was Rector of West Horsley when Elizabeth was there in 1559. After various preferments, he was nominated Bishop of Worcester in 1570, but died before consecration.

On 6 July 1564 Walter Haddon wrote to Abp. Parker (Parker Correspondence, 218) deprecating the tone of a sermon by Calfhill before the Queen, and said ‘Nunquam in illo loco quisquam minus satisfecit, quod maiorem ex eo dolorem omnibus attulit, quoniam admodum est illis artibus instructus quas illius theatri celebritas postulat’. No play by Calfhill is extant, but his Latin tragedy of Progne was given before Elizabeth at Christ Church on 5 Sept. 1566 (cf. ch. iv), and appears from Bereblock’s synopsis to have been based on an earlier Latin Progne (1558) by Gregorio Corraro.

THOMAS CAMPION (1567–1620).

Thomas, son of John Campion, a Chancery clerk of Herts. extraction, was born on 12 Feb. 1567, educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he took no degree, and admitted on 27 April 1586 to Gray’s Inn, where he took part as Hidaspis and Melancholy in the comedy of[240] 16 Jan. 1588 (cf. ch. vii). He left the law, and probably served in Essex’s expedition of 1591 to France. He first appeared as a poet, anonymously, in the appendix to Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella (1591), and has left several books of songs written as airs for music, often of his own composition, as well as a collection of Latin epigrams and Observations in the Art of English Poesie (1602). I do not know whether he can be the ‘Campnies’ who performed at the Gray’s Inn mask of Shrovetide 1595 at Court (cf. s.v. Gesta Grayorum), but one of the two hymns in that mask, A Hymn in Praise of Neptune is assigned to him by Francis Davison, Poetical Rhapsody (1602), sig. K 8, and it is possible that the second hymn, beginning ‘Shadows before the shining sun do vanish’, which Davison does not himself appear to claim, may also be his. By 1607 he had taken the degree of M.D., probably abroad, and he practised as a physician. Through Sir Thomas Monson he was entangled, although in no very blameworthy capacity, in the Somerset scandals of 1613–15. On 1 March 1620 he died, probably of the plague, naming as his legatee Philip Rosseter, with whom he had written A Booke of Airs in 1601.

Campion is not traceable as a writer for the stage, although his connexion with Monson and Rosseter would have made it not surprising to find him concerned with the Queen’s Revels syndicate of 1610. But his contribution to the Gesta Grayorum foreshadowed his place, second only to Jonson’s, who wrote a Discourse of Poesie (Laing, 1), now lost, against him, in the mask-poetry of the Jacobean period. In addition to his acknowledged masks he may also be responsible for part or all of the Gray’s Inn Mountebanks Mask of 1618, printed by Nichols, Eliz. iii. 320, as a second part of the Gesta Grayorum, and by Bullen, Marston, iii. 417, although the ascription to Marston is extremely improbable.


1828. J. Nichols. Progresses [&c.] of James the First, ii. 105, 554, 630, 707. [The four masks.]

1889. A. H. Bullen, Works of T. C. [English and Latin.]

1903. A. H. Bullen, Works of T. C. [English only.]

1907. P. Vivian, Poetical Works (in English) of T. C. (Muses’ Library).

1909. P. Vivian, C.’s Works.

Dissertation.—T. MacDonagh, T. C. and the Art of English Poetry (1913).

Lord Hay’s Mask. 6 Jan. 1607

S. R. 1607, Jan. 26 (Gwyn). ‘A booke called the discription of A maske presented before the Kings maiestie at Whitehall on Twelf-night last in honour of the Lord Haies and his bryde Daughter and heire to the right honorable the Lord Denny, their mariage havinge ben at Court the same day solemnised.’ John Browne (Arber, iii. 337).

1607. The discription of a Maske, Presented before the Kinges Maiestie at White-Hall, on Twelfth Night last, in honour of the Lord Hayes, and his Bride, Daughter and Heire to the Honourable[241] the Lord Dennye, their Marriage hauing been the same Day at Court solemnized. To this by occasion other small Poems are adioyned. Inuented and set forth by Thomas Campion Doctor of Phisicke. John Windet for John Browne. [Engraving of the maskers’ habit; Verses to James, Lord De Walden and Lord and Lady Hay.]

The maskers, in carnation and silver, concealed at first in a ‘false habit’ of green leaves and silver, were nine Knights of Apollo; the torchbearers the nine Hours of Night; the presenters Flora, Zephyrus, Night, and Hesperus; the musicians Sylvans, who, as the mask was predominantly musical, were aided by consorts of instruments and voices above the scene and on either side of the hall.

The locality was the ‘great hall’ at Whitehall. At the upper end were the cloth and chair of state, with ‘scaffolds and seats on either side continued to the screen’. Eighteen feet from the screen was a stage, which stood three feet higher than the ‘dancing-place’ in front of it, and was enclosed by a ‘double veil’ or vertically divided curtain representing clouds. The Bower of Flora stood on the right and the House of Night on the left at the ends of the screen, and between them a grove, behind which, under the window, rose hills with a Tree of Diana. In the grove were nine golden trees which performed the first dance, and then, at the touch of Night’s wand, were drawn down by an engine under the stage, and cleft to reveal the maskers. After two more ‘new’ dances, they took out the ladies for ‘measures’. Then they danced ‘their lighter dances as corantoes, levaltas and galliards’; then a fourth ‘new’ dance; and then ‘putting off their vizards and helmets, made a low honour to the King, and attended his Majesty to the banqueting place’.

The mask was given, presumably by friends of the bridegroom, in honour of the wedding of James Lord Hay and Honora, daughter of Lord Denny. The maskers were Lord Walden, Sir Thomas Howard, Sir Henry Carey, Sir Richard Preston, Sir John Ashley, Sir Thomas Jarret, Sir John Digby, Sir Thomas Badger, and Mr. Goringe. One air for a song and one for a song and dance were made by Campion, two for dances by Mr. Lupo, and one for a dance by Mr. Thomas Giles.

Few contemporary references to the mask exist. It is probably that described in a letter, which I have not seen, from Lady Pembroke to Lord Shrewsbury, calendared among other Talbot MSS. of 1607 in Lodge, App. 121. No ambassadors were invited—‘Dieu merci’—says the French ambassador, and Anne, declaring herself ill, stayed away (La Boderie, ii. 12, 30). Expenditure on preparing the hall appears in the accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber and the Office of Works (Reyher, 520).

The Lords’ Mask. 14 Feb. 1613

1613. For John Budge. [Annexed to Caversham Entertainment (q.v.).]

This was for the wedding of Elizabeth. The men maskers, in cloth of silver, were eight transformed Stars, the women, also in silver,[242] eight transformed Statues; the torchbearers sixteen Fiery Spirits; the antimaskers six men and six women Frantics; the presenters Orpheus, Mania, Entheus, Prometheus, and Sibylla.

The locality was the Banqueting House at Whitehall. The lower part of the scene, when discovered, represented a wood, with the thicket of Orpheus on the right and the cave of Mania on the left. After the ‘mad measure’ of the antimask, the upper part of the scene was discovered ‘by the fall of a curtain’. Here, amidst clouds, were eight Stars which danced, vanishing to give place to the eight men maskers in the House of Prometheus. The torchbearers emerged below, and danced. The maskers descended on a cloud, behind which the lower part of the scene was turned to a façade with four Statues in niches. These and then a second four were transformed to women. Then the maskers gave their ‘first new entering dance’ and their second dance, and took out the bridal pair and others, ‘men women, and women men’. The scene again changed to a prospective of porticoes leading to Sibylla’s trophy, an obelisk of Fame. A ‘song and dance triumphant’ followed, and finally the maskers’ ‘last new dance’ concluded all ‘at their going out’.

This was a mask of lords and ladies, at the cost of the Exchequer. The only names on record are those of the Earls of Montgomery and Salisbury, Lord Hay, and Ann Dudley (vide infra). Campion notes the ‘extraordinary industry and skill’ of Inigo Jones in ‘the whole invention’, and particularly his ‘neat artifice’ in contriving the ‘motion’ of the Stars.

The wedding masks were naturally of special interest to the Court gossips. Chamberlain wrote to Winwood (iii. 421) on 9 Jan.: ‘It is said the Lords and Ladyes about the court have appointed a maske upon their own charge; but I hear there is order given for £1500 to provide one upon the King’s cost, and a £1000 for fireworks. The Inns of Court are likewise dealt with for two masks against that time, and mean to furnish themselves for the service.’ On 29 Jan. he added (iii. 429), ‘Great preparations here are of braverie, masks and fireworks against the marriage.’ On 14 Jan. one G. F. Biondi informed Carleton (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxii. 12) that the Earls of Montgomery and Salisbury and Lord Hay were practising for the wedding mask. On 20 Jan. Sir Charles Montagu wrote to Sir Edward Montagu (H. M. C. Buccleugh MSS. i. 239): ‘Here is not any news stirring, only much preparations at this wedding for masks, whereof shall be three, one of eight lords and eight ladies, whereof my cousin Ann Dudley one, and two from the Inner Courts, who they say will lay it on.’

The Lords’ mask is certainly less prominent than those of the Inns of Court (vide sub Beaumont and Chapman) in the actual descriptions of the wedding. All three are recorded in Stowe, Annales, 916, in Wilbraham’s Journal (Camden Misc. x), 110, in reports of the Venetian ambassador (V. P. xii. 499, 532), and in the contemporary printed accounts of the whole ceremonies (cf. ch. xxiv). These do not add much to the printed descriptions of the mask-writers, on which, indeed, they are largely based. The fullest unofficial account was[243] given by Chamberlain to Alice and Dudley Carleton in three letters (Birch, i. 224, 229; S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxii. 30, 31, 48). On 18 Feb. he wrote: ‘That night [of the wedding] was the Lords’ mask, whereof I hear no great commendation, save only for riches, their devices being long and tedious, and more like a play than a mask.’ This criticism he repeated in a letter to Winwood (iii. 435). To Alice Carleton he added, after describing the bravery of the Inns of Court: ‘All this time there was a course taken, and so notified, that no lady or gentlewoman should be admitted to any of these sights with a vardingale, which was to gain the more room, and I hope may serve to make them quite left off in time. And yet there were more scaffolds, and more provision made for room than ever I saw, both in the hall and banqueting room, besides a new room built to dine and dance in.’ On 25 February, when all was over, he reported: ‘Our revels and triumphs within doors gave great contentment, being both dainty and curious in devices and sumptuous in show, specially the inns of court, whose two masks stood them in better than £4000, besides the gallantry and expense of private gentlemen that were but ante ambul[at]ores and went only to accompany them.... The next night [21 Feb.] the King invited the maskers, with their assistants, to the number of forty, to a solemn supper in the new marriage room, where they were well treated and much graced with kissing her majesty’s hand, and every one having a particular accoglienza from him. The King husbanded this matter so well that this feast was not at his own cost, but he and his company won it upon a wager of running at the ring, of the prince and his nine followers, who paid £30 a man. The King, queen, prince, Palatine and Lady Elizabeth sat at table by themselves, and the great lords and ladies, with the maskers, above four score in all, sat at another long table, so that there was no room for them that made the feast, but they were fain to be lookers on, which the young Lady Rich took no great pleasure in, to see her husband, who was one that paid, not so much as drink for his money. The ambassadors that were at this wedding and shows were the French, Venetian, Count Henry [of Nassau] and Caron for the States. The Spaniard was or would be sick, and the archduke’s ambassador being invited for the second day, made a sullen excuse; and those that were present were not altogether so well pleased but that I hear every one had some punctilio of disgust.’ John Finett, in a letter of 22 Feb. to Carleton (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxii. 32), says the mask of the Lords was ‘rich and ingenious’ and those of the Inns ‘much commended’. His letter is largely taken up with the ambassadorial troubles to which Chamberlain refers. Later he dealt with these in Philoxenis (1656), 1 (cf. Sullivan, 79). The chief marfeast was the archiducal ambassador Boiscot, who resented an invitation to the second or third day, while in the diplomatic absence through sickness of the Spaniard the Venetian ambassador was asked with the French for the first day. Finett was charged with various plausible explanations. James did not think it his business to decide questions of precedence. It was customary to group Venice and France. The[244] Venetian had brought an extraordinary message of congratulation from his State, and had put his retinue into royal liveries at great expense. The wedding was a continuing feast, and all its days equally glorious. In fact, whether at Christmas or Shrovetide, the last day was in some ways the most honourable, and it had originally been planned to have the Lords’ mask on Shrove-Tuesday. But Boiscot could not be persuaded to accept his invitation. The ambassadors who did attend were troublesome, at supper, rather than at the mask. The French ambassador ‘made an offer to precede the prince’. His wife nearly left because she was placed below, instead of above, the Viscountesses. The Venetian claimed a chair instead of a stool, and a place above the carver, but in vain. His rebuff did not prevent him from speaking well of the Lords’ mask, which he called ‘very beautiful’, specially noting the three changes of scene.

Several financial documents relating to the mask are preserved (Reyher, 508, 522; Devon, 158, 164; Collier, i. 364; Hazlitt, E. D. S. 43; Archaeologia, xxvi. 380). In Abstract 14 the charges are given as £400, but the total charges must have been much higher. Chamberlain (vide supra) spoke of £1,500 as assigned to them. A list of personal fees, paid through Meredith Morgan, alone (Reyher, 509) amounts to £411 6s. 8d. Campion had £66 13s. 4d., Jones £50, the dancers Jerome Herne, Bochan, Thomas Giles and Confess £30 or £40 each, the musicians John Cooper, Robert Johnson, and Thomas Lupo £10 or £20 each. One Steven Thomas had £15, ‘he that played to ye boyes’ £6 13s. 4d., and ‘2 that played to ye Antick Maske’ £11; while fees of £1 each went to 42 musicians, 12 mad folks, 5 speakers, 10 of the King’s violins and 3 grooms of the chamber. The supervision of ‘emptions and provisions’ was entrusted to the Lord Chamberlain and the Master of the Horse.

The Caversham Entertainment. 27–8 April 1613

1613. A Relation of the late royall Entertainment giuen by the Right Honorable the Lord Knowles, at Cawsome-House neere Redding: to our most Gracious Queene, Queene Anne, in her Progresse toward the Bathe, vpon the seuen and eight and twentie dayes of Aprill. 1613. Whereunto is annexed the Description, Speeches and Songs of the Lords Maske, presented in the Banquetting-house on the Marriage night of the High and Mightie, Count Palatine, and the Royally descended the Ladie Elizabeth. Written by Thomas Campion. For John Budge.

On arrival were speeches, a song, and a dance by a Cynic, a Traveller, two Keepers, and two Robin Hood men at the park gate; then speeches in the lower garden by a Gardener, and a song by his man and boy; then a concealed song in the upper garden.

After supper was a mask in the hall by eight ‘noble and princely personages’ in green with vizards, accompanied by eight pages as torchbearers, and presented by the Cynic, Traveller, Gardener, and their ‘crew’, and Sylvanus. The maskers gave a ‘new dance’; then took out the ladies, among whom Anne ‘vouchsafed to make herself the head of their revels, and graciously to adorn the place with[245] her personal dancing’; ‘much of the night being thus spent with variety of dances, the masquers made a conclusion with a second new dance’.

On departure were a speech and song by the Gardeners, and presents of a bag of linen, apron, and mantle by three country maids.

Chamberlain wrote of this entertainment to Winwood (iii. 454) on 6 May, ‘The King brought her on her way to Hampton Court; her next move was to Windsor, then to Causham, a house of the Lord Knolles not far from Reading, where she was entertained with Revells, and a gallant mask performed by the Lord Chamberlain’s four sons, the Earl of Dorset, the Lord North, Sir Henry Rich, and Sir Henry Carie, and at her parting presented with a dainty coverled or quilt, a rich carrquenet, and a curious cabinet, to the value in all of 1500l.’ He seems to have sent a similar account in an unprinted letter of 29 April to Carleton (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxii. 120). The four sons of Lord Chamberlain Suffolk who appear in other masks are Theophilus Lord Walden, Sir Thomas, Sir Henry, and Sir Charles Howard.

Lord Somerset’s Mask [Squires]. 26 Dec. 1613

1614. The Description of a Maske: Presented in the Banqueting roome at Whitehall, on Saint Stephens night last, At the Mariage of the Right Honourable the Earle of Somerset: And the right noble the Lady Frances Howard. Written by Thomas Campion. Whereunto are annexed diuers choyse Ayres composed for this Maske that may be sung with a single voyce to the Lute or Base-Viall. E. A. for Laurence Lisle.

The maskers were twelve Disenchanted Knights; the first antimaskers four Enchanters and Enchantresses, four Winds, four Elements, and four Parts of the Earth; the second antimaskers twelve Skippers in red and white; the presenters four Squires and three Destinies; the musicians Eternity, Harmony, and a chorus of nine.

The locality was the banqueting room at Whitehall, of which the upper part, ‘where the state is placed’, and the sides were ‘theatred’ with pillars and scaffolds. At the lower end was a triumphal arch, ‘which enclosed the whole works’ and behind it the scene, from which a curtain was drawn. Above was a clouded sky; beneath a sea bounded by two promontories bearing pillars of gold, and in front ‘a pair of stairs made exceeding curiously in form of a scallop shell’, between two gardens with seats for the maskers. After the first antimask, danced ‘in a strange kind of confusion’, the Destinies brought the Queen a golden tree, whence she plucked a bough to disenchant the Knights, who then appeared, six from a cloud, six from the golden pillars. The scene changed, and ‘London with the Thames is very artificially presented’. The maskers gave the first and second dance, and then danced with the ladies, ‘wherein spending as much time as they held fitting, they returned to the seats provided for them’. Barges then brought the second antimask. After the maskers’ last dance, the Squires complimented the royalties and bridal pair.


This was a wedding mask, by lords and gentlemen. The maskers were the Duke of Lennox, the Earls of Pembroke, Dorset, Salisbury, and Montgomery, the Lords Walden, Scroope, North, and Hay, Sir Thomas, Sir Henry, and Sir Charles Howard. The ‘workmanship’ was undertaken by ‘M. Constantine’ [Servi], ‘but he being too much of himself, and no way to be drawn to impart his intentions, failed so far in the assurance he gave that the main invention, even at the last cast, was of force drawn into a far narrower compass than was from the beginning intended’. One song was by Nicholas Lanier; three were by [Giovanni] Coprario and were sung by John Allen and Lanier. G. F. Biondi informed Carleton on 24 Nov. (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxv. 25) of the ‘costly ballets’ preparing for Somerset’s wedding. On 25 Nov. Chamberlain wrote to Carleton (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxv. 28; Birch, i. 278): ‘All the talk is now of masking and feasting at these towardly marriages, whereof the one is appointed on St. Stephen’s day, in Christmas, the other for Twelfthtide. The King bears the charge of the first, all saving the apparel, and no doubt the queen will do as much on her side, which must be a mask of maids, if they may be found.... The maskers, besides the lord chamberlain’s four sons, are named to be the Earls of Rutland, Pembroke, Montgomery, Dorset, Salisbury, the Lords Chandos, North, Compton, and Hay; Edward Sackville, that killed the Lord Bruce, was in the list, but was put out again; and I marvel he would offer himself, knowing how little gracious he is, and that he hath been assaulted once or twice since his return.’ The Queen’s entertainment, which did not prove to be a mask, was Daniel’s Hymen’s Triumph. The actual list of performers in the mask of 26 Dec. was somewhat differently made up. On 18 Nov. Lord Suffolk had sent invitations through Sir Thomas Lake to the Earl of Rutland and Lord Willoughby d’Eresby (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxv. 15; Reyher, 505), but apparently neither accepted. He also wrote to Lake on 8 Dec. (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxv. 37) hoping that Sackville might be allowed to take part, not in the mask, but in the tilt (as in fact he did), at his cousin’s wedding. On 30 Dec. Chamberlain sent Alice Carleton an accurate list of the actual maskers (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxv. 53; Birch, i. 285), with the comment, ‘I hear little or no commendation of the mask made by the lords that night, either for device or dancing, only it was rich and costly’. The ‘great bravery’ and masks at the wedding are briefly recorded by Gawdy, 175, and a list of the festivities is given by Howes in Stowe, Annales (1615), 928. He records five in all: ‘A gallant maske of Lords’ [Campion’s] on 26 Dec., the wedding night, ‘a maske of the princes gentlemen’ on 29 Dec. and 3 Jan. [Jonson’s Irish Mask], ‘2 seuerall pleasant maskes’ at Merchant Taylors on 4 Jan. [including Middleton’s lost Mask of Cupid], and a Gray’s Inn mask on 6 Jan. [Flowers].

The ambassadorial complications of the year are described by Finett, 12 (cf. Sullivan, 84). Spain had been in the background at the royal wedding of the previous year, and as there was a new Spanish ambassador (Sarmiento) this was made an excuse for asking him with the archiducal ambassador on 26 Dec. and the French and Venetian[247] ambassadors on 6 Jan. By way of compensation these were also asked to the Roxburghe-Drummond wedding on 2 Feb. They received purely formal invitations to the Somerset wedding, and returned excuses for staying away. The agents of Florence and Savoy were asked, and when they raised the question of precedence were told that they were not ambassadors and might scramble for places.

I am not quite clear whether the costs of this mask, as well as of Jonson’s Irish Mask, fell on the Exchequer. Chamberlain’s notice of 25 Nov. (vide supra) is not conclusive. Reyher, 523, assigns most of the financial documents to the Irish Mask, but an account of the Works for an arch and pilasters to the Lords’ mask; and the payment to Meredith Morgan in Sept. 1614 (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxvii. 92), which he does not cite, appears from the Calendar to be for more than one mask. The Irish Mask needed no costly scenery.

J[ohn] B[ruce], (Camden Misc. v), describes a late eighteenth or early nineteenth century forgery, of unknown origin, purporting to describe one of the masks at the Somerset wedding and other events. The details used belong partly to 1613–14 and partly to 1614–15.


Mariam. 1602 < > 5.

I have omitted a notice of this closet play, printed in 1613, by a slip, and can only add to the edition (M. S. C.) of 1914 that Lady Cary was married in 1602 (Chamberlain, 199), not 1600. She wrote an earlier play on a Syracusan theme.


But few details of the numerous royal entertainments given by Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley, and his sons Sir Thomas Cecil, Lord Burghley and afterwards Earl of Exeter, and Sir Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, are upon record. It is, on the whole, convenient to note here, rather than in ch. xxiv, those which have a literary element. Robert Cecil contributed to that of 1594, and possibly to others.

i. Theobalds Entertainment of 1571 (William Lord Burghley).

Elizabeth was presented with verses and a picture of the newly-finished house on 21 Sept. 1571 (Haynes-Murdin, ii. 772).

ii. Theobalds Entertainment of 1591 (William Lord Burghley).

Elizabeth came for 10–20 May 1591, and knighted Robert Cecil.

(a) Strype, Annals, iv. 108, and Nichols, Eliz. iii. 75, print a mock charter, dated 10 May 1591, and addressed by Lord Chancellor Hatton, in the Queen’s name, ‘To the disconsolate and retired spryte, the Heremite of Tybole’, in which he is called upon to return to the world.

(b) Collier, i. 276, followed by Bullen, Peele, ii. 305, prints from a MS. in the collection of Frederic Ouvry a Hermit’s speech, subscribed with the initials G. P. and said by Collier to be in Peele’s hand. This is a petition to the Queen for a writ to cause the founder of the hermit’s cell to restore it. This founder has himself occupied it for two years[248] and a few months since the death of his wife, and has obliged the hermit to govern his house. Numerous personal allusions make it clear that the ‘founder’ is Burghley, and as Lady Burghley died 4 April 1589, the date should be in 1591.

(c) Bullen, Peele, ii. 309, following Dyce, prints two speeches by a Gardener and a Mole Catcher, communicated by Collier to Dyce from another MS. The ascription to Peele is conjectural, and R. W. Bond, Lyly, i. 417, claims them, also by conjecture, for Lyly. However this may be, they are addressed to the Queen, who has reigned thirty-three years, and introduce the gift of a jewel in a box. Elizabeth had not reigned full thirty-three years in May 1591, but perhaps near enough. That Theobalds was the locality is indicated by a reference to Pymms at Edmonton, a Cecil property 6 miles from Theobalds, as occupied by ‘the youngest son of this honourable old man’. One is bound to mistrust manuscripts communicated by Collier, but there is evidence that Burghley retired to ‘Colling’s Lodge’ near Theobalds in grief at his wife’s death in 1589, and also that in 1591, when he failed to establish Robert Cecil as Secretary, he made a diplomatic pretence of giving up public life (Hume, The Great Lord Burghley, 439, 446).

iii. Theobalds Entertainment of 1594 (William Lord Burghley).

The Hermit was brought into play again when Elizabeth next visited Theobalds, in 1594 (13–23 June). He delivered an Oration, in which he recalled the recovery of his cell at her last coming, and expressed a fear that ‘my young master’ might wish to use it. No doubt the alternative was that Robert Cecil should become Secretary. The oration, ‘penned by Sir Robert Cecill’, is printed by Nichols, Eliz. iii. 241, from Bodl. Rawlinson MS. D 692 (Bodl. 13464), f. 106.

iv. Wimbledon Entertainment of 1599 (Thomas Lord Burghley).

A visit of 27–30 July 1599 is the probable occasion for an address of welcome, not mimetic in character, by a porter, John Joye, preserved in Bodl. Tanner MS. 306, f. 266, and endorsed ‘The queenes entertainment att Wimbledon 99’.

v. Cecil House Entertainment of 1602 (Sir Robert Cecil).

Elizabeth dined with Cecil on 6 Dec. 1602.

(a) Manningham, 99, records, ‘Sundry devises; at hir entraunce, three women, a maid, a widdowe, and a wife, each commending their owne states, but the Virgin preferred; an other, on attired in habit of a Turke desyrous to see hir Majestie, but as a straunger without hope of such grace, in regard of the retired manner of hir Lord, complained; answere made, howe gracious hir Majestie in admitting to presence, and howe able to discourse in anie language; whiche the Turke admired, and, admitted, presents hir with a riche mantle.’ Chamberlain, 169, adds, ‘You like the Lord Kepers devises so ill, that I cared not to get Mr. Secretaries that were not much better, saving[249] a pretty dialogue of John Davies ’twixt a Maide, a widow, and a wife.’ A Contention Betwixt a Wife, a Widdow, and a Maide was registered on 2 Apr. 1604 (Arber iii. 258), appeared with the initials I. D. in Francis Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody (ed. 2, 1608) and is reprinted by Grosart in the Poems of Sir John Davies (q.v.) from the ed. of 1621, where it is ascribed to ‘Sir I. D.’.

(b) Nichols, Eliz. iii. 76, prints from Harl. MS. 286, f. 248, ‘A Conference betweene a Gent. Huisher and a Poet, before the Queene, at Mr. Secretaryes House. By John Davies.’ He assigns it to 1591, but Cecil was not then Secretary, and it probably belongs to 1602.

(c) Hatfield MSS. xii. 568 has verses endorsed ‘1602’ and beginning ‘Now we have present made, To Cynthya, Phebe, Flora’.

vi. Theobalds Entertainment of 1606 (Earl of Salisbury).

See s.v. Jonson; also the mask described by Harington (ch. v).

vii. Theobalds Entertainment of 1607 (Earl of Salisbury).

See s.v. Jonson.

GEORGE CHAPMAN (c. 1560–1634).

Chapman was born in 1559 or 1560 near Hitchin in Hertfordshire. Anthony Wood believed him to have been at Oxford, and possibly also at Cambridge, but neither residence can be verified. It is conjectured that residence at Hitchin and soldiering in the Low Countries may have helped to fill the long period before his first appearance as a writer, unless indeed the isolated translation Fedele and Fortunio (1584) is his, with The Shadow of Night (1594). This shows him a member of the philosophical circle of which the centre was Thomas Harriot. The suggestion of W. Minto that he was the ‘rival poet’ of Shakespeare’s Sonnets is elaborated by Acheson, who believes that Shakespeare drew him as Holophernes and as Thersites, and accepted by Robertson; it would be more plausible if any relation between the Earl of Southampton and Chapman, earlier than a stray dedication shared with many others in 1609, could be established. By 1596, and possibly earlier, Chapman was in Henslowe’s pay as a writer for the Admiral’s. His plays, which proved popular, included, besides the extant Blind Beggar of Alexandria and Humorous Day’s Mirth, five others, of which some and perhaps all have vanished. These were The Isle of a Woman, afterwards called The Fount of New Fashions (May–Oct. 1598), The World Runs on Wheels, afterwards called All Fools but the Fool (Jan.–July 1599), Four Kings (Oct. 1598–Jan. 1599), a ‘tragedy of Bengemens plotte’ (Oct.–Jan. 1598; cf. s.v. Jonson) and a pastoral tragedy (July 1599). His reputation both for tragedy and for comedy was established when Meres wrote his Palladis Tamia in 1598. During 1599 Chapman disappears from Henslowe’s diary, and in 1600 or soon after began his series of plays for the Chapel, afterwards Queen’s Revels, children. This lasted until 1608, when his first indiscretion of Eastward Ho! (1605), in reply to which he was[250] caricatured as Bellamont in Dekker and Webster’s Northward Ho!, was followed by a second in Byron. He now probably dropped his connexion with the stage, at any rate for many years. After completing Marlowe’s Hero and Leander in 1598, he had begun his series of Homeric translations, and these Prince Henry, to whom he had been appointed sewer in ordinary at the beginning of James’s reign, now bade him pursue, with the promise of £300, to which on his death-bed in 1612 he added another of a life-pension. These James failed to redeem, and Chapman also lost his place as sewer. His correspondence contains complaints of poverty, probably of this or a later date, and indications of an attempt, with funds supplied by a brother, to mend his fortunes by marriage with a widow. He found a new patron in the Earl of Somerset, wrote one of the masks for the wedding of the Princess Elizabeth in 1613, and went on with Homer, completing his task in 1624. He lived until 12 May 1634, and his tomb by Inigo Jones still stands at St. Giles-in-the-Fields. In his later years he seems to have touched up some of his dramatic work and possibly to have lent a hand to the younger dramatist Shirley. Jonson told Drummond in 1619 that ‘next himself, only Fletcher and Chapman could make a mask’, and that ‘Chapman and Fletcher were loved of him’ (Laing, 4, 12), and some of Jonson’s extant letters appear to confirm the kindly relations which these phrases suggest. But a fragment of invective against Jonson left by Chapman on his death-bed suggests that they did not endure for ever.


1873. [R. H. Shepherd.] The Comedies and Tragedies of George Chapman. 3 vols. (Pearson reprints). [Omits Eastward Ho!]

1874–5. R. H. Shepherd. The Works of George Chapman. 3 vols. [With Swinburne’s essay. Includes The Second Maiden’s Tragedy and Two Wise Men and All the Rest Fools.]

1895. W. L. Phelps. The Best Plays of George Chapman (Mermaid Series). [All Fools, the two Bussy and the two Byron plays.]

1910–14. T. M. Parrott. The Plays and Poems of George Chapman. 3 vols. [Includes Sir Giles Goosecap, The Ball, Alphonsus Emperor of Germany, and Revenge for Honour. The Poems not yet issued.]

Dissertations: F. Bodenstedt, C. in seinem Verhältniss zu Shakespeare (1865, Jahrbuch, i. 300); A. C. Swinburne, G. C.: A Critical Essay (1875); E. Koeppel, Quellen-Studien zu den Dramen G. C.’s, &c. (1897, Quellen und Forschungen, lxxxii); B. Dobell, Newly discovered Documents of the Elizabethan and Jacobean Periods (1901, Ath. i. 369, 403, 433, 465); A. Acheson, Shakespeare and the Rival Poet (1903); E. E. Stoll, On the Dates of some of C.’s Plays (1905, M. L. N. xx. 206); T. M. Parrott, Notes on the Text of C.’s Plays (1907, Anglia, xxx. 349, 501); F. L. Schoell, Chapman as a Comic Writer (1911, Paris diss., unprinted, but used by Parrott); J. M. Robertson, Shakespeare and C. (1917).



The Blind Beggar of Alexandria. 1596

S. R. 1598, Aug. 15. ‘A booke intituled The blynde begger of Alexandrya, vppon Condicon thatt yt belonge to noe other man.’ William Jones (Arber, iii. 124).

1598. The Blinde begger of Alexandria, most pleasantly discoursing his variable humours in disguised shapes full of conceite and pleasure. As it hath beene sundry times publickly acted in London, by the right honorable the Earle of Nottingham, Lord high Admirall his seruantes. By George Chapman: Gentleman. For William Jones.

The play was produced by the Admiral’s on 12 Feb. 1596; properties were bought for a revival in May and June 1601. P. A. Daniel shows in Academy (1888), ii. 224, that five of the six passages under the head of Irus in Edward Pudsey’s Notebook, taken in error by R. Savage, Stratford upon Avon Notebooks, i. 7 (1888) to be from an unknown play of Shakespeare, appear with slight variants in the 1598 text. This, which is very short, probably represents a ‘cut’ stage copy. Pudsey is traceable as an actor (cf. ch. xv) in 1626.

An Humorous Day’s Mirth. 1597

1599. A pleasant Comedy entituled: An Numerous dayes Myrth. As it hath beene sundrie times publikely acted by the right honourable the Earle of Nottingham Lord high Admirall his seruants. By G. C. Valentine Syms.

The 1598 inventories of the Admiral’s (Greg, Henslowe Papers, 115, 119) include Verone’s son’s hose and Labesha’s cloak, which justifies Fleay, i. 55, in identifying the play with the comedy of Humours produced by that company on 1 May 1597. It is doubtless also the play of which John Chamberlain wrote to Dudley Carleton (Chamberlain, 4) on 11 June 1597, ‘We have here a new play of humors in very great request, and I was drawne along to it by the common applause, but my opinion of it is (as the fellow saide of the shearing of hogges), that there was a great crie for so litle wolle.’

The Gentleman Usher. 1602 (?)

[MS.] For an unverified MS. cf. s.v. Monsieur D’Olive.

S. R. 1605, Nov. 26 (Harsnett). ‘A book called Vincentio and Margaret.’ Valentine Syms (iii. 305).

1606. The Gentleman Usher. By George Chapman. V. S. for Thomas Thorpe.

Edition by T. M. Parrott (1907, B. L.).—Dissertation: O. Cohn, Zu den Quellen von C.’s G. U. (1912, Frankfort Festschrift, 229).

There is no indication of a company, but the use of a mask and songs confirm the general probability that the play was written for the Chapel or Revels. It was later than Sir Giles Goosecap (q.v.), to the title-rôle of which II. i. 81 alludes, but of this also the date is uncertain. Parrott’s ‘1602’ is plausible enough, but 1604 is also possible.


All Fools. 1604 (?)

1605. Al Fooles A Comedy, Presented at the Black Fryers, And lately before his Maiestie. Written by George Chapman. For Thomas Thorpe. [Prologue and Epilogue. The copies show many textual variations.]

Editions in Dodsley2, 3 (1780–1827) and by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. ii) and T. M. Parrott (1907, B. L.).—Dissertation: M. Stier, C.’s All Fools mit Berücksichtigung seiner Quellen (1904, Halle diss.).

The Court performance was on 1 Jan. 1605 (cf. App. B), and the play was therefore probably on the Blackfriars stage in 1604. There is a reminiscence of Ophelia’s flowers in II. i. 232, and the prologue seems to criticize the Poetomachia.

Who can show cause why th’ ancient comic vein
Of Eupolis and Cratinus (now reviv’d
Subject to personal application)
Should be exploded by some bitter spleens.

But in Jan.–July 1599 Henslowe paid Chapman £8 10s. on behalf of the Admiral’s for The World Runs on Wheels. The last entry is for ‘his boocke called the world Rones a whelles & now all foolles but the foolle’. This seems to me, more clearly than to Greg (Henslowe, ii. 203), to indicate a single play and a changed title. I am less certain, however, that he is right in adopting the view of Fleay, i. 59, that it was an earlier version of the Blackfriars play. It may be so, and the date of ‘the seventeenth of November, fifteen hundred and so forth’ used for a deed in IV. i. 331 lends some confirmation. But the change of company raises a doubt, and there is no ‘fool’ in All Fools. An alternative conjecture is that the Admiral’s reverted to the original title for their play, leaving a modification of the amended one available for Chapman in 1604. Collier (Dodsley3) printed a dedicatory sonnet to Sir Thomas Walsingham. This exists only in a single copy, in which it has been printed on an inserted leaf. T. J. Wise (Ath. 1908, i. 788) and Parrott, ii. 726, show clearly that it is a forgery.

Monsieur D’Olive. 1604

[MS.] See infra.

1606. Monsieur D’Olive. A Comedie, as it was sundrie times acted by her Majesties children at the Blacke-Friers. By George Chapman. T. C. for William Holmes.

Edition by C. W. Dilke (1814, O. E. P. iii).

The title-page suggests a Revels rather than a Chapel play, and Fleay, i. 59, Stoll, and Parrott all arrive at 1604 for the date, which is rendered probable by allusions to the Jacobean knights (I. i. 263; IV. ii. 77), to the calling in of monopolies (I. i. 284), to the preparation of costly embassies (IV. ii. 114), and perhaps to the royal dislike of tobacco (II. ii. 164). There is a reminiscence of Hamlet, III. ii. 393, in II. ii. 91:

our great men
Like to a mass of clouds that now seem like
An elephant, and straightways like an ox,
And then a mouse.

On the inadequate ground that woman’s ‘will’ is mentioned in II. i. 89,[253] Fleay regarded the play as a revision of one written by Chapman for the Admiral’s in 1598 under the title of The Will of a Woman. But Greg (Henslowe, ii. 194) interprets Henslowe’s entry ‘the iylle of a woman’ as The Isle of Women. The 1598 play seems to have been renamed The Fount of New Fashions. Hazlitt, Manual, 89, 94, says part Heber’s sale included MSS. both of The Fount of New Fashions, and of The Gentleman Usher under the title of The Will of a Woman, but Greg could not find these in the sale catalogue.

Bussy D’Ambois. 1604

S. R. 1607, June 3 (Buck). ‘The tragedie of Busye D’Amboise. Made by George Chapman.’ William Aspley (Arber, iii. 350).

1607. Bussy D’Ambois. A Tragedie: As it hath been often presented at Paules. For William Aspley.

1608. For William Aspley. [Another issue.]

1641. As it hath been often Acted with great Applause. Being much corrected and amended by the Author before his death. A. N. for Robert Lunne. [Prologue and Epilogue.]

1646. T. W. for Robert Lunne. [Another issue.]

1657.... the Author, George Chapman, Gent. Before his death. For Joshua Kirton. [Another issue.]

Editions by C. W. Dilke (1814, O. E. P. iii), F. S. Boas (1905, B. L.), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.).—Dissertation: T. M. Parrott, The Date of C.’s B. d’A. (1908, M. L. R. iii. 126).

The play was acted by Paul’s, who disappear in 1606. It has been suggested that it dates in some form from 1598 or earlier, because Pero is a female character, and an Admiral’s inventory of 1598 (Henslowe Papers, 120) has ‘Perowes sewt, which Wm Sley were’. As Sly had been a Chamberlain’s man since 1594, this must have been a relic of some obsolete play. But the impossible theory seems to have left a trace on the suggestion of Greg (Henslowe, ii. 198) that Chapman may have worked on the basis of the series of plays on The Civil Wars of France written by Dekker (q.v.) and others for the Admiral’s at a later date in 1598 than that of the inventories. From one of these plays, however, might come the reminiscence of a ‘trusty Damboys’ in Satiromastix (1601), IV. i. 174. For Bussy itself a jest on ‘leap-year’ (I. ii. 82) points to either 1600 or 1604, and allusions to Elizabeth as an ‘old queen’ (I. ii. 12), to a ‘knight of the new edition’ (I. ii. 124), with which may be compared Day, Isle of Gulls (1606), i. 3, ‘gentlemen ... of the best and last edition, of the Dukes own making’, and to a ‘new denizened lord’ (I. ii. 173) point to 1604 rather than 1600. The play was revived by the King’s men and played at Court on 7 April 1634 (Variorum, iii. 237), and to this date probably belongs the prologue in the edition of 1641. Here the actors declare that the piece, which evidently others had ventured to play, was

And still believed in Court to be our own.

They add that

Field is gone,
Whose action first did give it name,


and that his successor (perhaps Taylor) is prevented by his grey beard from taking the young hero, which therefore falls to a ‘third man’ who has been liked as Richard. Gayton, Festivous Notes on Don Quixote (1654), 25, tells us that Eliard Swanston played Bussy; doubtless he is the third man. The revision of the text, incorporated in the 1641 edition, may obviously date either from this or for some earlier revival. It is not necessary to assume that the performances by Field referred to in the prologue were earlier than 1616, when he joined the King’s. Parrott, however, makes it plausible that they might have been for the Queen’s Revels at Whitefriars in 1609–12, about the time when the Revenge was played by the same company. If so, the Revels must have acquired Bussy after the Paul’s performances ended in 1606. It is, of course, quite possible that they were only recovering a play originally written for them, and carried by Kirkham to Paul’s in 1605.

Eastward Ho! 1605

With Jonson and Marston.

S. R. 1605, Sept. 4 (Wilson). ‘A Comedie called Eastward Ho:’ William Aspley and Thomas Thorp (Arber, iii. 300).

1605. Eastward Hoe. As It was playd in the Black-friers. By The Children of her Maiesties Reuels. Made by Geo: Chapman. Ben Ionson. Ioh: Marston. For William Aspley. [Prologue and Epilogue. Two issues (a) and (b). Of (a) only signatures E3 and E4 exist, inserted between signatures E2 and E3 of a complete copy of (b) in the Dyce collection; neither Greg, Masques, cxxii, nor Parrott, Comedies, 862, is quite accurate here.]

1605. For William Aspley. [Another edition, reset.]

Editions in Dodsley1, 2, 3 (1744–1825), by W. R. Chetwood in Memoirs of Ben Jonson (1756), W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. ii), F. E. Schelling (1903, B. L.), J. W. Cunliffe (1913, R. E. C. ii), J. S. Farmer (1914, S. F. T.); and with Marston’s Works (q.v.).—Dissertations: C. Edmonds, The Original of the Hero in the Comedy of E. H. (Athenaeum, 13 Oct. 1883); H. D. Curtis, Source of the Petronel-Winifred Plot in E. H. (1907, M. P. v. 105).

Jonson told Drummond in 1619 (Laing, 20): ‘He was dilated by Sir James Murray to the King, for writing something against the Scots, in a play Eastward Hoe, and voluntarly imprissoned himself with Chapman and Marston, who had written it amongst them. The report was, that they should then [have] had their ears cut and noses. After their delivery, he banqueted all his friends; there was Camden, Selden, and others; at the midst of the feast his old Mother dranke to him, and shew him a paper which she had (if the sentence had taken execution) to have mixed in the prisson among his drinke, which was full of lustie strong poison, and that she was no churle, she told, she minded first to have drunk of it herself.’ The Hatfield MSS. contain a letter (i) from Jonson (Cunningham, Jonson, i. xlix), endorsed ‘1605’, to the Earl of Salisbury, created 4 May 1605. Another copy is in the[255] MS. described by B. Dobell, with ten other letters, of which Dobell, followed by Schelling, prints three by Jonson, (ii) to an unnamed lord, probably Suffolk, (iii) to an unnamed earl, (iv) to an unnamed ‘excellentest of Ladies’, and three by Chapman, (v) to the King, (vi) to Lord Chamberlain Suffolk, (vii) to an unnamed lord, probably also Suffolk. These, with four others by Chapman not printed, have no dates, but all, with (i), seem to refer to the same joint imprisonment of the two poets. In (i) Jonson says that he and Chapman are in prison ‘unexamined and unheard’. The cause is a play of which ‘no man can justly complain’, for since his ‘first error’ and its ‘bondage’ [1597] Jonson has ‘attempered my style’ and his books have never ‘given offence to a nation, to a public order or state, or to any person of honour or authority’. The other letters add a few facts. In (v) Chapman says that the ‘chief offences are but two clawses, and both of them not our owne’; in (vi) that ‘our unhappie booke was presented without your Lordshippes allowance’; and in (vii) that they are grateful for an expected pardon of which they have heard from Lord Aubigny. Castelain, Jonson, 901, doubts whether this correspondence refers to Eastward Ho!, chiefly because there is no mention of Marston, and after hesitating over Sejanus, suggests Sir Giles Goosecap (q.v.), which is not worth consideration. Jonson was in trouble for Sejanus (q.v.), but on grounds not touched on in these letters, and Chapman was not concerned. I feel no doubt that the imprisonment was that for Eastward Ho! Probably Drummond was wrong about Marston, who escaped. His ‘absence’ is noted in the t.p. of Q2 of The Fawn (1606), and chaffed by A. Nixon, The Black Year (1606): ‘Others ... arraign other mens works ... when their own are sacrificed in Paul’s Churchyard, for bringing in the Dutch Courtesan to corrupt English conditions and sent away westward for carping both at court, city, and country.’ Evidently Jonson and Chapman, justly or not, put the blame of the obnoxious clauses upon him, and renewed acrimony against Jonson may be traced in his Epistles of 1606. I am inclined to think that it was the publication of the play in the autumn of 1605, rather than its presentation on the stage, that brought the poets into trouble. This would account for the suppression of a passage reflecting upon the Scots (III. iii. 40–7) which appeared in the first issue of Q1 (cf. Parrott, ii. 862). Other quips at the intruding nation, at James’s liberal knightings, and even at his northern accent (I. ii. 50, 98; II. iii. 83; IV. i. 179) appear to have escaped censure. Nor was the play as a whole banned. It passed to the Lady Elizabeth’s, who revived it in 1613 (Henslowe Papers, 71) and gave it at Court on 25 Jan. 1614 (cf. App. B). There seems to be an allusion to Suffolk’s intervention in Chapman’s gratulatory verses to Sejanus (1605):

Most Noble Suffolke, who by Nature Noble,
And judgement vertuous, cannot fall by Fortune,
Who when our Hearde, came not to drink, but trouble
The Muses waters, did a Wall importune,
(Midst of assaults) about their sacred River.


The imprisonment was over by Nov. 1605, when Jonson (q.v.) was employed about the Gunpowder plot. I put it and the correspondence in Oct. or Nov. The play may have been staged at any time between that and the staging of Dekker and Webster’s Westward Hoe, late in 1604, to which its prologue refers. Several attempts have been made to divide up the play. Fleay, ii. 81, gives Marston I. i-II. i, Chapman II. ii-IV. i, Jonson IV. ii-V. iv. Parrott gives Marston I. i-II. ii, IV. ii, V. i, Chapman II. iii-IV. i, Jonson the prologue and V. ii-v. Cunliffe gives Marston I, III. iii and V. i, the rest to Chapman, and nothing to Jonson but plotting and supervision. All make III. iii a Chapman scene, so that, if Chapman spoke the truth, Marston must have interpolated the obnoxious clauses.

May Day. c. 1609

1611. May Day. A witty Comedie, diuers times acted at the Blacke Fryers. Written by George Chapman. For John Browne.

Edition by C. W. Dilke (1814, O. E. P. iv).—Dissertation: A. L. Stiefel, G. C. und das italienische Drama (1899, Jahrbuch, xxxv. 180).

The chorus iuvenum with which the play opens fixes it to the occupancy of the Blackfriars by the Chapel and Revels in 1600–9. Parrott suggests 1602 on the ground of reminiscences of 1599–1601 plays, of which the most important is a quotation in IV. i. 18 of Marston’s 2 Antonio and Mellida (1599), V. ii. 20. But the force of this argument is weakened by the admission of a clear imitation in I. i. 378 sqq. of ch. v. of Dekker’s Gull’s Hornbook (1609), which it seems to me a little arbitrary to explain by a revision. The other reasons given by Fleay, i. 57, for a date c. 1601 are fantastic. So is his suggestion that the play is founded on the anonymous Disguises produced by the Admiral’s on 2 Oct. 1595, which, as pointed out by Greg (Henslowe, ii. 177), rests merely on the fact that the title would be appropriate.

The Widow’s Tears. 1603 < > 9

S. R. 1612, Apr. 17. John Browne [see The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois].

1612. The Widdowes Teares. A Comedie. As it was often presented in the blacke and white Friers. Written by Geor: Chap. For John Browne. [Epistle to Jo. Reed of Mitton, Gloucestershire, signed ‘Geo. Chapman’.]

Edition in Dodsley1, 2, 3 (1744–1827).

The play was given at Court on 27 Feb. 1613, but the reference on the title-page to Blackfriars shows that it was originally produced by the Chapel or Revels not later than 1609 and probably before Byron (1608). Wallace, ii. 115, identifies it with the Chapel play seen by the Duke of Stettin in 1602 (cf. ch. xii), but Gerschow’s description in no way, except for the presence of a widow, fits the plot. The reference[257] to the ‘number of strange knights abroad’ (iv. 1. 28) and perhaps also that to the crying down of monopolies (I. i. 125) are Jacobean, rather than Elizabethan (cf. M. d’Olive). Fleay, i. 61, and Parrott think that the satire of justice in the last act shows resentment at Chapman’s treatment in connexion with Eastward Ho!, and suggest 1605. It would be equally sound to argue that this is just the date when Chapman would have been most careful to avoid criticism of this kind. The Epistle says, ‘This poor comedy (of many desired to see printed) I thought not utterly unworthy that affectionate design in me’.

Charles, Duke of Byron. 1608

S. R. 1608, June 5 (Buck). ‘A booke called The Conspiracy and Tragedie of Charles Duke of Byronn written by Georg Chapman.’ Thomas Thorp (Arber, iii. 380).

1608. The Conspiracie, And Tragedie of Charles Duke of Byron, Marshall of France. Acted lately in two playes, at the Black-Friers. Written by George Chapman. G. Eld for Thomas Thorpe. [Epistle to Sir Thomas and Thomas Walsingham, signed ‘George Chapman’, and Prologue. Half-title to Part II, ‘The Tragedie of Charles Duke of Byron. By George Chapman.’]

1625.... at the Blacke-Friers, and other publique Stages.... N. O. for Thomas Thorpe. [Separate t.p. to Part II.]

Dissertation: T. M. Parrott, The Text of C.’s Byron (1908, M. L. R. iv. 40).

There can be no doubt (cf. vol. ii, p. 53) that this is the play denounced by the French ambassador, Antoine Lefèvre de la Boderie, in the following letter to Pierre Brulart de Puisieux, Marquis de Sillery, on 8 April 1608 (printed by J. J. Jusserand in M. L. R. vi. 203, from Bibl. Nat. MS. Fr. 15984):

‘Environ la micaresme ces certains comédiens à qui j’avois fait deffendre de jouer l’histoire du feu mareschal de Biron, voyant toutte la cour dehors, ne laissèrent de le faire, et non seulement cela, mais y introduisirent la Royne et Madame de Verneuil, la première traitant celle-cy fort mal de paroles, et luy donnant un soufflet. En ayant eu advis de-là à quelques jours, aussi-tost je m’en allay trouver le Comte de Salsbury et luy fis plainte de ce que non seulement ces compaignons-là contrevenoient à la deffense qui leur avoit esté faicte, mais y adjoustoient des choses non seulement plus importantes, mais qui n’avoient que faire avec le mareschal de Biron, et au partir de-là estoient toutes faulses, dont en vérité il se montra fort courroucé. Et dès l’heure mesme envoya pour les prendre. Toutteffois il ne s’en trouva que trois, qui aussi-tost furent menez en la prison où ilz sont encore; mais le principal qui est le compositeur eschapa. Un jour ou deux devant, ilz avoient dépêché leur Roy, sa mine d’Escosse et tous ses Favorits d’une estrange sorte; [in cipher car apres luy avoir fait dépiter le ciel sur le vol d’un oyseau, et faict battre un gentilhomme pour avoir rompu ses chiens, ilz le dépeignoient ivre pour le moins une fois le jour. Ce qu’ayant sçu, je pensay qu’il seroit assez en colère contre lesdits commédiens, sans que je l’y misse davantage, et qu’il valoit mieux référer leur châtiment à l’irrévérence qu’ilz lui avoient portée, qu’à ce qu’ilz pourroient avoir dit desdites Dames], et pour ce, je me résolus de n’en plus parler, mais considérer ce qu’ilz firent. Quand ledit Sieur Roy a esté icy, il[258] a tesmoigné estre extrèmement irrité contre ces maraults-là, et a commandé qu’ilz soient chastiez et surtout qu’on eust à faire diligence de trouver le compositeur. Mesme il a fait deffense que l’on n’eust plus à jouer de Comédies dedans Londres, pour lever laquelle deffense quatre autres compagnies qui y sont encore, offrent desja cent mille francs, lesquels pourront bien leur en redonner la permission; mais pour le moins sera-ce à condition qu’ilz ne représenteront plus aucune histoire moderne ni ne parleront des choses du temps à peine de la vie. Si j’eusse creu qu’il y eust eu de la suggestion en ce qu’avoient dit lesdits comédiens, j’en eusse fait du bruit davantage; mais ayant tout subjet d’estimer le contraire, j’ay pensay que le meilleur estoit de ne point le remuer davantage, et laisser audit Roy la vengeance de son fait mesme. Touttefois si vous jugez de-là, Monsieur; que je n’y aye fait assez, il est encore temps.’

In M. L. Review, iv. 158, I reprinted a less good text from Ambassades de M. De La Boderie (1750), iii. 196. The letter is often dated 1605 and ascribed to De La Boderie’s predecessor, M. de Beaumont, on the strength of a summary in F. L. G. von Raumer, History of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, ii. 219. The text has been ruthlessly censored; in particular the peccant scene has been cut out of Act II of Part ii, and most of Act IV of Part i, dealing with Byron’s visit to England, has been suppressed or altered. The Epistle offers ‘these poor dismembered poems’, and they are probably the subject of two undated and unsigned letters printed by Dobell in Ath. (1901), i. 433. The first, to one Mr. Crane, secretary to the Duke of Lennox, inquires whether the writer can leave a ‘shelter’ to which ‘the austeritie of this offended time’ has sent him. The other is by ‘the poor subject of your office’ and evidently addressed to the Master of the Revels, and complains of his strictness in revising for the press what the Council had passed for presentment. Worcester’s men had an anonymous play of Byron (Burone or Berowne) in 1602, and Greg (Henslowe, ii. 231) thinks that to this Chapman’s may have borne some relation. But Chapman’s source was Grimeston, General Inventorie of the History of France (1607).

The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois. c. 1610

S. R. 1612, Apr. 17 (Buck). ‘Twoo play bookes, th’ one called, The revenge of Bussy D’Amboys, beinge a tragedy, thother called, The wydowes teares, beinge a Comedy, bothe written by George Chapman.’ Browne (Arber, iii. 481). [Only a 6d. fee charged for the two.]

1613. The Revenge of Bussy D’Ambois. A Tragedie. As it hath beene often presented at the priuate Play-house in the White-Fryers. Written by George Chapman, Gentleman. T. S., sold by Iohn Helme. [Epistle to Sir Thomas Howard, signed ‘Geo. Chapman’.]

Edition by F. S. Boas (1905, B. L.).

Boas has shown that Chapman used Grimeston, General Inventorie of the History of France (1607). Probably the play was written for the Queen’s Revels to accompany Bussy. But whether it was first produced at Whitefriars in 1609–12, or at Blackfriars in 1608–9, can hardly be settled. The title-page and the probability that the[259] Byron affair would render it judicious to defer further plays by Chapman rather point to the Whitefriars. The Epistle commends the play because ‘Howsoever therefore in the scenical presentation it might meet with some maligners, yet considering even therein it passed with approbation of more worthy judgments’.

Chabot Admiral of France, c. 1613 (?)

S. R. 1638, Oct. 24 (Wykes). ‘A Booke called Phillip Chalbott Admirall of France and the Ball. By James Shirley. vjd.’ Crooke and William Cooke (Arber, iv. 441).

1639. The Tragedie of Chabot Admirall of France. As it was presented by her Majesties Servants, at the private House in Drury Lane. Written by George Chapman, and James Shirly. Tho. Cotes for Andrew Crooke and William Cooke.

Edition by E. Lehman (1906, Pennsylvania Univ. Publ.).

The play was licensed by Herbert as Shirley’s on 29 April 1635 (Variorum, iii. 232). But critics agree in finding much of Chapman in it, and suppose Shirley to have been a reviser rather than a collaborator. Parrott regards I. i, II. iii, and V. ii as substantially Chapman; II. i and III. i as substantially Shirley; and the rest as Chapman revised. He suggests that Chapman’s version was for the Queen’s Revels c. 1613. Fleay, ii. 241, put it in 1604, but it cannot be earlier than the 1611 edition of its source, E. Pasquier, Les Recherches de la France.

Caesar and Pompey, c. 1613 (?)

S. R. 1631, May 18 (Herbert). ‘A Playe called Caesar and Pompey by George Chapman.’ Harper (Arber, iv. 253).

1631. The Warres of Pompey and Caesar. Out of whose euents is euicted this Proposition. Only a iust man is a freeman. By G. C. Thomas Harper, sold by Godfrey Emondson, and Thomas Alchorne. [Epistle to the Earl of Middlesex, signed ‘Geo. Chapman’.]

1631.... Caesar and Pompey: A Roman Tragedy, declaring their Warres.... By George Chapman. Thomas Harper [&c.]. [Another issue.]

1653.... As it was Acted at the Black Fryers.... [Another issue.]

Chapman says that the play was written ‘long since’ and ‘never touched at the stage’. Various dates have been conjectured; the last, Parrott’s 1612–13, ‘based upon somewhat intangible evidence of style and rhythm’ will do as well as another. Parrott is puzzled by the 1653 title-page and thinks that, in spite of the Epistle, the play was acted. Might it not have been acted by the King’s after the original publication in 1631? Plays on Caesar were so common that it is not worth pursuing the suggestion of Fleay, i. 65, that fragments of the Admiral’s anonymous Caesar and Pompey of 1594–5 may survive here.

Doubtful and Lost Plays

Chapman’s lost plays for the Admiral’s men of 1598–9 have already been noted. Two plays, ‘The Fatall Love, a French Tragedy’, and[260] ‘A Tragedy of a Yorkshire Gentlewoman and her sonne’, were entered as his in the S. R. by Humphrey Moseley on 29 June 1660 (Eyre, ii. 271). They appear, without Chapman’s name, in Warburton’s list of burnt plays (W. W. Greg in 3 Library, ii. 231). The improbable ascriptions to Chapman of The Ball (1639) and Revenge for Honour (1654) on their and of Two Wise Men and All the Rest Fools (1619) by Kirkman in 1661 do not inspire confidence in this late entry, and even if they were Chapman’s, the plays were not necessarily of our period. But it has been suggested that Fatal Love may be the anonymous Charlemagne (q.v.). J. M. Robertson assigns to Chapman A Lover’s Complaint, accepts the conjecture of Minto and Acheson that he was the ‘rival poet’ of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, believes him to be criticized in the Holophernes of L. L. L. and regards him as the second hand of Timon of Athens, and with varying degrees of assurance as Shakespeare’s predecessor, collaborator or reviser, in Per., T. C., Tp., Ham., Cymb., J. C., T. of S., Hen. VI, Hen. V, C. of E., 2 Gent., All’s Well, M. W., K. J., Hen. VIII. These are issues which cannot be discussed here. The records do not suggest any association between Chapman and the Chamberlain’s or King’s men, except possibly in Caroline days.

For other ascriptions to Chapman, see in ch. xxiv, Alphonsus, Fedele and Fortunio, Sir Giles Goosecap, Histriomastix, and Second Maiden’s Tragedy.


Middle Temple and Lincoln’s Inn Mask. 15 Feb. 1613

S. R. 1613, 27 Feb. (Nidd). ‘A booke called the [description] of the maske performed before the kinge by the gent. of the Myddle temple and Lincolns Inne with the maske of Grayes Inne and the Inner Temple.’ George Norton (Arber, iii. 516).

N.D. The Memorable Maske of the two Honorable Houses or Inns of Court; the Middle Temple, and Lyncolnes Inne. As it was performed before the King, at White-Hall on Shroue Munday at night; being the 15. of February 1613. At the princely Celebration of the most Royall Nuptialls of the Palsgraue, and his thrice gratious Princesse Elizabeth, &c. With a description of their whole show; in the manner of their march on horse-backe to the Court from the Maister of the Rolls his house: with all their right Noble consorts, and most showfull attendants. Inuented, and fashioned, with the ground, and speciall structure of the whole worke, By our Kingdomes most Artfull and Ingenious Architect Innigo Iones. Supplied, Aplied, Digested, and Written, By Geo. Chapman. G. Eld for George Norton. [Epistle by Chapman to Sir Edward Philips, Master of the Rolls, naming him and Sir Henry Hobart, the Attorney-General, as furtherers of the mask; after text, A Hymne to Hymen. R. B. McKerrow, Bibl. Evidence (Bibl. Soc. Trans. xii. 267), shows the priority of this edition. Parts of the description are separated from the speeches to which they belong, with an explanation that Chapman was ‘prevented by the[261] unexpected haste of the printer, which he never let me know, and never sending me a proofe till he had past their speeches, I had no reason to imagine hee could have been so forward’.]

N.D. F. K. for George Norton.

Edition in Nichols, James (1828), ii. 566.

The maskers, in cloth of silver embroidered with gold, olive-coloured vizards, and feathers on their heads, were Princes of Virginia; the torchbearers also Virginians; the musicians Phoebades or Priests of Virginia; the antimaskers a ‘mocke-maske’ of Baboons; the presenters Plutus, Capriccio a Man of Wit, Honour, Eunomia her Priest, and Phemis her Herald.

The locality was the Hall at Whitehall, whither the maskers rode from the house of the Master of the Rolls, with their musicians and presenters in chariots, Moors to attend their horses, and a large escort of gentlemen and halberdiers. They dismounted in the tiltyard, where the King and lords beheld them from a gallery. The scene represented a high rock, which cracked to emit Capriccio, and had the Temple of Honour on one side, and a hollow tree, ‘the bare receptacle of the baboonerie’, on the other. After ‘the presentment’ and the ‘anticke’ dance of the ‘ante-maske’, the top of the rock opened to disclose the maskers and torchbearers in a mine of gold under the setting sun. They descended by steps within the rock. First the torchbearers ‘performed another ante-maske, dancing with torches lighted at both ends’. Then the maskers danced two dances, followed by others with the ladies, and finally a ‘dance, that brought them off’ to the Temple of Honour.

For general notices of the wedding masks, see ch. xxiv and the account of Campion’s Lords’ mask. The German Beschreibung (1613) gives a long abstract of Chapman’s (extract in Sh.-Jahrbuch, xxix. 172), but this is clearly paraphrased from the author’s own description. It was perhaps natural for Sir Edward Philips to write to Carleton on 25 Feb. (S. P. D. Jac. I, lxxii. 46) that this particular mask was ‘praised above all others’. But Chamberlain is no less laudatory (Birch, i. 226):

‘On Monday night, was the Middle Temple and Lincoln’s Inn mask prepared in the hall at court, whereas the Lords’ was in the banqueting room. It went from the Rolls, all up Fleet Street and the Strand, and made such a gallant and glorious show, that it is highly commended. They had forty gentlemen of best choice out of both houses, and the twelve maskers, with their torchbearers and pages, rode likewise upon horses exceedingly well trapped and furnished, besides a dozen little boys, dressed like baboons, that served for an antimask, and, they say, performed it exceedingly well when they came to it; and three open chariots, drawn with four horses apiece, that carried their musicians and other personages that had parts to speak. All which, together with their trumpeters and other attendants, were so well set out, that it is generally held for the best show that hath been seen many a day. The King stood in the gallery to behold them, and made them ride about the Tilt-yard, and then they were received into St. James’ Park, and so out, all along the galleries, into the hall, where themselves and their devices, which they say were excellent, made such a glittering show, that the King and all the company were[262] exceedingly pleased, and especially with their dancing, which was beyond all that hath been seen yet. The King made the masters [? maskers] kiss his hand on parting, and gave them many thanks, saying, he never saw so many proper men together, and himself accompanied them at the banquet, and took care it should be well ordered, and speaks much of them behind their backs, and strokes the Master of the Rolls and Dick Martin, who were chief doers and undertakers.’

Chamberlain wrote more briefly, but with equal commendation, to Winwood (iii. 435), while the Venetian ambassador reported that the mask was danced ‘with such finish that it left nothing to be desired’ (V. P. xii. 532).

The mask is but briefly noticed in the published records of the Middle Temple (Hopwood, 40, 42); more fully in those of Lincoln’s Inn (Walker, ii. 150–6, 163, 170, 198, 255, 271). The Inn’s share of the cost was £1,086 8s. 11d. and presumably that of the Middle Temple as much. A levy was made of from £1 10s. to £4, according to status, and some of the benchers and others advanced funds. A dispute about the repayment of an advance by Lord Chief Justice Richardson was still unsettled in 1634. An account of Christopher Brooke as ‘Expenditour for the maske’ includes £100 to Inigo Jones for works for the hall and street, £45 to Robert Johnson for music and songs, £2 to Richard Ansell, matlayer, £1 to the King’s Ushers of the Hall, and payments for a pair of stockings and other apparel to ‘Heminge’s boy’, and for the services of John and Robert Dowland, Philip Rosseter and Thomas Ford as musicians. The attitude of the young lawyer may be illustrated from a letter of Sir S. Radcliffe on 1 Feb. (Letters, 78), although I do not know his Inn: ‘I have taken up 30s of James Singleton, which or ye greater part thereof is to be paid toward ye great mask at ye marriage at Shrovetide. It is a duty for ye honour of our Inn, and unto which I could not refuse to contribute with any credit.’

A letter by Chapman, partly printed by B. Dobell in Ath. (1901), i. 466, is a complaint to an unnamed paymaster about his reward for a mask given in the royal presence at a date later than Prince Henry’s death. While others of his faculty got 100 marks or £50, he is ‘put with taylors and shoomakers, and such snipperados, to be paid by a bill of particulars’. Dobell does not seem to think that this was the wedding mask, but I see no clear reason why it should not have been.

HENRY CHEKE (c. 1561).

If the translator, as stated in D. N. B., was Henry the son of Sir John Cheke and was born c. 1548, he must have been a precocious scholar.

Free Will > 1561

S. R. 1561, May 11. ‘ij. bokes, the one called ... and the other of Frewill.’ John Tysdayle (Arber, i. 156).

N.D. A certayne Tragedie wrytten fyrst in Italian, by F. N. B. entituled, Freewyl, and translated into Englishe, by Henry Cheeke.[263] John Tisdale. [Epistles to Lady Cheyne, signed H. C., and to the Reader. Cheyne arms on vo of t.p.]

The translation is from the Tragedia del Libero Arbitrio (1546) of Francesco Nigri de Bassano. It is presumably distinct from that which Sir Thomas Hoby in his Travaile and Life (Camden Misc. x. 63) says he made at Augsburg in Aug.–Nov. 1550, and dedicated to the Marquis of Northampton.

HENRY CHETTLE (c. 1560– > 1607).

Chettle was apprenticed, as the son of Robert Chettle of London, dyer, to Thomas East, printer, on 29 Sept. 1577, and took up the freedom of the Stationers’ Company on 6 Oct. 1584. During 1589–91 he was in partnership as a printer with John Danter and William Hoskins. The partnership was then dissolved, and Chettle’s imprint is not found on any book of later date (McKerrow, Dictionary, 68, 84, 144). But evidently his connexion with the press and with Danter continued, for in 1596 Nashe inserted into Have With You to Saffron Walden (Works, iii. 131) a letter from him offering to set up the book and signed ‘Your old Compositer, Henry Chettle’. Nashe’s Strange News (1592) and Terrors of the Night (1594) had come, like Have With You to Saffron Walden itself, from Danter’s press. The object of the letter was to defend Nashe against a charge in Gabriel Harvey’s Pierce’s Supererogation (1593) of having abused Chettle. He had in fact in Pierce Penilesse (1592) called Greenes Groats-worth of Wit ‘a scald triuial lying pamphlet’, and none of his doing. And of the Groats-worth Chettle had acted as editor, as he himself explains in the Epistle to his Kind Hearts Dream (cf. App. C, No. xlix), in which, however, he exculpates Nashe from any share in the book. By 1595 he was married and had lost a daughter Mary, who was buried at St. John’s, Windsor (E. Ashmole, Antiquities of Berkshire, iii. 75). By 1598 he had taken to writing for the stage, and in his Palladis Tamia of that year Meres includes him in ‘the best for Comedy amongst vs’. Of all Henslowe’s band of needy writers for the Admiral’s and Worcester’s from 1598 to 1603, he was the most prolific and one of the neediest. Of the forty-eight plays in which he had a hand during this period, no more than five, or possibly six, survive. His personal loans from Henslowe were numerous and often very small. Some were on account of the Admiral’s; others on a private account noted in the margin of Henslowe’s diary. On 16 Sept. 1598 he owed the Admiral’s £8 9s. in balance, ‘al his boockes & recknynges payd’. In Nov. 1598 he had loans ‘for to areste one with Lord Lester’. In Jan. 1599 he was in the Marshalsea, and in May borrowed to avoid arrest by one Ingrome. On 25 Mar. 1602 he was driven, apparently in view of a payment of £3, to seal a bond to write for the Admiral’s. This did not prevent him from also writing for Worcester’s in the autumn. More than once his manuscript had to be redeemed from pawn (Greg, Henslowe, ii. 250). His England’s Mourning Garment, a eulogy of Elizabeth, is reprinted in C. M. Ingleby, Shakespere Allusion-Books, Part i (N. S. S. 1874), 77. Herein he speaks of himself[264] as ‘courting it now and than’, when he was ‘yong, almost thirtie yeeres agoe’, and calls on a number of poets under fanciful names to sing the dead queen’s praise. They are Daniel, Warner, Chapman (Coryn), Jonson (our English Horace), Shakespeare (Melicert), Drayton (Coridon), Lodge (Musidore), Dekker (Antihorace), Marston (Moelibee), and Petowe (?). Chettle was therefore alive in 1603, but he is spoken of as dead in Dekker’s Knight’s Conjuring (1607).


The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon. 1598

The Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon. 1598

For Chettle’s relation to these two plays, see s.v. Munday.

Patient Grissel. 1600

With Dekker (q.v.) and Haughton.

1 Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green. 1600

With Day (q.v.).

Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1602

With Dekker (q.v.), Heywood, Smith, and Webster, as Lady Jane, or The Overthrow of Rebels, but whether anything of Chettle’s survives in the extant text is doubtful.

Hoffman or A Revenge for a Father. 1602 <

S. R. 1630, Feb. 26 (Herbert). ‘A play called Hoffman the Revengfull ffather.’ John Grove (Arber, iv. 229).

1631. The Tragedy of Hoffman or A Reuenge for a Father, As it hath bin diuers times acted with great applause, at the Phenix in Druery-lane. I. N. for Hugh Perry. [Epistle to Richard Kiluert, signed ‘Hvgh Perry’.]

Editions by H. B. L[eonard] (1852), R. Ackermann (1894), and J. S. Farmer (1913, S. F. T.).—Dissertations: N. Delius, C.’s H. und Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1874, Jahrbuch, ix. 166); A. H. Thorndike, The Relations of Hamlet to Contemporary Revenge Plays (1902, M. L. A. xvii. 125).

Henslowe paid Chettle, on behalf of the Admiral’s, £1 in earnest of ‘a Danyshe tragedy’ on 7 July 1602, and 5s. in part payment for a tragedy of ‘Howghman’ on 29 Dec. It seems natural to take the latter, and perhaps also the former, entry as relating to this play, although it does not bear Chettle’s name on the title-page. But its completion was presumably later than the termination of Henslowe’s record in 1603. Greg (Henslowe, ii. 226) rightly repudiates the suggestion of Fleay, i. 70, 291, that we are justified in regarding Hoffman the unnamed tragedy of Chettle and Heywood in Jan. 1603, for which a blank can of course afford no evidence. But ‘the Prince of the burning crowne’ is referred to in Kempe’s Nine Daies Wonder, 22, not as a ‘play’, but as a suggested theme for a ballad writer.


Doubtful and Lost Plays

Chettle’s hand has been suggested in the anonymous Trial of Chivalry (vide infra) and The Weakest Goeth to the Wall.

The following is a complete list of the plays, wholly or partly by Chettle, recorded in Henslowe’s diary.

(a) Plays for the Admiral’s, 1598–1603

(i), (ii) 1, 2 Robin Hood.

With Munday (q.v.), Feb.–Mar. and Nov. 1598.

(iii) The Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales.

With Dekker (q.v.) and Drayton, Mar. 1598.

(iv), (v) 1, 2 Earl Godwin and His Three Sons.

With Dekker, Drayton, and Wilson, March-June 1598.

(vi) Pierce of Exton.

With Dekker, Drayton, and Wilson, April 1598, but apparently not finished.

(vii), (viii) 1, 2 Black Bateman of the North.

With Wilson, and for Part 1, Dekker and Drayton, May–July 1598.

(ix) The Funeral of Richard Cœur-de-Lion.

With Drayton, Munday, and Wilson, June 1598.

(x) A Woman’s Tragedy.

July 1598, but apparently unfinished.

(xi) Hot Anger Soon Cold.

With Jonson and Porter, Aug. 1598.

(xii) Chance Medley.

By Chettle or Dekker, Drayton, Munday, and Wilson, Aug. 1598.

(xiii) Catiline’s Conspiracy.

With Wilson, Aug. 1598, but apparently not finished.

(xiv) Vayvode.

Apparently an old play revised by Chettle, Aug. 1598.

(xv) 2 Brute.

Sept.–Oct. 1598.

(xvi) ’Tis no Deceit to Deceive the Deceiver.

Nov. 1598, but apparently not finished.

(xvii) Polyphemus, or Troy’s Revenge.

Feb. 1599.

(xviii) The Spencers.

With Porter, March 1599.

(xix) Troilus and Cressida.

With Dekker (q.v.), April 1599.

(xx) Agamemnon, or Orestes Furious.

With Dekker, May 1599.

(xxi) The Stepmother’s Tragedy.

With Dekker, Aug.–Oct. 1599.


(xxii) Robert II or The Scot’s Tragedy.

With Dekker, Jonson, and possibly Marston (q.v.), Sept. 1599.

(xxiii) Patient Grissell.

With Dekker (q.v.) and Haughton, Oct.–Dec. 1599.

(xxiv) The Orphan’s Tragedy.

Nov. 1599–Sept. 1601, but apparently not finished, unless Greg rightly traces it in Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies (q.v.).

(xxv) The Arcadian Virgin.

With Haughton, Dec. 1599, but apparently not finished.

(xxvi) Damon and Pythias.

Feb.–May 1600.

(xxvii) The Seven Wise Masters.

With Day, Dekker, and Haughton, March 1600.

(xxviii) The Golden Ass, or Cupid and Psyche.

With Day and Dekker, April-May 1600; on possible borrowings from this, cf. s.v. Heywood, Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas.

(xxix) The Wooing of Death.

May 1600, but apparently not finished.

(xxx) 1 Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green.

With Day (q.v.), May 1600.

(xxxi) All Is Not Gold That Glisters.

March-April 1601.

(xxxii) King Sebastian of Portingale.

With Dekker, April-May 1601.

(xxxiii), (xxxiv) 1, 2 Cardinal Wolsey.

Apparently Chettle wrote a play on The Life of Cardinal Wolsey in June–Aug. 1601, to which was afterwards prefixed a play on The Rising of Cardinal Wolsey, by Chettle, Drayton, Munday, and Smith, written in Aug.–Nov. 1601 (cf. Greg, Henslowe, ii. 218). Chettle was ‘mendynge’ The Life in May–June 1602, and on 25 July Richard Hadsor wrote to Sir R. Cecil of the attainder of the Earl of Kildare’s grandfather ‘by the policy of Cardinal Wolsey, as it is set forth and played now upon the stage in London’ (Hatfield MSS. xii. 248).

(xxxv) Too Good To Be True.

With Hathway and Smith, Nov. 1601–Jan. 1602; the alternative title ‘or Northern Man’ in one of Henslowe’s entries is a forgery by Collier (cf. Greg, Henslowe, i. xliii).

(xxxvi) Friar Rush and the Proud Women of Antwerp.

Written by Day and Haughton in 1601 and mended by Chettle in Jan. 1602.

(xxxvii) Love Parts Friendship.

With Smith, May 1602; identified by Bullen with the anonymous Trial of Chivalry (q.v.).

(xxxviii) Tobias.

May–June 1602.


(xxxix) Hoffman.

July–Dec. 1602, but apparently not finished. Vide supra.

(xl) Felmelanco.

With Robensone (q.v.), Sept. 1602.

(xli), (xlii) 1, 2 The London Florentine.

Part 1 with Heywood, Dec. 1602–Jan. 1603; one payment had been made to Chettle for Part 2 before the diary entries stopped.

(xliii) [Unnamed play].

‘for a prologe & a epyloge for the corte’, 29 Dec. 1602.

(b) Plays for Worcester’s, 1602–3

(xliv) [Unnamed play. Collier’s Robin Goodfellow is forged].

A tragedy, Aug. 1602, but perhaps not finished, unless identical, as suggested by Greg (Henslowe, ii. 229), with the anonymous Byron.

(xlv) 1 Lady Jane, or The Overthrow of Rebels.

With Dekker (q.v.), Heywood, Smith, and Webster, Oct. 1602.

(xlvi) Christmas Comes but Once a Year.

With Dekker, Heywood, and Webster, Nov. 1602.

(xlvii) [Unnamed play. Collier’s Like Quits Like is forged].

With Heywood, Jan. 1603, but apparently not finished, or possibly identical, as suggested by Greg (Henslowe, ii. 235), with (xlviii).

(xlviii) Shore.

With Day, May 1603, but not finished before the diary ended.


The best account of Churchyard is that by H. W. Adnitt in Shropshire Arch. Soc. Trans. iii (1880), 1, with a bibliography of his numerous poems. For his share in the devices of the Bristol entertainment (1574) and the Suffolk and Norfolk progress (1578), of both of which he published descriptions, cf. ch. xxiv. He was also engaged by the Shrewsbury corporation to prepare a show for an expected but abandoned royal visit in 1575 (Mediaeval Stage, ii. 255). His A Handful of Gladsome Verses given to the Queenes Maiesty at Woodstocke this Prograce (1592) is reprinted in H. Huth and W. C. Hazlitt, Fugitive Tracts (1875), i. It is not mimetic. His own account of his work in Churchyard’s Challenge (1593) suggests that he took a considerable part in Elizabethan pageantry. He says that he wrote:

‘The deuises of warre and a play at Awsterley. Her Highnes being at Sir Thomas Greshams’,


‘The deuises and speeches that men and boyes shewed within many prograces’.

And amongst ‘Workes ... gotten from me of some such noble friends as I am loath to offend’ he includes:

‘A book of a sumptuous shew in Shrouetide, by Sir Walter Rawley, Sir Robart Carey, M. Chidley, and M. Arthur Gorge, in which book was the whole[268] seruice of my L. of Lester mencioned that he and his traine did in Flaunders, and the gentlemen Pencioners proued to be a great peece of honor to the Court: all which book was in as good verse as euer I made: an honorable knight, dwelling in the Black-Friers, can witness the same, because I read it vnto him.’

The natural date for this ‘shew’ is Shrovetide 1587. I do not know why Nichols, Eliz. ii. 279, dates the Osterley device 1579. Elizabeth was often there, but I find no evidence of a visit in 1579. Lowndes speaks of the work as in print, but I doubt whether he has any authority beyond Churchyard’s own notice, which does not prove publication.

ANTHONY CHUTE (ob. c. 1595).

Nashe in his Have With You to Saffron Walden (1596, Works, iii. 107), attacking Chute as a friend of Gabriel Harvey, says, ‘he hath kneaded and daub’d vp a Commedie, called The transformation of the King of Trinidadoes two Daughters, Madame Panachaea and the Nymphe Tobacco; and, to approue his Heraldrie, scutchend out the honorable Armes of the smoakie Societie’. I hesitate to take this literally.

GEORGE CLIFFORD (1558–1605).

George Clifford was born 8 Aug. 1558, succeeded as third Earl of Cumberland 8 Jan. 1570, and died 30 Oct. 1605. A recent biography is G. C. Williamson, George, Third Earl of Cumberland (1920). He married Margaret Russell, daughter of Francis, second Earl of Bedford, on 24 June 1577. His daughter, Anne Clifford, who left an interesting autobiography, married firstly Richard, third Earl of Dorset, and secondly Philip, fourth Earl of Pembroke. Cumberland was prominent in Elizabethan naval adventure and shone in the tilt. He is recorded as appearing on 17 Nov. 1587 (Gawdy, 25) and 26 Aug. 1588 (Sp. P. iv. 419). On 17 Nov. 1590 he succeeded Sir Henry Lee (q.v.) as Knight of the Crown. Thereafter he was the regular challenger for the Queen’s Day tilt, often with the assistance of the Earl of Essex. On 17 Nov. 1592 they came together armed into the privy chamber, and issued a challenge to maintain against all comers on the following 26 Feb. ‘that ther M. is most worthyest and most fayrest Amadis de Gaule’ (Gawdy, 67). Cumberland’s tiltyard speeches, as Knight of Pendragon Castle, in 1591 (misdated 1592) and 1593 are printed by Williamson, 108, 121, from manuscripts at Appleby Castle.

His appearance as Knight of the Crown on 17 Nov. 1595 is noted in Peele’s (q.v.) Anglorum Feriae. In F. Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody (1602, ed. Bullen, ii. 128) is an ode Of Cynthia, with the note ‘This Song was sung before her sacred Maiestie at a shew on horse-backe, wherwith the right Honorable the Earle of Cumberland presented her Highnesse on Maie day last’. This is reprinted by R. W. Bond (Lyly, i. 414) with alternative ascriptions to Lyly and to Sir John Davies. But Cumberland himself wrote verses. I do not know why Bullen and Bond assume that the show was on 1 May 1600. The Cumberland MSS. at Bolton, Yorkshire, once contained a prose speech, now lost, in the[269] character of a melancholy knight, headed ‘A Copie of my Lord of Combrlandes Speeche to ye Queene, upon ye 17 day of November, 1600’. This was printed by T. D. Whitaker, History of Craven (1805, ed. Morant, 1878, p. 355), and reprinted by Nichols, Eliz. iii. 522, and by Bond, Lyly, i. 415, with a conjectural attribution to Lyly. In 1601 Cumberland conveyed to Sir John Davies a suggestion from Sir R. Cecil that he should write a ‘speech for introduction of the barriers’ (Hatfield MSS. xi. 544), and in letters of 1602 he promised Cecil to appear at the tilt on Queen’s Day, but later tried to excuse himself on the ground that a damaged arm would not let him carry a staff (Hatfield MSS. xii. 438, 459, 574). Anne Clifford records ‘speeches and delicate presents’ at Grafton when James and Anne visited the Earl there on 27 June 1603 (Wiffen, ii. 71).

JO. COOKE (c. 1612).

Beyond his play, practically nothing is known of Cooke. It is not even clear whether ‘Jo.’ stands for John, or for Joshua; the latter is suggested by the manuscript ascription on a copy of the anonymous How a Man may Choose a Good Wife from a Bad (q.v.). Can Cooke be identical with the I. Cocke who contributed to Stephens’s Characters in 1615 (cf. App. C, No. lx)? Collier, iii. 408, conjectures that he was a brother John named, probably as dead, in the will (3 Jan. 1614) of Alexander Cooke the actor (cf. ch. xv). There is an entry in S. R. on 22 May 1604 of a lost ‘Fyftie epigrams written by J. Cooke Gent’, and a ‘I. Cooke’ wrote commendatory verses to Drayton’s Legend of Cromwell (1607).

Greenes Tu Quoque or The City Gallant. 1611

1614. Greene’s Tu quoque, or, The Cittie Gallant. As it hath beene diuers times acted by the Queenes Maiesties Seruants. Written by Io. Cooke, Gent. For John Trundle. [Epistle to the Reader, signed ‘Thomas Heywood’, and a couplet ‘Upon the Death of Thomas Greene’, signed ‘W. R.’]

1622. For Thomas Dewe.

N.D. M. Flesher.

Editions in Dodsley1–4 (1744–1875) and by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. ii) and J. S. Farmer (1913, S. F. T.).

Heywood writes ‘to gratulate the love and memory of my worthy friend the author, and my entirely beloved fellow the actor’, both of whom were evidently dead. Satire of Coryat’s Crudities gives a date between its publication in 1611 and the performances of the play by the Queen’s men at Court on 27 Dec. 1611 and 2 Feb. 1612 (cf. App. B). In Aug. 1612 died Thomas Greene, who had evidently played Bubble at the Red Bull (ed. Dodsley, p. 240):

Geraldine. Why, then, we’ll go to the Red Bull: they say Green’s a good clown.

Bubble. Green! Green’s an ass.

Scattergood. Wherefore do you say so?

Bubble. Indeed I ha’ no reason; for they say he is as like me as ever he can look.


Chetwood’s assertion of a 1599 print is negligible. The Queen of Bohemia’s men revived the play at Court on 6 Jan. 1625 (Variorum, iii. 228).

AQUILA CRUSO (c. 1610).

Author of the academic Euribates Pseudomagus (cf. App. K).


Daborne claimed to be of ‘generous’ descent, and it has been conjectured that he belonged to a family at Guildford, Surrey. Nothing is known of him until he appears with Rosseter and others as a patentee for the Queen’s Revels in 1610. Presumably he wrote for this company, and when they amalgamated with the Lady Elizabeth’s in 1613 came into relations with Henslowe, who acted as paymaster for the combination. The Dulwich collection contains between thirty and forty letters, bonds, and receipts bearing upon these relations. A few are undated; the rest extend from 17 April 1613 to 4 July 1615. Most of them were printed by Malone (Variorum, iii. 336), Collier (Alleyn Papers, 56), and Swaen (Anglia, xx. 155), and all, with a stray fragment from Egerton MS. 2623, f. 24, are in Greg, Henslowe Papers, 65, 126. There and in Henslowe, ii. 141, Dr. Greg attempts an arrangement of them and of the plays to which they relate, which seems to me substantially sound. They show Daborne, during the twelve months from April 1613, to which they mainly belong, writing regularly for the Lady Elizabeth’s, but prepared at any moment to sell a play to the King’s if he can get a better bargain. Lawsuits and general poverty made him constantly desirous of obtaining small advances from Henslowe, and on one occasion he was in the Clink. In the course of the year he was at work on at least five plays (vide infra), alone or in co-operation now with Tourneur, now with Field, Massinger, and Fletcher. Modern conjectures have assigned him some share in plays of the Beaumont and Fletcher series which there is no external evidence to connect with his name. However this may be, it is clear that, unless his activity in 1613–14 was abnormal, he must have written much of which we know nothing. He is still traceable in connexion with the stage up to 1616, giving a joint bond with Massinger in Aug. 1615, receiving an acquittance of debts through his wife Francisce from Henslowe on his death-bed in Jan. 1616 (Henslowe, ii. 20), and witnessing the agreement between Alleyn and Meade and Prince Charles’s men on the following 20 March. But he must have taken orders by 1618, when he published a sermon, and he became Chancellor of Waterford in 1619, Prebendary of Lismore in 1620, and Dean of Lismore in 1621. On 23 March 1628 he ‘died amphibious by the ministry’ according to The Time Poets (Choice Drollery, 1656, sig. B).


1898–9. A. E. H. Swaen in Anglia, xx. 153; xxi. 373.

Dissertation: R. Boyle, D.’s Share in the Beaumont and Fletcher Plays (1899, E. S. xxvi. 352).


A Christian Turned Turk. 1609 < > 12

S. R. 1612, Feb. 1 (Buck). ‘A booke called A Christian turned Turke, or the tragicall lyffes and deathes of the 2 famous pyrates Ward and Danseker, as it hath bene publiquely acted written by Robert Daborn gent.’ William Barrenger (Arber, iii. 476).

1612. A Christian turn’d Turke: or, The Tragicall Liues and Deaths of the two Famous Pyrates, Ward and Dansiker. As it hath beene publickly Acted. Written by Robert Daborn, Gentleman. For William Barrenger. [Epistle by Daborne to the Reader, Prologue and Epilogue.]

This may, as Fleay, i. 83, says, be a Queen’s Revels play, but he gives no definite proof, and if it is the ‘unwilling error’ apologized for in the epilogue to Mucedorus (1610), it is more likely to proceed from the King’s men. It appears to be indebted to pamphlets on the career of its heroes, printed in 1609. The Epistle explains the publishing of ‘this oppressed and much martird Tragedy, not that I promise to my selfe any reputation hereby, or affect to see my name in Print, vsherd with new praises, for feare the Reader should call in question their iudgements that giue applause in the action; for had this wind moued me, I had preuented others shame in subscribing some of my former labors, or let them gone out in the diuels name alone; which since impudence will not suffer, I am content they passe together; it is then to publish my innocence concerning the wrong of worthy personages, together with doing some right to the much-suffering Actors that hath caused my name to cast it selfe in the common rack of censure’. I do not know why the play should have been ‘martir’d’, but incidentally Daborne seems to be claiming a share in Dekker’s If It be not Good, the Devil is in It (1612).

The Poor Man’s Comfort, c. 1617 (?)

[MS.] Egerton MS. 1994, f. 268.

[Scribal signature ‘By P. Massam’ at end.]

S. R. 1655, June 20. ‘A booke called The Poore Mans comfort, a Tragicomedie written by Robert Dawborne, Mr of Arts.’ John Sweeting (Eyre, i. 486).

1655. The Poor-Mans Comfort. A Tragi-Comedy, As it was diuers times Acted at the Cockpit in Drury Lane with great applause. Written by Robert Dauborne Master of Arts. For Rob: Pollard and John Sweeting. [Prologue, signed ‘Per E. M.’]

The stage-direction to l. 186 is ‘Enter 2 Lords, Sands, Ellis’. Perhaps we have here the names of two actors, Ellis Worth, who was with Anne’s men at the Cockpit in 1617–19, and Gregory Sanderson, who joined the same company before May, 1619. But there is also a James Sands, traceable as a boy of the King’s in 1605. The performances named on the title-page are not necessarily the original ones and the play may have been produced by the Queen’s at the Red Bull, but 1617 is as likely a date as another, and when a courtier says of a poor man’s suit (l. 877) that it is ‘some suit from porters[272] hall, belike not worth begging’, there may conceivably be an allusion to attempts to preserve the Porter’s Hall theatre from destruction in the latter year. In any case, Daborne is not likely to have written the play after he took orders.

Doubtful and Lost Plays

The Henslowe correspondence appears to show Daborne as engaged between 17 April 1613 and 2 April 1614 on the following plays:

(a) Machiavel and the Devil (17 April-c. 25 June 1613), possibly, according to Fleay and Greg, Henslowe, ii. 152, based on the old Machiavel revived by Strange’s men in 1592.

(b) The Arraignment of London, probably identical with The Bellman of London (5 June–9 Dec. 1613), with Cyril Tourneur, possibly, as Greg, Henslowe Papers, 75, suggests, based on Dekker’s tract, The Bellman of London (1608).

(c) An unnamed play with Field, Massinger, and Fletcher, the subject of undated correspondence (Henslowe Papers, 65 and possibly 70, 84) and possibly also of dated letters of July 1613 (H. P. 74).

(d) The Owl (9 Dec. 1613–28 March 1614). A comedy of this name is in Archer’s list of 1656, but Greg, Masques, xcv, thinks that Jonson’s Mask of Owls may be meant.

(e) The She Saint (2 April 1614).

Daborne has been suggested as a contributor to the Cupid’s Revenge, Faithful Friends, Honest Man’s Fortune, Thierry and Theodoret, and later plays of the Beaumont (q.v.) and Fletcher series, and attempts have been made to identify more than one of these with (c) above.

SAMUEL DANIEL (c. 1563–1619).

Daniel was born in Somerset, probably near Taunton, about 1563. His father is said to have been John Daniel, a musician; he certainly had a brother John, of the same profession. In 1579 he entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford, but took no degree. He visited France about January 1585 and sent an account of political affairs from the Rue St. Jacques to Walsingham in the following March (S. P. F. xix. 388). His first work was a translation of the Imprese of Paulus Jovius (1585). In 1586 he served Sir Edward Stafford, the English ambassador in Paris, and as a young man visited Italy. He was domesticated at Wilton, and under the patronage of Mary, Lady Pembroke, wrote his sonnets to Delia, the publication of which, partial in 1591 and complete in 1592, gave him a considerable reputation as a poet. The attempt of Fleay, i. 86, to identify Delia with Elizabeth Carey, daughter of Sir George Carey, afterwards Lord Hunsdon, breaks down. Nashe in The Terrors of the Night (1594, ed. McKerrow, i. 342) calls her a ‘second Delia’, and obviously the first was not, as Fleay suggests, Queen Elizabeth, but the heroine of the sonnets. Delia dwelt on an Avon, but the fact that in 1602 Lord Hunsdon took the waters at Bath does not give him a seat on the Avon there. Lady Pembroke’s Octavia (q.v.) inspired Daniel’s book-drama Cleopatra (1594). Other[273] poems, notably The History of the Civil Wars (1595), followed. Tradition makes Daniel poet laureate after Spenser’s death in 1599. There was probably no such post, but it is clear from verses prefixed to a single copy (B.M.C. 21, 2, 17) of the Works of 1601, which are clearly addressed to Elizabeth, and not, as Grosart, i. 2, says, Anne, that he had some allowance at Court:

I, who by that most blessed hand sustain’d,
In quietnes, do eate the bread of rest.
(Grosart, i. 9.)

Possibly, however, this grant was a little later than 1599. Daniel acted as tutor to Anne Clifford, daughter of the Earl of Cumberland, at Skipton Castle, probably by 1599, when he published his Poetical Essays, which include an Epistle to Lady Cumberland. It might have been either Herbert or Clifford influence which brought him into favour with Lady Bedford and led to his selection as poet for the first Queen’s mask at the Christmas of 1603. No doubt this preference aroused jealousies, and to about this date one may reasonably assign Jonson’s verse-letter to Lady Rutland (The Forest, xii) in which he speaks of his devotion to Lady Bedford:

though she have a better verser got,
(Or Poet, in the court-account), than I,
And who doth me, though I not him envy.

In 1619 Jonson told Drummond that he had answered Daniel’s Defence of Ryme (?1603), that ‘Samuel Daniel was a good honest man, had no children; but no poet’, and that ‘Daniel was at jealousies with him’ (Laing, 1, 2, 10). All this suggests to me a rivalry at the Jacobean, rather than the Elizabethan Court, and I concur in the criticisms of Small, 181, upon the elaborate attempts of Fleay, i. 84, 359, to trace attacks on Daniel in Jonson’s earlier comedies. Fleay makes Daniel Fastidious Brisk in Every Man Out of his Humour, Hedon in Cynthia’s Revels, and alternatively Hermogenes Tigellius and Tibullus in The Poetaster, as well as Emulo in the Patient Grissel of Dekker and others. In most of these equations he is followed by others, notably Penniman, who adds (Poetaster, xxxvii) Matheo in Every Man In his Humour and Gullio in the anonymous 1 Return from Parnassus. For all this the only basis is that Brisk, Matheo, and Gullio imitate or parody Daniel’s poetry. What other poetry, then, would affected young men at the end of the sixteenth century be likely to imitate? Some indirect literary criticism on Daniel may be implied, but this does not constitute the imitators portraits of Daniel. Fleay’s further identifications of Daniel with Littlewit in Bartholomew Fair and Dacus in the Epigrams of Sir John Davies are equally unsatisfactory. To return to biography. In 1604 Daniel, for the first time so far as is known, became connected with the stage, through his appointment as licenser for the Queen’s Revels by their patent of 4 Feb. Collier, New Facts, 47, prints, as preserved at Bridgewater House, two undated letters from Daniel to Sir Thomas Egerton. One, intended to suggest that Shakespeare was a rival candidate for the[274] post in the Queen’s Revels, is a forgery, and this makes it impossible to attach much credit to the other, in which the writer mentions the ‘preferment of my brother’ and that he himself has ‘bene constrayned to live with children’. Moreover, the manuscript was not forthcoming in 1861 (Ingleby, 247, 307). Daniel evidently took a part in the management of the Revels company; the indiscretion of his Philotas did not prevent him from acting as payee for their plays of 1604–5. But his connexion with them probably ceased when Eastward Ho! led, later in 1605, to the withdrawal of Anne’s patronage. The irrepressible Mr. Fleay (i. 110) thinks that they then satirized him as Damoetas in Day’s Isle of Gulls (1606). Daniel wrote one more mask and two pastorals, all for Court performances. By 1607 he was Groom of Anne’s Privy Chamber, and by 1613 Gentleman Extraordinary of the same Chamber. In 1615 his brother John obtained through his influence a patent for the Children of the Queen’s Chamber of Bristol (cf. ch. xii). He is said to have had a wife Justina, who was probably the sister of John Florio, whom he called ‘brother’ in 1611. The suggestion of Bolton Corney (3 N. Q. viii. 4, 40, 52) that this only meant fellow servant of the Queen is not plausible; this relation would have been expressed by ‘fellow’. He had a house in Old Street, but kept up his Somerset connexion, and was buried at Beckington, where he had a farm named Ridge, in Oct. 1619.


1599. The Poeticall Essayes of Sam. Danyel. Newly corrected and augmented. P. Short for Simon Waterson. [Includes Cleopatra.]

1601. The Works of Samuel Daniel Newly Augmented. For Simon Waterson. [Cleopatra.]

1602. [Reissue of 1601 with fresh t.p.]

1605. Certaine Small Poems Lately Printed: with the Tragedie of Philotas. Written by Samuel Daniel. G. Eld for Simon Waterson. [Cleopatra, Philotas.]

1607. Certain Small Workes Heretofore Divulged by Samuel Daniel one of the Groomes of the Queenes Maiesties priuie Chamber, and now againe by him corrected and augmented. I. W. for Simon Waterson. [Two issues. Cleopatra, Philotas, The Queen’s Arcadia.]

1611. Certain Small Workes.... I. L. for Simon Waterson. [Two issues. Cleopatra, Philotas, The Queen’s Arcadia.]

1623. The Whole Workes of Samuel Daniel Esquire in Poetrie. Nicholas Okes for Simon Waterson. [Cleopatra, Philotas, The Queen’s Arcadia, Hymen’s Triumph, The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses. This was edited by John Daniel.]

1635. Drammaticke Poems, written by Samuel Danniell Esquire, one of the Groomes of the most Honorable Privie Chamber to Queene Anne. T. Cotes for John Waterson. [Reissue of 1623 with fresh t.p.]

1718. For R. G. Gosling, W. Mears, J. Browne.

1885–96. The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Samuel Daniel. Edited by A. B. Grosart. 5 vols. [Vol. iii (1885) contains the plays and masks.]



Cleopatra > 1593

S. R. 1593, Oct. 19. ‘A booke intituled The Tragedye of Cleopatra.’ Symond Waterson (Arber, ii. 638).

1594. Delia and Rosamond augmented. Cleopatra. By Samuel Daniel. James Roberts and Edward Allde for Simon Waterson. [Two editions. Verse Epistle to Lady Pembroke.]

1595. James Roberts and Edward Allde for Simon Waterson.

1598. Peter Short for Simon Waterson.

Also in Colls. 1599–1635.

Edition by M. Lederer (1911, Materialien, xxxi).

The play is in the classical manner, with choruses. The Epistle speaks of the play as motived by Lady Pembroke’s ‘well grac’d Antony’; the Apology to Philotas shows that it was not acted. In 1607 it is described as ‘newly altered’, and is in fact largely rewritten, perhaps under the stimulus of the production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. The 1607 text is repeated in 1611, and the Epistle to Lady Pembroke is rewritten. But the text of 1623 is the earlier version again.

Philotas. 1604

S. R. 1604, Nov. 29 (Pasfield). ‘A Booke called the tragedie of Philotus wrytten by Samuel Daniell.’ Waterson and Edward Blunt (Arber, iii. 277).

1605. [Part of Coll. 1605. Verse Epistle to Prince Henry, signed ‘Sam. Dan.’; Apology.]

1607. The Tragedie of Philotas. By Sam. Daniel. Melch. Bradwood for Edward Blount. [Shortened version of Epistle to Henry.]

Also in Colls. 1607–35.

The play is in the classical manner, with choruses. From the Apology, motived by ‘the wrong application and misconceiving’ of it, I extract:

‘Above eight yeares since [1596], meeting with my deare friend D. Lateware, (whose memory I reverence) in his Lords Chamber and mine, I told him the purpose I had for Philotas: who sayd that himselfe had written the same argument, and caused it to be presented in St. John’s Colledge in Oxford; where as I after heard, it was worthily and with great applause performed.... And living in the Country, about foure yeares since, and neere halfe a yeare before the late Tragedy of ours (whereunto this is now most ignorantly resembled) unfortunately fell out heere in England [Sept., 1600], I began the same, and wrote three Acts thereof,—as many to whom I then shewed it can witnesse,—purposing to have had it presented in Bath by certaine Gentlemens sonnes, as a private recreation for the Christmas, before the Shrovetide of that unhappy disorder [Feb. 1601]. But by reason of some occasion then falling out, and being called upon by my Printer for a new impression of my workes, with some additions to the Civill Warres, I intermitted this other subject. Which now lying by mee, and driven by necessity to make use of my pen, and the Stage to bee the mouth of my lines, which before were never heard to speake but in silence, I thought the representing so true a History, in the ancient forme of[276] a Tragedy, could not but have had an unreproveable passage with the time, and the better sort of men; seeing with what idle fictions, and grosse follies, the Stage at this day abused mens recreations.... And for any resemblance, that thorough the ignorance of the History may be applied to the late Earle of Essex, it can hold in no proportion but only in his weaknesses, which I would wish all that love his memory not to revive. And for mine owne part, having beene perticularly beholding to his bounty, I would to God his errors and disobedience to his Sovereigne might be so deepe buried underneath the earth, and in so low a tombe from his other parts, that hee might never be remembered among the examples of disloyalty in this Kingdome, or paraleld with Forreine Conspirators.’

The Apology is fixed by its own data to the autumn of 1604, and the performance was pretty clearly by the Queen’s Revels in the same year. Daniel was called before the Privy Council on account of the play, and used the name of the Earl of Devonshire in his defence. The earl was displeased and a letter of excuse from Daniel is extant (Grosart, i. xxii, from S. P. D. Jac. I, 1603–10, p. 18) in which, after asserting that he had satisfied Lord Cranborne [Robert Cecil], he says:

‘First I tolde the Lordes I had written 3 Acts of this tragedie the Christmas before my L. of Essex troubles, as diuers in the cittie could witnes. I saide the maister of the Revells had pervsed it. I said I had read some parte of it to your honour, and this I said having none els of powre to grace mee now in Corte & hoping that you out of your knowledg of bookes, or fauour of letters & mee, might answere that there is nothing in it disagreeing nor any thing, as I protest there is not, but out of the vniuersall notions of ambition and envie, the perpetuall argumentes of books or tragedies. I did not say you incouraged me vnto the presenting of it; yf I should I had beene a villayne, for that when I shewd it to your honour I was not resolud to haue had it acted, nor should it haue bene had not my necessities ouermaistred mee.’

The Queen’s Arcadia. 1605

S. R. 1605, Nov. 26 (Pasfield). ‘A book called The Quenes Arcadia. Presented by the university of Oxon in Christchurch.’ Waterson (Arber, iii. 305).

1606. The Queenes Arcadia. A Pastorall Trage-comedie presented to her Maiestie and her Ladies, by the Vniuersitie of Oxford in Christs Church, In August last. G. Eld for Simon Waterson. [Dedicatory verses to the Queen.]

See Collections.

The performance was by Christ Church men on 30 Aug. 1605 during the royal visit to Oxford (cf. ch. iv). The original title appears to have been Arcadia Reformed. Chamberlain told Winwood (ii. 140) that the other plays were dull, but Daniel’s ‘made amends for all; being indeed very excelent, and some parts exactly acted’.

Hymen’s Triumph. 1614

[MS.] Drummond MS. in Edinburgh Univ. Library. [Sonnet to Lady Roxborough, signed ‘Samuel Danyel’. The manuscript given to the library by William Drummond of Hawthornden, a kinsman of Lady Roxborough, in 1627, is fully described by W. W. Greg in[277] M. L. Q. vi. 59. It is partly holograph, and represents an earlier state of the text than the quarto of 1615. A letter of 1621 from Drummond to Sir Robert Ker, afterwards Earl of Ancrum, amongst the Lothian MSS. (Hist. MSS. i. 116), expresses an intention of printing what appears to have been the same manuscript.]

S. R. 1615, Jan. 13 (Buck). ‘A play called Hymens triumphes.’ Francis Constable (iii. 561), [The clerk first wrote ‘Hymens pastoralls’.]

1615. Hymens Triumph. A Pastorall Tragicomaedie. Presented at the Queenes Court in the Strand at her Maiesties magnificent intertainement of the Kings most excellent Maiestie, being at the Nuptials of the Lord Roxborough. By Samuel Daniel. For Francis Constable. [Dedicatory verses to the Queen, signed ‘Sam. Daniel’, and Prologue.]

See Collections.

Robert Ker, Lord Roxborough, was married to Jean Drummond, daughter of Patrick, third Lord Drummond, and long a lady of Anne’s household. The wedding was originally fixed for 6 Jan. 1614, and the Queen meant to celebrate it with ‘a masque of maids, if they may be found’ (Birch, i. 279). It was, however, put off until Candlemas, doubtless to avoid competition with Somerset’s wedding, and appears from the dedication also to have served for a house-warming, to which Anne invited James on the completion of some alterations to Somerset House. Finett (Philoxenis, 16), who describes the complications caused by an invitation to the French ambassador, gives the date as 2 Feb., which is in itself the more probable; but John Chamberlain gives 3 Feb., unless there is an error in the dating of the two letters to Carleton, cited by Greg from Addl. MS. 4173, ff. 368, 371, as of 3 and 10 Feb. In the first he writes, ‘This day the Lord of Roxburgh marries Mrs. Jane Drummond at Somerset House, whither the King is invited to lie this night; & shall be entertained with shews & devices, specially a Pastoral, that shall be represented in a little square paved Court’; and in the second, ‘This day sevennight the Lord of Roxburgh married Mrs. Jane Drummond at Somerset House or Queen’s Court (as it must now be called). The King tarried there till Saturday after dinner. The Entertainment was great, & cost the Queen, as she says, above 3000£. The Pastoral made by Samuel Daniel was solemn & dull; but perhaps better to be read than represented.’ Gawdy, 175, also mentions the ‘pastoral’. There is nothing to show who were the performers.

Doubtful Play

Daniel has been suggested as the author of the anonymous Maid’s Metamorphosis.


The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses. 8 Jan. 1604

1604. The true discription of a Royall Masque. Presented at Hampton Court, vpon Sunday night, being the eight of Ianuary, 1604.[278] And Personated by the Queenes most Excellent Majestie, attended by Eleuen Ladies of Honour. Edward Allde.

1604. The Vision of the 12. Goddesses, presented in a Maske the 8 of Ianuary, at Hampton Court: By the Queenes most Excellent Maiestie, and her Ladies. T. C. for Simon Waterson. [A preface to Lucy, Countess of Bedford, is signed by Daniel, who states that the publication was motived by ‘the unmannerly presumption of an indiscreet Printer, who without warrant hath divulged the late shewe ... and the same very disorderly set forth’. Lady Bedford had ‘preferred’ Daniel to the Queen ‘in this imployment’.]

See Collections.

Editions by Nichols, James, i. 305 (1828), E. Law (1880), and H. A. Evans (1897, English Masques).

The maskers, in various colours and with appropriate emblems, were twelve Goddesses, and were attended by torchbearers (cf. Carleton, infra); the presenters, ‘for the introducing this show’, Night, Sleep, Iris, Sibylla, and the Graces; the cornets, Satyrs.

The locality was the Hall at Hampton Court. At the lower end was a mountain, from which the maskers descended, and in which the cornets played; at the upper end the cave of Sleep and, on the left (Carleton), a temple of Peace, in the cupola of which was ‘the consort music’, while viols and lutes were ‘on one side of the hall’.

The maskers presented their emblems, which Sibylla laid upon the altar of the temple. They danced ‘their own measures’, then took out the lords for ‘certain measures, galliards, and corantoes’, and after a ‘short departing dance’ reascended the mountain.

This was a Queen’s mask, danced, according to manuscript notes in a copy of the Allde edition (B.M. 161, a. 41) thought by Mr. Law to be ‘in a hand very like Lord Worcester’s’ (vide infra), and possibly identical with the ‘original MS. of this mask’ from which the same names are given in Collier, i. 347, by the Queen (Pallas), the Countesses of Suffolk (Juno), Hertford (Diana), Bedford (Vesta), Derby (Proserpine), and Nottingham (Concordia), and the Ladies Rich (Venus), Hatton (Macaria), Walsingham (Astraea), Susan Vere (Flora), Dorothy Hastings (Ceres), and Elizabeth Howard (Tethys).

Anticipations of masks at Court during the winter of 1603–4 are to be found in letters to Lord Shrewsbury from Arabella Stuart on 18 Dec. (Bradley, ii. 193), ‘The Queene intendeth to make a Mask this Christmas, to which end my Lady of Suffolk and my Lady Walsingham hath warrants to take of the late Queenes best apparell out of the Tower at theyr discretion. Certain Noblemen (whom I may not yet name to you, because some of them have made me of theyr counsell) intend another. Certain gentlemen of good sort another’; from Cecil on 23 Dec. (Lodge, iii. 81), ‘masks and much more’; and from Sir Thomas Edmondes on 23 Dec. (Lodge, iii. 83):

‘Both the King’s and Queen’s Majesty have a humour to have some masks this Christmas time, and therefore, for that purpose, both the young lords and chief gentlemen of one part, and the Queen and her ladies of the other part, do severally undertake the accomplishment and furnishing[279] thereof; and, because there is use of invention therein, special choice is made of Mr. Sanford to direct the order and course for the ladies’;

also in the letters of Carleton to Chamberlain on 27 Nov. (Birch, i. 24; Hardwicke Papers, i. 383), ‘many plays and shows are bespoken, to give entertainment to our ambassadors’, and 22 Dec. (S. P. D. Jac. I, v. 20; Law, 9):

‘We shall have a merry Christmas at Hampton Court, for both male and female maskes are all ready bespoken, whereof the Duke [of Lennox] is rector chori of th’ one side and the La: Bedford of the other.’

I suppose Mr. Sanford to be Henry Sanford, who, like Daniel, had been of the Wilton household (cf. Aubrey, i. 311) and may well have lent him his aid.

The masks of lords on 1 Jan. and of Scots on 6 Jan. are not preserved. The latter is perhaps most memorable because Ben Jonson and his friend Sir John Roe were thrust out from it by the Lord Chamberlain (cf. ch. vi). Arabella Stuart briefly told Shrewsbury on 10 Jan. that there were three masks (Bradley, ii. 199). Wilbraham’s Journal (Camden Misc. x), 66, records:

‘manie plaies and daunces with swordes: one mask by English and Scottish lords: another by the Queen’s Maiestie and eleven more ladies of her chamber presenting giftes as goddesses. These maskes, especialli the laste, costes 2000 or 3000l, the aparells: rare musick, fine songes: and in jewels most riche 20000l, the lest to my judgment: and her Maiestie 100,000l. After Christmas was running at the ring by the King and 8 or 9 lordes for the honour of those goddesses and then they all feasted together privatelie.’

But the fullest description was given by Carleton to Chamberlain on 15 Jan. (S. P. D. Jac. I, vi. 21, printed by Law, 33, 45; Sullivan, 192).

‘On New yeares night we had a play of Robin goode-fellow and a maske brought in by a magicien of China. There was a heaven built at the lower end of the hall, owt of which our magicien came downe and after he had made a long sleepy speech to the King of the nature of the cuntry from whence he came comparing it with owrs for strength and plenty, he sayde he had broughte in cloudes certain Indian and China Knights to see the magnificency of this court. And theruppon a trauers was drawne and the maskers seen sitting in a voulty place with theyr torchbearers and other lights which was no vnpleasing spectacle. The maskers were brought in by two boyes and two musitiens who began with a song and whilst that went forward they presented themselves to the King. The first gave the King an Impresa in a shield with a sonet in a paper to exprese his deuice and presented a jewell of 40,000£ valew which the King is to buy of Peter Van Lore, but that is more than euery man knew and it made a faire shew to the French Ambassadors eye whose master would have bin well pleased with such a maskers present but not at that prise. The rest in theyr order deliuered theyr scutchins with letters and there was no great stay at any of them saue only at one who was putt to the interpretacion of his deuise. It was a faire horse colt in a faire greene field which he meant to be a colt of Busephalus race and had this virtu of his sire that none could mount him but one as great at lest as Alexander. The King made himself merry with threatening to send this colt to the stable and he could not breake loose till he promised to dance as well as Bankes his horse. The first measure was full of changes and seemed confused but was well gone[280] through with all, and for the ordinary measures they tooke out the Queen, the ladies of Derby, Harford, Suffolke, Bedford, Susan Vere, Suthwell th’ elder and Rich. In the corantoes they ran over some other of the young ladies, and so ended as they began with a song; and that done, the magicien dissolved his enchantment, and made the maskers appear in theyr likenes to be th’ Erle of Pembroke, the Duke, Monsr. d’Aubigny, yong Somerset, Philip Harbert the young Bucephal, James Hayes, Richard Preston, and Sir Henry Godier. Theyr attire was rich but somewhat too heavy and cumbersome for dancers which putt them besides ther galliardes. They had loose robes of crimsen sattin embrodered with gold and bordered with brood siluer laces, dublets and bases of cloth of siluer; buskins, swordes and hatts alike and in theyr hats ech of them an Indian bird for a fether with some jewells. The twelfe-day the French Ambassador was feasted publikely; and at night there was a play in the Queens presence with a masquerado of certaine Scotchmen who came in with a sword dance not vnlike a matachin, and performed it clenly.... The Sunday following was the great day of the Queenes maske.’

This Carleton describes at length; I only note points which supplement Daniel’s description.

‘The Hale was so much lessened by the workes that were in it, so as none could be admitted but men of apparance, the one end was made into a rock and in several places the waightes placed; in attire like savages. Through the midst from the top came a winding stayre of breadth for three to march; and so descended the maskers by three and three; which being all seene on the stayres at once was the best presentacion I have at any time seene. Theyre attire was alike, loose mantles and petticotes but of different colors, the stuffs embrodered sattins and cloth of gold and silver, for which they were beholding to Queen Elizabeth’s wardrobe.... Only Pallas had a trick by herself for her clothes were not so much below the knee, but that we might see a woman had both feete and legs which I never knew before.’

He describes the torchbearers as pages in white satin loose gowns, although Daniel says they were ‘in the like several colours’ to the maskers. The temple was ‘on the left side of the hall towards the upper end’. For the ‘common measures’ the lords taken out were Pembroke, Lennox, Suffolk, Henry Howard, Southampton, Devonshire, Sidney, Nottingham, Monteagle, Northumberland, Knollys, and Worcester.

‘For galliardes and corantoes they went by discretion, and the yong Prince was tost from hand to hand like a tennis bal. The Lady Bedford and Lady Susan tooke owt the two ambassadors; and they bestirred themselfe very liuely: speceally the Spaniard for the Spanish galliard shewed himself a lusty old reueller.... But of all for goode grace and goode footmanship Pallas bare the bell away.’

The dancers unmasked about midnight, and then came a banquet in the presence-chamber, ‘which was dispatched with the accustomed confusion’.

Carleton also mentions the trouble between the Spanish and French ambassadors, which is also referred to in a letter of O. Renzo to G. A. Frederico (S. P. D. Jac. I, vi. 37; cf. Sullivan, 195), and is the subject of several dispatches by and to the Comte de Beaumont[281] (King’s MSS. cxxiv, ff. 328, 359v, 363, 373, 381, 383v, 389; cf. Reyher, 519, Sullivan, 193–5). was the object of the Court not to invite both ambassadors together, as this would entail an awkward decision as to precedence. Beaumont was asked first, to the mask on 1 Jan. He hesitated to accept, expressing a fear that it was intended to ask De Taxis to the Queen’s mask on Twelfth Night, ‘dernier jour des festes de Noël selon la facon d’Angleterre et le plus honnorable de tout pour la cérémonie qui s’y obserue de tout temps publiquement’. After some negotiation he extracted a promise from James that, if the Spaniard was present at all, it would be in a private capacity, and he then dropped the point, and accepted his own invitation, threatening to kill De Taxis in the presence if he dared to dispute precedence with him. On 5 Jan. he learnt that Anne had refused to dance if De Taxis was not present, and that the promise would be broken. He protested, and his protest was met by an invitation for the Twelfth Night to which he had attached such importance. But the Queen’s mask was put off until 8 Jan., a Scottish mask substituted on 6 Jan., and on 8 Jan. De Taxis was present, revelling it in red, while Anne paid him the compliment of wearing a red favour on her costume.

Reyher, 519, cites references to the Queen’s mask in the accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber and of the Office of Works. E. Law (Hist. of Hampton Court, ii. 10) gives, presumably from one of these, ‘making readie the lower ende with certain roomes of the hall at Hampton Court for the Queenes Maiestie and ladies against their mask by the space of three dayes’.

Allde’s edition must have been quickly printed. On 2 Feb. Lord Worcester wrote to Lord Shrewsbury (Lodge, iii. 87): ‘Whereas your Lordship saith you were never particularly advertised of the mask, I have been at sixpence charge with you to send you the book, which will inform you better than I can, having noted the names of the ladies applied to each goddess; and for the other, I would likewise have sent you the ballet, if I could have got it for money, but these books, as I hear, are all called in, and in truth I will not take upon me to set that down which wiser than myself do not understand.’

Tethys’ Festival. 5 June 1610

1610. Tethys Festiual: or the Queenes Wake. Celebrated at Whitehall, the fifth day of June 1610. Deuised by Samuel Daniel, one of the Groomes of her Maiesties most Honourable priuie Chamber. For John Budge. [Annexed with separate title-page to The Creation of Henry Prince of Wales (q.v.). A Preface to the Reader criticizes, though not by name, Ben Jonson’s descriptions of his masks.]

Edition in Nichols, James (1828), ii. 346.

The maskers, in sky-blue and cloth of silver, were Tethys and thirteen Nymphs of as many English Rivers; the antimaskers, in light robes adorned with flowers, eight Naiads; the presenters Zephyrus and two Tritons, whom with the Naiads Daniel calls ‘the Ante-maske or first shew’, and Mercury. Torchbearers were dispensed with, for[282] ‘they would have pestered the roome, which the season would not well permit’.

The locality was probably the Banqueting Room at Whitehall. The scene was supplemented by a Tree of Victory on a mount to the right of ‘the state’. A ‘travers’ representing a cloud served for a curtain, and was drawn to discover, within a framework borne on pilasters, in front of which stood Neptune and Nereus on pedestals, a haven, whence the ‘Ante-maske’ issued. They presented on behalf of Tethys a trident to the King, and a sword and scarf to Henry, and the Naiads danced round Zephyrus. The scene was then changed, under cover of three circles of moving lights and glasses, to show five niches, of which the central one represented a throne for Tethys, with Thames at her feet, and the others four caverns, each containing three Nymphs.

The maskers marched to the Tree of Victory, at which they offered their flowers, and under which Tethys reposed between the dances. Of these they gave two; then took out the Lords for ‘measures, corantos, and galliardes’; and then gave their ‘retyring daunce’. Apparently as an innovation, ‘to avoid the confusion which usually attendeth the desolve of these shewes’, the presenters stayed the dissolve, and Mercury sent the Duke of York and six young noblemen to conduct the Queen and ladies back ‘in their owne forme’.

This was a Queen’s mask, and Daniel notes ‘that there were none of inferior sort mixed among these great personages of state and honour (as usually there have been); but all was performed by themselves with a due reservation of their dignity. The maskers were the Queen (Tethys), the Lady Elizabeth (Thames), Lady Arabella Stuart (Trent), the Countesses of Arundel (Arun), Derby (Darwent), Essex (Lee), Dorset (Air), and Montgomery (Severn), Viscountess Haddington (Rother), and the Ladies Elizabeth Gray (Medway), Elizabeth Guilford (Dulesse), Katherine Petre (Olwy), Winter (Wye), and Windsor (Usk). The antimaskers were ‘eight little Ladies’. The Duke of York played Zephyrus, and two gentlemen ‘of good worth and respect’ the Tritons. ‘The artificiall part’, says Daniel, ‘only speakes Master Inago Jones.’

On 13 Jan. 1610 Chamberlain wrote to Winwood (iii. 117, misdated ‘February’) that ‘the Queen would likewise have a mask against Candlemas or Shrovetide’. Doubtless it was deferred to the Creation, for which on 24 May the same writer (Winwood, iii. 175) mentions Anne as preparing and practising a mask. Winwood’s papers (iii. 179) also contain a description, unsigned, but believed by their editor to be written by John Finett, as follows:

‘The next day was graced with a most glorious Maske, which was double. In the first, came first in the little Duke of Yorke between two great Sea Slaves, the cheefest of Neptune’s servants, attended upon by twelve [eight] little Ladies, all of them the daughters of Earls or Barons. By one of these men a speech was made unto the King and Prince, expressing the conceipt of the maske; by the other a sword worth 20,000 crowns at the least was put into the Duke of York’s hands, who presented the same unto the Prince his brother from the first of those ladies which were to follow in the next maske. This done, the Duke returned into his former[283] place in midst of the stage, and the little ladies performed their dance to the amazement of all the beholders, considering the tenderness of their years and the many intricate changes of the dance; which was so disposed, that which way soever the changes went the little Duke was still found to be in the midst of these little dancers. These light skirmishers having done their devoir, in came the Princesses; first the Queen, next the Lady Elizabeth’s Grace, then the Lady Arbella, the Countesses of Arundell, Derby, Essex, Dorset, and Montgomery, the Lady Hadington, the Lady Elizabeth Grey, the Lady Windsor, the Lady Katherine Peter, the Lady Elizabeth Guilford, and the Lady Mary [Anne] Wintour. By that time these had done, it was high time to go to bed, for it was within half an hour of the sun’s, not setting, but rising. Howbeit, a farther time was to be spent in viewing and scrambling at one of the most magnificent banquets that I have seen. The ambassadors of Spaine, of Venice, and of the Low Countries were present at this and all the rest of these glorious sights, and in truth so they were.’

Brief notices in Stowe’s Annales (902, paged 907 in error) and in letters by Carleton to Sir Thomas Edmondes (Birch, i. 114) and by John Noies to his wife (Hist. MSS. Various Colls. iii. 261) add nothing to Finett’s account. There were no very serious ambassadorial complications, as the death of Henri IV put an invitation to the French ambassador out of the question (cf. Sullivan, 59). Correr notes with satisfaction that, as ambassador from Venice, he had as good a box as that of the Spanish ambassador, while, to please Spanish susceptibilities, that of the Dutch ambassador was less good (V. P. xi. 507).

The mask was ‘excessively costly’ (V. P. xii. 86). Several financial documents relating to it are on record (Reyher, 507, 521; Devon, 105, 127; Sullivan, 219, 221; S. P. D. Jac. I, liii. 4, 74; lix. 12), including a warrant of 4 March, which recites the Queen’s pleasure that the Lord Chamberlain and Master of the Horse ‘shall take some paines to look into the emptions and provisions of all things necessarie’, another of 25 May for an imprest to Inigo Jones, an embroiderer’s bill for £55, and a silkman’s for £1,071 5s., with an endorsement by Lord Knyvet, referring the prices to the Privy Council, and counter-signatures by the Lord Chamberlain and the Master of the Horse. In this case the dresses of the maskers seem to have been provided for them. An allusion in a letter of Donne to Sir Henry Goodyere (Letters, i. 240) makes a sportive suggestion for a source of revenue ‘if Mr. Inago Jones be not satisfied for his last masque (because I hear say it cannot come to much)’.

JOHN DAVIDSON (1549?-1603).

A Regent of St. Leonard’s College, St. Andrew’s, and afterwards minister of Liberton and a bitter satirist on behalf of the extreme Kirk party in Scotland.

The Siege of Edinburgh Castle. 1571

James Melville writes s.a. 1571: ‘This yeir in the monethe of July, Mr. Jhone Davidsone an of our Regents maid a play at the mariage of Mr. Jhone Coluin, quhilk I saw playit in Mr. Knox presence, wherin,[284] according to Mr. Knox doctrine, the castell of Edinbruche was besiged, takin, and the Captan, with an or two with him, hangit in effigie.’[656]

This was in intelligent anticipation of events. Edinburgh Castle was held by Kirkcaldy of Grange for Mary in 1571. On 28 May 1573 it was taken by the English on behalf of the party of James VI, and Kirkcaldy was hanged.

Melville also records plays at the ‘Bachelor Act’ of 1573 at St. Andrews.

SIR JOHN DAVIES (1569–1626).

Davies was a Winchester and Queen’s College, Oxford, man, who entered the Middle Temple on 3 Feb. 1588, served successively as Solicitor-General (1603–6) and Attorney-General (1606–19) in Ireland, and was Speaker of the Irish Parliament in 1613. His principal poems are Orchestra (1594) and Nosce Teipsum (1599). He was invited by the Earl of Cumberland (q.v.) to write verses for ‘barriers’ in 1601, and contributed to the entertainments of Elizabeth by Sir Thomas Egerton (cf. ch. xxiv) and Sir Robert Cecil (q.v.) in 1602.


Works by A. B. Grosart (1869–76, Fuller Worthies Library. 3 vols.).

Poems by A. B. Grosart (1876, Early English Poets. 2 vols.).

Dissertation: M. Seemann, Sir J. D., sein Leben und seine Werke (1913, Wiener Beiträge, xli).

R. DAVIES (c. 1610).

Contributor to Chester’s Triumph (cf. ch. xxiv, C).

FRANCIS DAVISON (c. 1575–c. 1619).

He was son of William Davison, Secretary of State, and compiler of A Poetical Rapsody (1602), of which the best edition is that of A. H. Bullen (1890–1). He entered Gray’s Inn in 1593: for his contribution to the Gray’s Inn mask of 1595, see s.v. Anon. Gesta Grayorum.

JOHN DAY (c. 1574–c. 1640).

Day was described as son of Walter Dey, husbandman, of Cawston, Norfolk, when at the age of eighteen he became a sizar of Gonville and Caius, Cambridge, on 24 Oct. 1592; on 4 May 1593 he was expelled for stealing a book (Venn, Caius, i. 146). He next appears in Henslowe’s diary, first as selling an old play for the Admiral’s in July 1598, and then as writing busily for that company in 1599–1603 and for Worcester’s in 1602–3. Most of this work was in collaboration, occasionally with Dekker, frequently with Chettle, Hathway, Haughton, or Smith. From this period little or nothing survives except The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green. Greg, Henslowe Papers, 126, doubts whether an acrostic on Thomas Downton signed ‘John Daye’, contributed by J. F. Herbert to Sh. Soc. Papers, i. 19, and now at Dulwich, is to be ascribed to the dramatist. Day’s independent plays, written about[285] 1604–8, and his Parliament of Bees are of finer literary quality than this early record would suggest. But Ben Jonson classed him to Drummond in 1619 amongst the ‘rogues’ and ‘base fellows’ who were ‘not of the number of the faithfull, i.e. Poets’ (Laing, 4, 11). He must have lived long, as John Tatham, who included an elegy on him as his ‘loving friend’ in his Fancies Theater (1640), was then only about twenty-eight. He appears to have been still writing plays in 1623, but there is no trace of any substantial body of work after 1608. Fleay, i. 115, suggests from the tone of his manuscript pamphlet Peregrinatio Scholastica that he took orders.


1881. A. H. Bullen, The Works of John Day.

The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green. 1600

S. R. 1657, Sept. 14. ‘A booke called The pleasant history of the blind beggar of Bednall Greene, declaring his life and death &c.’ Francis Grove (Eyre, ii. 145).

1659. The Blind Beggar of Bednal-Green, with The merry humor of Tom Strowd the Norfolk Yeoman, as it was divers times publickly acted by the Princes Servants. Written by John Day. For R. Pollard and Tho. Dring.

Editions by W. Bang (1902, Materialien, i) and J. S. Farmer (1914, S. F. T.).

The Prince’s men of the title are probably the later Prince Charles’s (1631–41), but these were the ultimate successors of Prince Henry’s, formerly the Admiral’s, who produced, between May 1600 and Sept. 1601, three parts of a play called indifferently by Henslowe The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green and Thomas Strowd. Payments were made for the first part to Day and Chettle and for the other two to Day and Haughton. On the assumption that the extant play is Part i, Bullen, Introd. 8 and Fleay, i. 107, make divergent suggestions as to the division of responsibility between Day and Chettle. At l. 2177 is the s.d. ‘Enter Captain Westford, Sill Clark’; probably the performance in which this actor took part was a Caroline one.

Law Tricks, or Who Would Have Thought It. 1604

S. R. 1608, March 28 (Buck). ‘A booke called A most wytty and merry conceited comedie called who would a thought it or Lawetrykes.’ Richard Moore (Arber, iii. 372).

1608. Law-Trickes or, who would have Thought it. As it hath bene diuers times Acted by the Children of the Reuels. Written by John Day. For Richard More. [Epistle by the Book to the Reader; Epilogue.]

The name given to the company suggests that the play was on the stage in 1605–6. But I think the original production must have been in 1604, as the dispute between Westminster and Winchester for ‘terms’, in which Winchester is said to have been successful, ‘on Saint Lukes day, coming shalbe a twelue-month’ (ed. Bullen, p. 61)[286] can only refer to the term held at Winchester in 1603. An inundation in July is also mentioned (p. 61), and Stowe, Annales (1615), 844, has a corresponding record for 1604, but gives the day as 3 Aug.

The Isle of Gulls. 1606

1606. The Ile of Guls. As it hath been often playd in the blacke Fryars, by the Children of the Reuels. Written by Iohn Day. Sold by John Hodgets. [Induction and Prologue.]

1606. For John Trundle, sold by John Hodgets.

1633. For William Sheares.

The play is thus referred to by Sir Edward Hoby in a letter of 7 March 1606 to Sir Thomas Edmondes (Birch, i. 59): ‘At this time (c. 15 Feb.) was much speech of a play in the Black Friars, where, in the “Isle of Gulls”, from the highest to the lowest, all men’s parts were acted of two divers nations: as I understand sundry were committed to Bridewell.’ A passage in iv. 4 (Bullen, p. 91), probably written with Eastward Ho! in mind, refers to the ‘libelling’ ascribed to poets by ‘some Dor’ and ‘false informers’; and the Induction defends the play itself against the charge that a ‘great mans life’ is ‘charactred’ in Damoetas. Nevertheless, Damoetas, the royal favourite, ‘a little hillock made great with others ruines’ (p. 13) inevitably suggests Sir Robert Carr, and Fleay, i. 109, points out that the ‘Duke’ and ‘Duchess’ of the dramatis personae have been substituted for a ‘King’ and ‘Queen’. It may not be possible now to verify all the men whose ‘parts’ were acted; evidently the Arcadians and Lacedaemonians stand for the two ‘nations’ of English and Scotch. I do not see any ground for Fleay’s attempt to treat the play, not as a political, but as a literary satire, identifying Damoetas with Daniel, and tracing allusions to Jonson, Marston, and Chapman in the Induction. Hoby’s indication of date is confirmed by references to the ‘Eastward, Westward or Northward hoe’ (p. 3; cf. s.vv. Chapman, Dekker), to the quartering for treason on 30 Jan. 1606 (pp. 3, 51), and conceivably to Jonson’s Volpone of 1605 or early 1606 (p. 88, ‘you wil ha my humor brought ath stage for a vserer’).

The Travels of Three English Brothers. 1607

S. R. 1607, June 29 (Buck). ‘A playe called the trauailles of the Three Englishe brothers as yt was played at the Curten.’ John Wright (Arber, iii. 354).

1607. The Travailes of The three English Brothers.

Sir Thomas
Sir Anthony
Mr. Robert
big right bracket Shirley.

As it is now play’d by her Maiesties Seruants. For John Wright. [Epistle to the Family of the Sherleys, signed ‘Iohn Day, William Rowley, George Wilkins’, Prologue and Epilogue.]

The source was a pamphlet on the Sherleys by A. Nixon (S. R. 8 June 1607) and the play seems to have been still on the stage when it was printed. Some suggestions as to the division of authorship are in[287] Fleay, ii. 277, Bullen, Introd. 19, and C. W. Stork, William Rowley, 57. A scene at Venice (Bullen, p. 55) introduces Will Kempe, who mentions Vennar’s England’s Joy (1602), and prepares to play an ‘extemporall merriment’ with an Italian Harlaken. He has come from England with a boy. The Epilogue refers to ‘some that fill up this round circumference’.

Humour out of Breath. 1607–8

S. R. 1608, April 12 (Buck). ‘A booke called Humour out of breathe.’ John Helme (Arber, iii. 374).

1608. Humour out of breath. A Comedie Diuers times latelie acted, By the Children Of The Kings Reuells. Written by Iohn Day. For John Helme. [Epistle to Signior Nobody, signed ‘Iohn Daye’.]

Editions by J. O. Halliwell (1860), A. Symons in Nero and Other Plays (1888, Mermaid Series).

The date must be taken as 1607–8, since the King’s Revels are not traceable before 1607. Fleay, i. 111, notes a reference in iii. 4 to the ‘great frost’ of that Christmas. The Epistle speaks of the play as ‘sufficiently featur’d too, had it been all of one man’s getting’, which may be a hint of divided authorship.

The Parliament of Bees. 1608 < > 16

[MS.] Lansdowne MS. 725, with title. ‘An olde manuscript conteyning the Parliament of Bees, found in a Hollow Tree in a garden at Hibla, in a Strange Languadge, And now faithfully Translated into Easie English Verse by John Daye, Cantabridg.’ [Epistles to William Augustine, signed ‘John Day, Cant.’ and to the Reader, signed ‘Jo: Daye’.]

S. R. 1641, March 23 (Hansley). ‘A booke called The Parliamt of Bees, &c., by John Day.’ Will Ley (Eyre, i. 17).

1641. The Parliament of Bees, With their proper Characters. Or A Bee-hive furnisht with twelve Honycombes, as Pleasant as Profitable. Being an Allegoricall description of the actions of good and bad men in these our daies. By John Daye, Sometimes Student of Caius Colledge in Cambridge. For William Lee. [Epistle to George Butler, signed ‘John Day’, The Author’s Commission to his Bees, similarly signed, and The Book to the Reader. The text varies considerably from that of the manuscript.]

Edition by A. Symons in Nero and Other Plays (1888, Mermaid Series).

This is neither a play nor a mask, but a set of twelve short ‘Characters’ or ‘Colloquies’ in dialogue. The existence of an edition of 1607 is asserted in Gildon’s abridgement (1699) of Langbaine, but cannot be verified, and is most improbable, since the manuscript Epistle refers to an earlier work already dedicated by Day, as ‘an unknowing venturer’, to Augustine, and this must surely be the allegorical treatise Peregrinatio Scholastica printed by Bullen (Introd. 35) from Sloane MS. 3150 with an Epistle by Day to William Austin, who may reasonably be identified with Augustine. But the Peregrinatio, although Day’s[288] first venture in dedication, was not a very early work, for Day admits that ‘I boast not that gaudie spring of credit and youthfull florish of opinion as some other filde in the same rancke with me’. Moreover, it describes (p. 50) an ‘ante-maske’, and this term, so far as we know, first came into use about 1608 (cf. ch. vi). The Bees therefore must be later still. On the other hand, it can hardly be later than about 1616, when died Philip Henslowe, whom it is impossible to resist seeing with Fleay, i. 115, in the Fenerator or Usuring Bee (p. 63). Like Henslowe he is a ‘broaker’ and ‘takes up’ clothes; and

Most of the timber that his state repairs,
He hew’s out o’ the bones of foundred players:
They feed on Poets braines, he eats their breath.

Now of the twelve Characters of the Bees, five (2, 3, 7, 8, 9) are reproduced, in many parts verbatim, subject to an alteration of names, in The Wonder of a Kingdom, printed as Dekker’s (q.v.) in 1636, but probably identical with Come See a Wonder, licensed by Herbert as Day’s in 1623. Two others (4, 5) are similarly reproduced in The Noble Soldier, printed in 1634 under the initials ‘S. R.’, probably indicating Samuel Rowley, but possibly also containing work by Dekker. The precise relation of Day to these plays is indeterminate, but the scenes more obviously ‘belong’ to the Bees than to the plays, and if the Bees was written but not printed in 1608–16, the chances are that Day used it as a quarry of material when he was called upon to work, as reviser or collaborator, on the plays. Meanwhile, Austin, if he was the Southwark and Lincoln’s Inn writer of that name (D. N. B.), died in 1634, and when the Bees was ultimately printed in 1641 a new dedicatee had to be found.

Lost and Doubtful Plays

For the Admiral’s, 1598–1603.

Day appears to have sold the company an old play 1 The Conquest of Brute in July 1598, and to have subsequently written or collaborated in the following plays:

1599–1600: Cox of Collumpton, with Haughton; Thomas Merry, or Beech’s Tragedy, with Haughton; The Seven Wise Masters, with Chettle, Dekker, and Haughton; Cupid and Psyche, with Chettle and Dekker; 1 Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, with Chettle; and the unfinished Spanish Moor’s Tragedy, with Dekker and Haughton.

1600–1: 2 Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, with Haughton; Six Yeomen of the West, with Haughton.

1601–2: The Conquest of the West Indies, with Haughton and Smith; 3 Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, with Haughton; Friar Rush and The Proud Woman of Antwerp, with Chettle and Haughton; The Bristol Tragedy; and the unfinished 2 Tom Dough, with Haughton.

1602–3: Merry as May Be, with Hathway and Smith; The Boss of Billingsgate, with Hathway and another.

For Worcester’s men.

1602–3: 1 and 2 The Black Dog of Newgate, with Hathway, Smith,[289] and another; The Unfortunate General, with Hathway, Smith, and a third; and the unfinished Shore, with Chettle.

Of the above only The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green and a note of Cox of Collumpton (cf. ch. xiii, s.v. Admiral’s) survive; for speculations as to others see Heywood, Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas (Cupid and Psyche), Marlowe, Lust’s Dominion (Spanish Moor’s Tragedy), Yarington, Two Lamentable Tragedies (Thomas Merry), and the anonymous Edward IV (Shore) and Fair Maid of Bristol (Bristow Tragedy).

Henslowe’s correspondence (Henslowe Papers, 56, 127) contains notes from Day and others about some of the Admiral’s plays and a few lines which may be from The Conquest of the Indies.

Day’s Mad Pranks of Merry Mall of the Bankside (S. R. 7 Aug. 1610) was probably a pamphlet (cf. Dekker, The Roaring Girl). Bullen, Introd. 11, thinks the Guy Earl of Warwick (1661), printed as ‘by B. J.’, too bad to be Day and Dekker’s Life and Death of Guy of Warwick (S. R. 15 Jan. 1620). On 30 July 1623 Herbert licensed a Bellman of Paris by Day and Dekker for the Prince’s (Herbert, 24). The Maiden’s Holiday by Marlowe (q.v.) and Day (S. R. 8 April 1654) appears in Warburton’s list of burnt plays (3 Library, ii. 231) as Marlowe’s.

For other ascriptions to Day see The Maid’s Metamorphosis and Parnassus in ch. xxiv.

THOMAS DEKKER (c. 1572–c. 1632).

Thomas Dekker was of London origin, but though the name occurs in Southwark, Cripplegate, and Bishopsgate records, neither his parentage nor his marriage, if he was married, can be definitely traced. He was not unlettered, but nothing is known of his education, and the conjecture that he trailed a pike in the Netherlands is merely based on his acquaintance with war and with Dutch. The Epistle to his English Villanies, with its reference to ‘my three score years’, first appeared in the edition of 1632; he was therefore born about 1572. He first emerges, in Henslowe’s diary, as a playwright for the Admiral’s in 1598, and may very well have been working for them during 1594–8, a period for which Henslowe records plays only and not authors. The further conjecture of Fleay, i. 119, that this employment went as far back as 1588–91 is hazardous, and in fact led Fleay to put his birth-date as far back as 1567. It was based on the fact that the German repertories of 1620 and 1626 contain traces of his work, and on Fleay’s erroneous belief (cf. ch. xiv) that all the plays in these repertories were taken to Germany by Robert Browne as early as 1592. But it is smiled upon by Greg (Henslowe, ii. 256) as regards The Virgin Martyr alone. Between 1598 and 1602 Dekker wrote busily, and as a rule in collaboration, first for the Admiral’s at the Rose and Fortune, and afterwards for Worcester’s at the Rose. He had a hand in some forty-four plays, of which, in anything like their original form, only half a dozen survive. Satiromastix, written for the Chamberlain’s men and the Paul’s boys in 1601, shows that his activities were not limited to the Henslowe companies. This[290] intervention in the Poetomachia led Jonson to portray him as Demetrius Fannius ‘the dresser of plays’ in The Poetaster; that he is also Thersites in Troilus and Cressida is a not very plausible conjecture. Long after, in 1619, Jonson classed him among the ‘rogues’ (Laing, 4). In 1604, however, he shared with Jonson the responsibility for the London devices at James’s coronation entry. About this time began his career as a writer of popular pamphlets, in which he proved the most effective successor of Thomas Nashe. These, and in particular The Gull’s Hornbook (1609), are full of touches drawn from his experience as a dramatist. Nor did he wholly desert the stage, collaborating with Middleton for the Prince’s and with Webster for Paul’s, and writing also, apparently alone, for the Queen’s. In 1612 he devised the Lord Mayor’s pageant. In 1613 he fell upon evil days. He had always been impecunious, and Henslowe (i. 83, 101, 161) had lent him money to discharge him from the Counter in 1598 and from an arrest by the Chamberlain’s in 1599. Now he fell into the King’s Bench for debt, and apparently lay there until 1619. The relationship of his later work to that of Ford, Massinger, Day, and others, lies rather beyond the scope of this inquiry, but in view of the persistent attempts to find early elements in all his plays, I have made my list comprehensive. He is not traceable after 1632, and is probably the Thomas Decker, householder, buried at St. James’s, Clerkenwell, on 25 Aug. 1632. A Clerkenwell recusant of this name is recorded in 1626 and 1628 (Middlesex County Records, iii. 12, 19).


1873. [R. H. Shepherd], The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker. 4 vols. (Pearson Reprints). [Contains 15 plays and 4 Entertainments.]

1884–6. A. B. Grosart, The Non-Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker. 5 vols. (Huth Library). [Contains nearly all the pamphlets, with Patient Grissell. A better edition of The Gull’s Hornbook is that by R. B. McKerrow (1904); a chapter is in App. H.]

1887. E. Rhys, Thomas Dekker (Mermaid Series). [Contains The Shoemaker’s Holiday, 1, 2 The Honest Whore, Old Fortunatus, The Witch of Edmonton.]

Dissertations: M. L. Hunt, Thomas Dekker: A Study (1911, Columbia Studies in English); W. Bang, Dekker-Studien (1900, E. S. xxviii. 208); F. E. Pierce, The Collaboration of Webster with Dekker (1909, Yale Studies, xxxvii) and The Collaboration of Dekker and Ford (1912, Anglia, xxxvi, 141, 289); E. E. Stoll, John Webster (1905), ch. ii, and The Influence of Jonson on Dekker (1906, M. L. N. xxi. 20); R. Brooke, John Webster and the Elizabethan Drama (1916); F. P. Wilson, Three Notes on Thomas Dekker (1920, M. L. R. xv. 82).


Old Fortunatus. 1599

S. R. 1600, Feb. 20. ‘A commedie called old Fortunatus in his newe lyuerie.’ William Aspley (Arber, iii. 156).


1600. The Pleasant Comedie of Old Fortunatus. As it was plaied before the Queenes Maiestie this Christmas, by the Right Honourable the Earle of Nottingham, Lord high Admirall of England his Seruants. S. S. for William Aspley. [Prologue at Court, another Prologue, and Epilogue at Court; signed at end Tho. Dekker.]

Editions by Dilke (1814, O. E. P. iii), H. Scherer (1901, Münchener Beiträge, xxi), O. Smeaton (1904, T. D.).

The Admiral’s revived, from 3 Feb. to 26 May 1596, ‘the 1 parte of Forteunatus’. Nothing is heard of a second part, but during 9–30 Nov. 1599 Dekker received £6 on account of the Admiral’s for ‘the hole history of Fortunatus’, followed on 1 Dec. by £1 for altering the book and on 12 Dec. £2 ‘for the eande of Fortewnatus for the corte’. The company were at Court on 27 Dec. 1599 and 1 Jan. 1600. The Shoemaker’s Holiday was played on 1 Jan.; Fortunatus therefore on 27 Dec. The Prologue (l. 21) makes it ‘a iust yeere’ since the speaker saw the Queen, presumably on 27 Dec. 1598. The S. R. entry suggests that the 1599 play was a revision of the 1596 one. Probably Dekker boiled the old two parts down into one play; the juncture may, as suggested by Fleay, i. 126, and Greg (Henslowe, ii. 179), come about l. 1315. The Court additions clearly include, besides the Prologue and the Epilogue with its reference to Elizabeth’s forty-second regnal year (1599–1600), the compliment of ll. 2799–834 at the ‘eande’ of the play. The ‘small circumference’ of the theatrical prologue was doubtless the Rose. Dekker may or may not have been the original author of the two-part play; probably he was not, if Fleay is right in assigning it to c. 1590 on the strength of the allusions to the Marprelate controversy left in the 1600 text, e.g. l. 59. I should not wonder if Greene, who called his son Fortunatus, were the original author. A Fortunatus play is traceable in German repertories of 1608 and 1626 and an extant version in the collection of 1620 owes something to Dekker’s (Herz, 97; cf. P. Harms, Die deutschen Fortunatus-Dramen in Theatergeschichtliche Forschungen, v). But Dekker’s own source, directly or indirectly, was a German folk-tale, which had been dramatized by Hans Sachs as early as 1553.

The Shoemaker’s Holiday. 1599

S. R. 1610, April 19. Transfer from Simmes to J. Wright of ‘A booke called the shoomakers holyday or the gentle crafte’ subject to an agreement for Simmes to ‘haue the workmanshipp of the printinge thereof for the vse of the sayd John Wrighte duringe his lyfe, yf he haue a printinge house of his owne’ (Arber, iii. 431).

1600. The Shomakers Holiday. Or The Gentle Craft. With the humorous life of Simon Eyre, shoomaker, and Lord Maior of London. As it was acted before the Queenes most excellent Maiestie on New yeares day at night last, by the right honourable the Earle of Notingham, Lord high Admirall of England, his seruants. Valentine Simmes. [Epistle to Professors of the Gentle Craft and Prologue before the Queen.]

1610, 1618, 1624, 1631, 1657.


Editions by E. Fritsche (1862), K. Warnke and E. Proescholdt (1886), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.), and A. F. Lange (1914, R. E. C. iii).

Henslowe advanced £3 ‘to bye a boocke called the gentle Craft of Thomas Dickers’ on 15 July 1599. Probably the hiatus in the Diary conceals other payments for the play, and there is nothing in the form of the entry to justify the suspicions of Fleay, i. 124, that it was not new and was not by Dekker himself. Moreover, the source was a prose tract of The Gentle Craft by T. D[eloney], published in 1598. The Admiral’s were at Court on 1 Jan. 1600, but not on 1 Jan. 1601. A writer signing himself Dramaticus, in Sh. Soc. Papers, iv. 110, describes a copy in which a contemporary hand has written the names ‘T. Dekker, R. Wilson’ at the end of the Epistle, together with the names of the actors in the margin of the text. A few of these are not otherwise traceable in the Admiral’s. Fleay and Greg (Henslowe, ii. 203) unite in condemning this communication as an obvious forgery; but I rather wish they had given their reasons.

Patient Grissell. 1600

With Chettle and Haughton.

S. R. 1600, March 28. ‘The Plaie of Patient Grissell.’ Cuthbert Burby (Arber, iii. 158).

1603. The Pleasant Comodie of Patient Grissill. As it hath beene sundrie times lately plaid by the right honorable the Earle of Nottingham (Lord high Admirall) his seruants. For Henry Rocket.

Editions by J. P. Collier (1841, Sh. Soc.), A. B. Grosart (1886, Dekker, v. 109), G. Hübsch (1893, Erlanger Beiträge, xv), J. S. Farmer (1911, T. F. T.).—Dissertations by A. E. H. Swaen in E. S. xxii. 451, Fr. v. Westenholz, Die Griseldis-Sage in der Literaturgeschichte (1888).

Henslowe paid £10 10s. to Dekker, Chettle, and Haughton for the play between 16 Oct. and 29 Dec. 1599, also £1 for Grissell’s gown on 26 Jan. 1600 and £2 ‘to staye the printing’ on 18 March 1600. The text refers to ‘wonders of 1599’ (l. 2220) and to ‘this yeare’ as ‘leap yeare’ (l. 157). The production was doubtless c. Feb.–March 1600. Fleay, i. 271, attempts to divide the work amongst the three contributors; cf. Hunt, 60. I see nothing to commend the theory of W. Bang (E. S. xxviii. 208) that the play was written by Chettle c. 1590–4 and revised with Dekker, Haughton, and Jonson. No doubt the dandy’s duel, in which clothes alone suffer, of Emulo-Sir Owen resembles that of Brisk-Luculento in Every Man Out of his Humour, but this may be due to a common origin in fact (cf. Fleay, i. 361; Penniman, War, 70; Small, 43). Fleay, followed by Penniman, identifies Emulo with Samuel Daniel, but Small, 42, 184, satisfactorily disposes of this suggestion. There seems no reason to regard Patient Grissell as part of the Poetomachia. A ‘Comoedia von der Crysella’ is in the German repertory of 1626; the theme had, however, already been dealt with in a play of Griseldis by Hans Sachs (Herz, 66, 78).


Satiromastix. 1601

With Marston?

S. R. 1601, Nov. 11. ‘Vppon condicon that yt be lycensed to be printed, A booke called the vntrussinge of the humorous poetes by Thomas Decker.’ John Barnes (Arber, iii. 195).

1602. Satiromastix. Or The vntrussing of the Humorous Poet. As it hath bin presented publikely, by the Right Honorable, the Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants; and priuately, by the Children of Paules. By Thomas Dekker. For Edward White. [Epistle to the World, note Ad Lectorem of errata, and Epilogue. Scherer, xiv, distinguishes two editions, but T. M. Parrott’s review in M. L. R. vi. 398 regards these as only variant states of one edition.]

Editions by T. Hawkins (1773, O. E. D. iii), H. Scherer (1907, Materialien, xx), J. H. Penniman (1913, B. L.).

The Epistle refers to the Poetomachia between ‘Horace’ and ‘a band of leane-witted Poetasters’, and on the place of Satiromastix in this fray there is little to be added to Small, 119. Jonson is satirized as Horace. Asinius Bubo is some unknown satellite of his, probably the same who appears as Simplicius Faber in Marston’s What You Will (q.v.). Crispinus, Demetrius, and Tucca are taken over from Jonson’s Poetaster (q.v.). The satirical matter is engrafted on to a play with a tragic plot and comic sub-plot, both wholly unconcerned with the Poetomachia. Jonson must have known that the attack was in preparation, when he made Tucca abuse Histrio for threatening to ‘play’ him, and Histrio say that he had hired Demetrius [Dekker] ‘to abuse Horace, and bring him in, in a play’ (Poetaster, III. iv. 212, 339). But obviously Dekker cannot have done much of his satire until he had seen Poetaster, to many details of which it retorts. It is perhaps rather fantastic to hold that, as he chaffs Jonson for the boast that he wrote Poetaster in fifteen weeks (Satiromastix, 641), he must himself have taken less. In any case a date of production between that of Poetaster in the spring of 1601 and the S. R. entry on 11 Nov. 1601 is indicated. The argument of Scherer, x, for a date about Christmas 1601, and therefore after the S. R. entry, is rebutted by Parrott. It is generally held that Marston helped Dekker with the play, in spite of the single name on the title-page. No doubt Tucca in Poetaster, III. iv. 352, suggests to Histrio that Crispinus shall help Demetrius, and the plural is used in Satiromastix (Epistle, 12, and Epilogue, 2700) and in Jonson’s own Apologetical Dialogue to Poetaster (l. 141) of the ‘poetasters’ who were Jonson’s ‘untrussers’. Small, 122, finds Marston in the plot and characterization, but not in the style.

Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1602

With Webster, and possibly Chettle, Heywood, and Smith.

1607. The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyat. With the Coronation of Queen Mary, and the coming in of King Philip. As it was[294] plaied by the Queens Maiesties Seruants. Written by Thomas Dickers and Iohn Webster. E. A. for Thomas Archer.

1612. For Thomas Archer.

Editions by J. Blew (1876), and J. S. Farmer (1914, S. F. T.) and with Works of Webster (q.v.).

Henslowe, on behalf of Worcester’s men, paid Chettle, Dekker, Heywood, Smith, and Webster, for 1 Lady Jane in Oct. 1602. He then bought properties for The Overthrow of Rebels, almost certainly the same play, and began to pay Dekker for a 2 Lady Jane, which apparently remained unfinished, at any rate at the time. One or both of these plays, or possibly only the shares of Dekker and Webster in one or both of them, may reasonably be taken to survive in Sir Thomas Wyatt. Stoll, 49, thinks the play, as we have it, is practically Dekker’s and that there is ‘no one thing’ that can be claimed ‘with any degree of assurance’ for Webster. But this is not the general view. Fleay, ii. 269, followed in the main by Hunt, 76, gives Webster scc. i-ix, Greg (Henslowe, ii. 233) scc. i-x and xvi (with hesitation as to iii-v), Pierce, after a careful application of a number of ‘tests’ bearing both on style and on matter, scc. ii, v, vi, x, xiv, xvi; but he thinks that some or all of these were retouched by Dekker. Brooke inclines to trace Webster in scc. ii, xvi, Heywood in scc. vi, x, and a good deal of Dekker. Hunt thinks the planning due to Chettle.

The Honest Whore. 1604, c. 1605

With Middleton.

S. R. 1604, Nov. 9 (Pasfield). ‘A Booke called The humors of the patient man, The longinge wyfe and the honest whore.’ Thomas Man the younger (Arber, iii. 275).

1608, April 29 (Buck). ‘A booke called the second parte of the conuerted Courtisan or honest Whore.’ Thomas Man Junior (Arber, iii. 376). [No fee entered.]

1630, June 29 (Herbert). ‘The second parte of the Honest Hoore by Thomas Dekker.’ Butter (Arber, iv. 238).

1604. The Honest Whore, With, The Humours of the Patient Man, and the Longing Wife. Tho: Dekker. V. S. for John Hodgets. [Part i.]

1605, 1615, 1616, N.D. [All Part i.]

1630. The Second Part of the Honest Whore, With the Humors of the Patient Man, the Impatient Wife: the Honest Whore, perswaded by strong Arguments to turne Curtizan againe: her braue refuting those Arguments. And lastly, the Comicall Passages of an Italian Bridewell, where the Scaene ends. Written by Thomas Dekker. Elizabeth Allde for Nathaniel Butter. [Part ii.]

1635. The Honest Whore, With, The Humours of the Patient Man, and the Longing Wife, Written by Thomas Dekker, As it hath beene Acted by her Maiesties Servants with great Applause. N. Okes, sold by Richard Collins. [Part i.]

Editions by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. i) and W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.).


Henslowe made a payment to Dekker and Middleton for ‘the pasyent man & the onest hore’ between 1 Jan. and 14 March 1604, on account of the Prince’s men, and the mention of Towne in a stage-direction to Part i (ed. Pearson, ii. 78) shows that it was in fact acted by this company. Fleay, i. 132, and Hunt, 94, cite some allusions in Part ii suggesting a date soon after that of Part i, and this would be consistent with Henslowian methods. There is more difference of opinion about the partition of the work. Of Part i Fleay gives scc. i, iii, and xiii-xv alone to Dekker, and Hunt finds the influence of Middleton in the theme and plot of both Parts. Bullen, however (Middleton, i. xxv), thinks Middleton’s share ‘inconsiderable’, giving him only I. v and III. i, with a hand in II. i and in a few comic scenes of Part ii. Ward, ii. 462, holds a similar view.

Westward Ho! 1604

With Webster.

S. R. 1605, March 2. ‘A commodie called westward Hoe presented by the Children of Paules provided yat he get further authoritie before yt be printed.’ Henry Rocket (Arber, iii. 283). [Entry crossed out and marked ‘vacat’.]

1607. Westward Hoe. As it hath beene diuers times Acted by the Children of Paules. Written by Tho: Decker, and Iohn Webster. Sold by John Hodgets.

Editions with Works of Webster (q.v.).

The allusions cited by Fleay, ii. 269, Stoll, 14, Hunt, 101, agree with a date of production at the end of 1604. Fleay assigns Acts I-III and a part of IV. ii to Webster; the rest of Acts IV, V to Dekker. But Stoll, 79, thinks that Webster only had ‘some slight, undetermined part in the more colourless and stereotyped portions ... under the shaping and guiding hand of Dekker’, and Pierce, 131, after an elaborate application of tests, can only give him all or most of I. i and III. iii and a small part of I. ii and III. ii. Brooke finds traces of Webster in I. i and III. iii and Dekker in II. i, ii and V. iii, and has some useful criticism of the ‘tests’ employed by Pierce.

Northward Ho! 1605

With Webster.

S. R. 1607, Aug. 6 (Buck). ‘A booke Called Northward Ho.’ George Elde (Arber, iii. 358).

1607. North-Ward Hoe. Sundry times Acted by the Children of Paules. By Thomas Decker, and Iohn Webster. G. Eld.

Editions by J. S. Farmer (1914, S. F. T.) and in Works of Webster (q.v.).

The play is a reply to Eastward Ho! which was itself a reply to Westward Ho! and was on the stage before May 1605, and it is referred to with the other two plays in Day’s Isle of Gulls, which was on the stage in Feb. 1606. This pretty well fixes its date to the end of 1605. I do not think that Stoll, 16, is justified in his argument for a date later than Jan. 1606, since, even if the comparison of the life of a[296] gallant to a squib is a borrowing from Marston’s Fawn, it seems probable that the Fawn itself was originally written by 1604, although possibly touched up early in 1606. Fleay, ii. 270, identifies Bellamont with Chapman, one of the authors of Eastward Ho! and Stoll, 65, argues in support of this. It is plausible, but does not carry with it Fleay’s identification of Jenkins with Drayton. Fleay gives Webster I. ii, II. i, III. i, and IV. i, but Stoll finds as little of him as in Westward Ho! and Pierce, 131, only gives him all or most of I. i, II. ii, and the beginning of v and a small part of III. i. Brooke traces Webster in I. i and III. i and Dekker in IV. i.

The Whore of Babylon 1605 < > 7

S. R. 1607, April 20 (Buck). ‘A booke called the Whore of Babilon.’ Nathanael Butter and John Trundell (Arber, iii. 347).

1607. The Whore of Babylon. As it was Acted by the Princes Seruants. Written by Thomas Dekker. For N. Butter. [Epistle to the Reader and Prologue.]

Fleay, i. 133, and Greg (Henslowe, ii. 210) regard the play as a revision of Truth’s Supplication to Candlelight, for which Henslowe, on behalf of the Admiral’s, was paying Dekker in Jan. 1600 and buying a robe for Time in April 1600. Truth and Time, but not Candlelight, are characters in the play, which deals with Catholic intrigues against Elizabeth, represented as Titania, and her suitors. I do not feel sure that it would have been allowed to be staged in Elizabeth’s lifetime. In any case it must have been revised c. 1605–7, in view of the references, not only to the death of Essex (ed. Pearson, p. 246) and the reign of James (p. 234), but to the Isle of Gulls of 1605 (p. 214). The Cockpit, alluded to (p. 214) as a place where follies are shown in apes, is of course that in the palace, where Henry saw plays. The Epistle and Prologue have clear references to a production in ‘Fortune’s dial’ and the ‘square’ of the Fortune, and the former criticizes players; but hardly proves the definite breach with the Prince’s suggested by Fleay and Greg.

The Roaring Girl. c. 1610

With Middleton.

1611. The Roaring Girle. Or Moll Cut-Purse, As it hath lately beene Acted on the Fortune-stage by the Prince his Players. Written by T. Middleton and T. Dekkar. For Thomas Archer. [Epistle to the Comic Play-Readers, signed ‘Thomas Middleton’, Prologue and Epilogue.]

Editions by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. ii), A. H. Bullen (1885, Middleton, iv. 1), and J. S. Farmer (1914, S. F. T.).

Fleay, i, 132, thinks the play written about 1604–5, but not produced until 1610. This is fantastic and Bullen points out that Mary Frith, the heroine, born not earlier than c. 1584–5, had hardly won her notoriety by 1604. By 1610 she certainly had, and the ‘foule’ book of her ‘base trickes’ referred to in the Epilogue was probably John Day’s Mad Pranks of Merry Mall of the Bankside, entered on S. R.[297] 7 Aug. 1610, but not extant. The Epilogue also tells the audience that, if they are dissatisfied,

The Roring Girle her selfe some few dayes hence,
Shall on this Stage, give larger recompence.

I think this can only refer to a contemplated personal appearance of Mary Frith on the stage; it has been interpreted as referring to another forthcoming play. Moll Cutpurse appears in Field’s Amends for Ladies, but this was not a Fortune play. Bullen (Middleton, i. xxxv) regards the play as an example of collaboration, and gives Dekker I. II. ii, and V; Middleton, with occasional hesitation, the rest. Fleay, i. 132, only gives Middleton II. ii, IV. i, V. ii.

If It be not Good, the Devil is in It. 1610 < > 12

1612. If It Be Not Good, the Diuel is in it. A New Play, As it hath bin lately Acted, with great applause, by the Queenes Maiesties Seruants: At the Red Bull. Written by Thomas Dekker. For I. T. sold by Edward Marchant. [Epistle to the Queen’s men signed Tho: Dekker, Prologue, and Epilogue. The running title is ‘If this be not a good Play, the Diuell is in it’.]

The Epistle tells us that after ‘Fortune’ (the Admiral’s) had ‘set her foote vpon’ the play, the Queen’s had ‘raised it up ... the Frontispice onely a little more garnished’. Fleay, i. 133, attempts to fix the play to 1610, but hardly proves more than that it cannot be earlier than 14 May 1610, as the murder on that day of Henri IV is referred to (ed. Pearson, p. 354). The Epistle also refers to a coming new play by Dekker’s ‘worthy friend’, perhaps Webster (q.v.). In the opening scene the devil Lurchall is addressed as Grumball, which suggests the actor Armin (cf. ch. xv). Daborne (q.v.) in the Epistle to his Christian Turned Turk seems to claim a share in this play.

Match Me in London (?)

S. R. 1630, 8 Nov. (Herbert). ‘A Play called Mach mee in London by Thomas Decker.’ Seile (Arber, iv. 242).

1631. A Tragi-Comedy: Called, Match mee in London. As it hath beene often presented; First, at the Bull in St. Iohns-street; And lately, at the Priuate-House in Drury Lane, called the Phoenix. Written by Tho: Dekker. B. Alsop and T. Fawcet for H. Seile. [Epistle to Lodowick Carlell signed ‘Tho: Dekker’.]

Herbert’s diary contains the entry on 21 Aug. 1623, ‘For the L. Elizabeth’s servants of the Cockpit. An old play called Match me in London which had been formerly allowed by Sir G. Bucke.’ On this, some rather slight evidence from allusions, and a general theory that Dekker did not write plays during his imprisonment of 1613–19, Fleay, i. 134, puts the original production by Queen Anne’s men c. 1611 and Hunt, 160, in 1612–13. As there are some allusions to cards and the game of maw, Fleay thinks the play a revision of The Set at Maw produced by the Admiral’s on 15 Dec. 1594. Greg (Henslowe,[298] ii. 172) points out the weakness of the evidence, but finds some possible traces of revision in the text.

The Virgin Martyr. c. 1620

With Massinger.

S. R. 1621, 7 Dec. (Buck). ‘A Tragedy called The Virgin Martir.’ Thomas Jones (Arber, iv. 62).

1622. The Virgin Martir, A Tragedie, as it hath bin divers times publickely Acted with great Applause, By the seruants of his Maiesties Reuels. Written by Phillip Messenger and Thomas Deker. B. A. for Thomas Jones.

1631, 1651, 1661.

The play is said to have been ‘reformed’ and licensed by Buck for the Red Bull on 6 Oct. 1620 (Herbert, 29). An additional scene, licensed on 7 July 1624 (Var. i. 424), did not find its way into print. Fleay, i. 135, 212, asserts that the 1620 play was a refashioning by Massinger of a play by Dekker for the Queen’s about 1611, itself a recast of Diocletian, produced by the Admiral’s on 16 Nov. 1594, but ‘dating from 1591 at the latest’. He considers II. i, iii, III. iii, and IV. ii of the 1620 version to be still Dekker’s. Ward, iii. 12, and Hunt, 156, give most of the play to Dekker. But all these views are impressionistic, and there is no special reason to suppose that Massinger revised, rather than collaborated with, Dekker, or to assume a version of c. 1611. As for an earlier version still, Fleay’s evidence is trivial. In any case 1591 is out of the question, as Henslowe marked the Diocletian of 1594 ‘n.e.’ Nor does he say it was by Dekker. A play on Dorothea the Martyr had made its way into Germany by 1626, but later German repertories disclose that there was also a distinct play on Diocletian (Herz, 66, 103; Greg, Henslowe, ii. 172). Greg, however, finds parts of The Virgin Martyr, ‘presumably Dekker’s’, to be ‘undoubtedly early’. Oliphant (E. S. xvi. 191) makes the alternative suggestion that Diocletian was the basis of Fletcher’s Prophetess, in which he believes the latter part of IV. i and V. i to be by an older hand, which he cannot identify. All this is very indefinite.

The Witch of Edmonton. 1621

With Ford and W. Rowley.

S. R. 1658, May 21. ‘A booke called The witch of Edmonton, a Tragicomedy by Will: Rowley, &c.’ Edward Blackmore (Eyre, ii. 178).

1658. The Witch of Edmonton, A known true Story. Composed into a Tragi-Comedy By divers well-esteemed Poets; William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, John Ford, &c. Acted by the Princes Servants; often at the Cock-Pit in Drury Lane, once at Court, with singular Applause. Never printed till now. J. Cottrel for Edward Blackmore. [Prologue signed ‘Master Bird’.]

Editions with Works of John Ford, by H. Weber (1811), W. Gifford[299] (1827), H. Coleridge (1840, 1848, 1851), A. Dyce (1869), A. H. Bullen (1895).

I include this for the sake of completeness, but it is based upon a pamphlet published in 1621 and was played at Court by the Prince’s men on 29 Dec. 1621 (Murray, ii. 193). It is generally regarded as written in collaboration. Views as to its division amongst the writers are summarized by Hunt, 178, and Pierce (Anglia, xxxvi. 289). The latter finds Dekker in nearly all the scenes, Ford in four, Rowley perhaps in five.

The Wonder of a Kingdom. 1623

Possibly with Day.

S. R. 1631, May 16 (Herbert). ‘A Comedy called The Wonder of a Kingdome by Thomas Decker.’ John Jackman (Arber, iv. 253).

1636, Feb. 24. ‘Vnder the hands of Sir Henry Herbert and Master Kingston Warden (dated the 7th of May 1631) a Play called The Wonder of a Kingdome by Thomas Decker.’ Nicholas Vavasour (Arber, iv. 355).

1636. The Wonder of a Kingdome. Written by Thomas Dekker. Robert Raworth for Nicholas Vavasour.

Herbert’s diary for 18 Sept. 1623 has the entry: ‘For a company of strangers. A new comedy called Come see a wonder, written by John Daye. It was acted at the Red Bull and licensed without my hand to it because they were none of the 4 companies.’ As The Wonder of a Kingdom contains scenes which are obviously from Day’s Parliament of Bees (1608–16) it is possible either to adopt the simple theory of a collaboration between Day and Dekker in 1623, or to hold with Fleay, i. 136, and Greg, Henslowe, ii. 174, that Day’s ‘new’ play of 1623 was a revision of an earlier one by Dekker. The mention of cards in the closing lines seems an inadequate ground for Fleay’s further theory, apparently approved by Greg, that the original play was The Mack, produced by the Admiral’s on 21 Feb. 1595.

The Sun’s Darling. 1624

With Ford.

1656. The Sun’s-Darling: A Moral Masque: As it hath been often presented at Whitehall, by their Majesties Servants; and after at the Cockpit in Drury Lane, with great Applause. Written by John Foard and Tho. Decker Gent. J. Bell for Andrew Penneycuicke.

1657. Reissue with same imprint.

1657. Reissue with same imprint.... ‘As it hath been often presented by their Majesties Servants; at the Cockpit in Drury Lane’....

Editions with Works of John Ford, by H. Weber (1811), W. Gifford (1827), H. Coleridge (1840, 1848, 1851), A. Dyce (1869), A. H. Bullen (1895).

The play was licensed by Herbert for the Lady Elizabeth’s at the Cockpit on 3 March 1624 (Chalmers, S. A. 217; Herbert, 27) and included in a list of Cockpit plays in 1639 (Variorum, iii. 159). Fleay, i. 232, Ward, ii. 470, and Pierce (Anglia, xxxvi. 141) regard it as[300] a revision by Ford of earlier work by Dekker, and the latter regards the last page of Act I, Acts II and III, and the prose of Acts IV and V as substantially Dekker’s. It is perhaps a step from this to the theory of Fleay and Greg (Henslowe, ii. 190) that the play represents the Phaethon, which Dekker wrote for the Admiral’s in Jan. 1598 and afterwards altered for a Court performance at Christmas 1600. There are allusions to ‘humours’ and to ‘pampered jades of Asia’ (ed. Pearson, pp. 316, 318) which look early, but Phaethon is not a character, nor is the story his. A priest of the Sun appears in Act I: I am surprised that Fleay did not identify him, though he is not mad, with the ‘mad priest of the sun’ referred to in Greene’s (q.v.) Epistle to Perimedes. The play is not a ‘masque’ in the ordinary sense.

The Noble Soldier > 1631

With Day and S. Rowley?

S. R. 1631, May 16 (Herbert). ‘A Tragedy called The noble Spanish Souldier by Thomas Deckar.’ John Jackman (Arber, iv. 253).

1633, Dec. 9. ‘Entred for his Copy vnder the handes of Sir Henry Herbert and Master Kingston warden Anno Domini 1631. a Tragedy called The Noble Spanish soldior written by master Decker.’ Nicholas Vavasour (Arber, iv. 310).

1634. The Noble Souldier, Or, A Contract Broken, justly reveng’d. A Tragedy. Written by S. R. For Nicholas Vavasour.

Editions by A. H. Bullen (1882, O. E. P. i) and J. S. Farmer (1913, S. F. T.).

The printer tells us that the author was dead in 1634.

The initials may indicate Samuel Rowley of the Admiral’s and Prince Henry’s. Bullen and Hunt, 187, think that Dekker revised work by Rowley. But probably Day also contributed, for II. i, ii; III. ii; IV. i; V. i, ii, and parts of I. ii and V. iv are drawn like scenes in The Wonder of a Kingdom from his Parliament of Bees (1608–16). Fleay, i. 128, identifies the play with The Spanish Fig for which Henslowe made a payment on behalf of the Admiral’s in Jan. 1602. This Greg (Henslowe, ii. 220) thinks ‘plausible’, regarding the play as ‘certainly an old play of about 1600, presumably by Dekker and Rowley with later additions by Day’. He notes that the King is not, as Fleay alleged, poisoned with a Spanish fig, but a Spanish fig is mentioned, ‘and it is quite possible that such may have been the mode of poisoning in the original piece’. Henslowe does not name the payee for The Spanish Fig, and it was apparently not finished at the time.

Lost and Doubtful Plays

It will be convenient to set out all the certain or conjectured work by Dekker mentioned in Henslowe’s Diary.

(a) Conjectural anonymous Work before 1598

(i) Philipo and Hippolito.

Produced as a new play by the Admiral’s on 9 July 1594. The ascription to Dekker, confident in Fleay, i. 213, and regarded as[301] possible by Greg (Henslowe, ii. 165), appears to be due to the entry of a Philenzo and Hypollita by Massinger, who revised other early work of Dekker, in the S. R. on 29 June 1660, to the entry of a Philenzo and Hipolito by Massinger in Warburton’s list of burnt plays (3 Library, ii. 231), and to the appearance of a Julio and Hyppolita in the German collection of 1620. A copy of Massinger’s play is said (Collier, Henslowe, xxxi) to be amongst the Conway MSS.

(ii) The Jew of Venice.

Entered as a play by Dekker in the S. R. on 9 Sept. 1653 (3 Library, ii. 241). It has been suggested (Fleay, i. 121, and Sh. 30, 197; Greg in Henslowe, ii. 170) that it was the source of a German play printed from a Vienna MS. by Meissner, 131 (cf. Herz, 84). In this a personage disguises himself as a French doctor, which leads to the conjectural identification of its English original both with The Venetian Comedy produced by the Admiral’s on 27 Aug. 1594 and with The French Doctor performed by the same men on 19 Oct. 1594 and later dates and bought by them from Alleyn in 1602. The weakest point in all this guesswork is the appearance of common themes in the German play and in The Merchant of Venice, which Fleay explains to his own satisfaction by the assumption that Shakespeare based The Merchant of Venice on Dekker’s work.

(iii) Dr. Faustus.

Revived by the Admiral’s on 30 Sept. 1594. On the possibility that the 1604 text contains comic scenes written by Dekker for this revival, cf. s.v. Marlowe.

(iv) Diocletian.

Produced by the Admiral’s, 16 Nov. 1599; cf. s.v. The Virgin Martyr (supra).

(v) The Set at Maw.

Produced by the Admiral’s on 14 Dec. 1594; cf. s.v. Match Me in London (supra).

(vi) Antony and Valia.

Revived by the Admiral’s, 4 Jan. 1595, and ascribed by Fleay, i. 213, with some encouragement from Greg in Henslowe, ii. 174, to Dekker, on the ground of entries in the S. R. on 29 June 1660 and in Warburton’s list of burnt plays (3 Library, ii. 231) of an Antonio and Vallia by Massinger, who revised other early work by Dekker.

(vii) The Mack.

Produced by the Admiral’s on 21 Feb. 1595; cf. s.v. The Wonder of a Kingdom (supra).

(viii) 1 Fortunatus.

Revived by the Admiral’s on 3 Feb. 1596; cf. s.v. Old Fortunatus (supra).

(ix) Stukeley.

Produced by the Admiral’s on 11 Dec. 1596. On Fleay’s ascription to Dekker, cf. s.v. Captain Thomas Stukeley (Anon.).


(x) Prologue to Tamberlaine.

This rests on a forged entry in Henslowe’s Diary for 20 Dec. 1597; cf. s.v. Marlowe.

(b) Work for Admiral’s, 1598–1602

(i) Phaethon.

Payments in Jan. 1598 and for alterations for the Court in Dec. 1600; cf. s.v. The Sun’s Darling (supra).

(ii) The Triplicity or Triangle of Cuckolds.

Payment in March 1598.

(iii) The Wars of Henry I or The Welshman’s Prize.

Payment, with Chettle and Drayton, March 1598. Greg (Henslowe, ii. 192) speculates on possible relations of the plays to others on a Welshman and on Henry I.

(iv) 1 Earl Godwin.

Payment, with Chettle, Drayton, and Wilson, March 1598.

(v) Pierce of Exton.

Payment, with Chettle, Drayton, and Wilson, April 1598. Apparently the play was not finished.

(vi) 1 Black Bateman of the North.

Payments, with Chettle, Drayton, and Wilson, May 1598.

(vii) 2 Earl Godwin.

Payments, with Chettle, Drayton, and Wilson, May–June 1598.

(viii) The Madman’s Morris.

Payments, with Drayton and Wilson, July 1598.

(ix) Hannibal and Hermes.

Payments, with Drayton and Wilson, July 1598.

(x) 2 Hannibal and Hermes.

Greg (Henslowe, ii. 195) gives this name to (xiii).

(xi) Pierce of Winchester.

Payments, with Drayton and Wilson, July–Aug. 1598.

(xii) Chance Medley.

Payments to Dekker (or Chettle), with Munday, Drayton, and Wilson, Aug. 1598.

(xiii) Worse Afeared than Hurt.

Payments, with Drayton, Aug.–Sept. 1598.

(xiv) 1 Civil Wars of France.

Payment, with Drayton, Sept. 1598.

(xv) Connan Prince of Cornwall.

Payments, with Drayton, Oct. 1598.

(xvi) 2 Civil Wars of France.

Payment, with Drayton, Nov. 1598.

(xvii) 3 Civil Wars of France.

Payments, with Drayton, Nov.–Dec. 1598.


(xviii) Introduction to Civil Wars of France.

Payments, Jan. 1599.

(xix) Troilus and Cressida.

Payments, with Chettle, April 1599. A fragmentary ‘plot’ (cf. ch. xxiv) may belong to this play.

(xx) Agamemnon or Orestes Furious.

Payments, with Chettle, May 1599.

(xxi) The Gentle Craft.

Payment, July 1599; cf. The Shoemaker’s Holiday (supra).

(xxii) The Stepmother’s Tragedy.

Payments, with Chettle, Aug.–Oct. 1599.

(xxiii) Bear a Brain.

Payment, Aug. 1599; cf. s.vv. The Shoemaker’s Holiday (supra) and Look About You (Anon.).

(xxiv) Page of Plymouth.

Payments, with Jonson, Aug.–Sept. 1599.

(xxv) Robert II or The Scot’s Tragedy.

Payments, with Chettle, Jonson, ‘& other Jentellman’ (? Marston, q.v.), Sept. 1599.

(xxvi) Patient Grissell.

Payments, with Chettle and Haughton, Oct.–Dec. 1599; cf. supra.

(xxvii) Fortunatus.

Payments, Nov.–Dec. 1599; cf. s.v. Old Fortunatus (supra).

(xxviii) Truth’s Supplication to Candlelight.

Payments, Jan. 1600. Apparently the play was not finished; cf. s.v. The Whore of Babylon (supra).

(xxix) The Spanish Moor’s Tragedy.

Payment, with Day and Haughton, Feb. 1600. Apparently the play was not finished; cf. s.v. Lust’s Dominion (Marlowe).

(xxx) The Seven Wise Masters.

Payments, with Chettle, Day, and Haughton, March 1600.

(xxxi) The Golden Ass or Cupid and Psyche.

Payments, with Chettle and Day, April-May 1600; on borrowings from this, cf. s.v. Heywood, Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas.

(xxxii) 1 Fair Constance of Rome.

Payments, with Drayton, Hathway, Munday, and Wilson (q.v.), June 1600.

(xxxiii) [1] Fortune’s Tennis.

Payment, Sept. 1600. A fragmentary plot (cf. ch. xxiv) is perhaps less likely to belong to this than to Munday’s Set at Tennis.

(xxxiv) King Sebastian of Portugal.

Payments, with Chettle, April-May 1601.

(xxxv) The Spanish Fig.

Payment, Jan. 1602. The payee is unnamed; cf. The Noble Soldier (supra).


(xxxvi) Prologue and Epilogue to Pontius Pilate.

Payment, Jan. 1602.

(xxxvii) Alterations to Tasso’s Melancholy.

Payments, Jan.–Dec. 1602.

(xxxviii) Jephthah.

Payments, with Munday, May 1602.

(xxxix) Caesar’s Fall, or The Two Shapes.

Payments, with Drayton, Middleton, Munday, and Webster, May 1602.

(c) Work for Worcester’s, 1602

(i) A Medicine for a Curst Wife.

Payments, July–Sept. 1602. The play was begun for the Admiral’s and transferred to Worcester’s.

(ii) Additions to Sir John Oldcastle.

Payments, Aug.–Sept. 1602; cf. s.v. Drayton.

(iii) 1 Lady Jane, or The Overthrow of Rebels.

Payments, with Chettle, Heywood, Smith, and Webster, Oct. 1602; cf. s.v. Sir Thomas Wyatt (supra).

(iv) 2 Lady Jane.

Payment, Oct. 1602. Apparently the play was not finished; cf. s.v. Sir Thomas Wyatt (supra).

(v) Christmas Comes but Once a Year.

Payments, with Chettle, Heywood, and Webster, Nov. 1602.

(d) Work for Prince’s, 1604

The Patient Man and the Honest Whore.

Payments, with Middleton, Jan.–March 1602; cf. s.v. The Honest Whore (supra).

The following plays are assigned to Dekker in S. R. but are now lost:

The Life and Death of Guy of Warwick, with Day (S. R. 15 Jan. 1620).

Gustavus King of Swethland (S. R. 29 June 1660).

The Tale of Ioconda and Astolso, a Comedy (S. R. 29 June 1660).

The two latter are also in Warburton’s list of burnt plays (3 Library, ii. 231).

The following are assigned to Dekker in Herbert’s licence entries:

A French Tragedy of The Bellman of Paris, by Dekker and Day, for the Prince’s, on 30 July 1623.

The Fairy Knight, by Dekker and Ford, for the Prince’s, on 11 June 1624.

The Bristow Merchant, by Dekker and Ford, for the Palsgrave’s, on 22 Oct. 1624.

Fleay, i. 232, seems to have nothing but the names to go upon in suggesting identifications of the two latter with the Huon of Bordeaux, revived by Sussex’s on 28 Dec. 1593, and Day’s Bristol Tragedy (q.v.) respectively.


For other ascriptions to Dekker see Capt. T. Stukeley, Charlemagne, London Prodigal, Sir Thomas More, The Weakest Goeth to the Wall in ch. xxiv. He has also been conjectured to be the author of the songs in the 1632 edition of Lyly’s plays.


Coronation Entertainment. 1604

See ch. xxiv, C.

Troia Nova Triumphans. 29 Oct. 1612

S. R. 1612, Oct. 21. ‘To be prynted when yt is further Aucthorised, A Booke called Troia Nova triumphans. London triumphinge. or the solemne receauinge of Sir John Swynerton knight into the citye at his Retourne from Westminster after the taking his oathe written by Thomas Decker.’ Nicholas Okes (Arber, iii. 500).

1612. Troia-Noua Triumphans. London Triumphing, or, The Solemne, Magnificent, and Memorable Receiuing of that worthy Gentleman, Sir Iohn Swinerton Knight, into the Citty of London, after his Returne from taking the Oath of Maioralty at Westminster, on the Morrow next after Simon and Iudes day, being the 29. of October, 1612. All the Showes, Pageants, Chariots of Triumph, with other Deuices (both on the Water and Land) here fully expressed. By Thomas Dekker. Nicholas Okes, sold by John Wright.

Edition in Fairholt (1844), ii. 7.

The opening of the description refers to ‘our best-to-be-beloved friends, the noblest strangers’. John Chamberlain (Birch, i. 202) says that the Palsgrave was present and Henry kept away by his illness, that the show was ‘somewhat extraordinary’ and the water procession wrecked by ‘great winds’. At Paul’s Chain the Mayor was met by the ‘first triumph’, a sea-chariot, bearing Neptune and Luna, with a ship of wine. Neptune made a speech. At Paul’s Churchyard came ‘the second land-triumph’, the throne or chariot of Virtue, drawn by four horses on which sat Time, Mercury, Desire, and Industry. Virtue made a speech, and both pageants preceded the Mayor down Cheapside. At the little Conduit in Cheapside was the Castle of Envy, between whom and Virtue there was a dialogue, followed by fireworks from the castle. At the Cross in Cheapside was another ‘triumph’, the House of Fame, with representations of famous Merchant Tailors, ‘a perticular roome being reserved for one that represents the person of Henry, the now Prince of Wales’. After a speech by Fame, the pageant joined the procession, and from it was heard a song on the way to the Guildhall. On the way to Paul’s after dinner, Virtue and Envy were again beheld, and at the Mayor’s door a speech was made by Justice.

THOMAS DELONEY (c. 1543–c. 1600).

A ballad writer and pamphleteer, who wrote a ballad on the visit to Tilbury in 1588. See ch. xxiv, C.



It is possible that Essex, who sometimes dabbled in literature, had himself a hand in the device of Love and Self-Love, with which he entertained Elizabeth on 17 Nov. 1595, and of which some of the speeches are generally credited to Bacon (q.v.).

WILLIAM DODD (c. 1597–1602).

A Scholar and Fellow of St. John’s, Cambridge, and a conjectured author of Parnassus (cf. ch. xxiv).

MICHAEL DRAYTON (c. 1563–1631).

Drayton was born at Hartshill in Warwickshire, and brought up in the household of Sir Henry Goodyere of Polesworth, whose daughter Anne, afterwards Lady Rainsford, is the Idea of his pastorals and sonnets. With The Harmony of the Church (1591) began a life-long series of ambitious poems, in all the characteristic Elizabethan manners, for which Drayton found many patrons, notably Lucy Lady Bedford, Sir Walter Aston of Tixall, Prince Henry and Prince Charles, and Edward Earl of Dorset. The guerdons of his pen were not sufficient to keep him from having recourse to the stage. Meres classed him in 1598 among the ‘best for tragedy’, and Henslowe’s diary shows him a busy writer for the Admiral’s men, almost invariably in collaboration with Dekker and others, from Dec. 1597 to Jan. 1599, and a more occasional one from Oct. 1599 to May 1602. At a later date he may possibly have written for Queen Anne’s men, since commendatory verses by T. Greene are prefixed to his Poems of 1605. In 1608 he belonged to the King’s Revels syndicate at Whitefriars. No later connexion with the stage can be traced, and he took no steps to print his plays with his other works. His Elegy to Henry Reynolds of Poets and Poesie (C. Brett, Drayton’s Minor Poems, 108) does honour to Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Beaumont, and tradition makes him a partaker in the drinking-bout that led to Shakespeare’s end. Jonson wrote commendatory verses for him in 1627, but in 1619 had told Drummond (Laing, 10) that ‘Drayton feared him; and he esteemed not of him’. The irresponsible Fleay, i. 361; ii. 271, 323, identifies him with Luculento of E. M. O., Captain Jenkins of Dekker and Webster’s Northward Ho!, and the eponym of the anonymous Sir Giles Goosecap; Small, 98, with the Decius criticized in the anonymous Jack Drum’s Entertainment, who may also be Dekker.

The collections of Drayton’s Poems do not include his plays.—Dissertations: O. Elton, M. D. (1895, Spenser Soc., 1905); L. Whitaker, M. D. as a Dramatist (1903, M. L. A. xviii. 378).

Sir John Oldcastle. 1599

With Hathaway, Munday, and Wilson.

S. R. 1600, Aug. 11 (Vicars). ‘The first parte of the history of the life of Sir John Oldcastell lord Cobham. Item the second and last parte of the history of Sir John Oldcastell lord Cobham with his martyrdom,’ Thomas Pavier (Arber, iii. 169).


1600. The first part Of the true and honorable historie, of the life of Sir John Oldcastle, the good Lord Cobham. As it hath been lately acted by the right honorable the Earle of Notingham Lord high Admirall of England his seruants. V. S. for Thomas Pavier. [Prologue.]

1600.... Written by William Shakespeare. For T. P. [Probably a forgery of later date than that given in the imprint; cf. p. 479.]

1664. In Third Folio Shakespeare.

1685. In Fourth Folio Shakespeare.

Editions in collections of the Shakespeare Apocrypha, and by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. i), P. Simpson (1908, M. S. R.), J. S. Farmer (1911, T. F. T.).

Henslowe advanced £10 to the Admiral’s as payment to Munday, Drayton, Wilson, and Hathway for the first part of ‘the lyfe of Sr Jhon Ouldcasstell’ and in earnest for the second part on 16 Oct. 1599, and an additional 10s. for the poets ‘at the playnge of Sr John Oldcastell the ferste tyme as a gefte’ between 1 and 8 Nov. 1599. Drayton had £4 for the second part between 19 and 26 Dec. 1599, and properties were being bought for it in March 1600. It is not preserved. By Aug. 1602 the play had been transferred to Worcester’s men. More properties were bought, doubtless for a revival, and Dekker had £2 10s. for ‘new a dicyons’. Fleay, ii. 116, attempts to disentangle the work of the collaborators. Clearly the play was an answer to Henry IV, in which Sir John Falstaff was originally Sir John Oldcastle, and this is made clear in the prologue:

It is no pampered glutton we present,
Nor aged Councellour to youthfull sinne.

Doubtful and Lost Plays

For ascriptions see Edward IV, London Prodigal, Merry Devil of Edmonton, Sir T. More, and Thomas Lord Cromwell in ch. xxiv.

The complete series of his work for the Admiral’s during 1597–1602 is as follows:

(i) Mother Redcap.

Payments, with Munday, Dec. 1597–Jan. 1598.

(ii) The Welshman’s Prize, or The Famous Wars of Henry I and the Prince of Wales.

Payments, with Chettle and Dekker, March 1598. Greg (Henslowe, ii. 192) thinks that the play may have had some relation to Davenport’s Henry I of 1624 entered as by Shakespeare and Davenport in S. R. on 9 Sept. 1653.

(iii) 1 Earl Godwin and his Three Sons.

Payments, with Chettle, Dekker, and Wilson, March 1598.

(iv) 2 Earl Godwin and his Three Sons.

Payments, with Chettle, Dekker, and Wilson, May to June 1598.

(v) Pierce of Exton.

Payment of £2, with Chettle, Dekker, and Wilson, April 1598; but apparently not finished.


(vi) 1 Black Bateman of the North.

Payments, with Chettle, Dekker, and Wilson, May 1598.

(vii) Funeral of Richard Cœur-de-lion.

Payments, with Chettle, Munday, and Wilson, June 1598.

(viii) The Madman’s Morris.

Payments, with Dekker and Wilson, July 1598.

(ix) Hannibal and Hermes.

Payments, with Dekker and Wilson, July 1598.

(x) Pierce of Winchester.

Payments, with Dekker and Wilson, July–Aug. 1598.

(xi) Chance Medley.

Payments, with Chettle or Dekker, Munday, and Wilson, Aug. 1598.

(xii) Worse Afeared than Hurt.

Payments, with Dekker, Aug.–Sept. 1598.

(xiii-xv) 1, 2, 3 The Civil Wars of France.

Payments, with Dekker, Sept.–Dec. 1598. Greg (Henslowe, ii. 198) suggests some relation with Chapman’s Bussy D’Ambois (q.v.).

(xvi) Connan Prince of Cornwall.

Payments, with Dekker, Oct. 1598.

(xvii) William Longsword.

Apparently Drayton’s only unaided play and unfinished. His autograph receipt for a payment in Jan. 1599 is in Henslowe, i. 59.

[There is now a break in Drayton’s dramatic activities, but not in his relations with Henslowe, for whom he acted as a witness on 8 July 1599. On 9 Aug. 1598 he had stood security for the delivery of a play by Munday (Henslowe, i. 60, 93).]

(xviii-xix) 1, 2 Sir John Oldcastle.

See above.

(xx) Owen Tudor.

Payments, with Hathway, Munday, and Wilson, Jan. 1600; but apparently not finished.

(xxi) 1 Fair Constance of Rome.

Payments, with Dekker, Hathway, Munday, and Wilson (q.v.), June 1600.

(xxii) The Rising of Cardinal Wolsey.

Payments, with Chettle (q.v.), Munday, and Smith, Aug.–Nov. 1601.

(xxiii) Caesar’s Fall, or The Two Shapes.

Payments, with Dekker, Middleton, Munday, and Webster, May 1602.


Author of Time Triumphant, an account of the entry and coronation of James I (cf. ch. xxiv, C).

JOHN DUTTON (c. 1598–1602).

Perhaps only a ‘ghost-name’, but conceivably the author of Parnassus (cf. ch. xxiv).


JOHN DYMMOCKE (c. 1601).

Possibly the translator of Pastor Fido (cf. ch. xxiv).

RICHARD EDES (1555–1604).

Edes, or Eedes, entered Christ Church, Oxford, from Westminster in 1571, took his B.A. in 1574, his M.A. in 1578, and was University Proctor in 1583. He took orders, became Chaplain to the Queen, and was appointed Canon of Christ Church in 1586 and Dean of Worcester in 1597. Some of his verse, both in English and Latin, has survived, and Meres includes him in 1598 amongst ‘our best for Tragedie’. The Epilogue, in Latin prose, of a play called Caesar Interfectus, which was both written and spoken by him, is given by F. Peck in A Collection of Curious Historical Pieces, appended to his Memoirs of Cromwell (1740), and by Boas, 163, from Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. e. 5, f. 359. A later hand has added the date 1582, from which Boas infers that Caesar Interfectus, of which Edes was probably the author, was one of three tragedies recorded in the Christ Church accounts for Feb.–March 1582. Edes appears to have written or contributed to Sir Henry Lee’s (q.v.) Woodstock Entertainment of 1592.

RICHARD EDWARDES (c. 1523–1566).

Edwardes was a Somersetshire man. He entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on 11 May 1540, and became Senior Student of Christ Church in 1547. Before the end of Edward’s reign he was seeking his fortune at Court and had a fee or annuity of £6 13s. 4d. (Stopes, Hunnis, 147). He must not be identified with the George Edwardes of Chapel lists, c. 1553 (ibid. 23; Shakespeare’s Environment, 238; Rimbault, x), but was of the Chapel by 1 Jan. 1557 (Nichols, Eliz. i. xxxv; Illustrations, App. 14), when he made a New Year’s gift of ‘certeigne verses’, and was confirmed in office by an Elizabethan patent of 27 May 1560. He succeeded Bower as Master of the Children, receiving his patent of appointment on 27 Oct. 1561 and a commission to take up children on 4 Dec. 1561 (Wallace, i. 106; ii. 65; cf. ch. xii). Barnabe Googe in his Eglogs, Epytaphes and Sonettes (15 March 1563) puts his ‘doyngs’ above those of Plautus and Terence. In addition to plays at Court, he took his boys on 2 Feb. 1565 and 2 Feb. 1566 to Lincoln’s Inn (cf. ch. vii), of which he had become a member on 25 Nov. 1564 (L. I. Admission Register, i. 72). He appeared at Court as a ‘post’ on behalf of the challengers for a tilt in Nov. 1565 (cf. ch. iv). In 1566 he helped in the entertainment of Elizabeth at Oxford, and on Oct. 31 of that year he died. His reputation as poet and dramatist is testified to in verses by Barnabe Googe, George Turberville, Thomas Twine, and others and proved enduring. The author [Richard Puttenham?] of The Arte of English Poesie (1589) couples him with the Earl of Oxford as deserving the highest price for comedy and enterlude, and Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia (1598) includes him amongst those ‘best for comedy’. Several of his poems are in The Paradise of Dainty Devices (1576). Warton, iv. 218, says that William Collins (the poet) had a volume of prose stories printed in 1570, ‘sett forth by maister Richard Edwardes mayster of her[310] maiesties revels’. One of these contained a version of the jest used in the Induction of The Taming of the Shrew (q.v.). There is nothing else to connect Edwardes with the Revels office, and probably ‘revels’ in Warton’s account is a mistake for ‘children’ or ‘chapel’.

Dissertations: W. Y. Durand, Notes on R. E. (1902, J. G. P. iv. 348), Some Errors concerning R. E. (1908, M. L. N. xxiii. 129).

Damon and Pythias. 1565

S. R. 1567–8. ‘A boke intituled ye tragecall comodye of Damonde and Pethyas.’ Rycharde Jonnes (Arber, i. 354).

Warton, iv. 214, describes an edition, not now known, as printed by William How in Fleet Street. The Tragical comedie of Damon and Pythias, newly imprinted as the same was playde before the queenes maiestie by the children of her grace’s chapple. Made by Mayster Edwards, then being master of the children. William How. [Only known through the description of Warton, iv. 214.]

1571. The excellent Comedie of two the moste faithfullest Freendes, Damon and Pithias. Newly Imprinted, as the same was shewed before the Queenes Maiestie, by the Children of her Graces Chappell, except the Prologue that is somewhat altered for the proper vse of them that hereafter shall haue occasion to plaie it, either in Priuate, or open Audience. Made by Maister Edwards, then beynge Maister of the Children. Richard Jones.

1582. Richard Jones.

Editions in Dodsley4, iv (1874), and by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. i) and J. S. Farmer (1908, T. F. T.).—Dissertation: W. Y. Durand, A Local Hit in E.’s D. and P. (M. L. N. xxii. 236).

The play is not divided into acts or scenes; the characters include Carisophus a parasite, and Grim the Collier. The prologue [not that used at Court] warns the audience that they will be ‘frustrate quite of toying plays’ and that the author’s muse that ‘masked in delight’ and to some ‘seemed too much in young desires to range’ will leave such sports and write a ‘tragical comedy ... mixed with mirth and care’. Edwardes adds (cf. App. C, No. ix):

Wherein, talking of courtly toys, we do protest this flat,
We talk of Dionysius court, we mean no court but that.

A song at the end wishes Elizabeth joy and describes her as ‘void of all sickness, in most perfect health’. Durand uses this reference to date the play in the early months of 1565, since a letter of De Silva (Sp. P. i. 400) records that Elizabeth had a feverish cold since 8 Dec. 1564, but was better by 2 Jan. 1565. He identifies the play with the ‘Edwardes tragedy’ of the Revels Accounts for 1564–5 (cf. App. B), and points out that there is an entry in those accounts for ‘rugge bumbayst and cottone for hosse’, and that in Damon and Pythias (Dodsley, iv. 71) the boys have stuffed breeches with ‘seven ells of rug’ to one hose. A proclamation of 6 May 1562 (Procl. 562) had forbidden the use of more than a yard and three-quarters of stuff in the ‘stockes’ of hose, and an enforcing proclamation (Procl. 619) was required on 12 Feb. 1566. Boas, 157, notes a revival at Merton in 1568.


Fleay, 60, thinks that the play contains attacks on the Paul’s boys in return for satire of Edwardes as Ralph Roister in Ulpian Fulwell’s Like Will to Like (q.v.).

Lost Play

Palamon and Arcite. 1566

This play was acted in two parts on 2 and 4 Sept. 1566, before Elizabeth in the Hall of Christ Church, Oxford (cf. ch. iv). The first night was made memorable by the fall of part of the staircase wall, by which three persons were killed. The Queen was sorry, but the play went on. She gave Edwardes great thanks for his pains. The play was in English. Several contemporary writers assign it to Edwardes, and Nicholas Robinson adds that he and other Christ Church men translated it out of Latin, and that he remained two months in Oxford working at it. Bereblock gives a long analysis of the action, which shows that, even if there is no error as to the intervening Latin version, the original source was clearly Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale. W. Y. Durand, Journ. Germ. Phil. iv. 356, argues that Edwardes’s play was not a source of Two Noble Kinsmen, on the ground of the divergence between that and Bereblock’s summary.

There is no evidence of any edition of the play, although Plummer, xxi, says that it ‘has been several times printed’.

Doubtful Plays

Fleay, ii. 295, assigns to Edwardes Godly Queen Hester, a play of which he had only seen a few lines, and which W. W. Greg, in his edition in Materialien, v, has shown with great probability to date from about 1525–9. His hand has also been sought in R. B.’s Apius and Virginia and in Misogonus (cf. ch. xxiv).

ELIZABETH (1533–1603).

H. H. E. Craster (E. H. R. xxix. 722) includes in a list of Elizabeth’s English translations a chorus from Act II of the pseudo-Senecan Hercules Oetaeus, extant in Bodl. MS. e Museo, 55, f. 48, and printed in H. Walpole, Royal and Noble Authors (ed. Park, 1806), i. 102. It probably dates later than 1561. But he can find no evidence for a Latin version of a play of Euripides referred to by Walpole, i. 85.


Farrant’s career as Master of the Children of Windsor and Deputy Master of the Children of the Chapel and founder of the first Blackfriars theatre has been described in chh. xii and xvii. It is not improbable that he wrote plays for the boys, and W. J. Lawrence, The Earliest Private Theatre Play (T. L. S., 11 Aug. 1921), thinks that one of these was Wars of Cyrus (cf. ch. xxiv), probably based on W. Barker’s translation (1567) of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, and that the song of Panthea ascribed to Farrant in a Christ Church manuscript (cf. vol. ii, p. 63) has dropped out from the extant text of this. Farrant’s song, ‘O Jove from stately throne’, mentioning Altages,[312] may be from another play. I think that Wars of Cyrus, as it stands, is clearly post-Tamburlaine, and although there are indications of lost songs at ll. 985, 1628, there is none pointing to a lament of Panthea. But conceivably the play was based on one by Farrant.

GEORGE FEREBE (c. 1573–1613 <)

A musician and Vicar of Bishop’s Cannings, Wilts.

The Shepherd’s Song. 1613

S. R. 1613, June 16. ‘A thinge called The Shepeherdes songe before Queene Anne in 4. partes complete Musical vpon the playnes of Salisbury &c.’ Walter Dight (Arber, iii. 526).

Aubrey, i. 251, says ‘when queen Anne came to Bathe, her way lay to traverse the famous Wensdyke, which runnes through his parish. He made severall of his neighbours good musitians, to play with him in consort, and to sing. Against her majesties comeing, he made a pleasant pastorall, and gave her an entertaynment with his fellow songsters in shepherds’ weeds and bagpipes, he himself like an old bard. After that wind musique was over, they sang their pastorall eglogues (which I have, to insert into Liber B).’ Wood’s similar account in Fasti (1815), i. 270, is probably based on Aubrey’s. He dates the entertainment June 11 (cf. ch. iv. and App. A, s. ann. 1613), and gives the opening of the song as

Shine, O thou sacred Shepherds Star,
On silly shepherd swaines.

Aubrey has a shorter notice in another manuscript and adds, ‘He gave another entertaynment in Cote-field to King James, with carters singing, with whipps in their hands; and afterwards, a footeball play’.

GEORGE FERRERS (c. 1500–79).

A Lincoln’s Inn lawyer, son of Thomas Ferrers of St. Albans, who was Page of the Chamber to Henry VIII, and acted as Lord of Misrule to Edward VI at the Christmases of 1551–2 and 1552–3 (Mediaeval Stage, i. 405; Feuillerat, Edw. and M. 56, 77, 90). He sat in Parliaments of both Mary and Elizabeth, and wrote some of the poems in The Mirror for Magistrates (1559–78). He contributed verses to the Kenilworth entertainment of 1575, must then have been a very old man, and died in 1579. Puttenham says of Edward VI’s time, ‘Maister Edward Ferrys ... wrate for the most part to the stage, in Tragedie and sometimes in Comedie or Enterlude’, and again, ‘For Tragedie, the Lord of Buckhurst & Maister Edward Ferrys, for such doings as I haue sene of theirs, do deserue the hyest price’; and is followed by Meres, who places ‘Master Edward Ferris, the author of the Mirror for Magistrates’ amongst ‘our best for Tragedie’ (cf. App. C, Nos. xli, lii). Obviously George Ferrers is meant, but Anthony Wood hunted out an Edward Ferrers, belonging to another family, of Baddesley Clinton, in Warwickshire, and took him for the dramatist. He died in 1564 and had a son Henry, amongst whose papers were found verses belonging to certain entertainments, mostly of the early ‘nineties,[313] which an indiscreet editor thereupon ascribed to George Ferrers (cf. s.v. Sir H. Lee).

NATHAN FIELD (1587–?).

For life vide supra Actors (ch. xv).

A Woman is a Weathercock. 1609 (?)

S. R. 1611, Nov. 23 (Buck). ‘A booke called, A woman is a weather-cocke, beinge a Comedye.’ John Budge (Arber, iii. 471).

1612. A Woman is a Weather-cocke. A New Comedy, As it was acted before the King in White-Hall. And diuers times Priuately at the White-Friers, By the Children of her Maiesties Reuels. Written by Nat: Field. For John Budge. [Epistles to Any Woman that hath been no Weathercock and to the Reader, both signed ‘N. F.’, and Commendatory verses ‘To his loved son, Nat. Field, and his Weathercock Woman’, signed ‘George Chapman’.]

Editions in O. E. D. (1830, ii), by J. P. Collier (1833, Five Old Plays), in Dodsley4 (1875, xi), and by A. W. Verity in Nero and Other Plays (1888, Mermaid Series).

This must, I suppose, have been one of the five plays given at Court by the Children of the Whitefriars in the winter of 1609–10. Fleay, i. 185, notes that I. ii refers to the Cleve wars, which began in 1609. The Revels children were not at Court in 1610–11. In his verses to The Faithful Shepherdess (1609–10) Field hopes for his ‘muse in swathing clouts’, to ‘perfect such a work as’ Fletcher’s. The first Epistle promises that when his next play is printed, any woman ‘shall see what amends I have made to her and all the sex’; the second ends, ‘If thou hast anything to say to me, thou know’st where to hear of me for a year or two, and no more, I assure thee’, as if Field did not mean to spend his life as a player.

Amends for Ladies. > 1611

1618. Amends for Ladies. A Comedie. As it was acted at the Blacke-Fryers, both by the Princes Seruants, and the Lady Elizabeths. By Nat. Field. G. Eld for Math. Walbancke.

1639.... With the merry prankes of Moll Cut-Purse: Or, the humour of roaring A Comedy full of honest mirth and wit.... Io. Okes for Math. Walbancke.

Editions, with A W. is a W. (q.v.).

The title-page points to performances in Porter’s Hall (c. 1615–16) by the combined companies of the Prince and Princess; but the Epistle to A W. is a W. (q.v.) makes it clear that the play was at least planned, and probably written, by the end of 1611. Collier, iii. 434, and Fleay, i. 201, confirm this from an allusion to the play in A. Stafford’s Admonition to a Discontented Romanist, appended to his Niobe Dissolved into a Nilus (S. R. 10 Oct. 1611). Fleay is less happy in fixing an inferior limit of date by the publication of the version of the Curious Impertinent story in Shelton’s Don Quixote (1612), since that story was certainly available in Baudouin’s French translation as early as 1608.[314] The introduction of Moll Cutpurse suggests rivalry with Dekker and Middleton’s Roaring Girl (also c. 1610–11) at the Fortune, which theatre is chaffed in ii. 1 and iii. 4.

Later Play

The Fatal Dowry (1632), a King’s men’s play, assigned on the title-page to P. M. and N. F., probably dates from 1616–19. C. Beck, Philip Massinger, The Fatall Dowry, Einleitung zu einer neuen Ausgabe (1906, Erlangen diss.), assigns the prose of II. ii and IV. i to Field. There is an edition by C. L. Lockert (1918).

Doubtful Plays

Attempts have been made to trace Field’s hand in Bonduca, Cupid’s Revenge, Faithful Friends, Honest Man’s Fortune, Thierry and Theodoret, and Four Plays in One, all belonging to the Beaumont (q.v.) and Fletcher series, and in Charlemagne (cf. ch. xxiv).

JOHN FLETCHER (1579–1625).

Fletcher was born in Dec. 1579 at Rye, Sussex, the living of his father Richard Fletcher, who became Bishop of Bristol, Worcester, and in 1594 London. His cousins, Giles and Phineas, are known as poets. He seems too young for the John Fletcher of London who entered Corpus Christi, Cambridge, in 1591. After his father’s death in 1596, nothing is heard of him until his emergence as a dramatist, and of this the date cannot be precisely fixed. Davenant says that ‘full twenty yeares, he wore the bayes’, which would give 1605, but this is in a prologue to The Woman Hater, which Davenant apparently thought Fletcher’s, although it is Beaumont’s; and Oliphant’s attempt to find his hand, on metrical grounds, in Captain Thomas Stukeley (1605) rests only on one not very conclusive scene. But he had almost certainly written for the Queen’s Revels before the beginning, about 1608, of his collaboration with Beaumont, under whom his later career is outlined. It is possible that he is the John Fletcher who married Joan Herring on 3 Nov. 1612 at St. Saviour’s, Southwark, and had a son John about Feb. 1620 in St. Bartholomew’s the Great (Dyce, i. lxxiii), and if so one may put the fact with Aubrey’s gossip (cf. s.v. Beaumont), and with Oldwit’s speech in Shadwell’s Bury-Fair (1689): ‘I knew Fletcher, my friend Fletcher, and his maid Joan; well, I shall never forget him: I have supped with him at his house on the Bankside; he loved a fat loin of pork of all things in the world; and Joan his maid had her beer-glass of sack; and we all kissed her, i’ faith, and were as merry as passed.’ I have sometimes wondered whether Jonson is chaffing Beaumont and Fletcher in Bartholomew Fair (1614), V. iii, iv, as Damon and Pythias, ‘two faithfull friends o’ the Bankside’, that ‘have both but one drabbe’, and enter with a gammon of bacon under their cloaks. I do not think this can refer to Francis Bacon. Fletcher died in Aug. 1625 and was buried in St. Saviour’s (Athenaeum, 1886, ii. 252).

For Plays vide s.v. Beaumont, and for the ascribed lost play of Cardenio, s.v. Shakespeare.



Phineas Fletcher, son of Giles, a diplomatist and poet, brother of Giles, a poet, and first cousin of John (q.v.), was baptized at Cranbrook, Kent, on 8 April 1582. From Eton he passed to King’s College, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. in 1604, his M.A. in 1608, and became a Fellow in 1611. He was Chaplain to Sir Henry Willoughby of Risley from 1616 to 1621, and thereafter Rector of Hilgay, Norfolk, to his death in 1650. He wrote much Spenserian poetry, but his dramatic work was purely academic. In addition to Sicelides, he may have written an English comedy, for which a payment was made to him by King’s about Easter 1607 (Boas, i. xx).


1869. A. B. Grosart, The Poems of P. F. 4 vols. (Fuller Worthies Library).

1908–9. F. S. Boas, The Poetical Works of Giles Fletcher and P. F. 2 vols. (Cambridge English Classics).

Sicelides. 1615

[MSS.] Bodl. Rawl. Poet. MS. 214.

Addl. MS. 4453. ‘Sicelides: a Piscatorie made by Phinees Fletcher and acted in Kings Colledge in Cambridge.’ [A shorter version than that of Q. and the Rawl. MS.]

S. R. 1631, April 25 (Herbert). ‘A play called Scicelides, acted at Cambridge.’ William Sheeres (Arber, iv. 251).

1631. Sicelides A Piscatory, As it hath been Acted in Kings Colledge, in Cambridge. I. N. for William Sheares. [Prologue and Epilogue.]

A reference (III. iv) to the shoes hung up by Thomas Coryat in Odcombe church indicates a date of composition not earlier than 1612. The play was intended for performance before James at Cambridge, but was actually given before the University after his visit, on 13 March 1615 (cf. ch. iv).


A Gray’s Inn lawyer, one of the devisers of dumb-shows and directors for the Misfortunes of Arthur of Thomas Hughes (q.v.) in 1588, for which he also wrote two choruses.

JOHN FORD (1586–1639 <).

Ford’s dramatic career, including whatever share he may have had with Dekker (q.v.) in Sun’s Darling and Witch of Edmonton, falls substantially outside my period. But amongst plays entered as his by Humphrey Moseley on 29 June 1660 (Eyre, ii. 271) are:

‘An ill begining has A good end, and a bad begining may have a good end, a Comedy.’

‘The London Merchant, a Comedy.’

These ascriptions recur in Warburton’s list of lost plays (3 Library, ii. 231), where the first play has the title ‘A good beginning may have[316] A good end’. It is possible, therefore, that Ford either wrote or revised the play of ‘A badd beginininge makes a good endinge’, which was performed by the King’s men at Court during 1612–13 (cf. App. B). One may suspect the London Merchant to be a mistake for the Bristow Merchant of Ford and Dekker (q.v.) in 1624. The offer of the title in K. B. P. ind. 11 hardly proves that there was really a play of The London Merchant. Ford’s Honor Triumphant: or The Peeres Challenge, by Armes defensible at Tilt, Turney, and Barriers (1606; ed. Sh. Soc. 1843) is a thesis motived by the jousts in honour of Christian of Denmark (cf. ch. iv). It has an Epistle to the Countesses of Pembroke and Montgomery, and contains four arguments in defence of amorous propositions addressed respectively to the Duke of Lennox and the Earls of Arundel, Pembroke, and Montgomery.

EDWARD FORSETT (c. 1553–c. 1630).

A political writer (D. N. B.) and probable author of the academic Pedantius (cf. App. K).

ABRAHAM FRAUNCE (c. 1558–1633 <).

Fraunce was a native of Shrewsbury, and passed from the school of that place, where he obtained the friendship of Philip Sidney, to St. John’s, Cambridge, in 1576. He took his B.A. in 1580, played in Legge’s academic Richardus Tertius and in Hymenaeus (Boas, 394), which he may conceivably have written (cf. App. K), became Fellow of the college in 1581, and took his M.A. in 1583. He became a Gray’s Inn man, dedicated various treatises on logic and experiments in English hexameters to members of the Sidney and Herbert families during 1583–92, and appears to have obtained through their influence some office under the Presidency of Wales. He dropped almost entirely out of letters, but seems to have been still alive in 1633.

Latin Play

Victoria. 1580 < > 3

[MS.] In possession of Lord De L’Isle and Dudley at Penshurst, headed ‘Victoria’. [Lines ‘Philippo Sidneio’, signed ‘Abrahamus Fransus’. Prologue.]

Edition by G. C. Moore Smith (1906, Materialien, xiv).

The play is an adaptation of Il Fedele (1575) by Luigi Pasqualigo, which is also the foundation of the anonymous Two Italian Gentlemen (q.v.). As Sidney was knighted on 13 Jan. 1583, the play was probably written, perhaps for performance at St. John’s, Cambridge, before that date and after Fraunce took his B.A. in 1580.


Phillis and Amyntas. 1591

S. R. 1591, Feb. 9 (Bp. of London). ‘A book intituled The Countesse of Pembrookes Ivye churche, and Emanuel.’ William Ponsonby (Arber, ii. 575).


1591. The Countesse of Pembrokes Yuychurch. Containing the affectionate life, and vnfortunate death of Phillis and Amyntas: That in a Pastorall; This in a Funerall; both in English Hexameters. By Abraham Fraunce. Thomas Orwin for William Ponsonby.

Dissertation: E. Köppel, Die englischen Tasso-Übersetzungen des 16. Jahrhunderts (1889, Anglia, xi).

This consists of a slightly altered translation of the Aminta (1573) of Torquato Tasso, followed by a reprint of Fraunce’s English version (1587) of Thomas Watson’s Amyntas (1585), which is not a play, but a collection of Latin eclogues. There is nothing to show that Fraunce’s version of Aminta was ever acted.

WILLIAM FULBECK (1560–1603?).

He entered Gray’s Inn in 1584, contributed two speeches to the Misfortunes of Arthur of Thomas Hughes (q.v.) in 1588, and wrote various legal and historical books.


Fulwell was born in Somersetshire and educated at St. Mary’s Hall, Oxford. On 14 April 1577 he was of the parish of Naunton, Gloucestershire, and married Mary Whorewood of Lapworth, Warwickshire.[657]

Like Will to Like. c. 1568

S. R. 1568–9. ‘A play lyke Wyll to lyke quod the Devell to the Collyer.’ John Alde (Arber, i. 379).

1568. An Enterlude Intituled Like wil to like quod the Deuel to the Colier, very godly and ful of pleasant mirth.... Made by Vlpian Fulwell. John Allde.

1587. Edward Allde.

Editions in Dodsley4, iii (1874), and by J. S. Farmer (1909, T. F. T.).

A non-controversial moral. The characters, allegorical and typical, are arranged for five actors, and include Ralph Roister, and ‘Nicholas Newfangle the Vice’, who ‘rideth away upon the Devil’s back’ (Dodsley, iii. 357). There is a prayer for the Queen at the end.

This might be The Collier played at Court in 1576. Fleay, 60; i. 235, puts it in 1561–3, assigns it to the Paul’s boys, and suggests that Richard Edwardes (q.v.) is satirized as Ralph Roister. Greg (Henslowe, ii. 228) suggests that Fulwell’s may be the play revived by Pembroke’s at the Rose on 28 Oct. 1600 as ‘the [devell] licke vnto licke’.

WILLIAM GAGER (> 1560–1621).

Gager entered Christ Church, Oxford, from Westminster in 1574, and took his B.A. in 1577, his M.A. in 1580, and his D.C.L. in 1589. In 1606 he became Chancellor of the diocese of Ely. He had a high reputation for his Latin verses, many of which are contained in Exequiae D. Philippi Sidnaei (1587) and other University volumes. A large collection in Addl. MS. 22583 includes lines to George Peele[318] (q.v.). Meres in 1598 counts him as one of ‘the best for comedy amongst vs’. His correspondence with John Rainolds affords a summary of the controversy on the ethics of the stage in its academic aspect.

Latin Plays

Meleager. Feb. 1582

1592. Meleager. Tragoedia noua. Bis publice acta in aede Christi Oxoniae. Oxoniae. Joseph Barnes. [Epistle to Earl of Essex, ‘ex aede Christi Oxoniae, Calendis Ianuarij MDXCII. Gulielmus Gagerus’; Commendatory verses by Richard Edes, Alberico Gentili, and I. C[ase?]; Epistle Ad lectorem Academicum; Prologus ad academicos; Argumentum; Prologus ad illustrissimos Penbrochiae ac Lecestriae Comites. At end, Epilogus ad Academicos; Epilogus ad clarissimos Comites Penbrochiensem ac Lecestrensem; Panniculus Hippolyto ... assutus (vide infra); Apollo προλογίζει ad serenissimam Reginam Elizabetham 1592; Prologus in Bellum Grammaticale ad eandem sacram Maiestatem; Epilogus in eandem Comoediam ad Eandem.]

The dedication says ‘Annus iam pene vndecimus agitur ... ex quo Meleager primum, octauus ex quo iterum in Scenam venit’, and adds that Pembroke, Leicester, and Sidney were present on the second occasion. Meleager is ‘primogenitus meus’. The first production was doubtless one of those recorded in the Christ Church accounts in Feb. 1582 (Boas, 162), and the second during Leicester’s visit as Chancellor in Jan. 1585 (Boas, 192).

Dido. 12 June 1583

[MSS.] Christ Church, Oxford, MS. [complete text].

Addl. MS. 22583. [Acts II, III only, with Prologue, Argument, and Epilogue.]

Edition of B.M. fragment by A. Dyce (1850, Marlowe’s Works). Abstract from Ch. Ch. MS. in Boas, 183.

The play was produced before Alasco at Christ Church on 12 June 1583. It is unlikely that it influenced Marlowe’s play.

Ulysses Redux. 6 Feb. 1592

1592. Vlysses Redux Tragoedia Nova. In Aede Christi Oxoniae Publice Academicis Recitata, Octavo Idus Februarii. 1591. Oxoniae. Joseph Barnes. [Prologus ad Academicos; Epistle to Lord Buckhurst, ‘ex aede Christi Oxoniae sexto Idus Maij, 1592 ... Gulielmus Gagerus’; Commendatory verses by Thomas Holland, Alberico Gentili, Richard Edes, Henry Bust, Matthew Gwinne, Richard Late-warr, Francis Sidney, John Hoschines (Hoskins), William Ballowe, James Weston; Verses Ad Zoilum; Epistle Ad Criticum. At end, Prologus in Rivales Comoediam; Prologus in Hippolytum Senecae Tragoediam; Epilogus in eundem; Momus; Epilogus Responsiuus.]

The play was produced on Sunday, 6 Feb. 1592, and an indiscreet invitation to John Rainolds opened the flood-gates of controversy[319] upon Gager’s head (cf. vol. i, p. 251 and App. C, No. 1). Gager’s Rivales was revived on 7 Feb. and the pseudo-Senecan Hippolytus, with Gager’s Panniculus, on 8 Feb. followed by a speech in the character of Momus as a carper at plays, and a reply to Momus by way of Epilogue. The latter was printed in an enlarged form given to it during the course of the controversy (Boas, 197, 234, with dates which disregard leap-year).

Additions to Hippolytus. 8 Feb. 1592

1592. Panniculus Hippolyto Senecae assutus, 1591. [Appended to Meleager; for Gager’s prologue, &c., cf. s.v. Ulysses Redux.]

These consist of two scenes, one of the nature of an opening, the other an insertion between Act I and Act II, written for a performance of the play at Christ Church on 8 Feb. 1592.


Addl. MS. 22583, f. 31, includes with other poems by Gager five scenes from a tragedy on Oedipus, of which nothing more is known.

Lost Play

Rivales. 11 June 1583

This comedy was produced before Alasco at Christ Church, on 11 June 1583. It is assigned to Gager by A. Wood, Annals, ii. 216, and referred to as his in the controversy with Rainolds (Boas, 181), who speaks of it as ‘the vnprinted Comedie’, and criticizes its ‘filth’. It contained scenes of country wooing, drunken sailors, a miles gloriosus, a blanda lena. The prologue to Dido says of it:

Hesterna Mopsum scena ridiculum dedit.

It was revived at Christ Church on 7 Feb. 1592 (Boas, 197) and again at the same place before Elizabeth on 26 Sept. 1592, when, according to a Cambridge critic, it was ‘but meanely performed’. Presumably it is the prologue for this revival which is printed with Ulysses Redux (q.v.).


A London citizen, whose few and mainly non-dramatic writings were produced from 1565 to 1579. For his description of the Norwich entertainment (1578), cf. ch. xxiv.

THOMAS GARTER (c. 1569).

He may conceivably be identical with Bernard Garter, since Thomas and Bernard are respectively given from different sources (cf. D. N. B.) as the name of the father of Bernard Garter of Brigstocke, Northants, whose son was alive in 1634.

Susanna, c. 1569

S. R. 1568–9. ‘Ye playe of Susanna.’ Thomas Colwell (Arber, i. 383).


No copy is known, but S. Jones, Biographica Dramatica [320](1812), iii. 310, says: ‘Susanna. By Thomas Garter 4to 1578. The running title of this play is, The Commody of the moste vertuous and godlye Susanna.’ According to Greg, Masques, cxxiii, the original authority for the statement is a manuscript note by Thomas Coxeter (ob. 1747) in a copy of G. Jacob’s Lives of the Dramatic Poets (1719–20). ‘Susanna’ is in Rogers and Ley’s list, and an interlude ‘Susanna’s Tears’ in Archer’s and Kirkman’s.

GEORGE GASCOIGNE (c. 1535–77).

George Gascoigne was son of Sir John Gascoigne of Cardington, Bedfordshire. He was probably born between 1530 and 1535, and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Gray’s Inn. He misspent his youth as a dissipated hanger-on at Court, under the patronage of Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton and others, and won some reputation as a versifier. About 1566 he married Elizabeth Breton of Walthamstow, widow of a London merchant, and mother of Nicholas Breton, the poet. From March 1573 to Oct. 1574 he served as a volunteer under William of Orange in the Netherlands. In 1575 he was assisting in preparing shows before Elizabeth at Kenilworth and Woodstock. It is possible that he was again in the Netherlands and present at the sack of Antwerp in 1576. On 7 Oct. 1577 he died at Stamford.


N.D. [1573] A Hundreth sundrie Flowres bounde up in one small Poesie.... For Richard Smith. [Datable by a prefatory epistle of 20 Jan. 1573, signed ‘H. W.’ and a reference in Gascoigne’s own epistle of 31 Jan. 1575 to Q2. Includes Jocasta, Supposes, and the Mask.]

1575. The Posies of George Gascoigne Esquire. Corrected, perfected, and augmented by the Authour. H. Bynneman for Richard Smith. [A second issue, For Richard Smith.]

1587. The whole workes of George Gascoigne Esquyre: Newlye compyled into one Volume.... Abel Jeffes. [Adds the Princely Pleasures. A second issue, ‘The pleasauntest workes....’]

1869–70. W. C. Hazlitt, The Complete Poems of George Gascoigne. 2 vols. (Roxburghe Library). [Adds Glass of Government and Hemetes.]

1907–10. J. W. Cunliffe, The Complete Works of George Gascoigne. 2 vols. (C. E. C.).

Dissertation: F. E. Schelling, The Life and Writings of George Gascoigne (1893, Pennsylvania Univ. Publ.).

Jocasta. 1566

With Francis Kinwelmershe.

[MS.] B.M. Addl. MS. 34063, formerly the property of Roger, second Lord North, whose name and the motto ‘Durum Pati [15]68’ are on the title.

1573. Iocasta: A Tragedie written in Greke by Euripides, translated and digested into Acte by George Gascoyne, and Francis[321] Kinwelmershe of Grayes Inne, and there by them presented. 1566. Henry Bynneman for Richard Smith. [Part of Collection, 1573; also in 1575, 1587. Argument; Epilogue ‘Done by Chr. Yeluerton’.]

Editions by F. J. Child (1848, Four Old Plays) and J. W. Cunliffe (1906, B. L., and 1912, E. E. C. T.).—Dissertation: M. T. W. Foerster, Gascoigne’s J. a Translation from the Italian (1904, M. P. ii. 147).

A blank-verse translation of Lodovico Dolce’s Giocasta (1549), itself a paraphrase or adaptation of the Phoenissae of Euripides (Creizenach, ii. 408). After Acts I and IV appears ‘Done by F. Kinwelmarshe’ and after II, III, V ‘Done by G. Gascoigne’. Before each act is a description of a dumb-show and of its accompanying music.

Supposes. 1566

1573. Supposes: A Comedie written in the Italian tongue by Ariosto, and Englished by George Gascoyne of Grayes Inne Esquire, and there presented. [Part of Collection, 1573; also in 1575 (with addition of ‘1566’ to title) and 1587. Prologue.]

Editions by T. Hawkins (1773, O. E. D. iii), J. W. Cunliffe (1906, B. L.), and R. W. Bond (1911, E. P. I.).

A prose translation of Ludovico Ariosto’s I Suppositi (1509). There was probably a revival at Trinity, Oxford, on 8 Jan. 1582, when Richard Madox records, ‘We supt at ye presidents lodging and after had ye supposes handeled in ye haul indifferently’ (Boas, 161).

The Glass of Government. c. 1575

1575. The Glasse of Governement. A tragicall Comedie so entituled, bycause therein are handled aswell the rewardes for Vertues, as also the punishment for Vices. Done by George Gascoigne Esquier. 1575. Seen and allowed, according to the order appointed in the Queenes Maiesties Injunctions. For C. Barker. [Colophon] H. M. for Christopher Barker. [Epistle to Sir Owen Hopton, by ‘G. Gascoigne’, dated 26 Apr. 1575; Commendatory verses by B. C.; Argument; Prologue; Epilogue. A reissue has a variant colophon (Henry Middleton) and Errata.]

Edition by J. S. Farmer (1914, S. F.).—Dissertation: C. H. Herford, G.’s G. of G. (E. S. ix. 201).

This, perhaps only a closet drama, is an adaptation of the ‘Christian Terence’ (cf. Mediaeval Stage, ii. 216), with which Gascoigne may have become familiar in Holland during 1573–4. The prologue (cf. App. C, No. xiv) warns that the play is not a mere ‘worthie jest’, and that

Who list laye out some pence in such a marte,
Bellsavage fayre were fittest for his purse.


Montague Mask. 1572

1573. A Devise of a Maske for the right honourable Viscount Mountacute. [Part of Collection, 1573; also in 1575, 1587.]


Anthony and Elizabeth Browne, children of Anthony, first Viscount Montague, married Mary and Robert, children of Sir William Dormer of Eythorpe, Bucks., in 1572 (cf. ch. v).


See s.v. Lee, Woodstock Entertainment (1575) and ch. xxiv, s.v. Kenilworth Entertainment (1575).

THOMAS GOFFE (1591–1629).

Selimus and the Second Maiden’s Tragedy have been ascribed to him, but as regards the first absurdly, and as regards the second not plausibly, since he only took his B.A. degree in 1613. His known plays are later in date than 1616.

ARTHUR GOLDING (1536–1605 <).

Arthur was son of John Golding of Belchamp St. Paul, Essex, and brother-in-law of John, 16th Earl of Oxford. He was a friend of Sidney and known to Elizabethan statesmen of puritanical leanings. Almost his only original work was a Discourse upon the Earthquake (1580), but he was a voluminous translator of theological and classical works, including Ovid’s Metamorphoses (1565, 1567). Beza’s tragedy was written when he was Professor at Lausanne in 1550 (Creizenach, ii. 456).

Abraham’s Sacrifice. 1575

1577. A Tragedie of Abrahams Sacrifice, Written in french, by Theodore Beza, and translated into Inglish by A. G. Finished at Powles Belchamp in Essex, the xj of August, 1575. Thomas Vautrollier. [Woodcuts, which do not suggest a scenic representation.]

Edition by M. W. Wallace (1907, Toronto Philological Series).


A contributor to the Kenilworth and Norwich entertainments (cf. ch. xxiv, C) and writer of The Garden Plot (1825, Roxburghe Club). Gawdy, 13, mentions ‘a yonge gentleman touard my L. of Leycester called Mr. Goldingam’, as concerned c. 1587 in a street brawl.


Author of the academic Herodes (cf. App. K).


Describer of The Fortress of Perfect Beauty (cf. ch. xxiv, C).

STEPHEN GOSSON (1554–1624).

Gosson was born in Kent during 1554, was at Corpus Christi, Oxford, 1572 to 1576, then came to London, where he obtained some reputation as playwright and poet. Meres in Palladis Tamia (1598) commends his pastorals, which are lost. Lodge speaks of him also as a ‘player’.[658] In 1579 he forsook the stage, became a tutor in the country and published The School of Abuse (App. C, No. xxii). This he dedicated[323] to Sidney, but ‘was for his labour scorned’. He was answered the same year in a lost pamphlet called Strange News out of Afric and also by Lodge (q.v.), and rejoined with A Short Apology of the School of Abuse (App. C, No. xxiv). The players revived his plays to spite him and on 23 Feb. 1582 produced The Play of Plays and Pastimes to confute him. In the same year he produced his final contribution to the controversy in Plays Confuted in Five Actions (App. C, No. xxx). In 1591 Gosson became Rector of Great Wigborough, Essex, and in 1595 published the anonymous pamphlet Pleasant Quips for Upstart Newfangled Gentlewomen. In 1600 he became Rector of St. Botolph’s, Bishopsgate. In 1616 and 1617 he wrote to Alleyn (q.v.) as his ‘very loving and ancient friend’.[659] He died 13 Feb. 1624.

Gosson claims to have written both tragedies and comedies,[660] but no play of his is extant. He names three of them. Of Catiline’s Conspiracies he says that it was ‘usually brought into the Theater and that ‘because it is known to be a pig of mine own sow, I will speak the less of it; only giving you to understand, that the whole mark which I shot at in that work was to show the reward of traitors in Catiline, and the necessary government of learned men in the person of Cicero, which foresees every danger that is likely to happen and forestalls it continually ere it take effect’.[661] Lodge disparages the originality of this play and compares it unfavourably with Wilson’s Short and Sweet[662] (q.v.). Of two other plays Gosson says: ‘Since my publishing the School of Abuse two plays of my making were brought to the stage; the one was a cast of Italian devices, called, The Comedy of Captain Mario; the other a Moral, Praise at Parting. These they very impudently affirm to be written by me since I had set out my invective against them. I can not deny they were both mine, but they were both penned two years at the least before I forsook them, as by their own friends I am able to prove.’[663] It is conceivable that Gosson may be the translator of Fedele and Fortunio (cf. ch. xxiv).

ROBERT GREENE (1558–92).

Robert Greene was baptized at Norwich on 11 July 1558. He entered St. John’s College, Cambridge, as a sizar in 1575 and took his B.A. in 1578 and his M.A. by 1583, when he was residing in Clare Hall. The addition of an Oxford degree in July 1588 enabled him to describe himself as Academiae Utriusque Magister in Artibus. He has been identified with a Robert Greene who was Vicar of Tollesbury, Essex, in 1584–5, but there is no real evidence that he took orders. The earlier part of his career may be gathered from his autobiographic pamphlet, The Repentance of Robert Greene (1592), eked out by the portraits, also evidently in a measure autobiographic, of Francesco in Never Too Late (1590) and of Roberto in Green’s Groats-worth of Wit bought with a Million of Repentance (1592). It seems that he travelled in youth and learnt much wickedness; then married and lived for a[324] while with his wife and had a child by her. During this period he began his series of euphuistic love-romances. About 1586, however, he deserted his wife, and lived a dissolute life in London with the sister of Cutting Ball, a thief who ended his days at Tyburn, as his mistress. By her he had a base-born son, Fortunatus. He does not seem to have been long in London before he ‘had wholly betaken me to the penning of plays which was my continual exercise’.[664] His adoption of his profession seems to be described in The Groats-worth of Wit. Roberto meets a player, goes with him, and soon becomes ‘famozed for an arch-plaimaking poet’.[665] Similarly, in Never Too Late, Francesco ‘fell in amongst a company of players, who persuaded him to try his wit in writing of comedies, tragedies, or pastorals, and if he could perform anything worthy of the stage, then they would largely reward him for his pains’. Hereupon Francesco ‘writ a comedy, which so generally pleased the audience that happy were those actors in short time, that could get any of his works, he grew so exquisite in that faculty’.[666] Greene’s early dramatic efforts seem to have brought him into rivalry with Marlowe (q.v.). In the preface to Perimedes the Blacksmith (S. R. 29 March 1588) he writes: ‘I keep my old course to palter up something in prose, using mine old poesie still, Omne tulit punctum, although lately two Gentlemen Poets made two mad men of Rome beat it out of their paper bucklers: and had it in derision for that I could not make my verses jet upon the stage in tragical buskins, every word filling the mouth like the faburden of Bo-Bell, daring God out of heaven with that Atheist Tamburlan, or blaspheming with the mad priest of the Sun.... Such mad and scoffing poets that have poetical spirits, as bred of Merlin’s race, if there be any in England that set the end of scholarism in an English blank-verse, I think either it is the humour of a novice that tickles them with self-love, or too much frequenting the hot-house (to use the German proverb) hath sweat out all the greatest part of their wits.... I but answer in print what they have offered on the stage.’[667] The references here to Marlowe are unmistakable. His fellow ‘gentleman poet’ is unknown; but the ‘mad priest of the Sun’ suggests the play of ‘the lyfe and deathe of Heliogabilus’, entered on S. R. to John Danter on 19 June 1594, but now lost.[668] In 1589 Greene published his Menaphon (S. R. 23 Aug.), in which he further alluded to Marlowe as the teller of ‘a Canterbury tale; some prophetical full-mouth that as he were a Cobler’s eldest son, would by the last tell where anothers shoe wrings’.[669] Doron, in the same story, appears to parody a passage in the anonymous play of The Taming of A Shrew, which is further alluded to in a prefatory epistle To the Gentlemen Students of Both Universities contributed to Greene’s book by Thomas Nashe. Herein Nashe, while praising Peele and his Arraignment of Paris, satirizes Marlowe, Kyd, and particularly the players (cf. App. C, No. xlii). To Menaphon are also[325] prefixed lines by Thomas Brabine which tells the ‘wits’ that ‘strive to thunder from a stage-man’s throat’ how the novel is beyond them. ‘Players, avaunt!’[670] In the following year, 1590, Greene continued the attack on the players in the autobiographic romance, already referred to, of Never Too Late (cf. App. C, No. xliii). In 1590 Greene, whose publications had hitherto been mainly toys of love and romance, began a series of moral pamphlets, full of professions of repentance and denunciations of villainy. To these belong, as well as Never Too Late, Greene’s Mourning Garment (1590) and Greene’s Farewell to Folly (1591). A preface to the latter contains some satirical references to the anonymous play of Fair Em (cf. ch. xxiv.) One R. W. retorted upon Greene in a pamphlet called Martine Mar-Sextus (S. R. 8 Nov. 1591), in which he abuses lascivious authors who finally ‘put on a mourning garment and cry Farewell’.[671] Similarly, Greene’s exposures of ‘cony-catching’ or ‘sharping’ provoked the following passage in the Defence of Cony-catching (S. R. 21 April 1592) by one Cuthbert Conycatcher: ‘What if I should prove you a cony-catcher, Master R. G., would it not make you blush at the matter?... Ask the Queen’s players if you sold them not Orlando Furioso for twenty nobles, and when they were in the country sold the same play to the Lord Admiral’s men for as many more.... I hear, when this was objected, that you made this excuse; that there was no more faith to be held with players than with them that valued faith at the price of a feather; for as they were comedians to act, so the actions of their lives were camelion-like; that they were uncertain, variable, time-pleasers, men that measured honesty by profit, and that regarded their authors not by desert but by necessity of time.’[672] It is probable that the change in the tone of Greene’s writings did not correspond to any very thorough-going reformation of life. There is nothing to show that Greene had any share in the Martinist controversy. But he became involved in one of the personal animosities to which it led. Richard Harvey, the brother of Gabriel, in his Lamb of God (S. R. 23 Oct. 1589), while attacking Lyly as Paphatchet, had ‘mistermed all our other poets and writers about London, piperly make-plaies and make-bates. Hence Greene, beeing chiefe agent for the companie [i.e. the London poets] (for hee writ more than foure other, how well I will not say: but sat citò, si sat benè) tooke occasion to canuaze him a little.’[673] Apparently he called the Harveys, in his A Quip for an Upstart Courtier (S. R. 21 July 1592, cf. App. C, No. xlvii), the sons of a ropemaker, which is what they were.[674][326] In August Greene partook freely of Rhenish wine and pickled herrings at a supper with Nashe and one Will Monox, and fell into a surfeit. On 3 September he died in a squalid lodging, after writing a touching letter to his deserted wife, and begging his landlady, Mrs. Isam, to lay a wreath of bays upon him. These details are recorded by Gabriel Harvey, who visited the place and wrote an account of his enemy’s end in a letter to a friend, which he published in his Four Letters and Certain Sonnets: especially Touching Robert Greene, and Other Parties by him Abused (S. R. 4 Dec. 1592).[675] This brought Nashe upon him in the Strange News of the Intercepting of Certain Letters[676] (S. R. 12 Jan. 1593) and began a controversy between the two which lasted for several years. In Pierce’s Supererogation (27 Apr. 1593) Harvey spoke of ‘Nash, the ape of Greene, Greene the ape of Euphues, Euphues the ape of Envy’, and declared that Nashe ‘shamefully and odiously misuseth every friend or acquaintance as he hath served ... Greene, Marlowe, Chettle, and whom not?’[677] In Have With You to Saffron Walden (1596), Nashe defends himself against these accusations. ‘I never abusd Marloe, Greene, Chettle in my life.... He girds me with imitating of Greene.... I scorne it ... hee subscribing to me in anything but plotting Plaies, wherein he was his crafts master.’[678] The alleged abuse of Marlowe, Greene, and Chettle belongs to the history of another pamphlet. This is Green’s Groats-worth of Wit, Bought with a Million of Repentance (S. R. 20 Sept. 1592, ‘upon the peril of Henry Chettle’[679]). According to the title-page, it was ‘written before his death and published at his dying request’. To this is appended the famous address To those Gentlemen, his Quondam Acquaintance, that spend their wits in making Plays.[680] The reference here to Shakespeare is undeniable. Of the three playwrights warned, the first and third are almost certainly Marlowe and Peele; the third may be Lodge, but on the whole is far more likely to be Nashe (q.v.). It appears, however, that Nashe himself was supposed to have had a hand in the authorship. Chettle did his best to take the responsibility off Nashe’s shoulders in the preface to his Kind-Hart’s Dream (S. R. 8 Dec. 1592; cf. App. C, No. xlix). In the epistle prefixed to the second edition of Pierce Penniless his Supplication to the Devil (Works, i. 154), written early in 1593, Nashe denies the charge for himself and calls The Groats-worth ‘a scald trivial lying pamphlet’; and it is perhaps to this that Harvey refers as abuse of Greene, Marlowe, and Chettle, although it is not clear how Marlowe comes in. There is an echo of Greene’s hit at the ‘upstart crow, beautified with our feathers’ in the lines of R. B., Greene’s Funerals (1594, ed. McKerrow, 1911, p. 81):

Greene, gaue the ground, to all that wrote upon him.
Nay more the men, that so eclipst his fame:
Purloynde his plumes, can they deny the same?


It should be added that the theory that Greene himself was actor as well as playwright rests on a misinterpretation of a phrase of Harvey’s and is inconsistent with the invariable tone of his references to the profession.


1831. A. Dyce, The Dramatic Works of R. G. 2 vols.

1861, &c. A. Dyce, The Dramatic and Poetical Works of R. G. and George Peele.

1881–6. A. B. Grosart, The Complete Works in Prose and Verse of R. G. 15 vols. (Huth Library).

1905. J. C. Collins, The Plays and Poems of R. G. 2 vols.

1909. T. H. Dickinson, The Plays of R. G. (Mermaid Series).

Dissertations: W. Bernhardi, R. G.’s Leben und Schriften (1874); J. M. Brown, An Early Rival of Shakespeare (1877); N. Storojenko, R. G.: His Life and Works (1878, tr. E. A. B. Hodgetts, in Grosart, i); R. Simpson, Account of R. G., his Life and Works, and his Attacks on Shakspere, in School of Sh. (1878), ii; C. H. Herford, G.’s Romances and Shakespeare (1888, N. S. S. Trans. 181); K. Knauth, Ueber die Metrik R. G.’s (1890, Halle diss.); H. Conrad, R. G. als Dramatiker (1894, Jahrbuch, xxix. 210); W. Creizenach, G. über Shakespeare (1898, Wiener Festschrift); G. E. Woodberry, G.’s Place in Comedy, and C. M. Gayley, R. G., His Life and the Order of his Plays (1903, R. E. C. i); K. Ehrke, R. G.’s Dramen (1904); S. L. Wolff, R. G. and the Italian Renaissance (1907, E. S. xxxvii. 321); F. Brie, Lyly und G. (1910, E. S. xlii. 217); J. C. Jordan, R. G. (1915).

Alphonsus. c. 1587

1599. The Comicall Historie of Alphonsus King of Aragon. As it hath bene sundrie times Acted. Made by R. G. Thomas Creede.

There is general agreement that, on grounds of style, this should be the earliest of Greene’s extant plays. In IV. 1444 is an allusion to ‘mighty Tamberlaine’, and the play reads throughout like an attempt to emulate the success of Marlowe’s play of 1587 (?). In IV. i Mahomet speaks out of a brazen head. The play may therefore be alluded to in the ‘Mahomet’s poo [pow]’ of Peele’s (q.v.) Farewell of April 1589, although Peele may have intended his own lost play of The Turkish Mahomet and Hiren the Fair Greek. There is no reference in Alphonsus to the Armada of 1588. On the whole, the winter of 1587 appears the most likely date for it, and if so, it is possibly the play whose ill success is recorded by Greene in the preface to Perimedes (1588). The Admiral’s revived a Mahomet on 16 Aug. 1594, inventoried ‘owld Mahemetes head’ in 1598, and revived the play again in Aug. 1601, buying the book from Alleyn, who might have brought it from Strange’s, or bought it from the Queen’s (Greg, Henslowe, ii. 167; Henslowe Papers, 116). Collins dates Alphonsus in 1591, on a theory, inconsistent with the biographical indications of the pamphlets, that Greene’s play-writing did not begin much before that year. A ‘Tragicomoedia von einem Königk in Arragona’ played at Dresden in 1626 might be either this play or Mucedorus (Herz, 66, 78).


A Looking Glass for London and England. c. 1590

With Lodge.

S. R. 1594, March 5. ‘A booke intituled the lookinge glasse for London by Thomas Lodg and Robert Greene gent.’ Thomas Creede (Arber, ii. 645).

1594. A Looking Glasse for London and England. Made by Thomas Lodge Gentleman, and Robert Greene. In Artibus Magister. Thomas Creede, sold by William Barley.

1598. Thomas Creede, sold by William Barley.

1602. Thomas Creede, for Thomas Pavier.

1617. Bernard Alsop.

Edition by J. S. Farmer (1914, S. F. T.).

The facts of Lodge’s (q.v.) life leave 1588, before the Canaries voyage, or 1589–91, between that voyage and Cavendish’s expedition, as possible dates for the play. In favour of the former is Lodge’s expressed intention in 1589 to give up ‘penny-knave’s delight’. On the other hand, the subject is closely related to that of Greene’s moral pamphlets, the series of which begins in 1590, and the fall of Nineveh is referred to in The Mourning Garment of that year. Fleay, ii. 54, and Collins, i. 137, accept 1590 as the date of the play. Gayley, 405, puts it in 1587, largely on the impossible notion that its ‘priest of the sun’ (IV. iii. 1540) is that referred to in the Perimedes preface, but partly also from the absence of any reference to the Armada. It is possible that ‘pleasing Alcon’ in Spenser’s Colin Clout’s Come Home Again (1591) may refer to Lodge as the author of the character Alcon in this play. The Looking Glass was revived by Strange’s men on 8 March 1592. The clown is sometimes called Adam in the course of the dialogue (ll. 1235 sqq., 1589 sqq., 2120 sqq.), and a comparison with James IV suggests that the original performer was John Adams of the Queen’s men, from whom Henslowe may have acquired the play. Fleay, ii. 54, and Gayley, 405, make attempts to distinguish Greene’s share from Lodge’s, but do not support their results by arguments. Crawford, England’s Parnassus, xxxii, 441, does not regard Allot’s ascription of the passages he borrowed to Greene and Lodge respectively as trustworthy. Unnamed English actors played a ‘comedia auss dem propheten Jona’ at Nördlingen in 1605 (Herz, 78).

Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, c. 1589

S. R. 1594, May 14. ‘A booke entituled the Historye of ffryer Bacon and ffryer Boungaye.’ Adam Islip (Arber, ii. 649). [Against this and other plays entered on the same day, Adam Islip’s name is crossed out and Edward White’s substituted.]

1594. The Honorable Historie of frier Bacon, and frier Bongay. As it was plaid by her Maiesties seruants. Made by Robert Greene Maister of Arts. For Edward White. [Malone dated one of his copies of the 1630 edition ‘1599’ in error; cf. Gayley, 430.]

1630.... As it was lately plaid by the Prince Palatine his Seruants.... Elizabeth Allde. [The t.p. has a woodcut representing Act II, sc. iii.]


1655. Jean Bell.

Editions by A. W. Ward (1878, &c.), C. M. Gayley (1903, R. E. C. i), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.), and J. S. Farmer (1914, S. F. T.).—Dissertation: O. Ritter, De R. G. Fabula: F. B. and F. B. (1866, Thorn diss.).

Fleay, in Appendix B to Ward’s ed., argues from I. i. 137, ‘next Friday is S. James’, that the date of the play is 1589, in which year St. James’s Day fell on a Friday. This does not seem to me a very reliable argument. Probably the play followed not long after Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (q.v.), itself probably written in 1588–9. The date of 1589, which Ward, i. 396, and Gayley, 411, accept, is likely enough. Collins prefers 1591–2, and notes (ii. 4) a general resemblance in tone and theme to Fair Em, but there is nothing to indicate the priority of either play, and no charge of plagiarism in the pamphlets (vide supra) to which Fair Em gave rise. Friar Bacon was revived by Strange’s men on 19 Feb. 1592, and again by the Queen’s and Sussex’s men together on 1 April 1594. Doubtless it was Henslowe’s property, as Middleton wrote a prologue and epilogue for a performance by the Admiral’s men at Court at Christmas 1602 (Greg, Henslowe, ii. 149).

Orlando Furioso. c. 1591

[MS.] The Dulwich MSS. contain an actor’s copy with cues of Orlando’s part. Doubtless it belonged to Alleyn. The fragment covers ll. 595–1592 of the Qq, but contains passages not in those texts. It is printed by Collier, Alleyn Papers, 198, Collins, i. 266, and Greg, Henslowe Papers, 155.

S. R. 1593, Dec. 7. ‘A plaie booke, intituled, the historye of Orlando ffurioso, one of the xij peeres of Ffraunce.’ John Danter (Arber, ii. 641).

1594, May 28. ‘Entred for his copie by consent of John Danter.... A booke entytuled The historie of Orlando furioso, &c. Prouided alwaies, and yt is agreed that soe often as the same booke shalbe printed, the saide John Danter to haue thimpryntinge thereof.’ Cuthbert Burby (Arber, ii. 650).

1594. The Historie of Orlando Furioso One of the twelve Pieres of France. As it was plaid before the Queenes Maiestie. John Danter for Cuthbert Burby.

1599. Simon Stafford for Cuthbert Burby.

Edition by W. W. Greg (1907, M. S. R.).

The Armada (1588) is referred to in I. i. 87. Two passages are common to the play and Peele’s Old Wive’s Tale (before 1595), and were probably borrowed by Peele with the name Sacripant, which Greene got from Ariosto. The play cannot be the ‘King Charlemagne’ of Peele’s (q.v.) Farewell (April 1589), as Charlemagne does not appear in it. The appearance of Sir John Harington’s translation of Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso in 1591 suggests that as a likely date. This also would fit the story (vide supra) of the second sale to the Admiral’s men, when the Queen’s ‘were in the country’ (cf. vol. ii, p. 112). Strange’s men played Orlando for Henslowe on 22 Feb. 1592. Collins, i. 217, seems to accept 1591 as the date, but Fleay, i. 263, Ward, i. 395, and Gayley, 409,[330] prefer 1588–9. So does Greg (Henslowe, ii. 150) on the assumption that Old Wive’s Tale (q.v.) ‘must belong to 1590’. A ‘Comoedia von Orlando Furioso’ was acted at Dresden in 1626 (Herz, 66, 77).

James the Fourth. c. 1591

S. R. 1594, May 14. ‘A booke intituled the Scottishe story of James the Ffourth slayne at Fflodden intermixed with a plesant Comedie presented by Oboron Kinge of ffayres.’ Thomas Creede (Arber, ii. 648.)

1598. The Scottish Historie of Iames the fourth, slaine at Flodden. Entermixed with a pleasant Comedie, presented by Oboram, King of Fayeries: As it hath bene sundrie times publikely plaide. Written by Robert Greene, Maister of Arts. Thomas Creede.

Editions by J. M. Manly (1897, Specimens, ii. 327) and A. E. H. Swaen and W. W. Greg (1921, M. S. R.).—Dissertation: W. Creizenach, Zu G.’s J. IV (1885, Anglia, viii. 419).

There is very little to date the play. Its comparative merit perhaps justifies placing it, as Greene’s maturest drama, in 1591. Collins, i. 44, agrees; but Fleay, i. 265; Ward, i. 400; Gayley, 415, prefer 1590. Fleay finds traces of a second hand, whom he believes to be Lodge, but he is not convincing. In l. 2269 the name Adam appears for Oberon in a stage-direction, which, when compared with A Looking-Glass, suggests that the actor was John Adams of the Queen’s.

Lost Play

Warburton’s list of burnt plays (3 Library, ii. 231) contains the duplicate entries ‘Hist of Jobe by Rob. Green’ and ‘The Tragd of Jobe. Good.’ Greg suggests a confusion with Sir Robert Le Grys, who appears in the list as ‘Sr Rob. le Green’.

The statement that Greene had a share in a play on Henry VIII (Variorum, xix. 500) seems to be based on a confusion with a Robert Greene named by Stowe as an authority for his Annales (Collins, i. 69).

Doubtful Plays

Greene’s hand has been sought in Contention of York and Lancaster, Edward III, Fair Em, George a Greene, Troublesome Reign of King John, Knack to Know a Knave, Thracian Wonder, Leire, Locrine, Mucedorus, Selimus, Taming of A Shrew, Thomas Lord Cromwell (cf. ch. xxiv), and Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus and Henry VI.


Greville’s father, Sir Fulke, was a cadet of the Grevilles of Milcote, and held great estates in Warwickshire. The son was born at Beauchamp Court ten years before he entered Shrewsbury School on 17 Oct. 1564 with Philip Sidney, of whom he wrote, c. 1610–12, a Life (ed. Nowell Smith, 1907). In 1568 he went to Jesus College, Cambridge, and from 1577 was a courtier in high favour with Elizabeth, and entrusted with minor diplomatic and administrative tasks. He took part in the great tilt of 15 May 1581 (cf. ch. xxiv) and was a steady patron of learning and letters. His own plays were for the closet. He was[331] knighted in 1597. James granted him Warwick Castle in 1605, but he was no friend of Robert Cecil, and took no great part in affairs until 1614, when he became Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1621 he was created Lord Brooke. On 1 Sept. 1628 he was stabbed to death by his servant Ralph Haywood. D. Lloyd, Statesmen of England (1665), 504, makes him claim to have been ‘master’ to Shakespeare and Jonson.


S. R. 1632, Nov. 10 (Herbert). ‘A booke called Certaine learned and elegant Workes of Fulke Lord Brooke the perticular names are as followeth (vizt) ... The Tragedy of Alaham. The Tragedy of Mustapha (by assignment from Master Butter).... Seile (Arber, iv. 288).

1633. Certaine Learned and Elegant Workes of the Right Honorable Fulke Lord Brooke, Written in his Youth, and familiar exercise with Sir Philip Sidney. The seuerall Names of which Workes the following page doth declare. E. P. for Henry Seyle. [Contains Alaham and Mustapha.]

1670. The Remains of Sir Fulk Grevill Lord Brooke: Being Poems of Monarchy and Religion: Never before Printed. T. N. for Henry Herringham. [Contains Alaham and Mustapha.]

1870. A. B. Grosart, The Works in Verse and Prose Complete of the Lord Brooke. 4 vols. (Fuller Worthies Library).

Dissertations: M. W. Croll, The Works of F. G. (1903, Pennsylvania thesis); R. M. Cushman (M. L. N. xxiv. 180).

Alaham. c. 1600 (?)

[MS.] Holograph at Warwick Castle (cf. Grosart, iv. 336).

1633. [Part of Coll. 1633. Prologue and Epilogue; at end, ‘This Tragedy, called Alaham, may be printed, this 13 day of June 1632, Henry Herbert.’]

Croll dates 1586–1600 on metrical grounds, and Cushman 1598–1603, as bearing on Elizabethan politics after Burghley’s death.

Mustapha. 1603 < > 8

[MSS.] Holograph at Warwick Castle (cf. Grosart, iv. 336). Camb. Univ. MS. F. f. 2. 35.

S. R. 1608, Nov. 25 (Buck). ‘A booke called the Tragedy of Mustapha and Zangar.’ Nathanaell Butter (Arber, iii. 396).

1609. The Tragedy of Mustapha. For Nathaniel Butter.

S. R. 1632, Nov. 10. Transfer from Butter to Seile (Arber, iv. 288) (vide Collections, supra).

Cushman dates 1603–9, as bearing on the Jacobean doctrine of divine right.

MATTHEW GWINNE (c. 1558–1627).

Gwinne, the son of a London grocer of Welsh descent, entered St. John’s, Oxford, from Merchant Taylors in 1574, and became Fellow of the College, taking his B.A. in 1578, his M.A. in 1582, and his M.D.[332] in 1593. In 1592 he was one of the overseers for the plays at the visit of Elizabeth (Boas, 252). He became Professor of Physic at Gresham College in 1597 and afterwards practised as a physician in London.


Nero > 1603

S. R. 1603, Feb. 23 (Buckerydge). ‘A booke called Nero Tragedia nova Matheo Gwyn medicine Doctore Colegij Divi Johannis precursoris apud Oxonienses socio Collecta.’ Edward Blunt (Arber, iii. 228).

1603. Nero Tragoedia Nova; Matthaeo Gwinne Med. Doct. Collegii Diui Joannis Praecursoris apud Oxonienses Socio collecta è Tacito, Suetonio, Dione, Seneca. Ed. Blount. [Epistle to James, ‘Londini ex aedibus Greshamiis Cal. Jul. 1603’, signed ‘Matthaeus Gvvinne’; commendatory verses to Justus Lipsius, signed ‘Io. Sandsbury Ioannensis’; Prologue and Epilogue.]

1603. Ed. Blount. [Epistle to Thomas Egerton and Francis Leigh, ‘Londini ex aedibus Greshamiis in festo Cinerum 1603’; Epilogue.]

1639. M. F. Prostant apud R. Mynne.

Boas, 390, assigns the play to St. John’s, Oxford, c. Easter 1603, but the S. R. entry and the ‘Elisa regnat’ of the Epilogue point to an Elizabethan date.

Vertumnus. 29 Aug. 1605

[MS.] Inner Temple Petyt MS. 538, 43, f. 293, has a scenario, with the title ‘The yeare about’.

1607. Vertumnus sive Annus Recurrens Oxonii, xxix Augusti, Anno. 1605. Coram Iacobo Rege, Henrico Principe, Proceribus. A Joannensibus in Scena recitatus ab vno scriptus, Phrasi Comica propè Tragicis Senariis. Nicholas Okes, impensis Ed. Blount. [Epistle to Henry, signed ‘Matthaeus Gwinne’; Verses to Earl of Montgomery; commendatory verses, signed ‘Guil. Paddy’, ‘Ioa. Craigius’, ‘Io. Sansbery Ioannensis’, ‘Θώμας ὁ Φρεάῤῥεος’; Author ad Librum. Appended are verses, signed ‘M. G.’ and headed ‘Ad Regis introitum, è Ioannensi Collegio extra portam Vrbis Borealem sito, tres quasi Sibyllae, sic (ut e sylua) salutarunt’, which are thought to have given a hint for Macbeth.]

This was shown to James during his visit to Oxford, and it sent him to sleep. The performance was at Christ Church by men of St. John’s.


Designer and describer of the arches at the coronation of James I (cf. ch. xxiv, C).


Practically nothing is known of Hathway outside Henslowe’s diary, although he was included by Meres amongst the ‘best for comedy’ in 1598, and wrote commendatory verses for Bodenham’s Belvedere (1600). It is only conjecture that relates him to the Hathaways of Shottery in[333] Warwickshire, of whom was Shakespeare’s father-in-law, also a Richard. He has left nothing beyond an undetermined share of 1 Sir John Oldcastle, but the following plays by him are traceable in the diary:

(a) Plays for the Admiral’s, 1598–1602

(i) King Arthur.

April 1598.

(ii) Valentine and Orson.

With Munday, July 1598. It is uncertain what relation, if any, this bore to an anonymous play of the same name which was twice entered in the S. R. on 23 May 1595 and 31 March 1600 (Arber, ii. 298, iii. 159), was ascribed in both entries to the Queen’s and not the Admiral’s, and is not known to be extant.

(iii, iv) 1, 2 Sir John Oldcastle.

With Drayton (q.v.), Munday, and Wilson, Oct.–Dec. 1599.

(v) Owen Tudor.

With Drayton, Munday, and Wilson, Jan. 1600; but apparently not finished.

(vi) 1 Fair Constance of Rome.

With Dekker, Drayton, Munday, and Wilson (q.v.), June 1600.

(vii) 2 Fair Constance of Rome.

June 1600; but apparently not finished.

(viii) Hannibal and Scipio.

With Rankins, Jan. 1601. Greg, ii. 216, bravely suggests that Nabbes’s play of the same name, printed as a piece of Queen Henrietta’s men in 1637, may have been a revision of this.

(ix) Scogan and Skelton.

With Rankins, Jan.–March 1601.

(x) The Conquest of Spain by John of Gaunt.

With Rankins, Mar.–Apr. 1601, but never finished, as shown by a letter to Henslowe from S. Rowley, bidding him let Hathway ‘have his papars agayne’ (Henslowe Papers, 56).

(xi, xii) 1, 2 The Six Clothiers.

With Haughton and Smith, Oct.–Nov. 1601; but the second part was apparently unfinished.

(xiii) Too Good To Be True.

With Chettle (q.v.) and Smith, Nov. 1601–Jan. 1602.

(xiv) Merry as May Be.

With Day and Smith, Nov. 1602.

(b) Plays for Worcester’s, 1602–3

(xv, xvi) 1, 2 The Black Dog of Newgate.

With Day, Smith, and an anonymous ‘other poete’, Nov. 1602–Feb. 1603.

(xvii) The Unfortunate General.

With Day, Smith, and a third, Jan. 1603.


(c) Play for the Admiral’s, 1603

(xviii) The Boss of Billingsgate.

With Day and one or more other ‘felowe poetes’, March 1603.


Christopher Hatton, of Holdenby, Northants, entered the Inner Temple in Nov. 1559. He was Master of the Game at the Grand Christmas of 1561, and the mask to which he is said to have owed his introduction to Elizabeth’s favour was probably that which the revellers took to Court, together with Norton (q.v.) and Sackville’s Gorboduc on 18 Jan. 1562. He became a Gentleman Pensioner in 1564, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, Captain of the Guard in 1572, Vice-Chamberlain and Privy Councillor in 1578, when he was knighted, and Lord Chancellor on 25 April 1587. He was conspicuous at Court in masks and tilts, and is reported, even as Lord Chancellor, to have laid aside his gown and danced at the wedding of his nephew and heir, Sir William Newport, alias Hatton, to Elizabeth Gawdy at Holdenby in June 1590.

His only contribution to the drama is as writer of an act of Gismond of Salerne at the Inner Temple in 1568 (cf. s.v. Wilmot).

WILLIAM HAUGHTON (c. 1575–1605).

Beyond his extant work and the entries in Henslowe’s diary, in the earliest of which, on 5 Nov. 1597, he appears as ‘yonge’ Haughton, little is known of Haughton. Cooper, Ath. Cantab. ii. 399, identified him with an alleged Oxford M.A. of the same name who was incorporated at Cambridge in 1604, but turns out to have misread the name, which is ‘Langton’ (Baugh, 15). He worked for the Admiral’s during 1597–1602, and found himself in the Clink in March 1600. Baugh, 22, prints his will, made on 6 June 1605, and proved on 20 July. He left a widow Alice and children. Wentworth Smith (q.v.) and one Elizabeth Lewes were witnesses. He was then of Allhallows, Stainings. He cannot be traced in the parish, but the name, which in his will is Houghton, is also spelt by Henslowe Harton, Horton, Hauton, Hawton, Howghton, Haughtoun, Haulton, and Harvghton, and was common in London. He might be related to a William Houghton, saddler, who held a house in Turnmill Street in 1577 (Baugh, 11), since in 1601 (H. P. 57) Day requested that a sum due to Haughton and himself might be paid to ‘Will Hamton sadler’.

Englishmen for My Money, or A Woman Will Have Her Will. 1598

S. R. 1601, Aug. 3. ‘A comedy of A woman Will haue her Will.’ William White (Arber, iii. 190).

1616. English-Men For my Money: or, A pleasant Comedy, called, A Woman will haue her Will. W. White.

1626.... As it hath beene diuers times Acted with great applause. I. N., sold by Hugh Perry.


1631. A. M., sold by Richard Thrale.

Editions in O. E. D. (1830, i) and Dodsley4, x (1875), and by J. S. Farmer (1911, T. F. T.), W. W. Greg (1912, M. S. R.), and A. C. Baugh, (1917).

The evidence for Haughton’s evidence is in two payments in Henslowe’s diary of 18 Feb. and early in May 1598 on behalf of the Admiral’s. The sum of these is only £2, but it seems possible that at least one, and perhaps more than one, other payment was made for the book in 1597 (cf. Henslowe, ii. 191).

Patient Grissell. 1599

With Chettle and Dekker (q.v.).

Lost and Doubtful Plays

The following plays by Haughton, all for the Admiral’s, are traceable in Henslowe’s diary:

(i) A Woman Will Have Her Will.

See supra.

(ii) The Poor Man’s Paradise.

Aug. 1599; apparently not finished.

(iii) Cox of Collumpton.

With Day, Nov. 1599; on a ‘note’ of the play by Simon Forman, cf. ch. xiii (Admiral’s).

(iv) Thomas Merry, or Beech’s Tragedy.

With Day, Nov.–Dec. 1599, on the same theme as one of Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies (q.v.).

(v) The Arcadian Virgin.

With Chettle, Dec. 1599; apparently not finished.

(vi) Patient Grissell.

With Chettle and Dekker (q.v.), Oct.–Dec. 1599.

(vii) The Spanish Moor’s Tragedy.

With Day and Dekker, Feb. 1600; but apparently then unfinished; possibly identical with Lust’s Dominion (cf. s.v. Marlowe).

(viii) The Seven Wise Masters.

With Chettle, Day, and Dekker, March 1600.

(ix) Ferrex and Porrex.

March-April 1600.

(x) The English Fugitives.

April 1600, but apparently not finished.

(xi) The Devil and His Dame.

6 May 1600; probably the extant anonymous Grim the Collier of Croydon (q.v.).

(xii) Strange News Out of Poland.


With ‘Mr. Pett’, May 1600.

(xiii) Judas.

Haughton had 10s. for this, May 1600; apparently the play was finished by Bird and S. Rowley, Dec. 1601.

(xiv) Robin Hood’s Pennorths.

Dec. 1600–Jan. 1601; but apparently not finished.

(xv, xvi) 2, 3 The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green.

With Day (q.v.), Jan.–July 1600.

(xvii) The Conquest of the West Indies.

With Day and Smith, April-Sept. 1601.

(xviii) The Six Yeomen of the West.

With Day, May–June 1601.

(xix) Friar Rush and the Proud Woman of Antwerp.

With Chettle and Day, July 1601–Jan. 1602.

(xx) 2 Tom Dough.

With Day, July–Sept. 1601; but apparently not finished.

(xxi, xxii) 1, 2 The Six Clothiers.

With Hathway and Smith, Oct.–Nov. 1601; but apparently the second part was not finished.

(xxiii) William Cartwright.

Sept. 1602; perhaps never finished.


A Yorkshireman by birth, Hawkesworth entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1588, and became a Fellow, taking his B.A. in 1592 and his M.A. in 1595. In 1605 he went as secretary to the English embassy in Madrid, where he died.


Leander. 1599

[MSS.] T. C. C. MS. R. 3. 9. Sloane MS. 1762. [‘Authore Mro Haukesworth, Collegii Trinitatis olim Socio Acta est secundo A. D. 1602 comitiis Baccalaureorum ... primo acta est A. D. 1598.’ Prologue, ‘ut primo acta est’; Additions for revival; Actor-lists.]

St. John’s, Cambridge, MS. J. 8. [Dated at end ‘7 Jan. 1599’.]

Emmanuel, Cambridge, MS. I. 2. 30.

Cambridge Univ. Libr. MS. Ee. v. 16.

Bodl. Rawl. Misc. MS. 341.

Lambeth MS. 838.

The production in 1599 and 1603 indicated by the MSS. agrees with the Trinity names in the actor-lists (Boas, 399).

Labyrinthus. 1603 (?)

[MSS.] T. C. C. MS. R. 3. 6.

Cambridge Univ. Libr. MS. Ee. v. 16. [Both ‘Mro Haukesworth’. Prologue. Actor-list in T. C. C. MS.]

St. John’s, Cambridge, MS. J. 8. T. C. C. MS. R. 3. 9. Bodl. Douce MSS. 43, 315. Lambeth MS. 838.


S. R. 1635, July 17 (Weekes). ‘A Latyn Comedy called Laborinthus &c.’ Robinson (Arber, iv. 343).

1636. Labyrinthus Comoedia, habita coram Sereniss. Rege Iacobo in Academia Cantabrigiensi. Londini, Excudebat H. R. [Prologue.]

An allusion in the text (v. 5) to the marriage ‘heri’ of Leander and Flaminia has led to the assumption that production was on the day after the revival of Leander in 1603; the actor-list has some inconsistencies, and is not quite conclusive for any year of the period 1603–6 (Boas, 317, 400).


Mary, daughter of Sir Henry, and sister of Sir Philip, Sidney, married Henry, 2nd Earl of Pembroke, in 1577. She had literary tastes and was a liberal patroness of poets, notably Samuel Daniel. Most of her time appears to have been spent at her husband’s Wiltshire seats of Wilton, Ivychurch, and Ramsbury, but in the reign of James she rented Crosby Hall in Bishopsgate, and in 1615 the King granted her for life the manor of Houghton Conquest, Beds.

Dissertation: F. B. Young, Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke (1912).


Antony. 1590

S. R. 1592, May 3. ‘Item Anthonius a tragedie wrytten also in French by Robert Garnier ... donne in English by the Countesse of Pembrok.’ William Ponsonby (Arber, ii. 611).

1592. A Discourse of Life and Death. Written in French by Ph. Mornay. Antonius, A Tragoedie written also in French by Ro. Garnier Both done in English by the Countesse of Pembroke. For William Ponsonby.

1595. The Tragedie of Antonie. Doone ... For William Ponsonby.

Edition by A. Luce (1897). The Marc-Antoine (1578) of Robert Garnier was reissued in his Huit Tragédies (1580).


Astraea. 1592 (?)

In Davison’s Poetical Rapsody (1602, S. R. 28 May 1602) is ‘A Dialogue betweene two Shepheards, Thenot and Piers, in Praise of Astrea. Made by the excellent Lady the Lady Mary Countesse of Pembrook at the Queenes Maiesties being at her house at —— Anno 15—’.

S. Lee (D. N. B.) puts the visit at Wilton ‘late in 1599’. But there was no progress in 1599, and progresses to Wilts. planned in 1600, 1601, and 1602 were abandoned. Presumably the verses were written for the visit to Ramsbury of 27–9 Aug. 1592 (cf. App. A).


Translator of Seneca (q.v.).


THOMAS HEYWOOD (c. 1570–1641).

Heywood regarded Lincolnshire as his ‘country’ and had an uncle Edmund, who had a friend Sir Henry Appleton. K. L. Bates has found Edmund Heywood’s will of 7 Oct. 1624 in which Thomas Heywood and his wife are mentioned, and has shown it to be not improbable that Edmund was the son of Richard Heywood, a London barrister who had manors in Lincolnshire. If so, Thomas was probably the son of Edmund’s disinherited elder brother Christopher who was aged 30 in 1570. And if Richard Heywood is the same who appears in the circle of Sir Thomas More, a family connexion with the dramatist John Heywood may be conjectured. The date of Thomas’s birth is unknown, but he tells us that he was at Cambridge, although a tradition that he became Fellow of Peterhouse cannot be confirmed, and is therefore not likely to have begun his stage career before the age of 18 or thereabouts. Perhaps we may conjecture that he was born c. 1570, for a Thomas Heywood is traceable in the St. Saviour’s, Southwark, token-books from 1588 to 1607, and children of Thomas Heywood ‘player’ were baptized in the same parish from 28 June 1590 to 5 Sept. 1605 (Collier, in Bodl. MS. 29445). This is consistent with his knowledge (App. C, No. lvii) of Tarlton, but not of earlier actors. He may, therefore, so far as dates are concerned, easily have written The Four Prentices as early as 1592; but that he in fact did so, as well as his possible contributions to the Admiral’s repertory of 1594–7, are matters of inference (cf. Greg, Henslowe, ii. 284). The editors of the Apology for Actors (Introd. v) say that in his Funeral Elegy upon James I (1625) he claims to have been ‘the theatrical servant of the Earl of Southampton, the patron of Shakespeare’. I have never seen the Elegy. It is not in the B. M., but a copy passed from the Bindley to the Brown collection. There is no other evidence that Southampton ever had a company of players. The first dated notice of Heywood is in a payment of Oct. 1596 on behalf of the Admiral’s ‘for Hawodes bocke’. On 25 March 1598 he bound himself to Henslowe for two years as an actor, doubtless for the Admiral’s, then in process of reconstitution. Between Dec. 1598 and Feb. 1599 he wrote two plays for this company, and then disappears from their records. He was not yet out of his time with Henslowe, but if Edward IV is really his, he may have been enabled to transfer his services to Derby’s men, who seem to have established themselves in London in the course of 1599. By the autumn of 1602 he was a member of Worcester’s, for whom he had probably already written How a Man may Choose a Good Wife from a Bad. He now reappears in Henslowe’s diary both as actor and as playwright. On 1 Sept, he borrowed 2s. 6d. to buy garters, and between 4 Sept, and 6 March 1603 he wrote or collaborated in not less than seven plays for the company. During the same winter he also helped in one play for the Admiral’s. It seems probable that some of his earlier work was transferred to Worcester’s. He remained with them, and in succession to them Queen Anne’s, until the company broke up soon after the death of the Queen in 1619. Very little of his work got into print. Of the twelve plays at most which appeared before 1619, the first seven[339] were unauthorized issues; from 1608 onwards, he himself published five with prefatory epistles. About this date, perhaps in the enforced leisure of plague-time, he also began to produce non-dramatic works, both in prose and verse, of which the Apology for Actors, published in 1612, but written some years earlier (cf. App. C, No. lvii), is the most important. The loss of his Lives of All the Poets, apparently begun c. 1614 and never finished, is irreparable. After 1619 Heywood is not traceable at all as an actor; nor for a good many years, with the exception of one play, The Captives, for the Lady Elizabeth’s in 1624, as a playwright, either on the stage or in print. In 1623 a Thomas Heywarde lived near Clerkenwell Hill (Sh.-Jahrbuch, xlvi. 345) and is probably the dramatist. In 1624 he claims in the Epistle to Gynaikeion the renewed patronage of the Earl of Worcester, since ‘I was your creature, and amongst other your servants, you bestowed me upon the excellent princesse Q. Anne ... but by her lamented death, your gift is returned againe into your hands’. But about 1630 he emerges again. Old plays of his were revived and new ones produced both by Queen Henrietta’s men at the Cockpit and the King’s at the Globe and Blackfriars. He wrote the Lord Mayor’s pageants for a series of years. He sent ten more plays to the press, and included a number of prologues, epilogues, and complimentary speeches of recent composition in his Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas of 1637. This period lies outside my survey. I have dealt with all plays in which there is a reasonable prospect of finding early work, but have not thought it necessary to discuss The English Traveller, or A Maidenhead Well Lost, merely because of tenuous attempts by Fleay to connect them with lost plays written for Worcester’s or still earlier anonymous work for the Admiral’s, any more than The Fair Maid of the West, The Late Lancashire Witches, or A Challenge for Beauty, with regard to which no such suggestion is made. As to Love’s Mistress, see the note on Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas. The Epistle to The English Traveller (1633) is worth quoting. Heywood describes the play as ‘one reserued amongst two hundred and twenty, in which I haue had either an entire hand, or at the least a maine finger’, and goes on to explain why his pieces have not appeared as Works. ‘One reason is, that many of them by shifting and change of Companies, haue beene negligently lost, Others of them are still retained in the hands of some Actors, who thinke it against their peculiar profit to haue them come in Print, and a third, That it neuer was any great ambition in me, to bee in this kind Volumniously read.’ Heywood’s statement would give him an average of over five plays a year throughout a forty years’ career, and even if we assume that he included every piece which he revised or supplied with a prologue, it is obvious that the score or so plays that we have and the dozen or so others of which we know the names must fall very short of his total output. ‘Tho. Heywood, Poet’, was buried at St. James’s, Clerkenwell, on 16 Aug. 1641 (Harl. Soc. Reg. xvii. 248), and therefore the alleged mention of him as still alive in The Satire against Separatists (1648) must rest on a misunderstanding.



1842–51. B. Field and J. P. Collier, The Dramatic Works of Thomas Heywood. 2 vols. (Shakespeare Society). [Intended for a complete edition, although issued in single parts; a title-page for vol. i was issued in 1850 and the 10th Report of the Society treats the plays for 1851 as completing vol. ii. Twelve plays were issued, as cited infra.]

1874. The Dramatic Works of Thomas Heywood. 6 vols. (Pearson Reprints). [All the undoubted plays, with Edward IV and Fair Maid of the Exchange; also Lord Mayors’ Pageants and part of Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas.]

1888. A. W. Verity, The Best Plays of Thomas Heywood (Mermaid Series). [Woman Killed with Kindness, Fair Maid of the West, English Traveller, Wise Woman of Hogsdon, Rape of Lucrece.]

Dissertations: K. L. Bates, A Conjecture as to Thomas Heywood’s Family (1913, J. G. P. xii. 1); P. Aronstein, Thomas Heywood (1913, Anglia, xxxvii. 163).

The Four Prentices of London. 1592 (?)

S. R. 1594, June 19. ‘An enterlude entituled Godfrey of Bulloigne with the Conquest of Jerusalem.’ John Danter (Arber, ii. 654).

1615. The Foure Prentises of London. With the Conquest of Ierusalem. As it hath bene diuerse times Acted, at the Red Bull, by the Queenes Maiesties Seruants. Written by Thomas Heywood. For I. W. [Epistle to the Prentices, signed ‘Thomas Heywood’ and Prologue, really an Induction.]

1632.... Written and newly reuised by Thomas Heywood. Nicholas Okes.

Editions in Dodsley2, 3 (1780–1827) and by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. iii).

The Prologue gives the title as True and Strange, or The Four Prentises of London. The Epistle speaks of the play as written ‘many yeares since, in my infancy of iudgment in this kinde of poetry, and my first practice’ and ‘some fifteene or sixteene yeares agoe’. This would, by itself, suggest a date shortly after the publication of Fairfax’s translation from Tasso under the title of Godfrey of Bulloigne, or The Recouerie of Ierusalem in 1600. But the Epistle also refers to a recent revival of ‘the commendable practice of long forgotten armes’ in ‘the Artillery Garden’. This, according to Stowe, Annales (1615), 906, was in 1610, which leads Fleay, i. 182, followed by Greg (Henslowe, ii. 166), to assume that the Epistle was written for an edition, now lost, of about that date. In support they cite Beaumont’s K. B. P. iv. 1 (dating it 1610 instead of 1607), ‘Read the play of the Foure Prentices of London, where they tosse their pikes so’. Then, calculating back sixteen years, they arrive at the anonymous Godfrey of Bulloigne produced by the Admiral’s on 19 July 1594, and identify this with The Four Prentices, in which Godfrey is a character. But this Godfrey of Bulloigne was a second part, and it is difficult to suppose that the first part was anything but the play entered on the S. R. earlier in 1594. This, from its[341] title, clearly left no room for a second part covering the same ground as The Four Prentices, which ends with the capture of Jerusalem. If then Heywood’s play is as old as 1594 at all, it must be identified with the first part of Godfrey of Bulloigne. And is not this in its turn likely to be the Jerusalem played by Strange’s men on 22 March and 25 April 1592? If so, Heywood’s career began very early, and, as we can hardly put his Epistle earlier than the opening of the Artillery Garden in 1610, his ‘fifteene or sixteene yeares’ must be rather an understatement. There is of course nothing in the Epistle itself to suggest that the play had been previously printed, but we know from the Epistle to Lucrece that the earliest published plays by Heywood were surreptitious.

Greg, Henslowe, ii. 230, hesitatingly suggests that a purchase by Worcester’s of ‘iiij lances for the comody of Thomas Hewedes & Mr. Smythes’ on 3 Sept. 1602 may have been for a revival of The Four Prentices, ‘where they tosse their pikes so’, transferred from the Admiral’s. But I think his afterthought, that the comedy was Heywood and Smith’s Albere Galles, paid for on the next day, is sound.

Sir Thomas Wyatt. 1602

See s.v. Dekker.

The Royal King and the Loyal Subject. 1602 (?)

S. R. 1637, March 25 (Thomas Herbert, deputy to Sir Henry Herbert). ‘A Comedy called the Royall king and the Loyall Subiects by Master Heywood.’ James Beckett (Arber, iv. 376).

1637. The Royall King, and the Loyall Subject. As it hath beene Acted with great Applause by the Queenes Maiesties Servants. Written by Thomas Heywood. Nich. and John Okes for James Becket. [Prologue to the Stage and Epilogue to the Reader.]

Editions by J. P. Collier (1850, Sh. Soc.) and K. W. Tibbals (1906, Pennsylvania Univ. Publ.).—Dissertation: O. Kämpfer, Th. Heywood’s The Royal King and Painter’s Palace of Pleasure (1903, Halle diss.).

The Epilogue describes the play as ‘old’, and apparently relates it to a time when rhyme, of which it makes considerable use, was more looked after than ‘strong lines’, and when stuffed and puffed doublets and trunk-hose were worn, which would fit the beginning of the seventeenth century. An anonymous Marshal is a leading character, and the identification by Fleay, i. 300, with the Marshal Osric written by Heywood and Smith for Worcester’s in Sept. 1602 is not the worst of his guesses.

A Woman Killed With Kindness. 1603

1607. A Woman Kilde with Kindnesse. Written by Tho: Heywood. William Jaggard, sold by John Hodgets. [Prologue and Epilogue.]

1617.... As it hath beene oftentimes Acted by the Queenes Maiest. Seruants.... The third Edition. Isaac Jaggard.

Editions in Dodsley1, 2, 3 (1744–1827) and by W. Scott (1810, A. B. D. ii), J. P. Collier (1850, Sh. Soc.), A. W. Ward (1897, T. D.), F. J. Cox (1907), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.), K. L. Bates[342] (1919).—Dissertation: R. G. Martin, A New Source for a Woman Killed with Kindness (1911, E. S. xliii. 229).

Henslowe, on behalf of Worcester’s, paid Heywood £6 for this play in Feb. and March 1603 and also bought properties for it. It is mentioned in T. M., The Black Book of London (1604), sig. E3.

The Wise Woman of Hogsdon. c. 1604 (?)

S. R. 1638, Mar. 12 (Wykes). ‘A Play called The wise woman of Hogsden by Thomas Haywood.’ Henry Sheapard (Arber, iv. 411).

1638. The Wise Woman of Hogsdon. A Comedie. As it hath been sundry times Acted with great Applause. Written by Tho: Heywood. M. P. for Henry Shephard.

Fleay, i. 291, suggested a date c. 1604 on the grounds of allusions to other plays of which A Woman Killed with Kindness is the latest (ed. Pearson, v. 316), and a conjectural identification with Heywood’s How to Learn of a Woman to Woo, played by the Queen’s at Court on 30 Dec. 1604. The approximate date is accepted by Ward, ii. 574, and others. It may be added that there are obvious parallelisms with the anonymous How a Man may Choose a Good Wife from a Bad (1602) generally assigned to Heywood.

If You Know not Me, You Know Nobody. 1605

S. R. 1605, July 5 (Hartwell). ‘A booke called yf you knowe not me you knowe no body.’ Nathaniel Butter (Arber, iii. 295).

1605, Sept. 14 (Hartwell). ‘A Booke called the Second parte of Yf you knowe not me you knowe no bodie with the buildinge of the exchange.’ Nathaniel Butter (Arber, iii. 301).

[Part i]

1605. If you Know not me, You Know no bodie: Or, The troubles of Queene Elizabeth. For Nathaniel Butter.

1606, 1608, 1610, 1613, 1623, 1632, 1639.

[Part ii]

1606. The Second Part of, If you Know not me, you know no bodie. With the building of the Royall Exchange: And the famous Victorie of Queene Elizabeth, in the Yeare 1588. For Nathaniell Butter.

1609.... With the Humors of Hobson and Tawny-cote. For Nathaniell Butter.

N.D. [1623?].

1632. For Nathaniel Butter. [With different version of Act V.]

Editions by J. P. Collier (1851, Sh. Soc.) and J. Blew (1876).—Dissertation: B. A. P. van Dam and C. Stoffel, The Fifth Act of Thomas Heywood’s Queen Elizabeth: Second Part (1902, Jahrbuch, xxxviii. 153).

Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas, 248, has ‘A Prologue to the Play of Queene Elizabeth as it was last revived at the Cockpit, in which the Author taxeth the most corrupted copy now imprinted, which was published without his consent’. It says:

This: (by what fate I know not) sure no merit,
That it disclaimes, may for the age inherit.[343]
Writing ’bove one and twenty; but ill nurst,
And yet receiv’d, as well perform’d at first,
Grac’t and frequented, for the cradle age,
Did throng the Seates, the Boxes, and the Stage
So much; that some by Stenography drew
The plot: put it in print: (scarce one word trew:)

There is also an Epilogue, which shows that both parts were revived. The piracy may serve to date the original production in 1605 and the Caroline revival probably led to the reprints of 1632. As the play passed to the Cockpit, it was presumably written for Queen Anne’s. Greg (Henslowe, ii. 223) rightly resists the suggestion that it was the old Philip of Spain bought by the Admiral’s from Alleyn in 1602. It is only Part i which has characteristics attributable to stenography, and this remained unrevised. According to Van Dam and Stoffel, the 1606 and 1632 editions of Part ii represent the same original text, in the first case shortened for representation, in the second altered by a press-corrector.

Fortune by Land and Sea. c. 1607 (?)

With W. Rowley.

S. R. 1655, June 20. ‘Fortune by Land & sea, a tragicomedie, written by Tho: Heywood & Wm. Rowley.’ John Sweeting (Eyre, i. 486).

1655. Fortune by Land and Sea. A Tragi-Comedy. As it was Acted with great Applause by the Queens Servants. Written by Tho. Haywood and William Rowly. For John Sweeting and Robert Pollard.

Edition by B. Field (1846, Sh. Soc.).—Dissertation: Oxoniensis, Illustration of Fortune by Land and Sea (1847, Sh. Soc. Papers, iii. 7).

The action is placed in the reign of Elizabeth (cf. ed. Pearson, vi, pp. 409, 431), but this may be due merely to the fact that the source is a pamphlet (S. R. 15 Aug. 1586) dealing with Elizabethan piracy. Rowley’s co-operation suggests the date 1607–9 when he was writing for Queen Anne’s men, and other trifling evidence (Aronstein, 237) makes such a date plausible.

The Rape of Lucrece. 1603 < > 8

S. R. 1608, June 3 (Buck). ‘A Booke called A Romane tragedie called The Rape of Lucrece.’ John Busby and Nathanael Butter (Arber, iii. 380).

1608. The Rape of Lucrece. A True Roman Tragedie. With the seuerall Songes in their apt places, by Valerius, the merrie Lord amongst the Roman Peeres. Acted by her Maiesties Seruants at the Red Bull, neare Clarkenwell. Written by Thomas Heywood. For I. B. [Epistle to the Reader, signed ‘T. H.’]

1609. For I. B.

1630.... The fourth Impression.... For Nathaniel Butter.

1638.... The copy revised, and sundry Songs before omitted, now inserted in their right places.... John Raworth for Nathaniel Butter. [Note to the Reader at end.]

Edition in 1825 (O. E. D. i).


Fleay, i. 292, notes the mention of ‘the King’s head’ as a tavern sign for ‘the Gentry’, which suggests a Jacobean date. The play was given at Court, apparently by the King’s and Queen’s men together, on 13 Jan. 1612. The Epistle says that it has not been Heywood’s custom ‘to commit my Playes to the Presse’, like others who ‘have used a double sale of their labours, first to the Stage, and after to the Presse’. He now does so because ‘some of my Playes have (unknowne to me, and without any of my direction) accidentally come into the Printers hands (and therefore so corrupt and mangled, copied only by the eare) that I have beene as unable to knowe them, as ashamed to challenge them’. A play on the subject seems to have been on tour in Germany in 1619 (Herz, 98). The Rape of Lucrece was on the Cockpit stage in 1628, according to a newsletter in Athenaeum (1879), ii. 497, and to the 1638 edition are appended songs ‘added by the stranger that lately acted Valerius his part’. It is in the Cockpit list of plays in 1639 (Variorum, iii. 159).

The Golden Age > 1611

S. R. 1611, Oct. 14 (Buck). William Barrenger, ‘A booke called, The golden age with the liues of Jupiter and Saturne.’ William Barrenger (Arber, iii. 470).

1611. The Golden Age. Or The liues of Iupiter and Saturne, with the defining of the Heathen Gods. As it hath beene sundry times acted at the Red Bull, by the Queenes Maiesties Seruants. Written by Thomas Heywood. For William Barrenger. [Epistle to the Reader, signed ‘T. H.’ Some copies have ‘defining’ corrected to ‘deifying’ in the title.]

Edition by J. P. Collier (1851, Sh. Soc.).

The Epistle describes the play as ‘the eldest brother of three Ages, that haue aduentured the Stage, but the onely yet, that hath beene iudged to the presse’, and promises the others. It came to the press ‘accidentally’, but Heywood, ‘at length hauing notice thereof’, prefaced it, as it had ‘already past the approbation of auditors’. Fleay, i. 283, followed hesitatingly by Greg (Henslowe, ii. 175), thinks it a revision of the Olympo or Seleo & Olempo, which he interprets Coelo et Olympo, produced by the Admiral’s on 5 March 1595. The Admiral’s inventories show that they had a play with Neptune in it, but it is only at the very end of The Golden Age that the sons of Saturn draw lots and Jupiter wins Heaven or Olympus. Fleay’s assumption that the play was revised c. 1610, because of Dekker, If it be not Good, i. 1, ‘The Golden Age is moulding new again’, is equally hazardous.

The Silver Age > 1612

1613. The Silver Age, Including. The loue of Iupiter to Alcmena: The birth of Hercules. And the Rape of Proserpine. Concluding, With the Arraignement of the Moone. Written by Thomas Heywood. Nicholas Okes, sold by Beniamin Lightfoote. [Epistle to the Reader, signed ‘T. H,’; Prologue and Epilogue.]

Edition by J. P. Collier (1851, Sh. Soc.).


The Epistle says, ‘Wee begunne with Gold, follow with Siluer, proceede with Brasse, and purpose by Gods grace, to end with Iron’. Fleay, i. 283, and Greg (Henslowe, ii. 175) take this and The Brazen Age to be the two parts of the anonymous Hercules, produced by the Admiral’s men on 7 and 23 May 1595 respectively. It may be so. But the text presumably represents the play as given at Court, apparently by the King’s and Queen’s men together, on 12 Jan. 1612. An Anglo-German Amphitryo traceable in 1626 and 1678 may be based on Heywood’s work (Herz, 66; Jahrbuch, xli. 201).

The Brazen Age > 1613

1613. The Brazen Age, The first Act containing, The death of the Centaure Nessus, The Second, The Tragedy of Meleager: The Third The Tragedy of Iason and Medea. The Fourth. Vulcans Net. The Fifth. The Labours and death of Hercules: Written by Thomas Heywood. Nicholas Okes for Samuel Rand. [Epistle to the Reader; Prologue and Epilogue.]

Cf. s.v. The Silver Age.

The Iron Age. c. 1613 (?)

1632. [Part i] The Iron Age: Contayning the Rape of Hellen: The siege of Troy: The Combate betwixt Hector and Aiax: Hector and Troilus slayne by Achilles: Achilles slaine by Paris: Aiax and Vlesses contend for the Armour of Achilles: The Death of Aiax, &c. Written by Thomas Heywood. Nicholas Okes. [Epistles to Thomas Hammon and to the Reader, signed ‘Thomas Heywood’.]

1632. [Part ii] The Second Part of the Iron Age. Which contayneth the death of Penthesilea, Paris, Priam, and Hecuba: The burning of Troy: The deaths of Agamemnon, Menelaus, Clitemnestra, Hellena, Orestes, Egistus, Pillades, King Diomed, Pyrhus, Cethus, Synon, Thersites, &c. Written by Thomas Heywood. Nicholas Okes. [Epistles to the Reader and to Thomas Mannering, signed ‘Thomas Heywood’.]

Dissertation: R. G. Martin, A New Specimen of the Revenge Play (1918, M. P. xvi. 1).

The Epistles tell us that ‘these were the playes often (and not with the least applause,) Publickely Acted by two Companies, vppon one Stage at once, and haue at sundry times thronged three seuerall Theaters, with numerous and mighty Auditories’; also that they ‘haue beene long since Writ’. This, however, was in 1632, and I can only read the Epistles to the earlier Ages as indicating that the Iron Age was contemplated, but not yet in existence, up to 1613. I should therefore put the play c. 1613, and take the three theatres at which it was given to be the Curtain, Red Bull, and Cockpit. Fleay, i. 285, thinks that Part i was the anonymous Troy produced by the Admiral’s on 22 June 1596. More plausible is the conjecture of Greg (Henslowe, ii. 180) that this was ‘an earlier and shorter version later expanded into the two-part play’. Spencer had a play on the Destruction of Troy at Nuremberg in 1613 (Herz, 66).


Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas. 1630–6 (?)

S. R. 1635, Aug. 29 (Weekes). ‘A booke called Pleasant Dialogues and Dramma’s selected out of Lucian Erasmus Textor Ovid &c. by Thomas Heywood.’ Richard Hearne (Arber, iv. 347).

1637. Pleasant Dialogues and Dramma’s, selected out of Lucian, Erasmus, Textor, Ovid, &c. With sundry Emblems extracted from the most elegant Iacobus Catsius. As also certaine Elegies, Epitaphs, and Epithalamions or Nuptiall Songs; Anagrams and Acrosticks; With divers Speeches (upon severall occasions) spoken to their most Excellent Majesties, King Charles, and Queene Mary. With other Fancies translated from Beza, Bucanan, and sundry Italian Poets. By Tho. Heywood. R. O. for R. H., sold by Thomas Slater. [Epistle to the Generous Reader, signed ‘Tho. Heywood’, and Congratulatory Poems by Sh. Marmion, D. E., and S. N.]

Edition by W. Bang (1903, Materialien, iii).

The section called ‘Sundry Fancies writ upon severall occasions’ (Bang, 231) includes a number of Prologues and Epilogues, of which those which are datable fall between 1630 and 1636. Bang regards all the contents of the volume as of about this period. Fleay, i. 285, had suggested that Deorum Judicium, Jupiter and Io, Apollo and Daphne, Amphrisa, and possibly Misanthropos formed the anonymous Five Plays in One produced by the Admiral’s on 7 April 1597, and also that Misanthropos, which he supposed to bear the name Time’s Triumph, was played with Faustus on 13 April 1597 and carelessly entered by Henslowe as ‘times triumpe & fortus’. Greg (Henslowe, ii. 183) says of the Dialogues and Dramas, ‘many of the pieces in that collection are undoubtedly early’. He rejects Fleay’s views as to Misanthropos on the grounds that it is ‘unrelieved tediousness’ and has no claim to the title Time’s Triumph, and is doubtful as to Deorum Judicium. The three others he seems inclined to accept as possibly belonging to the 1597 series, especially Jupiter and Io, where the unappropriated head of Argus in one of the Admiral’s inventories tempts him. He is also attracted by an alternative suggestion of Fleay’s that one of the Five Plays in One may have been a Cupid and Psyche, afterwards worked up into Love’s Mistress (1636). This he says, ‘if it existed’, would suit very well. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that it did exist. Moreover, P. A. Daniel has shown that certain lines found in Love’s Mistress are assigned to Dekker in England’s Parnassus (1600, ed. Crawford, xxxi. 509, 529) and must be from the Cupid and Psyche produced by the Admiral’s c. June 1600 (Henslowe, ii. 212). There is no indication that Heywood collaborated with Dekker, Chettle, and Day in this; but it occurs to me that, if he was still at the Rose, he may have acted in the play and cribbed years afterwards from the manuscript of his part. I will only add that Misanthropos and Deorum Judicium seem to me out of the question. They belong to the series of ‘dialogues’ which Heywood in his Epistle clearly treats as distinct from the ‘dramas’, for after describing them he goes on, ‘For such as delight in Stage-poetry, here are also divers Dramma’s, never[347] before published: Which, though some may condemne for their shortnesse, others againe will commend for their sweetnesse’. It is only Jupiter and Io and Apollo and Daphne, which are based on Ovid, and Amphrisa, for which there is no known source, that can belong to this group; and Heywood gives no indication as to their date.

Lost and Doubtful Plays

On How to Learn of a Woman to Woo, see s.v. The Wise Woman of Hogsden. The author of The Second Part of Hudibras (1663) names Heywood as the author of The Bold Beauchamps, which is mentioned with Jane Shore in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Ind. 59.

The following is a complete list of the plays, by Heywood or conjecturally assigned to him, which are recorded in Henslowe’s diary:

Possible plays for the Admiral’s, 1594–7

For conjectures as to the authorship by Heywood of Godfrey of Bulloigne (1594), The Siege of London (>1594), Wonder of a Woman (1595), Seleo and Olympo (1595), 1, 2 Hercules (1595), Troy (1596), Five Plays in One (1597), Time’s Triumph (>1597), see The Four Prentices, the anonymous Edward IV, W. Rowley’s A New Wonder, The Golden Age, The Silver Age, The Iron Age, Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas.

Plays for the Admiral’s, 1598–1603

(i) War without Blows and Love without Suit.

Dec. 1598–Jan. 1599; identified, not plausibly, by Fleay, i. 287, with the anonymous Thracian Wonder (q.v.).

(ii) Joan as Good as my Lady.

Feb. 1599, identified, conjecturally, by Fleay, i. 298, with A Maidenhead Well Lost, printed as Heywood’s in 1634.

(iii) 1 The London Florentine.

With Chettle, Dec. 1602–Jan. 1603.

Plays for Worcester’s, 1602–3

(iv) Albere Galles.

With Smith, Sept. 1602, possibly identical with the anonymous Nobody and Somebody (q.v.).

(v) Cutting Dick (additions only).

Sept. 1602, identified by Fleay, ii. 319, with the anonymous Trial of Chivalry, but not plausibly (Greg, Henslowe, ii. 231).

(vi) Marshal Osric.

With Smith, Sept. 1602, conceivably identical with The Royal King and the Loyal Subject (q.v.).

(vii) 1 Lady Jane.

With Chettle, Dekker, Smith, and Webster, Oct. 1602, doubtless represented by the extant Sir Thomas Wyatt of Dekker (q.v.) and Webster, in which, however, Heywood’s hand has not been traced.


(viii) Christmas Comes but Once a Year.

With Chettle, Dekker, and Webster, Nov. 1602.

(ix) The Blind Eats many a Fly.

Nov. 1602–Jan. 1603.

(x) [Unnamed play.]

With Chettle, Jan. 1603, but apparently not finished, or possibly identical with the Shore of Chettle (q.v.) and Day. The title Like Quits Like, inserted into one entry for this play, is a forgery (Greg, Henslowe, i. xliii).

(xi) A Woman Killed With Kindness.

Feb.–March 1603. Vide supra.

Heywood’s hand or ‘finger’ has also been suggested in the Appius and Virginia printed as Webster’s (q.v.), in Pericles, and in Fair Maid of the Exchange, George a Greene, How a Man May Choose a Good Wife from a Bad, Thomas Lord Cromwell, and Work for Cutlers (cf. ch. xxiv).

GRIFFIN HIGGS (1589–1659).

A student at St. John’s, Oxford (1606), afterwards Fellow of Merton (1611), Chaplain to Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia (1627), and Dean of Lichfield (1638). The MS. of The Christmas Prince (1607) was once thought to be in his handwriting (cf. ch. xxiv, C).

THOMAS HUGHES (c. 1588).

A Cheshire man, who matriculated from Queens’ College, Cambridge, in Nov. 1571 and became Fellow of the College on 8 Sept. 1576.

The Misfortunes of Arthur. 28 Feb. 1588

1587. Certain deuises and shewes presented to her Maiestie by the Gentlemen of Grayes Inne at her Highnesse Court in Greenewich, the twenty-eighth day of Februarie in the thirtieth yeare of her Maiesties most happy Raigne. Robert Robinson. [‘An Introduction penned by Nicholas Trotte Gentleman one of the society of Grayes Inne’; followed by ‘The misfortunes of Arthur (Vther Pendragons Sonne) reduced into Tragicall notes by Thomas Hughes one of the societie of Grayes Inne. And here set downe as it past from vnder his handes and as it was presented, excepting certaine wordes and lines, where some of the Actors either helped their memories by brief omission: or fitted their acting by some alteration. With a note at the ende, of such speaches as were penned by others in lue of some of these hereafter following’; Arguments, Dumb-Shows, and Choruses between the Acts; at end, two substituted speeches ‘penned by William Fulbecke gentleman, one of the societie of Grayes Inne’; followed by ‘Besides these speaches there was also penned a Chorus for the first act, and an other for the second act, by Maister Frauncis Flower, which were pronounced accordingly. The dumbe showes were partly deuised by Maister Christopher Yeluerton, Maister Frauncis Bacon, Maister Iohn Lancaster and others, partly by the saide Maister Flower, who with[349] Maister Penroodocke and the said Maister Lancaster directed these proceedings at Court.’]

Editions in Collier, Five Old Plays (1833), and Dodsley4 (1874, iv), and by H. C. Grumbine (1900), J. S. Farmer (1911, T. F. T.), and J. W. Cunliffe (1912, E. E. C. T.).

Of the seven collaborators, three—Bacon, Yelverton, and Fulbecke—subsequently attained distinction. It is to be wished that editors of more important plays had been as communicative as offended dignity, or some other cause, made Thomas Hughes.


[Nearly all that is known of Hunnis, except as regards his connexion with the Blackfriars, and much that is conjectural has been gathered and fully illustrated by Mrs. C. C. Stopes in Athenaeum and Shakespeare-Jahrbuch papers, and finally in William Hunnis and the Revels of the Chapel Royal (1910, Materialien, xxix).]

The date of Hunnis’s birth is unknown, except as far as it can be inferred from the reference to him as ‘in winter of thine age’ in 1578. He is described on the title-page of his translation of Certayne Psalmes (1550) as ‘seruant’ to Sir William Herbert, who became Earl of Pembroke. He is in the lists of the Gentlemen of the Chapel about 1553, but he took part in plots against Mary and in 1556 was sent to the Tower. He lost his post, but this was restored between Elizabeth’s accession in 1558 and the opening of the extant Cheque Book of the Chapel in 1561, and on 15 Nov. 1566 he was appointed Master of the Children in succession to Richard Edwardes (q.v.). For the history of his Mastership, cf. ch. xii (Chapel). Early in 1559 he married Margaret, widow of Nicholas Brigham, Teller of the Exchequer, through whom he acquired a life-interest in the secularized Almonry at Westminster. She died in June 1559, and about 1560 Hunnis married Agnes Blancke, widow of a Grocer. He took out the freedom of the Grocers’ Company, and had a shop in Southwark. He was elected to the livery of the Company in 1567, but disappears from its records before 1586. In 1569 he obtained a grant of arms, and is described as of Middlesex. From 1576–85, however, he seems to have had a house at Great Ilford, Barking, Essex. His only known child, Robin, was page to Walter Earl of Essex in Ireland, and is said in Leicester’s Commonwealth to have tasted the poison with which Leicester killed Essex in 1576 and to have lost his hair. But he became a Rider of the Stable under Leicester as Master of the Horse during 1579–83, and received payments for posting services in later years up to 1593. In 1562 William Hunnis became Keeper of the Orchard and Gardens at Greenwich, and held this post with his Mastership to his death. He supplied greenery and flowers for the Banqueting Houses of 1569 and 1571 (cf. ch. i). In 1570 the Queen recommended him to the City as Taker of Tolls and Dues on London Bridge, and his claim was bought off for £40. In 1583 he called attention to the poor remuneration of the Mastership, and in 1585 he received grants of land at Great Ilford and elsewhere. He died on 6 June 1597.


Hunnis published several volumes of moral and religious verse, original and translated: Certayne Psalmes (1550); A Godly new Dialogue of Christ and a Sinner (S. R. 1564, if this is rightly identified with the Dialogue of Hunnis’s 1583 volume); A Hive Full of Honey (1578, S. R. 1 Dec. 1577, dedicated to Leicester); A Handful of Honnisuckles (N.D., S. R. 11 Dec. 1578, a New Year’s gift to the Ladies of the Privy Chamber); Seven Sobbes of a Sorrowful Soule for Sinne (1583, S. R. 7 Nov. 1581, with the Handful of Honnisuckles, The Widow’s Mite, and A Comfortable Dialogue between Christ and a Sinner, dedicated to Lady Sussex); Hunnies Recreations (1588, S. R. 4 Dec. 1587, dedicated to Sir Thomas Heneage). Several poems by Hunnis are also with those of Richard Edwardes and others in The Paradyse of Daynty Deuises (1567); one, the Nosegay, in Clement Robinson’s A Handfull of Pleasant Delites (1584); and it is usual to assign to him two bearing the initials W. H., Wodenfride’s Song in Praise of Amargana and Another of the Same, in England’s Helicon (1600).

The name of no play by Hunnis has been preserved, although he may probably enough have written some of those produced by the Chapel boys during his Mastership. That he was a dramatist is testified to by the following lines contributed by Thomas Newton, one of the translators of Seneca, to his Hive Full of Honey.

In prime of youth thy pleasant Penne depaincted Sonets sweete,
Delightfull to the greedy Eare, for youthfull Humour meete.
Therein appeared thy pregnant wit, and store of fyled Phraze
Enough t’ astoune the doltish Drone, and lumpish Lout amaze,
Thy Enterludes, thy gallant Layes, thy Rond’letts and thy Songes,
Thy Nosegay and thy Widowes’ Mite, with that thereto belonges....
... Descendinge then in riper years to stuffe of further reache,
Thy schooled Quill by deeper skill did graver matters teache,
And now to knit a perfect Knot; In winter of thine age
Such argument thou chosen hast for this thy Style full sage.
As far surmounts the Residue.

Newton’s account of his friend’s poetic evolution seems to assign his ‘enterludes’ to an early period of mainly secular verse; but if this preceded his Certayne Psalmes of 1550, which are surely of ‘graver matters’, it must have gone back to Henry VIII’s reign, far away from his Mastership. On the other hand, Hunnis was certainly contributing secular verse and devices to the Kenilworth festivities (cf. s.v. Gascoigne) only three years before Newton wrote. Mrs. Stopes suggests, with some plausibility, that the Amargana songs of England’s Helicon may come from an interlude. She also assigns to Hunnis, by conjecture, Godly Queen Hester, in which stress is laid on Hester’s Chapel Royal, and Jacob and Esau (1568, S. R. 1557–8), which suggests gardens.

LEONARD HUTTEN (c. 1557–1632).

Possibly the author of the academic Bellum Grammaticale (cf. App. K).


Lee (D. N. B.) conjecturally identifies Ingelend with a man of the same name who married a Northamptonshire heiress.


The Disobedient Child, c. 1560

S. R. 1569–70. ‘An enterlude for boyes to handle and to passe tyme at christinmas.’ Thomas Colwell (Arber, i. 398). [The method of exhaustions points to this as the entry of the play.]

N.D. A pretie and Mery new Enterlude: called the Disobedient Child. Compiled by Thomas Ingelend late Student in Cambridge. Thomas Colwell.

Editions by J. O. Halliwell (1848, Percy Soc. lxxv), in Dodsley4 (1874, ii), and by J. S. Farmer (1908, T. F. T.).—Dissertation: F. Holthausen, Studien zum älteren englischen Drama (1902, E. S. xxxi. 90).

J. Bolte, Vahlen-Festschrift, 594, regards this as a translation of the Iuvenis, Pater, Uxor of J. Ravisius Textor (Dialogi, ed. 1651, 71), which Holthausen reprints, but which is only a short piece in one scene. Brandl, lxxiii, traces the influence of the Studentes (1549) of Christopherus Stymmelius (Bahlmann, Lat. Dr. 98). The closing prayer is for Elizabeth.

JAMES I (1566–1625).

An Epithalamion on the Marquis of Huntly’s Marriage. 21 July 1588

R. S. Rait, Lusus Regis (1901), 2, printed from Bodleian MS. 27843 verses by James I, which he dated c. 1581. The occasion and correct date are supplied by another text, with a title, in A. F. Westcott, New Poems of James I (1911). The bridal pair were George Gordon, 6th Earl and afterwards 1st Marquis of Huntly, and Henrietta Stuart, daughter of Esme, Duke of Lennox. The verses consist of a hymeneal dialogue, with a preliminary invocation by the writer, and speeches by Mercury, Nimphes, Agrestis, Skolar, Woman, The Vertuouse Man, Zani, The Landvart Gentleman, The Soldat. The earlier lines seem intended to accompany a tilting at the ring or some such contest, but at l. 74 is a reference to the coming of ‘strangers in a maske’.

Westcott, lviii, says that James helped William Fowler in devising a mimetic show for the banquet at the baptism of Prince Henry on 23 Aug. 1594.


Nothing is known of him, beyond his possible authorship of the following play:

The Bugbears. 1563 <

[MS.] Lansdowne MS. 807, f. 57. [The MS. contains the relics of John Warburton’s collection, and on a slip once attached to the fly-leaf is his famous list of burnt plays, which includes ‘Bugbear C. Jon. Geffrey’ (Greg in 3 Library, ii. 232). It appears to be the work of at least five hands, of which one, acting as a corrector, as well as a scribe, may be that of the author. The initials J. B. against a line or two inserted at the end do not appear to be his, but, as there was no single scribe, he may be writer of a final note to the text, written in printing[352] characters, ‘Soli deo honor et gloria Johannus Jeffere scribebat hoc’. This note is followed by the songs and their music, and at the top of the first is written ‘Giles peperel for Iphiginia’. On the last page are the names ‘Thomas Ba ...’ and ‘Frances Whitton’, which probably do not indicate authorship. A title-page may be missing, and a later hand has written at the head of the text, ‘The Buggbears’.]

Editions by C. Grabau (1896–7, Archiv, xcviii. 301; xcix. 311) and R. W. Bond (1911, E. P. I.).—Dissertation: W. Dibelius (Archiv, cxii. 204).

The play is an adaptation of A. F. Grazzini, La Spiritata (1561), and uses also material from J. Weier (De Praestigiis Daemonum) (1563) and from the life of Michel de Nôtredame (Nostradamus), not necessarily later than his death in 1566. Bond is inclined to date the play, partly on metrical grounds, about 1564 or 1565. Grabau and Dibelius suggest a date after 1585, apparently under the impression that the name Giles in the superscription to the music may indicate the composition of Nathaniel Giles, of the Chapel Royal, who took his Mus. Bac. in 1585. But the name, whether of a composer, or of the actor of the part of Iphigenia, is Giles Peperel. The performers were ‘boyes’, but the temptation to identify the play with the Effiginia shown by Paul’s at Court on 28 Dec. 1571 is repressed by the description of Effiginia in the Revels account as a ‘tragedye’, whereas The Bugbears is a comedy. Moreover, Iphigenia is not a leading part, although one added by the English adapter.


A possible author of Misogonus (cf. ch. xxiv).

BENJAMIN JONSON (1572–1637).

Benjamin Johnson, or Jonson, as he took the fancy to spell his name, was born, probably on 11 June 1572, at Westminster, after the death of his father, a minister, of Scottish origin. He was withheld, or withdrawn, from the University education justified by his scholastic attainments at Westminster to follow his step-father’s occupation of bricklaying, and when this proved intolerable, he served as a soldier in the Netherlands. In a prologue to The Sad Shepherd, left unfinished at his death in August 1637, he describes himself as ‘He that has feasted you these forty years’, and by 1597 at latest his connexion with the stage had begun. Aubrey tells us (ii. 12, 226) that he ‘acted and wrote, but both ill, at the Green Curtaine, a kind of nursery or obscure play-house, somewhere in the suburbes (I thinke towards Shoreditch or Clarkenwell)’, and again that he ‘was never a good actor, but an excellent instructor’. The earliest contemporary records, however, show Jonson not at the Curtain, but on the Bankside. On 28 July 1597 Henslowe (i. 200) recorded a personal loan to ‘Bengemen Johnson player’ of £4 ‘to be payd yt agayne when so euer ether I or any for me shall demande yt’, and on the very same day he opened on another page of his diary (i. 47) an account headed ‘Received of Bengemenes Johnsones share as ffoloweth 1597’ and entered in it[353] the receipt of a single sum of 3s. 9d., to which no addition was ever made. Did these entries stand alone, one would infer, on the analogy of other transactions of Henslowe’s and from the signatures of two Admiral’s men as witnesses to the loan, that Jonson had purchased a share in the Admiral’s company for £4, that he borrowed the means to do this from Henslowe, and that Henslowe was to recoup himself by periodical deductions from the takings of the company as they passed through his hands. But there is no other evidence that Jonson ever had an interest in the Admiral’s, and there are facts which, if one could believe that Henslowe would regard the takings of any company but the Admiral’s as security for a loan, would lead to the conclusion that Jonson’s ‘share’ was with Pembroke’s men at the Swan. The day of Henslowe’s entries, 28 July 1597, is the very day on which the theatres were suppressed as a result of the performance of The Isle of Dogs (cf. App. D, No. cx), and it is hardly possible to doubt that Jonson was one of the actors who had a hand with Nashe (q.v.) in that play. The Privy Council registers record his release, with Shaw and Spencer of Pembroke’s men, from the Marshalsea on 3 Oct. 1597 (Dasent, xxviii. 33; cf. App. D, No. cxii); while Dekker in Satiromastix (l. 1513) makes Horace admit that he had played Zulziman in Paris Garden, and Tucca upbraid him because ‘when the Stagerites banisht thee into the Ile of Dogs, thou turn’dst Bandog (villanous Guy) & ever since bitest’. The same passage confirms Aubrey’s indication that Jonson was actor, and a bad actor, as well as poet. ‘Thou putst vp a supplication’, says Tucca, ‘to be a poor iorneyman player, and hadst beene still so, but that thou couldst not set a good face vpon ’t: thou hast forgot how thou amblest (in leather pilch) by a play-wagon, in the high way, and took’st mad Ieronimoes part, to get seruice among the mimickes.’ Elsewhere (l. 633) Tucca taunts him that ‘when thou ranst mad for the death of Horatio, thou borrowedst a gowne of Roscius the stager, (that honest Nicodemus) and sentst it home lowsie’. This imprisonment for the Isle of Dogs is no doubt the ‘bondage’ for his ‘first error’ to which Jonson refers in writing to Salisbury about Eastward Ho! in 1605, and the ‘close imprisonment, under Queen Elizabeth’, during which he told Drummond he was beset by spies (Laing, 19). Released, Jonson borrowed 5s. more from Henslowe (i. 200) on 5 Jan. 1598, and entered into a relationship with him and the Admiral’s as a dramatist, which lasted intermittently until 1602. It was broken, not only by plays for the King’s men, whose employment of him, which may have been at the Curtain, was due, according to Rowe, to the critical instinct of Shakespeare (H.-P. ii. 74), and for the Chapel children when these were established at Blackfriars in 1600, but also by a quarrel with Gabriel Spencer, whose death at his hands during a duel with swords in Hoxton Fields on 22 Sept. 1598 was ‘harde & heavey’ news to Henslowe (Henslowe Papers, 48) and brought Jonson to trial for murder, from which he only escaped by reading his neck-verse (Jeaffreson, Middlesex County Records, i. xxxviii; iv. 350; cf. Laing, 19). Jonson’s pen was critical, and to the years 1600–2 belongs the series of conflicts with other poets and[354] with the actors generically known as the Poetomachia or Stage Quarrel (cf. ch. xi). Meanwhile Jonson, perhaps encouraged by his success in introducing a mask into Cynthia’s Revels (1601), seems to have conceived the ambition of becoming a Court poet. At first he was not wholly successful, and the selection of Daniel to write the chief Christmas mask of 1603–4 appears to have provoked an antagonism between the two poets, which shows itself in Jonson’s qualified acknowledgement to Lady Rutland of the favours done him by Lady Bedford (Forest, xii):

though she have a better verser got,
(Or poet, in the court-account) than I,
And who doth me, though I not him envy,

and long after in the remark to Drummond (Laing, 10) that ‘Daniel was at jealousies with him’. But the mask was a form of art singularly suited to Jonson’s genius. In the next year he came to his own, and of ten masks at Court during 1605–12 not less than eight are his. This employment secured him a considerable vogue as a writer of entertainments and complimentary verses, and a standing with James himself, with the Earl of Salisbury, and with other persons of honour, which not only brought him pecuniary profit, but also enabled him to withstand the political attacks made upon Sejanus, for which he was haled before the Council, and upon Eastward Ho!, for which he was once more imprisoned. During this period he continued to write plays, with no undue frequency, both for the King’s men and for the Queen’s Revels and their successors, the Lady Elizabeth’s. As a rule, he had published his plays, other than those bought by Henslowe, soon after they were produced, and in 1612 he seems to have formed the design of collecting them, with his masks and occasional verses, into a volume of Works. Probably the design was deferred, owing to his absence in France as tutor to the son of Sir Walter Raleigh, from the autumn of 1612 (M. P. xi. 279) to some date in 1613 earlier than 29 June, when he witnessed the burning of the Globe (M. L. R. iv. 83). For the same reason he took no part in the masks for the Princess Elizabeth’s wedding at Shrovetide. But he returned in time for that of the Earl of Somerset at Christmas 1613, and wrote three more masks before his folio Works actually appeared in 1616. In the same year he received a royal pension of 100 marks.

Jonson’s later life can only be briefly summarized. During a visit to Scotland he paid a visit to William Drummond of Hawthornden in January 1619, and of his conversation his host took notes which preserve many biographical details and many critical utterances upon the men, books, and manners of his time. In 1621 (cf. ch. iii) he obtained a reversion of the Mastership of the Revels, which he never lived to enjoy. His masks continued until 1631, when an unfortunate quarrel with Inigo Jones brought them to an end. His play-writing, dropped after 1616, was resumed about 1625, and to this period belong his share in The Bloody Brother of the Beaumont and Fletcher series, The Staple of News, The New Inn, The Magnetic Lady, and The Tale of a Tub. In 1637, probably on 6 August, he died. He had told[355] Drummond ‘that the half of his comedies were not in print’, as well as that ‘of all his playes he never gained two hundreth pounds’ (Laing, 27, 35), and in 1631 he began the publication, by instalments, of a second volume of his Works. This was completed after his death, with the aid of Sir Kenelm Digby, in 1640 and 1641. But it did not include The Case is Altered, the printing of which in 1609 probably lacked his authority, or the Henslowe plays, of which his manuscripts, if he had any, may have perished when his library was burnt in 1623.


F1 (1616)

S. R. 1615, Jan. 20 (Tavernour). William Stansbye, ‘Certayne Masques at the Court never yet printed written by Ben Johnson’ (Arber, iii. 562).

1616. The Workes of Beniamin Jonson. W. Stansby, sold by Rich. Meighen. [Contains (a) commendatory verses, some reprinted from Qq, signed ‘I. Selden I.C.’, ‘Ed. Heyward’, ‘Geor. Chapman’, ‘H. Holland’, ‘I. D.’, ‘E. Bolton’, and for three sets ‘Franc. Beaumont’; (b) nine plays, being all printed in Q, except The Case is Altered; (c) the five early entertainments; (d) the eleven early masks and two barriers, with separate title-page ‘Masques at Court, London, 1616’; (e) non-dramatic matter. For bibliographical details on both Ff., see B. Nicholson, B. J.’s Folios and the Bibliographers (1870, 4 N. Q. v. 573); Greg, Plays, 55, and Masques, xiii, 11; G. A. Aitken, B. J.’s Works (10 N. Q. xi. 421); the introductions to the Yale editions; and B. A. P. van Dam and C. Stoffel, The Authority of the B. J. Folio of 1616 (1903, Anglia, xxvi. 377), whose conclusion that Jonson did not supervise F1 is not generally accepted. It is to be noted that, contrary to the usual seventeenth-century practice, some, and possibly all, of the dates assigned to productions in F1 follow the Circumcision and not the Annunciation style; cf. Thorndike, 17, whose demonstration leaves it conceivable that Jonson only adopted the change of style from a given date, say, 1 Jan. 1600, when it came into force in Scotland.]

F2 (1631–41)

1640. The Workes of Beniamin Jonson. Richard Bishop, sold by Andrew Crooke. [Same contents as F1.]

1640. The Workes of Benjamin Jonson. The second volume. Containing these Playes, Viz. 1 Bartholomew Fayre. 2 The Staple of Newes. 3 The Divell is an Asse. For Richard Meighen. [Contains (a) reissue of folio sheets of three plays named with separate title-pages of 1631; (b) The Magnetic Lady, A Tale of a Tub, The Sad Shepherd, Mortimer his Fall; (c) later masks; (d) non-dramatic matter. The editor is known to have been Sir Kenelm Digby.]

S. R. 1658, Sept. 17. ‘A booke called Ben Johnsons Workes ye 3d volume containing these peeces, vizt. Ffifteene masques at court and elsewhere. Horace his art of Poetry Englished. English Gramar. Timber or Discoveries. Underwoods consisting of divers poems. The[356] Magnetick Lady. A Tale of a Tub. The sad shephard or a tale of Robin hood. The Devill is an asse. Salvo iure cuiuscunque. Thomas Walkley (Eyre, ii. 196).

1658, Nov. 20. Transfer of ‘Ben Johnsons workes ye 3d vol’ from Walkley to Humphrey Moseley (Eyre, ii. 206). [Neither Walkley nor Moseley ever published the Works.]

F3 (1692)

1692. The Works of Ben Jonson, Which were formerly Printed in Two Volumes, are now Reprinted in One. To which is added a Comedy, called the New Inn. With Additions never before Published. Thomas Hodgkin, for H. Herringham [&c.].

The more important of the later collections are:

1756. P. Whalley, The Works of B. J. 7 vols. [Adds The Case is Altered.]

1816, 1846. W. Gifford, The Works of B. J. 9 vols.

1828. J. Nichols, The Progresses, Processions and Magnificent Festivities of King James the First. 4 vols. [Prints the masks.]

1871, &c. W. Gifford, edited by F. Cunningham, The Works of B. J. 3 vols.

1875. W. Gifford, edited by F. Cunningham, The Works of B. J. 9 vols.

1893–5. B. Nicholson, The Best Plays of B. J. 3 vols. (Mermaid Series). [The nine plays of F1.]

1905–8 (in progress). W. Bang, B. J.’s Dramen in Neudruck herausgegeben nach der Folio 1616. (Materialien, vi.)

1906. H. C. Hart, The Plays of B. J. 2 vols. (Methuen’s Standard Library). [Case is Altered, E. M. I., E. M. O., Cynthia’s Revels, Poetaster.]

In the absence of a complete modern critical edition, such as is promised by C. H. Herford and P. Simpson from the Clarendon Press, reference must usually be made to the editions of single plays in the Yale Studies and Belles Lettres Series.

Select Dissertations: W. R. Chetwood, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of B. J. (1756); O. Gilchrist, An Examination of the Charges of B. J.’s Enmity to Shakespeare (1808), A Letter to W. Gifford (1811); D. Laing, Notes of B. J.’s Conversations with Drummond of Hawthornden (1842, Sh. Soc.); B. Nicholson, The Orthography of B. J.’s Name (1880, Antiquary, ii. 55); W. Wilke, Metrische Untersuchungen zu B. J. (1884, Halle diss.), Anwendung der Rhyme-test und Double-endings test auf. B. J.’s Dramen (1888, Anglia, x. 512); J. A. Symonds, B. J. (1888, English Worthies); A. C. Swinburne, A Study of B. J. (1889); P. Aronstein, B. J.’s Theorie des Lustspiels (1895, Anglia, xvii. 466), Shakespeare and B. J. (1904, E. S. xxxiv. 193); B. J. (1906, Literarhistorische Forschungen, xxxiv); E. Koeppel, Quellen-Studien zu den Dramen B. J.’s, John Marston’s, und Beaumont und Fletcher’s (1895, Münchener Beiträge, xi), B. J.’s Wirkung auf zeitgenössische Dramatiker (1906, Anglistische Forschungen, xx); J. H. Penniman, The War of the Theatres (1897, Pennsylvania Univ. Series, iv. 3); E. Woodbridge,[357] Studies in J.’s Comedy (1898, Yale Studies, v); R. A. Small, The Stage-Quarrel between B. J. and the so-called Poetasters (1899); B. Dobell, Newly Discovered Documents (1901, Athenaeum, i. 369, 403, 433, 465); J. Hofmiller, Die ersten sechs Masken B. J.’s in ihrem Verhältnis zur antiken Literatur (1901, Freising progr.); H. C. Hart, B. J., Gabriel Harvey and Nash, &c. (1903–4, 9 N. Q. xi. 201, 281, 343, 501; xii. 161, 263, 342, 403, 482; 10 N. Q. i. 381); G. Sarrazin, Nym und B. J. (1904, Jahrbuch, xl. 212); M, Castelain, B. J., l’Homme et l’Œuvre (1907); Shakespeare and B. J. (1907, Revue Germanique, iii. 21, 133); C. R. Baskervill, English Elements in J.’s Early Comedy (1911, Texas Univ. Bulletin, 178); W. D. Briggs, Studies in B. J. (1913–14, Anglia, xxxvii. 463; xxxviii. 101), On Certain Incidents in B. J.’s Life (1913, M. P. xi. 279), The Birth-date of B. J. (1918, M. L. N. xxxiii. 137); G. Gregory Smith, Ben Jonson (1919, English Men of Letters); J. Q. Adams, The Bones of Ben Jonson (1919, S. P. xvi. 289). For fuller lists, see Castelain, xxiii, and C. H. vi. 417.


The Case is Altered. 1597 (?)-1609

S. R. 1609, Jan. 26 (Segar, ‘deputy to Sir George Bucke’). ‘A booke called The case is altered.’ Henry Walley, Richard Bonion (Arber, iii. 400).

1609, July 20. ‘Entred for their copie by direction of master Waterson warden, a booke called the case is altered whiche was entred for H. Walley and Richard Bonyon the 26 of January last.’ Henry Walley, Richard Bonyon, Bartholomew Sutton (Arber, iii. 416).

1609. [Three issues, with different]

(a) Ben: Ionson, His Case is Alterd. As it hath beene sundry times Acted by the Children of the Blacke-friers. For Bartholomew Sutton. [B.M. 644, b. 54.]

(b) A Pleasant Comedy, called: The Case is Alterd. As it hath beene sundry times acted by the children of the Black-friers. Written by Ben. Ionson. For Bartholomew Sutton and William Barrenger. [B.M. T. 492 (9); Bodl.; W. A. White.]

(c) A Pleasant Comedy, called: The Case is Alterd. As it hath been sundry times acted by the children of the Black-friers. For Bartholomew Sutton and William Barrenger. [Devonshire.]

Edition by W. E. Selin (1917, Yale Studies, lvi).—Dissertation: C. Crawford, B. J.’s C. A.: its Date (1909, 10 N. Q. xi. 41).

As Nashe, Lenten Stuff (Works, iii. 220), which was entered in S. R. on 11 Jan. 1599, refers to ‘the merry coblers cutte in that witty play of the Case is altered’, and as I. i chaffs Anthony Munday as ‘in print already for the best plotter’, alluding to the description of him in Francis Meres’s Palladis Tamia (S. R. 7 Sept. 1598), the date would seem at first sight to be closely fixed to the last few months of 1598. But I. i has almost certainly undergone interpolation. Antonio Balladino, who appears in this scene alone, and whose dramatic function is confused with that later (II. vii) assigned to Valentine, is only introduced for the sake of a satirical portrait of Munday. He is[358] ‘pageant poet to the City of Milan’, at any rate ‘when a worse cannot be had’. He boasts that ‘I do use as much stale stuff, though I say it myself, as any man does in that kind’, and again, ‘An they’ll give me twenty pound a play, I’ll not raise my vein’. Some ‘will have every day new tricks, and write you nothing but humours’; this pleases the gentlemen, but he is for ‘the penny’. Crawford points out that there are four quotations from the play in Bodenham’s Belvedere (1600), of which Munday was the compiler, and suggests that he would have left it alone had the ridicule of himself then been a part of it. I should put the scene later still. Antonio makes an offer of ‘one of the books’ of his last pageant, and as far as is known, although Munday may have been arranging city pageants long before, the first which he printed was that for 1605. Nor does the reference to plays of ‘tricks’ and ‘humours’ necessarily imply proximity to Jonson’s own early comedies, for Day’s Law Tricks and his Humour out of Breath, as well as probably the anonymous Every Woman in her Humour, belong to 1604–8. Moreover, the play was certainly on the stage about this time, since the actors are called ‘Children of Blackfriars’, although of course this would not be inconsistent with their having first produced it when they bore some other name. The text is in an odd state. Up to the end of Act III it has been arranged in scenes, on the principle usually adopted by Jonson; after ‘Actus 3 [an error for 4] Scaene 1’ there is no further division, and in Act V verse and prose are confused. As Jonson was careful about the printing of his plays, as there is no epistle, and as C. A. was left out of the Ff., there is some reason to suppose that the publication in this state was not due to him. Is it possible that Day, whom Jonson described to Drummond as a ‘rogue’ and a ‘base fellow’, was concerned in this transaction? It is obvious that, if I. i is a later addition, the original production may have been earlier than 1598. And the original company is unknown. The mere fact that the Children of the Blackfriars revived it shortly before 1609 does not in the least prove that it was originally written for the Children of the Chapel. If Chapman’s All Fools is a Blackfriars revival of an Admiral’s play, C. A. might even more easily be a Blackfriars revival of a play written, say, for the extinct Pembroke’s. With the assumption that C. A. was a Chapel play disappears the assumption that the Chapel themselves began their renewed dramatic activities at a date earlier than the end of 1600. Selin shows a fair amount of stylistic correspondence with Jonson’s other work, but it is quite possible that, as suggested by Herford (R. E. C. ii. 9), he had a collaborator. If so, Chapman seems plausible.

C. A. has nothing to do with the Poetomachia. Hart (9 N. Q. xi. 501, xii. 161, 263) finds in the vocabulary of Juniper a parody of the affected phraseology of Gabriel Harvey, and in the critical attitude of Valentine a foreshadowing of such autobiographical studies as that of Asper in E. M. O. His suggestion that the cudgel-play between Onion and Martino in II. vii represents the controversy between Nashe and Martin Marprelate is perhaps less plausible. Nashe would be very likely to think the chaff of Harvey ‘witty’.


Every Man In his Humour. 1598

S. R. [1600], Aug. 4. ‘Euery man in his humour, a booke ... to be staied’ (Arber, iii. 37). [As You Like It, Henry V, and Much Ado about Nothing are included in the entry, which appears to be an exceptional memorandum. The year 1600 is conjectured from the fact that the entry follows another of May 1600.]

1600, Aug. 14 (Pasfield). ‘A booke called Euery man in his humour.’ Burby and Walter Burre (Arber, iii. 169).

1609, Oct. 16. Transfer of Mrs. Burby’s share to Welby (Arber, iii. 421).

1601. Every Man In his Humor. As it hath beene sundry times publickly acted by the right Honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Written by Ben. Iohnson. For Walter Burre.

1616. Euery Man In His Humour. A Comœdie. Acted in the yeere 1598. By the then Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants. The Author B. I. By William Stansby. [Part of F1. Epistle to William Camden, signed ‘Ben. Ionson’, and Prologue. After text: ‘This Comoedie was first Acted, in the yeere 1598. By the then L. Chamberlayne his Seruants. The principall Comœdians were, Will. Shakespeare, Ric. Burbadge, Aug. Philips, Ioh. Hemings, Hen. Condel, Tho. Pope, Will. Slye, Chr. Beeston, Will. Kempe, Ioh. Duke. With the allowance of the Master of Revells.’]

Editions by W. Scott (1811, M. B. D. iii), H. B. Wheatley (1877), W. M. Dixon (1901, T. D.), H. Maas (1901, Rostock diss.), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.), C. H. Herford (1913, R. E. C. ii), P. Simpson (1919), H. H. Carter (1921, Yale Studies, lii), and facsimile reprints of Q1 by C. Grabau (1902, Jahrbuch, xxxviii. 1), W. Bang and W. W. Greg (1905, Materialien, x).—Dissertations: A. Buff, The Quarto Edition of B. J.’s E. M. I. (1877, E. S. i. 181), B. Nicholson, On the Dates of the Two Versions of E. M. I. (1882, Antiquary, vi. 15, 106).

The date assigned by F1 is confirmed by an allusion (IV. iv. 15) to the ‘fencing Burgullian’ or Burgundian, John Barrose, who challenged all fencers in that year, and was hanged for murder on 10 July (Stowe, Annales, 787). The production must have been shortly before 20 Sept, when Toby Mathew wrote to Dudley Carleton (S. P. D. Eliz. cclxviii. 61; Simpson, ix) of an Almain who lost 300 crowns at ‘a new play called, Euery mans humour’. Two short passages were taken from the play in R. Allot’s England’s Parnassus (1600, ed. Crawford, xxxii. 110, 112, 436) which is earlier than Q1. The Q1 text (I. i. 184) contains a hit at Anthony Munday in ‘that he liue in more penurie of wit and inuention, then eyther the Hall-Beadle, or Poet Nuntius’. This has disappeared from F1, which in other respects represents a complete revision of the Q1 text. Many passages have been improved from a literary point of view; the scene has been transferred from Italy to London and the names anglicized; the oaths have all been expunged or softened. Fleay, i. 358, finding references to a ‘queen’ in F1 for the ‘duke’ of Q1 and an apparent dating of St. Mark’s Day on a Friday, assigned the revision to 1601, and conjectured that it was done by[360] Jonson for the Chapel, that the Chamberlain’s published the Q in revenge, and that Jonson tried to stay it. Here he is followed by Castelain. But Q1 is a good edition and there is no sign whatever that it had not Jonson’s authority, and as the entry in S. R. covers other Chamberlain’s plays, it is pretty clear that the company caused the ‘staying’. St. Mark’s Day did not, as Fleay thought, fall on a Friday in 1601, and if it had, the dating is unchanged from Q1 and the references to a queen may, as Simpson suggests, be due to Jonson’s conscientious desire to preserve consistency with the original date of 1598. Nor is the play likely to have passed to the Chapel, since the King’s men played it before James on 2 Feb. 1605 (cf. App. B). This revival would be the natural time for a revision, and in fact seems to me on the whole the most likely date, in spite of two trifling bits of evidence which would fit in rather better a year later. These are references to the siege of Strigonium or Graan (1595) as ten years since (III. i. 103), and to a present by the Turkey company to the Grand Signior (I. ii. 78), which was perhaps the gift worth £5,000 sent about Christmas 1605 (S. P. D. Jac. I, xv. 3; xvii. 35; xx. 27). No doubt also the revision of oaths in Jacobean plays is usually taken as due to the Act against Abuses of Players (1606), although it is conceivable that the personal taste of James may have required a similar revision of plays selected for Court performance at an earlier date. Or this particular bit of revision, which was done for other plays before F1, may be of later date than the rest. Simpson is in favour, largely on literary grounds, for a revision in 1612, in preparation for F1. The Prologue, which is not in Q, probably belongs to the revision, or at any rate to a revival later than 1598, since it criticizes not only ‘Yorke, and Lancasters long jarres’, but also plays in which ‘Chorus wafts you ore the seas’, as in Henry V (1599). These allusions would not come so well in 1612; on the other hand, Simpson’s date would enable us to suppose that the play in which the public ‘grac’d monsters’ was the Tempest (cf. the similar jibe in Bartholomew Fair). The character Matheo or Mathew represents a young gull of literary tendencies, and is made to spout passages from, or imitations of, Daniel’s verses. Perhaps this implies some indirect criticism of Daniel, but it can hardly be regarded as a personal attack upon him.

Every Man Out of his Humour. 1599

S. R. 1600, April 8 (Harsnett). ‘A Comicall Satyre of euery man out of his humour.’ William Holme (Arber, iii. 159).

1638, April 28. Transfer by Smethwicke to Bishop (Arber, iv. 417).

Q1, 1600. The Comicall Satyre of Every Man Out Of His Humor. As it was first composed by the Author B. I. Containing more than hath been Publickely Spoken or Acted. With the seuerall Character of euery Person. For William Holme. [Names and description of Characters; Publisher’s note, ‘It was not neere his thoughts that hath publisht this, either to traduce the Authour; or to make vulgar[361] and cheape, any the peculiar & sufficient deserts of the Actors; but rather (whereas many Censures flutter’d about it) to giue all leaue, and leisure, to iudge with Distinction’; Induction, by Asper, who becomes Macilente and speaks Epilogue, Carlo Buffone who speaks in lieu of Prologue, and Mitis and Cordatus, who remain on stage as Grex or typical spectators.]

Q2, 1600. [Peter Short] For William Holme. [W. W. Greg (1920, 4 Library, i. 153) distinguished Q1, of which he found a copy in Brit. Mus. C. 34, i. 29, from Q2, (Bodl. and Dyce).]

Q3, 1600. For Nicholas Linge. [‘A careless and ignorant reprint’ (Greg) of Q1.]

F1, 1616. Euery Man Out Of His Humour. A Comicall Satyre. Acted in the yeere 1599. By the then Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants. The Author B. I. William Stansby for Iohn Smithwicke. [Epistle to the Inns of Court, signed ‘Ben. Ionson’. After text: ‘This Comicall Satyre was first acted in the yeere 1599. By the then Lord Chamberlaine his Seruants. The principall Comœdians were, Ric. Burbadge, Ioh. Hemings, Aug. Philips, Hen. Condel, Wil. Sly, Tho. Pope. With the allowance of the Master of Revels.’]

Facsimile reprints of Q1 by W. W. Greg and F. P. Wilson (1920, M. S. R.) and of Q2, 3 by W. Bang and W. W. Greg (1907, Materialien, xvi, xvii).—Dissertations: C. A. Herpich, Shakespeare and B. J. Did They Quarrel? (1902, 9 N. Q. ix. 282); Van Dam and C. Stoffel, The Authority of the B. J. Folio of 1616 (1903, Anglia, xxvi. 377); W. Bang, B. J. und Castiglione’s Cortegiano (1906, E. S. xxxvi. 330).

In the main the text of F1 follows that of Q1 with some slight revision of wording and oaths. The arrangement of the epilogues is somewhat different, but seems intended to represent the same original stage history. In Q1 Macilente speaks an epilogue, ‘with Aspers tongue (though not his shape)’, evidently used in the theatre as it begs ‘The happier spirits in this faire-fild Globe’ to confirm applause

as their pleasures Pattent: which so sign’d,
Our leane and spent Endeuours shall renue
Their Beauties with the Spring to smile on you.

Then comes a ‘Finis’ and on the next page, ‘It had another Catastrophe or Conclusion at the first Playing: which (διὰ τὸ τὴν βασίλισσαν προσωποποιεῖσθαι) many seem’d not to relish it: and therefore ’twas since alter’d: yet that a right-ei’d and solide Reader may perceiue it was not so great a part of the Heauen awry, as they would make it; we request him but to looke downe vpon these following Reasons.’ There follows an apology, from which it is clear that originally Macilente was cured of his envious humour by the appearance on the stage of the Queen; and this introduces a different epilogue of the nature of an address to her. At the end of all comes a short dialogue between Macilente, as Asper, and the Grex. There is no mention of the Globe, but as the whole point of the objection to this epilogue, which it is not suggested that Elizabeth herself shared, lay[362] in the miming of the Queen, one would take it, did the Q1 stand alone, to have been, like its substitute, a theatre and not a Court epilogue. In F1, however, we get successively (a) a shortened version of the later epilogue, (b) the dialogue with the Grex, followed by ‘The End’, and (c) a version of the original epilogue, altered so as to make it less of a direct address and headed ‘Which, in the presentation before Queen E. was thus varyed’. It seems to me a little difficult to believe that the play was given at Court before it had been ‘practised’ in public performances, and I conclude that, having suppressed the address to a mimic Elizabeth at the Globe, Jonson revived it in a slightly altered form when he took the play to Court at Christmas. As to the date of production, Fleay, i. 361, excels himself in the suggestion that ‘the mention of “spring” and the allusion to the company’s new “patent” for the Globe in the epilogue’ fix it to c. April 1599. Even if this were the original epilogue, it alludes to a coming and not a present spring, and might have been written at any time in the winter, either before or after the New Year. Obviously, too, there can be no allusion to an Elizabethan patent for the Globe, which never existed. I do not agree with Small, 21, that the Globe was not opened until early in 1600, nor do I think that any inference can be drawn from the not very clear notes of dramatic time in I. iii and III. ii. At first sight it seems natural to suppose that the phrase ‘would I had one of Kempes shooes to throw after you’ (IV. v) was written later than at any rate the planning of the famous morris to Norwich, which lasted from 11 Feb. to 11 March 1600 and at the end of which Kempe hung his shoes in Norwich Guildhall. Certainly it cannot refer, as Fleay thinks, merely to Kempe’s leaving the Chamberlain’s men. Conceivably it might be an interpolation of later date than the original production. Creizenach, 303, however, points out that in 1599 Thomas Platter saw a comedy in which a servant took off his shoe and threw it at his master, and suggests that this was a bit of common-form stage clownery, in which case the Norwich dance would not be concerned. The performance described by Platter was in September or October, and apparently at the Curtain (cf. ch. xvi, introd.). Kempe may quite well have been playing then at the Curtain with a fresh company after the Chamberlain’s moved to the Globe. Perhaps the episode had already found a place in Phillips’s Jig of the Slippers, printed in 1595 and now lost (cf. ch. xviii). If 1600 is the date of E. M. O., the Court performance may have been that of 3 February, or perhaps more probably may have fallen in the following winter, which would explain the divergence between Q1 and F1 as to the epilogues. But it must be remembered that the F1 date is 1599, and that most, if not quite all, of the F1 dates follow Circumcision style, although Jonson may not have adopted this style as early as 1600. On the whole, I think that the balance of probability is distinctly in favour of 1599. If so, the production must have been fairly late in that year, as there is a hit (III. i) at the Histriomastix of the same autumn. The play has been hunted through and through for personalities, most of which are effectively refuted by Small. Most of the characters are types rather[363] than individuals, and social types rather than literary or stage types. I do not think there are portraits of Daniel, Lyly, Drayton, Donne, Chapman, Munday, Shakespeare, Burbadge, in the play or its induction at all. Nor do I think there are portraits in the strict sense of Marston and Dekker, although no doubt some parody of Marston’s ‘fustian’ vocabulary is put into the mouth of Clove (iii. 1), and, on the other hand, the characters of Carlo Buffone and Fastidious Brisk have analogies with the Anaides and Hedon of Cynthia’s Revels, and these again with the Demetrius and Crispinus of Poetaster, who are undoubtedly Dekker and Marston. But we know from Aubrey, ii. 184, that Carlo was Charles Chester, a loose-tongued man about town, to whom there are many contemporary references. To those collected by Small and Hart (10 N. Q. i. 381) I may add Chamberlain, 7, Harington, Ulysses upon Ajax (1596), 58, and Hatfield Papers, iv. 210, 221; x. 287. The practical joke of sealing up Carlo’s mouth with wax (V. iii) was, according to Aubrey, played upon Chester by Raleigh, and there may be traits of Raleigh in Puntarvolo, perhaps combined with others of Sir John Harington, while Hart finds in the mouths both of Puntarvolo and of Fastidious Brisk the vocabulary of Gabriel Harvey. The play was revived at Court on 8 Jan. 1605.

Cynthia’s Revels. 1600–1

S. R. 1601, May 23 (Pasfield). ‘A booke called Narcissus the fountaine of self-love.’ Walter Burre (Arber, iii. 185).

1601. The Fountaine of Selfe-Loue. Or Cynthias Reuels. As it hath beene sundry times priuately acted in the Black-Friers by the Children of her Maiesties Chappell. Written by Ben: Iohnson. For Walter Burre. [Induction, Prologue, and Epilogue.]

1616. Cynthias Revels, Or The Fountayne of selfe-loue. A Comicall Satyre. Acted in the yeere 1600. By the then Children of Queene Elizabeth’s Chappel. The Author B. I. William Stansby. [Part of F1. Epistle to the Court, signed ‘Ben Ionson’, Induction, Prologue, and Epilogue. After text: ‘This Comicall Satyre was first acted, in the yeere 1600. By the then Children of Queene Elizabeths Chappell. The principall Comœdians were, Nat. Field, Ioh. Underwood, Sal. Pavy, Rob. Baxter, Tho. Day, Ioh. Frost. With the allowance of the Master of Revells.’]

Edition by A. C. Judson (1912, Yale Studies, xlv), and facsimile reprint of Q by W. Bang and L. Krebs (1908, Materialien, xxii).

The difference between the Q and F1 texts amounts to more than mere revision of wording and of oaths. Criticus is renamed Crites, and the latter half of the play is given in a longer form, parts of IV. i and IV. iii, and the whole of V. i-iv appearing in F1 alone. I think the explanation is to be found in a shortening of the original text for representation, rather than in subsequent additions. Jonson’s date for the play is 1600. This Small, 23, would translate as Feb. or March 1601, neglecting the difficulty due to the possibility that[364] Jonson’s date represents Circumcision style. He relies on V. xi, where Cynthia says:

For so Actaeon, by presuming farre,
Did (to our griefe) incurre a fatall doome;
... But are we therefore judged too extreme?
Seemes it no crime, to enter sacred bowers,
And hallowed places, with impure aspect,
Most lewdly to pollute?

Rightly rejecting the suggestion of Fleay, i. 363, that this alludes to Nashe and the Isle of Dogs, Small refers it to the disgrace of Essex, and therefore dates the play after his execution on 25 Feb. 1601. But surely the presumption which Jonson has in mind is not Essex’s rebellion, but his invasion of Elizabeth’s apartment on his return from Ireland in 1599, and the ‘fatall doome’ is merely his loss of offices in June 1600. I do not believe that a Court dramatist would have dared to refer to Essex at all after 25 Feb. 1601. I feel little doubt that the play was the subject of the Chapel presentation on 6 Jan. 1601, and the description of this by the Treasurer of the Chamber as including a ‘show’, which puzzled Small, is explained by the presence of a full-blown Court mask in V. vii-x. The original production will have been in the winter of 1600, soon after Evans set up the Chapel plays. As to personalities, Small rightly rejects the identifications of Hedon with Daniel, Anaides with Marston, and Asotus with Lodge. Amorphus repeats the type of Puntarvolo from E. M. O. and like Puntarvolo may show traces of the Harveian vocabulary. As Satiromastix, I. ii. 191, applies to Crispinus and Demetrius the descriptions (III. iii) of Hedon as ‘a light voluptuous reveller’ and Anaides as ‘a strange arrogating puff’, it seems clear that Marston and Dekker, rightly or wrongly, fitted on these caps. Similarly, there is a clear attempt in Satiromastix, I. ii. 376, ‘You must be call’d Asper, and Criticus, and Horace’, to charge Jonson with lauding himself as Criticus. But the description of the ‘creature of a most perfect and diuine temper’ in II. iii surely goes beyond even Jonson’s capacity of self-praise. I wonder whether he can have meant Donne, whom he seems from a remark to Drummond (Laing, 6) to have introduced as Criticus in an introductory dialogue to the Ars Poetica.

Of the three children who appear in the induction, both Q and F1 name one as Jack. He might be either Underwood or Frost. Q alone (l. 214) names another, who played Anaides, as Sall, i.e. Salathiel Pavy. An interesting light is thrown on the beginnings of the Chapel enterprise by the criticism (Ind. 188), ‘They say, the Vmbrae, or Ghosts of some three or foure Playes, departed a dozen yeares since, haue been seene walking on your Stage here.’

The Poetaster. 1601

S. R. 1601, Dec. 21 (Pasfield). ‘A booke called Poetaster or his arrainement.’ Matthew Lownes (Arber, iii. 198).

1602. Poetaster or The Arraignment: As it hath beene sundry times priuately acted in the Blacke-Friers, by the Children of her[365] Maiesties Chappell. Composed by Ben. Iohnson. For M. L. [Prologue; after text, Note to Reader: ‘Here (Reader) in place of the Epilogue, was meant to thee an Apology from the Author, with his reasons for the publishing of this booke: but (since he is no lesse restrain’d, then thou depriv’d of it by Authoritie) hee praies thee to think charitably of what thou hast read, till thou maist heare him speake what hee hath written.’]

1616. Poëtaster, Or His Arraignement. A Comicall Satyre, Acted, in the yeere 1601. By the then Children of Queene Elizabeths Chappel. The Author B. I. W. Stansby for M. Lownes. [Part of F1. Epistle to Richard Martin, by ‘Ben. Ionson’; Prologue. After text, Note to Reader, with ‘an apologeticall Dialogue: which was only once spoken vpon the stage, and all the answere I euer gaue, to sundry impotent libells then cast out (and some yet remayning) against me, and this Play’. After the dialogue: ‘This comicall Satyre was first acted, in the yeere 1601. By the then Children of Queene Elizabeths Chappell. The principall Comœdians were, Nat. Field, Ioh. Vnderwood, Sal. Pavy, Will. Ostler, Tho. Day, Tho. Marton. With the allowance of the Master of Revells.’]

Editions by H. S. Mallory (1905, Yale Studies, xxvii), J. H. Penniman (1913, B. L.).

The play is admittedly an attack upon the poetaster represented as Crispinus, and his identity is clear from Jonson’s own statement to Drummond (Laing, 20) that ‘he had many quarrells with Marston, beat him, and took his pistol from him, wrote his Poetaster on him’. Marston’s vocabulary is elaborately ridiculed in V. iii. Nor is there any reason to doubt that Demetrius Fannius, ‘a dresser of plaies about the towne, here’, who has been ‘hir’d to abuse Horace, and bring him in, in a play’ (III. iv. 367), is Dekker, who certainly associated himself with Marston as a victim of Jonson’s arraignment, and wrote Satiromastix (q.v.) in reply. At the same time these characters continue the types of Hedon and Anaides from Cynthia’s Revels, although these were not literary men. Horace is Jonson himself, as the rival portrait of Horace in Satiromastix shows, while Dekker tells us that Tucca is ‘honest Capten Hannam’, doubtless the Jack Hannam traceable as a Captain under Drake in 1585; cf. the reference to him in a letter of that year printed by F. P. Wilson in M. L. R. xv. 81. Fleay, i. 367, has a long list of identifications of minor personages, Ovid with Donne, Tibullus with Daniel, and so forth, all of which may safely be laid aside, and in particular I do not think that the fine eulogies of Virgil (V. i) are meant for Chapman, or for Shakespeare, applicable as some of them are to him, or for any one but Virgil. On the matter of identifications there is little to add to the admirable treatment of Small, 25. But in addition to the personal attacks, the play clearly contains a more generalized criticism of actors, the challenge of which seems to have been specially taken up by the Chamberlain’s men (cf. ch. xi), while there is evidence that Tucca and, I suppose, Lupus were taken amiss by the soldiers and the lawyers respectively. The latter at least were powerful, and in the epistle to Martin Jonson speaks of the play as[366] one ‘for whose innocence, as for the Authors, you were once a noble and timely undertaker, to the greatest Iustice of this Kingdome’, and on behalf of posterity acknowledges a debt for ‘the reading of that ... which so much ignorance, and malice of the times, then conspir’d to haue supprest’. Evidently Jonson had not made matters better by his Apologetical Dialogue, the printing of which with the play was restrained. In this he denies that he

The Law, and Lawyers; Captaines; and the Players
By their particular names;

but admits his intention to try and shame the

Fellowes of practis’d and most laxative tongues,

of whom he says, that during

three yeeres,
They did provoke me with their petulant stiles
On every stage.

Now he has done with it, will not answer the ‘libells’, or the ‘untrussers’ (i. e. Satiromastix), and is turning to tragedy.

Jonson gives the date of production as 1601. The play followed Cynthia’s Revels, criticisms on the epilogue of which inspired its ‘armed Prologue’, who sets a foot on Envy. Envy has been waiting fifteen weeks since the plot was an ‘embrion’, and this is chaffed in Satiromastix, I. ii. 447, ‘What, will he bee fifteene weekes about this cockatrice’s egge too?’ Later (V. ii. 218) Horace is told, ‘You and your itchy poetry breake out like Christmas, but once a yeare’. This stung Jonson, who replied in the Apologetical Dialogue,

Polyposus.They say you are slow,
And scarse bring forth a play a yeere.
Author.’Tis true.
I would they could not say that I did that.

The year’s interval must not be pressed too closely. On the other hand, I do not know why Small, 25, assumes that the fifteen weeks spent on the Poetaster began directly after Cynthia’s Revels was produced, whatever that date may be. It must have come very near that of Satiromastix, for Horace knows that Demetrius has been hired to write a play on him. On the other hand, Satiromastix cannot possibly have been actually written until the contents of Poetaster were known to Dekker. The S. R. entry of Satiromastix is 11 Nov. 1601, and the two dates of production may reasonably be placed in the late spring or early autumn of the same year. The Note to the Reader in Q shows that the Dialogue had been restrained before Poetaster itself appeared in 1602. Probably it was spoken in December between the two S. R. entries. Hart (9 N. Q. xi. 202) assuming that the contemplated tragedy was Sejanus (q.v.) put it in 1603, but this is too late.

Sejanus. 1603

S. R. 1604, Nov. 2 (Pasfield). ‘A booke called the tragedie of Seianus written by Beniamin Johnson.’ Edward Blunt (Arber, iii. 273).


1605, Aug. 6. Transfer from Blount to Thomas Thorpe (Arber, iii. 297).

1610, Oct. 3. Transfer from Thorpe to Walter Burre (Arber, iii. 445).

1605. Seianus his fall. Written by Ben: Ionson. G. Eld for Thomas Thorpe. [Epistle to Readers, signed ‘Ben. Jonson’; Commendatory Verses, signed ‘Georgius Chapmannus’, ‘Hugh Holland’, ‘Cygnus’, ‘Th. R.’, ‘Johannes Marstonius’, ‘William Strachey’, ‘ΦΙΛΟΣ’, ‘Ev. B.’; Argument.]

1616. Seianus his Fall. A Tragœdie. Acted, in the yeere 1603. By the K. Maiesties Servants. The Author B. I. William Stansby. [Part of F1. Epistle to Esmé, Lord Aubigny, signed ‘Ben. Ionson’. After text: ‘This Tragœdie was first acted, in the yeere 1603. By the Kings Maiesties Servants. The principall Tragœdians were, Ric. Burbadge, Will. Shake-Speare, Aug. Philips, Ioh. Hemings, Will. Sly, Hen. Condel, Ioh. Lowin, Alex. Cooke. With the allowance of the Master of Revells.’]

Editions by W. D. Briggs (1911, B. L.) and W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.).—Dissertations: B. Nicholson, Shakespeare not the Part-Author of B. J.’s S. (1874, Acad. ii. 536); W. A. Henderson, Shakespeare and S. (1894, 8 N. Q. v. 502).

As the theatres were probably closed from Elizabeth’s death to March 1604, the production may have been at Court in the autumn or winter of 1603, although, if Sejanus is the something ‘high, and aloofe’ contemplated at the end of the Apologetical Dialogue to Poetaster (q.v.), it must have been in Jonson’s mind since 1601. The epistle to Aubigny admits the ‘violence’ which the play received in public, and ‘Ev. B.’s’ verses indicate that this ‘beastly rage’ was at the Globe. Marston’s verses were presumably written before his renewed quarrel with Jonson over Eastward Ho! (q.v.), and there appears to be an unkindly reference to Sejanus in the epistle to his Sophonisba (1606). But either Eastward Ho! or something else caused publication to be delayed for nearly a year after the S. R. entry, since Chapman’s verses contain a compliment to the Earl of Suffolk,

Who when our Hearde came not to drink, but trouble
The Muses waters, did a Wall importune,
(Midst of assaults) about their sacred River,

which seems to refer to his share in freeing Jonson and Chapman from prison about Sept. or Oct. 1605. Chapman also has compliments to the Earls of Northampton and Northumberland. It must therefore be to a later date that Jonson referred, when he told Drummond (Laing, 22) that ‘Northampton was his mortall enimie for beating, on a St. George’s day, one of his attenders; He was called before the Councell for his Sejanus, and accused both of poperie and treason by him’. Fleay, i. 372, suggests that the reference at the end of the Q version of the Argument to treason against princes, ‘for guard of whose piety and vertue, the Angels are in continuall watch, and God himselfe miraculously working’, implies publication after the discovery of the Plot. On the other hand, one would have expected Chapman’s reference to Northumberland, if not already printed, to be suppressed,[368] in view of the almost immediate suspicion of a connexion with the Plot that fell upon him. Castelain, 907, considers, and rightly rejects, another suggestion by Fleay that Sejanus and not Eastward Ho! was the cause of the imprisonment of Jonson and Chapman in 1605. Fleay supposed that Chapman was the collaborator of whom Jonson wrote in the Q epistle, ‘I would informe you, that this Booke, in all numbers, is not the same with that which was acted on the publike Stage, wherein a second pen had good share; in place of which I have rather chosen, to put weaker (and no doubt lesse pleasing) of mine own, then to defraud so happy a Genius of his right, by my lothed usurpation’. Shakespeare also has been guessed at. If Jonson’s language was seriously meant, there were not, of course, many contemporaries of whom he would have so spoken. Probably the problem is insoluble, as the subject-matter of it has disappeared. It is difficult to believe that the collaborator was Samuel Sheppard, who in his The Times Displayed in Six Sestyads (1646) claims to have ‘dictated to’ Ben Jonson ‘when as Sejanus’ fall he writ’. Perhaps he means ‘been amanuensis to’.

Eastward Ho! (1605)

With Chapman (q.v.) and Marston.

Volpone or The Fox. 1606

[MS.] J. S. Farmer (Introd. to Believe As You List in T. F. T.) states that a holograph MS. is extant. He may have heard of a modern text by L. H. Holt, used by J. D. Rea. If so, App. N is in error.

S. R. 1610, Oct. 3. Transfer from Thomas Thorpe to Walter Burre of ‘2 bookes the one called, Seianus his fall, the other, Vulpone or the ffoxe’ (Arber, iii. 445).

1607. Ben: Ionson his Volpone Or The Foxe. For Thomas Thorpe. [Dedicatory epistle by ‘Ben. Ionson’ to the two Universities, dated ‘From my House in the Black-Friars, the 11th day of February, 1607’; Commendatory Verses, signed ‘I. D[onne]’, ‘E. Bolton’, ‘F[rancis] B[eaumont]’, ‘T. R.’, ‘D. D.’, ‘I. C.’, ‘G. C.’, ‘E. S.’, ‘I. F.’; Argument; Prologue and Epilogue.]

1616. Volpone, or The Foxe. A Comœdie. Acted in the yeere 1605. By the K. Maiesties Servants. The Author B. I. William Stansby. [Part of F1. After text: ‘This Comoedie was first acted, in the yeere 1605. By the Kings Maiesties Servants. The principall Comœdians were, Ric. Burbadge, Ioh. Hemings, Hen. Condel, Ioh. Lowin, Will. Sly, Alex. Cooke. With the allowance of the Master of Revells.’]

Editions by W. Scott (1811, M. B. D. iii) in O. E. D. (1830, i) and by H. B. Wilkins (1906), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.), J. D. Rea (1919, Yale Studies).—Dissertations: F. Holthausen, Die Quelle von B. J.’s V. (1889, Anglia, xii. 519); J. Q. Adams, The Sources of B. J.’s V. (1904, M. P. ii. 289); L. H. Holt, Notes on J.’s V. (1905, M. L. N. xx. 63).

Jonson dates the production 1605, and the uncertainty as to the style he used leaves it possible that this may cover the earlier part of 1606. Fleay, i. 373, attempts to get nearer with the help of the news[369] from London brought to Venice by Peregrine in II. i. Some of this does not help us much. The baboons had probably been in London as early as 1603 at least (cf. s.v. Sir Giles Goosecap). The Tower lioness had a whelp on 5 Aug. 1604, another on 26 Feb. 1605, and two more on 27 July 1605 (Stowe, ed. 1615, 844, 857, 870). The ‘another whelp’ of Volpone would suggest Feb.–July 1605. On the other hand, the whale at Woolwich is recorded by Stowe, 880, a few days after the porpoise at West Ham (not ‘above the bridge’ as in Volpone) on 19 Jan. 1606. Holt argues from this that, as Peregrine left England seven weeks before, the play must have been produced in March 1606, but this identification of actual and dramatic time can hardly be taken for granted. There are also allusions to meteors at Berwick and a new star, both in 1604, and to the building of a raven in a royal ship and the death of Stone the fool, which have not been dated and might help. Gawdy, 146, writes on 18 June 1604 that ‘Stone was knighted last weeke, I meane not Stone the foole, but Stone of Cheapsyde’. Stone the fool was whipped about March, 1605 (Winwood, ii. 52). The suggested allusion to Volpone in Day’s Isle of Gulls (q.v.) of Feb. 1606 is rather dubious. The ambiguity of style must also leave us uncertain whether Q and its dedication belong to 1607 or 1608, and therefore whether ‘their love and acceptance shewn to his poeme in the presentation’ by the Universities was in 1606 or 1607. This epistle contains a justification of Jonson’s comic method. He has had to undergo the ‘imputation of sharpnesse’, but has never provoked a ‘nation, societie, or generall order, or state’, or any ‘publique person’. Nor has he been ‘particular’ or ‘personall’, except to ‘a mimick, cheater, bawd, or buffon, creatures (for their insolencies) worthy to be tax’d’. But that he has not wholly forgotten the Poetomachia is clear from a reference to the ‘petulant stiles’ of other poets, while in the prologue he recalls the old criticism that he was a year about each play, and asserts that he wrote Volpone in five weeks. The commendatory verses suggest that the play was successful. Fleay’s theory that it is referred to in the epilogue to the anonymous Mucedorus (q.v.), as having given offence, will not bear analysis. The passage in III. iv about English borrowings from Guarini and Montaigne is too general in its application to be construed as a specific attack on Daniel. But the gossip of Aubrey, ii. 246, on Thomas Sutton, the founder of the Charterhouse, relates that ‘’Twas from him that B. Johnson took his hint of the fox, and by Seigneur Volpone is meant Sutton’.

Epicoene. 1609

S. R. 1610, Sept. 20 (Buck). ‘A booke called, Epicoene or the silent woman by Ben Johnson.’ John Browne and John Busby (Arber, iii. 444).

1612, Sept. 28. Transfer from Browne to Walter Burre (Arber, iii. 498).

1609, 1612. Prints of both dates are cited, but neither is now traceable. The former, in view of the S. R. date, can hardly have existed; the latter appears to have been seen by Gifford, and for it [370]the commendatory verses by Beaumont, found at the beginning of F1, were probably written.

1616. Epicoene, Or The silent Woman. A Comœdie. Acted in the yeere 1609. By the Children of her Maiesties Revells. The Author B. I. W. Stansby. [Part of F1. Epistle to Sir Francis Stuart, signed ‘Ben. Ionson’; Two Prologues, the second ‘Occasion’d by some persons impertinent exception’; after text: ‘This Comœdie was first acted, in the yeere 1609. By the Children of her Maiesties Revells. The principall Comœdians were, Nat. Field, Will. Barksted, Gil. Carie, Will. Pen, Hug. Attawel, Ric. Allin, Ioh. Smith, Ioh. Blaney. With the allowance of the Master of Revells.’]

1620. William Stansby, sold by John Browne.

Editions in O. E. D. (1830, iii) and by A. Henry (1906, Yale Studies, xxxi) and C. M. Gayley (1913, R. E. C. ii).

The first prologue speaks of the play as fit for ‘your men, and daughters of white-Friars’, and at Whitefriars the play was probably produced by the Revels children, either at the end of 1609, or, if Jonson’s chronology permits, early in 1610. Jonson told Drummond (Laing, 41) that, ‘When his play of a Silent Woman was first acted, ther was found verses after on the stage against him, concluding that that play was well named the Silent Woman, ther was never one man to say Plaudite to it’. Fleay, i. 374, suggests an equation between Sir John Daw and Sir John Harington. In I. i. 86 Clerimont says of Lady Haughty, the President of the Collegiates, ‘A poxe of her autumnall face, her peec’d beautie’. I hope that this was not, as suggested by H. J. C. Grierson, Poems of Donne, ii. 63, a hit at Lady Danvers, on whom Donne wrote (Elegy ix):

No Spring, nor Summer Beauty hath such grace,
As I have seen in one Autumnall face.

In any case, I do not suppose that these are the passages which led to the ‘exception’ necessitating the second prologue. This ends with the lines:

If any, yet, will (with particular slight
Of application) wrest what he doth write;
And that he meant or him, or her, will say:
They make a libell, which he made a play.

Jonson evidently refers to the same matter in the Epistle, where he says: ‘There is not a line, or syllable in it changed from the simplicity of the first copy. And, when you shall consider, through the certaine hatred of some, how much a mans innocency may bee indanger’d by an vn-certaine accusation; you will, I doubt not, so beginne to hate the iniquitie of such natures, as I shall loue the contumely done me, whose end was so honorable, as to be wip’d off by your sentence.’ I think the explanation is to be found in a dispatch of the Venetian ambassador on 8 Feb. 1610 (V. P. xi. 427), who reports that Lady Arabella Stuart ‘complains that in a certain comedy the playwright introduced an allusion to her person and the part played by the Prince[371] of Moldavia. The play was suppressed.’ The reference may be to V. i. 17 of the play:

La Foole. He [Daw] has his boxe of instruments ... to draw maps of euery place, and person, where he comes.

Clerimont. How, maps of persons!

La Foole. Yes, sir, of Nomentack, when he was here, and of the Prince of Moldauia, and of his mistris, mistris Epicoene.

Clerimont. Away! he has not found out her latitude, I hope.

The Prince of Moldavia visited London in 1607 and is said to have been a suitor for Arabella, but if Jonson’s text is really not ‘changed from the simplicity of the first copy’, it is clear that Arabella misunderstood it, since Epicoene was Daw’s mistress.

The Alchemist. 1610

S. R. 1610, Oct. 3 (Buck). ‘A Comoedy called The Alchymist made by Ben: Johnson.’ Walter Burre (Arber, iii. 445).

1612. The Alchemist. Written by Ben Ionson. Thomas Snodham for Walter Burre, sold by John Stepneth. [Epistles to Lady Wroth, signed ‘Ben. Jonson’ and to the Reader; Commendatory Verses, signed ‘George Lucy’; Argument and Prologue.]

1616. The Alchemist. A Comœdie. Acted in the yeere 1610. By the Kings Maiesties Seruants. The author B. I. W. Stansby. [Part of F1. After text: ‘This Comoedie was first acted, in the yeere 1610. By the Kings Maiesties Servants. The principall Comœdians were, Ric. Burbadge, Ioh. Hemings, Ioh. Lowin, Will. Ostler, Hen. Condel, Ioh. Vnderwood, Alex. Cooke, Nic. Tooley, Rob. Armin, Will. Eglestone. With the allowance of the Master of Revells.’]

Editions by W. Scott (1811, M. B. D. iii), C. M. Hathaway (1903, Yale Studies, xvii), H. C. Hart (1903, King’s Library), F. E. Schelling (1903, B. L.), W. A. Neilson (1911, C. E. D.), G. A. Smithson (1913, R. E. C.).

Jonson’s date is confirmed by the references in II. vi. 31 and IV. iv. 29 to the age of Dame Pliant, who is 19 and was born in 1591. In view of the S. R. entry, one would take the production to have fallen in the earlier half of the year, before the plague reached forty deaths, which it did from 12 July to 29 Nov. The action is set in plague-time, but obviously the experience of 1609 and early years might suggest this. Fleay, i. 375, and others following him argue that the action of the play is confined to one day, that this is fixed by V. v. 102 to ‘the second day of the fourth week in the eighth month’, and that this must be 24 October. They are not deterred by the discrepancy of this with III. ii. 129, which gives only a fifteen-days interval before ‘the second day, of the third weeke, in the ninth month’, i. e. on their principles 17 November. And they get over the S.R. entry by assuming that Jonson planned to stage the play on 24 October and then, finding early in October that the plague continued, decided to publish it at once. This seems to me extraordinarily thin, in the absence of clearer knowledge as to the system of chronology employed by Ananias of[372] Amsterdam. Aubrey, i. 213, says that John Dee ‘used to distill egge-shells, and ’twas from hence that Ben Johnson had his hint of the alkimist, whom he meant’. The play was given by the King’s men at Court during 1612–13.

Catiline his Conspiracy. 1611

1611. Catiline his Conspiracy. Written by Ben: Ionson. For Walter Burre. [Epistles to William Earl of Pembroke, and to the Reader, both signed ‘Ben. Jonson’; Commendatory Verses, signed ‘Franc: Beaumont’, ‘John Fletcher’, ‘Nat. Field’.]

1616. Catiline his Conspiracy. A Tragoedie. Acted in the yeere 1611. By the Kings Maiesties Seruants. The Author B. I. William Stansby. [Part of F1. After text: ‘This Tragœdie was first Acted, in the yeere 1611. By the Kings Maiesties Servants. The principall Tragœdians were, Ric. Burbadge, Ioh. Hemings, Alex. Cooke, Hen. Condel, Ioh. Lowin, Ioh. Underwood, Wil. Ostler, Nic. Tooly, Ric. Robinson, Wil. Eglestone.’]

1635.... ‘now Acted by his Maiesties Servants’.... N. Okes for I. S.

Edition by L. H. Harris (1916, Yale Studies, liii).—Dissertation: A. Vogt, B. J.’s Tragödie C. und ihre Quellen (1905, Halle diss.).

Bartholomew Fair. 1614

1631. Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedie, Acted in the Yeare, 1614. By the Lady Elizabeths Seruants. And then dedicated to King Iames of most Blessed Memorie; By the Author, Beniamin Iohnson. I. B. for Robert Allot. [Part of F2. Prologue to the King; Induction; Epilogue. Jonson wrote (n.d.) to the Earl of Newcastle (Harl. MS. 4955, quoted in Gifford’s memoir and by Brinsley Nicholson in 4 N. Q. v. 574): ‘It is the lewd printer’s fault that I can send ... no more of my book. I sent you one piece before, The Fair, ... and now I send you this other morsel, The fine gentleman that walks the town, The Fiend; but before he will perfect the rest I fear he will come himself to be a part under the title of The Absolute Knave, which he hath played with me.’]

Edition by C. S. Alden (1904, Yale Studies, xxv).—Dissertation: C. R. Baskervill, Some Parallels to B. F. (1908, M. P. vi. 109).

No dedication to James, other than the prologue and epilogue, appears to be preserved, but Aubrey, ii. 14, says that ‘King James made him write against the Puritans, who began to be troublesome in his time’. The play was given at Court on 1 Nov. 1614 (App. B), and a mock indenture between the author and the spectators at the Hope, on 31 Oct. 1614, is recited in the Induction and presumably fixes the date of production. One must not therefore assume that a ballad of Rome for Company in Bartholomew Faire, registered on 22 Oct. 1614 (Arber, iii. 554), was aimed at Jonson. Greg, Henslowe Papers, 78, follows Malone and Fleay, i. 80, in inferring from a mention of a forthcoming ‘Johnsons play’ in a letter of 13 Nov. 1613 from Daborne to Henslowe that the production may have been intended for 1613, but I think that Daborne refers to the revival of Eastward[373] Ho! The Induction describes the locality of the Hope as ‘being as durty as Smithfield, and as stinking euery whit’, and possibly glances at the Winter’s Tale and Tempest in disclaiming the introduction of ‘a Seruant-monster’ and ‘a nest of Antiques’, since the author is ‘loth to make Nature afraid in his Playes, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like Drolleries’. There is no actor-list, but in V. iii ‘Your best Actor. Your Field?’ is referred to on a level with ‘your Burbage’. Similarly the puppet Leander is said to shake his head ‘like an hostler’ and it is declared that ‘one Taylor, would goe neere to beat all this company, with a hand bound behinde him’. Field and Taylor were both of the Lady Elizabeth’s men in 1614, while the allusion to Ostler of the King’s men is apparently satirical. The suggestion of Ordish, 225, that Taylor is the water poet, who had recently appeared on the Hope stage, is less probable. The ‘word out of the play, Palemon’ (IV. iii) is set against another, Argalus ‘out of the Arcadia’, and might therefore, as Fleay, i. 377, thinks, refer to Daniel’s Queen’s Arcadia (1605), but the Palamon of T. N. K. was probably quite recent. I see no reason to accept Fleay’s identification of Littlewit with Daniel; that of Lanthorn Leatherhead with Inigo Jones is more plausible. Gifford suggested that the burlesque puppet-play of Damon and Pythias in V. iv may have been retrieved by Jonson from earlier work, perhaps for the real puppet-stage, since ‘Old Cole’ is a character, and in Satiromastix Horace is called ‘puppet-teacher’ (1980) and in another passage (607) ‘olde Coale’, and told that Crispinus and Demetrius ‘shal be thy Damons and thou their Pithyasse’.

The Devil Is An Ass 1616

1631. The Diuell is an Asse: A Comedie Acted in the yeare, 1616. By His Maiesties Seruants. The Author Ben: Ionson. I. B. for Robert Allot. [Part of F2. Prologue and Epilogue. The play is referred to in Jonson’s letter to the Earl of Newcastle, quoted under Bartholomew Fair.]

1641. Imprinted at London.

Edition by W. S. Johnson (1905, Yale Studies, xxix).—Dissertation: E. Holstein, Verhältnis von B. J.’s D. A. und John Wilson’s Belphegor zu Machiavelli’s Novelle vom Belfagor (1901).

In the play itself are introduced references to a performance of The Devil as a new play, to its playbill, to the Blackfriars as the house, and to Dick Robinson as a player of female parts (I. iv. 43; vi. 31; II. viii. 64; III. v. 38). Probably the production was towards the end rather than the beginning of 1616.

Lost Plays

I do not feel able to accept the view, expounded by Fleay, i. 370, 386, and adopted by some later writers, that A Tale of a Tub, licensed by Herbert on 7 May 1633, was only a revision of one of Jonson’s Elizabethan plays. It appears to rest almost wholly upon references to a ‘queen’. These are purely dramatic, and part of an attempt to give the action an old-fashioned setting. The queen intended is not[374] Elizabeth, but Mary. There are also references to ‘last King Harry’s time’ (I. ii), ‘King Edward, our late liege and sovereign lord’ (I. v). A character says, ‘He was King Harry’s doctor and my god-phere’ (IV. i). The priest is ‘Canon’ or ‘Sir’ Hugh, and has a ‘Latin tongue’ (III. vii). ‘Old John Heywood’ is alive (V. ii).

In 1619 Jonson told Drummond (Laing, 27) ‘That the half of his Comedies were not in print’. The unprinted ones of course included Bartholomew Fair and The Devil is an Ass. He went on to describe ‘a pastorall intitled The May Lord’, in which he figured himself as Alkin. As it had a ‘first storie’, it may not have been dramatic. But Alkin appears in The Sad Shepherd, a fragment of a dramatic pastoral, printed in F2 with a prologue in which Jonson describes himself as ‘He that hath feasted you these forty yeares’, and which therefore cannot have been written long before his death in 1637. This is edited by W. W. Greg (1905, Materialien, xi) with an elaborate discussion in which he arrives at the sound conclusions that the theory of its substantial identity with The May Lord must be rejected, and that there is no definite evidence to oppose to the apparent indication of its date in the prologue.

It is doubtful whether any of Jonson’s early work for Pembroke’s and the Admiral’s, except perhaps The Case is Altered, ever found its way into print. The record of all the following plays, except the first, is in Henslowe’s diary (cf. Greg, Henslowe, ii. 288).

(a) The Isle of Dogs.

See s.v. Nashe.

(b) On 3 Dec. 1597 he received £1 ‘vpon a boocke wch he showed the plotte vnto the company wch he promysed to dd vnto the company at crysmas’. It is just possible that this was Dido and Aeneas, produced by the Admiral’s on 8 Jan. 1598. But no further payment to Jonson is recorded, and it is more likely that Dido and Aeneas was taken over from Pembroke’s repertory; and it may be that Jonson had not carried out his contract before the fray with Spencer in Sept. 1598, and that this is the ‘Bengemens plotte’ on which Chapman was writing a tragedy on the following 23 Oct. The theory that it is the Fall of Mortimer, still little more than a plot when Jonson died, may safely be rejected (Henslowe, ii. 188, 199, 224).

(c) Hot Anger Soon Cold.

Written with Chettle and Porter in Aug. 1598 (Henslowe, ii. 196).

(d) Page of Plymouth.

Written with Dekker in Aug. and Sept. 1599 (Henslowe, ii. 205).

(e) Robert the Second, King of Scots.

A tragedy, written with Chettle, Dekker, ‘& other Jentellman’ (probably Marston) in Sept. 1599 (Henslowe, ii. 205).

(f) Additions to Jeronimo.

See s.v. Kyd, Spanish Tragedy.

(g) Richard Crookback.

For this Jonson received a sum ‘in earnest’ on 22 June 1602, but it is not certain that it was ever finished (Henslowe, ii, 222).


Doubtful Plays

Jonson’s hand has been sought in The Captain of the Beaumont (q.v.) and Fletcher series, and the anonymous Puritan (cf. ch. xxiv).


Mask of Blackness. 6 Jan. 1605

[MS.] Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 17 B. xxxi. [‘The Twelvth Nights Reuells.’ Not holograph, but signed ‘Hos ego versiculos feci. Ben. Jonson.’ A shorter text than that of the printed descriptions, in present tense, as for a programme.]

S. R. 1608, April 21 (Buck). ‘The Characters of Twoo Royall Maskes. Invented by Ben. Johnson.’ Thomas Thorpe (Arber, iii. 375).

N.D. The Characters of Two royall Masques. The one of Blacknesse, The other of Beautie. personated By the most magnificent of Queenes Anne Queene of Great Britaine, &c. With her honorable Ladyes, 1605. and 1608. at Whitehall: and Inuented by Ben: Ionson. For Thomas Thorp.

1616. The Queenes Masques. The first, Of Blacknesse: Personated at the Court, at White-Hall, on the Twelu’th night, 1605. [Part of F1.]

Edition in J. P. Collier, Five Court Masques (1848, Sh. Soc. from MS.).

The maskers, in azure and silver, were twelve nymphs, ‘negroes and the daughters of Niger’; the torchbearers, in sea-green, Oceaniae; the presenters Oceanus, Niger, and Aethiopia the Moon; the musicians Tritons, Sea-maids, and Echoes.

The locality was the old Elizabethan banqueting-house at Whitehall (Carleton; Office of Works). The curtain represented a ‘landtschap’ of woods with hunting scenes, ‘which falling’, according to the Quarto, ‘an artificial sea was seen to shoot forth’. The MS. describes the landscape as ‘drawne uppon a downe right cloth, strayned for the scene, ... which openinge in manner of a curtine’, the sea shoots forth. On the sea were the maskers in a concave shell, and the torchbearers borne by sea-monsters.

The maskers, on landing, presented their fans. They gave ‘their own single dance’, and then made ‘choice of their men’ for ‘several measures and corantoes’. A final dance took them back to their shell.

This was a Queen’s mask, danced by the Queen, the Countesses of Bedford, Derby, and Suffolk, the Ladies Rich, Bevill, Howard of Effingham, Wroth, and Walsingham, Lady Elizabeth Howard, Anne Lady Herbert, and Susan Lady Herbert. The ‘bodily part’ was the ‘design and act’ of Inigo Jones.

Sir Thomas Edmondes told Lord Shrewsbury on 5 Dec. that the mask was to cost the Exchequer £3,000 (Lodge, iii. 114). The same sum was stated by Chamberlain to Winwood on 18 Dec. to have been ‘delivered a month ago’ (Winwood, ii. 41). Molin (V. P. x. 201) reported the amount on 19 Dec. as 25,000 crowns. On 12 Dec. John Packer wrote to Winwood of the preparations, and after naming some of the maskers added, ‘The Lady of Northumberland is excused by sickness, Lady Hartford by the measles. Lady of Nottingham hath[376] the polypus in her nostril, which some fear must be cut off. The Lady Hatton would feign have had a part, but some unknown reason kept her out’ (Winwood, ii. 39). The performance was described by Carleton to Winwood, as following the creation of Prince Charles as Duke of York on 6 Jan. (Winwood, ii. 44): ‘At night we had the Queen’s maske in the Banquetting-House, or rather her pagent. There was a great engine at the lower end of the room, which had motion, and in it were the images of sea-horses with other terrible fishes, which were ridden by Moors: The indecorum was, that there was all fish and no water. At the further end was a great shell in form of a skallop, wherein were four seats; on the lowest sat the Queen with my Lady Bedford; on the rest were placed the Ladies Suffolk, Darby, Rich, Effingham, Ann Herbert, Susan Herbert, Elizabeth Howard, Walsingham, and Bevil. Their apparell was rich, but too light and curtizan-like for such great ones. Instead of vizzards, their faces, and arms up to the elbows, were painted black, which was disguise sufficient, for they were hard to be known; but it became them nothing so well as their red and white, and you cannot imagine a more ugly sight, then a troop of lean-cheek’d Moors. The Spanish and Venetian ambassadors were both present, and sate by the King in state, at which Monsieur Beaumont quarrells so extreamly, that he saith the whole court is Spanish. But by his favour, he should fall out with none but himself, for they were all indifferently invited to come as private men, to a private sport; which he refusing, the Spanish ambassador willingly accepted, and being there, seeing no cause to the contrary, he put off Don Taxis, and took upon him El Señor Embaxadour, wherein he outstript our little Monsieur. He was ... taken out to dance, and footed it like a lusty old gallant with his country woman. He took out the Queen, and forgot not to kiss her hand, though there was danger it would have left a mark on his lips. The night’s work was concluded with a banquet in the great Chamber, which was so furiously assaulted, that down went table and tressels before one bit was touched.’ Carleton gives some additional information in another account, which he sent to Chamberlain on 7 Jan. (S. P. D. Jac. I, xii. 6, quoted by Sullivan, 28), as that the ‘black faces and hands, which were painted and bare up to the elbowes, was a very lothsome sight’, and he was ‘sory that strangers should see owr court so strangely disguised’; that ‘the confusion in getting in was so great, that some Ladies lie by it and complain of the fury of the white stafes’; that ‘in the passages through the galleries they were shutt up in several heapes betwixt dores and there stayed till all was ended’; and that there were losses ‘of chaynes, jewels, purces and such like loose ware’. References in letters to one Benson and by the Earl of Errol to Cecil (S. P. D. Jac. I, xii. 16; xix. 25) add nothing material. Carleton’s account of the triumph of the Spanish ambassador is confirmed by reports of the Venetian (V. P. x. 212) and French (B. M. King’s MS. cxxvii, ff. 117, 127v, 177v; cf. Sullivan, 196–8) ambassadors. Beaumont had pleaded illness in order to avoid attending a mask on 27 Dec. 1604 in private, and the Court chose to assume[377] that he was still ill on 6 Jan. This gave De Taxis and Molin an opening to get their private invitations converted into public ones. Beaumont lost his temper and accused Sir Lewis Lewknor and other officials of intriguing against him, but he had to accept his defeat.

The Accounts of the Master of the Revels (Cunningham, 204) record ‘The Queens Matis Maske of Moures with Aleven Laydies of honnour’ as given on 6 Jan. Reyher, 358, 520, notes references to the mask in accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber and of the Office of Works, and quotes from the latter items for ‘framinge and settinge vpp of a great stage in the banquettinge house xl foote square and iiijor foote in heighte with wheeles to goe on ... framinge and settinge vpp an other stage’.

Many of the notices of the Queen’s mask also refer to another mask which was performed ‘among the noblemen and gentlemen’ (Lodge, iii. 114) on 27 Dec. 1604, at the wedding of Sir Philip Herbert and Lady Susan Vere, daughter of the Earl of Oxford. The bride was herself a dancer in the Queen’s mask. The wedding mask, the subject of which was Juno and Hymenaeus, is unfortunately lost. The Revels Accounts (Cunningham, 204) tell us that it was ‘presented by the Earl of Pembroke, the Lord Willowbie and 6 Knightes more of the Court’, and Stowe’s Chronicle, 856, briefly records ‘braue Masks of the most noble ladies’. Carleton gave Winwood details of the wedding, and said (Winwood, ii. 43): ‘At night there was a mask in the Hall, which for conceit and fashion was suitable to the occasion. The actors were the Earle of Pembrook, the Lord Willoby, Sir Samuel [James?] Hays, Sir Thomas Germain, Sir Robert Cary, Sir John Lee, Sir Richard Preston, and Sir Thomas Bager. There was no smal loss that night of chaines and jewells, and many great ladies were made shorter by the skirts, and were well enough served that they could keep cut no better.’ Carleton wrote to Chamberlain (S. P. D. Jac. I, xii. 6, quoted by Sullivan, 25): ‘Theyre conceit was a representacion of Junoes temple at the lower end of the great hall, which was vawted and within it the maskers seated with staves of lights about them, and it was no ill shew. They were brought in by the fower seasons of the yeare and Hymeneus: which for songs and speaches was as goode as a play. Theyre apparel was rather costly then cumly; but theyr dancing full of life and variety; onely Sr Tho: Germain had lead in his heales and sometimes forgott what he was doing.’ There was a diplomatic contretemps on this occasion. At the wedding dinner the Venetian ambassador Molin was given precedence of the Queen’s brother, the Duke of Holstein, to the annoyance of the latter. But after dinner Molin was led to a closet and forgotten there until supper was already begun. Meanwhile the Duke took his place. There was a personal apology from the King, and at the mask Molin was given a stool in the royal box to the right of the King, and the Duke one to the left of the Queen. He preferred to stand for three hours rather than make use of it (Winwood, ii. 43; Sullivan, 25; V. P. x. 206).

Carleton wrote to Winwood (ii. 44), ‘They say the Duke of Holst will come upon us with an after reckoning, and that we shall see him[378] on Candlemas night in a mask, as he hath shewed himself a lusty reveller all this Christmas’. But if this mask ever took place, nothing is known of it.

Hymenaei. 5 Jan. 1606

1606. Hymenaei: or The Solemnities of Masque, and Barriers, Magnificently performed on the eleventh, and twelfth Nights, from Christmas; At Court: To the auspicious celebrating of the Marriage-vnion, betweene Robert, Earle of Essex, and the Lady Frances, second Daughter to the most noble Earle of Suffolke. By Ben: Ionson. Valentine Sims for Thomas Thorp.

1616. Hymenaei, or The solemnities of Masque and Barriers at a Marriage. [Part of F1.]

This was a double mask of eight men and eight women. The men, in carnation cloth of silver, with variously coloured mantles and watchet cloth of silver bases, were Humours and Affections; the women, in white cloth of silver, with carnation and blue undergarments, the Powers of Juno; the presenters Hymen, with a bride, bridegroom, and bridal train, Reason, and Order; the musicians the Hours.

The locality was probably the Elizabethan banqueting-house, which seems to have been repaired in 1604 (Reyher, 340). ‘The scene being drawn’ discovered first an altar for Hymen and ‘a microcosm or globe’, which turned and disclosed the men maskers in a ‘mine’ or ‘grot’. On either side of the globe stood great statues of Hercules and Atlas. They bore up the ‘upper part of the scene’, representing clouds, which opened to disclose the upper regions, whence the women descended on nimbi.

Each set of maskers had a dance at entry. They then danced together a measure with strains ‘all notably different, some of them formed into letters very signifying to the name of the bridegroom’. This done, they ‘dissolved’ and took forth others for measures, galliards, and corantoes. After these ‘intermixed dances’ came ‘their last dances’, and they departed in a bridal procession with an epithalamion.

The mask was in honour of the wedding of the Earl of Essex and Frances Howard, daughter of the Earl of Suffolk, and was probably given by their friends. The only Household expenses appear to have been for the making ready of the room (Reyher, 520), but Lady Rutland’s share seems to have cost the Earl over £100 (Hist. MSS. Rutland Accounts, iv. 457). The dancers were the Countesses of Montgomery, Bedford, and Rutland, the Ladies Knollys, Berkeley, Dorothy Hastings, and Blanch Somerset, and Mrs. A. Sackville, with the Earls of Montgomery and Arundel, Lords Willoughby and Howard de Walden, Sir James Hay, Sir Thomas Howard, Sir Thomas Somerset, and Sir John Ashley. The ‘design and act’ and the device of the costumes were by Inigo Jones, the songs by Alphonso Ferrabosco, and the dances by Thomas Giles.

On the next day followed a Barriers, in which, after a dialogue by[379] Jonson between Truth and Opinion, sixteen knights fought on the side of either disputant (cf. vol. i, p. 146).

The following account was sent by John Pory to Sir Robert Cotton on 7 Jan. (B.M. Cotton MS. Julius C. iii. 301, printed in Goodman, ii. 124; Collier, i. 350; Birch, i. 42; Sullivan, 199):

‘I haue seen both the mask on Sunday and the barriers on Mundy night. The Bridegroom carried himself as grauely and gracefully as if he were of his fathers age. He had greater guiftes giuen him then my lord Montgomery had, his plate being valued at 3000£ and his jewels, mony and other guiftes at 1600£ more. But to returne to the maske; both Inigo, Ben, and the actors men and women did their partes with great commendation. The conceite or soule of the mask was Hymen bringing in a bride and Juno pronuba’s priest a bridegroom, proclaiming those two should be sacrificed to nuptial vnion, and here the poet made an apostrophe to the vnion of the kingdoms. But before the sacrifice could be performed, Ben Jonson turned the globe of the earth standing behind the altar, and within the concaue sate the 8 men maskers representing the 4 humours and the fower affections which leapt forth to disturb the sacrifice to vnion; but amidst their fury Reason that sate aboue them all, crowned with burning tapers, came down and silenced them. These eight together with Reason their moderatresse mounted aboue their heades, sate somewhat like the ladies in the scallop shell the last year. Aboue the globe of erth houered a middle region of cloudes in the center wherof stood a grand consort of musicians, and vpon the cantons or hornes sate the ladies 4 at one corner, and 4 at another, who descended vpon the stage, not after the stale downright perpendicular fashion, like a bucket into a well; but came gently sloping down. These eight, after the sacrifice was ended, represented the 8 nuptial powers of Juno pronuba who came downe to confirme the vnion. The men were clad in crimzon and the weomen in white. They had euery one a white plume of the richest herons fethers, and were so rich in jewels vpon their heades as was most glorious. I think they hired and borrowed all the principal jewels and ropes of perle both in court and citty. The Spanish ambassador seemed but poore to the meanest of them. They danced all variety of dances, both seuerally and promiscue; and then the women took in men as namely the Prince (who danced with as great perfection and as setled a maiesty as could be deuised) the Spanish ambassador, the Archdukes, Ambassador, the Duke, etc., and the men gleaned out the Queen, the bride, and the greatest of the ladies. The second night the barriers were as well performed by fifteen against fifteen; the Duke of Lennox being chieftain on the one side, and my Lord of Sussex on the other.’

Mask of Beauty. 10 Jan. 1608

S. R. 1608, 21 April. [See Mask of Blackness.]

N.D. [See Mask of Blackness.]

1616. The Second Masque. Which was of Beautie; Was presented in the same Court, at White-Hall, on the Sunday night after the Twelfth Night. 1608. [Part of F1.] The maskers, in orange-tawny and silver and green and silver, were the twelve Daughters of Niger of the Mask of Blackness, now laved white, with four more; the torchbearers Cupids; the presenters January, Boreas, Vulturnus, Thamesis; the musicians Echoes and Shades of old Poets.

The locality was the new banqueting-house at Whitehall. January was throned in midst of the house. The curtain, representing Night,[380] was drawn to discover the maskers on a Throne of Beauty, borne by a floating isle.

The maskers gave two dances, which were repeated at the King’s request, and then danced ‘with the lords’. They danced galliards and corantoes. They then gave a third dance, and a fourth, which took them into their throne again.

This was a Queen’s mask, danced by the Queen, Arabella Stuart, the Countesses of Arundel, Derby, Bedford, and Montgomery, and the Ladies Elizabeth Guildford, Katherine Petre, Anne Winter, Windsor, Anne Clifford, Mary Neville, Elizabeth Hatton, Elizabeth Gerard, Chichester, and Walsingham. The torchbearers were ‘chosen out of the best and ingenious youth of the Kingdom’. The scene was ‘put in act’ by the King’s master carpenter. Thomas Giles made the dances and played Thamesis.

The mask was announced by 9 Dec. (V. P. xi. 74). On 10 Dec. La Boderie (ii. 490) reported that it would cost 6,000 or 7,000 crowns, and that nearly all the ladies invited by the Queen to take part in it were Catholics. Anne’s preparations were in swing before 17 Dec. (V. P. xi. 76). On 22 Dec. La Boderie reported (iii. 6) that he had underestimated the cost, which would not be less than 30,000 crowns, and was causing much annoyance to the Privy Council. On 31 Dec. Donne (Letters, i. 182) intended to deliver a letter ‘when the rage of the mask is past’. Lord Arundel notes his wife’s practising early in Jan. (Lodge, App. 124). The original date was 6 Jan. ‘The Mask goes forward for Twelfth-day’, wrote Chamberlain to Carleton on 5 Jan. (S. P. D. Jac. I, xxxi. 2; Birch, i. 69), ‘though I doubt the new room will be scant ready’. But on 8 Jan. (S. P. D. Jac. I, xxxi. 4; Birch, i. 71) he wrote again:

‘We had great hopes of having you here this day, and then I would not have given my part of the mask for any of their places that shall be present, for I suppose you and your lady would find easily passage, being so befriended; for the show is put off till Sunday, by reason that all things are not ready. Whatsoever the device may be, and wha