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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.—The second part of Arviragus, on the 27th Dec.—Love and Honour, on Ist Jan., Sunday.—The Elder Brother, on 5th Jan.--King and no King, on Ioth Jan.—The Royal Slave, on the 12th Jan.-A’ollo, on the 24th Jan.—%ulius Caesar, on the 31st Jan. —Cupid’s Revenge, by Beeston's boys on the 7th Feb.-A Wife for a Month, by the King's players, on the 9th Feb.Wit without Money, by Beeston's players, on the 14th Feb.The Governor, by the King's players, on the 17th Feb.Philaster, by the King's players, on Shrove Tuesday, the 21st February. This list comprises only thirteen representations, whereas we know from an authority already quoted, that the King's company alone, received payment in March 1636-7, for twentytwo 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," etc. It has been observed that the prohibition of stage-plays, etc., in consequence of the plague, was recalled on A. D. the 24th of February 1636-7, as the deaths in London 1637. 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, etc.” (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 the order 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]
* 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 8/. 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. We only introduce the following lines from it, to show the origin of an oftenrepeated, and supposed anonymous, description of a giant fishing —
‘This day (a day as fair as heart could wish)
This was first stolen (no very valuable theft) by the anonymous author of the burlesque Hero and Leander, 1653, 8vo.
Christopher and William Beeston, Theophilus Bird, Ezechiel Fenn, 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 Ioth 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 by the plague, in order to gratify the theatrical avidity of the public, certain printers, who had surWilliam Beeston seems afterwards to have acquired considerable reputation, and to have become of sufficient importance to induce Francis Kirkham to dedicate to him his romance, translated from the French, called The Zozses and Adventures of Clerio and Lozia, 1652. The openingof the dedication is this:— “Divers times in my hearing, to the admiration of the whole company, you have most judiciously discoursed of Poesie: which is the cause I presume to chuse you for my patron and protector, who are the happiest interpreter and judge of our English stage plays this nation ever produced; which the poets and actors of these times cannot (without ingratitude) deny; for I have heard the chief and most ingenious acknowledge their fames and profits essentially sprung from your instruction, judgment, and fancy.’ - * This is the first notice of a young 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.
reptitiously got manuscript plays into their hands, began to print and publish them. Complaints against them had been before made, and on this occasion the Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, Lord Chamberlain, addressed a letter to the Stationers' Company, directing that body to interfere to prevent the infringement of the rights of the King's Servants under Lowen and Taylor, and of the King's and Queen's young companies 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." From the 2nd Oct. 1637, when the restraint from playing
* The letter from the Lord Chamberlain runs thus (Chalmers’ Affo/, p. 513):—‘After my hearty commendations. Whereas complaint was heretofore presented to my dear brother and predecessor by his Majesty's servants the players, that some of the company of Printers 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 thereupon 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 presumed, that there would have needed no farther order or direction in the business: Notwithstanding which, I am informed that some copies of plays belonging to the King's 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
VOL. II. % • C
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 recommenced on the 30th September 1637, and continued 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.
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 Majesties said servants be made appear to the Master and Wardens of the Company 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, etc. Dated the Ioth June 1637. P[embroke] and Montgomery]. “To the Master and Wardens of the Company of Printers and Stationers.' * The MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's Office, so often cited in these Annals, includes the following particulars relative to these seventeen