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The Court Beggar

Edited by M. O'Connor

The Court Beggar

A Critical Introduction
Marion O'Connor
1First printed in 1653, the year after Richard Brome’s death, The Court Beggar has a title page which states the play to have been ‘Acted at the Cock-pit by his Majesties Servants, Anno 1632’. Gerard Langbaine, working from printed texts and booksellers’ lists, repeated the claim in 1691.n11563 Two centuries later, however, F.G. Fleay noted various considerations which made this date impossibly early: the epilogue to The Court Beggar mentions The Sparagus Garden and The Antipodes; the prologue characterises the playwright as old and careworn; both prologue and epilogue refer to practices which did not emerge in the professional theatre before the mid 1630s; and the epilogue indicates that control of the Cockpit Theatre has passed to William Beeston from his father, who died in October 1638.n11564 In 1940 G.E.Bentley, reiterating the temporal clues which Fleay had remarked, also pointed out that the King’s Men never performed at the Cockpit. Like Fleay, Bentley assigned The Court Beggar to ‘Their Majesties’ Players’, better known as Beeston’s Boys.n11565 As for the statement on the titlepage, what Fleay in 1891 proposed as ‘a bold innovation’ was confirmed in 1962 by W.W.Greg:n11566 the titlepage of The Court Beggar had been a recycling of the titlepage of The Novella, the play which immediately precedes it in the 1653 collection of Brome’s Five New Playes. Whereas Fleay, however, thought that the title page for The Court Beggar had been `copied by mistake’ from that of The Novella, Greg noticed that the former had evidently been printed from the same typesetting as the latter. For other economies which were adopted by the printer of The Court Beggar in 1653, see the Textual Introduction to this edition of the play.2The Court Beggar was, however, most probably written for, and it was quite certainly performed at, the Cockpit Theatre in Drury Lane. Also known as the Phoenix, the Drury Lane Cockpit is only too easily confused with the Cockpit-in-Court at Whitehall, of which some detailed, and securely identified, visual records survive. This is not the case for the Drury Lane Cockpit: very little is known with certainty about its interior arrangements and equipment.n11567 There are two rival candidates as possible images: both would give the building exterior dimensions of 40 feet by 40 feet; and one would give a stage 20 feet wide by 15 feet deep, but this identification is not generally accepted.n11568 On the other hand, thanks in large measure to the survival of a playlist dated 10 August 1639, the late Caroline repertory of the Drury Lane Cockpit is better known than others. Scrupulously conservative study of extant plays from that repertory has indicated that plays which were staged there before 1642 do not presume anything much, or unusual, in the way of stage entrances, adjacent spaces or equipment.n11569 The Court Beggar (which postdates the 1639 playlist and was not included in that study) is not very demanding of stage resources. It requires, first, an acting area which can accommodate seventeen performers, the number who are onstage in the final scene (and, interestingly, two more than the maximum body count which has been inferred for the Salisbury Court stage from analysis of plays staged theren11570). A second requirement is access to the stage through two entrances (probably functional doors, since one has to be plausibly locked but then forced open in Act 3 scene 2). Finally, that same scene requires somewhere(s) above the stage whence a single character may be seen (Strangelove at [CB 3.2.speech602]), or heard (Ferdinand at [CB 3.2.speech622]) or both seen and heard (Doctor at [CB 3.2.speech620]) by both the audience and characters onstage.3Within the range of possible dates for the staging of The Court Beggar, the company known as `Beeston’s Boys’ played at the Cockpit in Drury Lane. The group had been formed and installed in the Cockpit by its owner, the theatrical entrepreneur, Christopher Beeston (1579/80-1638), who in February 1637 was appointed ‘Governor of the new Company of the King’s and Queen’s boys’.n11571 After Christopher Beeston’s death, his son William Beeston (1610/11-1682) succeeded him as ‘Governor and instructor of the King’s and Queen’s young company of actors’. Within six months, the younger Beeston had secured the playwriting services of Richard Brome. (Brome’s career move is unusually well documented because, in making it, the playwright twice broke contract with his employers at Salisbury Court Theatre: their lawsuit, dated 12 February 1640, survives, as does Brome’s reply, dated 6 March 1640.n11572) The epilogue to The Court Beggar celebrates the teaching activities of William Beeston, ‘by whose care and directions this stage is governed, who has for many years both in his father’s days, and since, directed poets to write and players to speak till he trained up these youths here to what they are now — ay, some of ’em from before they were able to say a grace of two lines long to have more parts in their pates than would fill so many dryfats’ [CB 5.2.speech1144]. The youthful actors at the Cockpit were educated by adult example as well as by the Beestons’ instructions: as Herbert Berry has explained: ‘This company was not like the boys’ companies in the private playhouses at the turn of the [sixteenth into the seventeenth] century and before. It was a regular adult company with a large number of boys, and part of its purpose was to train the boys as players.’n11573 Knowing this purpose, and noting Brome’s supportive acknowledgment of it in The Court Beggar, one can discern how well the play fitted it. (Brome’s time under contract with Salisbury Court had given him experience of writing for a ‘group containing both adults and children, but with a much larger proportion of boys than was customary in men’s companies’.n11574) The play requires seventeen performers, with doubling of: Projector 2/Sowgelder; and Projector 1/Priest; or Projector 3/ Boy; Projector 2/Priest and Projector 1/ Sowgelder. Seven of them (Cit-wit, Court-wit, Swain-wit, Dainty, Doctor, Boy and Philomel) appear in the Act 5 masque, for which the prior rehearsal-within-the-play gives ample opportunity for improvisation. Near the end of that final act, there are two dances, the first of them centred on the disrobing of Mendicant and the Projectors, which would give good training in necessarily complicated choreography. A different sort of training, likewise appropriate for the Caroline stage, would be provided by the extremely unusual epilogue: this requires six performers to remain in character (Strangelove, Ferdinand, Cit-wit, Philomel, Boy and Swain-wit) while they speak directly to the audience, at least three of the six identifying and targeting appropriate groups within it. The Court Beggar has no big leading role, but it does have several from which a trainee actor could learn much, whether by performance or by observation. The most demanding is probably Ferdinand, who, in R.W.Ingram’s phrase, ‘exhibits his madness in what amount to vaudeville turns’.n11575 The performer of Ferdinand has to cavort madly in three of the four scenes when he is onstage; in one of those scenes (4.3) he must both sing and act out a ballad about a battle even while he dodges another character’s dagger [CB 4.3.speeches790-793]; and in another (4.2) he has to hold audience attention through a bizarre mime, wherein ‘He dances a conceited country dance, first doing his honours, then as leading forth his lass. He dances both man and woman’s actions, as if the dance consisted of two or three couples. At last as offering to kiss his lass, he fancies that they are all vanished, and espies Strangelove.[CB 4.2.speech713]. Such exhibitions might be deemed too much to ask of inexperience, and it is possible that an especially talented mimic or expert dancer was among the adults in the company.n11576 On the other hand, these bravura sequences, which require no verbal memorisation beyond the considerable quantity already required of the actor of Ferdinand, might appeal to a talented adolescent. Other roles which also ask a lot of their respective performers include Swain-wit’s (many lines, Cornish accent, plus the greatest - and last - part of the epilogue) and Sir Raphael Winter-plum’s (perfect timing, particularly in the rehearsal of the masque, the success of which depends upon him).4Bentley also proceeded to identify The Court Beggar with an unnamed play that is recorded as having occasioned William Beeston’s imprisonment and the closure of the Cockpit for three days early in May 1640 and then, late in June 1640, to have led to the appointment of William Davenant as governor of the Cockpit company.n11577 One document concerning these events is a warrant from the Lord Chamberlain (then Philip Herbert, fourth Earl of Pembroke). Dated at Whitehall 3 May 1639, it states: Wheras William Bieston and the Company of Players of the Cockpitt in Drury Lane haue lately Acted a new play wthout any Licence from the Mr of his Mats Reuells & being comaunded to forbeare playing or Acting of the same play by the sayd Mr of the Reuells & commaunded likewise to forbeare all manner of playing haue notwithstanding . . . Acted the sayd Play & others... Theis [letters patent] are therfore. . . to comaund the sayd Willm Bieston & the rest of that Company of the Cockpitt Players . . . to forbeare to Act any Playes whatsoeuer vntill they shall be restored by the sayd Mr of the Reuells vnto their former Liberty.n115785In another document, the Master of the Revels, Henry Herbert (distant cousin of the Lord Chamberlain Philip Herbert), recorded the enforcement of this warrant:On Monday the 4 May, 1640, William Beeston was taken by a messenger, and committed to the Marshalsey, by my Lord Chamberlens warant, for playinge a playe without license. The same day the company at the Cockpitt was commanded by my Lord Chamberlens warant to forbeare playinge, for playinge when they were forbidden by mee, and for other disobedience, and laye [sic] still Monday, tusday, and wensday. On Thursday at my Lord Chamerlen’s entreaty I gave them their liberty, and upon their petition of submission subscribed by the players, I restored them to their liberty on thursday.
The play I cald for, and, forbiddinge the playinge of it, keepe the booke, because it had relation to the passages of the K.s journey into the Northe, and was complaynd of by his M.tye to mee, with commande to punishe the offenders.n11579
6The staging of this unnamed and unlicensed play seems to have occasioned yet further punishment for the offenders in Drury Lane. Late in June 1640, the Lord Chamberlain announced a new regime for the Cockpit reason of some disorders lately amonst them committed they are disabled in their seruice & Quality. These [letters] are therefore to signifye that I doe authorize and appoint William Dauenant Gent one of her Mates servantes. . .to take into his Gou’nmt & care, the sayd Company of Players, to gouerne, order & dispose of them for Action and prsentmentes, and all their Affayres in the sayd House. ...And I doe heerby inioyne them all, and euery of them that are soe authorized to play in th sayd House. . . and euery one belonging as prentices or servantes to those Actors. . .that they obey the sayd Mr Dauenant & follow his Orders & direccõns as they will answer the contrary.....n115807Bentley’s equation of The Court Beggar with the troublesome play which the documents neglect to name has been accepted by scholar/critics who have sought to situate Brome’s plays in their political and cultural context and who have thereby transformed the study of his work.n11581 However, as N.W. Bawcutt points out, the tone of the passage in The Court Beggar which has most obvious ‘relation to the passages [incidents, events] of the K.s journey into the Northe’ ([CB 3.1.speeches410-425], analysed below), ‘is that of a loyal subject outraged by Scottish rebellion and hypocrisy, and it is hard to accept that this . . . incident would have been deeply offensive to the King’.n11582 The records of the Master of the Revels also show William Beeston to have staged an unlicensed play, entitled The Challenge, at the Cockpit in 1640; and, as Bawcutt observes, in his exemplary edition of these records, The Challenge ‘might perhaps have been the play that caused all the trouble, though it is impossible to be sure, as only the title survives’.n11583 Moreover, as this edition of The Court Beggar records, this extant play by Brome contains topical references which, on close examination, may point to a date some -- at least seven -- months later than has previously been proposed. (Even Bawcutt dates the performance of The Court Beggar at the Cockpit to around the beginning of May 1640.n11584) The effect of these references, that is, is to raise the possibility that The Court Beggar was written — or at least, was completed — no earlier than the end of November 1640, and perhaps in the first months of 1641, by which time Beeston may have recovered control of the Cockpit company. 8These references, which are remarked en passant throughout the annotation to the Modernised Text of this edition, can be divided into three groups. (The division is for rhetorical convenience: the groups overlap like Venn diagrams.) All three groups involve Sir John Suckling ([1609]- [1641]), whom The Court Beggar mocks through the figure of Sir Ferdinand. The mockery, which is elaborate, begins even with the first mention of ‘the hopeful,/ Exquisite cavalier, courtier and soldier,/ Scholar (and what not!) brave Sir Ferdinando’ [CB 1.1.speech15] and extends to verdicts such as ‘A mere vain glorious impostor;/ Pretending favour, having nothing less./ Witness his want of merit...’ [CB 4.1.speech642].n11585 Brome seems to have entertained a personal loathing for Suckling well beyond professional rivalry. The antipathy, if that is what it was, may have been attributable to loyalty. In “The Wits: A Session of the Poets” (written 1637) Suckling had mocked Ben Jonson — then still alive, albeit only just — as an outmoded and inebriated old blowhard.n115869Even by those without personal reason for hostility towards him, Suckling was widely ridiculed for his conduct in the `Bishops’ Wars’. As its plural title implies, this stand-off between the Crown and the Scottish Presbyterians had two phases, and Suckling was reported to have behaved badly in both. The first phase built up through 1638 and formally concluded, after no more battle than a visual confrontation of forces at Kelso on 3 June 1639, with the signing of a treaty at Berwick-on-Tweed on 18 June 1639; and the second effectively ended with a skirmish at Newburn, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, on 27 August 1640. To the First Bishops’ War Suckling brought a hundred soldiers, spectacularly uniformed and equipped at his personal expense, who joined the retreat of royal forces at Kelso when the enemy came in sight. Suckling himself was said to have disappeared into his tent pleading diarrhoea; and his colonel, unable to get this courtier to join the vanguard, was said to have sent him back, miles behind the lines, where he played cards, at which his skills were notorious.n11587 Both the pretentiousness of Suckling’s preparations for battle, and the poltroonery of his behaviour in the face of it, were lampooned by his contemporaries.n11588 Brome’s characterisation of Sir Ferdinand in The Court Beggar includes what is effectively (albeit not formally) a dramatic lampoon of Suckling the soldier. At his first entrance, anticipated through two acts in which he is said to be mad, Ferdinand has an initial exchange of dialogue which clearly situates him at war with the Scots:FerdinandAm I then taken prisoner in the North?
Wounded, disarmed and bound? I shall be ransomed.....
To which of your rebelliously usurped
Castles ha’ you brought me? [To Doctor] You, sir Presbyter....
MendicantHe takes you for a Northern Pastor, Mr. Doctor.[CB 3.1.speeches410-411]10The Court Beggar, then, cannot have been written before June 1639 and the first humiliation of the royal army in the North. The date of the play can, however, perhaps be pushed later still. The scene from which the above quotation has been taken appears to make reference to further humiliations which Suckling was reported to have suffered late in the summer of the following year, at the end of the Second Bishops’ War. The least shameful stories of his conduct at Newcastle were that some of Suckling’s horses had been seized by the Scottish forces and the best steed given to their general, or that his coach had been taken, along with both clothing and £300 cash.n11589 At that first appearance in The Court Beggar, Ferdinand has been carried onstage. The stage direction in the original text reads: ‘Ferdinand brought in a chaire bound and hooded &c.[CB 3.1.lines1157-1160]. Having asked (as quoted above) whether he has been taken prisoner, Ferdinand proceeds to demand that his captors ....use me well, and like a solder.....
And use my horse well, and let my horse and armour
Be decently preserved and seen forthcoming
At my redemption
[CB 3.1.speeches413-415]
11Although no business is at this point clearly required by a stage direction nor even implicitly demanded by the dialogue, it seems reasonable to surmise that the actor of Ferdinand would treat the chair as a horse from which he had just dismounted. This surmise gets some confirmation from the dialogue immediately preceding his enforced removal from the scene. Noticing the servants who have been summoned to take him away, Ferdinand responds to their approach as if they were an advancing army. He calls for his horse and armour: FerdinandDo you sally forth in troops? Have I no troop?
Give me my horse and arms, and come a hundred.
DoctorWe’ll arm and horse you, since you’re so unruly.
Away with him into his bedchamber
[CB 3.1.speeches466-467]
12The Doctor’s response is spoken while Ferdinand is being put back into his chair — or onto his horse. The equestrian stage business, together with the lines stating concern for the welfare of captured cavalry and reiterating attention to the disposition of the speaker’s horse and armour, seem to match the rumours about Suckling’s conduct in the Second Bishops’ War and thus date the play to after the end of August 1640.13Then there are the references to Parliament. Late in 1639, after fully a decade of personal rule, Charles I summoned a parliament. Sitting for only three weeks, from 13 April to 5 May 1640, it is unsurprisingly known as ‘the Short Parliament’. The King called it in order to secure funds for his resumption of military action against the Scots, with which he pressed on after he had dissolved the parliament. By the end of August 1640 that action, the Second Bishop’s War, had failed: there was a Scots army on English soil. The war had not, however, formally ended -- nor would it do so until the following summer.n11590 Towards the end of September1640 the King, who was still determined to pursue hostilities with the Scots and still in need of subsidy for that end, summoned another parliament.n11591 This parliament, the fifth of the reign, outlived Charles I: it was dissolved only on 16 March 1660, having well earned its name as ‘the Long Parliament’. Although its very long duration obviously could not have been anticipated in the autumn of 1640, its importance was recognised even before it opened on 3 November 1640. The Court Beggar makes three direct references to parliament. Two occur in the first appearance of the purportedly mad Sir Ferdinand. As mentioned above, the character is an elaborate caricature of the courtier poet Sir John Suckling, whose notoriety was multi-faceted. By making Ferdinand pretend to be insane, Brome enabled himself to speed through various aspects of the courtier’s reputation. After his initial mad riff about soldiering CB 3.1.speeches410-421], Ferdinand goes through another about card-playing and then dicing, whereupon he turns to poetry. The speech which makes this transition is a topical pirouette:Away with cards. Bring dice, set all at hazard,
And though I lose all, I have yet a project
That at the end o’ th’ war, and the great sitting
Shall fetch all in again. But o my Muse!
How dare I so neglect thy inspirations?
Give me pen, ink and paper.
[CB 3.1.speech429]
14The pivot here is the line anticipating `the end o’ th’ war, and the great sitting’: it is impossible to be sure to which war, and to which parliament, allusion has been made. (The grammatical ambiguity of the third line in the quotation does not help: does the phrase `at the end o’’ govern `th’ war’ only or `the great sitting’ as well?) Similar uncertainty surrounds a second reference to parliament, later in the same scene. Having entered as a captain of royalist military forces freshly defeated by the Scots [CB 3.1.speeches410-421], Ferdinand exits as a politician newly selected for Parliament. Strapped back into the chair in which he had been carried onstage, he is lifted up to be carried off again. He responds to his forced removal as a celebration of election victory:Oh, do you make me then your Knight o’ th’ Shire?
A tun o’ wine for that. Shoulder your Knight,
Advance your Knight, bear him out!
[CB 3.1.speech468]
15The sneer at Suckling could refer to either of the parliaments which opened in 1640. Suckling’s career as a Parliament Man was extremely brief — less than a week. Having failed to be elected to the Short Parliament as the Member for Yarmouth, on April 30th he secured a seat for Bramber, Sussex, via a by-election which occasioned some suspicion of foul play by threats and bribes (not wine but money).n11592 That parliament, however, was dissolved on May 5th, and Suckling had no place in its successor. (The autumn 1640 contest over the seat for Bramber which Suckling had occupied in the spring was so corrupt that Parliament declared the result void and barred the royalist who had sought Suckling’s place from ever standing again.n11593) He did, however, write a small treatise for the times: ostensibly addressed ‘To Mr. Henry German, in the Beginning of Parliament, 1640’, it advises the king ‘to doe somethinge extraordinary att this present’.n1159416Parliament figures importantly in Brome’s final scene, when Sir Andrew Mendicant, the Court Beggar of the play, is literally divested of the letters patent which represent his connections to monopolies. The sequence has been taken to refer to the Short Parliament of April-May 1640: ‘In the spectacular final scene the monopolist enters decked with the symbols of his patents; these are pulled from him and his “projectors” are thrust out — and all this at a moment when Charles’ first parliament for eleven years, from which great changes were hoped, was newly in session.’n11595 This identification of the moment is understandable: monopolies were expected to be on Parliament’s agenda for the long-awaited sitting in the spring of 1640. However, that agenda was aborted by the King’s dissolution of the session; and Mendicant’s humiliation in the final scene of The Court Beggar matches well with the achieved agenda of the Parliament which opened on 3 November 1640 and moved against monopolists, including those in its ranks, within a fortnight.n11596 Putative offenders (namely, those against whom complaint had been laid before the Commons) were summoned to appear, as delinquents, before a special parliamentary committee on grievances and to bring their patents with them before the House. When Sir Andrew Mendicant, ‘attired all in patents, a windmill on his head’, enters to concede defeat, he comes not to the young lovers and their allies, but to Parliament; he speaks as if he were setting foot not in Lady Strangelove’s house, but in Westminster; he addresses the pair of Projectors who escort him as if they were complainants against himself; and he surrenders to the company onstage as if they were Parliament Men punishing monopolists:Room here! A hall for a monopolist!
You commonwealth’s informers, lead me on.
Bring me before the great assembly. See,
Fathers Conscript, I present all I have
For you to cancel.
[CB 5.2.speech1105]
17A few speeches later comes an exchange which, by making one of Mendicant’s onstage observers recognise where he thinks he is, ensures audience recognition of the reference:Mendicant .....I submit
Myself to your most honourable censures.
Cit-WitWhat does he take us for?Swain-WitPowers, powers: a lower house at least.Mendicant And all my patents to be cancelled.Swain-WitOur projects would not take with you: we’ll take yours tho’.DaintyHe shall dance out of ‘em. . . .[CB 5.2.speeches1117-1121]18After a dance in which the letters patent are pulled from Mendicant’s costume, and the Projectors are stripped of their cloaks and then shoved offstage, the significance of this business is spelled out:Ferdinand An excellent moral! The projects are all cancelled, and the projectors turned out o’ doors...[CB 5.2.speech1124]19It is of course possible that in all of this, Brome was presuming upon memories of proceedings in previous reigns. Parliament had pursued monopolists in the past -- in 1621 and 1624, and before that in 1601. The emphasis which this sequence places upon cancellation of patents and eviction of projects, however, seems to link it to 1640/1, when ‘the Long Parliament “called in” and “cancelled” a large number of monopoly patents’ and projectors who were Members of the House were ‘sequestered’ from it or expelled.n1159720A final group of topical references in The Court Beggar bear on Caroline theatrical practices. Foremost among these are rivalries between professional playwrights like Brome and courtly amateurs, like Suckling, whose resources and connections gave them unearned and undue advantage over all theatrical competition. Suckling subsidised the staging of Aglaura, his first finished play, which was performed by the King’s Men at the Blackfriars Theatre and at Court in the winter of 1637/8;n11598 and he also paid for the printing of this play, complete with alternative comic and tragicomic versions of Act 5, in luxurious folio format in the spring of 1638.n11600 Although Brome singled out the publication of Aglaura for ridicule,n11599 Suckling’s practices were not unique. In 1640, for example, the Lord Chamberlain himself subsidised performance and publication of the only play by William Habington, to whom he was related by marriage: performed at court (twice) and then at the Blackfriars Theatre, Habington’s The Queen of Aragon: a Tragicomedie also appeared in folio.n11602 In the prologue to The Court Beggar, Brome is said to eschew such courtly vanities of stage and page:He’ll tread his usual way: no gaudy scene
Shall give instructions, what his plot doth mean.
No handsome love-toy shall your time beguile,
Forcing your pity to a sigh or smile.
[CB 1.1.speech2]
21In the epilogue, Swain-wit speaks a professional performer’s resistance tothe great and curious poets that give these plays as the Prologue said, and money too, to have ’em acted — for them, indeed, we are bound to ply for an applause, because they look for nothing else, and scorn to beg for themselves.
[CB 5.2.speech1144]
22The scorn for amateur playwrights who do not need money escalates into contempt for them as possible plagiarists:The right worshipful poets boast to have made those interludes, when for aught you know they bought ’em of University scholars tho’, and only show their own wits in owning other men’s.....But this small poet vents none but his own.
23This implied accusation is another sneer at Suckling, of whom it was rumoured that a Cambridge student had ‘made Aglaura, except the end’. Decades later, repeating this rumour, Suckling’s early biographer John Aubrey named his source: Mr. William Beeston, for whose company Brome wrote The Court Beggar.n1160124William Beeston and his house playwright Brome were threatened, then, by the likes of Suckling, and responses to the threat can be observed in The Court Beggar. During Act 2, in the second batch of proposals with which the play mocks projects and monopolies, there is a proposal giving professional playwrights a monopoly of stage production and excluding amateurs of all sorts, starting with courtiers like Suckling, from the theatre:Mendicant Pray, of what nature are your projects, gentlemen?Court-Wit Sir, my affection leans much to poetry, especially the dramatic.Mendicant Writing of strange plays?Court-Wit I am glad I speak, sir, to your understanding. And my project is that no plays may be admitted to the stage, but of their making who profess or endeavour to live by the quality, that no courtiers, divines, students-at-law, lawyers’ clerks, tradesmen or prentices be allowed to write ’em, nor the works of any lay-poet whatsoever to be received to the stage, though freely given unto the actors, nay though any such poet should give a sum of money with his play, as with an apprentice, unless the author do also become bound that it shall do true and faithful service for a whole term. . . .Court-WitI have another, sir, to procure a patent for myself to have the only privilege to give instructions to all the actors in the city (especially the younger sort), the better to enable them to speak their parts emphatically and to the life.Mendicant You were best take heed in time, then, that you well preserve your own voice, for fear you do a spoil among ‘em in teaching ‘em to utter in unsavoury tunes.
[CB 2.1.speech365-371]
25It is important to note which of the Wits is made to speak these projects. As this and subsequent jokes [CB 4.2.speech767] [CB 5.2.speech1026] about nasal and/or vocal deficiencies suggest, Court-wit is a figure for William Davenant (1606-1668), whose syphilitic nose is conspicuous in his portrait. As noted above, it was to Davenant that the Lord Chamberlain reassigned William Beeston’s governorship of the Cockpit in June 1640. Like Brome, Davenant was a professional playwright; but he cultivated the top end of the market, writing for performance by the King’s Men at the Blackfriars Theatre and at Court (Whitehall) in the Cockpit-in-Court, the Banqueting House and then the Masquing House.n11603 Henry Jermyn was a patron and Suckling was a friend. Davenant’s stock with Queen Henrietta Maria was high enough to win him a place in her household. His masques, which were tailored to her tastes, were noted for elaborate staging effects, including movable scenery. However, he evidently wanted (what he would get at the Restoration) his own theatrical base — a building appropriately equipped and a company suitably skilled. In the spring of 1639 he appeared to have secured himself a theatre of his own and a company to go with it. He was granted a royal patent licensing him to ‘frame, erect, newbuild, and set up . . . a Theatre or Playhouse . . . containing in the whole forty yards square at the most, wherein Plays, musical Entertainments, Scenes or other the like Presentments, may be presented’ and ‘to gather together, entertain, govern, privilege and keep, such and so many Players and Persons, to exercise Action, musical Presentments, Scenes, Dancing and the like, as he shall think fit’. The company so assembled would be permitted to ‘act Plays . . . and exercise Musick, musical Presentments, Scenes, Dancing or other the like, at the same, or other hours or times, or after Plays are ended’. This was to be a commercial operation: those who attended ‘any such Plays, Scenes and Entertainments whatsoeuer’ in Davenant’s new theatre would pay for admission charged at the going rate ‘in other Playhouses and Places for the like Plays, Scenes, Presentments and Entertainments’. The building was to ‘be made or built of Brick or Stone’ on a site just off Fleet Street.n1160426The threat of competition was most immediate to the Salisbury Court Theatre, which stood within 150 yards of the proposed site, and management there accused Davenant of trying to poach its performers.n11605 The threat was also palpable at the Cockpit, which was within half a mile. Both theatres risked losing audiences to the modish and showy fare which Davenant’s project would have retailed. In the late spring and summer of 1639, however, Davenant was up North with the royalist forces; and in the autumn, his theatrical patent was for all practical purposes annulled by an indenture which forbade him the promised site.n11606 After a winter (1639-40) in which his professional activities were dominated by Salmacida Spolia, the last masque he wrote for Charles I and Henrietta Maria (who both danced in it), Davenant, as noted above, was appointed governor of the Cockpit in William Beeston’s stead. It is not known when, for how long, nor even whether Davenant actually took over in Drury Lane. War in the North interrupted again throughout the summer of 1640, and in September London theatres were closed by plague, probably until after the Long Parliament opened in November.n11607 In May 1641 Davenant, implicated in a plot, fled to France, and sometime that year Beeston was again recorded as governor of the Cockpit.n1160827Such uncertainties about these events in theatre history complicate interpretation of the references which The Court Beggar makes to them. Among the Projectors’ schemes in Act I, the one `For building a new theatre or play-house / Upon the Thames, on barges or flat boats’ [CB 1.1.speech100] all but names Davenant’s license for building a new theatre or play-house off Fleet Street. Two of the jokes about Court-wit’s nose [CB 2.1.speech371] [CB 5.2.speech1038] turn on Davenant’s physical unfittedness to instruct anyone in speaking for the stage; and the Epilogue also clearly alludes to Davenant’s threat to William Beeston’s governorship of the Cockpit. Swain-wit, it will be remembered from a quotation above, praises Beeston for his training of young actors and jokes about their ability to memorise long roles before they could say a simple formulaic prayer. He continues in a different tone:And to be serious with you, if after all this, by the venomous practice of some who study nothing more than his destruction, he should fail us, both poets and players would be at a loss in reputation. But this is from our poet again, who tells you plainly all the helps he has or desires.
[CB 5.2.speech1144]
28This is a little puzzling. If it was written in April 1640, then it is singularly prescient: Beeston was imprisoned the following month, and the order for his displacement at the Cockpit by Davenant was given eight weeks after his imprisonment. (It is, of course, possible that trouble was known to be looming long before it happened, let alone got documented.) If the defence of Beeston was written at any time during Davenant’s putative regime, it is hard to imagine it actually being spoken then and there, from the stage of a theatre governed by him. (It is, of course, possible that this happened when the nominal governor was in Scotland and out of hearing. It is also possible that it was not spoken in the Cockpit when and if Davenant was in charge of it -- nor perhaps ever uttered onstage there, but only printed.n11609) If the defence of Beeston was written after his restoration to the governorship, then it seems both pointless as a vindication of him and somewhat vindictive towards Davenant and his supporters. To this editor, it finally appears impossible to pin The Court Beggar down to any date or single event between April 1640 and May 1641, thirteen months of very fast change in the politics of the nation as well as of its theatre. It also seems likely that the difficulties in narrowing the range may indicate composition over a period of time and/or authorial revision.29The tone of the references which The Court Beggar makes to Davenant through Court-wit is nothing so hostile, nor so contemptuous, as those which the play makes to Suckling through Ferdinand. The difference is well illustrated in their respective comments on poetry, of which both characters (like their originals) are practitioners. Ferdinand, proposing to write about Lady Strangelove, asks that time stop while he sings:Ferdinand ...But o, my Muse!
How dare I so neglect thy inspirations?
Give me pen, ink and paper...
Now will I write, nor will I emulate
Ovid’s smooth vein, or Petrarch’s buskin style.
Nor Laura, nor Corinna, did deserve
To have their prayers written in such verse
As I’ll bestow on her that I adore.
Listen to me, you blest Intelligences— — —
And, Phoebus, stay thy course to hear me sing
Her praises, for whose love th’enamoured gods
Would leave their proper seats, and in stolen shapes,
Converse with mortals— — — You soul-ravishing spheres,
Send forth your sweetest harmony whilst I sing — — —
But, oh, she is disdainful, and her scorn
Hath blotted all the glory of her praise.
Away, away with all!
[CB 3.1.speeches429-431]
30Court-wit, having undertaken to write a masque for Lady Strangelove, merely asks for a little time in which to get on with the job:Court-Wit I have cast the design for’t already, Madam. My inventions are all flame and spirit. But you can expect no great matter to be done extempore, or in six minutes.
[CB 5.2.speech994]
31And among the trio of wits whose banter lights up the play, Court-wit is the least ridiculous — and by the same token, the least amusing. Aside from the jokes about his nose, Brome presents Court-wit as an object of laughter only when is actually writing his masque:Court-Wit Umh. (He writes in his tables, sometimes scratching his head, as [if] pumping his Muse)
[CB 5.2.speech1026]
32At that point in Act 5, everyone onstage is risible, and the laughter will implicate the audience. The masque, with its rehearsal and its aftermath, is at once astonishing and unsettling. Within the fiction of The Court Beggar, the occasion for the masque is rather deviously divulged. Anticipated in Act 2, it is there presented by Strangelove as one of her characteristic whims:Strangelove I may perhaps call in. . . men
Of science, art and action.
Swain-WitOf action, Madam? Who do you mean? The players?Strangelove Why not? I love their quality and them, and mean to have the use of some of ‘em shortly, besides musicians (poets in the first place) and painters. . . [CB 2.1.speeches328-330]33Prompted by Court-wit, Strangelove explains:Court-Wit ...Madam, you were speaking of the use you would make of poet, painter, music, actor and the like.Strangelove True, favourite. For a masque that I intend to have shortly, you shall perform the poetical part, your servant Cit-wit the musical, and [to DAINTY] by your skill and directions, the painter’s office for the scenes. Dancers and speakers I have in store.Swain-Wit I must be something too tho’, must I not, Madam? [CB 2.1.speeches344-346]34In Act 5, scene 2 Strangelove attaches her intention to a wedding. At this point, however, her interlocutor, Mendicant, must -- and the audience may well — think the occasion to be a union between his daughter and Ferdinand:Strangelove And hear me, good Sir Andrew, for the love I bring to add unto your joys: for I, Foreseeing the event of this night’s happiness, Have warned some friends to follow me with revels To celebrate the marriage of your fortunes.[CB 5.2.speech971]35When considered outside the fiction, past plot logic, the function of the masque is also a tease. In a political reading of The Court Beggar which foregrounds its representation of monopolies and which is grounded in concepts of popular theatre associated with Robert Weimann and Mikhail Bakhtin, Martin Butler writes:The concluding masque turns the play into a great festive, Saturnalian overthrowing of monopolies and grievances, in which players and audience, on a wave of anti-court feeling, vigorously celebrate their political expectations and anticipate their success.... The Court Beggar presents us definitively with that fully achieved political drama which was always a latent possibility in the popular theatrical tradition.n1161036In an intertextual reading which presents both the masque and also its rehearsal as critiques of court culture in general and of Jonson’s particular contributions to that culture, Richard Cave writes:For Jonson the masque was designed to intimate to beholders what ideally authority should be; Brome deploys the form that Jonson devised for the genre to show how far short of the ideal the reality of court life falls.n1161137To this it might be added that Brome’s deployment of the masque form in The Court Beggar also takes account of Jonson’s successors at court. James Shirley’s The Triumph of Peace, a processional triumph plus court masque which the four Inns of Court staged for the King and Queen in February 1634, had included half a dozen projectors in one of its antimasques and a windmill in another [NOTE n9575] [NOTE n10121]. The processional triumph also incorporated its own armed guard, ten on horseback and forty on foot, ‘to preserve the order of [the] March, and restraine the rudenesse of people, that in such triumphs, are wont to be insolent, and tumultuary’. Onlookers along the route might well have been provoked by the antimasques, including as they did four beggars ‘in timorous lookes and gestures’ with barking hounds in pursuit.n11612 Davenant’s Salmacida Spolia (1640) is almost overwhelmed by its antimasques: the initial appearance of Furies is Jonsonian in scale, but further on -- after Genius and Concord have evinced sympathy for the King ‘in a sullen age,/ When it is harder far to cure/ The people’s folly than resist their rage’ — there are fully twenty separate entries, each with between two and four figures.38Brome’s antimasque in The Court Beggar overwhelms its Act 5 masque, and thereby unsettles the whole play, not by scale but by placement. As Cave points out, Brome reverses the established movement from disorder to order, the antimasque having also been an ante-masque, ‘before’-masque, ever since Jonson introduced it in 1609. Brome’s masque rehearsal, moreover, increases the unexpectedness, and thereby intensifies the force, of the antimasque. The rehearsal trains the audience to watch for the incompetence of the performers and to note the incongruities between them and their respective roles; but it does not prepare for Mendicant’s grotesque upstaging of those performers’ efforts. The only hint given to the audience is Mendicant’s exit, just as the masque is about to commence, with a parting promise to ‘do/ Something shall add to your delight immediately’ [CB 5.2.speech1085]. The masque gets underway with the Boy bungling his lines and calling for a prompt from Philomel [CB 5.2.speech1087], who proceeds to present her colleagues, one by one [CB 5.2.speech1094], as the agents of classical divinities. Their respective costumes would probably raise laughter, as would both the Boy’s bungling and the comments from the onstage audience. The dramatic territory is familiar from Act 5 of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as is the movement of the masque into a wedding dance, ‘rite of love to give the nuptials grace’ [CB 5.2.speech1094]. Pattern and ceremony, however ill executed, are perceptible, but then broken by the antimasque of Mendicant, with a windmill on his head, a pair of cloaked projectors at his side and his own costume covered with letters patent. 39Thereafter, surprise follows surprise, each more startling than the one before. The interrupted dance is resumed; Mendicant is danced out of the badges of his folly; and the Projectors are stripped of their cloaks and then, as befits scapegoats, shoved offstage. There follows yet more dancing, on a smaller scale, in the course of which Strangelove’s engagement to her would-be rapist Ferdinand is announced. That loose end of plot having been not so much tied up as clipped off, the play moves into an epilogue which shatters contemporary conventions for epilogues. It has six different speakers, all of whom remain in character. The first five speakers address the audience, wherein they target different groups, in verse — indeed, in rhyming couplets which so nearly achieve perfection in the regularity of their iambic pentameter that it is difficult to hear them as Brome’s work. Suddenly grabbing the microphone, as it were, and speaking in prose, Swain-wit criticises the other speakers for what they have just said to the audience, and he objects to what other characters would have said, had they got the chance. He carries on and on, at greater length than is customary for an epilogue, and the point at which this last speaker actually gets around to addressing the audience is not at all clearly marked in the text. Swain-wit has been characterised as one unfamiliar with conventions, so the audience know where they are with the speaker; but the boundary between his world and theirs is utterly confused by this last speech.40The confusion is part of a general frustration of attempts to construe The Court Beggar as a celebration or condemnation of anything. It refuses a stable position from which to do either. This is not to say, as has been said, that it is formally flawed,n11613 but rather that it is treacherously tricksy. The play is packed with shows: in the final act there are the wedding party’s deception of Mendicant, the rehearsal of the masque, the masque itself, and then the dance with its mimed disrobing and dispelling. Elsewhere, performances are staged of seduction (Act 2), madness (Act 3 scene 1 and Act 4 scene 3), and castration (Act 4 scene 2). The performances of madness and castration are even designated as ‘the madman’s revels...the doctor’s tragicomedy’ [CB 4.2.speeches711-712], while Ferdinand acknowledges his ‘shew of madness’ [CB 4.3.speech831]. Within the fiction of The Court Beggar, those characters who get what they want (as almost all do) achieve their desires through individual impersonations and/or collective show. Ferdinand poses as a madman, complete with medical team, among whom at least the Doctor is also play-acting; and their performance gives Ferdinand the access to Strangelove through which he eventually gets her hand, etc.. Strangelove’s pose as randy widow rids her of Sir Raphael and frees her for a giggle with Philomel. Frederick makes two appearances in disguise as another Doctor: the first (in Act 4, scene 3) gives him opportunity to subdue his rival Ferdinand, and the second (in Act 5) gives him opportunity to marry Charissa. Cit-wit’s long-delayed performance as courageous young blade earns him Philomel’s respect and affection. With Dainty, however, transformation begins to seem subtle and suspect: in Act 5 he impersonates himself, a thief. Perpetrated against an experienced victim who, immediately before this crime, is explicitly warned against him, Dainty’s final theft is a performance before an onstage audience who know his game and expect him to play it. ‘Observe, good Madam,’ says Court-wit to Strangelove as Dainty approaches his victim (Speech No. 984). Even while he kneels before his victim and begs pardon for robbing him earlier in the play, Dainty cuts his purse. Once he has given this perfect performance of purse-cutting as a party-trick, Dainty instantly confesses the crime and, ‘promising before all these witnesses, I’ll never venture for another [purse]’ [CB 5.2.speech989], claims to be a changed man. Mendicant, emerging from the antimasque, makes the same claim: ‘... and now I am myself again. I saw th’event of all with good esteem/ And would as well as you a madman seem’ [CB 5.2.speech1125].. He is claiming both to have anticipated plot developments and to be transformed back into himself, and the audience may well wonder who that may be — the Court Beggar acted out through the play or the rural housekeeper remembered by his daughter in Act I [CB 1.1.speeches20-24]. The list of dramatis personae printed at the beginning of The Court Beggar describes Mendicant as ‘an old Knight, turned a Projector’. Which description obtains at the end?41Swain-wit asks as much of Mendicant in the Epilogue [CB 5.2.speech1144]: ‘You would say that all your projects are put down, and you’ll take up no new but what shall be spectators to please you.’ Doubt likewise surrounds Swain-wit’s anticipation of Dainty setting up as security guard at the Cockpit: ‘You [Dainty] now would tell the audience they should not fear to throng hither the next day, for you will secure their purses cut-free and their pockets pick-free. ‘Tis much for you to do tho’ ‘(Ibid.). Along with thus hinting to the audience that they may be being robbed by their fellows, the Epilogue to The Court Beggar reminds its audiences both that the professional theatre is a commercial transaction (‘and tho’ you see for your love, you will judge for your money’) and that what they are buying is lies, more or less. They have purchased places somewhere in an infinite regress of mirrors, and they would do well to check their change.

n11563   claim in 1691. G.Langbaine, An Account of the English Dramatick Poets (Oxford: L.L. for George West and Henry Clements, 1691; facsimile reprint New York: Garland, 1973), p. 36. [go to text]

n11564   in October 1638. F.G.Fleay, Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama (London: Reeves and Turner, 1891, 2 vols.; reissue New York: Burt Franklin, n.d.) I, pp. 40-41. [go to text]

n11565   as Beeston’s Boys. G.E.Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage: I, Dramatic Companies & Players (Oxford: Clarendon, 1941) 115, 337-8; and III, Plays & Playwrights (Oxford: Clarendon, 1956), pp. 61-65. [go to text]

n11566   1962 by W.W.Greg: W.W.Greg, A Bibliography of the English Printed Drama to the Restoration, Vol.II. (London: Bibliographical Society, 1962), pp. 835-6. [go to text]

n11567   arrangements and equipment. G.E.Bentley, `The Phoenix or Cockpit in Drury Lane’, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage: Vol VI, Theatres (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), pp. 47-77; Herbert Berry, `The Phoenix’, in Glynne Wickham, Herbert Berry, and William Ingram, eds., English Professional Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 622-637, particularly 623: `The building apparently had brick walls. Little else is known for certain about it’. [go to text]

n11568   not generally accepted. The identification of two untitled drawings in the Inigo Jones/John Webb Collection at Worcester College, Oxford, as designs for the Cockpit/Phoenix was first published by Iain Mackintosh in 1973. The hypothesis was elaborated in detail by John Orrell in The Theatres of Inigo Jones and John Webb (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 39-77, particularly pp. 40-41 and 51 for reproductions of the drawings, and p. 50 for measurements from which stage dimensions have been inferred. Herbert Berry preferred the identification of a building on Wenceslas Hollar’s Great Map: this identification is more secure, but it gives only an exterior view, much of which is obscured by other mid-seventeenth-century buildings in Drury Lane. For an accessible reproduction of this image, see Herbert Berry, `The Phoenix’, in Glynne Wickham et al, English Professional Theatre, p. 624. [go to text]

n11569   spaces or equipment. T.J.King, `Staging of Plays at the Phoenix in Drury Lane, 1617-1642’, Theatre Notebook, Vol XIX (1965), pp. 146-166. [go to text]

n11570   plays staged there David Stevens, `The Staging of Plays at the Salisbury Court Theatre, 1630-1642’, Theatre Journal, 31:4 (1979), 511-525; this point, p. 515. Stevens estimates the Salisbury Court stage as 32 feet wide by 20 feet deep, both dimensions being considerably greater than John Astington’s estimated width of 20 feet tapering to 15 feet with a depth perhaps of 12 feet. See John H. Astington, `The Messalina Stage and Salisbury Court Plays’, Theatre Journal, 43:2 (1991), 141-156; particularly pp. 153-154, to which I also owe the phrase `body count’. [go to text]

n11571   and Queen’s boys’. Glynne Wickham et al, eds., English Professional Theatre, pp. 625, 623. [go to text]

n11572   6 March 1640. The documents can be studied in: Ann Haaker, ‘The Plague, the Theatre and the Poet’, Renaissance Drama, N.S. I (1968), 283-306; and Herbert Berry, ‘The Salisbury Court ’, in Glynne Wickham et al, eds. English Professional Theatre, pp. 649-674; these documents pp. 657-664. For discussion of Brome’s contractual difficulties, see also Eleanor Collins’s essay on the website for this Collected Plays. In Act 2 of The Court Beggar, when Court-wit proposes that playmaking be restricted to theatre professionals, Mendicant pronounces this mock project ‘as idle as the players going to law with their poets’[CB 2.1.speeches368-369]. [go to text]

n11573   boys as players.’ Glynne Wickham et al, eds., English Professional Theatre, p. 625. [go to text]

n11574   in men’s companies’. G.E.Bentley, `The King’s Revels Company’, Chap IX of The Jacobean and Caroline Stage,Vol. I, pp. 283-301; this quotation p. 283. See also `Salisbury Court’ in The Jacobean and Caroline Stage, Vol. VI, pp. 86-115; especially p. 100. [go to text]

n11575   to vaudeville turns’. R.W.Ingram, `The Musical Art of Brome’s Comedies’, Renaissance Drama, n.s. 7 (1976), 218-242; this quotation p. 233. [go to text]

n11576   in the company. For names and numbers (a dozen boys, besides adults, as of August 1639) among the Cockpit Company, see Andrew Gurr, The Shakespearian Playing Companies (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), p. 424. Gurr infers this information from Malone Society edition of some of the Lord Chamberlain’s records, Collections, Vol. II, Part iii (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Malone Society, 1931), pp. 393-4. [go to text]

n11577   the Cockpit company. G.E.Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage, 1, pp. 332-5. [go to text]

n11578   their former Liberty. This document, which survives in The National Archives, has been widely quoted. A full text of it may be found in: Malone Society Collections, Vol. II, Part iii, pp. 393-4. [go to text]

n11579   punishe the offenders. Full text in N.W.Bawcutt, ed., The Control and Censorship of Caroline Drama: The Records of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels 1623-73 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996), p. 208. [go to text]

n11580   answer the contrary..... This document also survives in The National Archives and has been widely quoted. A full text of it may be found in: Malone Society Collections, Vol. II, Part iii, p. 395. [go to text]

n11581   of his work. Martin Butler, Theatre and Crisis 1632-1642 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984; paperback edition, 1987), pp. 135-6, 220; Matthew Steggle, Richard Brome: Place and Politics on the English Stage (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), p. 156 [‘heavily likely’]; Martin Butler, `Richard Brome’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) [‘almost certainly’]. [go to text]

n11582   to the King’. N.W.Bawcutt, The Control and Censorship of Caroline Drama, p. 70-71. [go to text]

n11583   the title survives’. N.W.Bawcutt, The Control and Censorship of Caroline Drama, pp. 70-71. Herbert’s record of this lost play survives only in a nineteenth-century transcript, which is now in the Beinecke Library of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. The record reads: ‘The Challenge, all[owe]d 1640; it was acted without license by Beeston at Cockpit’ (ibid., pp. 18, 114 and 206). [go to text]

n11584   of May 1640. ‘The records give no title for the play, but Martin Butler takes for granted that it was Brome’s The Court Beggar, almost certainly put on by the company near this time’ (Bawcutt, The Control and Censorship of Caroline Drama, p. 70). [go to text]

n11585   of merit...’ [CB 4.1.speech642]. The fullest analysis, covering points which are disregarded in this introduction, is R.J.Kauffmann, Richard Brome: Caroline Playwright (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961), Chapter IX, pp. 151-164. [go to text]

n11586   inebriated old blowhard. The Works of Sir John Suckling: Vol. I, The Non-Dramatic Works, ed. Thomas Clayton (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), pp. 71-76, 266-278. [go to text]

n11587   skills were notorious. For Suckling’s activities before and during the First Bishop’s War, see Thomas Clayton, ‘General Introduction’ to The Works of Sir John Suckling: Vol. I, pp. L-LI and references (mainly to correspondence, of which I have not checked the original manuscripts, calendared in HMC and Calendar of State Papers Domestic volumes) there cited. [go to text]

n11588   by his contemporaries. For four lampoons, see The Works of Sir John Suckling: Vol. I, ed. Thomas Clayton, Appendix A.5, pp. 204-209, 347-352. [go to text]

n11589   and £300 cash. For Suckling’s activities before and during the First Bishop’s War, see Thomas Clayton, ‘General Introduction’ to The Works of Sir John Suckling: Vol. I, pp. LI-LIII and references (mainly to correspondence as calendared in HMC and Calendar of State Papers Domestic) there cited. [go to text]

n11590   the following summer. See David Stevenson, The Scottish Revolution 1637-1644: The Triumph of the Covenanters (Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1973; paperback edition, Edinburgh: John Donald, 2003), pp. 214-242. [go to text]

n11591   summoned another parliament. For the motivations and manoeuvres, see Kevin Sharpe, The Personal Rule of Charles I (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992; paperback edition, 1995), pp. 885-921, particularly pp. 914-921. [go to text]

n11592   wine but money). Thomas Clayton, `General Introduction’ to The Works of Sir John Suckling, pp. L-LI. [go to text]

n11593   ever standing again. Mary Frear Keeler, The Long Parliament, 1640-41: A Biographical Study of its Members (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1954), p. 67. [go to text]

n11594   att this present’. The Works of Sir John Suckling: Vol. I, ed. Thomas Clayton, pp. 163-167; this quotation p. 163. Clayton [Introduction, p LIII] suggests composition ‘probably in December, shortly after the opening of the Long Parliament (November 3)’. Like Suckling, Henry Jermyn/Germain had been a Parliament Man in the Short Parliament of 1640 and like him would flee to the Continent a year later. [go to text]

n11595   newly in session.’ Martin Butler, ODNB entry on Richard Brome (2004), accessed 18 September 2008. Butler earlier wrote: ‘The Court Beggar, which, performed at the Phoenix in May 1640 while the new but ill-fated Short Parliament was still sitting, brought the wrath of the king crashing down onto the company and virtually wrecked the career of its manager, William Beeston’ (Theatre and Crisis 1632-1642, p.220). [go to text]

n11596   ranks, within a fortnight. See Maija Jansson, ed., Proceedings in the Opening Session of the Long Parliament: House of Commons, Vol 1: 3 November – 19 December 1640 (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2000), passim. The treatment of Sir Nicholas Crispe (pp. 224-5) is a particularly good example. [go to text]

n11597   it or expelled. See Elizabeth Read Foster, `The Procedure of the House of Commons against Patents and Monopolies, 1621-1624’, in Conflict in Stuart England: Essays in honour of Wallace Notestein, eds. William Appleton Aiken and Basil Duke Henning ([London:] Jonathan Cape, 1960; reprint [Hamden, Connecticut:] Archon Books, 1970), pp. 59-86; these quotations, p. 84. [go to text]

n11598   winter of 1637/8; See L.A.Beaurline’s commentary on Aglaura in his edition of The Works of John Suckling, Vol. II: The Plays (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), pp. 253-288; especially pp. 261-3. Beaurline argues that several of Inigo Jones’s extant drawings are of sets for the Court production. [go to text]

n11600   spring of 1638. Printed by John Haviland for Thomas Walkley, 1638 (STC 23420). A facsimile of the British Library copy (shelfmark Ashley 5058) was published by Scolar Press in 1970; and online images of the copy in the Huntington Library at San Marino, California, are available on EEBO. [go to text]

n11599   of Aglaura for ridicule, In a verse lampoon, ‘Upon Aglaura in Folio,’ which was first printed with Brome’s The Weeding of Covent Garden: see Michael Leslie’s edition of the play in this Collected Plays. Brome’s lampoon and two others (shorter and inferior) are printed in The Works of Sir John Suckling: Vol. I, ed. Thomas Clayton, pp. 201-203. [go to text]

n11602   appeared in folio. Printed by Thomas Cotes for William Cook, 1640 (STC 12587). Online images of the copy in the Library of the University of Chicago are available on EEBO. Herbert situates the first court performance in the hall at Whitehall, dates it to 9 April 1640, and credits it to ‘my lords servants out of his own family, and his charge in the cloathes and sceanes, which were very riche and curious’. Herbert also, however, records licensing the play to the King’s Men that year. See N.W.Bawcutt, ed., The Control and Censorship of Caroline Drama, pp. 206-7. [go to text]

n11601   The Court Beggar. `Brief Lives’, chiefly of Contemporaries, set down by John Aubrey, between the Years 1669 and 1696, ed. Andrew Clark (Oxford: Clarendon, 1898), II, 245. The rumour is stated at the end of a note, which otherwise concerns Suckling’s invention of cribbage, ‘from Mr. William Beeston’. In an article to which I am greatly indebted, John Freehafer points out that this ‘canard is not to be believed, because Aglaura resembles Suckling’s other plays’ (`Brome, Suckling, and Davenant’s Theater Project of 1639’, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 10:3 (1968), 367-383; this quotation, p. 372). Nonetheless, on 21 January 1639, Ann Merrick at Wrest wrote something similar in a letter to a Mrs Lydall (Calendar of State Papers Domestic 1638-9 [London: Longmans, 1871], p. 342). [go to text]

n11603   the Masquing House. For Davenant’s biography and overall career, see Mary Edmond, Rare Sir William Davenant: Poet Laureate, Playwright, Civil War General, Restoration Theatre Manager (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987) and her ODNB entry for Davenant. For Davenant’s dramatic and theatrical activities to 1642, see Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage, Vol. III, pp. 193-225. And for Davenant’s record of performances at Court, see John Astington, English Court Theatre , 1558-1642 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1999), pp. 261-267. [go to text]

n11604   off Fleet Street. Dated at Westminster 26 March 1639, the license is printed in Thomas Rymer Foedera, Conventiones, Literae Cujuscunque Generis Acta Publica…. (London: J. Tonson, 1735), pp. 377-8; these quotations, p. 378. For detailed discussion of the project, see John Freehafer, `Brome, Suckling, and Davenant’s Theater Project of 1639’, pp. 367-383. [go to text]

n11605   poach its performers. For the documents, see G.E.Bentley, ‘Heton’s Papers’, in The Jacobean and Caroline Stage: Vol. II, pp. 684-687; and Herbert Berry, ‘The Salisbury Court ’, in Glynne Wickham et al, eds. English Professional Theatre, pp. 649-674; these documents, pp. 664-667. The accusation is made by Richard Heton, manager of the Salisbury Court Playhouse, in part-justification of his attempt to tighten up the regime there. [go to text]

n11606   the promised site. For the indenture, which was dated 2 October 1639, see J.Q.Adams, Shakespearean Playhouses: a history of English theatres from the beginnings to the Restoration (London: Constable and Co., [1950?]), p. 430. [go to text]

n11607   opened in November. Ann Haaker, ‘The Plague, the Theatre and the Poet’, p. 294. [go to text]

n11608   of the Cockpit. Malone Society Collections, Vol. II, Part iii, p. 326. [go to text]

n11609   there, but only printed. At the end of the 1640 imprint of The Antipodes, Brome explains: ‘Courteous Reader, You shal find in this Booke more then was presented on the Stage, and left out of the Presentation. . . I thought good al should be inserted according to the allowed Original’ (The Antipodes: A Comedie [London: J. Oakes for Francis Constable, 1640], sig L4v, accessed via EEBO images of the British Library copy of STC 3818). [go to text]

n11610   popular theatrical tradition. Martin Butler, Theatre and Crisis 1632-1642, p. 227. [go to text]

n11611   court life falls. Richard Cave, ‘The Playwriting Sons of Ben: Nathan Field and Richard Brome’, in Jonsonians: Living Traditions, ed. Brian Woolland (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), pp. 69-91; this quotation, p. 81. [go to text]

n11612   hounds in pursuit. James Shirley, The Triumph of Peace: A Masque... (London: John Norton for William Cooke, 1633[/4]), sig. A2. For later (1643 and 1653) responses to this masque, see Susan Wiseman, Drama and Politics in the English Civil War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 115-124. [go to text]

n11613   is formally flawed,[go to text]

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