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DWARD ALLEYN (often spelt Allen),

famous both as an actor and as the founder of Dulwich College, was born in 1566 in London, according to Fuller, near Devonshire House. He was the younger son of a porter to the Queen, who acquired some

property. His name first appears in a list of the Earl of Worcester's players in 1526. This was about the time of the appearance of Tamburlaine, and Alleyn came into popularity on the same wave as Marlowe. In Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta, etc., as Thomas Heywood the dramatist writes in 1633, in a prologue to the latter play, Alleyn



The attribute of peerless, being a man
Whom we may rank with (doing no one wrong)
Proteus for shapes, and Roscius for a tongue,
So could he speak, so vary.”

Alleyn also took the part of Faustus, for in the inventory of his theatrical apparel we find “Faustus Jerkin, his cloke," and Samuel Rowlands writes,

“ The gull gets on a surplice,

With a cross upon his breast,
Like Allen playing Faustus,

In that manner was he drest."

Years previously Alleyn had been extolled by Nash in his Pierce Pennilesse, wherein we read :—“Not Roscius nor Esope, those tragedians admired before Christ was born, could ever perform more in action than famous Ned Allen.” This was written in 1592, when Alleyn was only twenty-six years

of age. In the same year he married Joan Woodward, daughter by a former marriage of the then wife of Philip Henslowe.

During the plague of 1593, the year of Marlowe's death, we find Alleyn on a provincial tour through Bristol, Shrewsbury, Chester, and York. In the year following he was back in London, and acquired an interest in the baiting-house at Paris Garden in Southwark, to which frequent allusion is made by contemporary dramatists. Four years afterwards he tried with Henslowe to obtain the post of Master of the royal game of bears, bulls, and mastiffs. This office was not secured, however, till 1604, the year of Alleyn's last recorded appearance on the stage, and appears to have been held by Alleyn till his death. On special occasions he took part in the sports himself, and Stow describes how he baited a lion before the King. Alleyn and Henslowe had built the Fortune Theatre in Golden Lane, Cripplegate, during the year 1600, but the Paris Garden was doubtless the chief source of Alleyn's wealth.

In 1605 the manor of Dulwich was purchased by Alleyn at a total cost of £10,000 ; he did not however obtain the whole estate till 1614, although before this date he had removed to Dulwich, and in 1613 had begun the construction of the College. In 1619 the opening ceremonies took place, when Alleyn entertained the company, including Lord Chancellor Bacon, at a banquet. Greatly to the advantage of the new foundation, Alleyn managed the affairs of the College personally. At this time he appears as the patron of Dekker, Taylor the water-poet, and other writers ; although he had now become a person of consequence, the friend of bishops and nobles, he still kept up his connection with his old profession and his old friends. In 1623 he married (for the second time) a daughter of Dr. Donne, the Dean of St. Paul's, and died in 1626, leaving so far as is known no children,

Alleyn was evidently a man of great shrewdness and business capacity, and seems to have possessed at the same time a very fine and lovable nature. There can be no question concerning his high rank as an actor. Ben Jonson, in an epigram addressed to “Edward Allen,” refers to

“ Skilful Roscius and grave Æsope,

Who both these graces in thyself hast more
Out-stript, than they did all that went before :
And present worth in all dost so contract,
As others speak, but only thou dost act.”

Fuller records the general opinion concerning Alleyn in these words :—“He was the Roscius of our age, so acting to the life that he made any part (especially a majestic one) to become him.” He appears to have had no relations with Shakespeare, and we do not find him acting in any of Shakespeare's plays. The full-length portrait at Dulwich, reproduced as a frontispiece to this volume, indicates the majestic presence, to which Fuller alludes, of the impersonator of Tamburlaine.





Tune of Fortune my Foe.

All Christian men, give ear a while to me,
How I am plung'd in pain, but cannot die :
I liv'd a life the like did none before,
Forsaking Christ, and I am damn’d therefore.
At Wittenburge, a town in Germany,
There was I born and bred of good degree ;

Of honest stock, which afterwards I sham'd ;
Accurst therefore, for Faustus was I nam’d.

In learning, loe, my uncle brought up me,
And made me Doctor in Divinity;
And, when he dy'd, he left me all his wealth,
Whose cursed gold did hinder my soul's health.

Then did I shun the holy Bible-book,
Nor on Gods word would ever after look ;
But studied accursed conjuration,
Which was the cause of my utter damnation.

The devil in fryars weeds appear'd to me,
And streight to my request he did agree,
That I might have all things at my desire :
I gave him soul and body for his hire.

Twice did I make my tender flesh to bleed,
Twice with my blood I wrote the devils deed,
Twice wretchedly I soul and body sold,
To live in peace and do what things I would.

For four and twenty years this bond was made,
And at the length my soul was truly paid !
Time ran away, and yet I never thought
How dear my soul our Saviour Christ had bought.

Would I at first been made a beast by kind !
Then had not I so vainly set my mind ;
Or would, when reason first began to bloom,
Some darksome den had been my deadly tomb !

Woe to the day of my nativity!
Woe to the time that once did foster me !
And woe unto the hand that seal'd the bill !
Woe to myself, the cause of all my ill !

The time I passed away, with much delight,
'Mongst princes, peers, and many a worthy knight :
I wrought such wonders by my magick skill,
That all the world may talk of Faustus still.

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