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the Robes, for 1501., • for providing masking apparel for our own person. The warrant for the Queen's Mask at Shrovetide was also for 14001., and it was issued to Michael Oldisworth, Esq. The original documents are in the Chapter-house, Westminster.
It is dangerous to attempt to form general conclusions from insulated facts: were it at all safe to do so, we might conclude, that in the spring of 1637-8, the theatres were well attended, for in the Diary of Sir H. Mildmay the subsequent entry is found ;—- 3 Feb. 1637-8 came home dirty and weary, the playe being full.'—Under date of 26th Oct. 1638, he registers in his account-book that he saw · The Foxe playe, with . Fra. Wortley,' and it cost him, on that occasion, the then extraordinary sum of 4s. 6d. This was probably at the Globe, as Ben Jonson's Fox belonged to the King's company. In the winter Sir H. Mildmay usually visited the Blackfriars or Cockpit, and it was no doubt one of those two houses that he found full in the February preceding, when, being dirty and weary,' he wished to recreate himself at the theatre.
King Charles seems to have taken a minute and peculiar interest in all matters that related to the drama. In 1633 he had interfered in order to prevent the Master of the Revels from expunging from Davenant's Wits all expressions of force and character, in the nature of asseverations, which Sir H. Herbert considered oaths; and two years afterwards, at the request of Sir H. Herbert, he interested himself in the
filling up of one of the minor appointments in the Revels *.
Under the date of June, 1638, and in connexion with a play by Massinger now lost, first called the King and the Subject, and afterwards (as Malone supposes †) the Tyrant, Sir Henry Herbert's Register presents us with an incident that is rather to be looked upon as a matter of general history, than belonging only and peculiarly to the stage. The King's difficulties to raise supplies, by ship-money, and afterwards
* This trait in the King's character is given by Sir Henry Herbert in the following words.
' The same day (220 Feb., 1635) at Whitehall, I acquainted King . Charles, my master, with the danger of Mr. Hunt's sickness, and moved his Majesty, in case he died, that he would be pleased to give.
me leave to commend a fit man to succeed him, in his place of Yeo• man of the Revels. The King told me that till then he knew not
that Will Hunt held a place in the Revels. To my request he was pleased to give me this answer: Well, says the King, I will not dispose of it, or it shall not be disposed of 'till I hear you. Ipsissimis verbis ; which I enter here as full of grace, and for my better remembrance, since my master's custom affords not so many words, nor so significant.'
It may be added, that probably the illness of Hunt was protracted, because it does not seem that the vacancy above contemplated occurred until 1639. On the 21st October of that year, Joseph Taylor, who had been so long one of the leaders of the King's players, was appointed! Yeoman of the Revels to his Majesty in ordinary, in the place of William Hunt, deceased! The salary was 6d. per diem, payable quarterly, together with such other fees and emoluments as William Hunt, or his predecessors, had enjoyed. Vide Chalmers' Apol.p. 503 ; where the MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's office is quoted respecting this circumstance.
† Shakespeare by Boswell, iii. 230,
from the clergy, are well known ; and it seems that a play by Massinger, the scene of which was laid in Spain, having been sent to the Master of the Revels for allowance, containing passages objectionable on account of the spirit and temper of the time, it found its way, intermediately perhaps, into the King's own hands : what occurred regarding it, is thus related by Sir H. Herbert.
• Received of Mr. Lowens, for my pains about Messinger's play, called the King and the Subject, 2nd June, 1638, il. Os. Od.
· The name of the King and the Subject is altered, • and I allowed the play to be acted, the reformations
most strictly observed, and not otherwise, the 5th of • June, 1638.
• At Greenwich, the 4th of June, Mr. W. Murray gave me power from the King to allow of the play, 6 and told me that he would warrant it.
• Monies? We'll raise supplies what ways we please, • And force you to subscribe to blanks, in which 'We'll mulct you as we shall think fit. The Cæsars • In Rome were wise, acknowledging no laws • But what their swords did ratify; the wives • And daugliters of the Senators bowing to · Their wills as deities,' &c.
This is a piece taken out of Phillip Massinger's play, called The King and the Subject, and entered • here for ever to be remembered by my son, and those • that cast their eyes upon it, in honour of King Charles, my master, who, reading over the play at
• Newmarket, set his mark upon the place with his own hand, and in these words,
* This is too insolent, and to be changed.' Note, that the poet makes it the speech of a King, • Don Pedro, King of Spain, and spoken to his ' subjects.'
In the course of this year, but at what particular dates is not specified, the King's players acted twentyfour times before the court, six times at Hampton Court and Richmond, and eighteen times at Whitehall. As for the first, 201. per play, and for the last, 101. per play were allowed, the total sum due was 3001., and for this a warrant was made out on the 12th of March, 1638-9, and given to Taylor, Lowen and Swanston, for themselves and the rest of the company *
Sir H. Herbert furnishes no information, either regarding these representations or any others, public or private, between the 5th of June, 1638, and the 9th of April, 1640. In consequence of the death of Sir John Astley he became Master of the Revels in his own right, and by virtue of the reversion he had secured, in January, 1639-40+.
The transactions connected with the stage during this interval were, however, more than usually interesting. On the 26th of March, 1638-9, Davenant
* MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's Office.
† In consequence of ill health, on the 20th of March, 1637-8, Sir J. Astley (called Ashley in the Privy Seal in the Chapter House) obtained a licence to reside in London,' or where he pleases, whether at Christmas or at other times,' contrary to a former order, directing that the nobility and gentry, who had mansion-houses in the country, should repair to them to keep hospitality meet for their degrees.'
(to whom, in the December preceding, had been granted
A. D. the annuity of 1001. formerly given to Ben
1639. Jonson as Poet Laureat) obtained letterspatent under the great seal for the erection of a new theatre within the boundary of the city of London, upon a piece of ground described as lying at the back of the Three Kings Ordinary in Fleet-street, in the parish of St. Dunstan's in the West, or in the parish of St. Bride's, or on any other ground in or about that place. This playhouse was to have been 120 feet square, and consequently would have been the largest in the metropolis or its neighbourhood*. As we shall see hereafter, this project was never carried into execution, and Davenant was obliged to relinquish the privilege he had obtained.
No fewer than thirty-one plays were acted at court between June, 1638, and April, 1640. Of these, seven were by the Queen's players, under Henry Turner, for which they received 80l.; one-and-twenty by the King's players under Lowen, Taylor and Swanston, for which they received 230l. ; and three by the Prince's players, under Moore and Cane, for which they received 60l. The pieces performed at Richmond were, as formerly, paid for at the rate of 201. each, and the pieces at Whitehall at the rate of 101. eachť.
Masks were also presented at Twelfthtide and
* The Fortunę, which was the largest theatre, was only eighty feet square, before it was burnt in 1621.
+ These details were derived by Chalmers (Apol. p. 511) from the MS. in the office of the Lord Chamberlain,