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• Two Masks were presented at Christmas and Shrovetide, 1637-8, which appear to have been as costly as usual. A. D. For the first, which was called the King's Mask, 1638. Edmund Taverner, Esq., had a warrant, on Dec. 1, 1637, for I4OO/, ‘to be employed towards the charge of our Mask, to be presented 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 the Robes, for I 50/, “for providing masking apparel for our own person'. The warrant for the Queen's Mask at Shrovetide was also for I4OO!, and it was issued to Michael Oldisworth, Esq. The Original documents were in the Chapter-house, Westminster. It is of course dangerous to attempt to form general conclusions from insulated facts: were it at all safe to do so, we might infer, 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 Fore playe, with Fra. Wortley', and it cost him, on that occasion, the extraordinary sum of 4s. 6d. This was probably at the Globe, as Ben Jonson's For 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
performances:—“15 March, 1637-8. A warrant for 15ol, to John Lowen, Joseph Taylor, and Elliard Swanston, or any of them, for themselves 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 20/. is allowed; the rest at the usual rate of Iol, a play. 21 March 1637-8. A warrant for 4ol, unto Joseph Moore, for himself and the rest of the Prince's players, for 3 plays acted before his Highness, etc. in Nov. and Dec. last: one whereof was at Richmond, for which was allowed 20/., in consider
ation of their travel and remove of goods.’
houses that he found full in the February preceding, when, though “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 department of the Revels." Under the date of June, 1638, and in connexion with a play by Massinger now lost, first called The King and the
This trait in the King's character is given by Sir Henry Herbert in the following words.—“The same day (22d 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 Yeoman 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. Ississimis 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. Vode Chalmers’ Affol, p. 503; where the MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's office is quoted respecting this not very important matter. .
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 point of general history, than belonging only and peculiarly to the stage. The King's difficulties to raise supplies, by ship-money, and afterwards 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. ‘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, and told me that he would warrant it. “Monies P. 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 Caesars In Rome were wise, acknowledging no laws But what their swords did ratify; the wives And daughters of the Senators bowing to Their wills as deities,” etc.
‘This is a piece taken out of Philip Massinger's play, called The Ring 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
* Shakespeare by Boswell, iii, 230.
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 twenty-four times before the Court, six times at Hampton Court and Richmond, and eighteen times at Whitehall. As for the first, 20/. per play, and for the last, IOl. per play, were allowed ; the total sum due was 3OOl.; 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 Ashley he became Master of the Revels in his own right, and by virtue of the reversion which he had secured.” The transactions connected with the stage during this interval were, however, more than usually interesting. On the 26th of March 1638-9, Davenant (to whom, in the December A. D. preceding, had been granted the annuity of IOOl. 1639 formerly given to Ben Jonson as Poet Laureate) obtained letters patent 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. * MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's Office. * In consequence of ill health, on the 20th of March, 1637-8, Sir J. Ashley (called Astley 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’. •
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 I2O 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 80/ ; one-and-twenty by the King's players under Lowen, Taylor and Swanston, for which they received 230/.; and three by the Prince's players, under Moore and Cane, for which they received 60/. The pieces performed at Richmond were, as formerly, paid for at the rate of 20/, each, and the pieces at Whitehall at the rate of Iol, each.” Masks were also presented at Twelfthtide and Shrovetide. On the 3rd of January 1639-40, a warrant was issued to Michael Oldisworth for 14ool towards “defraying the charge of the scene, masking habits, and other expenses of the mask, to be presented by us, and our dearest consort the Queen, at Twelfthtide next.” The King's dress for the mask at Shrovetide cost I2O/, as appears by a warrant for that sum to George Kirke, Gent. of the Robes, “for masking apparel for Our own wearing'. This Privy Seal is dated 17th of January 1639–40 ; but there is no account extant of the cost of any other part of the preparations. - Christopher Beeston continued but for a short time at the head of ‘the King's and Queen's young company', for, in * The Fortune, which was then 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.