Imágenes de páginas


[ocr errors]

the upper end of the tilting yard When the masque was ended, we all kissed the K and Queenes • hand, and then were conducted by my Lord Cham• berlain and other Lords to a rich banquet, whether • the K and Q came, and took a taste, and then graciously smiling upon us, left us to the sole enjoying

of that well furnisht table, with strict command that not any should touch a bitt but ourselves. The next day the K sent for our Marshall, Mr. Thomas

Dorrell of Lincolns Inn, and Knighted him. And being much pleased and taken with the sight hath sent to us to ride againe on Tuesday next to Merchant Taylers Hall, in the same manner as we rode to White-hall, and there to meete his Ma'y at supper, and to present our Masque. Sir Henry Vayne, and • other great Travellers say they never saw such a • sight in any part of the world.'

Whitelocke informs us, that the Four Inns of Court wished, by the exbibition of this mask, “to

manifest the difference of their opinion from Mr. Prynne's new learning, and to confute his Histriomastix against interludes ;' and it is most probable, that the extraordinary encouragement given by the Court about this period to theatrical representations grew out of the same disposition. We farther read in Sir H. Herbert's Register that Shirley's Gamester, which he had licensed on the 11th Nov. 1633, was acted at Court on the 6th Feb. 1633-4: he subjoins, that the King, through him, had furnished the poet with the plot, and that his Majesty said, that ' it was the best play he had seen for seven years.'

[ocr errors]

The splendour of the Mask of The Triumph of Peace, in the opinion of the Master of the Revels, was exceeded by a similar performance on Shrove-Tuesday, 18th Feb. 1633-4, in which the King danced with eleven Lords, attended by ten pages. He adds, and it is the only known source of information upon the subject,-it was the noblest mask of my time to this day, the best poetry, best scenes, and the best habits. The King and Queen were very well pleased with my service, and the Queen was pleased to tell me, before the King, “ Pour les habits, elle n'avoit rien vue de si brave.

As Sir H. Herbert furnishes very little intelligence respecting plays performed either at Court, or at the public theatres in 1634 *, we must resort to such other,

* He mentions only that Chapman's Bussy d'Ambois was performed on Easter Monday, and the Pastorall' on Easter Tuesday, by the King's players.

The last player of note, in the part of Bussy d'Amboys, seems to have been Elliard Swanston, whose name has often occurred among the King's players in 1625. Edmund Gayton, in his ' Festivous Notes on Don Quixote,' 1654, thus speaks of him and Taylor:– He was

instantly metamorphosed into the stateliest, gravest, and commanding • soul that eye ever beheld : Taylor acting Arbaces, or Swanston D’Amboys, were shadows to him.'

Swanston afterwards became a puritan, or at least was one of the very few players who joined the party opposed to the King. This fact appears from a tract printed in 1648, entitled, ' A Key to the Cabinet of the Parliament, by their Remembrancer:' after alluding to the suppression of all holidays,' the writer asks, 'what need is there of any

playes ? Will not these serve well enough, especially when they have gotten Hillyar Swansted, the player, to be one ?' He mistakes the spelling of both Elliard Swanston's names, but no doubt the same in. dividual is intended.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

though scanty, sources of information, as are within our power : the MS. of the diary and account-book of Sir Humphrey Mildmay in a degree supplies the deficiency. Here we find mention of Davenant's Wits, and of his Love and Honour *; a new play,' which Mildmay names Lasander and Calista, óbeing a poem ;' Lodowick Carlell's Spartan Ladies, and the play of Pastorell. The only theatres he mentions are the Blackfriars and the Cockpit.-The items are subjoined in a note t.

The MS. Register of the Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery proves incontestibly, notwithstanding the silence of Sir H. Herbert, that no less than twentytwo plays were acted before the King by his own company, in the year preceding April, 1634, including of course those usually represented at Christmas


[ocr errors]


* It was performed on the 12th Dec. 1634; an earlier date than has yet been assigned to it. The following is the memorandum in the Diary; for neither that, nor Lasander and Calista, are named in the account of expenses: '12 Dec. 1634. To a play of Love and Honour.' + They apply to a whole year, beginning with

£. s. d. 21 Jan. 1633.4. To a playe at Bla. fryers

0 1 6 To a play at the fryers, the Witts 0 1 0 27

To a play with Com. Panheard 0 3 0

For a booke, and the playe of Pastorell 0 2 0 19 Feb. For the Masque of his Ma.

0 0 6 20 March To a base play at the Cockepitt 0 1 6 1 May, 1634, To a new play called the Spartan Lady 0 1 3 8

To a play with Dom. Ch. Abdy. 0 1 0 21 To a playe with company

0 6 0 12 Dec. To a play with the 2 Southlandes 0 4 6

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]


and Shrovetide. For these 2201., or at the rate of 101. per play, were paid to the then leaders of the King's players—John Lowen, Joseph Taylor, and Elliard Swanston *

The only extract made by Malone from Sir H. Herbert's Register, relating to plays in 1634, is a notice, that on the 13th May of that year, the Queen was at Blackfriars to see Massinger's play.' Malone adds, that the piece she then saw, was the tragedy of Cleander, and, that it was ' produced on the 7th of the same month, but in fact it was licensed on that day: it does not at all follow that it was brought out on the very day it was allowed by the Master of the Revels, although it might sometimes so happen. Sir H. Herbert does not mention this visit of the Queen to the Blackfriars playhouse as an extraordinary or novel occurrence.

* The item is quoted in the following form by Chalmers, Apol. p. 507 :627 April, 1634-A warrant for 2201. unto John Lowen, Joseph Tay

lor, and Elliard Swanston, for themselves and the rest of their fellows, the King's players, for 22 plays by them acted before his Majesty within a whole year.'






[ocr errors]


On the 10th Jan. 1634-5, a Privy Seal was issued to Edmund Taverner, Esq., to enable him to A. D. receive a larger sum than we have yet seen

1634-5. paid at once on account of any Mask at court : it was for 14001. - towards the charge of a mask, to be pre

sented before his Majesty at Whitehall at Shrovetide next *.' Sir H. Herbert says nothing of this performance ; his MS. (as far as Malone has quoted it +) for the year beginning Jan. 1st, 1634-5, being occupied chiefly with an account of the establishment of a company of French players in London 1.

* Chalmers, who obtained his knowledge of this fact from the MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's office, and not from the original Privy Seal, which is extant among the records in the Chapter-house (see Apology, 508), states that this was the Mask of which Sir H. Herbert records the acting as the noblest of his time-the best poetry, best scenes, and the best habits. This is a mistake—Sir H. Herbert, as has been shown, is speaking of the Mask of Shrovetide, 1633-4, and not of Shrovetide, 1634-5.

† Shakespeare by Boswell, iii. 120.

I Under the date of 16th Feb. 1634-5, he notices, that he had committed a man of the name of Cromes, a broker in Long-lane, for lending to the players of Salisbury-court theatre an old church robę with Jesus upon it. He was released on the next day. Malone's Shakespeare by Boswell, iii. 237, Vol. II.


« AnteriorContinuar »