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A.D. 1637.

It has been observed that the prohibition of stageplays, &c., in consequence of the plague, was recalled on the 24th of February, 1636-7, us the deaths in London and its vicinity were then only forty-four in the week. This permission only lasted for a few days, for on the first of March the order of suppression was revived; and playes, dancing on the ropes, &c.,' (as the entry in the Privy Council Register is worded,) were no longer allowed until the renewed virulence of the malady had abated. It appears on the same authority, that obedience was not paid to it by the parties concerned in the Cockpit theatre, in Drury Lane, and on the 12th of May, 1637, `a warrant was

issued to Jasper Heyley, Messenger, to fetch before • the Lords [of the Privy Council] Christopher and • William Beeston*, Theophilus Bird, Ezechiel Fenn,

"This day (a day as fair as heart could wish)
• This giant stood on shore of sea to fish:
· For angling rod he took a sturdy oak,
- For line a cable that in storm ne'er broke :

His hook was such as heads the end of pole
• To pluck down house ere fire consumes it whole;

His hook was baited with a dragon's tail,

" And then on rock he stood to bob for whale." This was first stolen by the anonymous author of the burlesque Hero and Leander, 1653, 8vo.

* William Beeston seems afterwards to have acquired considerable reputation, and to have become of sufficient importance to induce Francis Kirkman to dedicate to him his romance, translated from the French, called The Loves and Adventures of Clerio and Lozia, 1652. The opening of the dedication is this :

• Divers times in my hearing to the admiration of the whole com'pany you have inost judiciously discoursed of Poesie: which is the cause I presume to chuse you for my patron & protector, who are VOL. II.

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6 and Michael Moone*, with a clause to command the

keepers of the playhouse called the Cockpit in Drury • Lane, who either live in it, or have relation to it, not 'to permit plays to be acted there till further order.' Sir H. Herbert mentions nothing of this incident, nor do we know what punishment was inflicted upon the offenders, but they were most likely discharged after a short imprisonment, on an undertaking not again to infringe the direction of the Privy Council. The order continued in force for seven months, permission to act not having been again given until the 2nd of October, 1637.

The MS. in the office of the Lord Chamberlain, under date of the 10th of June, 1637, contains an instrument, for which we have hitherto seen no precedent-against the printing of plays, to the prejudice of the companies to whom they belonged, and by whom they had been bought from the authors. During the suspension of the stage in consequence of the number of deaths, in order to gratify the theatrical avidity of the public, certain printers, who had surreptitiously got manuscript plays into their hands, began to print and publish them. Complaints against them had been before made, and on this occasion the

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• the happiest interpreter & judge of our English stage plays, this nation ever produced : which the poets and actors of these times can

not (without ingratitude) deny; for I have heard the chief & most ' ingenious acknowledge their fames & profits essentially sprung from your instruction, judgment, and fancy.'

* This is the first notice of an actor who obtained 'great distinction after the Restoration, and who, during the civil wars, bore a commission in the King's service as Major Mohun. He acted until 1685.

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Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, Lord Chamberlain, addressed a letter to the Stationers' Company, directing that body to interfere to prevent the infringemient of the rights of the King's servants, under Lowen and Taylor, and of the King's and Queen's young company under Christopher Beeston. It was required, that no play should be printed without the certificate of the leaders of those companies; and the order, construed strictly, would prevent the publication of any plays, belonging to any other associations of actors, without the certificate of Lowen and Taylor, or of Beeston *

* The letter of the Lord Chamberlain runs thus (Chalmers' Apol. p. 513):

"After my hearty commendations. Whereas complaint was hereto'fore presented to my dear brother and predecessor by his Majesty's servants the players, that some of the Coinpany of Priuters and Stationers had procured and printed divers of their books of Comedies, . Tragedies, Interludes, Histories and the like, which they had for the

special service of his Majesty, and their own use, bought and provided • at very dear and high rates : By means whereof, not only they themselves had much prejudice, but the books much corruption, to the injury and disgrace of the authors; and therupon the Master and · Wardens of the Company of Printers and Stationers were advised by 'my brother to take notice thereof, and to take order for the stay of

any further impression of any of the Plays or Interludes of his Majesty's servants without their consents; which being a caution given with such respect, and grounded on such weighty reasons, both for his Majesty's service, and the particular interest of the players, and so agreeable to common justice, and that indifferent measure which every man would look for in his own particular, it might have been pre

sumed, that there would have needed no farther order or direction in • the business : Notwithstanding which, I am informed that some copies

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From the 2nd Oct. 1637, when the restraint was taken off, to the 2nd June, 1638, the Register of Sir Henry Herbert is destitute of all information regarding the stage: nevertheless, the performances at Court began on the 30th September, 1637, and continued

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of plays belonging to the King and Queen's servants, the players, and . purchased by them at dear rates, having been lately stolen, or gotten

from them by indirect means, are now attempted to be printed, and that some of them are at your press and ready to be printed; which, if it should be suffered, would directly tend to their apparent detriment

and great prejudice, and to the disenabling them to do their Majesties service : For prevention and redress whereof it is desired, that order be

given and entered by the Master and Wardens of the Company of · Printers and Stationers, that if any plays be already entered, or shall 'hereafter be brought into the hall to be entered for printing, that

notice thereof shall be given to the King's and Queen's servants, 'the players, and an enquiry made of them to whom they do belong, and that none be suffered to be printed, until the assent of their Majesty's said servants be made appear to the Master and Wardens of the Com‘pany of Printers and Stationers by some certificate in writing, under the “hands of John Lowen and Joseph Taylor for the King's servants, and of Christopher Beeston for the King's and Queen's young company, or of such other persons as shall from time to time have direction of " those companies, which is a course that can be hurtful unto none, but such as go about unjustly to avail themselves of other's goods, without respect of order or good government: which I [am] confident you will be careful to avoid, and therefore I commend it to your special care; and if you shall have need of any further authority or power, either from his Majesty or the Council Table, the better to enable 'you in the execution thereof, upon notice given to me, either by yourselves or by the players, I will endeavour to apply that further

remedy thereto, which shall be requisite. And so &c. Dated the 10th • June, 1637. P[embroke] and M[ontgomery).

"To the Master and Wardens of the.

• Company of Printers and Stationers.'

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until the 3rd February, 1637-8; and in that period the King's actors, under Lowen, Taylor, and Swanston, played fourteen pieces before the King, while the Prince's servants were called upon to contribute their exertions upon three occasions, in November and December, 1637* We have no means of supplying the titles of any of the plays performed.

Two Masks were presented at Christmas and Shrovetide, 1637-8, which appear to have A. D. been as costly as usual. For the first, which 1638. was called the King's Mask, Edmund Taverner, Esq. had a warrant on Dec. 1, 1637, for 14001., ' to be

employed towards the charge of our Mask, to be pre6 sented at our court at Whitehall on Twelfth-night

next :' on the 13th Dec., a warrant under Privy Seal was also issued to George Kirke, Esq. Gentleman of

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* The MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's Office, so often cited in these Annals, includes the following particulars relative to these seventeen performances : * 15 March, 1637–8. A warrant for 1501. to John Lowen, Joseph

" Taylor, and Elliard Swanston, or any of them, for them

selves and the rest of the company of his Majesty's players, for 14 plays acted before his Majesty, between "the 30th Sept. and the 3rd Feb. following, 1637–8;

one whereof was at Hampton-court, for which 201. is

• allowed: the rest at the usual allowance of 101. a play. 21 March, 1637–8. A warrant for 401. unto Joseph Moore, for

himself and the rest of the Prince's players, for 3 plays " acted before his Highness, &c. in Nov. and Dec. last: one whereof was at Richmond, for which was allowed 201., in consideration of their travel and remove of goods.

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