Sayfadaki görseller
[ocr errors]


We consider the point that Shakespeare had become owner 1599, when Henslowe and Alleya resolved to abandon of New Place in or before 1597 as completely made out, as, Southwark. However, it may be doubted whether they at such a distance of time, and with such imperfect informa- would not have continued where they were, recollecting the tion upon nearly all matters connected with his history convenient proximity of Paris Garden, (where bears, bulls

, could be at all expected'.

&c. were baited, and in which they were also jointly interWe apprehend' likewise, as we have already remarked ested) but for the success of the Lord Chamberlain's players (p. xxi), that the confirmation of arms in 1596, obtained as at the Globe, which had been in use four or five years?. we believe by William Shakespeare, had reference to the Henslowe and Alleyn seem to have found, that neither their permanent and substantial settlement of his family in plays nor their players could stand the competition of their Stratford, and to the purchase of a residence there consistent rivals, and they accordingly removed to a vicinity where no with the altered circumstances of that family-altered by play-house had previously existed. its increased wealth and consequence, owing to the success The Fortune theatre was commenced in Golding Lane, of our great poet both as an actor and a dramatist. Cripplegate, in the year 1599, and finished in 1600, and

The removal of the Lord Admiral's players, under thither without delay Henslowe and Alleyn transported Henslowe and Alleyn, from the Rose theatre on the Bank- their whole dramatic establishment, strengthened in the side, to the new house called the Fortune, in Golding-lane, spring of 1602 by the addition of that great and popular Cripplegate, soon after the date to which we are now comic performer, William Kempe® The association at the referring, may lead to the opinion that that company did Globe was then left in almost undisputed possession of the not find itself equal to sustain the rivalship with the Lord Bankside. There were, indeed, occasional, and perhaps not Chamberlain's servants, under Shakespeare and Burbage, at unfrequent, performances at the Rose, (although it had been the Globe. That theatre was opened, as we have adduced stipulated with the public authorities that it should be reasons to believe, in the spring of 1595: the Rose was a pulled down, if leave were given for the construction of the considerably older building, and the necessity for repairing Fortune) as well as at the Hope and the Swan, but not by it might enter into the calculation, when Henslowe and the regular associations which had previously occupied Alleyn thought of trying the experiment in a different part them; and after the Fortune was opened, the speculation of the town, and on the Middlesex side of the water. Thea- there was so profitable, that the Lord Admiral's players tres being at this date merely wooden structures, and much had no motive for returning to their old quarters4. frequented, they would soon fall into decay, especially in a The members of the two companies belonging to the marshy situation like that of the Bankside: so damp was Lord Chamberlain and to the Lord Admiral appear to have the soil in the neighbourhood, that the Globe was surrounded possessed so much influence in the summer of 1600, that by a moat to keep it dry; and, although we do not find the backed perhaps by the puritanical zeal of those who were fact any where stated, it is most likely that the Rose was unfriendly to all theatrical performances) they obtained an similarly drained. The Rose was in the first instance, and order from the privy council

, dated 22d June, that no other as far båck as the reign of Edward VI., a house of entertain- public play-houses should be permitted but the Globe in ment with that sign, and it was converted into a theatre by Surrey, and the Fortune in Middlesex. Nevertheless, the Henslowe and a grocer of the name of Cholmley about the privy council registers, where this order is inserted, also year 1584; but it seems to have early required considerable contain distinct evidence that it was not obeyed, even in reparations, and they might be again necessary prior to May 1601; for on the 10th of that month the Lords wrote especiall cawse. Yow shall frende me muche in helpeing me out of 2 We may be disposed to assign the following lines to about this all the debeits I owe in London, I thanck god, and muche quiet to my period, or a little earlier: they relate to some theatrical wager in mynde weh wolde not be indebited. I am now towards the Cowrte, which Alleyn, of the Lord Admiral's players, was, for a part not in hope yr answer for the dispatche of my Buysenes. Yow shall named, to be matched against Kempe, of the Lord Chamberlain's nether loose creddytt nor monney by me, the Lorde willinge ; & nowe servants. By the words "Will's new play,” there can be little doubt butt pswade your selfe soe as I hope & yow shall nott need to feare; that some work by Shakespeare was intended; and we know from but with all hartie thanckfullness I wyil holde my tyme & content Heywood's “ Hierarchie of the Blessed Angels," 1635, that Shakeyowr frend, & yf we Bargaine farther, yow shall be the paie mr speare was constantly familiarly called " Will." The document is your selfe. My tyme bidds me to hasten to an ende, & soe I comitt preserved at Dulwich, and it was first printed in the 6 Memoirs of thys (to] yowr care & hope of yowr helpe. I feare I shall nott be backe Edward Alleyn," p. 13. this night from the Cowrte. haste. the Lorde be wth yow & wth us

“Sweet Nedde, nowe wynne an other wager From the Bell in Carter Lane, the 25 october 1598.

For thine old frende, and fellow stager. “ Yowrs in all kyndenes,

Tarlton himselfe thou doest excell, " Ryc. QUYNEY.

And Bentley beate, and conquer Knell, "To my Loveing good frend

And now shall Kempe orecome as well. & contryman Mr Wm

The moneyes downe, the place the Hope ; Shackespe thees."

Phillippes shall hide his head and Pope.

Feare not, the victorie is thine;
The deficiency as regards the direction of the letter, lamented by
Malone, is not of so much importance, because we have proved that

Thou still as macheles Ned shall shyne.

If Roscius Richard foames and fumes, Shakespeare was resident in Southwark in 1596; and he probably

The Globe shall have but emptie roomes, was so in 1593, because the reasons which, we have supposed, induced him to take up his abode there would still be in operation, in

If thou doest act; and Willes newe playe as much force as ever.

Shall be rehearst some other daye. 1 In the garden of this house it is believed that Shakespeare planted

Consent, then, Nedde ; do us this grace :

Thou cannot faile in anie case; a mulberry tree, about the year 1609 : such is the tradition, and we

For in the triall, come what maye, are disposed to think that it is founded in truth. In 1609, King

All sides shall brave Ned Allin saye.James was anxious to introduce the mulberry (which had been imported about half a century earlier) into general cultivation, and the By “Roscius Richard " the writer of these lines, wno was the records in the State Paper Office show that in that year letters were backer of Alleyn against Kempe, could have meant nobody but written upon the subject to most of the justices of peace and deputy Richard Burbage. It will be recollected, that not very long afterlieutenants in the kingdom: the plants were sold by the State at 6s. wards Kempe became a member of the association of which Alleyn the hundred. On the 25th November, 1609, 9351. were paid out of the was the leader, and quitted that to which Shakespeare and Burbage public purse for the planting of mulberry trees near the palace of were attached.' It is possible that this wager, and Kempe's success Westminster.” The mulberry tree, said to have been planted by in it, led Alleyn and Henslowe to hold out inducements to him to Shakespeare, was in existence up to about the year 1755; and in the join them in their undertaking at the Fortune. Upon this point, spring of 1742, Garrick, Macklin, and Delane the actor (not Dr. however, we have no other evidence, than the mere fact that Kempe Delany, the friend of Swift, as Mr. Dyce, in his compendious Memoir, went over to the enemy. p. lix., states,) were entertained under it by Sir Hugh Clopton. New 3 After his return from Rome, where he was seen in the autumn Place remained in possession of Shakespeare's successors until the of 1601. Restoration ; it was then repurchased by the Clopton family : about 4 It was at the Fortune that Alleyn seems to have realized so much 1752 it was sold by the executor of Sir Hugh Clopton to a clergyman. money in the few first years of the undertaking, that he was able in of the name of Gastrell, who, on some offence taken at the authorities Nov. 1604 to purchase the manor of Kennington for £1065, and in the of the borough of Stratford on the subject of rating.the house, pulled next year the manor of Lewisham and Dulwich for £5000. These it down, and cut down the mulberry tree. According to a letter in two sums, in money of the present day, would be equal to at least the Annual Register of 1760, the wood was bought by a silversmith, £25,000; but it is to be observed that for Dulwich, Alleyn only paid who "made many odd things of it for the curious." In our time we £2000 down, while the remaining sum was left upon mortgage. In have seen as many relics, said to have been formed from this one the commencement of the seventeenth century theatrical speculations mulberry tree, as could hardly have been furnished by all the mul- generally seem to have been highly lucrative. See “The Alleyn berry trees in the county of Warwick.

Papers,” (printed by the Shakespeare Society,) p. xiv.

all. amen.

[ocr errors]

to certain magistrates of Middlesex requiring them to put a came out, on the title-page of which the name of William stop to the performance of a play at the Curtain, in which Shakespeare appeared at length. We find by Henslowe's were introduced "some gentlemen of good desert and Diary that this drama was in fact the authorship of four quality, that are yet alive," but saying nothing about the poets, Anthony Munday, Michael Drayton, Robert Wilson closing of the house, although it was open in defiance of the j and Richard Hathway; and to attribute it to Shakespeare imperative command of the preceding year. We know was evidently a mere trick by the bookseller, T[homas] also upon other testimony, that not only the Curtain, but P[avier], in the hope that it would be bought as his work. theatres on the Bankside, besides the Globe, (where per- Malone remarked upon this fraud, but he was not aware, formances were allowed) were then in occasional use. It is when he wrote, that it had been detected and corrected at fair to presume, therefore, that the order of the 22d June, the time, for since his day more than one copy of the “ First 1600, was never strictly enforced, and one of the most Part, &c. of Sir John Oldcastle” has come to light, upon remarkable circumstances of the times is, the little atten- the title-page of which no name is to be found, the book tion, as regards theatricals, that appears to have been paid seller apparently having been compelled to cancel the leaf to the absolute authority of the court. It seems exactly as containing it

. From the indifference Shakespeare seems if restrictive measures had been adopted in order to satisfy uniformly to have displayed on matters of the kind, we the importunity of particular individuals, but that there was may, possibly, conclude that the cancel was made at the no disposition on the part of persons in authority to carry instance of one of the four poets who were the real authors them into execution. Such was probably the fact; for a of the play; but we bave no means of speaking decisively year and a half after the order of the 22d June had been upon the point, and the step may have been in some way issued it was renewed, but, as far as we can learn, with just connected with the objection taken by living members of the as little effect as before.

Oldcastle family to the name, which had been assigned by Besides the second edition of “Romeo and Juliet” in Shakespeare in the first instance to Falstaff'. 1599, (which was most likely printed from a play-house manuscript, being very different from the mutilated and manufactured copy of 1597) five plays by our great dramatist found their way to the press in 1600, viz.“ Titus An

CHAPTER XIV. dronicus,” (which as we have before remarked had probably been originally published in 1594) “ The Merchant of Ve- Death of John Shakespeare in 1601. Performance of “ Twelfth nice," " A Midsummer Night's Dream?," “ Henry IV.” part Night” in February, 1602. Anecdote of Shakespeare and ii., and“ Much Ado about Nothing.” The last only was not Burbage : Manningham's Diary in the British Museum the mentioned by Meres in 1598; and as to the periods when authority for it. - Othello," acted by Burbage and others we may suppose the others to have been written, we must at the Lord Keeper's in August, 1602. Death of Elizabeth, refer the reader to our several Introductions, where we

and Arrival of James I. at Theobalds. Enguish actors in

Scotlanı in 1589, and again in 1599, 1600, and 1601 : large have given the existing information upon the subject." The rewards to them. The freedom of Aberdeen conferred in Chronicle History of Henry V.” also came out in the same

1601 upon Laurence Fletcher, the leader of the English year, but without the name of Shakespeare upon the title

company in Scotland. Probability that Shakespeare never page, and it is, if possible, a more imperfect and garbled

was in Scotland. representation of the play, as it proceeded from the author's pen, than the “ Romeo and Juliet” of 1597. Whether any The father of our great poet died in the autumn of 1601, of the managers of theatres at this date might not some- and he was buried at Stratford-upon-Avoué. He seems to times be concerned in selling impressions of dramas, we have left no will, and if he possessed any property, in land have no sufficient means of deciding; but we do not believe or houses, not made over to his family, we know not how it it, and we are satisfied that dramatic authors in general was divided. Of the eight children which his wife, Mary were content with disposing of their plays to the several Arden, had brought him, the following were then alive, and companies, and looked for no emolument to be derived might be present at the funeral :--William, Gilbert, Joan, from publication? We are not without something like Richard, and Edmund. The latter years of. John Shakeproof that actors now and then sold their parts in plays to speare (who, if born in 1530' as Malone supposed, was in booksellers, and thus, by the combination of them and other his seventy-first year) were doubtless easy and comfortable, assistance, editions of popular plays were surreptitiously and the prosperity of his eldest son must have placed him printed.

beyond the reach of pecuniary difficulties. We ought not to pass over without notice a circumstance Early in the spring of 1602, we meet with one of those which happened in 1600, and is connected with the question rare facts which distinctly show how uncertain all conjecof the authorized or unauthorized publication of Shake- ture must be respecting the date when Shakespeare's dramas speare's plays. In that year a quarto impression of a play, were originally written and produced. Malone and Tyrcalled “ The first part of the true and honourable History whitt, in 1790, conjectured that “ Twelfth Night” had been of the Life of Sir John Oldcastle, the good Lord Cobham," written in 1614: iņ his second edition Malone altered it to

1 See "Hist. Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage," Vol.i. p. 316,

For though he heer inclosed bee in plaister, where the particulars, which are here necessarily briefly and summa

When he was free he was this townes school-master. rily dismissed, are given in detail.

This Well you see, is not that Arethusa, 2 The clothing of Snug the joiner in a " lion's fell” in this play,

The Nymph of Sicile : Noe, men may carous a Act v. sc. 1, seems to have suggested the humorous speech to King

Health of the plump Lyæus, noblest grapes, James at Linlithgow, on 30th June 1617, eight lines of which only

From these faire conduits, and turne drunk like apes. are given in Nichols's “ Progresses of that monarch, Vol. iii. p. 326.

This second spring I keep, as did that dragon The whole address, of twenty-two lines, exists in the State Paper

Hesperian apples. And nowe, sir, a plague on office, where it was discovered by Mr. Lemon. It seems to have been

This your poore towne, if to 't you bee not welcome! the original MS. which was placed at the time in the hands of the

But whoe can doubt of this, when, loe ! a Well come king, and as it is a curiosity, we su bjoin it.

Is nowe unto the gate? I would say more, “A moveing engine, representing a fountaine, and running wine,

But words now failing, dare not, least I roare. came to the gate of the towne, in the midst of which was a lyon, The eight lines in Nichols's “Progresses of James I." are from and in the lyon a man, who delivered this learned speech to his Drummond's Poem, and there can be little doubt that the whole majestie.

speech was from his pen. "Most royall sir, heere I doe you beseech,

3 It was a charge against Robert Greene, that, driven by the presWho are a lyon, to hear a lyon's speech;

sure of necessity, he had on one occasion raised money by making A miracle ; for since the dayes of Esop,

à double sale of his play called " Orlando Furioso," 1594, first to Till ours, noe lyon yet his voice did hois-up

the players and afterwards to the press. Such may have been the To such a Majestie. Then, King of Men,

fact, but it was unquestionably an exception to the ordinary rule. The king of beasts speaks to thee from his denn,

4 See the Introduction to “Henry IV.” Part I. A fountaine nowe. That lyon, which was ledd

5. On the 8th September, as we find by the subsequent entry in the By Androdus through Rome had not a head

parish register :More rationall then this, bredd in this nation,

“1601. Septembr. 8. Mr. Johanes Shakspeare." Whoe in thy presence warbleth this oration.

[ocr errors]

1607, and Chalmers, weighing the evidence in favour of players brought down to the Lord Keeper's seat in Hertone date and of the other, thought neither correct, and fixed fordshire

, for the purpose) was represented before her. In upon 1613', an opinion in which Dr. Drake fully concurred?. this case, as in the preceding one respecting “ Twelfth The truth is, that we have irrefragable evidence, from an Night,” all that we positively learn is that such drama was eye-witness, of its existence on 2nd February, 1602, when performed, and we are left to infer that it was a new play it was played at the Reader's Feast in the Middle Temple. from other circumstances, as well as from the fact that it This eye-witness was a barrister of the name of Manning- was customary on such festivities to exhibit some drama ham, who left a Diary behind him, which has been pre- that, as a novelty, was then attracting public attention. served in the British Museum ; but as we have inserted his Hence we are led to believe, that “Twelfth Night" (not account of the plot in our introduction to the comedy, (Vol. printed until it formed part of the folio of 1623) was writii. p. 317) no more is required here, than a mere mention ten at the end of 1600, or in the beginning of 1601; and manuscript*, he gives an anecdote of Shakespeare and Bur- author's pen about a year afterwards.

la 'cumstance. bage, which we quote, without farther remark than that it In the memorandum ascertaining the performance of has been supposed to depend upon the authority of Nicho-" Othello” at Harefield, the company by which it was relas Tooley", but on looking at the original record again, we presented is called “ Burbages Players,” that designation doubt whether it came from any such source. À “Mr. arising out of the fact, that he was looked upon as the Towse” is repeatedly introduced as a person from whom leader of the association : he was certainly its most celeManningham derived information, and that name, though brated actor, and we find from other sources that he was blotted, seems to be placed at the end of the paragraph, the representative of “the Moor of Venice?” Whether certainly without the addition of any Christian name. This Shakespeare had any and what part in the tragedy, either circumstance may make some difference as regards the au- then or upon other occasions, is not known; but we do not thenticity of the story, because we know not who Mr. think any argument, one way or the other, is to be drawn Towse might be, while we are sure that Nicholas Tooley from the fact that the company, when at Harefield, does was a fellow-actor in the same company as both the indi- not seem to have been under his immediate government. viduals to whom the story relates. At the same time it Whether he was or was not one of the “players” in was, very possibly, a mere invention of the “ roguish play- “ Othello," in August 1602, there can be little doubt that as ers," originating, as was often the case, in some older joke, an actor, and moreover as one “excellent in his quality,” he and applied to Shakespeare and Burbage, because their must have been often seen and applauded by Elizabeth. Christian names happened to be William and Richard. Chettle informs us after her death, in a passage already

Elizabeth, from the commencement of her reighi, seems quoted, that she had “opened her royal ear to his lays;" to have extended her personal patronage, as well as her but this was obviously in his capacity of dramatist, and we public countenance, to the drama; and scarcely a Christmas have no direct evidence to establish that Shakespeare had or a Shrovetide can be pointed out during the forty-five ever performed at Courts. years she occupied the throne, when there were not dra- James I. reached Theobalds, in his journey from Edinmatic entertainments, either at Whitehall, Greenwich, None- burgh to London, on the 7th May, 1603. Before he quitted such, Richmond, or Windsor. The latest visit she paid to his own capital he had had various opportunities of witany of her nobility in the country was to the Lord Keeper, nessing the performances of English actors; and it is an inSir Thomas Egerton, at Harefield, only nine or ten months teresting, but at the same time a difficult question, whether before her death, and it was upon this occasion, in the very Shakespeare had ever appeared before him, or, in other beginning of August, 1602, that “Othelloe” (having been words, whether our great dramatist had ever visited Scotgot up für her amusement, and the Lord Chamberlain's land? We have certainly no affirmative testimony upon

1 Supplemental Apology, &c. p. 467.

Harry shall not be seen as King or Prince, 2 Shakspeare and his Times, vol. ii. p. 262.

They died with thee, dear Dick,3 MS. Harl. No. 5353.

Not to revive again. Jeronimo 4 Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage, vol. i. p. 331. The

Shall cease to mourn his son Horatio. Christian name is wanting in the Harl. MS.

They cannot call thee from thy naked bed 5 See “Hist. Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage," vol. i. p. 331.

By horrid outcry; and Antonio's dead. The writer of that work thus introduces the anecdote :-“If in the

Edward shall lack a representative; course of my inquiries, I have been unlucky enough (I may perhaps

And Crookback, as befits, shall cease to live. say) to find anything which represents our great dramatist in a less

Tyrant Macbeth, with unwash'd bloody hand, favourable light, as a human being with human infirmities, I may

We vainly now may hope to understand. lament it, but I do not therefore feel myself at liberty to conceal and

Brutus and Marcius henceforth must be dumb, suppress the fact " The anecdote is this.

For ne'er thy like upon our stage shall come, "Upon a tyme when Burbage played Rich. 3, there was a citizen

To charm the faculty of ears and eyes, grew so farre in liking with him, that before shee went from the

Unless we could command the dead to rise. play, shee appointed him to come that night unto her, by the name

Vindex is gone, and what a loss was he! of Rich. the 3. Shakespeare, overhearing their conclusion, went be

Frankford, Brachiano, and Malevole. fore, was entertained, and at his game ere Burbage came. Then,

Heart-broke Philaster, and Amintas too, message being brought, that Rich. the 3. was at the dore, Shake

Are lost for ever, with the red-hair'd Jew, speare caused returne to be made, that William the Conqueror was

Which sought the bankrupt Merchant's pound of flesh, before Rich. the 3. Shakespeare's name Willm."

By woman-lawyer caught in his own mesh. * * * This story may be a piece of scandal, but there is no doubt that

And his whole action he would change with ease Burbage was the original Richard III. As to the custom of ladies.

From ancient Lear to youthful Pericles. inviting players home to supper, see Middleton's

Mad World, my

But let me not forget one chiefest part Masters,' Act. v. sc. 2, in “Dodsley's Old Plays," last edit. The

Wherein, beyond the rest, he mov'd the heart; players, in turn, sometimes invited the ladies, as we Field's

The grieved Moor, made jealous by a slave, Amends for Ladies,” Act iii. sc. 4, in the supplementary volume to

Who sent his wife to fill a timeless grave, “ Dodsley's Old Plays," published in 1829.

Then slew himself upon the bloody bed. 6 See the "Introduction " to " Othello." Othello." Also " The Egerton Pa

All these, and many more, with him are dead," &c. pers," printed by the Camden Society, 1840, p. 343.

The MS. from which the above lines are copied seems, at least in one ? In a former note we have inserted the names of some of the place, defective, but it might be cured by the addition of the words, principal characters, in plays of the time, sustained by Burbage, as i and not long since"! they are given in the Epitaph upon his death, in 1619.' Our readers

8 A ballad was published on the death of Elizabeth, in the commay like to see the manner in which these characters are spoken of mencement of which Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Thomas Greene," by the contemporaneous versifier. The production opens with this author of " A Poet's Vision and a Prince's Glorie,” 4to, 1603, were couplet:

called upon to contribute some verses in honour of the late Queen: "Some skilful limner help me, if not so, Some sad tragedian to express my woe;'

“ You poets all, brave Shakespeare, Johnson, Greene,

Bestow your time to write for England's Queene,”' &c. which certainly does not promise much in the way of excellence; Excepting for this notice of “brave Shakespeare," the production but the enumeration of parts is all that is valuable, and it is this :

is utterly contemptible, and must have been the work of some of the “No more young Hamlet, though but scant of breath, “goblins and underelves ” of poetry, who, according to a poem in H. Shall cry, Revenge! for his dear father's death :

Chettle's "England's Mourning Garment,” had put forth upon the Poor Romeo never more shall tears beget

occasion "rude rhimes, and metres reasonless." For Juliet's love, and cruel Capulet :


the point, beyond what may be derived from some passages leader of the association which performed in Edinburgh and in "Macbeth,” descriptive of particular localities

, with elsewhere, because it appears from the registers of the town which passages our readers must be familiar: there is, council of Aberdeen, that on the 9th October, 1601, the however, ample room for conjecture; and although, on the English players received 32 marks as a gratuity, and that whole, we are inclined to think that he was never north of on 22d October the freedom of the city was conferred upon the Tweed, it is indisputable that the company to which he Laurence Fletcher, who is especially styled“ comedian to belonged, or a part of it, had performed in Edinburgh and his Majesty.". The company had arrived in Aberdeen, and Aberdeen, and doubtless in some intermediate places. We had been received by the public authorities, under the sancwill briefly state the existing proofs of this fact.

tion of a special letter from James VI.; and, although they The year 1599 has been commonly supposed the earliest were in fact the players of the Queen of England, they date at which an association of English actors was in Scot- might on this account be deemed and treated as the players land; but it can be shown beyond contradiction that'" her of the King of Scotland. Majesty's players,” meaning those of Queen Elizabeth, were Our chief reason for thinking it unlikely that Shakespeare in Edinburgh ten years earlier? In 1589, Ashby, the am- would have accompanied his fellows to Scotland, at all bassador extraordinary from England to James VI. of events between October, 1599, and December, 1601, is that, Scotland, thus writes to Lord Burghley, under date of the as the principal writer for the company to which he was 220 October :

attached, he could not well have been spared, and because "My Lord Bothw[ell] begins to shew himself willing and we have good ground for believing that about that period ready to do her Majesty'any service, and desires hereafter to he must have been unusually busy in the composition of be thought of as he shall deserve: he sheweth great kindness plays. No fewer than five dramas seem, as far as evidence, to our nation, using her Majesties Players and Canoniers with positive or conjectural, can be obtained, to belong to the all courtesie?"

interval between 1598 and 1602; and the proof appears to In 1589, the date of Ashby's dispatch, Shakespeare had and “Hamlet,” were written respectively in 1599, 1600, and

us tolerably conclusive, that “ Henry V.," "Twelfth Night," quitted Stratford about three years, and the question is

, 1601. Besides

, as far as we are able to decide such a point, what company was intended to be designated as “her Ma

to which our great dramatist belonged conjesty's players. ”

company It is an admitted fact, that in 1583 the Queen selected twelve leading performers from the theat- under Laurence Fletcher may have been sent to Scotland,

; rical servants of some of her nobility, and they were after- the main body of the association called the Lord Chamberwards called "her Majesty's players;" and we also now lain's players exhibited at court at the usual seasons in know, that in 1590 the Queen had two companies acting 1599, 1600, and 16016. Therefore, if Shakespeare visited likely that one of these associations had been sent to the Scotland at all

, we 'think it must have been at an earlier Scottish capital for the amusement of the young king, and period, and there was undoubtedly ample time between the

done so. Neverthethe company formed in 1583 may have been divided into years 1589 and 1599 for him to ha two bodies for this express purpose. Sir John Sinclair, in less

, we have no tidings that any English actors were in any his “Statistical Account of Scotland,” established that a

part of Scotland during those ten years. body of comedians was in Perth in June, 1589; and although we are without evidence that they were English players, we may fairly enough assume that they were the same company spoken of by Ashby, as having been used courteously by Lord Bothwell in the October following. We have no means of ascertaining the names of any of the Proclamation by James I. against plays on Sunday. Renewal players, nor indeed, excepting the leaders Laneham and of theatrical performances in London. Patent of May 17th, Dutton, can we state who were the members of the Queen's

1603, to Laurence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, two companies in 1590. Shakespeare might be one of

others. Royal patronage of three companies of actors. them; but if he were, he might not belong to that division

Shakespeare's additional purchases in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare in London in the autumn of 1603: and a canof the company which was dispatched to Scotland.

didate for the office of Master of the Queen's Revels. ChaIt is not at all improbable that English actors, having racters Shakespeare is known to have perforined. His found their way north of the Tweed in 1589, would speedily retirement from the stage, as an actor, after April 9th, 1604. repeat their visit; but the next we hear of them is, not until after a long interval, in the autumn of 1599. The public Before he even set foot in London, James I. thought it nerecords of Scotland show that in October, 1599, (exactly the cessary to put a stop to dramatic performances on Sunday. same season as that in which, ten years earlier, they are This fact has never been mentioned, because the proclamaspoken of by Ashby) 431. 6s. 8d. were delivered toʻ“his tion he issued at Theobalds on 7th May, containing the paraHighness' self,” to be given to “the English comedians :" in graph for this purpose, has only recently come to light. the next month they were paid 411. 12s. at various times. There had been a long pending struggle between the In December they received no less than 3331. 6s. 8d.; in Puritans and the players upon this point, and each party April, 1600, 101.; and in December, 1601, the royal bounty seemed by turns to gain the victory; for various orders amounted to 40014

were, from time to time, issued from authority, forbidding Thus we see, that English players were in Scotland from exhibitions of the kind on the Sabbath, and those orders had October, 1599, to December, 1601, a period of more than been uniformly more or less contravened. We may suptwo years; but still we are without a particle of proof that pose, that strong remonstrances having been made to the Shakespeare was one of the association. We cannot, how- King by some of those who attended him from Scotland, a ever, entertain a doubt that Laurence Fletcher, (whose clause with this special object was appended to a proclamaname, we shall see presently, stands first in the patent tion directed against monopolies and legal extortions. The granted by King James on his arrival in London) was the mere circumstance of the company in which this paragraph,



1 Between September, 1589, and September, 1590, Queen Eliza- 4 For these particulars of payments, and some other points conbeth had sent, as a present to the young King of Scotland on his nected with them, we are indebted to Mr. Laing, of Edinburgh, who marriage, a splendid mask, with all the necessary appurtenances, has made extensive and valuable collections for a history of the Stage and we find it charged for in the accounts of the department of the in Scotland. revels for that period. See “Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the 5 The accounts of the revels department at this period are not so Stage," vol. i. p. 270. It is most likely that the actors from London complete as usual, and in Mr. P. Cunningham's book we find no deaccompanied this gist.

tails of any kind between 1587 and 1604. The interval was a period 2 From MS. Harl. 4647, being copies of despatches from Mr. Ashby of the greatest possible interest, as regards the performance of the proto different members of the Council in London. We are indebted to ductions of Shakespeare, and 'we earnestly hope that the missing Mr. N. Hill for directing our attention to this curious notice.

accounts may yet be recovered. 3 See Mr. P. Cunningham's “Extracts from the Revels' Accounts," (printed for the Shakespeare Society,) p. xxxii.

against dramatic performances on Sunday, is found, seems have been omitted in the patent, as an established actor, to prove that it was an after-thought, and that it was in- and a man of some property and influence; but he, as well serted, because his courtiers had urged that James ought as Kempe, not long subsequently rejoined the association not even to enter his new capital, until public steps had with which they had been so long connected. been taken to put an end to the profanation?

We may assume, perhaps, in the absence of any direct The King, having issued this command, arrived at the testimony, that Laurence Fletcher did not acquire his promCharter-house on the same day, and all the theatrical com- inence in the company by any remarkable excellence as an panies, which had temporarily suspended their performances, actor. He had been in Scotland, and had performed with began to act again on the 9th Maya Permission to this his associates before James in 1599, 1600, and 1601, and in effect was given by James I., and communicated through the latter year he had been registered as “his Majesty's the ordinary channel to the players, who soon found reason Comedian” at Aberdeen. He might, therefore, have been a to rejoice in the accession of the new sovereign; for ten favourite with the King, and being also a considerable sharer days after he reached London he took the Lord Chamber- in the association, he perhaps owed his place in the patent lain's players into his pay and patronage, calling them “the of May, 1603, to that circumstance4. The name of ShakeKing's servants," a title they always afterwards enjoyed. speare comes next, and as author, actor, and sharer, we For this purpose he issued a warrant, under the privy seal, cannot be surprised at the situation he occupies. His profor making out a patent under the great seal, authorizing gress upward, in connexion with the profession, had been the nine following actors, and others, to perform in his name, gradual and uniform : in 1589 he was twelfth in a company not only at the Globe on the Bankside, but in any part of of sixteen members: in 1596 he was fifth in a company of the kingdom; viz. Laurence Fletcher, William Shakespeare, eight members; and in 1603 he was second in a company Richard Burbage, Augustine Phillippes, John Heminge, of nine members. Henry Condell, William Sly, Robert Armyn, and Richard The degree of encouragement and favour extended to acCowley.

tors by James I. in the very commencement of his reign is We miss from this list the names of Thomas Pope, Wil- remarkable. Not only did he take the Lord Chamberlain's liam Kempe, and Nicholas Tooley, who had belonged to the players unto his own service, but the Queen adopted the company in 1596; and instead of them we have Laurence company which had acted under the name of the Earl of Fletcher, Henry Condell, and Robert Armyn, with the ad- Worcester, of which the celebrated dramatist, Thomas Heydition of Richard Cowley. Pope had been an actor in 1589, wood, was then one; and the Prince of Wales that of the and perhaps in May, 1603, was an old man, for he died in Lord Admiral, at the head of which was Edward Alleyn, the February following. Kempe had joined the Lord Ad- the founder of Dulwich College. These three royal assomiral's players soon after the opening of the Fortune, on his ciations, as they may be termed, were independent of others return from the Continent, for we find him in Henslowe's under the patronage of individual noblemen. pay in 1602. Nicholas Tooley had also perhaps withdrawn The policy of this course at such a time is evident, and from the association at this date, or his name would hardly James I. seems to have been impressed with the truth of


1 The paragraph is in these terms, and we quote them because they | The patent under the great seal, made out in consequence of this have not been noticed by any historian of our stage.

warrant, bears date two days afterwards. 5 And for that we are informed, that there hath been heretofore 4 Nothing seems to be known of the birth or origin of Laurence great neglect in this kingdome of keeping the Sabbath day; for the Fletcher, (who died in September, 1608,) but we may suspect that he better observing of the same and avoyding all impious prophanation, was an elder brother of John Fletcher, the dramatist. Bishop Fletcher, We do straightly charge and commaund that no Beare-bayting, Bul- the father, died on 15 June, 1596, having made his will in October, bayting, Enterludes, common Playes, or other like disordered or un- 1594, before he was translated from Worcester to London. This doclawful exercises, or pastimes, be frequented, kept, or used at any time ument seems never to have been examined, but it appears from it, as hereafter upon the Sabbath day.

Mr. P. Cunningham informs us, that he had no fewer than nine Given at our Court at Theobalds, the 7 day of May, in the children, although he only mentions his sons Nathaniel and John by first yeare of our Reigne."

He died poor, and among the Lansdowne MSS. is one, enti2 This fact we have upon the authority of Henslowe's Diary. See tled "Reasons to move her Majesty to some commiseration towards the Hist. Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage, vol. i. p. 346. .

the orphans of the late Bishop of London, Dr. Fletcher:" this is 3 It runs verbatim et literatim thus:--

printed in Birch's "Memoirs." "He incurred the lasting displeasure

of Queen Elizabeth by marrying, for his second wife, Lady Baker BY THE KING.

of Kent, a woman of more than questionable character, if we may Right trusty and welbeloved Counsellor, we greete you well, and believe general report, and a satirical poem

of the time, handed down will and commaund you, that under our privie Seale in your custody only in manuscript, which begins thus :-for the time being, you cause our letters to be derected to the keeper

“The pride of prelacy, which now long since of our greate seale of England, commaunding him under our said

Was banish'd with the Pope, is sayd of late greate Seale, he cause our letters to be made patents in forme follow

To have arriv'd at Bristowe, and from thence ing. James, by the grace of God, King of England, Scotland, Fraunce, ana Irland, defendor of the faith, &c. To all Justices, Maiors, Sheriff's, It afterwards goes on thus :

By Worcester into London brought his state." Constables, Head boroughes, and other our officers and loving subjects greeting. Know ye, that we of our speciall grace, certaine know

- The Romaine Tarquin, in his folly blind, ledge, and meere motion have licenced and authorized, and by these

Of faire chaste Lucrece did a Lais make; presentes doe licence and authorize, these our servants, Lawrence

But owr proud Tarquin

beares a braver mind, Fletcher, William Shakespeare, Richard Burbage, Augustine Phil

And of a Lais doth a Lucrece make." lippes, John Hemmings, Henrie Condell, William Sly, Robert Armyn, We cannot venture to quote the coarse epithets liberally bestowed Richard Cowlye, and the rest of their associats, freely to use & exer- upon Lady Baker, but the poem ends with these lines :cise the arte and faculty of playing Comedies, Tragedies. Histories,

“But yet, if any will the reason find, Enterludes, Moralls, Pastoralls, Stage plaies, and such other like, as

Why he that look'd as lofty as a steeple, that thei have already studied or hereafter shall use or studie, aswell

Should be so base as for to come behind, for the recreation of our loving subjects, as for our solace and plea

And take the leavings of the common people, sure, when we shall thinke good to see them, during our pleasure.

'Tis playne; for in processions, you know, And the said Comedies, Tragedies, Histories, Enterludes, Moralls,

The priest must after all the people goe." Pastoralls, Stage plaies, and such like, to shew & exercise publiquely to their best commoditie, when the infection of the plague shall de- We ought to have mentioned that the poem is headed " Bishop crease, as well within theire now usuall howse called the Globe, Fletcher and my Lady Baker.” The Bishop had buried his first within our county of Surrey, as also within anie towne halls, or mout wife, Elizabeth, at Chelsea Church in December, 1592. Nathaniel halls, or other convenient places within the liberties & freedome of Fletcher, mentioned above as included with his brother John in his any other citie, universitie, towne, or borough whatsoever within our father's will, is spoken of on a preceding page as "servant" to Mrs. said realmes and dominions. Willing and commaunding you, and White; but who Mrs. White might be, or what was the precise

of you, as you tender our pleasure, not only to permit and suffer nature of “Nat. Fletcher's " servitude, we have no information. them heerin, without any your letts, hinderances, or molestations, 5 However, an Act of Parliament was very soon passed (1 Jac. I. c. during our said pleasure, but also to be ayding or assisting to them, 7,) to expose strolling actors, although protected by the authority of yf any wrong, be to them offered. And to allowe them such former a peer, to the penalties of 39 Eliz. c. 4. It seems to have been found courtesies, as hathe bene given to men of their place and qualitie : that the evil had increased to an excess which required this degree and also what further favour you shall shew to these our servants for of correction; and Sir Edward Coke in his Charge to the Grand Jury our sake, we shall take kindly at your hands. And these our letters at Norwich in 1607, (when at was printed) observes, "The abuse of shall be your sufficient warrant and discharge in this behalfe. Given stage-players, where with I find the country much troubled, may under our Signet at our mannor of Greenewiche, the seaventeenth easily be reformed, they having no commission to play in any place day of May in the first yere of our raigne of England, France, and without leave; and therefore by your willingness if they be not enIreland, & of Scotland the six & thirtieth.


tertained, you may soon be rid of them."




« ÖncekiDevam »