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before the King, Queen, and Prince. It is to be specially observed that this is the latest extant warrant issued for such a purpose anterior to the civil wars, and it bears date on the 20th of March 1640-1.1
N. Richard's Tragedy of Messalina was acted by the company of his Majesty's Revels, and printed 1640. To the list of characters are appended the names of the principal performers, viz. :-Claudius Emp., Will. Cartwright, Sen. ; Silius, Christ. Goud ; Saufellus, John Robinson ; Manester, Sam. Tomson; Montanus, Rich. Johnson ; Mela, Will. Hall;
up the said Theatre or Playhouse in any place inconvenient, and that the said parcel of ground lying near unto or behind the Three Kings Ordinary in Fleet Street, in the said parish of St. Dunstan's in the West, London, or in St. Bride's, London, or in either of them or in any other ground in or about that place, or in the whole street aforesaid, and is sithence found inconvenient and unfit for that purpose: therefore the said William Davenant doth, for himself, his Heirs, Executors, Administrators, and Assigns, and every of them, covenant, promise, and agree to and with our said Sovereign Lord the King, his Heirs and Successors, that he the said William Davenant, his Heirs, Executors, Administrators, nor Assigns, shall not or will not, by virtue of the said License and Authority to him granted as aforesaid, frame, erect, new build, or set up upon the said parcel of ground in Fleet-street aforesaid, or in any other part of Fleet-street, a Theatre or Playhouse, nor will not frame, erect, new build, or set up upon any other parcel of ground lying in or near the Cities [q. liberties] or Suburbs of the Cities of London or Westminster, any Theatre or Playhouse, unless the said place shall be first approved and allowed by warrant under his Majesty's sign manual, or by writing under the hand and seal of the said Right Honourable Thomas Earl of Arundel and Surrey. In witness whereof to the one part of this Indenture the said William Davenant hath set his hand and seal, the day and yeare first above written.
WILLIAM DAVENANT, L. S.' "Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of • Edw. PENRUDDOKS.
MICHAEL BAKER.' 1 It is found in the MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's office, already so frequently referred to.
Messalina, John Barret; Lepida, Tho. Jordan ; Sylana, Mathias Morris.
Jordan and Robinson have commendatory verses to the tragedy, together with Tho. Rawlins, Stephen Bradwell, Robert Davenport, and Thomas Combes, the last in Latin.
Although Sir H. Herbert renews his notices of the drama in his Register in the month of April 1640, he says nothing of the exhibitions by the King's company at Court. He informs us, that on the 9th of April 1640, the Lord Chamberlain 'bestowed a play upon the King and Queen, called Cleodora, Queen of Arragon, made by my cousin Abington' (Habington]; and he adds that “it was performed by my Lord's servants out of his own family, and [at] his charge in the clothes and scenes, which were very rich and curious.' The representation was made in the hall at Whitehall, and 'the King and Queen (according to the Master of the Revels) commended the general entertainment, as very well acted and well set out. He does not mention any praises bestowed upon the author; but the piece, on the whole, was so well liked, that “it was acted a second time in the same place, before the King and Queen'. This second performance was probably by the regular players of the King, as The Queen of Arragon was subsequently exhibited with success at the Blackfriars theatre.
The King's and Queen's 'young company', under William Beeston, in May 1640, fell under the displeasure of the Court, for performing a play that had not received the licence of the Master of the Revels. Charles I projected a journey against
| It was printed in folio in 1640 under the title of The Queen of Arragon, and not Cleodora, the Queen of Arragon, as it is given by Sir H. Herbert. In the printed copy the heroine is throughout called the Queen.' It is accompanied by a prologue and epilogue'at Court, and at the Friars.'
the Scots in March 1640, and he personally complained to Sir H. Herbert, that the piece, thus represented by Beeston's Boys' at the Cockpit, ' had relation to passages of the King's journey into the North,' and he commanded the Master of the Revels 'to punish the offenders'. On the 4th of May Beeston was arrested under a warrant from the Lord Chamberlain, and committed to the Marshalsea ; and the company of which he was governor was at the same time commanded 'to forbear playing, for playing when they were forbidden' by Sir H. Herbert, and for other disobedience. The offence, therefore, was that Sir H. Herbert, upon the King's complaint, had ordered the actors to discontinue their performances, with which they had refused to comply; but they were not treated with much severity, for, after lying still on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, they were permitted to recommence their performances on Thursday; and Sir H. Herbert tells us, with apparent satisfaction at the exercise and acknowledgment of his power, 'at my Lord Chamberlain's entreaty I gave them their liberty, and upon their petition of submission, subscribed by the players, I restored them to their liberty on Thursday.' We might infer from hence, that all the players had been arrested, as well as Beeston ; the first expression, 'gave them their liberty,' meaning that he set them at large, and the repetition, ‘restored them to their liberty,' meaning that he permitted them again to act.
The following document from the MS. in the Lord Chamberlain's office refers to only part of this transaction: the warrant for the arrest of William Beeston on the day following its date, is not extant :
'Whereas William Bieston, and the company of players of the Cockpit in Drury Lane, have lately acted a new play without any license from the Master of his Majesty's Revells; and being commanded to forbear playing or acting of the same play by the said Master of the Revells, and commanded likewise to forbear all manner of playing, have notwithstanding, in contempt of the authority of the said Master of the Revells, and the power granted unto him under the great seal of England, acted
This instance of insubordination was followed in the next month by the removal of William Beeston, a circumstance omitted to be recorded by Sir H. Herbert, but of which the evidence is indisputable : Davenant was appointed governor of the King's and Queen's company at the Cockpit in his stead, and in the outset of the instrument, the disorganization of the body, when under the charge of Beeston, is mentioned as the cause of the change.
Some time after this event, perhaps in 1641, but at what precise date cannot now be fixed, William Beeston applied to the Master of the Revels for his authority to continue the house, called Salisbury Court playhouse, in [as] a playhouse',
the said play and others, to the prejudice of his Majesty's service, and in contempt of the office of the Revels (whereby] he and they, and all other companies, ever have been and ought to be governed and regulated : These are therefore, in his Majesties name, and signification of his royal pleasure, to command the said William Bieston and the rest of that company of the Cockpit players, from henceforth and upon sight hereof, to forbear to act any plays whatsoever, until they shall be restored by the said Master of the Revells unto their former liberty. Whereof all parties concernable are to take notice, and conform accordingly, as they and every one of them will answer it at their peril. Dated the 3d of May 1640.
'To Wm. Bieston, George Estoteville, and the rest of the Company of Players at the Cockpit in Drury Lane.
1 Malone (Shakespeare by Boswell, iii, 242) asserts that Davenant was appointed governor of the King's and Queen's company acting at the Cockpit on the death of Christopher Beeston : it was, in fact, on the removal of William Beeston, as is established by the following document.
Whereas in the playhouse or theatre, commonly called the Cockpit in Drury-lane, there are a company of players or actors authorized by me (as Lord Chamberlain to his Majesty) to play or act under the title of the King's and Queen's servants, and that by reason of some disorders, lately amongst them committed, they are disabled in their service and quality : These are therefore to signify, that by the same authority I do authorize and appoint William Davenant, Gent., one of her Majesty's
and obtained permission for the purpose; but, in consequence of the former disobedience of Beeston to his authority, Sir H. Herbert was most careful in his licence to assert and specify his various powers, as they regarded theatres and players.
The plague made its reappearance in the autumn of 1640,
servants, for me and in my name, to take into his government and care the said company of players, to govern, order, and dispose of them for action and presentments, and all their affairs in the said house, as in his discretion shall seem best to conduce to his Majesty's service in that quality. And I do hereby enjoin and command them, all and every of them, that are so authorized to play in the said house under the privilege of his or her Majesty's servants, and every one belonging, as prentices or servants, to those actors to play under the said privilege, that they obey the said Mr. Davenant and follow his orders and directions as they will answer the contrary: which power or privilege he is to continue and enjoy during that lease which Mrs. Elizabeth Bieston, alias Hucheson, hath or doth hold in the said playhouse: Provided he be still accountable to me for his care and well ordering the said company. Given under my hand and seal this 27th June 1640.
"P. and M. 1 This license is without date, and was found by Malone among the loose papers of Sir H. Herbert: he thought that the time when it was written was June 1660, but there is no sufficient reason for supposing it to be of so late a date by perhaps nearly twenty years, although Sir H. Herbert might use it in 1660 as a piece of evidence for the purpose of re-establishing his then disputed authority. It runs thus:--For Mr. William Beeston.-Whereas the allowance of plays, the ordering of players and play-makers, and the permission for erecting of playhouses, hath, time out of minde whereof the memory of man is not to the contrary, belonged to the Master of his Maties office of the Revells: And whereas Mr. William Beeston hath desired authority and lycence from mee to continue the house called Salisbury Court Playhouse in a playhouse, which was formerly built and erected into a playhouse by the permission and lycence of the Master of the Revells.
'These are, therefore, by virtue of a grant under the great seal of England, and of the constant practice thereof, to continue and constitute the said house, called Salisbury Court Playhouse, into a playhouse, and to authorize and lycence the said Mr. Beeston to sett, lett, or use it for a VOL. II,