Sivut kuvina

ing notice, that “the Children of the Queen's Revels" were thereby licensed not only to act "tragedies, comedies,” &c. in the Blackfriars theatre, but “elsewhere within the realm of England;" so that even places where the city authorities had indisputably a right to exercise jurisdiction were not exempted.

It will be recollected that this had been a point in dispute in 1574, and that the words “as well within our city of London ” were on this account excluded from the patent granted by Elizabeth to the players of Lord Leicester, though found in the privy seal dated three days earlier. For the same reason, probably, they are not contained in the patent of James I. to Fletcher, Shakespeare, and others in 1603. We may be satisfied that the warrant of 1609-10 to Daborne and his partners was not carried into effect, and possibly on that account: although it may have been decided at this date that the lord mayor and aldermen had no power forcibly to exclude the actors from the Blackfriars, it may have been held inexpedient to go the length of authorizing a young company to act within the actual boundaries of the city. So far the corporation may have prevailed, and this may be the cause why we never hear of any steps having been taken under the warrant of 1609-10. The word “stayed” is added at the conclusion of the draft, as if some good ground had been discovered for delaying, if not for entirely withdrawing it. Perhaps even the question of jurisdiction had not yet been completely settled, and it may have been thought useless to concede a privilege which, after all, by the operation of the law in favour of the claim of the city, might turn out to be of no value, because it could not be acted upon. Certain it is, that the new scheme seems to have been entirely abandoned ; and whatever Shakespeare may have intended when he became connected with it, he continued, as long as he remained in London, and as far as any evidence enables us to judge, to write only for the company of the King's players, who persevered in their performances at the Blackfriars in the winter, and at the Globe in the summer.

Justices of the Peace, &c. Whereas the Queene, our dearest wife, hath for her
pleasure and recreation appointed her servaunts Robert Daiborne, &c. to provide
and bring upp a convenient nomber of children, who shall be called the Children
of her Majesties Revells, knowe ye that we have appointed and authorized, and by
these presents doe appoint and authorize the said Robert Daiborne, William
Shakespeare, Nathaniel Field, and Edward Kirkbam, from time to time to provide
and bring upp a convenient nomber of children, and them to instruct and exercise
in the quality of playing Tragedies, Comedies, &c., by the name of the Children
of the Revells to the Queene, within the Blackfryers, in our Citie of London, or
els where within our realme of England. Wherefore we will and command you,
and everie of you, to permitt her said servaupts to keepe a convenient nomber of
children, by the name of the Children of the Revells to the Queene, and them to
exercise in the qualitie of playing according to her royal pleasure. Provided
alwaies, that no playes, &c. shall be by them presented, but such playes, &c. as
have received the approbation and allowance of our Maister of the Revells for the
tyme being. And these our lres. shall be your sufficient warrant in this behalfe.
In witnesse whereof, &c., 4° die Janij. 1609.
“ Proud Povertie.

Engl. tragedie.
Widow's Mite.

False Friends.

Hate and Love.

Taming of s.
Triumph of Truth.

K. Edw. 2.

Mirror of Life.

6 See“ Hist. Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage," Vol. i. p. 212.

It will be seen that to the draft in favour of “Daborne and others," as directors of the performances of the Children of the Queen's Revels, a list is appended, apparently of dramatic performances in representing which the juvenile company was to be employed. Some of these may be considered known and established performances, such as “Antonio," which perhaps was intended for the “Antonio and Mellida” of Marston, printed in 1602; “Grisell,” for the “Patient Grisell” of Dekker, Chettle, and Haughton, printed in 1603; and “K. Edw. 2.,” for Marlowe’s “Edward II.,” printed in 1598. Of others we have no information from any quarter, and only two remind us at all of Shakespeare: “Kinsmen” may mean “ The two Noble Kinsmen," in writing which, we suppose our great dramatist to have been concerned; and “Taming of S.” is possibly to be taken for “ The Taming of the Shrew,” or for the older play, with nearly the same title, upon which Shakespeare's comedy was founded.

“ Troilus and Cressida” and “Pericles,” were printed in 1609, and to our mind there seems but little doubt, that they had been written and prepared for the stage only a short time before they issued from the press. With the single exception of “Othello,” which came out in 4to in 1622, no other new drama by Shakespeare appeared, in a printed form, between 1609 and the date of the publication of the folio in 1623'. We need not here discuss what plays, first found

7 One copy of the folio is known with the date of 1622 upon the title-page. The volume was entered at Stationers' Hall on the 8th Nov. 1623, as if it had not been published until late in that year, unless we suppose that the entry was made by


[ocr errors]

in that volume, were penned by our great dramatist after 1609, because we have carefully considered the claims of each in our several Introductions. “ Timon of Athens, “Coriolanus,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “Cymbeline,” “The Winter's Tale,” and “The Tempest,” all seem to belong to a late period of our poet's theatrical career, and some of them were doubtless written between 1609, and the period, whatever that period might be, when he entirely relinquished dramatic composition.

Between January 1609-10, when Shakespeare was one of the parties to whom the warrant for the Children of the Queen's Revels was conceded, and the year 1612, when it has been reasonably supposed that he quitted London to take up his permanent residence at Stratford, we are in possession of no facts connected with his personal history. It would seem both natural and prudent that, before he withdrew from the metropolis, he should dispose of his theatrical property, which must necessarily be of fluctuating and uncertain value, depending much upon the presence and activity of the owner for its profitable management. In his will (unlike some of his contemporaries who expired in London) he says nothing of any such property, and we are left to infer that he did not die in possession of it, having disposed of it before he finally retired to his native town.

It is to be recollected also that the species of interest he had in the Blackfriars theatre, independently of his shares in the receipts, was peculiarly perishable : it consisted of the wardrobe and properties, which in 1608, when the city authorities contemplated the purchase of the whole establishment, were valued at 5001.; and we may feel assured that he would sell them to the company which had had the constant use of them, and doubtless had paid an annual consideration to the owner. The fee, or freehold, of the house and ground was in the hands of Richard Burbadge, and from him it descended to his two sons: that was a permanent and sub

[ocr errors]

Blount and Jaggard some time after publication, in order to secure their right to the plays first printed there, which they thought might be invaded. The late Mr. Rodd had ascertained the present existence of at least 100 separate copies of this volume, perfect and imperfect.

8 We ought perhaps to except a writ issued by the borough court in June 1610, at the suit of Shakespeare, for the recovery of a small sum. A similar occurrence had taken place in 1604, when our poet sought to recover ll. 158. Od. from a person of the name of Rogers, for corn sold to him. These facts are ascertained from the existing records of Stratford.

atis o


me," I

belong ne 01 12 Eriod, w elirgox


ren of :

12. wiz

don te 3

אמן ב

stantial possession, very different in its character and durability from the dresses and machinery which belonged to Shakespeare. The mere circumstance of the nature of Shakespeare's property in the Blackfriars seems to authorize the conclusion, that he sold it before he retired to the place of his birth, where he meant to spend the rest of his days with his family, in the tranquil enjoyment of the independence he had secured by the exertions of five and twenty years. Supposing him to have begun his theatrical career at the end of 1586, as we have imagined, the quarter of a century would be completed by the close of 1612, and for aught we know, that might be the period Shakespeare had fixed in his own mind for the termination of his toils and anxieties.

It has been ascertained that Edward Alleyn, the actorfounder of the college of “God's Gift” at Dulwich, purchased property in the Blackfriars in April 1612 '; and although it may possibly have been theatrical, there seems sufficient reason to believe that it was not, but that it consisted of certain leasehold houses, for which, according to his own account-book, he paid a quarterly rent of 401. The brief memorandum upon this point, preserved at Dulwich, certainly relates to any thing rather than to the species of interest which Shakespeare indisputably had in the wardrobe and properties of the Blackfriars theatre': the terms Alleyn uses would apply only to tenements or ground, and as Burbadge valued his freehold of the theatre at 10001., we need not hesitate in deciding that the lease Alleyn purchased for 5991. 6s. 8d. was not a lease of the play-house. We shall see presently that Shakespeare himself, though under

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]




9 See the “Memoirs of Edward Alleyn," p. 105, where a conjecture is hastily hazarded that it might be Shakespeare's interest in the Blackfriars theatre. Upon this question we agree with Mr. Knight in “ Shakspere, a Biography,” prefixed to his pictorial edition of the Poet's works.

1 It is in the following form, upon a small damp-injured piece of paper, and obviously a mere memorandum.

* April 1612, Money paid by me, E. A. for the Blackfryers More for the Blackfryers

126li More again for the Leasse

310li The writinges for the same and other small charges

3li 6s 8d.” If this paper had any relation at all to the theatre in the Blackfriars, it is very evident that Shakespeare could neither grant nor sell a lease ; and it is quite clear that Burbadge did not, because he remained in possession of the play-house at the time of his death : his sons enjoyed it afterwards ; and Alleyn continued to pay 401. a quarter for the property he held until his decease in 1626.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Te their mot

The latest ate copies az


[ocr errors]

are asce


some peculiar circumstances, became the owner of a dwellinghouse in the Blackfriars, unconnected with the theatre, very soon after he had taken up his abode at Stratford, and Alleyn probably had made a similar, but a larger investment in the same neighbourhood in 1612. Whatever, in fact, became of Shakespeare's interest in the Blackfriars theatre, both as a sharer and as the owner of the wardrobe and properties, we may safely conclude that, in the then prosperous state of theatrical affairs in the metropolis, he was easily able to procure a purchaser.

He must also have had a considerable stake in the Globe, but whether he was also the owner of the same species of property there, as at the Blackfriars, we can only speculate. We should think it highly probable that, as far as the mere wardrobe was concerned, the same dresses were made to serve for both theatres, and that when the summer season commenced on the Bankside, the necessary apparel was conveyed across the water from the Blackfriars, and remained at the Globe until the company returned to their winter quarters. There is no hint in any existing document what became of our great dramatist's interest in the Globe; but here again we need not doubt, from the profit that had always attended the undertaking, that he could have had no difficulty in finding parties to take it off his hands. Burbadge we know was rich, for he died in 1619' worth 3001. a year in land, besides his personal property, and he and others would have been glad

2 We have already inserted an extract from an epitaph upon Burbadge, in which the writer enumerates many of the characters he had sustained in different plays from the year 1575 downwards, having been about forty-four years on the stage. The following lines, in Sloane MS. No. 1786, are just worth preserving on account of the eminence of the man to whom they relate: they are printed with some unimportant variations in “Malone's Shakspeare, by Boswell,” iii. 186.

An Epitaph on Mr. RICHARD BURBAGE, the Player.
“This life's a play, scean'd out by nature's art,

Where every man has his allotted parte.
This man hath now, as many men can tell,
Ended his part, and he hath acted well.
The play now ended, thinke his grave to bee
The retiring house of his sad tragedie ;
Where to give his fame this be not afraid :--

Here lies the best Tragedian ever play’d.” From hence we might infer, against other authorities, that what was called the tiring room in theatres, was so called because the actors retired to it, and not attired in it. It most likely answered both purposes, but we sometimes find it called “ the attiring room ” by authors of the time.

« EdellinenJatka »