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Lord Strange's Men and Their Plays$

Lawrence Manley and Sally-Beth MacLean

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300191998

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300191998.001.0001

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A Census of the Repertory II

A Census of the Repertory II

Lost Plays and Others

(p.104) 4 A Census of the Repertory II
Lord Strange's Men and Their Plays

Lawrence Manley

Sally-Beth MacLean

Yale University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the list of titles of Rose plays in Philip Henslowe’s records that apparently got lost and the list of titles of lost non-Rose plays. It also presents the grounds for attributing these lost plays to Lord Strange’s Men. The chapter begins with Fair Em, the one play with an unambiguous title-page attribution to Lord Strange’s Men. This is followed by Titus Andronicus, the only play besides Fair Em with an apparent title-page attribution to Lord Strange’s Men. The other plays for which there is some evidence for attribution to Lord Strange’s Men are 2 and 3 Henry VI, Richard III, and the manuscripts of John a Kent and John a Cumber and Sir Thomas More. The chapter then discusses the lost Rose plays and other candidates for attribution to Lord Strange’s Men.

Keywords:   Rose plays, Philip Henslowe, Lord Strange’s Men, Fair Em, Titus Andronicus, Henry VI, Richard III, John a Kent, John a Cumber, Sir Thomas More

Our census of Rose plays has so far yielded ten surviving plays with plausible links, some stronger than others, to Lord Strange’s Men: The Battle of Alcazar, Orlando Furioso, The Jew of Malta, 1 Henry VI, A Looking Glass for London, The Spanish Tragedy, A Knack to Know a Knave, The Massacre at Paris, John of Bordeaux, and (parts of) The First Part of Hieronimo. Outside of these plays in Henslowe, there remain one additional extant play with an unambiguous title-page attribution to Lord Strange’s Men, Fair Em; one additional play with a possibly ambiguous title-page attribution, Titus Andronicus; and a group of five plays for which there is some evidence for attribution to Lord Strange’s Men, 2 and 3 Henry VI, Richard III, and the manuscripts of John a Kent and John a Cumber and Sir Thomas More. In what follows, and before taking up the titles of Rose plays listed in Henslowe but now apparently lost, we discuss these non-Rose plays and the grounds for attributing them to Lord Strange’s Men. Further support for these attributions is offered in subsequent chapters analyzing the aspects of the repertory, touring, and Shakespeare’s early company connections.

Non-Rose Plays and Other candidates for Attribution

A Pleasant Commodie, of Faire Em the Millers Daughter of Manchester: with the Loue of William the Conqueror: as it was Sundrietimes Publiquely Acted in the Honourable Citie of London, by the Right Honourable the Lord Strange his Seruaunts

Fair Em is the one play with an unambiguous title-page attribution to Lord Strange’s Men. Ironically, though, the play does not appear in Henslowe’s list of (p.105) plays performed by the company at the Rose in 1592–93. Published without entry in the Stationers’ register or date on its title page, the play was “Imprinted at London for T.N. and I.W.” and bears a printer’s device associated with John Danter. If “T.N.” was the Thomas Newman who went out of business around the end of June 1593, then the play must have been printed by then, a conclusion also supported by the title-page attribution to the company of Lord Strange, whose title changed when he became 5th Earl of Derby upon his father’s death in September 1593. Since John Danter was not permitted by the Company of Stationers to print books independently until August 1592, the play was most likely printed between August 1592 and June 1593.1

Fair Em contains, in the disguised Sir Thomas Goddard and its praise of “good Sir Edmund Treford,”2 a series of elaborate compliments to a legendary ancestor of Sir Edmund Trafford, sheriff of Lancashire and a prominent ally of the Stanleys who sat on the council of the 4th Earl Henry and served with him on the ecclesiastical high commission for the county. Trafford died in May 1590, but he was presumably present with “the rest of my Lordes Council” at Lathom in early January 1589/90, when unnamed players that were probably Lord Strange’s gave two performances for the household and council.3 Other evidence for an early date for the play includes the title-page reference to its being “sundrietimes publiquely acted in the honourable citie of London” (Strange’s Men were within the City of London when they acted at the Cross Keys Inn in 1589) and an attack on the author of Fair Em in Robert Greene’s Farewell to Follie (1591). Greene, mocking a “father of interludes” who uses “Scripture to proue any thing he says,” cites “a mans conscience is a thousande witnesses” (Romans 2:15) and “Loue couereth a multitude of sinnes” (1 Peter 4:8).4 These lines appear in Fair Em as “Thy conscience Manuile a hundred witnesses” (TLN 1424) and “loue that couers multitude of sins” (TLN 1385).

An early date for the play may possibly explain its absence from the company’s later repertory at the Rose in 1592–93 as well as its difference from the other Rose plays in terms of casting. (The play can be cast for as few as nine adults and four boys.) However, several features of the text support the possibility that it is a theatrical revision involving both abbreviation and a reduction in cast. At 1,546 lines long, the text contains several repeated lines, indicating possible anticipation or recollection, as well as at least one auditory spelling (l. 151) that may have been produced through playhouse recitation as a means of revision.5 Unusually attentive stage directions, several printed in the margin, “suggest that the underlying MS was prepared for use as a playbook.”6 Anomalies in plotting and staging also point to cutting from a longer and more demanding play. At least three important character roles have been cut in order to permit doubling, and an anticipated final confrontation between the armies of Zweno (p.106) and William the Conqueror fails to materialize.7 It would appear, then, that the play was originally designed for performance by a minimum of at least twelve to fourteen adults and four boys.

It is difficult to say when or for what purpose the play might have been abridged. The play’s associations with matters of local interest in Cheshire and Lancashire—“A Ballad Intituled, The Millers daughter of Mannchester” was entered in 15818—make it a strong candidate for early touring performances or for the final tours of 1592 and 1593, during which it appears the company might have been forced to reduce its numbers and eventually to sell the play for publication (see chapter 8). The historical romance plot focusing on William the Conqueror has led to conjectures that Fair Em may have been the “william the conkerer” performed at the Rose on 4 January 1593/94 by the Earl of Sussex’s Men, a company whose London revival may have been enabled by recruitment of members from Strange’s/Derby’s then disbanding company.9 Little is known of Sussex’s other titles performed in the earlier weeks at the Rose, except for the evidently popular play that Henslowe alternately labeled in its five performances “gorge a grene” or “the piner of wiackefelld.” Entered in April 1595 but only surviving in a 1599 quarto, A Pleasant Conceyted Comedie of George a Greene, the Pinner of Wakefield can be cast for ten adults and four boys, a number in line with our casting for Fair Em and identical with Standish Henning’s estimate that Fair Em can be performed by “fourteen actors, ten men and four boys.”10

Fair Em has been attributed to various authors, including Robert Wilson and William Shakespeare.11 Recent attribution of the play on stylistic grounds to Thomas Kyd12 perhaps finds additional support from the fact that the historical romance plot involving William the Conqueror and Lübeck comes from a novella in Thomas Wotton’s Courtlie Controuersie of Cupids Cautels (1578), a work that also provided the source for Soliman and Perseda. Both plots in Fair Em—the king’s conflict with a surrogate suitor and the rivalry of several gentlemen for the hand of a commoner—appear to imitate the love plot in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay. In view of Greene’s apparent jibe at the play, it is likely that in Fair Em, as also in A Knack to Know a Knave, the author was creating a play for Lord Strange’s Men by drawing from the work of Greene.

The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: as it was Plaide by the Right Honourable the Earle of Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and Earle of Sussex their Seruants (1594)

Titus Andronicus is the only play besides Fair Em with an apparent title-page attribution to Lord Strange’s Men, who became the Earl of Derby’s Men in (p.107) September 1593, when Ferdinando Stanley succeeded to the earldom of Derby. Attribution of the play to Strange’s/Derby’s Men poses a problem, however, because the play is not recorded among the 129 performances of Lord Strange’s Men at the Rose in 1592–93, and “titus & ondronicus” is marked as “ne” upon the first of its three performances by Sussex’s Men at the Rose on 23 January 1593/94. David George, developing an earlier suggestion by Paul E. Bennett, has argued that Titus Andronicus was indeed a new play in late January 1593/94 and that the title-page attribution is to a “combination” of players from Sussex’s Men supplemented by actors from Pembroke’s Men, who were forced to pawn their apparel and suspend their touring by August 1593, and Strange’s/Derby’s Men, whose last known appearance was in early December 1593.13

There is evidence to support the second of these theories: that Sussex’s Men, a company that had not appeared at court since 1591 and was probably without a patron following the death of the 4th Earl in December 1593, was in need of plays and players from other companies. Not until twenty-three days into their run at the Rose, and six days before its end, did Sussex’s Men perform the large-cast Titus Andronicus and The Jew of Malta. If the “gorge a gren” or “the piner of wiackefelld” performed by the company is the play entered in April 1595 as “the Pynder of Wakefielde” and published in 1599, with attribution to “the seruants of the right Honourable the Earle of Sussex,” then the personnel of Sussex’s Men were ten adults and four boys. The same is true if the quarto of Fair Em, cast for nine to ten men and four boys, was the “william the conkerer” performed by Sussex’s on 4 January. Some combination of “the Right Honourable the Earle of Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and Earle of Sussex their Seruants” was indeed necessary for the Rose performances of the large-cast Titus Andronicus and The Jew of Malta in late January 1593/94.

It does not follow, however, from the fact that “titus & ondronicus” was “ne” to the Rose in January 1593/94, that the play was at that time new to Lord Strange’s Men or to London audiences. Evidence to the contrary is an apparent allusion to Titus Andronicus in the 1594 quarto of A Knack to Know a Knave, a play that had been “ne” with Lord Strange’s Men at the Rose on 10 June 1592 and had been performed seven times by 24 January 1592/93:

  • My gratious Lord, as welcome shall you be,
  • To me, my Daughter, and my sonne in Law,
  • As Titus was vnto the Roman Senators,
  • When he had made a conquest on the Goths:
  • That in requitall of his seruice done,
  • Did offer him the imperiall Diademe.

(TLN 1488–93)

(p.108) On the grounds that A Knack to Know a Knave was in his view “a ‘bad’ quarto,” Paul Bennett argued that this reference to Titus’s “conquest on the Goths” involved a “slip of the tongue or pen,” that “Goths” should be “Jews,” and that the passage is thus an allusion to another play belonging to Lord Strange’s Men, the lost “tittus & vespacia.”14 Below we make a case for “tittus & vespacia” as a play dealing with Titus Vespasianus and the conquest of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem. It is not true, however, that the allusion in A Knack to Know a Knave fits Titus Vespasianus better than it fits Titus Andronicus. Titus Vespasianus did not receive the “imperiall Diademe” until his father’s death, nine years after his defeat of the Jews and outside the purview of the known plays on the subject, while Saturninus claims the “Imperiall Diademe” at the very outset of Titus Andronicus (TLN 12). Though, strictly speaking, it is true that Titus Andonicus’s nomination as emperor comes from “the people of Rome” for whom Marcus stands as a “speciall Partie” (i.e., tribune; TLN 28–29), it is not true, as Bennett maintains, that Saturninus is “the senators’ choice for emperor”;15 Saturninus proposes himself on the basis of heredity and merely claims the support of the “Noble Patricians” (TLN 7). On the other hand, Titus Andronicus is “by the Senate accited home,” and, as his rivals are urged to withdraw their candidacy “in the Capitall and Senates Right,” he is proposed “in election for the Romaine Empery” (TLN 52, 78, 30). The passage in A Knack to Know a Knave thus fits the opening scene of Titus Andronicus in ways that it does not fit either the historical sources or the extant plays which we believe are closest to the “tittus & vespacia” of Lord Strange’s Men.16

It remains possible, since A Knack to Know a Knave is a theatrical revision or abridgement with memorial elements, that the passage in question was not in the version performed in 1592–93 but was added closer in time to the publication of the quarto, which was entered on 7 January 1593/94. There is no timetable, however, that works well with Bennett’s theory that the word Goths must have been introduced on the eve of publication, when some of Strange’s/Derby’s Men, while preparing A Knack to Know a Knave for the press, were supposedly rehearsing to perform in a “ne” Titus Andronicus with Sussex’s Men on 23 January. Strange’s/Derby’s Men were playing in Coventry on 2 December 1593. When Sussex’s Men opened at the Rose in late December 1593, they were, as The Pinner of Wakefield suggests, approximately ten men and four boys. However, Titus Andronicus, with The Taming of the Shrew and the Henry VI plays, is among the most demanding of large-cast plays in the entire Shakespeare corpus.17 It is difficult to imagine that in the volatile circumstances of later 1593 Shakespeare would have been writing Titus Andronicus for a company that lacked the resources to perform it or for a consortium of actors that to all appearances did (p.109) not actually form until the final days of January 1593/94. Moreover if Titus Andronicus was in fact an entirely new play on 23 January 1593/94, then it had possibly the least successful life in the entire history of the Elizabethan stage, since it was entered for publication by John Danter exactly two weeks later, on 6 February. Titus Andronicus clearly did not belong to Sussex’s Men, whose second short stint at the Rose around Easter did not include the play. Instead the play turned up in June, at Newington Butts, in the hands of the new Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

Support for a more workable chronology may lie in the title-page attribution of Titus Andronicus to “the Right Honourable the Earle of Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and Earle of Sussex their Seruants,” for it is entirely possible that in addition to describing a consortium formed in January 1593/94, the attribution also describes a sequence of ownership and performance unfolding over a longer period of time. Such a sequence, based on older professional connections, would help to explain the brief formation of the apparent consortium under the name of (the deceased earl of) Sussex. As McMillin has theorized, Titus Andronicus “was carried along by one group of actors as they performed under a succession of patrons.”18 Confirmation of this theory comes from the title page of the 1600 quarto of Titus, which presents the play “As it hath sundry times beene playde by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke, the Earle of Darbie, the Earle of Sussex, and the Lorde Chamberlaine theyr Seruants.” If the addition of “sundry times” did not “suggest an assumption of performance by … the companies in succession,” the phrase would be logically vague, misleading, or ill-informed.19

For the play to have belonged, successively, to Strange’s Men and Pembroke’s Men before it was performed as “ne” at the Rose by a consortium under the patronage of the Earl of Sussex, the play must have been written before February 1591/92, since it does not appear in Henslowe’s record of Lord Strange’s Men at the Rose.20 There is no decisive piece of evidence, by way of unambiguous source or allusion, to prove this conjecture beyond doubt, but several circumstances provide support for it: possible verbal echoes in Titus Andronicus of The Troublesome Reign of King John (1591);21 vocabulary and stylistic tests that link the style of Titus most strongly to such early plays as The First Part of the Contention, The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, 1 Henry VI, Richard III, and The Taming of the Shrew;22 and the indication in Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair (1614) that “Jeronimo or Andronicus” had been on the stage “five and twenty, or thirty years” previously.23 None of this evidence is decisive, but it is at least as strong as the evidence in favor of a 1594 dating: the “ne” in Henslowe’s diary (which means only that the play received a “ne” performance at the Rose); the use of the word palliament in George Peele’s 1593 The Honour of the Garter (a (p.110) use that can be accounted for at Titus Andronicus 1.1.182 by the fact that Peele himself is the probable author of Act I);24 and verbal similarities between Titus Andronicus and Thomas Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveller (the dating of the latter, published in 1594, makes it possible that Nashe was the debtor rather than the source).25

Arguments in favor of an earlier dating can be tied to conjectures about the early history of Lord Strange’s Men and their relationship to Pembroke’s Men, as well as to Ben Jonson’s comment linking Titus Andronicus with Jeronimo at the same point in time twenty-five to thirty years before 1614. As Alan Hughes notes in pointing to the sensational violence, cruelty, and revenge that link Titus Andronicus to The Spanish Tragedy and The Jew of Malta, Shakespeare’s play “has much in common with a type of play which was being written before 1590. If it was written much after that date, it was a belated specimen of the type.”26 As with 2 and 3 Henry VI—the versions of them that formed the original two-part Contention play—so with Titus Andronicus: there is a reasonable probability that this play belonged in the first instance to Lord Strange’s Men but remained with the Burbage core of a newly formed Pembroke’s Men.

2 and 3 Henry VI

Differences between the Folio versions of 2 Henry VI and 3 Henry VI and the versions of these plays published as The First part of the Contention betwixt the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster (1594) and The true Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke (1595)27 suggest that some original version of the former two preceded the latter two in composition and may have been written in the first instance for Lord Strange’s Men. In chapter 9 we explore some features of 2 Henry VI and 3 Henry VI that arguably follow from an association of the plays with Lord Strange’s Men. We summarize here some of the textual matters and points of chronology that lend support to this attribution.

The quarto of The First Part of the Contention (Q) has been attributed to Pembroke’s Men, based on its close relationship to the octavo version (O) of 3 Henry VI, The true Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke (1595), which claims the play “was sundrie times acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke his seruants.” The two texts are also linked by the single-volume publication of both plays as a two-part sequence, The Whole Contention betweene the two Famous Houses, Lancaster and Yorke, by Thomas Pavier in 1619.28 Both plays are shorter by about a third than their Folio equivalents, and they are marked by other features—confusions between verse and prose, auditory spellings, anticipations, inter-play borrowings, inferior language, and occasionally garbled (p.111) sense—that suggest the use of memory or recitation in preparation of the text or intervention by “scribes, compositors, forgetful authors, revising authors, adapters, or other playhouse personnel adding to a MS.”29 Several theories have been advanced to explain these features: (1) “revision” theories30 that, from Malone to Charles Prouty, saw Folio 2 Henry VI and 3 Henry VI as Shakespearean rewrites of cruder non-Shakespearean originals; (2) “bad quarto” theories31 of piracy and memorial reconstruction that link various textual features, such as reduced casting requirements, cuts and abbreviation, prose in place of verse, and theatrical explicitness, to memorial reconstruction of a Shakespearean text abbreviated for provincial touring; and (3) the view, which began with the work of Madeleine Doran, that The First Part of the Contention represents a “good” quarto in the sense that it more or less accurately represents a “good acting version” of what we have in the Folio 2 Henry VI, whatever its precise relationship to that text.32 The same has more recently been argued for The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York, and this view of both texts has gained support both from theater historians who suggest that The First Part of the Contention and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York were designed for performance in London playhouses33 and from revisionist textual scholars who, while raising doubts about the “bad quarto” theory generally, have increasingly insisted on the idea that quarto texts, even sometimes “bad” ones, represent alternative versions of the plays, with different interpretive implications.34

There is less ground for certainty about the company with which the original plays behind Folio 2 and 3 Henry VI were first associated, but a prominent school of thought maintains that the Folio texts derive from play scripts that were revised and perhaps censored over time but were originally intended for performance by Strange’s Men.35 There is also therefore a body of opinion that holds the theatrical revisions and abridgements represented in The First Part of the Contention and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York were prepared by Pembroke’s Men from these plays originally belonging to Lord Strange’s Men. Chronology supports this view. The allusion in Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit to “a Tygres Heart, wrapt in a Womans Hide” (3 Henry VI, TLN 603) must have been written by the time of the Groatsworth’s entry in the Stationer’s Register on 20 September 1592, that is, too soon after the Rose debut of 1 Henry VI on 3 March 1591/92 for the second and third parts to have been written “in the order of the events” they portray.36 Such a sequence would be possible if 1 Henry VI, while “ne” at the Rose in March 1591/92, was actually an older play previously performed elsewhere, but the play seems newly written to exploit contemporary interest in Essex’s siege of Rouen in the winter of 1591/92.37 Moreover if 1 Henry VI had been written before parts 2 and 3 (which until the 1623 publication of (p.112) the Folio had always been treated as a freestanding two-part sequence), then parts 2 and 3 would not exhibit ignorance of Talbot and other important matters treated in part 1.38 Possible echoes of 3 Henry VI in The Troublesome Reign of King John, published in 1591, suggest that the second and third parts had been written before that, at a time when there is no evidence to prove that Pembroke’s Men as yet existed.39 The most reasonable inferences are that “by 1591, 2 and 3 Henry VI had been performed successfully, presumably by Lord Strange’s company,” and that “when Alleyn and some of Strange’s Men left the Theatre for the Rose … they may have taken Part One with them, in its present form or partly written, while Parts Two and Three were retained by the Burbages at the Theatre; if … Pembroke’s company was created to play at the Theatre, that would explain how Pembroke’s Men came to be in possession of Parts Two and Three, but not Part One.”40 Recent editors of 2 and 3 Henry VI have found in references to “bigboond Warwike” in The True Tragedy (sig. E3) and to the “coale-black hayre” of Warwick in 3 Henry VI (TLN 2733) and of Cade in The First Part of the Contention (TLN 2022) evidence that these parts were doubled by Edward Alleyn during his association with Lord Strange’s Men.41

Despite being considerably shorter than their Folio counterparts, Q and O contain additional matter not found in 2 and 3 Henry VI: the onstage murder of Duke Humphrey and an additional Cade scene in Q; a larger role for Bucking-ham in O. Since Q and O apparently altered the originals of 2 and 3 Henry VI in other respects—cutting down the roles of Hume and Bullingbroke and eliminating the role of Southwell in Q, cutting and rearranging scenes in Act 4 of O—it is possible that some of this material was added in revision. But given the tendency of Q and O to cut rather than add material elsewhere, it is possible that the original versions of the plays also contained this additional material.

An obstacle to recovering the originals behind 2 and 3 Henry VI and their Pembroke’s counterparts is the possibility of later revision within the Folio texts themselves.42 In the absence of the originals that the textual data require us to hypothesize, there is finally no way of knowing for a certainty “what may have been added or amended,” after the publication of the Pembroke’s texts in 1594– 95, to “the manuscript behind F.” Nevertheless the evident agency of two different early companies, Strange’s and Pembroke’s Men, in the creation of these plays, together with the context of patronage and politics in the early 1590s, prompts us to speculate, in chapter 9, on what happened to Shakespeare’s early history plays, including Richard III, as they passed, perhaps with their author, from one company to another.

(p.113) Sir Thomas More

MS Harley 7368, or “The Booke of Sir Thomas Moore,” is a manuscript play with revisions by several hands. The earliest layer of the manuscript is a fair copy, in the hand of Anthony Munday (Hand S) of a play, perhaps originally by more than one author, depicting the rise and fall of the legendary Londoner, from his successful quelling of the Evil May Day riot of 1517 to his execution in 1535, an event that the play only vaguely attributes to More’s refusal to “subscribe vnto those Articles” as demanded by the king.43 The manuscript contains substantial revisions and additions by several other hands, including that of the person (Hand C) who compiled (and in some places transcribed) the revisions and made alterations to the manuscript in preparation for performance. Hands widely accepted as those of Henry Chettle (Hand A), Thomas Heywood (Hand B), Shakespeare (Hand D), and Thomas Dekker (Hand E) contributed numerous revisions and additions. Some of these are made on the original manuscript of Hand S, but the most substantial (ff. 7a–9a and ff. 12a–13b) are written on fresh sheets replacing pages removed from the original, and they undertake major revisions to two evidently controversial portions of the original play. These deal with the London uprising against aliens on Evil May Day 1517 (scenes i and iii–vi) and with More at the peak of his career, between his rise to knighthood and his arrest for treason (scene viii).

Contributions to the original layer of the manuscript (henceforth the “Original Text”) in the hand of Edmund Tilney, Master of the Revels, provide an explanation for at least some of the revisions. Crossing out single speeches in the opening scene depicting the mob on Evil May Day and then marking the whole scene for deletion, Tilney went on with marginal advice to “mend” a passage referring to “these dangerous times” and to “the displeased cōmons of the Cittie” (TLN 318, 323). He altered references to “straunger” and “ffrencheman” (TLN 359, 364, 369), called for portions of the scene to be deleted, and objected to a further mention of “these troublous times” (TLN 583–97). Later in the manuscript, Tilney turned his attention to More’s recalcitrance in the “king’s great matter,” canceling a portion of the scene depicting the refusal of More and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, to sign the king’s articles (TLN 1246–75). From Tilney’s summary comment at the head of the manuscript it is clear that his primary concern was with the play’s depiction of the Evil May Day rising. He warns the players to leave out “ye insur<rection> wholy & ye Cause ther off & <b>egin wt Sr Tho: Moore att ye mayors sessions wt a reportt afterwardes off his good servic’ done being Shriue off Londō vppō a mutiny Agaynst ye Lũbardes only by A shortt reportt & nott otherwise att your own perrilles. E Tyllney” (ll. 1–19n.).

(p.114) Until recently a key set of circumstances involving Hand C—including the connection of Hand C with another play in the hand of Anthony Munday, John a Kent and John a Cumber, and with The platt of The Secound parte of the Seuen Deadlie Sinns (Dulwich College Archive: MS XIX)—was considered cause for linking Sir Thomas More and these other plays to Lord Strange’s Men. But David Kathman, following an earlier suggestion by McMillin, has advanced new evidence for attributing the plot of 2 Deadly Sins to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men circa 1597–98. The implication that Hand C, which is also connected with the Admiral’s Men’s Fortune’s Tennis (variously dated 1597–1602), might have worked for both the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and the Lord Admiral’s at roughly the same time in the later 1590s raises problems for Kathman’s attribution.44 Nevertheless Kathman’s evidence that the Thomas Belt of 2 Deadly Sins was apprenticed to the Lord Chamberlain’s John Heminges in November 1595 is sufficiently strong that the case for linking Hand C’s work in Sir Thomas More to some connection with Lord Strange’s Men by way of his role in 2 Deadly Sins can no longer be considered secure.

Attributions of the original text of Sir Thomas More to Lord Strange’s Men in 1592–93 have otherwise rested partly on arguments involving historical circumstances and partly on theater-historical considerations. A number of scholars have connected both the play’s treatment of Evil May Day and Tilney’s apparent dislike of it to the anti-alien agitation in London between the riots of June 1592 and to the discovery of the so-called Dutch Church libel, an anti-alien diatribe posted on the churchyard wall of the Dutch Reformed Church in Broad Street, in early May 1593.45 In support of such historical arguments, McMillin drew attention to corroborating theater-historical evidence: the fact that the play contains an unusually large number of speaking parts for a large-scale company and the fact that among roles predating that of Shakespeare’s Henry V, the eight-hundred-line part of More is exceeded in length only by those of Hieronimo, Tamburlaine, Barabas, and Richard III. The first three of these were indubitably roles played by Edward Alleyn, and the fourth may have been as well, if, as we believe, Richard III was written in the first instance for Lord Strange’s Men. If the last attribution is correct, then all of these plays, with the exception of Tamburlaine (another Alleyn role), may have belonged to Lord Strange’s company.46

In his recent edition of Sir Thomas More, John Jowett takes issue with “most critics” by dating the original text to circa 1600. Jowett casts doubt on the validity of McMillin’s theater-historical evidence, pointing out that casting for the play is not exceptionally demanding and that long roles like those cited above continued to be performed in revivals by later companies even as new large (p.115) roles, like those of Henry V and Hamlet, were created. He also dismisses the contextual arguments regarding anti-alien disorders in 1592–93 as “too malleable” and in fact “doubtful,” since it could be argued that the play “could not have been written at the same time [as the anti-alien uprising of 1592–93] because the event made any potential reference to it subject to censorship.”47 That is, however, precisely what dating of the play to 1592–93 and the evidence of Tilney’s censorship argue. And in fact there is evidence in The Life and Death of Jack Straw (entered 23 October 1593, published 1594) of another play from 1592–93 that, from the safer distance of the Peasants’ Rebellion, did indeed, and quite anachronistically, succeed in depicting a scene of anti-alien violence with clear relevance to contemporary events:

  •    Enter Nobs with a Flemming.
  • Sirra here it is set downe by our Captaines that as many
  • of you as cannot say bread and cheese, in good and perfect
  • English, ye die for it, & that was the cause so many strangers did die in Smithfield.
  • Let me heare you say bread and cheese.
  • Brocke and Keyse.

Exeunt both (ll. 615–21)

Likewise in The First Part of the Contention, the Cade rebellion inflects Lord Say’s speaking in Latin in a way that matches the contemporary anti-alien feeling found in Sir Thomas More:

  • All. Kent, what of Kent?
  • Say. Nothing but bona, terra.
  • Cade. Bonum terum, sounds whats that?
  • Dicke. He speakes French.
  • Will. No tis Dutch.

(sigs G2–G2v).48

In dating the Original Text to 1600, Jowett offers a new set of contextual and circumstantial arguments, but these are not, in our view, as convincing as those that support the earlier date of 1592–93:

(1) Assuming both that the contested date written at the end of Munday’s manuscript of John a Kent and John a Cumber is 1595 or 1596 and that this represents the date of the play’s composition, Jowett uses Edward Maunde Thompson’s dating of Munday’s hand in Sir Thomas More as “later” than his hand in Kent in Cumber to argue that 1596 is the safer estimate of the earliest date at (p.116) which the Original Text could have been prepared. He fails to mention Thompson’s observations that this disputed date, not in Munday’s hand, may once have been linked to further writing on the left-hand portion of the page that has been torn away, that the purpose of the date is unknown and “provides no actual basis for a date of the play,” and that Munday’s hand in Sir Thomas More has “a much nearer palaeographical connection” to Kent and Cumber than to The Heaven of the Mynde (dated 1602 in Munday’s own hand).49

(2) Jowett cites a “renewed vogue for history plays” in 1598–1600 as a possible incitement for the Original Text, but the first vogue for history plays in the early 1590s included both Jack Straw and 2 Henry VI, two plays specifically involving public disorders in London. Jowett fails to notice that many of the phrases in the Original Text or revisions of Sir Thomas More that he links to mob scenes in Julius Caesar and Coriolanus can also be found in the Cade rebellion dating from circa 1590–92.50 While Jowett connects Marc Antony’s whipping of Julius Caesar’s crowd “into an insurrectionary rage against the conspirators” with More’s pacification of the May Day mob, he fails to note the closer analogy between More’s calming of the uprising and the elder Clifford’s eloquent quelling of the Cade rebellion in 2 Henry VI (“What say ye, countrymen?”).51

(3) Jowett links the “poore artifi[cers]” of a censored passage in the Original Text (TLN 392) to a 1599 petition against aliens by the “poor artificers” of the Merchant Taylors, but he fails to note that the phrase is common parlance for the journeymen and nonliveried craftsmen of the London companies,52 and he fails to observe that the phrase was actually used in the anti-alien Dutch Church libel, the document with which the fates of Marlowe, Kyd, and the London theater world became so unfortunately entangled in May 1593:

  • Cutthrote like in selling, you vndoe
  • vs all, & with our store continually you feast: We cannot suffer long.
  • Our pore artificers doe starve & dye.53

The principal text Jowett cites on anti-alien sentiment is Thomas Deloney’s letter on behalf of English silk weavers, a document in print by July 1595 and, addressed to the ministers of the Dutch and French Churches, a clear response to the events of 1592–93. It is also this same period that produced Sir Moyle Finch’s argument in Parliament (21 March 1592/93) in behalf of tolerance, a speech whose use of the golden rule (“They are strangers now, we may be strangers hereafter. So let us do as we would be done unto”)54 chimes closely with More’s speech in the revision. Finch’s speech might well have influenced the Original Text, which had already departed from Holinshed’s narrative by concluding (p.117) the riot with some version of More’s successfully “persuading the rebellious persons to cease.”55

(4) Jowett attempts to connect Sir Thomas More with William Haughton’s Englishmen for My Money (1598), but what he calls the latter’s “jocular form of hostility” directed against an avaricious moneylender, a Portuguese Jew, in a marriage comedy involving English gallants and wealthy foreign merchants is quite different from the violent labor-based mob action against French and Dutch Protestants in Sir Thomas More. The scenes in Sir Thomas More resemble more closely the anti-alien events and documents of 1592–93 or the attack on Flemings in Jack Straw. Jowett also calls attention to the influence of “city comedy” on Sir Thomas More’s “focus on the social lives of London citizens, and its references to “the lord mayor, the aldermen, the sheriffs, the mayoral sessions, city locations and institutions, trades, apprentices, money, play, food, and families” (p. 425). It is true that Sir Thomas More shares these traits with city comedy, but it also shares them with Jack Straw and with three of the four plays in Shakespeare’s first tetralogy—1 Henry VI, 2 Henry VI, and Richard III—where contexts of civic disorder and public crisis are much closer to the events of Sir Thomas More.

(5) Jowett maintains that Doll Williamson in Sir Thomas More ‘”correlates” with the Doll Tearsheet of 2 Henry VI and the Doll of 1 Sir John Oldcastle, but apart from their mutual volubility, the likeness is slim, since the latter two are either “potentially or actually a prostitute,” whereas Doll Williamson is “a faithful wife who resists abduction” (p. 30). “Doll” is a familiar colloquial diminutive, and there is perhaps a stronger nondramatic precedent for Doll Williamson as the wife of a London citizen in the Doll Stodie of Richard Johnson’s Nine Worthies of London (1592), a girl who courted a future Lord Mayor during his apprenticeship (sig. E2v).

(6) More persuasive are the resemblances Jowett notes between Sir Thomas More and later plays on other Tudor counselors, Sir Thomas Cromwell (1602) and (perhaps) Henslowe’s lost plays on Cardinal Wolsey (c. 1601). In this category of plays “dealing with the lives of the friends and advisers of kings” (p. 29), Jowett also includes 1 Sir John Oldcastle (1600). More does indeed have affinities with Cromwell and Oldcastle, but these likenesses do not fit well with Jowett’s acknowledgment of More’s “closer relation to the model of the saint’s life and its focus on a Catholic martyr” (p. 31) or with his speculation that after 1600 “a play about More might have appeared a timely renegotiation of the Catholic past.” Unlike Sir Thomas More, Cromwell and Oldcastle are staunchly Protestant plays; so are all the other Jacobean plays on the Tudor period, such as If You Know Not Me You Know No Body (1605), When You See Me You Know Me (p.118) (1605), The Whore of Babylon (1607), and Henry VIII (1613). Jowett’s account of More’s “renegotiation of the Catholic past” is a much better fit, we believe, with the religious and political orientation of Lord Strange’s Men (as we describe it in chapter 7). The period of Anthony Munday’s “engage[ment] in religious controversy” was the 1580s, not the 1600s,56 and what Jowett describes as “the apparently contradictory nature of his involvement” (p. 14) has strong affinities with Lord Strange and his company. Jowett has stated elsewhere that there is “no evidence” of Munday “writing plays at all during the period of Lord Strange’s Men.”57 Munday did, however, dedicate his Defence of Contraries (1593) to Lord Strange with his “humble affection” and the offer of his “very vttermost habilitie to your Honors service.”58 Francis Meres’s 1598 inclusion of “Anthony Mundye our best plotter” and “Henry Chettle” among the “best Poets for Comedy”59 is hard to reconcile with Jowett’s very late dating of the dramatic careers of Munday and Chettle (a possible contributor to the Original Text) based on the accident of their first appearances in Henslowe’s accounts of payments to playwrights, records which Henslowe did not begin keeping until late 1597. We offer below and in chapter 7 our reasons for thinking Munday might have written both John a Kent and John a Cumber and Sir Thomas More for Strange’s Men.

(7) Drawing on recent work by Macdonald P. Jackson, Jowett cites stylistic features that might support a later date for the Original Text: “the placement of midline pauses and the presence of a number of oaths, exclamations and contractions” typical of a later date as well as “the relatively high frequency of modern ‘has’ and ‘does’ over the older ‘hath’ and ‘doth’ ” (p. 430). Some of the features examined by Jackson are indeed more common after 1600 than before, but none of them—unless it be the four contractions, “then’s” (used twice), “they’d,” “bear’t,” and “deny’t,” unknown in any other play before 1597–98 (three of the four actually appear previously in prose or verse)—raise serious obstacles to a dating of 1592–93.60

(8) Jowett supports his late dating with the suggestion that two of the anecdotes in the Original Text (More’s jest about a possible capitulation to the king’s demand and a jest about his urine and possible longevity) derive from Sir John Harington’s The Metamorphosis of Ajax (1596). The first of these, however, also appears in another acknowledged source, Thomas Stapleton’s Tres Thomae (1589), where it is immediately juxtaposed to an anecdote wherein More’s wife visits the Tower to urge him “not to sacrifice his children,”61 just as she also urges him in the immediately adjacent passage in the play (“haue care of your poore wife and children” [TLN 1813]). This connection to Alice More’s visit and the fact that in the play the jest is played on Alice during her visit make Stapleton (p.119) the more likely source. The second jest, not found in any source outside of Harington, contains one very strong overlap in phrasing (“he saw nothing in that mans water, but that he might liue long enough / So pleased the king” [Harington]; “the man were likely to liue long enough / so pleased the king” [TLN 1753–54]). Harington may not have been the earliest or the only source for the anecdote, however. The jest has been described as belonging to an “oral tradition” of anecdotes, some of which “found their way into the sources, while others did not.”62 Moreover The Metamorphosis of Ajax lacks a related jest, about More’s suffering from the stone, which is directly connected in the play to the one involving More’s urine. This supports the possibility of an independent source, as does the fact that the wording in the version of the urine story told in the biography of More by “Ro: Ba:,” usually dated to 1599, differs markedly from the wording in Harington (“this patient is not so sicke but that he may do well, if it be not the kings pleasure he should die”). Perhaps most tellingly, apart from this single passage extant in Harington, there is no source material used in the play that was not already published before 1589. If the play was not written until 1600, it is surprising that no further piece of source material published later than 1589 has been found sticking to it.63

Four contractions unprecedented in drama (but found in other works) before 1597–98, the single jest from The Metamorphosis of Ajax, and a general resemblance (despite key religious differences) to Sir Thomas Cromwell are perhaps the weightiest of Jowett’s evidence against an attribution of the Original Text to 1592–93. But if Jowett is correct in redating the play to 1600, he has been unable to attribute the play to a company (the play does not appear as an Admiral’s Men’s play in Henslowe’s diary) or to explain convincingly why the play was written at that time or why Tilney, at that later date, chose to censor it. The earlier date, we believe, presents fewer obstacles to a plausible company attribution and provides stronger motives both for the play’s composition and for its censorship. Among the circumstances converging on 1592/93 there is, as Ernst Honigmann has noted, the “strange coincidence” that it was in 1593 that More’s grandson, Thomas More II (1531–1606), commissioned from Rowland Lockey three paintings of the extended More family, all of them based on a lost original by Hans Holbein.64

Prior to the recent appearance of Jowett’s edition, the main area of disagreement over the manuscript was not the date and auspices of the original play by Hand S but the date of Hand C’s revisions and the additions in Hands A, B, D, and E. Giorgio Melchiori, relying on the now questionable link between Hand C’s role in the plot of 2 Deadly Sins and Lord Strange’s Men, argues that both the original play and its revisions and additions date to 1593; but a problem with (p.120) this view is that none of the work by the additional hands is marked by comments from Tilney, whose censorship appears to predate them. As Greg observed, “only collective insanity” could have led the revisers to undertake their relatively minor revisions in the immediate aftermath of Tilney’s sweeping advice at the head of the manuscript to leave out “ye insur<rection> wholy” and replace it with “A shortt reportt & nott otherwise att your own perrilles.” It has been argued that Tilney read the manuscript twice, first the Original on which he made his running comments and then the revised play, after which, in lieu of further marginal comment, he subsequently left his single stringent note at the head of the manuscript, requiring the company to “leave out ‘ye insur<rection> wholy.”65 But the idea that Tilney could have reread the revised manuscript in its disor ganized and nearly indecipherable state is on the face of it implausible, and there are additional difficulties with early dating of the additions, including the fact that Thomas Heywood (Hand B) is not known to have begun his playwriting career until after February 1592/93 and the fact that Thomas Dekker (Hand E), born in 1572, is not otherwise known to have written for the theater before 1598.

McMillin, building on the role of Hand C in the plot of Fortune’s Tennis, attributed by Greg to the Lord Admiral’s Men circa 1597–98, argued that the additions and revisions to “Sir Thomas More” in Hands A, B, C, and E were prepared for the Lord Admiral’s Men “shortly after 1600.”66 However, on the inference that Hand D’s use of the previously censored word strangers shows he was unaware of Tilney’s censorship or the other additions (and implicitly assuming that Shakespeare would not have contributed to revision of a play for the Lord Admiral’s Men as late as 1600), McMillin concluded that Shakespeare must have “participated in the original composition of the play, as a collaborator with Hand S” and any other writers whose work S was transcribing.67

Aside from his failure to explain why Hand D would have made a separate addition (requiring deletion of equivalent material) to what is otherwise a continuous layer of original composition, there are, as Gary Taylor has pointed out, additional problems not addressed by McMillin’s argument.68 Taylor challenges McMillin not only on the date of Hand D’s addition but also on his attribution of the post-1600 revisions to the Lord Admiral’s Men, suggesting instead the possibility that the revisions could have been undertaken by Shakespeare’s own company. If, as Kathman has recently suggested, the plot of 2 Deadly Sins was prepared by Hand C not for Lord Strange’s Men in 1590–91 but for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men in 1597–98, that would be further evidence to support Taylor’s attribution of the revised Sir Thomas More to the latter company.

(p.121) For our purposes, given the reasonable possibility that the revisions came later and for a different company (Strange’s Men having probably disbanded by the end of 1593), it matters little which company undertook them. As we have demonstrated, there are lines of descent from Lord Strange’s Men into both of the later companies, and plays previously performed by Lord Strange’s Men can be found in the continuing repertory of each of them. That the revisions were probably undertaken later, and not by Lord Strange’s Men, does have a significant impact on the text we imagine the company was preparing, but the preponderance of the evidence (and, with important exceptions,69 of scholarly opinion) continues to point to Lord Strange’s Men as the company to whom Sir Thomas More was first “offered for performance”70 and therefore as the company to whom Tilney was directing his advice when he warned that they would be performing the unrevised play “att [their] own perrilles.”

It is of course deeply significant to our purposes that the portion of the play in Shakespeare’s hand, More’s quelling of the insurrection in scene v, cannot be securely linked to the play’s early history with Lord Strange’s Men. There is evidence of contributions from other authors in the Original Text transcribed by Munday,71 and it is not impossible that Shakespeare was among them or that, at whatever date, he was revising himself in scene v. We do know, in any case, from Tilney’s warning about reporting rather than representing More’s “good servic don”—as we also know from Hand C’s addition and from subsequent scenes—that missing leaves in Munday’s hand must have presented a scene similar in substance to the contribution given in Hand D. We know also from the canceled lines at the end of f. 5v (and from the canceled lines at the beginning of the council scene transcribed by Hand C on the verso f. 7v of Addition II) that in scene iv of the original text, “<t>hree or foure Prentises” accosted Sir John Munday in the street and one of them wounded him “in the forhead wth his Cudgill” (l. 452; Addition II, l. 73).

For the text as it may have been prepared for Lord Strange’s Men, our purpose is best served by Greg’s Malone Society Reprint, which presents in continuous form the Original Text in Hand S, retaining the original version of scene iv (without the added Clown), the surviving portion of the canceled scene v (the apprentice insurrection), the original consolation speech of More to his wife (TLN 1471–516), and the canceled lines (1956–64) in which, on the scaffold, More anticipates the resurrection of his soul. For the purposes of reconstructing original material lost from the original between ff. 11b and 14a we must needs rely at a minimum upon Addition II, ll. 68–270, for the council scene (v) and More’s quelling of the insurrection (vi), which we can judge from the original Hand S folios missing between ff. 5b and 10a must have been roughly (p.122) similar in length to the portions of Addition II on ff. 7b–9a. We must also rely on those two portions within Addition IV, ff. 12a–13b that provide the upshot of More’s joke on Erasmus and Surrey lost from the original text (ll. 130–81) and that explain that the arrest of the ruffian Faulkner as resulting from an affray in Paternoster Row (ll. 26–65). For the purpose of our analysis, we make no use of the remaining portions of the Additions, and we retain the sequence of events from the original text for scene (viiia–b) involving the long-haired ruffian and the meeting with Erasmus. So far as we can determine, the total of 292 lines for which we must rely on Additions II and IV has no impact on casting for the Original Text, which we estimate requires fifteen adults (twelve in principal roles) and six boys, a number in line with casting for several of the company’s other plays.

This first version of Sir Thomas More was a daring play, and not just for its ambitious scale or its edgy engagement with discontent and public disorder—a feature that links it with Jack Straw and with the Cade rebellion in The First Part of the Contention and 2 Henry VI. Its unusual protagonist is a commoner who rises to uncommon heroism during times of public emergency on the strength of his conscience. Written, we suggest, during a period of public disorder, doctrinal conflict, and official persecution (and not from the safer perspective of later times), the play takes up, against the ideological grain of its time, the life of a discredited Catholic saint, and it alludes obliquely to all that followed from “the king’s great matter”; yet it also insists (at even greater risk of being misunderstood) that the salvation of its hero’s soul does not rest on doctrine but on virtue. We explain in chapter 7 why we believe that is a profile that fits Lord Strange’s Men.

John a Kent and John a Cumber

John a Kent and John a Cumber (Huntington Library: MS 500) is a comedy in the hand of Anthony Munday, with an endorsement and few stage directions added in the same Hand C that compiled the revisions to Sir Thomas More. The manuscript is wrapped in a portion of the same vellum leaf (from the Compilatio prima of Canon Law by Bernard of Pavia) that was used for the wrapper of Sir Thomas More. Until recently these links between the two manuscripts and their connection to the same Hand C that wrote The platt of The Secound parte of the Seuen Deadlie Sinns were reason for attributing the play to Lord Strange’s Men. That attribution is necessarily weakened if, as Kathman proposes, the plot of 2 Deadly Sins belongs rather to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men circa 1597–98.72

(p.123) A second rationale sometimes offered for attributing John a Kent and John a Cumber to Lord Strange’s Men is a date written at the end of the manuscript. The portion of the final leaf that comes just before the date is torn away, and with it any information, such as a note of licensing or sale, that might explain the date’s significance. Read as “1595” by the play’s earliest editors, J. P. Collier and J. S. Farmer, the date was reinterpreted as “1596” by Edward Maunde Thompson and W. W. Greg, and it has recently been read as such by MacDonald P. Jackson.73 I. A. Shapiro proposed “1590,” a date that supported attribution to Lord Strange’s Men and remained unquestioned until Jackson’s redating to 1596 and Grace Ioppolo’s revival of the claim that the date is “1595.”74 In any case, because the hand is not Munday’s and because the meaning of the date, placed on the right hand side of a page whose left side is torn away, is unknown, the date could have been added to the manuscript at any time subsequent to its completion by Munday; it does not necessarily indicate a date of composition.

One small circumstance may support the possibility of composition closer to the “1590” proposed by Shapiro: an apparent attack on Munday in the Protestacyon of Martin the Great, a Martinist pamphlet dating to mid-September 1589: “Among all the rimers and stage-players, which my Lords of the clergy had suborned against me, I remember Mar-Martin, John a Cant his hobby-horse, was to his reproach newly put out of the Morris, take it how he will, with a flat discharge for ever shaking his shins about a May-pole again while he lived.”75 Noting that “Maister Munday” was also addressed in a mock “oration of Iohn Canterburie to the pursuivants” in The iust censure and reproofe of Martin Iunior (July 1589), some scholars have cited Munday’s roles as an anti-Martinist writer and pursuivant in the service of John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, as evidence that The Protestacyon was referring not only to Munday but also, through the phrasing “John a Cant” (a form not otherwise used by Martinists in reference to Whitgift), to Munday’s “John a Kent.”76 If The Protestacyon was alluding to John a Kent and John a Cumber, that would place the play very early indeed in the career of Lord Strange’s Men, a possibility enhanced by the fact that members of the company were arrested for defying a ban on anti-Martinist playing in November 1589 and by the ways in which, as Donna Hamilton has shown, the play encodes a satire against puritans (see chapter 7). An alternative suggestion is that John a Kent and John a Cumber was influenced by The Protestacyon’s jibes against Whitgift as “John a Cant.,” “John o’ Cant.,” and “John of Cant.,” and that the play depicts in merrier, less contentious form the conflict between John Whitgift of Canterbury and the Cambrian or Cumbrian John Penry, widely suspected as the creator of Martin Marprelate. Observing that the war between Kent and Cumber, while “repeating the discomfiture of (p.124) Marprelate in anti-Martinist plays,” makes use of music, foolery, and a morris dance, E. A. J. Honigmann suggested that the play, possibly coauthored by Nashe and Munday, could be a milder version of the threatened “May-game of Martinisme” that Nashe claimed to be preparing in October 1589.77 Perhaps telling against this early date and attribution is the fact that John a Kent and John a Cumber was apparently not performed at the Rose in 1592–93; but its absence might very well be due to the disfavor into which anti-Martinist playing, and Lord Strange’s Men, fell in later 1589. A further complication to attributing the play to Strange’s Men is the fact that one of the most popular plays of the Lord Admiral’s Men at the Rose in 1594–97, performed as “ne” on 2 December 1594 and repeated thirty-two times subsequently, was “the wise man of chester” or “of Westchester.” The environs of Chester are the setting for much of the action in Munday’s play, and the presence of “Kentes woden leage” in a Henslowe inventory of March 1597/98 has led some to suggest this was a property belonging to The Wise Man of Westchester; but a wooden leg is not a property of the wise man John a Kent in Munday’s manuscript. That anomaly has sometimes been offered as a reason for thinking that The Wise Man of Westchester was not Munday’s play but possibly a rival or sequel; but it is also possible that “Kentes woden leage” was connected with a play other than The Wise Man of Westchester.78 If The Wise Man of Westchester, “ne” to the Rose in 1594, is identical with John a Kent, this is no obstacle to the play’s having been performed by Strange’s Men prior to their arrival at the Rose or while on tour. In fact, if the play was connected to the Marprelate controversy, it may have become for a while too risky to perform.

The play has strong affinities with other plays attributable to Lord Strange’s Men, including clown scenes that resemble “KEMPS applauded Merrimentes” in A Knack to Know a Knave and a magician whose aid of lovers resembles the Friar Bacon of John of Bordeaux. While these might, as Douglas Arrell has recently argued, mark John a Kent and John a Cumber as a later imitation of the Strange’s repertory, Turnop’s scenes in the play seem less an imitation for another company than scenes specifically designed for Kemp’s unique talents and stage persona. Greene’s Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, rather than John of Bordeaux, could have been a precedent for John a Kent, A Knack to Know a Knave, and other magian plays belonging to Strange’s Men. Resemblances of Turnop to Bottom the Weaver and of Shrimp to Puck the Weaver, have been taken by several scholars as evidence that John a Kent and John a Cumber must have preceded the writing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1594– 95).79

(p.125) Our attribution of John a Kent and John a Cumber to Lord Strange’s Men rests not only upon its possible engagement in the Marprelate controversy but also upon the play’s immersion in the landscape and legends of Chester, Flint-shire, and Holywell Priory. No company has a stronger claim for knowing and being known in these regions than Lord Strange’s Men. In chapter 7 we examine the play’s relevance to religious controversy in the early 1590s, and in chapter 8 we present the case for John a Kent and John a Cumber as a play written to support regional performance in the Stanley domains.

The Lost Rose Plays

In addition to the extant plays that can be linked to Strange’s Men through Henslowe’s diary or by other means, we know from Henslowe’s diary the titles of an additional sixteen to eighteen plays80 now lost: “syr Iohn mandevell,” “clorys & orgasto,” “poope Ione,” “matchavell,” “bendo & Richardo,” “iiij playes in one,” “senobia,” “constantine,” “Q Ierusallem”/“Ierusalem,” “harey of cornwell,” “brandymer,” “tittus & vespacia,” “the second parte of tamber came”/“tambercame,” “the taner of Denmarke,” “the gelyous comodey,” and “the comodey of cosmo.”

To judge by frequency of performance and daily receipts, some of these plays, such as “syr Iohn mandevell,” “tambercame,” “tittus & vespacia,” and “harey of cornwell,” were among the company’s more successful or popular. Because of their prominence in the repertory, these titles have a special claim upon our attention. At the other extreme, several of the remaining titles of lost plays, none of them marked “ne,” appear only once in the diary, in all of these cases within the company’s first six weeks of recorded performance at the Rose: “clorys & orgasto,” “poope Ione,” “iiij playes in one,” “senobia,” “constantine,” and “brandymer.” The implication that these were older plays waning in popularity does not mean, however, that they too were not, at some earlier point, perhaps even during an earlier run at the Rose, just as successful with audiences as “syr Iohn mandevell” and “tittus & vespacia” or just as much an expression of the company’s identity and style. Neither should the primary reason that plays are “lost”—the fact that they were apparently not printed—necessarily imply that they were bad or uninteresting. That should be evident from the apparent success of “syr Iohn mandevell” and from later revivals or rewritings that appear to be connected with “tittus & vespacia” and “tambercame.”

Yet another category of play may be represented by the single performance of the “ne” and now lost play usually transcribed as “the taner of Denmarke.” The (p.126) play’s debut was the third most profitable performance in the company’s 134 days at the Rose, ranking just behind the debut performances of “harey the vj” and “the tragedy of the gvyes,” yet in fifty-two subsequent performances the play was not repeated. Perhaps 23 May 1592 was a particularly fine day on which high expectations for “the taner of Denmarke” met with particularly sharp disappointment, or perhaps the play proved unmanageable from a technical stand-point. But we know from the playhouse manuscript of Sir Thomas More—as we also know from the titles of “lost” plays like The Isle of Dogs—that a bar to further performance or publication could in some cases result from a play’s potentially sensational interest. For all of these reasons, and because the lost titles in Henslowe’s diary amount to such a high proportion in our most basic information about the repertory of Lord Strange’s Men, we think it worthwhile to extend our census to lost plays like “the taner of Denmarke” in search of information that might round out our picture of the company.

The trickiness of attempting to reconstruct lost plays from available sources is nicely illustrated by Robert Greene’s Orlando Furioso, a work that, as we might conclude if we had only Henslowe’s title “orlando” to work with, draws on Ariosto’s romance. Nevertheless if neither the play nor the manuscript part of Orlando survived, it would be a risky business to guess which or how many of the plot lines in Ariosto’s immense poem were represented in the “orlando” recorded by Henslowe. The activities of Orlando in As You Like It might lead us to speculate that poems had been hung on theatrical trees in the “orlando” at the Rose, and so we might conjecture that Canto XXIII of Ariosto was involved; but Shakespeare’s play is so amusingly oblique to Greene’s that our reasonable conjectures would mislead us. Nothing in Ariosto’s poem would lead us to suppose (as is in fact the case) that a play on “orlando” might owe less to the story of Angelica and Medoro than to the tale of Ariodante and Ginevra, or that the rival to Orlando was not the gentle Medoro but the villainous Sacripante, or that in the play Angelica was actually faithful to Orlando, or that Orlando’s wits would be recovered in the way they are. Only our general knowledge of the license taken by Elizabethan playwrights, by reminding us of the limits of source study, would prevent us from being surprised by the unpredictable play Greene actually wrote. To move from “orlando” to a similar lost title: it is likely, given the absence of alternatives, that the leading role in the twice-performed “brandymer” derived from the companion of Orlando and lover of Fiordeligi in the Orlando Furioso. We might suppose, from Brandimart’s death at Lipadusa in Ariosto’s poem, that the play was tragic, but Greene’s Orlando Furioso should be a warning against such an assumption. Nevertheless something is learned about company style from the (p.127) likelihood that two plays in the repertory were drawn from Ariosto’s fashion-able and witty poem, perhaps inspired by or otherwise connected with Sir John Harington’s near-contemporary translation of Orlando Furioso in English heroical verse (1591).

The value of potential sources for reconstructing lost plays depends in part upon the length and specificity of the source. The reigns of Richard II, Henry V, or Richard III as recounted in Holinshed’s Chronicles, for example, yielded many different kinds of plays by Shakespeare and others. So too could Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, though a “brandymer” might yield a narrower range of possible plays than an “orlando.” In a range narrower still, a short novella, when matched to the title of a lost play, can yield useful information about the literary archive from which the play was drawn, about the play’s subject matter, plot, and genre, and about the likely nature of its interest to playwrights, players, and audiences.

It should come as no surprise that among the lost plays of Lord Strange’s Men the most frequently performed are often the ones for which there seems to be more surviving evidence. This may be because the materials on which they were based were more widely available or more prominent in the minds of Elizabethans, but it is also because the more frequently performed lost plays were important enough to have become part of the archive themselves, leaving their mark through later revivals, rewritings, influences, and allusions. Some lost plays, in other words, have left a wake of disturbances detectable elsewhere—elsewhere in the repertory of Strange’s Men, for example, or in the plays of other and later companies, or in the culture more broadly. When evidence derived from apparent influence, from contemporary events and interests, or from other aspects of the company’s repertory can be combined with extant source materials, there is a stronger basis for plausible conjectures about lost plays. At the opposite extreme are cases where the titles of lost plays are too broad or generic to permit identification of a specific source (“constantine” and “the gelyous comodey” fall into this category, as does “matchavell,” though there may be hints about this last title in the Machiavel who introduces The Jew of Malta and in Nashe’s frequent anti-Martinist jibes against apes, Machiavels, and the “Good munckie face Machiuell” Marprelate who was mocked, possibly by Strange’s Men, on London’s stages).81 Especially vexing are those seemingly specific titles which prove difficult to match to extant sources or stories (examples are “clorys & orgasto,” “the comodey of cosmo,” and “the taner of Denmarke”). With plays like these, the absence of a clear match restricts us to only the most general surmises about genre, pastoral in the first case, comedy in the second, comedy or history in the third. In the survey that follows, we begin (p.128) with the most important of the company’s plays at the Rose and proceed to some of those performed less frequently.

“Tittus & vespacia” in ten performances, 11 april 1592–25 January 1592/1593

The play that Henslowe called “tittus & vespacia,” performed as “ne” on 11 April 1592 and mounted frequently thereafter (it was the company’s fifth most profitable play at the Rose), has sometimes been connected with Titus Andronicus on about the same logical grounds, one scholar notes, as those by which Fluellen connects Wales with Macedonia because “there is Salmons” in the rivers of both (Henry V, TLN 2555).82 Since there is no historical “Vespasia” other than the barely documented mother of the Emperor Vespasian, it seems much more likely that the title is “Titus and Vespasian,” father and son emperors, or perhaps “Titus Vespasianus,” that is, Titus the son of Vespasian. Titus Vespasianus can be derived from Henslowe’s “tittus & vespacia” in exactly the same way Titus Andronicus has been derived without challenge from Henslowe’s “tittus & ondronicus.” A play on Titus Vespasianus would almost certainly be about the fall of Jerusalem, and a first guess might be that it came from the pages of the Jewish Wars of Flavius Josephus.

Twenty years ago a Sotheby’s auction brought to light the manuscript of a supposedly lost Latin play on the fall of Jerusalem by the Cambridge scholar Thomas Legge, author of Ricardus Tertius, the Latin history play that influenced subsequent vernacular plays on the subject, including Shakespeare’s. Solymitana Clades, now Cambridge University Library MS Additional 7958, is a ten-thousand-line play, not quite finished. Designed originally in two parts but expanded into three, it was nearing completion around 1590 when, according to Thomas Fuller, “having at last refined it to the purity of the Publique Standard some Plageary filched it from him, just as it was to be acted.”83 That the play actually did become known to the public is supported by the fact that in 1598 Francis Meres noted in his report on contemporary dramatists that “Doctor Leg of Cambridge hath penned two famous tragedies, the one of Richard the 3, the other of the destruction of Ierusalem.”84

That Legge’s play might have come to public notice (and to the attention of Meres) through a vernacular Titus Vespasianus by Lord Strange’s Men is perhaps supported by two surviving works with possible links to the company. The first is the account of the fall of Jerusalem in Thomas Nashe’s Christs Teares ouer Iervsalem, entered 8 September 1593, published later that year, and probably written during the severe outbreak of plague that had closed the theaters (p.129) since the preceding February. Nashe, as we have seen, can be connected to Strange’s Men through his role in the Marprelate controversy and through his Pierce Penniless, which lavished praise on Lord Strange, Edward Alleyn, and 1 Henry VI. A second work possibly connected with “tittus & vespacia” and Lord Strange’s Men is a play by William Heminges, published in 1662 but written circa 1628–30, The Jewes Tragedy, OR Their Fatal and Final Overthrow by Vespatian and Titus his Son. Heminges, an Oxford M.A. and ne’er-do-well who was later imprisoned for debt, is said to have “commenced a dramatick poet”85 soon after the death of his father, John Heminges (d. 1630), a leading share-holder in Lord Strange’s Men. The possibility that the younger Heminges’s The Jewes Tragedy owed something to the “tittus & vespacia” of Lord Strange’s Men is strengthened by the fact that a “Titus, and Vespatian” appears alongside The Winter’s Tale, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Hamlet, and 2 Henry IV on a 1619 manuscript associated with Sir George Buc, Master of the Revels.86 The list appears to be in the hand of Edward Knight, bookkeeper of the King’s Men, and so it may be that, like other plays that had originally belonged to Lord Strange’s Men, Henslowe’s “tittus & vespacia” passed, possibly with revision, to the Lord Chamberlain’s/King’s Men.87

Nashe’s account of the fall of Jerusalem in Christ’s Teares appears to choose many of the same episodes from Josephus’s larger history as Legge’s trilogy, and it presents them in nearly the same order; a similar set of events is followed in roughly similar order by Heminges as well.88 Legge, Nashe, and Heminges might indepen dently have selected the same episodes from The Jewish Wars. It is harder to account, however, for passages that are shared among the three texts but not found in Josephus. The most striking is the proclamation by which the villain Schimeon summons every kind of criminal to his faction.89 There can be little doubt that for this proclamation the three works are indebted to each other or to another common source, Peter Morwen’s The Historie of the latter times of the Iewes common weale, a translation from Sebastian Münster’s Latin version of the Sefer Yosippon, a medieval history of the Jews attributed to Joseph ben Gorion, called “little Josephus.” First published in 1558 and reissued seven times before 1600, Morwen’s translation of this popular history of the Jews contains a proclamation by Schimeon virtually identical to those found in Legge, Nashe, and Heminges.90

The narrative of the siege of Jerusalem to be found in the pages of Morwen—which include episodes involving Vespasian, a character absent from Legge’s trilogy but prominent in the first act of Heminges’s play—more precisely matches the sequence of events in Nashe and Heminges than it does the sequence in Legge’s trilogy. In fact it is evident that there is nothing in either (p.130) Nashe or Heminges that cannot be found in Morwen or that would have required them to have read either Josephus or Legge.91 But if Legge is not a source for Nashe or Heminges, then it is astonishing that Legge would have selected from the pages of Morwen (for him a source secondary to Josephus) the same proclamation of Schimeon used by Nashe and Heminges, or that all three authors, including Legge, should have located the story’s anangnorisis at the moment when the virtuous pagan Titus, witnessing the violent treachery and sacrifice of the zealot rebellion, ponders the mad religion of the Jews and exonerates himself. In the long lament of Titus in Solymitana Clades, Legge draws extensively on a similarly long passage in Morwen,92 while Nashe and Heminges render more compactly the irony of Titus’s pagan virtue appalled at Jewish zeal:

Thou seest howe proude they be. … I wyll geat me hence from these most wicked men, and flee away to saue my life, lest I also perishe in their sinnes.

The Historie of the latter times of the Iewes common weale, ff. 233–33v

they grow so arrogant they think they cannot be conquered. … In the sight of whoever you are that rules the heaven, I dissociate myself from this outrage.

Solymitana Clades, ll. 7463–521

Titus (an infidel) vnderstanding the multitude of thy prophanations and contumacies, was afraid to stay in thee, saying: Let vs hence, least theyr sinnes destroy vs.

Christes Teares, 2: 78

  • Forbear, forbear, ye cursed wretches, to destroy
  • Those sacred walls, —how glorious they appear!
  • O ye rebellious Slaves! How dare you tempt
  • So great a Deity? … Thunder.
  • The heavens are angry sure, they chide with me.
  • Forbear, Forbear, thou flaming firmament,
  • To chide Vespatians sonn; for ’tis not he
  • Hath done thee this dishonor.

The Jewes Tragedy, 5.7

The theological overtones embedded in Titus’s indictment of the Jews would be impossibly anachronistic in Josephus, but they are the essence of the medieval Joseph ben Gorion, whose interpretation colors all of the passages above.

(p.131) That Legge has drawn on Morwen for passages that are also crucial to Nashe and Heminges is perhaps an indication that the latter two, or the lost “tittus & vespacia” they could be echoing, were themselves inspired by Legge’s play, written so near in time to the Rose play.93 Nashe, who left Cambridge in 1588/89, was knowledgeable about Legge and Cambridge drama and had perhaps participated in Cambridge plays himself,94 was in a position to know of Legge’s nearly complete play, whose latest known source was published as recently as 1588.95 This does not make Nashe, or any potential author of “tittus & vespacia,” a direct plagiarist of Legge, since, if The Jewes Tragedy is a reliable indication, the main source for “tittus & vespacia” was probably Morwen. Rather the evidence—the account of the siege in Christes Teares (1593), the republication of Morwen in 1593; a Stationers’ Register entry for an unpublished “JOSEPHUS of the warres of the Jewes” in October 1591; the 1591 revival of a 1584 “Destruction of Ierusalem” play at Coventry; the publication of an English Josephus in 1602 by another Strange’s author and client, Thomas Lodge; the 1619 “Titus, and Vespatian” linked to plays belonging to the Lord Chamberlain’s/King’s Men; the Vespatian and Titus his Son by the son of John Heminges—all point to the probability that Lord Strange’s Men were responding to the prestige of Legge with a “tittus & vespacia” distinctively their own.

Further support for “tittus & vespacia” as a play about the siege of Jerusalem is found in another play belonging to Lord Strange’s Men, The Jew of Malta, where Barabas refers to Christians as an

  • Vnchosen Nation, neuer circumciz’d;
  • Such as poore villaines were ne’re thought vpon
  • Till Titus and Vespasian conquer’d vs.96

Even more suggestive is a passage in Shakespeare’s King John that seems to be recalling, in the Bastard’s mockery of the rival French and English kings at the siege of Angiers, both “the Mutines of Jerusalem” and its staging of a similar siege in which defiant inhabitants “stand securely on their battlements / As in a Theater, whence they gape and point / At your industrious Scenes and acts of death” (TLN 692, 688–90).

Thus although “tittus & vespacia” is lost, it has left in its wake considerable evidence that it was a play on the destruction of the Temple, a work contiguous with medieval traditions in which revenge for the Savior’s death was carried out by a Titus and Vespasian miraculously converted to Christianity.97 But unlike those fantastic and highly Christianized tales—at least if Legge, Nashe, and Heminges are any guide—“tittus & vespacia” was invested in a humanistic (p.132) spirit of historicity. As an extrabiblical play on the history of the Jews, it provided a substitute, as did the “Destruction of Jerusalem” play at Coventry, for traditional biblical drama. “Tittus & vespacia” would also have been in line with the other “strange but true” Asian and Near Eastern histories in the company’s repertory, plays like “senobia,” “tambercame,” and The Battle of Alcazar.

While we cannot prove that The Jewes Tragedy derived directly from “tittus & vespacia,” Heminges’s adaptation of Morwen gives us a suggestive picture of how the history of the siege could be transformed into a highly sensationalized popular theater play. Heminges adds to Morwen’s narrative a number of outrageously theatrical elements: an unhistorical villain, Zareck, who functions as a Machiavellian agent to stir the intrigue and perform atrocious deeds; a prominent clown, Peter, who becomes the sidekick of the mock high priest Pennel; a fantastic murder scene in which Eleazer conspires with Zareck in killing his father, the high priest Ananias; extensive mad scenes for Eleazer, who cannot wash his father’s blood from his hands; and a concluding allegorical masque of the Six Roman Champions. All of this is filtered through overt

A Census of the Repertory IILost Plays and Others

Miriam displays her partly devoured child, by Jost Amman, in Opera Iosephi (1580). Courtesy of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

(p.133) echoes of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth—the mad Eleazer’s “To be, or not to be, Ay there’s the doubt” (3.2.1) shows that it was not for nothing that John Heminges named his son William—but the underlying combination of savagery and intrigue with crude clowning looks in many ways like a good fit with drama of the early 1590s and the work of Lord Strange’s Men.98 It is a reasonable suspicion, since Heminges’s play follows a narrative structure similar to the one in Legge and Nashe, that the lost “tittus & vespacia” might have concluded with the same grotesque Thyestean feast that ends The Jewes Tragedy. If, as we have also suggested, Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus was an early Strange’s play that went with the Burbages to a newly formed Pembroke company, then “tittus & vespacia,” which was “ne” in April 1592, might have been its replacement. If, on the other hand, Titus Andronicus is the later play, then its Thyestean feast may derive in part (Ovid’s tale of Philomel is the other inspiration) from “tittus & vespacia.”

“Mandevell” in Eight Performances, 24 february 1591/1592–31 January 1592/1593

The eight performances of “mandevell” place it sixth in frequency of performance and seventh in average and total receipts, making it one of the more successful of the company’s plays at the Rose in 1592–93. The play was performed during both the earlier and later runs, which suggests it may have been a relatively new or popular play. It disappears from Henslowe’s diary after the demise of Strange’s Men and does not seem to have been acquired by Henslowe or the Lord Admiral’s Men.

It has long been supposed that this now lost play had some connection with the popular legend of the medieval traveler Sir John Mandeville, which was printed in six editions by 1582. Thus “mandevell” has been described by William Sherman as a “travel play” and by Roslyn Knutson as “a ‘wonders’ play.”99 A travel narrative and wonders play “mandevell” certainly would have been if it transcribed in any fashion the wondrous travels recorded in The voyages and trauailes of Sir John Maundeuile knight. This popular book’s possible influence on the stage has been noted in connection with allusions to exotic creatures and peoples in plays like Othello,100 and it looks as if Mandeville’s account of his strange encounters might have furnished the tributary peoples gathered in the grand procession that ends the surviving “plot” of The first parte of Tamar Cam and thus possibly the “tambercame” of Strange’s Men. The narrator of The voyages and trauailes is essentially a roving reporter whose function is to record rather than act, and most of his travelogue merely describes exotic sites, (p.134) strange creatures, and mythical peoples. The one episode in the narrative that involves Mandeville in eventful action is his service to the sultan of Egypt: “for I dwelled with him Souldier in his wars a great while against the Bedions, and he would haue wedded me to a great princes daughter right richly, if I would haue forsaken my faith.”101 This narrative hint is developed in one of the many episodes of a little-known Mandeville romance contained in book 11 of the 1596 edition of William Warner’s epic Albion’s England.102 Warner’s Mandeville narrative involves the legendary English traveler in a comic love plot that includes two couples, disguise, a chivalric tournament, a visually striking dramatic discovery, erotic conflict, a ring trick, a masked dance, and much else that makes it read almost like a play transcribed. Running to 1,166 lines and involving twelve narrative episodes (much like “scenes”), Warner’s Mandeville story has a well-defined, shapely action involving such themes as dangerous courtship, concealed desire, male friendship, female initiative, and threats to loyalty in love and religion. Its foursome of lovers, involved in intrigues and dramatic discovery scenes, yields many monologues and dialogues on love’s power and challenges, while the pageantry of its tournament and masquerade provides the choreography for larger scenes imbued with strong group feeling. A “mandevell” play constructed on the lines of Warner’s romance would in many respects resemble Fair Em.

An attorney in the court of common pleas, Warner was a client of Sir George Carey, later Lord Chamberlain and brother-in-law to Ferdinando Stanley. In the 1596 edition of Albion’s England, dedicated to Carey, Warner refers to the supposed murder of Ferdinando, suggesting that the late Lord Strange and Earl of Derby was killed because he refused to collaborate in a papist conspiracy to put him on the English throne:

  • False Hesket too not falsely spake, reporting lately this,
  • That such as Papists would seduce, and of seducing mis,
  • Are marked dead: For he to whom he so did say, feare I,
  • Earle Ferdinando Stanley, so dissenting, so did trie,
  • As other Peeres, heere, and els-where, haue found the like no lye.
  • Nor preached he the Pope amis, that did to him applie
  • This Text, to witt: This is the Heire, come on and let him die,
  • Th’ Inheritance let vs inioye: Nought seeke they els, for why?103

The strongest evidence of Warner’s connection to the theater is his translation, Menaecmi, A pleasant and fine conceited comaedie (1595). Criticism has not solved the problem of occasional resemblances between Warner’s translation (p.135) and Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, which is presumed to have been performed at Gray’s Inn during the Christmas revels of 1594.104 It is not inconceivable that Warner was actually the author of the “mandevell” of Lord Strange’s Men; if not, then his Mandeville romance may be a redaction of the play.

“Harey of Cornwell” in Four Performances, 25 February 1591/1592–18 May 1592

According to Henslowe’s diary, “harey of cornwell” was already an old play in the repertory when Strange’s Men staged it four times during their first recorded run at the Rose. It ranked eleventh in frequency of performance among the twenty-four plays performed during that run, but only sixteenth in terms of receipts, so it may have been a play more favored by the company than by audiences. The company took the play into the provinces as well. During their long tour following the closing of the London theaters in February 1592/93, Lord Strange’s Men visited Bristol, where, on 1 August, Edward Alleyn dispatched a letter to his wife in which he noted that the company was “redy to begin the playe of hary of cornwall.”105

The name of Harry of Cornwall derives from a title first bestowed upon his father. Richard I had given the earldom of Cornwall to his brother John, and “Iohns sonne, Henry the Third, honoured therewith his brother, Richard the King of the Romanes. … [Richard] had issue Henry Earle of Cornwall, who deceased issuelesse.”106 Printed materials available to the author(s) of “harey of cornwell” would have included the obvious chronicle sources in English as well as the Historia maior of Matthew Paris (1571) and the Flores historiarum of Matthew of Westminster (1570), both of which were consulted by George Peele, the likely author of The Famous Chronicle of king Edward the first, sirnamed Edward Longshankes (1593).

Henry of Cornwall was better known in the chronicles as Henry of Almaine, a title he received when his father, Richard of Cornwall, “was crowned king of the Germans, or the Romans. … The new king Richard conferred the honour of knighthood on Henry.”107 Henry was raised at court as a companion to his cousin, the young Prince Edward, and the fortunes of the two were to remain intertwined throughout the Barons’ War. Having first sided with Prince Edward and the king against the barons, Henry reversed himself and was among “the cheefe that vndertooke this matter” of the barons’ cause.108 He was taken prisoner at Henry III’s behest and released only when the barons marched an army against London. Henry then reversed himself again, at Prince Edward’s behest, joining those who “reuolted from the barons to the kings side.”109 In response to (p.136) this apparent betrayal, Simon de Montfort, leader of the barons, allowed his nephew to depart, saying, “My lord Henry, it is not on account of your arms that I grieve, but for the inconstancy which I see in you. Go, therefore, and return with your arms, for I fear them not in any way.”110

Henry answered de Montfort’s magnanimity by appearing in arms against him at the battle of Lewes, but Henry was abroad on an embassy when the forces of Prince Edward finally surrounded de Montfort and his sons at the decisive battle of Evesham in August 1265. De Montfort and one of his sons were killed, and de Montfort’s body was “shamefullie abused & cut in peeces.”111 In the reprisals that followed the defeat of the barons, the supporters of Simon de Montfort were disinherited. Chief among these supporters was Robert de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, “Against whom the lord Henrie, sonne to the king of Almaine was sent with a great power: the which comming to Chesterfield fell vpon his enimies in such wise on the sudden, that they had not time to arme themselues, and so were distressed and ouercome.”112 The Derby title was sequestered, and it remained with the Crown and the House of Lancaster until the first Tudor king conferred the earldom of Derby on his stepfather, Thomas Stanley.113

The remaining sons of Simon de Montfort, the younger Simon and Guy, survived to take a terrible revenge on Harry of Cornwall, whose abandonment of the barons’ cause they blamed for their father’s death and defeat. When Harry of Cornwall was visiting Viterbo on his return from the Crusades, he “was slaine … by the hand of Guie de Montfort, the sonne of Simon de Montfort earle of Leicester, in reuenge of the same Simons death. This murther was committed afore the high altar, as the same Henrie kneeled there to heare diuine seruice.”114 The perpetrators escaped to live in exile, excommunicated for the horrific deed.

Perhaps the most notorious murder of the thirteenth century, the death of Henry of Cornwall was immortalized in Dante’s Inferno (xii.119–20), where the poet reserved a place in the fiery Phlegeton for Guy de Montfort, one who “in God’s sanctum stabbed the heart / That by the Thames drips blood still unatoned.”115 An important piece of theatrical evidence suggests that the story of Henry of Almaine was indeed known to theater audiences through “harey of cornwell.” In the coronation procession that begins Edward I, the new king enters London with a train that includes two mysterious characters whose presence has not been accounted for by commentators: “The Trumpets sound, and enter the traine, viz. his maimed Souldiers with headpeeces and Garlands on them, every man with his red Crosse on his coate: the Ancient borne in a Chaire, (p.137)

A Census of the Repertory IILost Plays and Others

Gustave Doré, The Death of Henry of Germany (detail), from History of the Crusades by Michaud (Philadelphia, 1896). Courtesy of Yale University Library.

his Garland and his plumes on his headpeece, his Ensigne in his hand. Enter after them Glocester and Mortimer bareheaded, and others as many as may be. Then Longshanks and his wife Elinor, Edmund Couchback, and Jone and Signior Moumfort the Earle of Leicester, prisoner, with Sailers and Souldiers, and Charles de Moumfort his brother.116 This procession carries into Edward I some unexplained business that may have originated in “harey of cornwell.” In his list of dramatis personae, the play’s modern editor lists “Signor Montfort, Earl of Leicester” (i.e., Guy de Montfort) and “Charles de Monfort his brother” as “Unexplained Characters.” It would seem, from the presence of these captives in the grand entry of Edward I, that in this play the hero (whose red cross and accompanying sailors show that he is freshly returning from the Crusades) achieves a poetic justice that history denied, as Edward enters London holding captive the two murderers of his beloved companion Henry. If so, that would make the lost play “harey of cornwell” a “first part” predecessor (or perhaps later prequel) to Edward I.

(p.138) If “harey of cornwell” attempted anything like the full story of the causes leading up to the murder, it would have been an example of a large-scale chronicle play already in the repertory before Strange’s Men mounted 1 Henry VI. As a work about thirteenth-century events in the interval between the reigns depicted in the Queen’s Men’s The Troublesome Reign of King John and Peele’s Edward I, “harey of cornwell” may have been part of a thirteenth-century historical panorama on the London stage in the early 1590s. Edward I may very well be recalling a lesson taught by “harey of cornwell” when it looks back (in a way that seems to presume audience familiarity) upon the events of the preceding reign and concludes that they show

  • How factions waste the ritchest Commonwealth,
  • And discord spoiles the seates of mightie kings.
  • The Barons warre, a tragicke wicked warre,
  • Nobles, how hath it shaken Englands strength?

(ll. 643–47)

“The Second Parte of Tamber Came” and “Tambercame” in Six Performances, 28 April 1592–19 january 1592/1593

It is not clear whether one play or two are represented by “the second parte of tamber came,” performed as “ne” on 28 April 1592 and repeated on 10 May, and by the play designated more simply as “tambercame,” performed four times subsequently between 26 May 1592 and 19 January 1592/93. It was Henslowe’s consistent practice, with two-part plays, to name the second part explicitly as such, but his practice with the naming of first-part plays was inconsistent, since, prior to 1595, he gave only the title of the play without indicating it was a first part. It is possible, then, based on Henslowe’s practice, that, in distinction to “the second parte of tamber came,” the unspecified “tambercame” of Lord Strange’s Men was the first part and that the company therefore performed both parts of the play.117 There is support for this possibility in Henslowe’s later accounts for the Lord Admiral’s Men: when “godfrey” and “2 pte godfrey of bullen” alternated at weekly intervals in July–August 1594, the first part was not designated as such. Similarly although “tamberlan” and “the 2 pte of tamberlen” began playing on successive days in December or January 1594/95, the first of the two plays was not designated as “the fyrste pte of tamberlen” until 11 March 1594/95, the earliest date in the diary at which Henslowe designates any first-part play as such. Finally, the “tambercame” mounted by the Lord Admiral’s Men as “ne” on 6 May 1596 was not explicitly designated as “j pte of tambercame” until it began running in back-to-back performances with the (p.139) “ne” version of the “2 pte of tmbercame” [sic] on 19–20 June. There is no reason to expect, therefore, that prior to March 1595 Henslowe would have explicitly declared the first part of “tambercame” as such. If Lord Strange’s Men did possess both parts of a “tambercame” play, they did not alternate performances or mount them back to back, but neither did they do so on more than one occasion with their twenty-two performances of the two “Ieronymo” plays, nor did the Lord Admiral’s Men do so with their two Godfrey of Bullogne plays in 1594. Regular back-to-back performance of the two “tamberlen” plays in December or January 1594/95 is the first such arrangement to be found in the diary, and so it is entirely possible that Strange’s “tambercame” and “second parte of tamber came” were indeed a pair.

The Lord Admiral’s “tambercame” plays were “ne” in 1596 and thus either wholly new or newly revised for performance. The possibility that they were revised from versions of the play(s) of Lord Strange’s Men is indicated by the fact that “tambercame” was owned by Edward Alleyn rather than by the Lord Admiral’s Men. Alleyn sold the play, along with “the massaker of paris,” another play original to Lord Strange’s Men, to the Lord Admiral’s Men in 1601/2. The plot of “The first parte of Tamar Cam,” a playhouse plot now lost but transcribed and published by George Steevens in 1803, was apparently prepared in connection with a revival of the play at the time of its sale to the Lord Admiral’s Men in 1602.118 Cast for sixteen men and four or five boys, a number in line with our casting for Lord Strange’s Men, the plot provides, at a distance of a decade and two revivals, important clues as to the nature of the “tambercame” play(s) of 1592–93. The most important of these is the first name on the plot, the “Mango Cam” who presides as ruler over the opening scene and makes further appearances through the first two acts. This may be the great Khan Möngke (d. 1259), grandson of Ghengis Khan and fourth ruler of the immense thirteenth-century Mongol (or, by the Elizabethan way of reckoning, Mongol-Tartar) Empire, a pan-Asian power that brought into subjection “all the Realmes, Dominions & nations, euen from Scithia vnto the Mediterran sea, wher the Sun ryseth, & some what more, insomuch that with reason [the khan] intituleth him selfe Lord and Emperour of all the East partes.”119

During the Seventh Crusade it did not escape notice in the West that the expanding Mongol Empire had become a scourge against the Muslim world, and several missions were dispatched—by the king of Armenia, by Pope Innocent IV, and by the French king Louis IX—to contract an alliance of Christians with Mongol-Tartars against a common Islamic enemy. From the accounts of these medieval missions—Hetoum’s Fleur des histories de la terre d’Orient and the Franciscan narratives of John Plano de Carpini and Wilhelm Rubruck—as (p.140) well as from the slightly later Travels of Marco Polo and derivatives like Mandeville’s Voyages & Trauailes came the Elizabethan archive on which “tambercame” was based.120 For Marco Polo, Möngke was merely “the greate Cane that is paste,”121 but from several other sources Elizabethans could learn that Möngke was among “the sonnes of Chingis Cham his other sonne,” that “the great Can, which now reigneth” was “called Manghu Can,” that this “Mango Chan … was a gode Christene man and baptyzed,” or that he was reported to be so, or that “Mango Can was christened at the request and desyre of the Kynge of Armeny.”122 Despite many variations in detail, all of the available sources agree on three essential attributes of the Mongol-Tartars in the reign of “Mango Cam”: military discipline and ferocity made the Cam “the power of God vpon earth” and “Emperour of all men”; the Mongols were “much addicted to wicked arts, geue credit to dreames, and entertaine and allow such as use the magicall science and art of diuination”;123 their faith in “God Almighty,” though “they bee not Christians,” led the Mongol princes to “make more account of Christians, then they doe of other people.”124 This alleged religious tolerance and eclecticism of the Mongol princes probably also accounted, in the European mind, for their reliance on the occult arts of soothsayers and “Philosophers … of Astronomie, Nigromancie, Geometrie, Pyromancy, and many other sciences.”125

The name of the titular hero of “tambercame,” “Tamar Cam,” probably derived from that of Temür Khan, nephew of Möngke and son of Kubilai, that is, the “Tamor Can” who was “the sixt Emperoure of the Tartarians.”126 The career of Temür Khan, however, was conducted mainly in the East and is not easily connected either with the reign of Möngke or with the events of “The plot of The first parte of Tamar Cam,” which take place principally in Persia. It would appear from the events implied by the playhouse plot that the play may have transposed the name of the sixth emperor, “Tamar Cam,” onto the career of Möngke’s brother Hülegü (more commonly called Halcon, Halaon, or Allau in the early sources), who was sent to command Möngke’s expeditions to the West, just as Kubilai was sent to conquer eastward: “Manghu Chan hath eight Brethren. … One of them [i.e., Hülegü] hee sent … towards Persia, and is now entred therein, to goe (as is thought) into Turkie, from thence to send Armies against Baldach [i.e., Baghdad].”127

It may have been an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of Marlowe’s Tamburlaine plays that led the authors of “tambercame” to transpose Temür Khan’s name onto the career of Hülegü. This “Temur or Tamor,” Samuel Purchas later noted, was “about 100. yeares before Tamerlane,” yet conflation of the two was plausible at a time when another source could refer to “the Greate Tamur Chan, that is to say, an Iron Lorde, who is otherwise by some corruptly (p.141) called Tamerlan and Tamburlan.”128 Henslowe’s preferred spelling, “tamber-came,” where the plot refers to “Tamar Cam,” may have been influenced by the published spelling in the popular 1590 Tamburlaine.

From a reading of “The plot of The first parte of Tamar Cam,” where the opening scene between “Mango Cam” and “Tamar Cam” is followed by Tamar’s battle against the Persians and his subsequent negotiations with the “King of Persia” and “Tarmia his daughter,” and where the play concludes with Tamar Cam’s wedding to Palmida rather than the Persian princess Tarmia, it seems very likely that the plot line was following the sources’ account of Hülegü, whose head wife was one “Descotacon” or Dokuz Khatun, a Nestorian Christian sometimes reputed to be daughter of the legendary Prester John. A succinct summary can be found in Richard Knolles’s General historie of the Turkes (1603), published a decade after the writing of the play: “Mango the great Chan of TARTARIE … sent his brother Haalon with an exceeding great armie against the Turkes and Sarrasins in SYRIA and the land of PALESTINE. This Haalon conuerted also vnto the Christian faith by his wife, setting forward with a world of people following him, in the space of six moneths ouerran all PERSIA, with the countries adjoining.”129

From the playhouse plot, in which the central development, following the battle with Persia, is Tamar Cam’s decision to marry Palmida rather than the widowed Persian princess Tarmia, it appears that the hero of “tambercame” was less reliant than Marlowe’s Tamburlaine on martial and rhetorical prowess and much more involved with magic, prophecy, and intrigue. The drunken clown Assinico, rather than the hero, dominates the battle scenes, rather in the manner of Tarlton in The Famous Victories of Henry V. Central to the dominant prophecy and marriage plot is Tamar Cam’s companion or advisor Otanes, an apparent magician or soothsayer who conjures or consults with two opposing spirits, Diaphines, apparently aligned with the Persian cause and favoring marriage with the king’s daughter Tarmia (his part was played in 1602 by Dick Jubie, who doubled as a Persian), and Ascalon, a spirit favoring the great Cam and marriage with Palmida. It is difficult to read from the plot the details of the political intrigue, which involves an attempt by three Mongol noblemen to betray Tamar Cam. With the aid of the spirit Ascalon, Otanes, and the loyal Tartar henchman Colmogra, the plot is discovered, and the three noblemen are exposed and beheaded offstage: “Exeunt Otanes & nobles / wth the 3 Rebells: to them Otanes: wth a head. To them Mr. Charles wth an other head / To them Dick Jubie wth an other head.” After a comic scene in which the clown consorts with Otanes’s spirits (much like Wagner in Doctor Faustus, Miles in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, or Perce in John of Bordeaux), Palmida meets (p.142) with Otanes and the spirits, and the stage is then set for Tamar Cam’s choice of a bride. The climactic scene looks like a female confrontation worthy of the meeting between Cleopatra and Octavia in Dryden’s All for Love:

  • Enter Cam: Otanes: attendants: …
  • To them Tarmia the nurss … wth children. …
  • To them Otanes and Palmida: & 2. spirritts:
  • Exeunt. manet Tamor & 2. spirritts:
  • Exit. manet spirritts. To them Assinico:
  • To them Palmida. Exeunt. manet Palmida.
  • To herr Tamor Cam:
  • To them Tarmia: to them guard.130

With Tamar Cam’s choice of Palmida comes the apparent defeat of the Persian party; the disinheritance of Tarmia’s children from the Persian throne; a masque-like scene, reminiscent of Greene’s Orlando Furioso and John of Bordeaux, involving nymphs and satyrs; and finally an immense procession of peoples subject to the new regime:

  1. 1. Enter the Tartars …

  2. 2. Enter the Geates …

  3. 3. Enter the Amozins …

  4. 4. Enter the Nagars …

  5. 5. Enter the ollive cullord moores …

  6. 6. Enter Canniballs …

  7. 7. Enter Hermaphrodites …

  8. 8. Enter the people of Bohare …

  9. 9. Enter Pigmies …

  10. 10. Enter the Crymms [i.e., Crimean Tartars] …

  11. 11. Enter Cattaians …

  12. 12. Enter the Bactrians

Perhaps appropriately described as a “spin-off of the elder Tamburlaine plays,”131 “tambercame” appears to have been about an exotic, anti-Muslim scourge, and like The Battle of Alcazar, which featured “a Portingale” as a choric narrator to relate to the audience the “strange but true” history of the battle of the three kings at El-Ksar Kbir, “The plot of The first parte of Tamar Cam” featured Dick Jubie as a “Chorus” and probable narrator of the play’s unfamiliar story.132 Because there is no surviving plot for “the second parte of tamber came,” it is more difficult to say where the sequel might have ended, but there was ample (p.143) material for a follow-up in Tamar Cam’s (i.e., Hülegü’s) subsequent conquests of Baghdad and Aleppo, his wife’s mercy on the Christians of Baghdad, the death of the fourth emperor “Mango Cam,” Tamar Cam’s return to the East, and the reversal of Tamar Cam’s victories when his successor became the victim of Christian treachery.133 These events would yield a sequel not unlike the second part of Tamburlaine, where the entropic forces of death and a failed succession overtake earlier triumphs.

“Tambercame” appears to have left its mark on the world of the Elizabethan theater. “The great Chams beard” (Much Ado about Nothing, TLN 670) and “the Tartars painted Bow of lath” (Romeo and Juliet, TLN 460) are stage properties affectionately remembered by the younger Shakespeare. Dekker, who re-called “Tamor Cham” on more than one occasion, had the swaggering Captain Tucca address the king at the end of Satiro-mastix (1602) as “greate Sultane Soliman, … o royall Tamor Cham” (sigs. L2v–L3). The magian aura (and perhaps the spectacle) of “tambercame” was revived in a fireworks entertainment for the 1613 wedding of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine; in it, “the Black-sould hell commanding Magitian Mango (a Tartarian borne)” used his “Charmes, exorcismes, and potent execrable incantations” to raise “a strong impregnable Pauilion.”134

“Bendo & Richardo” in three performances, 4 March 1591/1592–5 June 1592

As Sir Walter Greg long ago suggested,135 the “bendo & Richardo” performed as an old play on 4 March, 12 April, and 5 June 1592 was almost certainly drawn from the forty-eighth novella in the first edition of William Painter’s The Palace of Pleasure (1566), the tale of Bindo and Ricciardo. Published in the collections of Bandello (1.25) and Ser Giovanni (Il Pecorone, IX.1), the novella derives ultimately from the tale of the thief and the Egyptian king Rhampsinitus in the Histories of Herodotus (2.121.1–6). In Painter’s rendering, the ruler’s pursuit of a clever trickster is at once a comedy, combining fabliau elements with exploits worthy of Jack the Giant Killer, and a grotesque detective thriller focused on the perspective of the hunted criminal.

According to the story, “Bindo a notable Architect, and his sonne Ricciardo … throughe inordinate expenses were forced to robbe the Treasure house” designed by Bindo for the Duke of Venice. Using a concealed passageway of his own design, Bindo nightly steals from the treasury until the Duke discovers the passageway and sets a trap, causing “to be brought into the chamber a caldron of pitche, and placed it directly under the hole, commaunding that a fyre (p.144) should be kept day and night under the caldron, that the same might continually boyle. … It came to pass that … remouing the stone, [Bindo] went in as he did before, and fell into the caldron of pitche (which continually was boyling there) vp to the waste.”136 To save his wife and son from the Duke’s wrath, the dying Bindo advises Ricciardo to cut off his head and bury it, thereby obliterating his identity. In the ensuing game of cat and mouse, Ricciardo several times eludes the traps the Duke sets for him. In a final test, the Duke places his own daughter, “which was an exceding faire creature,” in a bedchamber surrounded by rooms housing the twenty-five “moste riotous and lecherous yong men” of the city, Ricciardo among them. Realizing the maiden, following her father’s instructions, has spotted him with ink when he shares her bed, Ricciardo returns a second time, steals the ink, and marks the remaining twenty-four lechers in their sleep, some with as many as ten spots. Confronted with the results of Ricciardo’s busy night, the Duke and his counsel “fell into a great laughter.” There being no other way to discover the knave with “the subtilest head that euer was knowen,” the Duke rewards him with a pardon and the hand of his daughter.137

A cast of twenty-five spotted lechers would have overtaxed the company, but the comic denouement, whatever its scale, would have amounted to a strikingly outrageous revision to the more traditional spotting of Conscience in The Three Lords and Three Ladies of London. The apparent amorality of the tale, underlined by its combination of comedy with grotesque violence and by its sympathy for guilty parties being hounded by the authorities, would have made “bendo & Richardo” an unusual play for its time. Though not the first to draw on novella sources, it is an early example that may have helped to bring the novella collections into greater favor with playwrights. As played at the Rose, “bendo & Richardo” would likely have exploited the sensational shock of Bindo’s falling into the boiling cauldron, an effect featured also in The Jew of Malta and perhaps facilitated by an item in Henslowe’s 1598 inventory (now lost), “Item, j cauderm for the Jewe.”138

“Poope Ione” in a Single Performance, 1 March 1591/1592

The “poope Ione” performed on 1 March 1591/92, shortly after the company’s opening at the Rose, was not profitable, nor was it repeated. This may indicate that it was already an older play not much in favor with the company or audiences. The play’s subject was almost certainly the supposed female pope of the ninth century, whose legend probably originated in the thirteenth century and passed into sixteenth-century England through such well-known works as (p.145) Boccaccio’s De claris mulieribus and Lydgate’s Falls of Princes.139 With the coming of the Reformation, the Pope Joan legend became the focus of extensive controversy. Among the several contemporary sources available to playwrights, John Bale’s The Pageant of Popes (1574) provides a convenient summary of the narrative:

Ioan the eight, being a woman, was made Pope, and because of her bringing vp vnder a certeine Englishe Monke of Fulda (whome she loued tenderly) her name was altered, and she was called Iohn Englishe. … More to enioye her louers company, and the better to auoyde suspicion, [she] dissembled her kinde, and put her selfe into mans apparel, & so trauailed with the Monke her peramour to Athens: where after she had profited in all the sciences, her louer being dead, she came to Rome disguising still her selfe, and counterfeiting to be a man. … And many had her in admiration for her learning: She grew into so great credit, & was so wel liked of al, that Leo the Pope being dead, they chose her Pope: In whiche office as other Popes did, shee gaue orders, made priests and deacons, promoted bishops, made abbots, sayde masses, hallowed altars and churches, ministred the Sacramentes, and gaue men her feete to kisse, and did all other thinges belonging to Popes. … She was gotten with childe by one of her familiar chaplaynes a Cardinall, to whome her fleshly appetite caused her to disclose her selfe. As she was going on procession solemnly to Lateran churche, in the middest of the way, and in ye open streate between Colossus & Clement church, she was deliuered of childe in presence of all ye people, and died of her trauell in the same place. And for this wickednesse she was stripped and spoyled of all pontificall honour, and buried without anye pompe or solemnitie.

(ff. 56–56v)

In Boccaccio’s De claris mulieribus, where the life of Joan immediately followed that of the “remarkably virtuous” Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, Joan is esteemed for “her erudition” and “for her outstanding virtue and holiness.”140 It is not impossible, then, that in “poope Ione” Lord Strange’s Men were portraying a learned woman and ruler to match with their own “senobia.” But in the face of Protestant propaganda from Bale to Foxe,141 it seems unlikely that the Pope Joan of the Rose Theatre could have escaped the more scandalous implications of her story. For English Protestants, the scandal of Pope Joan was “a curtaine and vilde theater set open,” a story “penned and plaied” to undermine papal claims about infallibility and an unbroken apostolic succession. The story of Joan showed that the cardinals’ “holy spirit, who in all their counsels is present euer,” had “suffered them in their creation and consecration of a new High Priest, inwardly, outwardlye and most ridiculously to erre.”142 Moreover since “a (p.146) woman as Saint Paul teacheth us, is not capable of ecclesiasticall function,” the “succession deriued from our holy mistris John pope, cannot possibly be of force,” and papists must “bragge no longer of their succession.”143 But most important was the prophetic symbolism: “Gods speciall prouidence” had suffered “this woman should be made Pope being also an harlot … to bewraye the whore of Babilon in a Pope being an whore, Whereof the holy Ghost foretold, Apoc. 17.”144 In Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1590) the female pope is to be found, in a line of temptresses descending from Duessa as the Whore of Babylon, in the wayward and alluring Phedria, a whorish seductress “that laught, as merry as Saint Ione” (II.vi.3).

The importance of Pope Joan as an antipapal icon, together with the evidence that the play was old by March 1592, suggests that this play may have come to Lord Strange’s Men through Pope, Bryan, and Kemp from the more staunchly Protestant repertory of Leicester’s Men. On the other hand, the timing of the publication of John Mayo’s The Popes Parliament … Whereunto is annexed an Anatomie of Pope Ioane (1591) suggests that the play may have sparked or drawn upon current popular interest in the early 1590s. In fact, as Craig M. Rustici has observed,145 it is not impossible that the discontinuation of the play and its failure to be published are connected with the controversial nature of its subject, with its potential for risqué performance, or with the riskiness of guying a woman in a position of power. Just as Spenser excised the 1590 allusion to

A Census of the Repertory IILost Plays and Others

Pope Joan gives birth, Ioannis Boccatii de Certaldo insigne opus De claris mulieribus (Berne, 1539). Courtesy of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library,Yale University.

(p.147) Pope Joan from his 1596 Faerie Queene, so Lord Strange’s Men may have decided to play it safe by dropping “poope Ione” from their roster of plays.

It is worth mentioning three further aspects of the Pope Joan legend, all noted by Rustici, that may have influenced the performance by Lord Strange’s Men. First, since Bale maintained that she had written “Necromantica quaedam. Lib. I,” “poope Ione” may have belonged, alongside “fryer bacone,” John a Kent, Joan of Arc, Eleanor Cobham, Melissa, and St. Dunstan, in the cadre of theatrical mages who populated the company’s repertory (see chapter 6). Second, the Catholic Nicholas Harpsfield had attempted to explain the Pope Joan legend as the story of a sexual hermaphrodite or of a man transformed into a woman, a bizarre defense that was extensively mocked in the 1591 Anatomie of Pope Ioane (sigs. Fii–Fiiiv). Finally, a prominent subject of mockery throughout the English literature on the female pope was the “chaire of ease, or hollow stoole of easement” alleged to have been invented for the purpose of sexually vetting all papal candidates subsequent to Joan.146 It is going beyond our brief to insist that, in addition to a learned female pope giving birth while on procession, the “poope Ione” of Lord Strange’s Men involved necromancy, hermaphroditism, sex change, or clowning over a sedes stercoraris, but we cite these elements of the legend to show that the archive available to Elizabethan playwrights would easily have supported a riotous and provocative play.

“Senobia” in A Single Performance, 9 March 1591/1592

“Senobia” looks like another play that may have grown old in the repertory by the spring of 1592. It must have represented the ancient queen of Palmyra, whose story, recorded by Tremellius Pollo in the Historia Augusta, was known to sixteenth-century English readers through works like Boccaccio’s De claris mulieribus, Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women, and the second volume of William Painter’s Palace of Pleasure (1567). According to Painter, the third-century Syrian queen, “by her wysedome & stoutnesse … subdued all the empire of the Orient, & resisted the inuincible Romans.” Zenobia was married to Odenatus, who was to become “lorde of all the Orient” during a period when Roman power in the East was weakened by the rise of the Thirty Tyrants. When, at the behest of the Roman emperor Galienus, Odenatus was treasonously assassinated by a lieutenant, his followers “chose Zenobia to bee Protector of hir sonne, and gouerner ouer the sayd Orient Empire.” As “Tutrix of hir children, Regent of an Empire, and Captain general of the armie,” Zenobia “vsed hir selfe so wiselie and well, as she acquired no lesse noble name in Asia, than Queene Semiramis did in India.”147

(p.148) Only after Zenobia had successfully resisted an invasion by the new emperor Aurelian and defiantly rejected his proposals for a dishonorable peace, was the queen finally captured and the city of Palmyra destroyed: “which done, the Emperour Aurelianus retourned to Rome, carying wyth hym Zenobia, not to doe hir to death, but to tryumphe ouer hir. At what tyme to see that noble Ladie goe on foote, and marche before the triumphing Chariot bare foted, charged wyth ye burden of heauie chaunce, and hir two children by hir side: truly it made the Roman Matrons to conceiue great pitie, being well knowen to al the Romanes, that neither in valorous dedes, nor yet in vertue or chastitie, any man or woman of hir time did excel hir.”148

A woman warrior and ruler famous for her armor and horsemanship, Zenobia was also known for her married chastity, celebrated by Juan Luis Vives in The Instruction of a Christian Woman (1529), and for the “wysedom and policy” she “attayned by the study of noble philosophye,” a learnedness praised in Sir Thomas Elyot’s The Defence of Good Women (1545), where the queen disputes in dialogue with two male interlocutors.149 Appearing next to Pope Joan in Boccaccio’s De Claris mulieribus, Zenobia, as a learned, chaste, and legitimate

A Census of the Repertory IILost Plays and Others

Inigo Jones, “The Countesse of Derby” as Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, for The Masque of Queens (1609). Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees/The Bridgeman Art Library.

(p.149) woman ruler, was a potential antithesis to the notorious female pope and, in the repertory of Lord Strange’s Men, one of their several studies of famous women. Her reputation as a virtuous woman warrior made her a flattering mirror of Elizabeth I, to whom she was compared, for example, in James Aske’s Elizabetha triumphans (sig. A4v). Ben Jonson revived “the virtuous Palmyrene, Zenobia,” for The Masque of Queenes (1609), and Inigo Jones indicated in his drawing for the costume of the widowed queen Zenobia that her role was assigned to “the Countess of Darbie.” We cannot be certain whether this is the former Lady Strange, the dowager Countess of Derby, or her sister-in-law, the former Elizabeth de Vere, wife of William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby and Ferdinando’s younger brother. But in Jonson’s masque for the preceding year, The Masque of Beauty (1608), and in Samuel Daniel’s Vision of Twelue Goddesses (1604), the masquing Countess of Derby was Ferdinando Stanley’s widow.150 Lady Alice may well have been familiar with the story of Zenobia from its staging by her late husband’s players.

“The Taner of Denmarke” in a Single Performance, 23 May 1592

The subject of the play usually transcribed as “the taner of Denmarke” remains to this day unidentified. No Danish tanner (if “tanner” is the word Henslowe meant) has been found, save for the tanner who, according to the gravedigger in Hamlet, “will last you nine year” in the grave (5.1.167). By analogy with “The Tanner of Tamworth,” the comic figure who, as promised on the title page of Heywood’s The first and second partes of King Edward the Fourth (1600), spends “mery pastime” with the Yorkist king, it has been suggested that “the taner of Denmarke” was “a craft play” or a “gild or citizen’s play.”151 But whereas the tanner of Tamworth, had the text of Edward the Fourth not survived, would still be attested in nondramatic sources,152 a tanner of Denmark is untraceable.

In view of this apparent dead end, we think it worth mentioning that there is an extant play involving Denmark, if not tanners, for which a plausible attribution to Lord Strange’s Men has been made. The play most commonly called Edmond Ironside, a theatrical manuscript dating, according to its editor Randall Martin, to the early 1590s but containing evidence of revision for revival by a later company, possibly the Lady Elizabeth’s Men circa 1622–24, is a play with apparent links to early works of Shakespeare and to A Knack to Know a Knave.153 As Martin has demonstrated, the quarrel in Edmond Ironside between the archbishops of Canterbury and York is modeled on and closely echoes the language of the quarrel between Winchester and Gloucester in 1 Henry VI. (p.150) York’s indictment of Canterbury contains direct echoes of Gloucester’s condemnation of Winchester:

  • I humble me to God and not to thee,
  • A traytor, a betrayor of his kinge,
  • A rebel, a prophane priest, a Pharesie,
  • A parrasite, an enimie to peace,
  • A foe to trewth and to Religion.

(Edmond Ironside, 3.1.19–23; italics ours)

  • Thou art a most pernitious Vsurer,
  • Froward by nature, Enemie to Peace;
  • Lasciuious, wanton, more then well beseemes
  • A man of thy Profession and Degree.

(1 Henry VI, TLN 1221–24; italics ours)

The direction of this and many other borrowings, as Martin demonstrates, is from 1 Henry VI to Ironside, and the direction of the debt is the same in the case of Titus Andronicus. For example, Ironside’s “some new never-hard of torteringe paine” (4.1.4) echoes Titus’s “Some neuer hard of tortering paine,”154 and its “bigbond daines adrest to fight … / With anye Giant of your Ciclopes size” (3.5.9, 2.3.92) echoes Titus’s “big-boand men framde of the Cyclops size” (TLN 1912). In situation, the torture of the sons of Turkullus and Leofric, when Canutus orders Edrick to cut “their hands and noses off” (2.3.22), conflates the torture of Lavinia, the maiming of Titus, and the murder of his two sons. The torture of Lavinia, “Lopt and hewde” of “her two branches those sweet Ornaments” (TLN 1070–71), Martin shows, inspires Ironside’s pledges being “Lopt and bereft of those Two ornaments” (2.3.33), even to the extent of defying sense, since it is not clear which “two ornaments” of the noses and hands mentioned by Canutus are intended.

Edmond Ironside contains convincing, if slighter, echoes of 2 and 3 Henry VI and Richard III as well, and it has extensive links to A Knack to Know a Knave, including both verbal echoes and, in the scene involving Canutus’s wooing of Egina, the presence of similar elements in a sequence identical to the wooing scene involving Ethenwald and Alfrida in A Knack.155 A Knack, which Martin shows to be the borrower in this case, made its successful debut on 10 June 1592, just eighteen days after the debut (and immediate disappearance) of “the taner of Denmarke.” Like A Knack to Know a Knave and like the Thomas Goddard/Ranulphus Trafford plot in Fair Em, Edmond Ironside deals with Saxon history, a demonstrable interest of Strange’s Men in a way that craft or guild plays are not.

(p.151) We can connect no tanner or tanning with Canutus, Edmond, or any other element in this play, which involves a protracted martial rivalry between two kings and two peoples for dominion over England. But a “tamer” of Denmark (minim errors involving n and m are probably the most common in the period) the temperate Edmond Ironside undoubtedly proves to be in his heroic resistance to the conquering Danes. The English are “A generacion like the Chosen Iewes, / Stubborne, vnwildye, feirce and wild to tame” (1.1.136–37), and Canutus complains that “Never sence Edmond was of force to beare / A massey helmet and a Curtlaxe / Could I retorne a victor from the feild” (2.3.183–85). Edmond’s superiority to Canutus epitomizes the play’s contrast of Saxons with Danes. The Saxons, Uskatulf explains to Canutus, are

  •  hardy wisie and vallowrous
  • Theire names discover what theire natures are,
  • More hard then stones, and yet not stones indeed;
  • In fight, more then stones detestinge flight,
  • In peace, as soft as waxe, wise, provident.
  • Witnes the manye Combates they have fought
  • Denmarke, our Cuntryes losse by them and theires
  • With manie other witnesses of worth;
  • How often they have driven vs to our shiftes
  • And made vs take the sea for our defence
  • When wee in number have bin three to one.


Although Edmond’s several victories over the rash braggart Canutus culminate with the single combat in which he “drives Canutus about” and “driues Canutus backe aboute the stage” (5.2.223, 234), he follows up his triumph with a generous if ultimately foolish proposal to share the rule of the kingdom in peace.156 In submitting to this arrangement, Canutus’s tongue, “by gentle speech,” accomplishes “that which thie sword could never doe” (5.2.241–42). Canutus, in other words, is tamed.

If Edmond Ironside is a “tamer” of Denmark, is “taner” the only possible transcription of Henslowe’s diary entry, f. 7v? Though it seems unambiguous that Henslowe’s hand rendered “taner,” this may not be what he intended. Randall Martin states that it is “common” in the handwriting of the period that “the letters u, m, and n are not distinguished.”157 A clear case where “n” and “m” are not distinguished in the diary is “anorter”/ “amorter” (f. 17v, l. 28). Here, where Henslowe was writing a recipe to clear blindness, he clearly wanted to “stampe” the ingredients “in a panne or bassen or amorter.” Henslowe wanted (p.152) to write “am,” but his hand undeniably gave him “an.” Perhaps something similar happened when he wanted a “tamer” rather than a “taner.”

The word Denmark does not appear in either of the two titles on the manuscript itself: “Edmond Ironside | The English King,” inscribed, perhaps at a later date, on the first leaf of the manuscript, and “A trew Cronicle History called | Warr hath made all friends,” written at the head of the first leaf of text, possibly original and surely ironic in view of the sequel which the play clearly anticipates: the fall, with the murder of Edmond, “of the glorious maiestie of the English Kingdome,” and the homiletic reinforcement of the “old doctrine, that Euerie kingdome diuided in it selfe cannot long stand.”158 Although there are in Henslowe’s diary “many examples … of the names of plays being changed or of plays being given alternative titles,” the lack of a match between Henslowe and these titles on the manuscript, together with two possible echoes of Venus and Adonis (entered in the Stationers’ Register on 18 April 1593), lead Martin to conjecture that the play was intended for the road after the closing of the Rose on 2 February 1592/93.159 Noticing that at least one of the cuts marked in later revisions appears to censor the attack on the Archbishop of Canterbury as “A rebell, a prophane preist, a Pharesie, / A parrasite, an enimie to peace” (3.1.21– 22), Martin also speculates that Edmond Ironside may have been too controversial to have been played at the Rose.160

These are plausible suggestions, but there are further circumstances suggesting that Edmond Ironside may have been at the Rose as “the taner of Denmarke” on 23 May 1592. Among the most striking of these, Thomas Nashe’s Pierce Penilesse his Svpplication to the Divell, entered in the Stationers’ Register on 8 August 1592 and a proven guide—with its praise of Edward Alleyn, a Talbot play, and Ferdinando Stanley—to the doings of Strange’s Men at the Rose, appears to know Edmond Ironside and to know it for its potential offensiveness. In the section of Pierce Penilesse devoted to the sin of Pride, Nashe includes satiric sketches of “the Spaniard,” “the Italian,” “The Frenchman,” and “the most grosse and sencelesse proud dolts … the Danes.”161 While the first three predictably conventional portraits run to an average of 150 words each, the last is a conspicuously expanded tour de force running to nearly a thousand words. In Nashe’s portrait of their swaggering imposterhood, the Danes “stand so much vpon their vnweldy burliboand souldiery, that they account of no man that hath not a battle Axe at his girdle to hough dogs with, or weares not a cockes feather in a redde thrumd hat like a caualier: briefly, he is the best foole bragart vnder heauen.”162 This veers close to the language and action of the play. When Edmond, despite the treachery of the Danes, bests them at the battle of Worcester, (p.153) the previously overconfident Canutus harangues his army in terms similar to those used by Nashe:

  • A plague vppon you all for arrant Cowardes.
  • Looke how a dunghill Cocke, not rightly bred
  • Doth come into the pitt with greater grace,
  • Brvslinge his feathers, settinge vppe his plumes,
  • Yett after when he feeles the spures to pricke
  • Crakes like a Craven and bewrayes himself.
  • Even so my bigbond daines adrest to fight
  • As though they meant to scale the Cope of heaven
  • (And like the Giants graple with the godes)
  • At first encounter rush vppon theire foes,
  • But straighte retire.
  • But all my Daines are Braggadochios
  • And I accurst to bee the generall
  • Of such A flocke of fearefull runnawaies.

(3.5.1–4, 7–13, 32–34)

Using the new word Braggadochio, freshly borrowed from Spenser’s 1590 Faerie Queene (Nashe would refer, later in 1592, to Harvey as “Braggadochio Glorioso”),163 the petulant Canutus himself is a prime instance of Nashe’s “foole braggart.” Even while Nashe’s “burliboand souldiery” echoes Canutus’s “bigbond Daines” (and in turn Ironside’s echo of Titus’s “bigbon’d men fram’d of the Cyclops’ size” [4.3.46]), it may also be hinting that the part of Canutus was played by Edward Alleyn, who may also have played the “bigboond traytor Warwike.”164 There may be a further recollection of performance in Nashe’s “Axe at his girdle to hough dogs with,” since Stich uses an axe to cut off the noses and hands of the young pledges. Nashe’s telling contrast between Danish swagger and English pluck seems to be recalling the play’s final combat, in which Edmond “driues Canutus backe aboute the stage” (5.2.234): “Thus walkes he vp and downe in his Maiestie, taking a yard of ground at euery step, and stamps on the earth so terrible, as if he ment to knocke vppe a spirite, when (foule drunken bezzle) if an Englishman set his little finger to him, he falls like a hogs-trough that is set on one end” (1: 178). Some memory of Alleyn’s impersonation of Doctor Faustus may also be creeping into this passage, but the stronger recollection of a proud Dane stamping—perhaps the earliest of many (p.154) recollections of Alleyn’s strutting and stalking the stage in long strides165—appears to come from the final scene of Ironside.

On 17 March 1592/93 Nashe’s attack on the Danes was brought to the attention of Lord Burghley. Robert Beale, a clerk of the Privy Council, had been banished from court for having criticized the bishops in the course of showing sympathy for Protestant allies of the nonepiscopal variety. Defending himself in a letter to Burghley, Beale protested that he was not given “the lyke libertie” as those who were free “by printe and speache to incense what they list.” He singled out a “booke intituled, A supplication to the Diuell,” which “so reuylethe the whole nation of Denmarke, as eueryeone that bearithe anye due respecte to her Maiestie and her good frendes, maye be sorrye and ashamed to see it. The realme hathe otherwise enimyes inoughe, without making anye more by suche contumelious pamphlettes.” The Supplication stirred up “hatred and strife … not onelye amonge ourselues, but also againste our neighbors the Churches in France, Geneua, the Lowe Countryes, and Scotland.”166 Arthur Williamson and Paul McGinnis, who have noticed in Pierce Penilesse a satire on the possibility of a Scottish succession to the English throne, conjecture that Nashe was sniping at Anne of Denmark and the Scottish–Danish alliance.167 They suggest also that through his portrait of the Danes Nashe was striking, as he had in the Marprelate controversy, at Presbyterians. It is certainly the case that Nashe criticizes the Danes for lacking the “Byshopricks, Deaneries, Prebendaries, and other priuate dignities” that “animate our Diuines to such excellence,” and he anticipates the very wording of Beale’s indignant letter in his fable of the Chameleon and disguised Fox who persuade Englishmen that every flower and herb is infected by spiders, cankers, and toads, “whereas in other Countries, no noisome or poisonous creature might liue, by reason of the imputed goodness of the Soyle, or carefull diligence of the gardners aboue ours, as for example, Scotland, Denmarke, and some more pure partes of the seauenteene Prouinces.”168

Edmond Ironside, so far as we can tell, is innocent of the anti-Scottish and anti-Presbyterian mischief of Nashe, but the play’s patriotic Anglo-Saxon animus against the Danes and its skeptical regard of foreign rule in England may have been sufficient, in the context of 1592 and the problem of the Scottish succession—if its later-censored insult against the Archbishop of Canterbury was not a further source of trouble—to have kept the play off the boards. Yet numerous other details of Edmond Ironside would seem to place it in 1592, very possibly among Strange’s Men at the Rose: Stich’s rejection of his humble parentage resembles that of Rasni in A Looking Glass for London and of Pucelle in 1 Henry VI; the play’s attack on the leader who “Will starve his souldiers or (p.155) keepe backe theire paye” (1.3.14) echoes sensitivities over the treatment of troops returning from the failed Portuguese and French expeditions (see chapter 7);169 and aspects of the play’s stage directions seem to place it on the Rose’s shallow, elongated stage (e.g., the two armies “marche a long the stage, one [towards] an other” [5.2.37], as in other processions at the Rose [see chapter 6]). Whether the “hardicute” and “knewtus” that played the Rose briefly in October–November 1597 are one play or two (neither is marked “ne”),170 Edmond Ironside, a play that clearly anticipates a second-part sequel, may have been one of these titles and, like several other plays that stayed at the Rose with Henslowe and Alleyn, a play performed by Strange’s Men.

Is “The Tamer of Denmark” a title that would have made any sense to English ears in 1592? It might have been more meaningful, perhaps, than “The Tanner of Denmark.” A search of Early English Books Online for “tanner of,” 1520–1640, yields several references to the “tanner of Tamworth” (most but not all in Heywood), several to Robert Ket, the “tanner of Wimondham,” one to the “Bests Soone, the Tanner of Wingham” in 2 Henry VI (4.2.21–22; TLN 2340–41), one to a tanner of Colchester, one to a “Tanner of Witam and Wolvercote,” and one, in Thomas Deloney’s Jack of Newbury (1626), to a tanner of Walling-ford. All are references to English tanners, just as most examples of “the crafts play” or “guild or citizens’ play” known to us—Edward IV, The Shoemaker’s Holiday, If You Know Not Me You Know No Body come to mind—are about English craftspeople. So “the taner of Denmarke” does not match usage as recorded by EEBO, nor does it match other examples of the genre proposed by Roslyn Knutson. A similar EEBO search, 1520–1640, for “tamer of” yields several references, most from translations of Seneca’s plays, to Hercules as “tamer of Monsters,” “tamer of the worlde,” “tamer of the seauen-headed monster,” and “tamer of Lycurgus.” Historical heroes with the title include Brennus “the tamer of the Romans,” “Hanniball the tamer of kingdomes,” the Herculean Henri IV, “tamer of our Gaule,” Meles Fitz Henry, “the tamelesse tamer of the Irish nation,” and a putative “tamer of the Turkish moone.” Rome is the “subduer and Tamer of all other nations.” Thomas Cooper’s Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae (1584) translates Latin domitor, -oris as “a tamer: a breaker: a subduer: a vanquisher,” and most lexicons of the period (Elyot, Huloet, Baret, Thomas, and Florio) treat it similarly. Conversely, John Leland’s De uiris illustribus describes Edward the son of King Alfred as “bellipotens et Danorum domitor.”171

“The tamer of Denmarke,” then, is a title that fits linguistic usage and a clear generic profile. Edmond Ironside is a play that fits that profile; it knows and is (p.156) known by other plays of Strange’s Men, and it appears to have been known to Thomas Nashe as a play performed by Ned Alleyn. We acknowledge that “the tamer of Denmarke” cannot be squared with either of the titles written on the manuscript, and we are not certain how the manuscript acquired a single phrase from Venus and Adonis before April 1593,172 but we believe there are reasonable grounds for suggesting Edmond Ironside may be a “lost” play of Lord Strange’s Men.


(1) . Fair Em, ed. Greg, vi.

(2) . Fair Em, ed. Greg, l. 1529; cf. also l. 101.

(4) . Greenes farewell to folly (1591), sig. A4v.

(5) . Fair Em, ed. Henning, 10–23.

(7) . The roles of William’s two lieutenants, Dirot and Demarch, are collapsed into one; the part of the clown Trotter is dropped from the play after scene xi, at which point the actor playing him must take up the role of Zweno’s servant Rosilio; the Citizen of Westchester cannot be present for the final scene, however, because his role has probably been doubled by the actor playing the Miller.

(9) . See the comments on The Jew of Malta in chapter 3 and on Titus Andronicus below and in chapter 8.

(10) . Fair Em, ed. Henning, 22. “William the conkerer” does not appear in Henslowe’s diary after February 1593/94, and so Fair Em (or its original) may have passed, along with Titus Andronicus, into the repertory of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. See Knutson, Repertory, 59.

(11) . Lines in works by Robert Wilson similar to the ones in Fair Em attacked by Greene, together with circumstantial evidence for a religious antipathy between Greene and Wilson, have been offered in support of Wilson’s authorship; see Fair Em, ed. Henning, 54–72. For attribution to Shakespeare, see Sams, The Real Shakespeare, 163–65.

(16) . G. Harold Metz concludes that “the allusion in A Knack to Know a Knave is a reference to Shakespeare’s play substantially in its extant form and that Titus Andronicus must have been on the boards before the first performance of A Knack on 10 June, 1592” (Shakespeare’s Earliest Tragedy, 192).

(17) . See Gary Taylor, “The Canon and Chronology of Shakespeare’s Plays,” in Wells et al., William Shakespeare, 95. See also the Casting Study in Appendix D below.

(19) . Jonathan Bate argues to the contrary that “an assumption made by a printer in 1600 cannot be taken as firm evidence of the original meaning of the 1594 title-page” (Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, ed. Bate, 76n1).

(20) . It is sometimes suggested that Titus was “ne” at the Rose in January 1593/94 because it was a “newly revised” version of a Shakespearean or non-Shakespearean original performed under the title of Titus and Vespacia; see below for our rejection of this conjecture.

(21) . Noted by J. C. Maxwell in the Arden 2 edition of Titus Andronicus, xxii; Maxwell (xxiii) argues for a date of “about 1590 or a little earlier.”

(22) . See Taylor, “The Canon and Chronology of Shakespeare’s Plays,” in Wells et al., William Shakespeare, 114; Jackson, Studies in Attribution, 148–58, 211–12; Wentersdorf, “Shakespearean Chronology and the Metrical Tests.”

(23) . Jonson, Bartholomew Fair, Induction, ll. 95–98.

(24) . See Vickers, Shakespeare, Co-Author, chapter 3; Taylor, “The Canon and Chronology of Shakespeare’s Plays,” in Wells et al., William Shakespeare, 115.

(26) . Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, ed. Hughes, 5.

(27) . There were in fact three quarto editions of the Contention, Q1 (1594), Q2 (1600), and Q3 (1619), the last of which differs in important respects from the first two, and the second of which merely reprints the first. As our argument does not involve Q2 or Q3, we refer to Q1 throughout as simply “Q.”

(28) . For echoes of other plays of Pembroke’s Men in The First Part of the Contention, see Shakespeare, Second Part of King Henry VI, ed. Cairncross, Appendix 3.

(30) . See especially Prouty, The Contention and Shakespeare’s 2 Henry VI.

(35) . Cairncross surmised that Shakespeare wrote 2 Henry VI “as part of a carefully planned tetralogy, probably in 1590, for Pembroke’s Men, or their predecessors… . A few cuts in personnel and extensive cuts in the text were made, probably at once… . Late in 1593, or early in 1594, the play was ‘reported’ by a group of Pembroke’s Men for a provincial tour, and the report sold to Thomas Millington” (Shakespeare, Second Part of King Henry VI, ed. Cairncross, xlvi). Michael Hattaway assumes that “Shakespeare wrote the trilogy for performance by Strange’s Men” but that “only the first part was performed by them” before “they divided, and one group, under the patronage of the Earl of Pembroke, embarked on a provincial tour that began in October and lasted about ten months” (Shakespeare, Second Part of King Henry VI, ed. Hattaway, 63–67).

(37) . See chapter 9 for more evidence of a date of 1591/92.

(38) . On the other hand, as Peter Alexander noted, those responsible for The First Part of the Contention and The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York may have remembered a couple of lines from 1 Henry VI when they prepared their copy for publication; see Shakespeare’s Henry VI and Richard III, 190–91.

(42) . Randall Martin notes that The True Tragedy (and perhaps, by implication, The First Part of the Contention as well) may in some respects “be closer [than F] to the play original audiences knew on Elizabethan stages” (Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part Three, ed. Martin, 105).

(43) . Munday, Book of Sir Thomas More, l. 1541; unless otherwise indicated, subsequent quotations are from this edition. Our reasons for citing from this text are given below.

(44) . Andrew Gurr describes the company affiliation of Hand C as “a major awkwardness in Kathman’s theory” (“The Work of Elizabethan Plotters,” 74). Kathman does not accept Gurr’s linking of Hand C’s role in John a Kent and John a Cumber and Sir Thomas More to the Lord Admiral’s Men prior to Hand C’s role in Fortune’s Tennis (“Seven Deadly Sins,” 125–26).

(46) . See McMillin, Elizabethan Theatre, chapter 2, and “Book of Sir Thomas More.”

(47) . Munday, Sir Thomas More, ed. Jowett, 424.

(48) . For a claim that the further blackening of the rebellion by Pembroke’s Men’s in The First Part of the Contention was a direct response to the anti-alien disorders of June 1592, see Irace, Reforming the “Bad” Quartos, 144.

(49) . Munday, Sir Thomas More, ed. Jowett, 425; Thompson, “Autograph Manuscripts.” Subsequent references to Jowett’s edition are cited parenthetically in the text. Thompson underlines “the improbable, even unreasonable, supposition that the author [Munday] inscribed his authenticating signature [on the space just above the date] but left the completion of the date of the composition of the MS [‘underscored with flourishes, such as usually indicate finality’] to be added by somebody else” (335). Jowett also fails to mention Thompson’s dating of Kent and Cumber to around 1590 and Sir Thomas More around 1592–93.

(50) . Thus “frends, masters countrymen” (Addition I, 149), “Peace there I say, heare Captaine Lincolne speake / Keepe silence” (Original Text, 412–13), and “Peace heare me” (Addition II, 123) resemble “Friends, Romans, Countrymen,” (Julius Caesar, 3.2.73) and “Hear me speak” (Coriolanus, 1.1.1), but they also resemble the Cade rebellion’s “What say ye, countrymen?” (2 Henry VI, 4.8.11), “Command silence. … (p.392) Silence!” (2 Henry VI, 4.2.37–38), “Hear me but speak” (2 Henry VI, 4.7.59), “Why country-men and warlike friends of Kent” (1 Contention, sig. G3), “heare me but speake” (1 Contention, sig. G2v), “Proclaime silence … Silence,” (1 Contention, F3). Similarly, just as “f re the houses / of these audacious straungers” (417–18) is linked by Jowett to Julius Caesar’s “burn the house of Brutus” (3.2.224), it might instead be linked to the Cade rebellion’s “set London Bridge on fire, and if you can, burn down the Tower too” (4.6.14–15; cf. 1 Contention, sig. Gv).

(51) . More’s speech is an addition, possibly quite later than the Original Text, but it clearly replaced a scene where More speaks to similar effect, if not necessarily in identical terms. On the Cade rebellion as a response to the anti-alien riots of 1592, see Wilson, “Shakespeare and the Cloth Workers,” in Will Power, 23–46. On connections between 2 Henry VI and Sir Thomas More, see Chambers, “Some Sequences of Thought.”

(52) . It appears, for example, in the 1529 “Replicacion of the Artificers, Poor Men of the Craft of Goldsmiths,” in the 1555 Act Touching Weavers, and in a 1556 act of the London Common Council.

(53) . Ll. 23–25; the complete libel is transcribed in Freeman, “Marlowe, Kyd, and the Dutch Church Libel.”

(54) . Sir Simonds D’Ewes, The Journals of All the Parliaments During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (1682), 507.

(55) . The Third volume of Chronicles (1586), 842.

(56) . Munday remained a messenger of Her Majesty’s Chamber, and thus in the employ of Sir Thomas Heneage, until the latter’s death in 1595.

(57) . Unpublished essay, “Sir Thomas More and the Absence of Evidence,” SAA Seminar on Lacunae, April 2011, p. 2.

(58) . Cambridge University Library copy, sig. A2.

(59) . Palladis Tamia (1598) ff. 283–83v.

(65) . Bald, “Booke of Sir Thomas More; see also Blayney, “Booke of Sir Thomas Moore,” 169. An alternative suggestion holds that after his first critical reading Tilney reviewed the additions, found them satisfactory, and made no further comment; see Munday, Sir Thomas More, ed. Gabrieli and Melchiori, 27.

(66) . McMillin found additional support for his dating of the revisions in E. K. Chambers’s view that the date of the plot of 2 Fortune’s Tennis was more likely 1602 than the date 1597–98 suggested by Greg; see Elizabethan Theatre, 83n7.

(67) . McMillin, Elizabethan Theatre, 142; McMillin (146–47) found further support for his theory in the fact that Hand D does not, like B, C, and E, make any alterations to S and therefore was possibly working simultaneously with S rather than contributing at a later date.

(p.393) (69) . Aside from the recent work by John Jowett and MacDonald P. Jackson, discussed above, the principal exception is Rutter’s (generally rejected) attribution of Hand D to Webster (“Playwrights at Work”). Rutter’s work is questioned by, among others, Taylor, “Date and Auspices,” and Forker, “Webster or Shakespeare.” Though Rutter has not been accepted on Hand D, her attribution of Sir Thomas More to Worcester’s Men circa 1601–3 is entertained by Jowett.

(70) . Gabrieli and Melchiori suggest that “offered for performance to” is preferable to “written for” (Munday, Sir Thomas More, ed. Gabrieli and Melchiori, 46n45).

(71) . The case for Chettle’s authorship of substantial portions of the original is made by Jowett, “Henry Chettle.” For the suggestion that Dekker was the author of the deleted scene of the apprentices’ attack on Sir John Munday, see Munday, Sir Thomas More, ed. Gabrieli and Melchiori, 13.

(72) . The inscription written halfway down the title leaf, usually read as “V Thomas Thomas” and by T. W. Baldwin as “legit V Thomas,” has sometimes been taken as the name of Thomas Vincent, said by John Taylor to be “Book-keeper or prompter at the Globe play-house neere the Banck-end in Maidlane” (Taylors feast [1638], 66). See also Baldwin, “Review of Samuel A. Tannenbaum,” 329; Munday, An Edition of Anthony Munday’s John a Kent and John a Cumber, ed. Pennell, 6, 52.

(73) . Munday, John a Kent and John a Cumber, ed. Collier, vi; Munday, The Book of John-a-Kent and John-a-Cumber, ed. Farmer, 2; Thompson, “Autograph Manuscripts”; Greg, “Autograph Plays,” 89–90; Jackson, “Deciphering a Date.” Byrne emended Collier’s “1595” to “1596” in her edition of John a Kent and John a Cumber, 51.

(75) . The Protestion of Martin Marprelate, in Black, Marprelate Tracts, 204.

(77) . Pasqvill’s Retvrne to England (1589), in Nashe, Works of Thomas Nashe, 1: 83. See chapter 2; Honigmann, “John a Kent and Marprelate.”

(80) . The exact number of plays depends on whether one play or two are represented by “the second parte of tamber came” and “tambercame” and by “Q Ierusallem” and “Ierusalem”; see the discussion of “tambercame” below.

(81) . An Almond for a Parrat, in Nashe, Works of Thomas Nashe, 3: 348, 354.

(82) . See Rhodes, “Titus and Vespasian.” Among those who have suggested “tittus & vespacia” is connected with Titus Andronicus are Chambers, who conjectured it was “probably the play on which was based Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus” (Elizabethan Stage, 2: 122), and Harold D. Fuller, who argued that “tittus & vespacia” was the lost source for the Dutch version of Titus Andronicus, Jan Vos’s Aran et Titus (164 1) (“Sources of Titus,” 12–16). Besides Rhodes, early advocates for the view that “tittus & (p.394) vespacia” was a siege of Jerusalem play include Greg, who found it “difficult to believe that the title could have been given to any play not connected with the siege of Jerusalem” (Henslowe, Henslowe’s Diary, ed. Greg, 2: 155); Adams, Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus,” 10; Bennett, “An Apparent Allusion.”

(83) . Fuller, History of the Worthies of England, sig. Mmm3v. For our discussion of Legge and “tittus & vespacia” we are indebted to Sutton (Legge, Thomas Legge), who was not aware of Morwen or Heminges, and to Wright, Vengeance of Our Lord.

(84) . Palladis Tamia (1598), f. 283.

(88) . Parallels between Legge and Nashe include the portents and omens that begin the story (Legge, ll. 89–205; Nashe 2: 61–62), the description of the three rebel factions of Eleazar, Iechochanan, and Schimeon; the murder of the high priest Ananias (Legge, ll. 4310–20; Nashe, 2: 65), the rigged election of a rustic as a mock high priest (Legge, ll. 3775–845; Nashe, 2: 67), the treacherous opening of the city to the Edomites (Legge, ll. 4294–309; Nashe, 2: 65), the slaughter of worshippers at sacrifice in the temple (Legge, ll. 3525–601; Nashe, 2: 65–66); the horrors of famine (Legge, ll. 7128–220; Nashe, 2: 69–70); a mother’s cannibalism of her son and her offering of a Thyestean feast at which she serves up the remains as revenge (Legge, ll. 7221–7408; Nashe, 2: 71–77); Titus’s speech of moral revulsion (Legge, ll. 7446–533; Nashe, 2: 78) and his destruction of the city.

(89) . See Legge, ll. 4682–700; Nashe, 2: 64; Heminges, 3.6.57–66. We cite from Morley’s edition of The Jewes Tragedy in The Plays and Poems of William Heminge.

(90) . See A compendious and most marueilous Historie of the latter times of the Iewes common weale (1575), sigs. R6–R6v.

(91) . For example, all three works note that the zealot rebels appointed a mock high priest, but it is clear that Legge’s handling of this episode derives from Josephus, while the versions of Nashe and Heminges derive from Morwen; see Lodge, f. 637, Legge, ll. 3809–10 and cf. Morwen, ff. 119v–20 with Nashe, Works of Thomas Nashe, 2: 67 and Heminges, 3.6. Nashe’s editor McKerrow, who suggests that he may have read Josephus, observes that if Nashe read this immense work he never referred to it elsewhere in his writing.

(92) . Cf. Morwen, ff. 232–34 and Legge ll. 7454–507.

(93) . “Tittus & vespacia” may also have been indebted to the Coventry civic performances of “The Destruction of Ierusalem,” a play commissioned in 1584 from John Smith (1563–1616), then a student at St. John’s College, Oxford, performed that year and probably revived in 1591. On the basis of the surviving record of payments to the actors, in which many of the roles mentioned overlap with names found in Josephus and Morwen, it has been suggested that the Coventry play also contained scenes involving the rival factions of Jechochanan, Schimeon, and Eleazar as well as the scene involving the widow’s cannibalism of her son. See REED: Coventry, 303–9, 332, 587; Ingram, “Fifteen Seventy-nine and the Decline of Civic Religious Drama.” Wright (Vengeance of Our Lord, 199–200) reconstructs the probable scenes from the list of (p.395) roles, while Sutton (Legge, Thomas Legge, 2: 612) notes that there are several mismatches in character names between the Coventry play and Legge’s.

(94) . The Trimming of Thomas Nashe, sig. G3, claimed that he “had a hand in” a controversial Cambridge “show called Terminus & non terminus.”

(95) . Legge, Thomas Legge, 2: xiv.

(96) . The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta (1633), sig. D3v.

(97) . On these traditions, see Wright, Vengeance of Our Lord, especially chapter 6; Millar, Siege of Jerusalem; Hanna and Lawton, The Siege of Jerusalem, xxxvii–xli.

(98) . On Heminges’s heavy-handed echoes of Shakespeare, see Adams, “William Heminge and Shakespeare.”

(100) . See, for example, Parker, Shakespeare from the Margins, chapter 7.

(101) . The Voyages and Trauailes of Sir John Maundev ile Knight (1582), sigs. Dv–D2.

(102) . Bennett, Rediscovery of Sir John Mandeville, discusses the Mandev ille romance in Warner but does not consider the lost play. Moseley discusses both Warner’s romance and the lost play but does not posit a connection of the romance to the play, which he describes as a “sensationalized version of the Travels ” or “the Travels turned … into a popular ‘Eastern’ play”; see Moseley, “Lost Play of Mandeville” and “Metamorphoses of Sir John Mandeville.”

(103) . Albions England (1597), 231.

(105) . Dulwich College Archive: MS I, f. 13, Letter from Edward Alleyn to his wife Joan, “his good sweett mouse,” circa 24 July 1593; transcribed with kind permission of the Governors of Dulwich College. In a letter sent to Alleyn on 14 August, his father-in-law Philip Henslowe reported, “We hard that you weare very sycke at bathe & that one of your felowes weare fayne to playe your parte for you” (MS I, f. 17).

(106) . Richard Carew, The Survey of Cornwall (1602), 79. The election of Richard, Duke of Cornwall, to the kingdom of the Romans, contested by Alphonsus, King of Castile, is the subject of The Tragedy of Alphonsus Emperour of Germany, a play of uncertain date attributed to George Chapman on the title page of the quarto first published by Humphrey Moseley in 1654. Richard’s son Henry does not appear in the play.

(108) . Holinshed, The Third volume of Chronicles (1586), 264.

(109) . Holinshed, The Third volume of Chronicles (1586), 266.

(111) . Holinshed, The Third volume of Chronicles (1586), 270.

(112) . Holinshed, The Third volume of Chronicles (1586), 272.

(114) . Holinshed, The Third volume of Chronicles (1586), 275.

(115) . Dante, The Inferno, 82. Henry’s heart was buried in Westminster Abbey near the tomb of Edward the Confessor.

(116) . Edward I, ed. Frank S. Hook, l. 41ff., in Peele, Life and Works of George Peele, 2: 73.

(118) . See Bradley, From Text to Performance, 115–21. Our account of “tambercame” is indebted to Bradley’s careful study of the plot, and we quote the plot from his transcription, 116–17.

(119) . John Frampton, A Discouerie of the countries of Tartaria, Scithia, & Cataya (1580), sig. A3.

(120) . The texts of Carpini and Rubruck were not published in English translation until the 1599 edition of Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffques and Discoveries of the English Nation … and Hakluyt’s partial translation of Rubruck was not replaced by a full version of the text until Purchas his Pilgrimes in Fiue Bookes (1625). There is nothing that we cite from these later publications that cannot be found, more diffusely, in Hetoum’s Fleur des histories (Pynson’s Lytell Cronycle, c. 1520), in The Voyages and Trauailes of Sir John Maundeuile Knight (1582), and in Ralph Newberry’s translation of The most noble and famous trauels of Marcus Paulus … (1579).

(121) . The most noble and famous trauels of Marcus Paulus, 34.

(122) . “The Voyage of Johannes de Plano Carpini vnto the Northeast parts of the world, in the yeere of our Lord, 1246,” in Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, 60; “The iournal of Frier William de Rubruquis … vnto the East parts of the worlde. Ann.Dom. 1253,” in Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, 108–9; Seymour, Mandeville’s Travels, 165; Burger, A lytell cronycle, 39.

(123) . Frampton, Discourse, f. 4v.

(124) . Voyages and Trauailes of Sir John Maundeuile, sig. P4; Hakluyt, Principal Navigations, 107.

(125) . Voyages and Trauailes of Sir John Maundeuile, sig. P4v.

(126) . Lanquet, An epitome of chronicles (1559), 231. According to Burger, A lytell cronycle (61), “The Great Emperour of the Tartas that kept the lordshype is called Tamor Cann.” Cf. The most noble and famous trauels of Marcus Paulus, 57.

(127) . Purchas his Pilgrimes in Fiue Bookes … The Third Part (1625), 39.

(128) . Purchas his Pilgrimes, 387; Lazaro Sorano, The Ottoman of Lazaro Sorano (1603), 64.

(129) . Knolles, General historie of the Turkes, 113.

(130) . For the sake of clarity, we have here omitted from Bradley’s transcription the names of actors mentioned in the plot and set each of the crucial entrances on separate lines; we have done the same with our final citation from the plot, below.

(132) . Like Richard Alleyn, who was needed as a “Portingale” and had no time to change costume for his role as a Presenter in “The Plott of the Battell of Alcazar,” Dick Jubie was forced to deliver the chorus of “tambercame” in his garb as a Persian.

(133) . See, for example, the summary of events in Fuller’s History of the holy warre, 208.

(134) . Taylor, Heauens Blessing and Earths Ioy (1613), sigs. B–B2v.

(135) . Henslowe, Henslowe’s Diary, ed. Greg, 2: 152.

(136) . The Palace of Pleasure (1566), f. 284.

(137) . The Palace of Plea sure (1566), ff. 287v–89.

(138) . Henslowe, Henslowe’s Diary, ed. Foakes, 321.

(p.397) (139) . See, e.g., The tragedies, gathered by Jhon Bochas, of al such Princes as fell from theyr estates throughe the mutability of Fortune (1554), sig. Eev.

(141) . See, in addition to Bale, Foxe’s Actes and Monuments of matters most special and memorable (1583), f. 137.

(142) . Historia de Donne Famosa. Or The Romaine Jubile (1599), sig. B2.

(143) . Thomas Bell, The suruey of Popery (1596), 192.

(144) . The Pageant of Popes, f. 56v.

(145) . Afterlife of Pope Joan, chapter 2.

(146) . The Popes Parliament, sig. Bii.

(147) . The second Tome of the Palace of Pleasure (1567), ff. 95–97v.

(148) . The second Tome of the Palace of Pleasure (1567), ff. 100–100v.

(149) . A very frutefull and pleasant Boke called the Instructio[n] of a Christian woma[n] (1529), sigs. Eiv–Eiv v; The Defence of Good Women (1545), sigs. E, Ev. See also Wayne, “Zenobia in Medieval and Renaissance Letters.”

(150) . The Masque of Queenes, in Jonson, Ben Jonson: The Complete Masques, 141. According to Cedric Brown, “the British library copy” of The Vision of Twelve Goddesses (1604) “has manuscript notes in a contemporary hand identifying Proserpina as the Countess Dowager” (John Milton’s Aristocratic Entertainments, 183n15). In a contemporary description of The Masque of Beauty by Antonio Galli, “Alicia Darbie” is identified as the Countess of Derby, Rime … al’ Illvstrissima Signora Elizabetta Talbot-Grey (London, 1609), 19; see Brown (15); Orrell, “Antimo Galli’s Description of The Masque of Beauty.”

(152) . The story of Kynge Henry the IIIJth and the Tanner of Tamworthe was entered in the Stationers’ Register in 1564; see Heywood, The First and Second Parts of King Edward IV, 27. The “manner of vncouth speech” that “the Tanner of Tamworth” used with “king Edward the fourth” was cited by George Puttenham in The Arte of English Poesie (1589), 214.

(153) . Martin, Edmond Ironside, 380–81.

(154) . TLN 1028, cited from Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, ed. Berger and Mowat; unless otherwise indicated, subsequent references are to this edition.

(156) . For the view that the peaceable Edmond is “a type of Christ” whose eventual fate is anticipated by his betrayal in this play by Edricus, who “sought like Iudas to betraye his Lord / Into the hands of blood thirstye Daines” (5.1.10–11), see Scragg, “Saxons versus Danes,” 104.

(158) . Holinshed, The First and second volumes of Chronicles, 2: 178.

(159) . The use of alternative titles is noted by Arrell, “John a Kent, the Wise Man of Westchester.” Martin notes (368) that Ironside’s “Then for a manuell seale receave this kisse” (2.1.53) chimes with “set thy seal manual on my wax-red lips” in Venus and Adonis (l. 516). Less convincing is Martin’s second comparison (369) between “bristle (p.398) poynted speeres which vpright stand” (Edmond Ironside, 4.1.65) and “His [the boar’s] brawny sides with hairy bristles armed / Are better proof than thy spear’s point can enter” (Venus and Adonis, ll. 625–26). In the one case the bristles are likened to spears, while in the other case they resist a single spear.

(160) . Martin, Edmond Ironside, 373. Cf. Janet Clare’s assessment that “there is little” in the play “which would have alarmed Tilney” (“Art made tongue-tied by authority,” 46).

(161) . Pierce Penilesse, in Nashe, Works of Thomas Nashe, 1: 176–77.

(162) . Pierce Penilesse, in Nashe, Works of Thomas Nashe, 1: 177.

(163) . Strange Newes (1592; entered Stationers’ Register 12 January 1592/93), in Nashe, Works of Thomas Nashe, 1: 294.

(164) . The True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York (1595), sig. E3. The phrase is not in t he folio 3 Henry VI, and Randall Martin suggests it was possibly imported through memorial reconstruction into the octavo True Tragedy; see Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part Three, ed. Martin, 128; cf. Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part Two, ed. Warren, 65–67.

(165) . For a survey of many references to Alleyn’s “stalking-stamping,” “stalking steps,” and “stalking and roaring,” see Gurr, “Who Strutted and Bellowed?”

(166) . BL: Lansdowne MS 73, f. 12, © The British Library Board.

(167) . “Radical Menace,” 113–15.

(170) . Dulwich College Archive: MS VII, f. 27v; transcribed with kind permission of the Governors of Dulwich College. The now-lost 1598 inventory of “suche books as belong to the Stocke” mentions only a single title, “Hardicanewtes.” See Henslowe, Henslowe’s Diary, ed. Foakes, 324.

(172) . Although the combination of “manual” and “seal” in connection with kissing is unique to Ironside and Venus and Adonis, there are many instances of sealing with kisses before 1592, including Munday’s Palmerin d’Oliua (1588), Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, and Greene’s Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (printed 1594 but probably performed before 1592), and “manual seal” is a common phrase in the period.