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gress *, when he and the Queen visited Oxford, and there saw Cartwright's play of The Royal Slave presented by the students of Christchurch : this performance took place on the 30th of August, 1636, and gave the highest satisfaction.
Thomas Heywood was the author of a Mask presented at rather an unusual season this year: on what day it was first performed is not stated, but it was repeated three times within eight days (as is stated on the title-page), and for the second time on the King's birth-day, 19th of November, 1636, when he was entertained by the Queen at Denmark-house. It was called Love's Mistress, and was so much liked, and excited such public attention, that it was subsequently represented by the Queen's comedians at the Cockpit in Drury Lane.
The restraint of players in consequence of the plague was not taken off until the 23rd of February 1636-7: the King, however, kept his Christmas at Hampton Court, and summoned his own players, and others, to attend his service. The King's company was, therefore, obliged, early in December, to return to the vicinity of London, without the liberty of exercising their quality, and consequently without the means of maintaining themselves. This circumstance was taken into consideration by the King, and on the 10th of December, 1636, a Privy Seal was issued, authorising the payment from the Exchequer to Lowen and Taylor
* Malone's Shakespeare by Boswell, iii. 166.
of an allowance of 201. a-week, in behalf of their associates *.
This brings us to the dramatic performances at Hampton Court during Christmas, 1636-7, A. D. the most remarkable of which was the repeti- 1637. tion, on the 12th of January, of Cartwright's Royal Slave, which the King and Queen had seen in the summer at Oxford, when it was represented by the students of Christ Church. It appears by the printed copy of the play, that when it was repeated at Hampton Court, it was acted by the King's servants ; and there can be little doubt that the court was well pleased with their exertions, because they obtained an extraordinary reward of 301. in consideration, partly,
* The following is a copy of this document from the original in the Chapter-house, Westminster :
BY THE KING, Right trustie and welbeloved Cousin, &c. To the Treasurer and Under Treasurer of our Exchequer, &c. Whereas we have commanded our Servants, the Players, to assemble their company and
keepe themselves together neere our Court for our service, and are 'gratiously pleased to give them an allowance of Twenty Pounds by
the weeke, our will and pleasure is, and we do hereby will and com, ' maund you to pay, or cause to be payd, unto John Lowen and Joseph * Taylor or their assignes, in the behalf of their company, the some of
Twenty Pounds by the weeke, the same to commence from the first day of November last past, and to contynue during our pleasure, to be taken unto them as of our princely bountie, without accompt, im. prest or other charge to be sett upon them for the same or any parte "thereof. And these our letters '&c. Given under our Signet, at our · Honor of Hampton Court, the Tenth day of December in the Twelveth yeare of our Raigne.
of its being a new play, which they had to learn for the occasion*. In the whole they received 240l. for their exertions at this season, when they performed twentytwo pieces f. Sir H. Herbert states, that the King
t gave Cartwright 401. as his reward, so that he attended at Hampton Court, on the 12th of January, to take care that his Royal Slave was properly got up, and understood by the King's players.
Besides the royal theatrical servants, a company performed, whom Sir H. Herbert calls · Beeston's boyes,' an expression which he afterwards explains by adding (though Malone has not given the precise date of the entry in the MS.) that Mr. Beeston was commanded
to make a company of boys, and began to play at • the Cockpit with them the same day. These were, doubtless, the juvenile performers who exhibited before the King and Queen at Hampton Court, at Christmas, 1636-7, and who, in the MS. office book in the department of the Lord Chamberlain, are called, on the 10th of May, 1637, the New Company I.'
* The Biographia. Dramatica states (vide Royal Slave) that the Queen was mainly instrumental in the repetition of the play at Hampton Court. This may be true; but it is not true (as it adds) that it was performed by her own servants,' and that the comparison was in favour of the students of Oxford. It was performed by the King's players, and if it did not please as well at Hampton Court, as it had done at Oxford, it was probably because the zest of novelty was lost.
f.15 March, 1636-7. A warrant for 2401. unto his Majesty's players-viz. 2101. for twenty-one plays acted by them, at 101. a play: and 301. more for a new play called The Royal Slave.?
• 10th May 1637. A warrant for the payment of 1501. unto Mr.
We are to understand, therefore, that at this date Christopher Beeston separated himself from the Queen's players, at whose head he had been for some years, in order to undertake the charge and instruction of an independent company of juvenile performers, hereafter called the King's and Queen's young company. A person of the name of Henry Turner became the leader of the Queen's players, on the resignation of Beeston.
The pieces mentioned by Sir Henry Herbert as having been performed at Christmas and Shrovetide, 1636-7, were the following :
The first part of Arviragus, on the 26th Dec.
A Wife for a Month, by the King's players, on the 9th Feb.
Wit without Money, by Beeston's boys, on the 14th Feb.
Christopher Beeston, for plays acted by the Queen's servants-viz. * Four at Hampton Court, at 201. per play, in 1635–Five at Whitehall in the same year, and two plays acted by the New Company.'
The two plays acted by the New Company' were played in January, 1636-7, as appears by Sir H. Herbert's Register, although the date is not here specified.
The Governor, by the King's players, on the 17th Feb.
Philaster, by the King's players, on Shrove Tuesday, the 21st Feb.
This list comprises only thirteen representations, whereas we know from an authority already quoted, that the King's company only, received payment in March, 1636-7, for twenty-two plays. Possibly, although not so expressed, this was the total number they had acted before the court in the course of the preceding year. The Master of the Revels, by some accident, omits to notice the performance of Davenant's Britannia Triumphans, on the Sunday after twelfth night,' as is stated on the title-page of that production. It was exhibited in a temporary banqueting room of timber, built by Inigo Jones, . by reason the room where they were formerly presented, having the ceiling since richly adorned with pieces of painting of great value, figuring the acts of King James of happy memory,' which it was feared would be injured by the smoke of so many lights.' The King was a performer in this Mask, with the Duke of Lennox, the Earls of Devonshire, Carlisle *, &c.
* Britannia Triumphans has been considered one of the rarest of the Court Masques in this reign, and two copies in Mr. Bindley's sale produced between Sl. and 91. each. It is, however, by no means so scarce as has been represented, nor is there sufficient ground for the notion, that it was suppressed because it was represented on the Sabbath day. I only introduce the following lines from it, to show the origin of an often repeated, and supposed anonymous, description of a giant fishing