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Title: Shakespeare's Lost Years in London, 1586-1592
Author: Acheson, Arthur, 1864-1930
Language: English
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Giving new light on the pre-Sonnet period; showing the inception of
relations between Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton and displaying








_All rights reserved_






"The purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was, and
is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own
feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his
form and pressure."

_Hamlet_, Act III. Scene ii.


CHAP.                                                              PAGE

I. INTRODUCTORY                                                       1

II. THE STRATFORD DAYS, 1564-1586                                    19

1586-1591                                                            38

1591-1594                                                            72

V. SHAKESPEARE AND THE SCHOLARS, 1588-1592                           90

VI. THE POLITICAL PURPOSE OF _KING JOHN_, 1591-1592                 131

AND THE EARL OF SOUTHAMPTON, 1591-1594                              150



1. Dedication of Florio's _Second Fruites_, 1591                    223

2. Address to the Reader from Florio's _Second Fruites_,
1591                                                                229

3. Dedication of Florio's _Worlde of Wordes_, 1598                  233

4. Address to the Reader from Florio's _Worlde of
Wordes_, 1598                                                       242

5. John Florio's Will, 1625                                         252

INDEX                                                               257





The most interesting and important fifteen years in the records of
English dramatic literature are undoubtedly those between 1588 and 1603,
within which limit all of Shakespeare's poems and the majority of his
plays were written; yet no exhaustive English history, intelligently
co-ordinating the social, literary, and political life of this period,
has ever been written.

Froude, the keynote of whose historical work is contained in his
assertion that "the Reformation was the root and source of the expansive
force which has spread the Anglo-Saxon race over the globe," recognising
a logical and dramatic climax for his argument in the defeat of the
Spanish Armada in 1588, ends his history in that year; while Gardiner,
whose historical interest was as much absorbed by the Puritan Revolution
as was Froude's by the Reformation, finds a fitting beginning for his
subject in the accession of James I. in 1603. Thus an historical hiatus
is left which has never been exhaustively examined. To the resulting
lack of a clearly defined historical background for those years on the
part of Shakespearean critics and compilers--who are not as a rule also
students of original sources of history--may be imputed much of the
haziness which still exists regarding Shakespeare's relations to, and
the manner in which his work may have been influenced by, the literary,
social, and political life of this period.

The defeat of the Armada ended a long period of threatened danger for
England, and the following fifteen years of Elizabeth's reign were
passed in comparative security. The social life of London and the Court
now took on, by comparison with the troubled past, an almost Augustan
phase. During these years poetry and the drama flourished in England as
they never did before, or since, in any such space of time. Within a few
years of the beginning of this time Shakespeare became the principal
writer for, and later on a sharer in, a company of players which, at
about the same time, was chosen as the favourite Court company; a
position which--under various titles--it continued to hold
thereafterwards for over forty years.

When we compare the plays of Shakespeare with those of his
contemporaries and immediate successors, it becomes evident that this
dominant position was maintained by his company largely through the
superior merit of his work while he lived, and by the prestige he had
attained for it after he had passed away.

In the time of Elizabeth the stage was recognised as one of the
principal vehicles for the reflection of opinion concerning matters of
public interest; the players being, in Shakespeare's phrase, "the
abstract and brief chronicles of the time." The fact that laws were
passed and Orders in Council issued prohibiting the representation of
matters of Church or State upon the stage, clearly implies the
prevalence of such representations. It is altogether unlikely that the
most popular dramatist of the day should, in this phase of his art, have
remained an exception to the rule.

I hold it to have been impossible that such an ardent Englishman as
Shakespeare, one also so deeply interested in human motive, character,
and action, should have lived during these fifteen years in the heart of
English literary and political life,--coming, through his professional
interests, frequently and closely in contact with certain of its central
figures,--and should during this interval have written twenty original
plays, three long poems, and over one hundred and fifty sonnets, without
leaving in this work decipherable reflections of the characters and
movements of his time. That these conscious, or unconscious, reflections
have not long ago been recognised and interpreted I impute to the lack
of an intimate knowledge of contemporary history on the part of the
majority of his critics and biographers.

Competent text critics, in their efforts to establish the chronological
order of the dramas, have long since displayed the facts that
Shakespeare's earlier original plays were largely comedies of a joyous
nature, and that, as the years pass, his work becomes more serious and
philosophical; in time developing into the pessimistic bitterness of
_Lear_ and _Timon of Athens_, but softening and lightening, at the end
of his career, in the gravely reflective but kindly mood of _Cymbeline_,
_A Winter's Tale_, and _The Tempest_; yet no serious attempt has ever
been made to trace and demonstrate in the personal contact of the writer
with concurrent life the underlying spiritual causes of these very
palpable changes in his expression of it. Until this is done no
adequate life of Shakespeare can be written.[1]

Now, in order to be enabled to find in Shakespeare's personal
observation and experience the well-springs of the plainly developing
and deepening reflections of human life in action, so evident in his
dramas when studied chronologically, a sound knowledge of contemporary
social, literary, and political history is the first essential;
possessing this, the serious student will soon realise in the likenesses
between Shakespeare's dramatic expression, and his concurrent
possibilities of observation and experience, that he portrayed life as
he himself saw and felt it, and that he used the old and hackneyed
stories and chronicles which he selected for his plots, not because he
lacked the power of dramatic construction, but in order to hide the
underlying purposes of his plays from the public censor. While no
intelligent student needs any other warrant for this belief than the
plays themselves, when chronologically co-ordinated with even an
elementary knowledge of the history of the period, we have Shakespeare's
own assertion that this was the actual method and spirit of his work.
When he tells us in _Hamlet_ that "the purpose of playing, whose end,
both at the first _and now_, was, _and is_, to hold, as 'twere, the
mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own
image, and _the very age and body of the time_ his form and pressure,"
he is not attempting to describe the dramatic methods of ancient
Denmark, but is definitely expounding the functions of dramatic
exposition as they prevailed in actual use in his own day, and as he
himself had then exercised them for over ten years.

Any attempt to visualise Shakespeare in his contemporary environment,
and spiritually to link his work year by year with the life of his time,
would be impossible unless there can first be attained a far clearer
idea than now exists of his theatrical connections, the inception of his
dramatic work, and of the literary and social affiliations he formed and
antagonisms he aroused, during his first six or eight years in London.
The purpose of this book is--by casting new light upon this period of
Shakespeare's career--to show the inception and development of
conditions and influences which continued from that time forward
materially to affect his and his friends' lives, and in turn to shape
and colour the expression of life in action which he gives us in his

Though there is nothing known definitely concerning Shakespeare between
1587--when his name is mentioned in a legal document at Stratford
regarding the transfer of property in which he held a contingent
interest and which possibly infers his presence in Stratford at that
date--and 1592, when Robert Greene alludes to him in his posthumously
published _A Groatsworth of Wit_, it is usually assumed that he left
Stratford in 1586 or 1587 with a company of players, or else that he
joined a company in London at about that time.

As the Earl of Leicester's company is recorded as having visited
Stratford-upon-Avon in 1587,--some time before 14th June,--and as James
Burbage, the father of Richard Burbage, with whom we find Shakespeare
closely affiliated in later years, was manager of the Earl of
Leicester's company as late as 1575,--the year before he built the
Theatre at Shoreditch,--it is generally assumed that he was still
manager of this company in 1586-87, and that Shakespeare became
connected with him by joining Leicester's company at this time. This
assumption is, however, somewhat involved by another, nebulously held by
some critics, _i.e._, that James Burbage severed his connection with
Leicester's company in 1583, and joined the Queen's company, and that
the latter company played under his management at the Theatre in
Shoreditch for several years afterwards. It is further involved by the
equally erroneous assumption that Burbage managed the Curtain along with
the Theatre between 1585 and 1592.[2]

Certain biographical compilers also assert that Shakespeare, having
joined the Earl of Leicester's company, continued to be connected with
it under its supposed varying titles until the end of his London career,
and that he was never associated with any other company. They assume
that Leicester's company merged with Lord Strange's company of acrobats
in 1589, the combination becoming known as Lord Strange's players; and
that when this company left James Burbage and the Theatre, in 1592, for
Philip Henslowe and the Rose Theatre, that Shakespeare accompanied them
and worked for Henslowe both as a writer and an actor. They suppose that
Edward Alleyn became the manager of a combination of the Admiral's
company and Strange's men for a "short period," but that the companies
"soon parted," "Strange's men continuing with Henslowe for a prolonged
period."[3] It is also asserted that "the Rose Theatre was the first
scene of Shakespeare's successes alike as an actor and a dramatist," and
that he "helped in the authorship of _The First Part of Henry VI._,
with which Lord Strange's company scored a triumphant success in

These assumptions, which were advanced tentatively by former scholars
and merely as working hypotheses, have now, by repetition and the
dogmatic dicta of biographical compilers, come to be accepted by the
uncritical as ascertained facts.

While it is now generally accepted that Greene's "Shake-scene" alludes
to Shakespeare, and that his parody of a line from _The True Tragedie_:

     "O Tyger's heart wrapt in a Player's hide"

denotes some connection of Shakespeare's with either _The True Tragedie
of the Duke of York_, or with _The Third Part of Henry VI._ before
September 1592, when Greene died, and while the title-page of the first
issue of _The True Tragedie of the Duke of York_ informs us that this
play was acted by the Earl of Pembroke's company, and no mention of the
play appears in the records of Henslowe, under whose financial
management Shakespeare is supposed to have been working with Strange's
company in 1592, _nothing has ever been done to elucidate Shakespeare's
evident connection with this play or with the Earl of Pembroke's company
at this period_.

In the same year--1592--Nashe refers to the performance by Lord
Strange's company under Henslowe of _The First Part of Henry VI._, and
praises the work of the dramatist who had recently incorporated the
Talbot scenes, which are plainly the work of a different hand from the
bulk of the remainder of the play. This also is generally accepted as a
reference to Shakespeare and as indicating his connection with Henslowe
as a writer for the stage. It is erroneously inferred from this supposed
evidence, and from the fact that Richard Burbage was with Strange's
company in 1592, that Shakespeare also acted with and wrote for this
company under Henslowe.

No explanation has ever been given for the palpable fact that not one of
the plays written by Shakespeare--the composition of which all competent
text critics impute to the years 1591 to 1594--is mentioned in
Henslowe's Diary as having been presented upon his boards. It is
generally agreed that _The Comedy of Errors, King John, Richard II.,
Love's Labour's Lost, Love's Labour's Won, The Two Gentlemen of Verona,
Richard III._, and _Midsummer Night's Dream_, were all produced before
the end of 1594, yet there is no record nor mention of any one of these
plays in Henslowe's _Diary_, which gives a very full list of the
performances at the Rose and the plays presented between 1592 and 1594.

During the same years in which records of Shakespeare are lacking[5]
they are also very limited regarding Edward Alleyn, whose reputation as
an actor and whose leadership in his profession were won during these
years--1586-92. Nothing is at present known concerning him between 1584,
when he is mentioned in the Leicester records as a member of the Earl of
Worcester's company, and 3rd January 1589, when he bought Richard Jones'
share of theatrical properties, owned conjointly by Edward Alleyn, John
Alleyn, Robert Browne, and Richard Jones. As Edward Alleyn, Robert
Browne, and Richard Jones were all members of Worcester's company in
1584, it is erroneously assumed that they were still Worcester's men in
1589, and that it was Jones' share in the Worcester properties that
Alleyn bought at this time to take with him to the Admiral's company,
which he is consequently supposed to have joined some time between 1589
and 1592. The next record we have of Alleyn is his marriage to Joan
Woodward, Henslowe's stepdaughter, in October 1592. In the following May
we find him managing Lord Strange's company in the provinces, though
styling himself a Lord Admiral's man. _Where, then, was Edward Alleyn
between 1585 and 1589; where between 1589 and 1593; and when did he
become a Lord Admiral's man?_

Worcester's company, with which Alleyn was connected in 1584, is last
mentioned in the records as appearing at Barnstaple in 1585;[6] it then
disappears from view for five years, and is next mentioned in the
provincial records as appearing at Coventry in 1590.[7] Between 1590 and
1603 it is mentioned regularly in the provincial records. _Where was
Worcester's company between 1585 and 1590?_

I propose to demonstrate by new evidence and analysis that James Burbage
ceased to be an active member of Leicester's company soon after he took
on the responsibilities of the management of the Theatre; but continued
his theatrical employees under Leicester's protection as Lord
Leicester's musicians until 1582, when he began to work under the
licence of Lord Hunsdon, his company being composed of his own employees
and largely of musicians, to act as an adjunct to the companies to whom,
from time to time, he let the use of the Theatre during the absence in
the provinces of the companies, such as Leicester's and the Admiral's,
with which I shall give evidence he held more permanent affiliations,
and, seeing that he was owner and manager of the Theatre, that these
affiliations were somewhat similar to those maintained by Henslowe--the
owner of the Rose Theatre--with Lord Strange's company between 1592 and
1594, and with the Lord Admiral's, and other companies, at the several
theatres he controlled in later years. I shall indicate that from the
time Burbage built the Theatre in 1576 until early in 1585, he
maintained such a connection with Leicester's company, and shall show
that the disruption of this company in 1585 by the departure of seven of
their principal members for the Continent--where they remained until
July 1587--necessitated a similar connection with some other good
company to take its place, and that he now secured Edward Alleyn and his
fellows, who, ceasing to be Worcester's men at this time, and securing
the licence of the Lord Admiral, affiliated themselves with the remnant
of Leicester's men and joined Burbage and Lord Hunsdon's men at the
Theatre. In this year the latter became the Lord Chamberlain's men
through the elevation of Lord Hunsdon to that office. These companies,
while retaining individual licences, continued to play when in London as
one company until the end of 1588, or beginning of 1589, when another
reorganisation took place, a number of the old men being eliminated and
new blood being taken in from the restored Leicester company and Lord
Strange's company of youthful acrobats, who had now become men. I shall
give evidence that this organisation continued to work as one company
for the next three years, though the Admiral's men still retained their
own licence, and consequently that the company as a whole is at times
mentioned in both Court and provincial records under one title and at
times under the other. The principal reason that a number of companies,
combining at a London theatre as one company, preserved their several
licences was no doubt the greater protection afforded them by the
patronage of several powerful noblemen against the hostility of
puritanically inclined municipal authorities. Recorder Fleetwood, who
was noted as an enemy of the players, in his weekly reports on civic
affairs to Lord Burghley, frequently complains of the stoppage by Court
influence of his prosecutions of alleged offenders. Upon one occasion he
writes: "When the Court is farthest from London then is the best justice
done in England."

Some time between the beginning of 1591 and the end of that year, James
Burbage's disfavour with certain of the authorities, as well as legal
and financial difficulties in which he became involved, made it
necessary for the combined companies, which in December 1591 had
attained to the position of the favourite Court company, to seek more
convenient quarters and stronger financial backing than Burbage and the
Theatre afforded. Under its various titles Strange's company continued
to be the leading Court company for the next forty years. I shall
indicate the probability that Strange's company in supplanting the
Queen's company at Court at this time _also supplanted it at the Rose
Theatre_, which was built by Henslowe in 1587 as a theatre.[8] Henslowe
repaired and reconstructed it late in 1591 and early in 1592 for the
uses of Strange's men. I will show the unlikelihood that this was
Henslowe's first venture in theatrical affairs, and the probability that
the Queen's players, under his financial management, occupied the Rose
Theatre from the time it was built in 1587 until they were superseded by
Strange's men in 1591.

I shall also give evidence that Shakespeare did not accompany Strange's
men to Henslowe and the Rose, but that he remained with Burbage, who
backed him in the formation of Pembroke's company, and that he and
Marlowe wrote for this company until Marlowe was killed in 1593, and
that Shakespeare was probably its sole provider of plays from the time
of Marlowe's death until the company disrupted early in 1594. I shall
show further that during the time Shakespeare and Marlowe wrote for
Pembroke's company, and for some years later, George Peele revised old
and wrote new plays for Henslowe and Alleyn, and that it was he that
revised _Henry VI._ and introduced the Talbot scene in 1592, and
consequently that it was to Peele, and not to Shakespeare, that Nashe's
praises were given at this time. Evidence shall be given to show that
Nashe was antagonistic to Shakespeare and co-operated with Greene
against him at this period.

It shall be made clear that _Titus Andronicus_, which was acted as a new
play by Sussex's company under Henslowe on 23rd January 1594, was also
written by Peele, or rewritten from _Titus and Vespasian_, which is now
lost, but which--being written for Strange's men in the previous
year--we may assume was also Peele's, or else his first revision of a
still older play.

Some time before the middle of 1594 a new reorganisation of companies
took place, the Admiral's and the Lord Chamberlain's separating and
absorbing men from Pembroke's and Sussex's companies, which ceased to
exist as active entities at this time, though a portion of Pembroke's
men--while working with the Admiral's men between 1594 and
1597--retained their own licence and attempted to operate separately in
the latter year, but, failing, returned to Henslowe and became Admiral's
men. A few of their members whom Langley, the manager of the Swan
Theatre, had taken from them, struggled on as Pembroke's men for a year
or two and finally disappeared from the records.

A consideration of the affairs of Lord Strange's men--now the Lord
Chamberlain's men--while under Henslowe's financial management between
1592 and 1594, and of Pembroke's company's circumstances during the same
period, with their enforced provincial tours owing to the plague in
London, will show that these were lean years for both organisations, and
for the men composing them; _yet in December 1594--as is shown by the
Court records of March 1595--Shakespeare appears as a leading sharer in
one of the most important theatrical companies in England_. I shall
advance evidence to show that his position in this powerful company, and
its apparent prosperity at this time, were due to financial assistance
accorded him in 1594 by his patron, the Earl of Southampton, to whom in
this year he dedicated _Lucrece_, and in the preceding year _Venus and

If these hypotheses be demonstrated it shall appear that though
Shakespeare, as Burbage's employee in the conduct of the Theatre, had
theatrical relations with the Earl of Leicester's company that he was
not a member of that company, and that if he may be regarded as having
become a member of any company in 1586-87, when he came to London, he
was a member of the Lord Chamberlain's company,--which was owned by
James Burbage,--_but as a bonded and hired servant or servitor to James
Burbage for a term of years which ended in about 1589_; that his work
with Burbage from the time he entered his service was of a general
nature, and more of a literary and dramatic than of an histrionic
character, though it undoubtedly partook of both; that he worked in
conjunction with both Richard Burbage and Edward Alleyn from the time he
came to London in 1586-87 until 1591; that neither he nor Burbage were
connected with the Queen's company, nor with the Curtain Theatre, during
these years, _and that the ownership by the Burbage organisation of a
number of old Queen's plays resulted from their absorption of Queen's
men in 1591, when Pembroke's company was formed, and not from the
supposed fact that James Burbage was at any time a member or the manager
of the Queen's company_; that Robert Greene's attack upon Shakespeare as
"the onely Shake-scene," in 1592, was directed at him as the manager of
Pembroke's company; that the Rose Theatre was not "the scene of
Shakespeare's pronounced success, both as a writer and a dramatist,"
_and that in fact he never was connected with that theatre, nor with
Henslowe, either as a writer or an actor_; that Nashe's laudation of the
Talbot scenes in _Henry VI._ was complimentary to his friend Peele, and
that whatever additions Shakespeare may have made to this play were made
after he rejoined the Lord Chamberlain's men in 1594; that he had no
hand in the composition of _Titus Andronicus_, acted by Sussex's company
and published in 1594, which is the same as that now generally included
in Shakespeare's plays; and finally that his business ability and social
and dramatic prestige restored Burbage's waning fortunes and enabled his
new organisation to compete successfully with the superior political
favour and financial power of Henslowe and Alleyn, and started it upon
its prolonged career of Court and public favour.

As a clear conception of Shakespeare's theatrical affiliations between
1586 and 1594 has not hitherto been realised so a knowledge of his
relations with contemporary writers during his entire career still
remains nebulous. Greene's attack in 1592 in _A Groatsworth of Wit_ and
Chettle's apology are the only things regarding Shakespeare's early
relations with other writers that have been generally accepted by
critics. Until the publication of _Shakespeare and the Rival Poet_ in
1903, nothing was known of his prolonged enmity with Chapman; while the
name of Matthew Roydon was unmentioned in connection with Shakespearean
affairs until 1913.[9] The revelations of the present volume regarding
the enmity between Florio and Shakespeare, and Shakespeare's dramatic
characterisations of Florio, have never been anticipated, though the
possibility that they may have come at odds has been apprehended. The
Rev. J.H. Halpin suggested in 1856 that the "H.S." attacked by Florio in
his _Worlde of Wordes_ in 1590 may have been directed at Shakespeare,
but advanced no evidence to support his theory, which has since been
relegated by the critics to the limbo of fanciful conjecture. I was not
aware of Mr. Halpin's suggestion when I reached my present conclusions.

There has hitherto been no suspicion whatever on the part of critics
that anything of the nature of a continuous collusion between the
scholars existed against Shakespeare in these early years, and
consequently, when at a later period it was manifested in plays
presented upon rival stages, it was regarded as a new development and
named "The War of the Theatres"; but even this open phase of the
antagonism and the respective sides taken by its participants are still
misunderstood. This critical opacity is due largely to the fact that
Shakespearean criticism has for many years been regarded as the province
of academic specialists in literature who have neglected the social and
political history of Shakespeare's day as outside their line of
specialisation. It was probably Froude's recognition of this nebulous
condition in Shakespearean criticism that deterred him from continuing
his history to the end of the reign of Elizabeth, and prevented Gardiner
beginning his where Froude's ended. These great historians realised that
no adequate history of that remarkable period could be written that did
not include a full consideration of Shakespeare and his influence; yet,
making no pretensions themselves to Shakespearean scholarship, and
finding in extant knowledge no sure foundations whereon to build, they
evaded the issue, confining their investigations to the development of
those phases of history in which they were more vitally interested.

Froude's intimate knowledge of the characters and atmosphere of
Elizabethan social and political life, acquired by years of devoted
application to an exhaustive examination of documentary records and the
epistolatory correspondence of the period, convinced him that
Shakespeare drew his models and his atmosphere from concurrent life. He
writes: "We wonder at the grandeur, the moral majesty of some of
Shakespeare's characters, so far beyond what the noblest among ourselves
can imitate, and at first thought we attribute it to the genius of the
poet who has outstripped nature in his creations, but we are
misunderstanding the power and the meaning of poetry in attributing
creativeness to it in any such sense. Shakespeare created but only as
the spirit of nature created around him, working in him as it worked
abroad in those among whom he lived. The men whom he draws were such
men as he saw and knew; the words they utter were such as he heard in
the ordinary conversations in which he joined.... At a thousand unnamed
English firesides he found the living originals for his Prince Hals, his
Orlandos, his Antonios, his Portias, his Isabellas. The closer personal
acquaintance which we can form with the English of the age of Elizabeth,
the more we are satisfied that Shakespeare's great poetry is no more
than the rhythmic echo of the life which he depicts."

As this book is intended as a precursor to one shortly to be published
dealing with the sonnets and the plays of the Sonnet period, the only
plays here critically considered are _King John_ and _The Comedy of
Errors_, which I shall argue are the only plays--now extant--written by
Shakespeare before the inception of his intimacy with the Earl of
Southampton, which I date, upon good evidence, in the autumn of 1591. In
the former we have probably the best example of the manner in which
Elizabethan playwrights dramatised contemporary affairs. In this
instance Shakespeare worked from an older play which had been composed
with the same intention with which he rewrote it, and as the old play
had passed the censor and been for years upon the public boards, he was
enabled to develop his intention more openly than even he dared to do in
later years, when, owing to the influence of Lord Burghley and his son,
Sir Robert Cecil, the enforcement of the statutes against the
representation of matters of State upon the stage became increasingly

Though the political phases of Shakespeare's dramas become more veiled
as the years pass, I unhesitatingly affirm that there is not a single
play composed between the end of 1591 and the conclusion of his dramatic
career that does not, in some manner, intentionally reflect either the
social, literary, or political affairs of his day.

In order that the reader may approach a consideration of the rearranged
sonnets with a clear perspective, and to keep the Sonnet story
uninvolved by subsidiary argument, I now demonstrate not only the
beginning of the acquaintance between Shakespeare and the Earl of
Southampton--which has not hitherto been known--but also take a forward
glance of several years in order definitely to establish the identity of
John Florio as Shakespeare's original for Falstaff, Parolles, and
Armado. His identity as the original for still other characters will be
made apparent as this history develops in the Sonnet period.


[Footnote 1: Dr. Georg Brandes' _William Shakespeare: A Critical Study_,
is by far the best attempt at an interpretation of Shakespeare's plays
upon spiritual lines that has yet been made; but the biographical value
of this excellent analysis is involved by the fact that Dr. Brandes, at
the time he wrote,--now over thirty years ago,--accepted Thomas Tyler's
Pembroke-Fitton theory of the sonnets, and with it the distorted
chronology for the plays of the Sonnet period, which it necessarily

[Footnote 2: _A Life of William Shakespeare_, by Sir Sidney Lee, 1916,
p. 59.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._ 61.]

[Footnote 4: _A Life of William Shakespeare_, by Sir Sidney Lee, 1916,
pp. 61, 55.]

[Footnote 5: "Between 1586 and 1592 we lose all trace of Shakespeare."
_William Shakespeare: A Critical Study_, Georg Brandes, p. 18.]

[Footnote 6: _English Dramatic Companies, 1558-1641_, vol. i. p. 57. By
John Tucker Murray.]

[Footnote 7: _Ibid._]

[Footnote 8: It is probable that previous to 1587 the Rose was an inn
used for theatrical purposes.]

[Footnote 9: _Mistress Davenant, the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's



"What porridge had John Keats?" asks Browning. So may we well inquire of
what blood was Shakespeare? What nice conjunction of racial strains
produced this unerring judgment, this heaven-scaling imagination, this
exquisite sensibility? for, however his manner of life may have
developed their expression, these qualities were plainly inherent in the

The name Shakespeare has been found to have existed during the
thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries in various
parts of England, and has been most commonly encountered in and about
Warwickshire. While it is spelt in many different ways, the commonest
form is _Shaxper_ or _Shaxpeare_, giving the _a_ in the first syllable
the same sound as in flax. Wherever Shakespeare families are found,
however, they invariably show a very great preponderance of Christian
names that are characteristically Norman: Richard, Gilbert, Hugh,
William, John, Robert, Anthony, Henry, Thomas, Joan, Mary, Isabella,
Ann, Margaret, being met with frequently. It is likely then that the
widespread and persistent use of Norman Christian names by Shakespeare
families denotes their Norman origin, and that this link with their past
was preserved by family custom long after pride of ancestry--which first
continued its use--was forgotten, as in the case of the Irish peasantry
of Norman origin in Leinster--within what was formerly known as the
Norman Pale--who have long forgotten their origin, but having Norman
patronymics still preserve also Norman Christian names.

The etymological origin of Shakespeare's name is yet unsettled: one
scholar suggests that it derives from the Anglo-Saxon, _Saexberht_. This
would imply that the Anglo-Saxon prefix _saex_ has by time been
transmuted into Shake, and that the suffix, _berht_ has become pear or
pere. The instances in which the Anglo-Saxon _sae_ have changed into the
English _sh_ are extremely rare. The modern _sh_ in English when derived
from Anglo-Saxon is almost invariably _sc_ softened, or when derived
from Danish or Norse _sh_, as, for instance, in the words _sceadu_
shade, _sceaft_ shaft, _sceacan_ shake, _sceal_ shall, _scamu_ shame,
_skapa_ shape. I cannot find a single instance in the growth of
Anglo-Saxon into English where the original _berht_ has taken on the _p_
sound and become _pear_ or _pere_. The English for _berht_ as a rule is
bert, burt, or bard.

Shakespeare's sanity of judgment and spiritual self-reliance are
qualities which we naturally associate with the Norse temperament; his
fine sensibility and unfettered imagination strike us as much more
characteristically Gallic or Celtic. It seems probable then that in his
physical and spiritual composition we have a rare admixture of these
related Aryan types. Physically he was not a large man, being, in fact,
rather below the middle stature; his hair was strong in texture and dark
reddish in colour, while his eyes were brown; his nose was large, and
his lips full, but the face relieved of sensuousness by the dominant
majesty of the brow. This is not descriptive of an Anglo-Saxon type: it
is much more distinctly French or Norman. It is probable that the blood
of the Norman ran full in Shakespeare's veins, and who was the Norman
but the racial combination of the Norseman and the Gaul? In this light,
then, I suggest that the name Shakespeare seems to be much closer to the
Norman-French _Jacquespierre_ than it is to the Anglo-Saxon _saexberht_.
In the gradual transition of Norman-French into English pronunciation,
Shakespeare, or as the name was pronounced in Elizabethan days, Shaxper,
is exactly the form which the English tongue would have given to the
name _Jacquespierre_. It is significant that Arden, his mother's name,
is also of Norman origin; that his grandfather's name Richard, his
father's name John, his own name William, and the names of all his
brothers and sisters, but one, were Norman. In view of these
indications, it is not unreasonable to assume that Norman blood held
good proportion in the veins of this greatest of all Englishmen.

Exhaustive research by interested genealogists has failed to trace
Shakespeare's forebears further into the past than to his grandfather,
Richard Shakespeare, a substantial yeoman of Snitterfield, and this
relationship, while generally accepted, is not yet definitely
established. There is no doubt, however, that John Shakespeare, butcher,
glover, woolstapler, or corndealer, or all of these things combined, of
Stratford-upon-Avon, was his father, and that the poet was baptized in
the Parish Church of that town upon 26th April, in the year 1564. He was
born on, or shortly before, 23rd April in the same year.

Shakespeare's mother was Mary Arden, the youngest of eight daughters--by
the first wife--of Robert Arden, a landed gentleman of Wilmcote, related
to the Ardens of Parkhill, at that time one of the leading families of

On the theory that men of great intellectual capacity inherit their
qualities from the distaff side, it might help us to realise Shakespeare
better if we know more about his mother: of her personality and
character, however, we know absolutely nothing.

The mothers depicted by Shakespeare in his plays are, as a rule,
devoted, strong, and noble characters, and are probably in some measure
spiritual reflections of the model he knew most intimately. It is
improbable that Shakespeare's childhood should not have shown some
evidence of the qualities he later displayed, and impossible that such
promise should be hidden from a mother's eye.

The wealth of Shakespeare's productiveness in the three years preceding
the end of 1594 gives ample evidence that the dark years intervening
between his departure from Stratford and the autumn of 1591 had not been
idly spent. Such mastery of his art as he displays even at this early
period was not attained without an active and interested novitiate in
his profession. It is evident that the appellation _Johannes factotum_,
which Greene in 1592 slurringly bestows upon him, had been well earned
in the six or seven preceding years of his London life for which we
possess no records.

Whatever misgivings their staid and thrifty Stratford neighbours may
have had as to the wisdom of the youthful Shakespeare's London
adventure, we may well believe that Mary Arden, knowing her son's fibre,
felt fair assurance that his success there would come near to matching
her desires, and that of the several spurs to his industry and pride of
achievement the smile of her approval was not the least. There is
possibly a backward glance to his mother's faith in him in the spirit of
Volumnia's hopes for the fame of her son:

   "When yet he was but tender-bodied, and the only son of my womb; when
   youth with comeliness plucked all gaze his way; when for a day of
   Kings' entreaties, a mother should not sell him an hour from her
   beholding; I--considering how honour would become such a person; that
   it was no better than picture-like to hang by the wall, if renown
   made it not stir,--was pleased to let him seek danger where he was
   like to find fame. To a cruel war I sent him; from whence he
   returned, his brows bound with oak. I tell thee, daughter--I sprang
   not more in joy at first hearing he was a man-child, than now in
   first seeing he had proved himself a man."

Mary Arden died in 1608, at about the time the passage quoted above was
written, having lived long enough to see the fortunes of the family
restored through her son's efforts, and also to see him become one of
the most noted men in England, and returning to Stratford with his brows
crowned, if not with martial oak, with more enduring laurels.

We have no record of Shakespeare's schooldays. We know that a free
grammar school of good standard existed in Stratford during his boyhood,
and later. It is usually assumed that it was here that Shakespeare got
the elements of his education. Though he was in no sense a classical
scholar, he undoubtedly had an elementary knowledge of Latin, and may
possibly, in later years, have acquired a smattering of Greek. George
Chapman accuses Shakespeare of spreading the report that his alleged
translations of Homer from the original Greek were, in fact, made from
Latin versions. Whatever truth there may have been in Chapman's
accusation against Shakespeare in this connection, modern scholarship
has found that there were good grounds for such a report, and that
Chapman undoubtedly made free use of the Latin of Scapula in all of his
translations. Chapman's allegation, if true, seems to imply that
Shakespeare's knowledge of Latin was not so meagre but that he could,
upon occasion, successfully combat his learned opponents with weapons of
their own choice.

Once at work in London, Shakespeare wrought hard, and in view of his
immense productiveness can have had little leisure in the ten or fifteen
years following. We may infer, then, that the wealth of knowledge of
nature he displays was acquired in his boyhood and youth in the country
round about Stratford. His intimate acquaintance with animate and
inanimate life in all their forms, his knowledge of banks where wild
thyme grew, his love of flowers and of natural beauty which remained
with him all through his life, were evidently gained at that receptive

     "When meadow, grove, and stream,
     The earth and every common thing to (him) did seem,
     Appareled in celestial light,
     The glory and the freshness of a dream."

Though Shakespeare's schooldays were over long before he left Stratford
for London, his real education had only then begun. To his all-gleaning
eye and hungry mind every day he lived brought new accretions of
knowledge. Notwithstanding the paucity of recorded fact which exists
regarding his material life, and the wealth of intimate knowledge we may
possess regarding the lives of other writers, I doubt if, in the works
of any other author in the entire history of literature, we can trace
such evidence of continuous intellectual and spiritual growth.

While we have no light on Shakespeare's childhood, a few facts have been
gleaned from the Stratford records concerning his father's affairs and
his own youth, a consideration of which may enable us to judge the
underlying causes which led him to seek his fortunes in London.

There is something pathetic yet dignified about the figure of John
Shakespeare as we dimly sight it in what remains of the annals of his
town and time. The stage he treads is circumscribed, and his appearances
are few, but sufficient for us to apprehend a high-spirited but
injudicious man, showing always somewhat superior in spirit to his
social conditions.

He settled in Stratford twelve years previous to the birth of our poet,
and appears to have been recognised as a man of some importance soon
after his arrival. We have record that he was elected to various small
municipal offices early in his Stratford career, and also of purchases
of property from time to time, all of which evidences a growth in estate
and public regard. At about the time of Shakespeare's birth, and during
a season of pestilence, we find him prominent amongst those of his
townsmen who contributed to succour their distressed and stricken
neighbours. A year later than this we find him holding office as
alderman, and later still as bailiff of Stratford; the latter the
highest office in the gift of his fellow-townsmen. While holding this
office we catch a glimpse of him giving welcome to a travelling company
of players; an innovation in the uses of his position which argues a
broad and tolerant catholicity of mind when contrasted with the growing
Puritanism of the times. And so, for several years, we see him prosper,
and living as befits one who prospers, and, withal, wearing his village
honours with a kindly dignity. But fortune turns, and a period of
reverses sets in; we do not trace them very distinctly; we find him
borrowing moneys and mortgaging property, and, later, these and older
obligations fall due, and, failing payment, he is sued, and thereafter
for some years he fights a stubborn rearguard fight with pursuing fate
in the form of truculent creditors and estranged relatives.

In the onset of these troubles an event occurred which, we may safely
assume, did not tend to ease his worries nor add to his peace of mind.
In 1582, his son, our poet, then a youth of eighteen, brought to his
home an added care in the shape of a wife who was nearly eight years his
senior, and who (the records tell us) bore him a daughter within six
months of the date of their betrothal. All the circumstances surrounding
the marriage lead us to infer that Shakespeare's family was not
enthusiastically in favour of it, and was perhaps ignorant of it till
its consummation, and that it was practically forced upon the youthful
Shakespeare by the bride's friends for reasons obvious in the facts of
the case. About two and a half years from this date, and at a period
when John Shakespeare's affairs had become badly involved and his
creditors uncomfortably persistent, his son's family and his own care
were increased by the addition of the twins, Judith and Hamnet. The few
records we have of this period (1585-86) show a most unhappy state of
affairs; his creditors are still on the warpath, and one, owning to the
solid name of John Brown, having secured judgment against him, is
compelled to report to the court that "the defendant hath no property
whereon to levy." Shortly after this, John Shakespeare is shorn of the
last shred of his civic honours, being deprived of his office of
alderman for non-attendance at the council meetings. In this condition
of things we may realise the feelings of an imaginative and sensitive
youth of his son's calibre; how keenly he would feel the helplessness
and the reproach of his position, especially if--as was no doubt the
case--it was augmented by the looks of askance and wagging of heads of
the sleek and thrifty wise-ones of his community.

We are fairly well assured that Shakespeare did not leave Stratford
before the end of 1585, and it appears probable that he remained there
as late as 1586 or 1587. Seeing that he had compromised himself at the
age of eighteen with a woman eight years his senior, whom he married
from a sense of honour or was induced to marry by her friends, we may
infer that the three or four subsequent years he spent in Stratford were
not conducive either to domestic felicity or peace of mind. How
Shakespeare occupied himself during these years we may never know,
though it is very probable that he worked in the capacity of assistant
to his father. That these were years of introspection and remorse to one
of his spirit, however, there can be little doubt; there can be still
less doubt that they were also years of formative growth, and that in
this interval the irresponsible youth, who had given hostages to fortune
by marrying at the age of eighteen, steadied by the responsibility of a
growing family, quickly developed into some promise of the man to be.

No biographer has yet taken into consideration the effect which the
circumstances of Shakespeare's life during these four or five formative
years must necessarily have had in the development of his character.
That this exquisite poet, this builder of dreams, should in the common
affairs of life have displayed such an effectively practical bent, has
always appeared an anomaly; a partial explanation is to be found in the
incentive given to his energies by the conditions of his life, and of
his father's affairs, at this formative period. To the habitually poor,
poverty is a familiar; to the patrician who has had reverses, it may be
a foil to his spirit: he still has his pride of family and caste. To the
burgher class, in which Shakespeare moved in Stratford, the loss of
money was the loss of caste. To provide for the future of his children
and to restore the declining fortunes and prestige of his family became
now his most immediate concern, if we may form any judgment from his
subsequent activities. The history of literature has given us so many
instances of poetic genius being unaccompanied by ordinary worldly
wisdom, and so few instances of a combination of business aptitude with
poetic genius, that some so-called biographers, enamoured of the
conventional idea of a poet, seem almost to resent our great poet's
practical common sense when displayed in his everyday life, and to
impute to him as a derogation, or fault, the sound judgment in worldly
matters, without which he never could have evolved the sane and
unimpassioned philosophy of life, which, like a firm and even warp, runs
veiled through the multicoloured weft of incident and accident in his

All Shakespearean biographers now agree in dating his hegira from
Stratford not later than the year 1587. Early in 1585 his twin children,
Judith and Hamnet, were born. The fact that no children were born to him
later is usually advanced in favour of the assumption that he left
Stratford shortly after this date. In the next eleven years we have but
one mention of him in the Stratford records. Towards the end of 1587 his
name, in conjunction with his father's, appears upon a legal form
relating to the proposed cancellation of a mortgage upon some property
in which he held a contingent interest. This, however, does not
necessarily indicate his presence in Stratford at that time.

At the present time the most generally accepted hypothesis regarding the
beginning of Shakespeare's theatrical career is that he joined the Earl
of Leicester's company of players upon the occasion of their visit to
Stratford-upon-Avon, either in the year 1586 or 1587. Upon the death of
the Earl of Leicester in 1588, when this company was disrupted, it is
thought probable that in company with Will Kempe, George Bryan, and
Thomas Pope (actors with whom he was afterwards affiliated for years),
he joined Lord Strange's players, with which company under its various
later titles he continued to be connected during the remainder of his
theatrical career. I shall prove this theory to be erroneous and adduce
evidence to show that of whatever company, or companies, he may later
have been an active member, his theatrical experience had its inception
in a connection as theatrical assistant with the interests of the
Burbages; with whose fortunes he thereafter continued to be connected
till the end of his London career.

In judging of the youthful Shakespeare, of whom we can only conjecture,
we may reasonably draw inferences from the character of the man we find
revealed in his life's work. I am convinced that Shakespeare's departure
from Stratford was deliberate, and that when he went to London he did so
with a definite purpose in view. Had Shakespeare's father been a
prosperous man of business, in all probability the world would never
have heard of his son; though the local traditions of Stratford might
have been enriched by the proverbial wit and wisdom of a certain
anonymous sixteenth-century tradesman.

Unconfirmed legend, originating nearly a hundred years after the alleged
event, is the sole basis for the report that Shakespeare was forced to
leave his native town on account of his participation in a poaching
adventure. It is possible that Shakespeare in his youth may have
indulged in such a natural transgression of the law, but supposing it to
be a fact that he did so, it does not necessarily brand him as a
scapegrace. A ne'er-do-well in the country would probably remain the
same in the city, and would be likely to accentuate his characteristics
there, especially if his life was cast, as was Shakespeare's, in
Bohemian surroundings. Instead of this, what are the facts? Assuming
that Shakespeare left Stratford in 1586 or 1587, and became, as
tradition reports, a servitor in the theatre at that period, let us look
ten years ahead and see how he has fared.

We know that he had already returned to Stratford in 1597 and purchased
one of the most important residences in the town. From the fact that
John Shakespeare's creditors from this time forward ceased to harass
him, we may assume that he had also settled his father's affairs. We
have record that in 1596 he had, through his father, applied for the
confirmation of an old grant of arms, which was confirmed three years
later, and that he thereafter was styled "William Shakespeare, Gentleman
of Stratford-upon-Avon." At this period he had also produced more than
one-third of his known literary work, and was acknowledged as the
leading dramatist of the time. All of this he had attained working in
the same environment in which other men of about his own age, but of
greater education and larger opportunities, had found penury, disgrace,
and death. Marlowe, his confrère, at the age of thirty, in 1593, was
killed in a tavern brawl. A year earlier, Greene, also a university man,
would have died a beggar on the street but for the charity of a
cobbler's wife who housed him in his dying hours. Spenser, breathing a
purer atmosphere, but lacking the business aptitude of Shakespeare, died
broken-hearted in poverty in 1599. George Peele, another university man,
at about the same date, and at the age of thirty-four, we are told by
Meres, died from the results of an irregular life. And those of his
literary contemporaries who lived as long as, or outlived, Shakespeare,
what were their ends, and where are their memories? Unknown and in most
cases forgotten except where they live in his reflected light. Matthew
Roydon lived long and died in poverty, no one knows when or where.
George Chapman outlived his great rival many years, and died as he had
lived, a friendless misanthropist.

Though Shakespeare won to fame and fortune over the temptations and
vicissitudes of the same life and environments to which so many of his
fellows succumbed, we have proof that this was not due to any inherent
asceticism or native coldness of blood.

No man in Shakespeare's circumstances could have attained and
accomplished what he did during those early years living at haphazard or
without a controlling purpose in life. Whatever may have been the
immediate accident of fate that turned his face Londonwards, we may rest
assured that he went there with the purpose of retrieving his good name
in his own community and rehabilitating the fortunes of his family.

Shakespeare's literary history does not show in him any evidence of
remarkable precocity. Keats was famous and already gathered to the
immortals at an age at which Shakespeare was still in the chrysalid
stage of the actual buskin and sock. It may reasonably be doubted that
Shakespeare produced any of his known poems or plays previous to the
years 1590-91. Though his genius blossomed late his common sense and
business capacity developed early, forced into being, no doubt, by a
realisation of his responsibilities, as well as by the deplorable
condition into which his father's affairs had fallen. So, between the
years 1583, when he was married, and 1591-92, when we first begin to get
some hints of his literary activities, his Pegasus was in harness
earning bread and butter and, incidentally, gleaning worldly wisdom.
"Love's young dream" is over; the ecstatic quest of the "not impossible
she," almost at its inception, has ended in the cold anticlimax of an
enforced marriage.

We may dismiss the deer-stealing rumour as referring to this period. The
patient industry, sound judgment, and unusual business capacity
exhibited by Shakespeare from the time we begin to get actual glimpses
of his doings until the end of his career, belie the stupid and belated
rumour of his having been forced to leave Stratford as a fugitive from
justice on account of his participation in a poaching adventure upon Sir
Thomas Lucy's preserves. While it is apparent that this bucolic Justice
of the Peace is caricatured as Justice Shallow in _Henry IV., Part II._,
it is still more clear that this play was not written until the end of
the year 1598. When Shakespeare's methods of work are better understood
it will become evident that he did not in 1598 revenge an injury from
ten to twelve years old. Whatever may have been his animus against Sir
Thomas Lucy it undoubtedly pertained to conditions existent in the year
1598. In 1596 John Shakespeare's application for arms was made, but was
not finally granted until late in 1598, or early in 1599. It was still
under consideration by the College of Heralds, or had very recently been
granted when Shakespeare wrote _Henry IV., Part II._, late in 1598. It
is not likely that such a grant of arms would be made even by the most
friendly disposed authorities without consultation with, or reference
to, the local magistracy or gentry regarding the character and social
standing of the applicant. It is quite likely then that the rustic
squire resented--what such a character would undoubtedly have regarded
as a tradesman's presumption, and that Shakespeare, becoming cognizant
of his objections, answered them in kind by caricaturing the Lucy arms.
The critical student of Shakespeare's works will find that wherever a
reflection of a topical nature is palpable in his plays, that the thing,
or incident, referred to is almost invariably a matter of comparatively
recent experience. If it is a reflection of, or a reference to, another
writer we may be assured that Shakespeare has recently come from a
perusal of the writer in question. If the allusion is of a social or
political nature it will refer to some recent happening or to something
that is still of public interest. Should such an allusion be in any
sense autobiographical and pertaining to his own personal interests or
feelings, it is still more likely to refer to recent experience.
Whatever may have been the reason for his caricature of Sir Thomas Lucy,
its cause was evidently of a later date than his departure from
Stratford. It was no shiftless runagate nor fugitive from justice who
went to London in, or about, 1585-87; neither was it a wrathful
Chatterton, eating out his heart in bitter pride while firing his
imagination to

         "Paw up against the light
     And do strange deeds upon the clouds."

It was a very sane, clear-headed, and resourceful young man who took
service with the Players, one, as yet, probably unconscious of literary
ability or dramatic genius, but with a capacity for hard work; grown
somewhat old for his years through responsibility, and with a slightly
embittered and mildly cynical pose of mind in regard to life.

An early autobiographical note seems to be sounded in Falconbridge's
soliloquy in _King John_, Act II. Scene ii., as follows:

     "And why rail I on this commodity?
     But for because he hath not woo'd me yet;
     Not that I have the power to clutch my hand,
     When his fair angels would salute my palm;
     But for my hand, as unattempted yet,
     Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
     Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail
     And say there is no sin but to be rich;
     And being rich, my virtue then shall be
     To say there is no vice but beggary.
     Since kings break faith upon commodity,
     Gain, be my lord, for I will worship thee."

I have new evidence to show that this play was composed by Shakespeare
in 1591, and though it was revised in about 1596, the passage quoted
above, which exhibits the affected cynicism of youth, pertains to the
earlier period. Aside from the leading of the natural bent of his genius
it is evident that the greater pecuniary reward to be attained from the
writing rather than from the acting of plays would be quickly apparent
to a youth who in this spirit has left home to make London his oyster.

As research and criticism advance and we are enabled, little by little,
more intimately to apprehend the personality of Shakespeare and to
construct a more definite chronology of his doings, the shifting lights
of evidence in the form of tradition and legend, which in the past have
dazed, or misled, searchers, either disappear or take on new values.
When we remember that Shakespeare, when he went to London, was about
twenty-three years old, the father of a family, and the son of an
ex-bailiff of the not unimportant town of Stratford, we may dismiss as
a fanciful distortion the story of his holding horses at the theatre
doors for stray pennies; and in the added embellishment of the story
which describes this Orpheon, yet thrifty street Arab, as organising for
this purpose a band of his mates who, to prove their honesty when
soliciting the care of a horse, would claim to be "Shakespeare's boys,"
we may find a clue to the actual facts of the case. We have hitherto had
no definite record of, nor recognised allusion to, Shakespeare between
the year 1587, when his name is mentioned with his father's in a legal
document, and the year 1592, when we have the well-known allusions of
Robert Greene. Greene's references in this latter year reveal
Shakespeare as having already entered upon his literary career, and at
the same time, in the phrases "upstart crow beautified with our
feathers" and "the onlie Shake-scene in the country," seem to point to
him as an actor; the expression "_Johannes factotum_" seems still
further to widen the scope of his activities and to indicate the fact
that Shakespeare wrought in several capacities for his masters during
his earlier theatrical career. Part of his first work for his employers,
it is possible, consisted in taking charge of the stabling arrangements
for the horses of the gentlemen and noblemen who frequented the Theatre.
The expression "rude groome," which Greene uses in his attack upon
Shakespeare, is evidently used as pointing at his work in this capacity.
The story of the youths who introduced themselves as "Shakespeare's
boys" seems to indicate that he was the recognised representative of the
theatrical proprietors who provided accommodations for this purpose. It
is to be assumed then that Shakespeare, having charge of this work,
would upon occasions come personally in contact with the noblemen and
gentry who frequented Burbage's Theatre, which was situated in the
parish of Shoreditch, then regarded as the outskirts of the City.

Of the several records concerning this alleged incident in Shakespeare's
early London experience, that which is simplest and latest in date seems
to bear the greatest evidence of truth when considered in connection
with established facts and coincident circumstantial evidence.
Traditions preserved in the poet's own family would in essentials be
likely to be closer to the truth than the bibulous gossip of Sir William
Davenant, from which source all the other records of this story are
derived. In the monthly magazine of February 1818 the story is told as
follows: "Mr. J.M. Smith said he had often heard his mother state that
Shakespeare owed his rise in life and his introduction to the theatre to
his accidentally holding the horse of a gentleman at the door of the
theatre on his first arriving in London; his appearance led to inquiry
and subsequent patronage." The "J.M. Smith" mentioned here was the son
of Mary Hart, a lineal descendant of Joan Hart, Shakespeare's sister.
While it is clearly impossible that Shakespeare owed his introduction to
the theatre to Southampton, there can be little doubt, in the light of
data to follow, that his rise in life was much enhanced by his
friendship and patronage. What truth there may be in this story is
evidently a distorted reflection of Shakespeare's earlier work in the
Theatre at Shoreditch and of his later acquaintance with the Earl of
Southampton. We have no record, hint, or suggestion of his personal
acquaintance or business connection with any noblemen or gentlemen other
than Southampton, and possibly Sir Thomas Heneage, at this early period.
It shall later be shown that Southampton first became identified with
London and Court life in October 1590. I am led by good evidence to the
belief that Shakespeare's acquaintance with this nobleman had its
inception very soon after this date, and that he, and the theatrical
company to which he was attached at that time, attended the Earl of
Southampton at Cowdray House and at Tichfield House in August and
September 1591, upon the occasion of the Queen's progress to, and
sojourn at, these places.



As we have well-attested evidence that Shakespeare was connected with
the interests of James Burbage and his sons from 1594 until the end of
his London career, it is usually, and reasonably, assumed that his early
years in London were also spent with the Burbages; but as nothing is
definitely known regarding Burbage's company affiliations between 1575,
when we have record that he was still manager of Leicester's company,
and 1594, when the Lord Chamberlain's company left Henslowe and Alleyn
and returned to Burbage and the Theatre, knowledge of Shakespeare's
company affiliations during these years is equally nebulous. Only by
throwing light upon Burbage's activities during these years can we hope
for light upon Shakespeare during the same period. Much of the ambiguity
regarding Burbage's affairs during these years arises from the fact that
critics persist in regarding him as an actor and an active member of a
regular theatrical company after 1576, instead of recognising the
palpable fact that he was now also a theatrical manager with a large
amount of borrowed money invested in a theatre upon which it would take
all of his energies to pay interest and make a profit. After 1576
Burbage's relations with companies of actors were necessarily much the
same as those of Henslowe's with the companies that acted at his
theatres, though it is probable that Burbage acted at times for a few
years after this date. He was now growing old, and his business
responsibility increasing, it is unlikely that he continued to act long
after 1584, when his son Richard entered upon his histrionic career.[10]

When Shakespeare came to London in 1586-87, there were only two regular
theatres,--the Theatre and the Curtain,--though there were usually
several companies playing also at innyards within and about the City.
The Theatre at Shoreditch, owned by James Burbage, was built by him in
1576, and was the first building designed in modern England specially
for theatrical purposes. Though he had many troubles in later years with
his brother-in-law and partner, John Brayne, and with his grasping
landlord, Giles Allen, he retained his ownership of the Theatre until
his death in 1597, and he, or his sons, maintained its management until
the expiration of their lease in the same year.

In 1571 an Act of Parliament was passed making it necessary for a
company of players who wished to exercise their profession without
unnecessary interference from petty officials and municipal authorities,
to secure a licence as the players, or servants, of a nobleman; lacking
such licences members of their calling were classed before the law, and
liable to be treated, as "vagabonds and sturdy beggars." Such a licence
once issued to a company was regarded as a valuable corporate asset by
its sharers. At times a company possessing a licence would diminish by
attrition until the ownership of the licence became vested in the hands
of a few of the original sharers, who, lacking either the means or
ability to continue to maintain themselves as an effective independent
organisation, would form a connection with a similarly depleted company
and perform as one company, each of them preserving their licensed
identity. In travelling in the provinces such a dual company would at
times be recorded under one title, and again under the other, in the
accounts of the Wardens, Chamberlains, and Mayors of the towns they
visited. Occasionally, however, the names of both companies would be
recorded under one payment, and when their functions differed, they seem
at times to have secured separate payments though evidently working
together--one company supplying the musicians and the other the actors.

If we find for a number of years in the provincial and Court records the
names of two companies recorded separately, who from time to time act
together as one company, and that these companies act together as one
company at the same London theatre, we may infer that the dual company
may be represented also at times where only the name of one of them is
given in provincial or Court records. It is likely that the full numbers
of such a dual company would not make prolonged provincial tours except
under stress of circumstances, such as the enforced closing of the
theatres in London on account of the plague; and that while the entire
combination might perform at Coventry and other points within a short
distance of London, they would probably divide their forces and act as
separate companies upon the occasions of their regular provincial

Such a combination as this between two companies in some instances
lasted for years. The provincial, and even the Court records, will make
mention of one company, and at times of the other, in instances where
two companies had merged their activities while preserving their
respective titles.[11] A lack of knowledge of this fact is responsible
for most of the misapprehension that exists at present regarding
Shakespeare's early theatrical affiliations.

Under whatever varying licences and titles the organisation of players
to which Shakespeare attached himself upon his arrival in London may
have performed in later years, all tradition, inference, and evidence
point to a connection from the beginning with the interests of James
Burbage and his sons.

Though other companies played at intervals at Burbage's Theatre at, and
shortly following, 1586-87, the period usually accepted as marking the
beginning of Shakespeare's connection with theatrical affairs, it shall
be made evident that the Lord Chamberlain's--recently Lord
Hunsdon's--company, of which James Burbage was at that date undoubtedly
the manager, made their centre at his house when performing in London.
That this was a London company with an established theatrical home in
the most important theatre in London, between the years 1582 and 1589,
is established by the facts that James Burbage was its manager, and the
infrequency of mention of it in the provincial records. It is probable
that at this early period it was not a full company of actors, but that
Lord Hunsdon's licence covered Burbage and his theatrical employees and

Numerous and continuous records of provincial visits for a company infer
that it would be better known as a provincial than as a London company,
while the total lack of any record of Court performances, taken in
conjunction with a large number of records of provincial performances,
would imply that such a company had no permanent London abiding-place,
such as Lord Hunsdon's company undoubtedly had in Burbage's Theatre.

The fact that James Burbage, the leader of Leicester's company in its
palmy days--1574 to 1582--was, between 1582 and 1589, the leader of Lord
Hunsdon's company, when coupled with the fact that they appeared before
the Court during this interval, gives added evidence that it was a
recognised London company at this period.

Much ambiguity regarding James Burbage's theatrical affiliations in the
years between 1583 and 1594 has been engendered by the utterly
gratuitous assumption that he joined the Queen's players upon the
organisation of that company by Edmund Tilney, the Master of the Revels,
in 1583, leaving the Earl of Leicester's players along with Robert
Wilson, John Laneham, and Richard Tarleton at that time. We have
conclusive evidence, however, against this assumption. James Burbage
worked under the patronage of Lord Hunsdon and was undoubtedly the owner
of the Theatre in 1584, although Halliwell-Phillipps, and others who
have followed him in his error have assumed, on account of his having
mortgaged the lease of the Theatre in the year 1579 to one John Hyde, a
grocer of London, that the actual occupancy and use of the Theatre had
also then been transferred. There is nothing unusual or mysterious in
the fact that Burbage mortgaged the Theatre to Hyde. In the time of
Elizabeth, leases of business property were bought, sold, and
hypothecated for loans and regarded as investment securities. Burbage at
this time was in need of money. His brother-in-law, John Brayne, who had
engaged with him to advance half of the necessary expenses for the
building and conduct of the Theatre, defaulted in 1578 in his payments.
It is evident that Burbage borrowed the money he needed from Hyde,
mortgaging the lease as security, probably agreeing to repay the loan
with interest in instalments. It is not unlikely that it was Giles
Allen's knowledge of this transaction that excited his cupidity and led
him to demand £24 instead of £14 a year when Burbage sought an agreed
upon extension of the lease in 1585. As Hyde transferred the lease to
Cuthbert Burbage in 1589, it appears that he held a ten years' mortgage,
which was a common term in such transactions. In 1584 Burbage was
clearly still manager of the Theatre, and in the eyes of the companies
playing there from time to time, who were not likely to be cognizant of
his private business transactions, such as borrowing of money upon a
mortgage, was also still _the owner of the Theatre_.

In one of the witty Recorder Fleetwood's reports to Lord Burghley, dated
18th June 1584,[12] we have the following matter referring to the
Theatre and the Curtain: "Upon Sondaie, my Lord sent two aldermen to the
court, for the suppressing and pulling downe of the theatre and curten,
for all the Lords agreed thereunto, saving my Lord Chamberlayn and Mr.
Vice-Chamberlayn; but we obtayned a letter to suppresse them all. Upon
the same night I sent for the Queen's players, and my Lord of Arundell
his players, for they all well nighe obeyed the Lords letters. The
chiefest of her Highnes' players advised me to send for the owner of the
theatre, who was a stubborne fellow, and to bynd him. I dyd so. He sent
me word that he was my Lord of Hunsdon's man, and that he would not come
to me, but he would in the morning ride to my Lord. Then I sent the
under-sheriff for hym, and he brought him to me, and at his coming he
showted me out very justice. And in the end, I showed hym my Lord his
master's hand, and then he was more quiet. But to die for it he wold not
be bound. And then I mynding to send hym to prison, he made sute that he
might be bounde to appeare at the oier and determiner, the which is
to-morrowe, where he said that he was sure the court wold not bynd hym,
being a counsellor's man. And so I have graunted his request, where he
is sure to be bounde, or else is lyke to do worse." The "stubborne
fellow" was, without doubt, none other than the high-spirited and
pugnacious James Burbage, who fought for twenty-one years over leases
with his avaricious landlord, Giles Allen, and of whom Allen's lawyer
writes in a Star Chamber document in 1601: "Burbage tendered a new lease
which he, the said Allen, refused to sign because it was different from
the first and also because Burbage had assigned the Theatre to John Hyde
and has also been a very bad and troublesome tenant to your orator."
This document also makes mention of the fact as one of the reasons for
Allen refusing to sign the new lease that "Hyde conveyed the lease to
Cuthbert, son of James." The conveyance here mentioned was made in 1589.
It is plain that Allen's lawyer implies that the mortgaging of the
Theatre to Hyde and its later conveyance to Cuthbert Burbage were made,
not alone for value received, but also for the protection of James
Burbage against legal proceedings. Here, then, we have good evidence
that James Burbage, who, in the year 1575, had been the manager, and
undoubtedly a large owner, of the Earl of Leicester's company,--at that
time the most important company of players in England,--was in 1584 a
member of Lord Hunsdon's company, and if a member--in view of his past
and present prominence in theatrical affairs--also, evidently, its
manager and owner. As no logical reasons are given by Halliwell-Phillipps,
or by the compilers who base their biographies upon his _Outlines of the
Life of Shakespeare_, for declining to accept the reference in Fleetwood's
letter to the "owner of the Theatre" as an allusion to Burbage, whom they
admit to have been, and who undoubtedly was, the owner of the Theatre from
1576 until he transferred his property to his sons, Cuthbert and Richard,
shortly before he died in 1597,[13] their refusal to see the light must
arise from their obsession that Burbage at this time was a member of
either Leicester's or the Queen's company, and as to which one they do
not seem to have a very clear impression. Shakespearean biography may be
searched in vain for any other recorded facts concerning Burbage's company
affiliations between 1575 and 1594. In view of this general lack of
knowledge of Burbage in these years the critical neglect of such a
definite allusion as Recorder Fleetwood makes to the "owner of the
Theatre" as a servant of Lord Hunsdon is difficult to understand.

The alleged reason for the proposed suppression of the Theatre and the
Curtain at this, and at other times, was that they had become public
nuisances by attracting large crowds of the most unruly elements of the
populace, which led to disturbances of the peace.

In this same report of Fleetwood's to Burghley, he informs him that on
the previous Monday, upon his return to London from Kingston, he "found
all the wardes full of watches. The cause thereof was for that neare the
theatre or curten, at the time of the plays, there laye a prentice
sleeping upon the grasse; and one Challes alias Grostock did turne upon
the toe upon the belly of the prentice; whereupon this apprentice start
up, and afterwards they fell to playne blowes. The companie increased of
both sides to the number of 500 at the least. This Challes exclaimed and
said, that he was a gentleman, and that the apprentice was but a rascal
and some there were littel better than roogs, that took upon them the
name of gentleman, and said the prentices were but the skume of the
worlde. Upon these troubles, the prentices began the next daye, being
Tuesdaye, to make mutinies, and assemblies, and conspyre to have broken
the prisones, and to have taken forth the prentices that were
imprisoned. But my Lord and I having intelligence thereof, apprehended
four or fyve of the chief conspirators, who are in Newgate, and stand
indicted of their lewd demeanours.

"Upon Weddensdaye, one Browne a serving man in a blew coate, a shifting
fellowe, having a perilous wit of his owne, intending a spoil if he
could have brought it to passe, did at the theatre-doore quarrell with
certayn poore boyes, handicraft prentices, and strooke some of them; and
lastlie, he, with his sword, wounded and maymed one of the boyes upon
the left hand. Whereupon there assembled near a thousand people. This
Browne did very cunningly conveye himself away, but by chance he was
taken after and brought to Mr. Humprey Smithe, and because no man was
able to charge him, he dismyssed him."[14]

Though the Council ordered the suppression of both the Theatre and the
Curtain at this time, Fleetwood's report of the disturbances seems to
place the blame largely upon the Theatre. If the Queen's players were
then performing at the Theatre, under the management of Burbage, it is
most unlikely that the "chiefest of her Highnes' players"--who informed
Fleetwood that the owner of the Theatre was a "stubborne fellow," and
advised that he be sent for and "bounde"--would have given advice and
information so unfriendly to their own manager, and there cannot be the
slightest doubt that Burbage was "the owner" of the Theatre from 1576 to
1596. It is apparent that the leader of the Queen's company was willing
that the onus of the disturbances should be placed upon the Theatre
rather than upon the Curtain, where the Queen's players were evidently
performing at this time--Lord Arundel's company temporarily occupying
the Theatre, Lord Hunsdon's company being at that time upon a provincial
tour. They are recorded as performing in Bath in June 1584.[15]

A consideration of the records of Lord Hunsdon's company, and of
previous companies that performed under this name, gives fair evidence
that James Burbage established this company in 1582, at or before which
date he severed his active connection as a player with the Earl of
Leicester's players, though still continuing his own theatrical
organisation at the Theatre under the patronage of Leicester, as the
Earl of Leicester's musicians, and maintaining relations with
Leicester's players as a theatre owner.

Burbage's reason in 1582 for transferring from the patronage of
Leicester for his theatrical employees to that of Lord Hunsdon was, no
doubt, _the fact of Leicester's departure for the Continent in this
year_. The constant attacks being made by the puritanical authorities
upon the London theatrical interests made it expedient for him to have
the protection of a nobleman whose aid could be quickly invoked in case
of trouble. As I will show later that Burbage was regarded with
disfavour by Burghley in 1589, it is likely that the opposition he met
with from the local authorities in these earlier years was instigated by
Burghley's agents and gossips. Recorder Fleetwood, chief amongst these,
reports Burbage's alleged transgressions with such evident unction it is
apparent that he knew his message would have a sympathetic reception.

It shall be shown that in later years the Burbage theatrical
organisation was anti-Cecil and pro-Essex in its tacit political
representations; it is not unlikely that it was recognised as anti-Cecil
and pro-Leicester in these early years, and that in this manner it
incurred Burghley's ill-will.

Previous to the year 1567 there existed a company under the patronage of
Lord Hunsdon; between that date and 1582 there is no record of any
company acting under this nobleman's licence. In July 1582 there is
record that Lord Hunsdon's company acted at Ludlow, and upon 27th
December 1582 we have record that Lord Hunsdon's players acted before
the Court, presenting _A Comedy of Beauty and Housewifery_. The
provincial records show a few performances by this company in the
provinces in every year, except one, between 1582 and 1589; while 1587
shows no provincial performance, a payment of five shillings is recorded
in Coventry "to the Lord Chamberlain's Musicians that came with the
Judge at the assizes"; these were, no doubt, a portion of Burbage's
company, Lord Hunsdon then being Lord Chamberlain. This entry, however,
is immediately preceded by the entry of a payment of twenty shillings to
the Lord Admiral's players. It shall be shown that the Admiral's company
was affiliated with Burbage at this time.

The Lord Hunsdon who patronised this company from the time of its
inception, in 1582, until we hear no more about it in 1589, was the same
Henry Carey, Baron Hunsdon, who, in 1594, still holding the office of
Lord Chamberlain, again took Burbage and his theatrical associates under
his protection.

In imagining James Burbage as a member of the Queen's company of players
for several years following 1583, and ending in about 1591, it has been
customary also to assume that the Queen's company played regularly, when
in London, at Burbage's Theatre during these years; and that the Lord
Admiral's company, between 1585 and 1591, played principally at the
Curtain. There is very slight foundation for the former, and not the
slightest for the latter, assumption, both of which were first mooted by
Halliwell-Phillipps, and in which he has since been followed blindly by
the compilers. The supposition that the Queen's company made their
London centre at the Theatre from 1583 onwards, is based upon the
disproved assumption that Burbage was the manager of this company. This
supposition has been supported by the argument that Tarleton, who was a
member of the Queen's company after 1583, is mentioned in 1592, in
Nashe's _Pierce Penniless_, as having "made jests" "at the Theatre,"
and again in Harrington's _Metamorphosis of Ajax_ in 1596, as follows:
"Which word was after admitted into the Theatre by the mouth of Mayster
Tarleton, the excellent comedian." As Tarleton died in 1588 these
references cannot apply to the "Theatre" later than this date, and if
they apply at all to Burbage's Theatre and the term is not used
generically, they apply to it in the years preceding 1583, when Tarleton
played at the Theatre as a member of Lord Leicester's company. The
author of _Martin's Month's Mind_, in 1587, refers to "twittle twattle
that I learned in ale-houses and at the Theatre of Lanam and his
fellowes." This also probably refers to the period preceding 1583, when
Laneham was a member and evidently the leader of Leicester's company and
after Burbage had retired from its leadership. In _News out of
Purgatory_, published in 1587, in which the ghost of Tarleton appears,
"the Curtaine of his Countenance" is mentioned, which apparently alludes
to his recent connection with that house.[16] While it is possible,
however, that the Queen's company may have performed occasionally at the
Theatre after their formation in 1582-83 and before the Rose was built
in 1587, all evidence and logical assumption regarding the regular
playing-places of the Queen's and the Admiral's companies when in
London, between 1586 and 1589, infer that the Queen's company played at
the Curtain, and after 1587, at the Rose, and the Lord Admiral's
company, in conjunction with the Lord Chamberlain's, at the Theatre in
summer and the Crosskeys in winter.

Towards the end of this period a rivalry existed between the Queen's
company and the combined companies playing under Burbage at the Theatre,
which ended in 1591 in the supersession for Court performances of the
Queen's company by Lord Strange's players--a new company of which
Richard Burbage was a member, which had been organised out of the best
actors from the defunct companies of the Lord Chamberlain and Lord
Leicester, and with accretions from the Lord Admiral's company and Lord
Strange's company of boy acrobats; which latter had for about a year
past been affiliated in some manner with the Lord Admiral's company,
which, in turn, had worked in conjunction with Burbage's players (the
Lord Chamberlain's company) since 1585-86.

For this connection between the Lord Admiral's company and the company
of Lord Hunsdon, who was now Lord Chamberlain, we have record of a Court
performance on 6th January 1586, which was paid for on 31st January:
"The Lord Admiral's and the Lord Chamberlain's players were paid for a
play before the Queen on Twelfth Day."

While two companies of players, meeting accidentally in the provinces,
might at times have combined their forces in an entertainment, we may
assume that in such cases each would give a short interlude from their
own stock of plays, and not that they joined action in the same play. A
performance before the Court, however, was no haphazard thing, but
something that had been carefully rehearsed; hence, when we find--as in
the case of the Lord Admiral's players and the Lord Chamberlain's
players, mentioned above--members of two companies uniting in a play
before the Court and receiving one payment for it, it is apparent that
they must have acted in the same play, and also that such a play had
been previously rehearsed. Burbage's Theatre being the theatrical home
of his company, known, until 1585, as Lord Hunsdon's company, and after
that date, when Lord Hunsdon became Lord Chamberlain, as the Lord
Chamberlain's players, it becomes evident that the rehearsal of plays
for the Court would take place at the Theatre in the summer or the inn
used by Burbage and his company in the winter-time, and that the members
of the Lord Admiral's company, who had acted with him in the Court
performance mentioned, would rehearse at the same places. As we find
Lord Strange's company preparing to act in the winter-time of 1589 at
the Crosskeys, when they were refused permission to do so by the Lord
Mayor, and as we know also that--as the Lord Chamberlain's men--in 1594,
after their separation from Henslowe, they again sought leave to act
there in the winter season, we may infer that Burbage's men used this
same inn for winter performances previous to 1589. Lord Hunsdon's letter
to the Lord Mayor in December 1594, referring to the Crosskeys, reads:
"Where my _now_ company of players have byn accustomed ... to play this
winter time within the City."

While both the Lord Admiral's and Lord Hunsdon's players performed
occasionally in the provinces previous to 1591, the limited number of
their provincial appearances, taken in conjunction with the fact that
they were of sufficient importance to play at intervals before the
Court, during the years that the Queen's company--which had been
specially formed for that purpose--held sway, implies that they were
players of recognised importance.

While it is apparent that Burbage ceased to be an active member of
Leicester's players at or soon after the time he undertook the
responsibilities of the management of the Theatre, he evidently
continued to work under the protection of the Earl of Leicester, as the
owner of the Theatre and of the organisation known as Leicester's
musicians, as late as 1582, when he secured the protection of Lord
Hunsdon, and in transferring took with him his theatrical musicians, who
now became Lord Hunsdon's and, later, the Lord Chamberlain's musicians.
The first and last mention of Lord Leicester's musicians as distinct
from the players in any of the records is in 1582, when they are
mentioned in the Coventry records as accompanying Lord Leicester's
players. These were evidently Burbage's theatrical musicians who
accompanied Leicester's men to Coventry, as we find them accompanying
the Admiral's men to the same place a few years later under the title of
the "Lord Chamberlain's Musicians."

It is evident that Leicester's company continued to be Burbage's most
permanent customer in the use of the Theatre as late as 1585, and that
they acted there until that date in conjunction with Lord Hunsdon's men,
who were Burbage's theatrical employees, and mostly musicians. Some time
in, or before, June 1585, seven of the more important actors of
Leicester's company sailed for the Continent, where they remained till
July 1587. In June 1585 the remnant of Leicester's company joined forces
with the new Admiral's company. They are recorded as acting together at
Dover in this month. It is apparent that Leicester's men had come to
this port to see their fellows off for the Continent, and that they were
joined there by the Admiral's men by pre-arrangement. This performance
of the Admiral's men, in conjunction with the remnant of Leicester's men
at Dover, is the first record we possess for many years of any company
under this title. The next record is a performance before the Court in
the following Christmas season, when we find them acting conjointly
with the Lord Chamberlain's men, _i.e._ Burbage's men, recently Lord
Hunsdon's. It is evident that they had now taken the place of
Leicester's men as Burbage's permanent company at the Theatre, holding
much the same relations to him as Lord Strange's men held to Henslowe at
the Rose between 1592 and 1594.

Both Leicester's and Lord Hunsdon's companies disappear from the records
at the same date (1588-89), and Lord Strange's players appear for the
first time as a regular London company of players, performing in the
City of London and at the Crosskeys in the same year. Three years later,
when we are enabled, for the first time, to learn anything of the
personnel of this company, we find among its members Thomas Pope, George
Bryan, and, later on, William Kempe, all of them members of Leicester's
company before 1589. We also find in Lord Strange's company, in 1592,
Richard Burbage, who, without doubt, between 1584--in which year he
first began as a player--and 1589, was a member of his father's
company,--Lord Hunsdon's,--known as the Lord Chamberlain's company after
1585. It becomes apparent, then, that early in the year 1589 a junction
of forces took place between the leading actors of the companies
previously known as Lord Strange's tumblers, Lord Hunsdon's, or, as it
was then known, the Lord Chamberlain's company, and the Earl of
Leicester's players--the new organisation becoming known as Lord
Strange's players. This company continued under the patronage of Lord
Strange, under his successive titles of Lord Strange and the Earl of
Derby, until his death in April 1594; they then, for a short period,
passed under the patronage of his widow, the Countess of Derby, when
they again secured the patronage of Lord Hunsdon--who was still Lord

Before the combination between these companies took place in December
1588, or January 1589, it is evident that an alliance of some kind was
formed between the leading men of Lord Strange's tumblers and the Lord
Admiral's company.[17] For several years, between about 1580 and 1587,
Lord Strange's company was merely a company of acrobats, or tumblers,
composed of boys and youths. In the provincial records they are
mentioned at times as "Lord Strange's tumblers," "Symons and his
fellowes," and as "John Symonds and Mr. Standleyes Boyes" (Lord
Strange's name being Fernando Stanley). The Lord Admiral's players, on
the other hand, were clearly a regular company of players who presented
plays, yet we find them paid for Court performances in 1588 and 1589,
and also "For showing other feats of activitye and tumblinge." In the
following year they are again paid for a Court performance where "feates
of activitye" are also mentioned. The last performances of this nature
given by the Lord Admiral's players were on 27th December 1590 and 16th
February 1591. The record of payment for these performances makes
mention of "other feates of activitye then also done by them." Upon the
5th of March 1591 the payment for these performances is recorded in the
Acts of the Privy Council to the Lord Admiral's company, while--as Mr.
E.K. Chambers has pointed out--in the Pipe Rolls (542 fol. 156) these
same performances are assigned to Strange's men. It is evident, then,
that late in 1588 (the first performance of this nature being recorded
on the 27th of December) a junction took place between certain members
of Lord Strange's tumblers and the Lord Admiral's men, who had been
connected since 1585 with the Lord Chamberlain's men, and that, at the
same time, the leading members of Lord Leicester's company became
affiliated with them.

In the following Christmas season, 1591-92, Lord Strange's players--now
thoroughly organised into a regular company of players--gave six
performances before the Court, supplanting the formerly powerful and
popular Queen's company, which gave only one performance in that season,
and never afterwards appeared before the Court. There is no further
record of a Court performance by the Lord Admiral's company until the
Christmas season of 1594-95, by which time they had parted from the Lord
Chamberlain's men and reorganised by absorbing members from other
companies--such as the Earl of Sussex and Earl of Pembroke's companies,
which at this time disappear from the records.

Here, then, we find, between the Christmas season of 1588-89 and
1591-92, an amalgamation into one company of a portion of the membership
of four different companies, all of which had, immediately before, been
associated in some measure with the theatrical interests of the

While a chance record remains which reveals official action in the
formation of the Queen's company of players in 1583, and no actual
record of official action has yet been found to account for the sudden
Court favour accorded the new and powerful Lord Strange's company in
1591, _it is very apparent that an equally authoritative purpose existed
in the latter case_.

Between the years 1574 and 1583 the Earl of Leicester's company, under
the auspices of James Burbage, held the position of the leading company
of players in London. During the Christmas and New Year festivities in
every year but one in this decade, Leicester's company played before the
Court, being supplanted by the newly formed Queen's company in 1583-84.

Howes states in his _Additions to Stowe's Chronicles_ that "in 1583
twelve of the best players were chosen out of several great Lords'
companies and sworn the Queen's servants, being allowed wages and
liveries as Grooms of the Chamber," and among these, two players, Thomas
(Robert) Wilson and Richard Tarleton, were chosen. As these players and
John Laneham were taken from Lord Leicester's company it has been
incorrectly inferred that James Burbage--who is known to have been the
leader of the company as late as 1575--went with them to the Queen's
company at this time.

It is apparent that changes so important in the several companies
affected by the disruption of their memberships could not be made in a
very short time, and that test performances and negotiations of some
duration preceded the actual amalgamation of the new company. Burbage's
reason for securing Lord Hunsdon's patronage in 1582 was, no doubt,
because of Leicester's departure for the Continent in this year and the
disorganisation of Leicester's company, caused by the formation of the
new Queen's company at the same period.

Between 1583 and 1590, while other companies performed occasionally at
the Court, the Queen's company performed during the Christmas
festivities every season--and usually upon several occasions--in each
year. In the Christmas season of 1591-92, however, they performed only
once, _and then for the last time on record_, while Lord Strange's
company appeared in this season upon six occasions. This company, under
its various later titles, retained the position it had now attained--of
the leading Court company--for the next forty years. It is evident,
then, that the amalgamation of the leading members of Lord Strange's
acrobats, the Lord Chamberlain's, the Earl of Leicester's, and the Lord
Admiral's players, which I have shown began in tentative Court
performances in the Christmas season of 1588-89, and which culminated in
the success of the thoroughly organised company in the season of
1591-92, was--at least in its later stage--fostered by similar official
sanction and encouragement to that which brought about the formation of
the Queen's company in 1582-83. Edmund Tilney, the Master of the Revels,
who chose the players for the Queen's company in 1583, held the same
position in 1591, and evidently exercised a similar function in
forwarding the promotion of Lord Strange's company, and the discarding
of the Queen's company for Court purposes in the latter year. It is
significant that Henslowe, the owner of the Rose Theatre, where Lord
Strange's players commenced to perform on 19th February 1592, was made a
Groom of the Privy Chamber in that year, and that the weekly payments of
his fees to Tilney, in connection with his new venture, begin at that
time. Henslowe became the financial backer of this company in 1591, at
which time, it shall be shown, later on, that James Burbage's fortunes
were at a low ebb, and that he also was in disfavour with the
authorities. Henslowe evidently was brought into the affair by Tilney's
influence, the office of Groom of the Privy Chamber being a reward for
his compliance. It shall be indicated that Tilney and Henslowe had
probably held similar relations in connection with the Queen's company,
which evidently performed at the Rose under Henslowe between 1587 and

I have shown a connection between Burbage's company, _i.e._ the Lord
Chamberlain's, and the Lord Admiral's company between 1585 and 1589, and
will now inquire into the previous identity of the latter company.

A company performing under the licence of Lord Charles Howard of
Effingham appears in the Court records between 1574 and 1577. Between
1581 and June 1585 there are no provincial records of any company
performing under this nobleman's licence, and, until 6th January 1586,
no Court records. On this latter date a company licensed by this
nobleman, who was now Lord Admiral, appeared at Court working in
conjunction with the Lord Chamberlain's company. The last provincial
visit of Lord Howard's old company is at Ipswich in 1581. The first
provincial record of his new company--the Lord Admiral's--is at Dover in
June 1585, when the entry reads: "Paid unto my Lord Admiralles and my
Lord Lycestors players 20 shillings." This seems to show that the new
Admiral's company had joined forces with the remnant of Lord Leicester's
players, the depletion of which company at this time was occasioned by
the departure of seven of their members, including Kempe, Pope, and
Bryan, for Denmark.

Their next recorded provincial visit is to Ipswich under date of 20th
February 1586, when they are mentioned as the Lord Admiral's players. In
this same year they appear at Cambridge, also as the Lord Admiral's
players. On 15th November 1586 they are recorded at Coventry as having
been paid twenty shillings, and immediately following, under the same
date of entry, the Lord Chamberlain's men are recorded as being paid
three shillings and fourpence, and on 15th November 1587 they are again
recorded at Coventry as receiving twenty shillings; and again, under the
same date, is an entry recording the payment of five shillings "to the
Lord Chamberlain's Musicians that came with the Judge at the assizes."

The juxtaposition of the entries on these records of the names of these
two companies in 1586 and 1587, and their union in a performance before
the Court in January 1586, shows that a combination of some sort between
them was formed in 1585. _Who, then, were the men that composed the Lord
Admiral's company from 1585 to 1589?_

In 1592, when Lord Strange's players left Burbage to perform under
Henslowe at the Rose, we are assured that Edward Alleyn was the manager
of the company, and, though the manager of Lord Strange's company, that
he still styled himself a Lord Admiral's man. When, then, did Edward
Alleyn, who is mentioned in the Leicester records in 1584 as a member of
the Earl of Worcester's company, become a Lord Admiral's man and cease
to perform under the licence of the Earl of Worcester? Is it not
palpable that the change took place in 1585, when all records of
Worcester's company cease for several years and a new Lord Admiral's
company begins? The last record of a provincial performance for
Worcester's company is at Barnstaple in 1585. The Court and provincial
records of 1586 show that within about eight months of its inception the
Lord Admiral's company worked in conjunction with Burbage's players--the
Lord Chamberlain's men. That this connection continued in the case of
Edward Alleyn and a few others of the Admiral's men, who were old
Worcester men, and that they preserved their licensed identity through
the several changes in the title of the company, until they finally
separated early in 1594, shall be made apparent in this history.

It is evident that Edward Alleyn's brother, John Alleyn, joined the
Admiral's men at about the time of its inception, when his old company,
Lord Sheffield's players, suddenly disappear from the records. Their
last recorded provincial performance is in Coventry, under date of 15th
November 1585, _the Lord Admiral's men and the Lord Chamberlain's men
being recorded there under the same date of entry_. John Alleyn
continued his connection with the Lord Admiral's men at least as late as
July 1589, when he is mentioned as "servant to me the Lord Admiral" in a
letter from the Privy Council to certain aldermen. After this he is not
heard of again either in connection with Lord Strange's or the Admiral's
men. He was evidently one of the discarded actors in the reorganisations
of 1589-91.

Past critics, ignoring the fact that there are no records of either
Court, London, or provincial performances for Worcester's company
between 1585 and 1589-90, have assumed that this company was in
existence during these years, and that it was disrupted and reorganised
in 1589, Edward Alleyn leaving it and joining the Lord Admiral's men at
that period. This inference is drawn erroneously from the following
facts: first, that Richard Jones, who is recorded in 1584, in the
Leicester records, as a member of Lord Worcester's company, in January
1589, sold to Edward Alleyn his share in theatrical properties,
consisting of playing apparel, playbooks, instruments, etc., owned by
him conjointly with Robert Brown, Edward Alleyn, and his brother, John
Alleyn, all of whom are supposed to have been members of Worcester's
company at that time, as Brown and Edward Alleyn are also recorded in
1584 as members of that company; secondly, that John Alleyn is
mentioned as a servant to the Lord Admiral later on in this year; and
thirdly, that Edward Alleyn, when managing Lord Strange's company in
1593, is also mentioned as a Lord Admiral's man.

In the light of the foregoing facts and deductions it is evident that
the Earl of Worcester's company, or at least a large portion of it,
_became the Lord Admiral's company in 1585_, and that, at about the same
time, they became affiliated with Burbage and the Lord Chamberlain's
company. It is probable, however, that in making this change they
discarded some of their old members and took on others, John Alleyn
evidently joining them from Sheffield's company at that time.

The new licence they sought and secured in 1585 was evidently made
necessary by the disfavour and ill repute which the ill-regulated
behaviour of some of their members--whom they now discarded--had gained
for them. In June 1583 the Earl of Worcester's company was refused
permission to perform in Ipswich, the excuse being given that they had
passed through places infected by the plague. They were, however, given
a reward on their promise to leave the city, but instead of doing so
they proceeded to their inn and played there. The Mayor and Court
ordered that the Earl of Worcester should be notified, that this company
should never again receive a reward from the city, and that they leave
at once on pain of imprisonment. Though the Mayor and Court, at the
entreaty of the company, agreed not to inform the Earl of their
misconduct, it is not unlikely that this and similar happenings came to
his knowledge, as they seem to have had little respect for municipal
authorities. They were again in trouble in March 1584, when they
quarrelled with the Leicester authorities. Finding at their inn at
Leicester the commission of the Master of the Revels' company, which in
leaving Leicester three days before this company had inadvertently left
behind, they appropriated it and presented it to the Leicester
authorities as their own, stating that the previous company had stolen
it from them. Not being believed, they were forced to produce their own
licence, when they were refused permission to play, but given an angel
to pay for their dinner. Later in the day, meeting the Mayor on the
street, they again asked leave to play, and, being refused, abused the
Mayor with "evyll and contemptuous words, and said they would play
whether he wold or not," and went "in contempt of the Mayor with drum
and trumpet through the town." On apologising later to the Mayor and
begging him not to inform the Earl of Worcester, they secured leave to
play on condition that they prefaced their performance with an apology
for their misconduct and a statement that they were permitted to play
only by the Mayor's goodwill.[18]

If their past reputation had been good in Leicester there seems to be no
reason why they should have wished to perform under another company's
licence. We may infer that these were not isolated instances of their
misbehaviour, and that their change of title in 1585 was made necessary
by reports of their misconduct coming to the notice of the old Earl of
Worcester. No company of players is known to have acted under this
nobleman's licence after 1585.

In 1589, when the process of amalgamation between the Lord Admiral's,
the Lord Chamberlain's, and Lord Leicester's companies, and Lord
Strange's acrobats, which resulted in the formation of Lord Strange's
company, was under way, discarded members of their companies, including,
no doubt, some of the players of the old Worcester company, secured a
licence from the new Earl of Worcester and continued to perform--though
mostly as a provincial company--until 1603. Other old members, including
Robert Brown--the leader of the former Worcester company--and Richard
Jones, formed a new company for continental performances. Brown and
others continued to make continental trips for years afterwards, while
Richard Jones rejoined the Lord Admiral's men in 1594, after they and
the Lord Chamberlain's men had separated.

It was plainly, then, Richard Jones' share in the stage properties of
the Lord Admiral's company that Edward Alleyn bought in 1589. It is
apparent that he also bought out his brother's and Robert Brown's
shares, as neither of them afterwards appeared as Strange's or Admiral's
men. _This would give Edward Alleyn entire ownership of the properties
of the Admiral's company_, and, consequently, an important share in the
new amalgamation.

It was on Burbage's stage, then, that this great actor between 1585 and
1589--after having spent several years touring the provinces--entered
upon and established his metropolitan reputation, attaining in the
latter year, at the age of twenty-three, a large, if not the largest,
share in the properties and holdings, and also the management of the
strongest company of players in England, as well as the reputation of
being the greatest actor of the time.

It somewhat enlarges our old conception of the beginnings of
Shakespeare's theatrical experiences and dramatic inspiration to know,
that when he entered into relations with James Burbage, in 1586-87, and
for from four to six years afterwards, he had as intimate associates
both Edward Alleyn and Richard Burbage; two young men of about his own
age, who were already winning a good share of the notice and
appreciation that later established them as the leading actors of the
age. Which of them was the greater was one of the moot questions of the
day eight to ten years later, when they had become the star actors of
rival companies, and those the foremost two in London.

It is now pertinent to inquire as to which of these companies, if to
any, Shakespeare was connected previous to the amalgamation, and also,
whether or not he became a member of Lord Strange's company, along with
Richard Burbage, and acted under, or wrote for, Alleyn and Henslowe
between 1591 and 1594.

The suggestion which was first made by Mr. Fleay--in which he has since
been followed by encyclopædists and compilers--that Shakespeare joined
Lord Leicester's company upon one of its visits to Stratford-upon-Avon
in 1586 or 1587, is plainly without foundation in the light of the
foregoing facts, as is also his assumption that Lord Strange's company
was merely a continuation of Lord Leicester's company under new

Lord Leicester's company spent the greater part of the years between
1585-86 and 1589 performing in the provinces. The records of its
provincial visits outnumber all of those recorded for the other three
companies concerned in the reorganisation of 1589. If Shakespeare acted
at all in these early years he must have done so merely incidentally.
When we bear in mind the volume and quality of his literary productions,
between 1591 and 1594, it becomes evident that his novitiate in dramatic
affairs in the dark years, between 1585-86 and 1592, was of a literary
rather than of an histrionic character, though he also acted in those
years. He would have found little time for dramatic composition or study
during these years had he accompanied Lord Leicester's company in their
provincial peregrinations. Bearing in mind his later habit of revising
earlier work it is not unlikely that some of his dramatic work, which
from internal and external evidence we now date between 1591 and 1594,
is rewritten or revised work originally produced before 1591.

It is palpable that Shakespeare had not been previously affiliated with
Lord Strange's acrobats, nor a member of the Lord Admiral's company, and
evident, in view of the above facts and deductions, as well as of his
future close and continuous connection with James Burbage, that his
inceptive years in London were spent in his service, working in various
capacities in his business and dramatic interests. It is apparent that
between 1586-87 and 1588-89 Shakespeare worked for James Burbage as a
bonded and hired servant. In Henslowe's _Diary_ there are several
instances of such bonds with hired servants, and covenant servants,
covering terms of years--usually from two to three--between Henslowe and
men connected with the Lord Admiral's company. It shall be shown later
that Nashe in his preface to Greene's _Menaphon_ alludes to Shakespeare
in this capacity.

The title of _Johannes factotum_, which Greene, in 1592, bestowed upon
Shakespeare, as well as the term "rude groome," which he inferentially
applies to him, when coupled with the tradition collected by Nicholas
Rowe, his earliest biographer, who writes: "He was received into the
company then in being, at first, in a very mean rank, but his admirable
wit, and the natural turn of it to the stage, soon distinguished him,
if not as an extraordinary actor, yet as an excellent writer," all point
to a business rather than to an exclusively histrionic connection with
the Burbages in his earlier London years. These evidences are confirmed
by the gossip of William Castle, who was parish clerk of Stratford for
many years, and who was born two years before Shakespeare died, and,
consequently, must have known and talked with many people who had known
Shakespeare. He frequently told visitors that Shakespeare was first
received in the playhouse as "a servitor." When the legal usage and
business customs of that period, as exhibited in legal records and in
Henslowe's _Diary_, are considered it becomes apparent that a youth of
from twenty-one to twenty-three years of age, newly come to London, with
no previous training in any particular capacity, with a bankrupt father
and without means of his own, could not very well associate himself with
a business concern in any other capacity than that of an indentured
apprentice or bonded and hired servant. Without such a legally ratified
connection with some employer, a youth of Shakespeare's poverty and
social degree, and a stranger in London, would be classed before the law
as a masterless man and a vagrant. The term "servitor" then does not
refer to his theatrical capacity--as stated by Halliwell-Phillipps--but
to his legal relations with James Burbage, his employer. Only sharers in
a company were classed as "servants" to the nobleman under whose
patronage they worked; the hired men were servants to the sharers, or to
the theatrical owner for whom they worked.

Being connected with the Burbages between 1586-87 to 1588-89, whatever
theatrical training Shakespeare may have received came undoubtedly from
his association with the Lord Admiral's and Lord Hunsdon's companies,
which performed at the Theatre in Shoreditch as one company during
these years, combining in the same manner as Strange's company and the
Lord Admiral's company did, under Henslowe and Alleyn at the Rose,
between 1592-94. Though in later life he was reputed to be a fair actor,
he never achieved great reputation in this capacity; it was plainly not
to acting that he devoted himself most seriously during these early
years. Working in the capacity of handy-man or, as Greene calls him,
_Johannes factotum_, for the Burbages, besides, possibly, taking general
charge of their stabling arrangements,--as tradition asserts,--he also,
no doubt, took care of the theatrical properties, which included the
MSS. and players' copies of the plays owned by the company. Though
Shakespeare's grammar school days ended in Stratford he took his
collegiate course in Burbage's Theatre. During the leisure hours of the
years of his servitorship he studied the arts as he found them in MS.
plays. _I shall show, later, that Robert Greene, through the pen of his
coadjutor, Thomas Nashe, in an earlier attack than that of 1592, refers
to Shakespeare's servitorship and to the acquisitions of knowledge he
made during his idle hours._ That he made good use of his time and his
materials, however, is demonstrated by the fact that in the four years
intervening between the end of 1590 and the end of 1594, he composed, at
least, seven original plays, two long poems, and over sixty sonnets;
much of this work being since and still regarded--three hundred years
after its production--as a portion of the world's greatest literature.

While it is apparent, even to those critics and biographers who admit
the likelihood that Shakespeare's earliest connection with theatrical
affairs was with the Burbage interests, that Lord Strange's company--of
which they, erroneously, suppose that he still continued to be a
member--ceased to perform under James Burbage in, or before, February
1592, when they began to play under Alleyn and Henslowe's management at
the Rose Theatre, no previous attempt has been made to explain the
reasons for Lord Strange's company's connection with Henslowe, or to
account for the fact that no plays written by Shakespeare were presented
by this company while they performed at the Rose Theatre, though it is
very evident, and admitted by all critics, that he composed several
original plays during this interval.

As it is probable that James Burbage, through his son Richard, retained
some interest in Lord Strange's company during the period that it acted
under Henslowe's and Alleyn's management, the question naturally arises,
Why should Lord Strange's company, which was composed largely of members
of Leicester's and Hunsdon's company, both of which, affiliated with the
Admiral's men, had been previously associated with the Burbage
interests--why should this company, having Richard Burbage in its
membership, enter into business relations with Henslowe and perform for
two years at the Rose Theatre instead of playing under James Burbage at
the Theatre in Shoreditch in summer, and at the Crosskeys in winter,
where they formerly played?

A consideration of the business affairs of James Burbage will show that
the temporary severance of his business relations with Strange's men was
due to legal and financial difficulties in which he became involved at
this time, when strong financial backing became necessary to establish
and maintain this new company, which, I have indicated, had been formed
specially for Court performances. It also appears evident that he again
incurred the disfavour of Lord Burghley and the authorities at this

In the following chapter I analyse the reasons for the separation of
Strange's company from Burbage at this time and give inceptive evidence
that Shakespeare did not accompany Strange's men to Henslowe and the
Rose, but that he remained with Burbage as the manager and principal
writer for the Earl of Pembroke's company--a fact regarding his history
which has not hitherto been suspected.


[Footnote 10: This interesting fact, hitherto unknown, has recently been
pointed out by Mrs. C.C. Stopes, _Burbage and Shakespeare's Stage_,
London, 1913.]

[Footnote 11: A critical examination of the records of the _English
Dramatic Companies_, 1558-1642, collected by Mr. John Tucker Murray,
convinces me that such affiliations as those mentioned above existed
between Lord Hunsdon's company and the Earl of Leicester's company from
1582-83 until 1585, and between the remnant of Leicester's
company,--which remained in England when their fellows went to the
Continent in 1585,--the Lord Admiral's company, and the Lord
Chamberlain's company from 1585 until 1589, and following a
reorganisation in that year--when the Lord Chamberlain's and Leicester's
companies merged with Lord Strange's company--between this new Lord
Strange's company and the Lord Admiral's company until 1591, when a
further reorganisation took place, the majority of Strange's and the
Admiral's men going to Henslowe and the Rose, and a portion, including
Shakespeare, remaining with Burbage and reorganising in this year with
accretions from the now disrupting Queen's company, including Gabriel
Spencer and Humphrey Jeffes, as the Earl of Pembroke's company; John
Sinkler, and possibly others from the Queen's company, evidently joined
the Strange-Admiral's men at the same time. The mention of the names of
these three men--two of them Pembroke's men and one a Strange's man
after 1592--in the stage directions of _The True Tragedy of the Duke of
York_, can be accounted for only by the probable fact that all three
were members of the company that originally owned the play, and that
this was the Queen's company is generally conceded by critics.

In order to restore their own acting strength the depleted Queen's
company appears now to have formed similar affiliations with the Earl of
Sussex's company, continuing the connection until 1594. In this year
Strange's men (now the Lord Chamberlain's men) returned to Burbage while
the Admiral's portion of the combination stayed with Henslowe as the
Lord Admiral's company. These two companies now restored their full
numbers by taking on men from the Earl of Pembroke's and the Earl of
Sussex's companies; both of which now cease to work as independent
companies, though the portion of Pembroke's men that returned to
Henslowe, including Spencer and Jeffes, appear to have retained their
own licensed identity until 1597, when several of them definitely joined
Henslowe as Admiral men. Some Pembroke's and Sussex's men, not taken by
Burbage or Henslowe in 1594, evidently joined the Queen's company at
that time. Henslowe financed his brother Francis Henslowe in the
purchase of a share in the Queen's company at about this time.]

[Footnote 12: _Queen Elizabeth and Her Times_, by Thomas Wright, 1838.]

[Footnote 13: Sir Sidney Lee, who as a rule follows Halliwell-Phillipps
implicitly, in _A Life of William Shakespeare_, p. 59, writes: "James
Burbage, in spite of pecuniary embarrassments, remained manager and
owner of the Theatre for twenty-one years"; but in a footnote on p. 52,
writes: "During 1584 an unnamed person, vaguely described as 'the owner
of the Theatre,' claimed that he was under Lord Hunsdon's protection;
the reference is probably to one John Hyde, to whom the Theatre was
mortgaged." There is surely nothing vague in the expression "owner of
the Theatre," especially when we remember that it was used by an
important legal functionary in one of his weekly reports to Lord
Treasurer Burghley. Recorder Fleetwood was a very exact and legal-minded
official, and in using the term "the owner" he undoubtedly meant the
owner and, it may be implied from the context, also the manager. Burbage
was clearly manager and owner of the Theatre at this period.]

[Footnote 14: This Browne was in all probability the notorious Ned
Browne of whom Robert Greene wrote in 1592, _The Blacke Bookes
Messenger_, "Laying open the life and death of Ned Browne one of the
worst cutpurses, crosbiters, and conycatchers that ever lived in
England. Herein he tells verie pleasantly in his owne person such
strange pranks and monstrous villanies by him and his consorts performed
as the like was yet never heard of in any of the former bookes of
conycatching, etc. By R.G. Printed at London by John Danter for Thomas
Nelson, dwelling in Silver Street, neere to the sign of the Red Crosse,
1592, Quarto." Fleetwood writes later of Browne: "This Browne is a
common cousener, a thief and a horse stealer and colloureth all his
doings here about this town with a sute that he hath in the lawe against
a brother of his in Staffordshire. He resteth now in Newgate."]

[Footnote 15: _English Dramatic Companies_, by John Tucker Murray, vol.
i. p. 201.]

[Footnote 16: That Tarleton was a member of the Queen's company in 1588
is shown by a reference in his will, which is dated in this year, to "my
fellow, William Johnson."]

[Footnote 17: Previous to the affiliations between Strange's tumblers
and the Lord Admiral's company they seem to have maintained intermittent
relations with the Queen's company, and are sometimes mentioned as the
Queen's tumblers.]

[Footnote 18: _English Dramatic Companies_, 1558-1642, p. 43, by John
Tucker Murray.]



Almost from the time he first began to operate the Shoreditch Theatre in
1576, until his death in 1597, James Burbage had trouble from one source
or another regarding his venture. Both the Theatre, and the Curtain at
Shoreditch, seem to have been particularly obnoxious to the puritanical
element among the local authorities, who made numerous attempts to have
both theatres suppressed. There were long intervals during the term of
Burbage's lease of the Theatre when, owing to various causes, both the
Theatre and the Curtain were closed. Among the causes were--the
prevalence of the plague, alleged rioting, and the performance of plays
which infringed the law prohibiting the presentation of matters of
Church and State upon the stage. Burbage's Theatre came into disfavour
with the authorities in 1589 owing to the performance there of plays
relating to the Martin Marprelate controversy; and that it was the
combined Strange's and Admiral's company that was concerned in these
performances, and not the Queen's, as is usually supposed, is evident
from the fact that in November, when they moved to their winter quarters
in the City at the Crosskeys, the Lord Mayor, John Hart, under
instructions from Lord Burghley, issued orders prohibiting them from
performing in the City. It is not unlikely that their connection with
the Martin Marprelate affair earlier in the year at the Theatre, and
their deliberate defiance of the Mayor's orders in performing at the
Crosskeys on the afternoon of the day the prohibition was issued,
delayed the full measure of Court favour presaged for them by their
recent drastic--and evidently officially encouraged--reorganisation.
When they performed at Court in the Christmas seasons of 1589-90 and
1590-91, they did so as the Lord Admiral's men; and in the latter
instance, while the Acts of the Privy Council credit the performance to
the Admiral's, the Pipe Rolls assign it to Strange's men.[19] Seeing
that the Admiral's men had submitted dutifully to the Mayor's orders,
and that Lord Strange's men--two of whom had been committed to the
Counter for their contempt--were again called before the Mayor and
forbidden to play, the company's reason for performing at Court at this
period as the Lord Admiral's men is plainly apparent. It is not unlikely
that their transfer to Henslowe's financial management became necessary
because of Burbage's continued disfavour with Lord Burghley and the City
authorities, as well as his financial inability adequately to provide
for the needs of the new Court company, in 1591. In the defiance of
Burghley's and the Mayor's orders by the Burbage portion of the company,
and the subservience of the Alleyn element at this time, is foreshadowed
their future political bias as independent companies. From the time of
their separation in 1594 until the death of Elizabeth, the Lord
Admiral's company represented the Cecil-Howard, and Burbage's company
the Essex factional and political interests in their covert stage
polemics. Shakespeare's friendship and intimacy with Essex's _fidus
Achates_, the Earl of Southampton, between 1591 and 1601, served
materially to accentuate the pro-Essex leanings of his company. This
phase of Shakespeare's theatrical career has not been investigated by
past critics, though Fleay, Simpson, and Feis recognise the critical and
biographical importance of such an inquiry, while the compilers do not
even suspect that such a phase existed.

While the Curtain seems to have escaped trouble arising from its lease
and its ownership, the Theatre came in for more than its share. The
comparative freedom of the Curtain from the interference and persecution
of the local authorities in these years was evidently due to the fact
that it was the recognised summer home of the Queen's company between
1584 and 1591. It is evident that during the winter months the Queen's
company performed at the Rose between 1587--when this theatre was
erected--and the end of 1590; it was superseded at Court by Lord
Strange's company at the end of 1591, and was disrupted during this
year--a portion of them continuing under the two Duttons, as the Queen's
men. The Rose, being the most important, centrally located, theatre
available for winter performances during these years, would naturally be
used by the leading Court company. It is significant that Lord Strange's
company commenced to play there when they finally supplanted the Queen's
company at Court. It is probable that they played there also before it
was reconstructed during 1591.

The large number of old plays formerly owned by the Queen's company,
which came into the hands of the companies associated with Henslowe and
Burbage at this time, suggests that they bought them from Henslowe, who
had retained them, and probably other properties, in payment for money
owed him by the Queen's company which, having been several years
affiliated with him at the Rose, would be likely to have a similar
financial experience to that of the Lord Admiral's men, who, as shown by
the _Diary_, got deeply into his debt between 1594 and 1598. The Queen's
company was plainly not in a prosperous financial condition in 1591. It
is apparent also that some Queen's men joined Strange's, and Pembroke's
men at this time bringing some of these plays with them as properties.

In building the Theatre, in 1576, Burbage had taken his brother-in-law,
one John Brayne, into partnership, agreeing to give him a half-interest
upon certain terms which Brayne apparently failed to meet. Brayne,
however, claimed a moiety and engaged in a lawsuit with Burbage which
dragged along until his death, when his heirs continued the litigation.
Giles Allen, the landlord from whom Burbage leased the land on which he
had built the Theatre, evidently a somewhat sharp and grasping
individual, failed to live up to the terms of his lease which he had
agreed to extend, provided that Burbage expended a certain amount of
money upon improvements. There was constant bickering between Allen and
Burbage regarding this matter, which also eventuated in a lawsuit that
was carried on by Cuthbert and Richard Burbage after their father's
death in 1597. Added to these numerous irritations, came further trouble
from a most unlooked-for source. In 1581, Edmund Peckham, son of Sir
George Peckham, on the most shadowy and far-fetched grounds, questioned
the validity of Giles Allen's title to the land he had leased to
Burbage, and not only entered a legal claim upon it, but found a jury to
agree with him. This suit also continued for years.

In _Burbage and Shakespeare's Stage_, which is the best account yet
written of Burbage and his affairs, Mrs. Stopes evidently gives all
available details regarding his legal embarrassments. Mrs. Stopes'
account makes it clear that by the year 1591, James Burbage could not
have amassed much wealth in the practice of his profession, though we
may infer that he had enriched a number of lawyers. In the legal records
examined by Mrs. Stopes, I learn that upon 10th January 1591 an
attachment on the Theatre was awarded against Burbage for contempt of
court on the plea of one Robert Miles, and though several attempts were
made in the meantime to have the matter adjudicated, that the attachment
was still in force in November 1591; there is apparently no record as to
when and how the matter was finally settled and the attachment lifted.
It evidently held three months later when Lord Strange's company
commenced to perform under Henslowe at the Rose, or at least as late as
December and January 1591-92, in which months Henslowe repaired and
enlarged the Rose in anticipation of the coming of Strange's company. I
have reason to believe that some settlement was made regarding the
attachment upon Burbage's Theatre early in 1592, and that the Earl of
Pembroke's company played there when in London from that time until we
lose sight of them late in 1593. In the spring of 1594 their membership
and properties were absorbed by the Lord Admiral's company and Lord
Strange's company, most of the properties they had in the way of plays
going to the latter.

The Rose Theatre was first erected in 1587. By the year 1592, when Lord
Strange's players commenced to appear there, it evidently needed to be
repaired and enlarged. Between the 7th of March and the end of April
1592, Henslowe paid out over £100 for these repairs; the work paid for
having been done in the few months preceding 19th February 1592, when
Lord Strange's company commenced to perform there.

Henslowe was much too careful a business man to invest the large sum of
money in the enlargement and repair of the Rose Theatre, which he did at
this time, without the assurance of a profitable return. When his other
business transactions, as shown in his _Diary_, are considered it
becomes apparent that in undertaking this expenditure he would stipulate
for the use of his house by Lord Strange's men for a settled period,
probably of, at least, two years, and that Edward Alleyn, who was the
manager of Lord Strange's men at this time, and continued to be their
manager for the next two years,--though still remaining the Lord
Admiral's man,--was Henslowe's business representative in the company.
Alleyn married Henslowe's stepdaughter in October, this year, and
continued to be his business associate until Henslowe's death, when,
through his wife, he became his heir. Lord Strange's company, under this
and the later title of the Lord Chamberlain's men, continued to perform
at theatres owned or operated by Henslowe, and probably also under
Alleyn's management, until the spring of 1594, when it appears that they
returned to Burbage and resumed performances, as in 1589-91, at the
Theatre in Shoreditch in summer, and at the Crosskeys in winter.

The assumption that Shakespeare was a member of Lord Strange's company
while it was with Henslowe, is based upon three things: first, the
undoubted fact that his close friend and coadjutor, Richard Burbage, was
one of the leading members of the company at that time; secondly, that
_The First Part of Henry VI._, in an early form, was presented as a
revised play by Lord Strange's men at the Rose, upon 3rd March 1592, and
upon several subsequent occasions while they were with Henslowe;
thirdly, an alleged reference to Shakespeare's name in Peele's _Edward
I._, which was owned by the Lord Admiral's players after 1594, and
presumably written for them when Shakespeare acted with the company
before 1592. Let us examine these things in order.

At first sight it is a plausible inference, in view of Shakespeare's
earlier, and later, connection with the Burbages, that he should
continue to be associated with Richard Burbage during these two years.
When the reason for the formation of Lord Strange's company is
remembered, however, it becomes clear that Richard Burbage would be a
member for the very reason that Shakespeare would not. The intention in
the formation of this company being to secure an organisation of the
best actors for the services of the Court, it is evident that Richard
Burbage--who even at this early date was one of the leading actors in
London--would be chosen. Shakespeare never at any time attained
distinction as an actor.

The presentation of _Henry VI., Part I._, by Lord Strange's players, as
a reason for Shakespeare's membership, infers that he was the author of
this play, or, at least, its reviser in 1592, and that the Talbot scenes
are his. This, consequently, implies that Nashe's commendatory
references to these scenes were complimentary to work of Shakespeare's
in 1592. It is evident that the play of _Henry VI._, acted by Lord
Strange's men in March 1592, and commended by Nashe, was much the same
play as _Henry VI., Part I._, included in all editions of Shakespeare.
Textual criticism has long since proved, however, that this was not a
new play in 1592--though marked "ne" by Henslowe--but merely a
revision. Three hands are distinctly traceable in it; the unknown
original author who wrote the opening lines:

     "Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
     Comets, importing change of times and states,
     Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
     And with them scourge the bad revolting stars
     That have consented unto Henry's death!"

Whoever wrote these lines, it is very palpable that Shakespeare did not.
The second hand in the play was the reviser of 1592 who introduced the
Talbot passages. There cannot be the slightest doubt that this was
George Peele, who in 1592, and for some time before and later, was the
principal producer and reviser of plays for the Lord Admiral's company.
The classical allusions in the Talbot scenes, and the manner in which
they are always lugged in by the ear, as though for adornment, plainly
proclaim the hand of Peele, and as plainly disassociate Shakespeare from
their composition. The third hand is clearly Shakespeare's. The "Temple
Garden" scene has been accepted by practically all critics as
unquestionably his work; it is not the work, either, of his "pupil pen."
His revision was evidently not made until 1594, when the Lord
Chamberlain's company brought the MS. with them as a portion of their
properties, upon their return to Burbage. The references to red and
white roses, as the badges of Lancaster and York, were evidently then
introduced by Shakespeare in order to link together, and give dramatic
continuity to, the whole historical series connected with the Wars of
the Roses, upon which he had already worked, or was then working for his
company. There is not a single classical allusion in the "Temple
Garden" scene, while there are twenty-seven classical allusions in the
whole play: eight of them being in the Talbot passages. In Shakespeare's
_Richard II._--which I shall give good evidence was written within about
a year of the time that _Henry VI._ was presented as a new play--there
are two classical allusions. In any authentic play by Marlowe, Greene,
or Peele of an equal length there will be found from forty to eighty
classical allusions, besides, as a rule, a number of Latin quotations.
In revising the first part of _Henry VI._ in, or after, 1594, it is
evident that Shakespeare eliminated many classical allusions, and that
in the early work which he did upon _The Contention_, and also in his
final revision of _The Contention_, into the second and third parts of
_Henry VI._, he eliminated classical allusions, reducing the average in
these plays to from thirty to thirty-five. In his own acknowledged
historical plays, _Richard II._, _King John_, _Richard III._, _Henry
IV._, and _Henry V._, _there is not an average of six classical

When the settled animus which Nashe, in conjunction with Greene, between
1589-92, displays against Shakespeare is better understood, the utter
improbability of his referring to Shakespeare's work in a laudatory
manner in the latter year shall readily be seen. When, also, the high
praise which Nashe bestows upon Peele in the same publications in which
he attacks Shakespeare is noted, it becomes evident that he again
intends to commend Peele in his complimentary allusion to the Talbot
scenes. Peele was the principal writer and reviser for Henslowe at this
period, while not one of Shakespeare's plays is mentioned in his whole

While I believe that the reference to Shakespeare's name in _Edward
I._--which was first noticed by Mr. Fleay--was actually intended by
Peele, the passage in which it occurs pertains to an early form of the
play, which was old when it was published in 1593. It was written by
Peele for the Lord Admiral's company before their conjunction with
Strange's men under Henslowe, and at the time when they acted with Lord
Hunsdon's company at the Theatre in Shoreditch in summer, and at the
Crosskeys in the winter. It is significant that this play was not acted
by Lord Strange's men during their tenure of the Rose Theatre, and that
in 1595, after they had separated from Henslowe, it was revised and
presented as a new play by the Lord Admiral's company. It is quite
likely that it was the property of Pembroke's company in 1592-93. The
allusion to Shakespeare in this play is probably the first evidence we
possess of the well-authenticated fact that as an actor he usually
appeared in kingly parts. It is recorded of him that he played the part
of the ghost in _Hamlet_, and his friend, John Davies, the poet, writes
in 1603:

     "Some say, good Will, which I in sport do sing,
     Hadst thou not played some kingly parts in sport,
     Thou hadst been a companion for a King."

The reference to his name by Peele in _Edward I._, in which play
Shakespeare evidently took the part of John Baliol, the Scottish King,
is as follows:

     "Shine with thy golden head,
     _Shake_ thy _speare_, in honour of his name,
     Under whose royalty thou wear'st the same."

Against the assumption that Shakespeare acted with Lord Strange's
company under Alleyn and Henslowe for two years, there is some positive,
and much inferential, evidence, the strongest of the latter being that
between the end of 1590 and the middle of 1594, at about which latter
date the Lord Chamberlain's company parted from Henslowe, Shakespeare
produced,--as I shall later demonstrate,--in addition to _Venus and
Adonis_, _Lucrece_, and nearly half of the whole body of his _Sonnets_,
at least seven new plays, not one of which was performed at the Rose by
Lord Strange's company. The remainder of the evidence against this
assumption shall develop in this history.

We may infer that Henslowe in entering into business relations with Lord
Strange's company would make quite as binding a contract with them as we
find him making a few years later with the Lord Admiral's men. In those
contracts he binds the players to play at the Rose and "at no other
house publicly about London"; further stipulating that should the London
theatres be closed by the authorities for any reason "then to go for the
time into the country, then to return again to London."

The fact that his manager, and son-in-law, Edward Alleyn, accompanied
Lord Strange's men upon their provincial tour in 1593, when, owing to
the plague, the London theatres were closed by order of the Council,
implies a similar understanding with this company.

The words "in any other house publicly about London" in Henslowe's
contracts with players apparently infer that they retained the right of
giving private and Court performances upon their own account and for
their own profit. The money they received for Court performances appears
to have belonged exclusively to the players, as the total amount
collected by them is at times turned over to Henslowe in part payment of
their corporate indebtedness to him, and credited to them in full. Had
Henslowe shared in these payments his portion would have been deducted
from the credits. It is evident that he was merely the financial backer
of, and not a sharer in, this company.

In the apparently comprehensive list of the members of Lord Strange's
company--as it existed early in 1592--which was owned by Edward Alleyn
and is now preserved at Dulwich College, while Pope and Bryan, who came
from Leicester's company, and Richard Burbage and others, no doubt, who
came from Lord Hunsdon's company are mentioned, Shakespeare's name does
not appear. There is no reason why he should not have been mentioned in
this list had he been a member of the company at that time. About three
years later, when Strange's men had separated from Henslowe and the
Admiral's men, and returned to Burbage, Shakespeare is mentioned, with
William Kempe and Richard Burbage, in the Court records as receiving
payment for Court performances, from which we may infer that he was
regarded as one of the leading members of, and was also a sharer in, the
company at this time.

Where, then, was Shakespeare during the period of Henslowe's management?
What company of players performed in the plays he produced between about
the end of 1590 and the middle of 1594, which are--_The Comedy of
Errors_, _Love's Labour's Lost_, _Love's Labour's Won_, _The Two
Gentlemen of Verona_, _King John_, _Richard II._, _Richard III._, and
_Midsummer Night's Dream_? Later on I shall advance conclusive evidence
to prove that all of these plays were written in this interval, though
most of them were materially revised in later years.

In order to answer these questions it will be advisable to revert to a
consideration of the drastic changes which took place between the end of
1588 and the beginning of 1592, in the comparative standing, as well as
in the personnel, of several of the most prominent companies of players.
I have shown that early in 1589 a union took place between the leading
members of Lord Strange's tumblers, the Lord Admiral's, the Lord
Chamberlain's, and the Earl of Leicester's men. If an average of only
three men were taken from each of these companies--forming a company of
twelve players, which was then regarded as a large company--it would
necessarily leave a considerable number of men free to make new
connections, as three of the companies involved in the changes disappear
from the records at that time. Thereafter we hear no more of Lord
Strange's tumblers, nor of Lord Leicester's, nor Lord Hunsdon's players.
It is not unlikely, then, that while some of the players discarded from
the three companies that had gone out of existence would drift into
different existing companies, that some of them would unite to form a
new company. The disruption of the Queen's company in 1590-91 would also
leave some men at large. As most of these men had been previously
connected with well-known companies, which performed principally in
London, it is likely that they would endeavour to continue as London
performers instead of forming a provincial company.

That such a company for London performances was actually formed some
time in 1591 is evident in the appearance of a company--hitherto unheard
of for sixteen years--under the patronage of the Earl of Pembroke.
Between the years 1576 and 1592 there is no mention of a company acting
under this nobleman's licence in either the provincial or Court records,
nor is there any mention of, or reference to, such a company in any
London records.

All we know about this new company is that record of it appeared for
the first time in December 1592, when it played twice before the Court;
that it returned to London in the early autumn of 1593 after a
disastrous tour in the provinces, being compelled to pawn a portion of
its properties to pay expenses; that Marlowe wrote _Edward II._ for it
in about 1593; that _The True Tragedy of the Duke of York_ was one of
its properties, and that Shakespeare was connected with either the
revision or the theatrical presentation of this play at the period that
it belonged to Pembroke's company, _i.e._ in 1592, as he is attacked by
Greene on that score at this time.

Owing to the prevalence of the plague in London in 1593, and early in
1594, the public performance of plays was prohibited. The Earl of
Pembroke's company, which had failed to make its expenses travelling,
and which was not allowed to play in London on account of the plague,
evidently disrupted in the spring or summer of 1594; and as some of its
members joined Henslowe at this time and some of the properties came to
the Burbage organisation, we may infer that they were brought as
properties by men who came from Pembroke's company to Burbage.

Edward Alleyn, who toured the provinces in the summer of 1593 with Lord
Strange's company, and for the same reason that Pembroke's toured at
this time, _i.e._ owing to the plague in London, wrote to Henslowe in
September 1593, from the country, inquiring as to the whereabouts of
Pembroke's company, and was told by Henslowe that they had returned to
London five or six weeks before, as they could not make their charges
travelling. He further informed him that he had heard that they were
compelled to pawn their apparel. The fact that the fortunes of
Pembroke's company should be a matter of interest to Alleyn and Henslowe
appears to imply that it was a new theatrical venture of some
importance, and that it probably had in its membership some of the
Admiral's, Strange's, or Queen's company's old players. That a new
company should play twice before the Court, in what was evidently the
first or second year of its existence, speaks well for the influence of
its management and for the quality of its plays and performances. After
this mention of Pembroke's company in Henslowe's letter to Alleyn in
September 1593, we hear nothing further concerning it as an independent
company until 1597. At that time Gabriel Spencer and Humphrey Jeffes,
who were evidently Pembroke's men in 1592-93, became members of, and
sharers in, the Lord Admiral's company, with which they had evidently
worked--though under Pembroke's licence--between 1594 and 1597.

It is now agreed by critics that the Admiral's and Chamberlain's men,
who had been united under Alleyn for the past two years, divided their
forces and fortunes in June 1594, or earlier. It is evident that some of
Pembroke's company's plays were absorbed by the Lord Chamberlain's
company, and that a few of the Pembroke men joined the Lord Admiral's
company at this time. As evidence of the absorption of the plays of
Pembroke's men by Lord Strange's players is the fact that between 3rd
and 13th June 1594, when Strange's players acted under Henslowe for the
last time, three of the seven plays they then presented,--_Hamlet_,
_Andronicus_, and _The Taming of a Shrew_,--while all old plays, were
new to the repertory of Strange's company presented upon Henslowe's
stages, and furthermore, that all three of these plays were
rewritten--or alleged to have been rewritten--by Shakespeare. At about
the same time that Pembroke's company ceased to exist the Earl of
Sussex's company, which had recently played for Henslowe, was also
disrupted. It is evident that some of these men joined the Lord
Admiral's and the Lord Chamberlain's companies also, and that in this
manner the Lord Chamberlain's company secured _Andronicus_, which had
lately been played by the Earl of Sussex's men as well as by Pembroke's

Humphrey Jeffes and Gabriel Spencer, whose names are mentioned in _The
True Tragedy of the Duke of York_, which was played by Pembroke's
company in 1592-93, and who, we may therefore infer, were members of
Pembroke's company in those years, or else were members of the company
that previously owned this play, are mentioned as playing with the Lord
Admiral's company as Pembroke's men in 1597. The name of John Sinkler,
who is mentioned as one of Lord Strange's men in Edward Alleyn's list,
which evidently represents the company as it appeared in the first
performance of _Four Plays in One_ at the Rose Theatre upon 6th March
1592, also appears with that of Gabriel Spencer and Humphrey Jeffes in
_The True Tragedy of the Duke of York_. From this we may infer either
that Sinkler left Strange's company and joined Pembroke's men after this
date, or else that he, Spencer, and Jeffes, before 1592, were members of
the company that originally owned the play. It is very evident that the
originals of the three parts of _Henry VI._ were old plays composed at
about the time of the Spanish Armada, and, it is generally agreed, for
the Queen's company. As _The True Tragedy of the Duke of York_--in
common with _Hamlet_ and _The Taming of a Shrew_--was also later revised
or rewritten by Shakespeare, into the play now known as _Henry VI., Part
III._, it evidently came from Pembroke's company to Lord Strange's
company, along with _Hamlet_ and _The Taming of a Shrew_ in 1594. Later
on I shall adduce evidence showing that _The Taming of a Shrew_ and
_Hamlet_ were owned and acted by a company, or companies, associated
with the Burbage interests previous to the amalgamation of 1589, and
that _The True Tragedy of the Duke of York_, which was an old play in
1592, probably originally written by Greene, was revised in that year by
Marlowe and Shakespeare for Pembroke's company, and that its final
change into the play now known as _Henry VI., Part III._, was made by
Shakespeare in, or after, 1594, when he rejoined the Lord Chamberlain's

Within a year of the time that Marlowe, with Shakespeare, revised _The
True Tragedy of the Duke of York_ for Pembroke's men in 1592, Marlowe
also wrote _Edward II._ for this company, Shakespeare producing _Richard
II._ for the company at the same time. The friendly co-operation between
Shakespeare and Marlowe, which I shall show commenced in 1588-89, and
which aroused Greene's jealousy at that time, was evidently continued
until the death of Marlowe in June 1593. It is in the historical plays
composed or revised between 1591-93 by Shakespeare that Marlowe's
influence is most apparent, as also is Shakespeare's influence upon
Marlowe in his one play which we know was produced at the same period.
_Edward II._ is much more Shakespearean in character than any other of
Marlowe's plays. It is evident that their close association at this time
reacted favourably upon the work of each of them.

The deductions I draw from these and other facts and inferences still to
be developed, is, that shortly after the Lord Admiral's and Lord
Strange's men passed under Alleyn's and Henslowe's management, some time
between Christmas 1590 and Christmas 1591, Shakespeare formed Lord
Pembroke's company, becoming its leader and also its principal producer
of plays, and that it was through his influence and the reputation that
certain of his early plays had already attained in Court circles that
this new company was enabled to appear twice before the Court in the
Christmas season of 1592. To demonstrate this hypothesis it will be
necessary to revert to a consideration of Shakespeare's status in
theatrical affairs between 1588-89 and 1594.


[Footnote 19: E.K. Chambers in _Modern Language Review_, Oct. 1906.]




In considering the conditions of Shakespeare's life at the beginning of
his career in London, and his application to the College of Heralds for
a grant of arms in 1596, it must be borne in mind that social
distinctions and class gradations at that time still retained much of
their feudal significance. At that period an actor, unless protected by
the licence of a nobleman or gentleman, was virtually a vagrant before
the law, while felonies committed by scholars were still clergyable.
When Ben Jonson was indicted for killing Gabriel Spencer in 1598, he
pleaded and received benefit of clergy, his only legal punishment
consisting in having the inside of his thumb branded with the Tyburn
"T," and it is unlikely that even this was inflicted.

While a university degree thus enhanced both the social and legal status
of sons of yeomen and tradesmen, the sons of equally reputable people
who became actors were correspondingly debased both socially and

Though the established status which the actors' profession attained
during Shakespeare's connection with the stage--and largely through his
elevating influence--made these legal disabilities of an actor a dead
letter, it still continued to militate against the social standing of
its members. John Davies leaves record that at the accession of James
I. it was gossiped that Shakespeare, had he not formerly been an actor,
instead of being appointed Groom of the Privy Chamber, might have
received the higher appointment of Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. This
idea owed its birth to Shakespeare's friendship with the Earl of
Southampton, whose influence in the early days of the new Court--when he
himself stood high in favour--secured the office for his other protégé,
John Florio, one of the gentlemen by the grace of a university degree
who joined issue with the "university pens" against Shakespeare, and who
in consequence--as I shall later demonstrate--shall be pilloried to
far-distant ages in the character of Sir John Falstaff. Though
Shakespeare had acquired a legal badge of gentility with his coat of
arms in 1599, the histrionic taint--according to Davies--proved a bar to
his official promotion.

     "Some say, good Will, which I in sport do sing,
     Hadst thou not played some kingly parts in sport,
     Thou hadst been a companion to a King
     And been a King among the meaner sort."

Arrogance towards social inferiors, as well as servility to superiors,
is always manifested most offensively in the manners of those who are
themselves conscious of equivocal social standing. I shall adduce
evidence to prove that from the time we first begin dimly to apprehend
Shakespeare in his London environment, in 1588-89, until his final
return to Stratford in about 1610, he was continuously and spitefully
attacked and vilified by a coterie of jealous scholars who, while lifted
above him socially by the arbitrary value attaching to a university
degree, were in no other sense his superiors either in birth or
breeding. It was evidently, then, the contemptuous attitude of his
jealous scholastic rivals, as well as the accruing material advantages
involved, that impelled Shakespeare in 1596 to apply, through his
father, to the College of Heralds for official confirmation of a grant
of arms alleged to have been made to his forebears.

Shakespeare's earliest scholastic detractor was Robert Greene, who
evidently set much store by his acquired gentility, as he usually signed
his publications as "By Robert Greene, Master of Arts in Cambridge," and
who, withal, was a most licentious and unprincipled libertine, going,
through his ill-regulated course of life, dishonoured and unwept to a
pauper's grave at the age of thirty-two. After the death of Greene, when
his memory was assailed by Gabriel Harvey and others whom he had
offended, his friend Nashe, who attempted to defend him, finding it
difficult to do so, makes up for the lameness of his defence by the
bitterness of his attack on Harvey. Nashe, in fact, resents being
regarded as an intimate of Greene's, yet his, and Greene's, spiteful and
ill-bred reflections upon Shakespeare's social quality, education, and
personal appearance, between 1589 and 1592, were received
sympathetically by the remainder of the "gentlemen poets,"--as they
styled themselves in contradistinction to the stage poets,--and used
thereafter for years as a keynote to their own jealous abuse of him.

John Florio, in his _First Fruites_, published in 1591, and after he had
entered the service of the Earl of Southampton, though not yet assailing
Shakespeare personally, as did these other scholars, appears as a critic
of his historical dramatic work.

In 1593 George Peele, in his _Honour of the Garter_, re-echoes the slurs
against Shakespeare voiced by Greene in the previous year. In the same
year George Chapman, who thereafterwards proved to be Shakespeare's
arch-enemy among the "gentlemen scholars," caricatures him and his
affairs in a new play, which he revised, in conjunction with John
Marston, six years later, under the title of _Histriomastix, or The
Player Whipt_. Neither the authorship, date of production, nor satirical
intention of the early form of the play has previously been known.

In 1594 Chapman again attacks Shakespeare in _The Hymns to the Shadow of
Night_, as well as in the prose dedication written to his colleague,
Matthew Roydon. In the same year Roydon enters the lists against
Shakespeare by publishing a satirical and scandalous poem reflecting
upon, and distorting, his private affairs, entitled _Willobie his
Avisa_. From this time onward until the year 1609-10, Chapman, Roydon,
and John Florio--who in the meantime had joined issue with
them--continue to attack and vilify Shakespeare. Every reissue, or
attempted reissue, of _Willobie his Avisa_ was intended as an attack
upon Shakespeare. Such reissues were made or attempted in 1596-1599-1605
and 1609, though some of them were prevented by the action of the public
censor who, we have record, condemned the issue of 1596 and prevented
the issue of 1599. As no copies of the 1605 or 1609 issues are now
extant, it is probable that they also were estopped by the authorities.
In 1598-99 these partisans (Chapman, Roydon, and Florio) are joined by
John Marston, and a year later, also by Ben Jonson, when, for three or
four years, Chapman, Jonson, and Marston collaborate in scurrilous plays
against Shakespeare and friends who had now rallied to his side. In
about 1598 Thomas Dekker and Henry Chettle joined sides with Shakespeare
and answered his opponents' attacks by satirising them in plays. John
Florio, while not participating in the dramatic warfare, attacks
Shakespeare viciously in the dedication to his _Worlde of Wordes_, in
1598, and comes in for his share of the satirical chastisement which
Shakespeare, Dekker, and Chettle administer to them in acted, as well as
in published, plays.

As Ben Jonson's dramatic reputation became assured the heat of his
rivalry against Shakespeare died down; his vision cleared and broadened
and he, more plainly than any writer of his time, or possibly since his
time, realised Shakespeare in his true proportions. Jonson, in time,
tires of Chapman's everlasting envy and misanthropy, and quarrels with
him and in turn becomes the object of Chapman's invectives. After
Shakespeare's death Jonson made amends for his past ill-usage by
defending his memory against Chapman, who, even then, continued to
belittle his reputation.

While various critics have from time to time apprehended a critical
attitude upon the part of certain contemporary writers towards
Shakespeare, they have usually regarded such indications as they may
have noticed, merely as passing and temporary ebullitions, but no
conception of the bitterness and continuity of the hostility which
actually existed has previously been realised. Much of the evidence of
the early antagonism of Greene and Nashe to Shakespeare has been
entirely misunderstood, while their reflections against other dramatists
and actors are supposed to have been directed against him. Past critics
have been utterly oblivious of the fact that Florio, Roydon, and Chapman
and others colluded for many years in active hostility to Shakespeare.

In publications issued between 1585 and 1592 Robert Greene vents his
displeasure against various dramatic writers whose plays had proved
more popular than his, as well as against the companies of actors, their
managers, and the theatre that favoured his rivals. The writers and
actor-managers whom he attacks have been variously identified by past
writers. Mr. Richard Simpson, one of the most acute, ingenious, and
painstaking pioneers in Shakespearean research, whose _School of
Shakespeare_ was issued after his death in 1878, supposed that all of
Greene's attacks in these years, including those in which his friend,
Thomas Nashe, collaborated with him, were directed against Shakespeare
and Marlowe. Since Mr. Simpson wrote, however, now over forty years ago,
some new light has been thrown upon the theatrical companies, and their
connection with the writers of the period with which he dealt, which
negatives many of his conclusions. While it is evident that Greene was
jealous of, and casts reflections upon, Marlowe, to whom he refers as
"Merlin" and "the athiest Tamburlaine," Mr. Fleay has since proved that
several of Greene's veiled reflections were directed against others. Mr.
Fleay's suggestion that Robert Wilson was the Roscius so frequently
referred to by Greene and Nashe is, however, based upon incorrect
inference, though he proves by several characteristic parallels, which
he adduces between lines in _The Three Ladies of London_, _The Three
Lords and Three Ladies_, and _Fair Em_,--the last of which is
satirically alluded to by Greene in his _Farewell to Folly_, in
1591,--that they were all three either written, or revised, by the same
hand. While his ascription of the composition of the first two of these
plays to Wilson is probably also correct, his assumption that Wilson was
a writer and an actor for Lord Strange's company in 1591 was due to lack
of collected and compiled records concerning the Elizabethan companies
of players at the time he wrote, which have since been made

There is nothing whatever known of Robert Wilson after 1583, when he is
mentioned, along with Tarleton, as being selected by Tilney, the Master
of the Revels, for the Queen's company. In an appended note I analyse
the literary evidence upon which Mr. Fleay associates Robert Wilson with
Strange's company in 1589-91.[21]

Robert Wilson must have been passé as an actor in 1589, if indeed he was
then living, while Strange's company was composed of younger and rising
men, all recently selected for their histrionic abilities from several
companies, amongst which, it appears evident, the Queen's company was
not then included, though it is likely that in 1591 some Queen's men
joined Strange's company. That Robert Wilson was not the Roscius
referred to by Greene and Nashe in 1589 and 1590 a further examination
of the evidence will fully verify.

The person indicated as Roscius by Nashe in his Address to Greene's
_Menaphon_ in 1589, and in Greene's _Never Too Late_ in 1590, was the
leading actor of a new company that was then gaining great reputation,
which, however, was largely due--according to Nashe--to the pre-eminent
excellence of this Roscius' acting. The pride and conceit of this actor
had risen to such a pitch, Nashe informs us in his _Anatomy of
Absurdity_ (1589), that he had the "temerity to encounter with those on
whose shoulders all arts do lean." This last is a plain reference to
George Peele, whom he had recently described in his _Menaphon_ "Address"
as "The Atlas of Poetry." In the following year Greene refers to the
same encounter in the first part of his _Never Too Late_. Pretending to
describe theatrical conditions in Rome, he again attacks the London
players and brings in Roscius--_who without doubt was Edward Alleyn_--as
contending with Tully, who is Peele. "Among whom," he writes, "in the
days of Tully, one Roscius grew to be of such exquisite perfection in
his faculty that _he offered to contend with the orators of that time in
gesture as they did in eloquence, boasting that he would express a
passion in as many sundry actions as Tully could discourse it in a
variety of phrases_. Yet so proud he grew by the daily applause of the
people that he looked for honour or reverence to be done him in the
streets, which conceit when Tully entered into with a piercing insight,
he quipped it in this manner:

"It chanced that Roscius and he met at dinner both guests unto Archias,
the poet, when the proud comedian dared to make comparison with Tully.
Why Roscius art thou proud with Æsop's crow, being prankt with the glory
of others' feathers? Of thyself thou canst say nothing and if the
cobbler hath taught thee to say _Ave Cæsar_ disdain not thy tutor
because thou pratest in a King's chamber. What sentence thou utterest on
the stage flows from the censure of our wits, and what sentence or
conceit the people applaud for excellence, that comes from the secrets
of our knowledge. I grant your acting, though it be a kind of mechanical
labour, yet well done, 'tis worthy of praise, but you worthless if for
so small a toy you wax proud."

Here again Tully is Peele, and Greene is merely describing more fully
the alleged encounter between Alleyn and Peele, mentioned by Nashe the
year before in _The Anatomy of Absurdity_.

Though it has never been noticed before, in this connection, we possess
in Edward Alleyn's own papers preserved at Dulwich College a remarkable
confirmation of this emulation, which, however, Greene and Nashe distort
to the prejudice of Alleyn, who, as shall be shown, was innocent in the
affair. The whole thing arose from admirers of Alleyn's among the
theatre-frequenting gentry offering wagers to friends who championed
Peele in order to provide after-dinner entertainment for themselves, by
putting the poet and the player on their mettle in "expressing a
passion"--the one in action and the other in phrases. Alleyn refused the
contest "for fear of hurting Peele's credit," but gossip of the proposed
wager got abroad and was distorted by the scholars, who affected to be
insulted by the idea of one of their ilk contending with a player.
Failing to bring about this match, Alleyn's backers, not to be beaten,
and in order, willy-nilly, to make a wager on their champion, evidently
tried to get Alleyn to display his powers before friends who professed
to admire Bentley and Knell[22]--actors of a slightly earlier date, who
were now either retired from the stage or dead. The following letter and
poem were evidently written in 1589, as Nashe's reference to the
"encounter," which is the first notice of it, was published in this

   "Your answer the other nighte, so well pleased the Gentlemen, as I
   was satisfied therewith, though to the hazarde of ye wager; and yet
   my meaninge was not to prejudice Peele's credit; neither wolde it,
   though it pleased you so to excuse it, but beinge now growen farther
   into question, the partie affected to Bentley (scornynge to wynne the
   wager by your deniall), hath now given you libertie to make choice of
   any one playe, that either Bentley or Knell plaide, and least this
   advantage, agree not with your minde, he is contented, both the
   plaie, and the time, shall be referred to the gentlemen here present.
   I see not, how you canne any waie hurte your credit by this action;
   for if you excell them, you will then be famous, if equall them; you
   wynne both the wager and credit, if short of them; we must and will
   saie Ned Allen still.--Your frend to his power,


     Deny me not sweete Nedd, the wager's downe,
       and twice as muche, commande of me and myne:
     And if you wynne I sweare the half is thyne;
       and for an overplus, an English Crowne.
         Appoint the tyme, and stint it as you pleas,
         Your labor's gaine; and that will prove it ease."

(addressed) "To Edward Allen."

This letter to Edward Alleyn from his friend "W.P." is finely written in
an English, and the verses in an Italian, hand. The words, "Ned Allen,"
"sweete Nedd," and "English Crowne" are in gilt letters.[23] The
occasion and its instigation must have been of interest to Alleyn for
him to have preserved the letter for so many years; his reason for doing
so evidently being to enable him to refute Greene's published and widely
circulated misconstruction of it. It is evident that both the letter and
poem were written while Alleyn was still young, when he already had
ardent admirers, and his reputation was growing but not generally
admitted, and at about the time that Peele had commenced to write for
his company. Alleyn was twenty-four years old in 1589, and already
regarded by many as the best actor in London. George Peele, who had
written for the Queen's company in the past, at about, or shortly after,
this date, began to write for Strange's company. His _Edward I._, which
was published in 1593, was undoubtedly written between 1589-91, when
Shakespeare was still connected with Strange's men.

The "cobbler" who taught Roscius to say "Ave Cæsar" was Christopher
Marlowe, whose father was a shoemaker. Marlowe was the principal writer
for Burbage at this period, and continued so until his death in 1593.
"Ave Cæsar" and "a King's chamber" are references to the play of _Edward
III._, which I shall demonstrate later was written by Marlowe, though
revised by Shakespeare after Marlowe's death. It is the only known play
of this period in which the expression "Ave Cæsar" occurs.

In many of Greene's romances the central figure has been recognised as a
more or less fanciful autobiographical sketch. In his last work, _A
Groatsworth of Wit_, in the introduction to which he makes his
well-known attack upon Shakespeare, the adventures of Roberto, the
protagonist of the story, tally approximately with known circumstances
of Greene's life. In the opening of the story, Roberto's marriage, his
desertion of his wife, his attachment to another woman who deserts him
when he falls into poverty, all coincide with the facts in his own
career. From this we may infer that what follows has also a substratum
of truth regarding a temporary connection of Greene with Alleyn's
company as playwright, though it is evident that he describes Alleyn's
theatrical conditions as they were between 1589 and 1592 and after
Alleyn had acquired the theatrical properties of the old Admiral's
company from Richard Jones, Robert Browne, and his brother, John Alleyn,
in 1589. Greene's account of Roscius' own attempts at dramatic
composition need not be taken very seriously, though it is not at all
improbable that Alleyn, who was very ambitious, at some time tentatively
essayed dramatic composition or revision. It was certainly a very
inexperienced playwright, yet one who had some idea of the style of
phrase that caught the ear of the masses, who interpolated the tame and
prosy lines of the old _Taming of a Shrew_ so freely with selections
from Marlowe's most inflated grandiloquence, and one, also, who had
access to Marlowe's manuscripts. The plays from which these selections
were taken were all Burbage properties in 1588-89, as was also _The
Taming of a Shrew_. It was this kind of dramatic stage-carpenter work
that left an opening for Nashe's strictures in 1589 in his _Menaphon_
"Address." Several of the later covert references to Alleyn as Roscius,
by Greene and Nashe, indicate that he had tried his hand upon the
composition and revision of dramatic work, in which he had the
assistance of a "theological poet." While they undoubtedly refer to
Shakespeare as one of the "idiot art-masters" they use the plural and
include others in authority in Burbage's company.

Greene, representing himself as Roberto after his mistress had deserted
him, describes himself as sitting under a hedge as an outcast and
bemoaning his fate.

   "On the other side of the hedge sat one that heard his sorrow, who,
   getting over, came ... and saluted Roberto.... 'If you vouchsafe such
   simple comfort as my ability will yield, assure yourself that I will
   endeavour to do the best that ... may procure your profit ... the
   rather, for that I suppose you are a scholar; and pity it is men of
   learning should live in lack.' Roberto ... uttered his present grief,
   beseeching his advice how he might be employed. 'Why, easily,' quoth
   he, 'and greatly to your benefit; for men of my profession get by
   scholars their whole living.' 'What is your profession?' said
   Roberto. 'Truly, sir,' said he, 'I am a player.' 'A player!' quoth
   Roberto; 'I took you rather for a gentleman of great living; for if
   by outward habit men should be censured, I tell you you would be
   taken for a substantial man.' 'So am I, where I dwell,' quoth the
   player, 'reputed able at my proper cost to build a windmill. What
   though the world once went hard with me, when I was fain to carry my
   fardel a foot-back? _Tempora mutantur_--I know you know the meaning
   of it better than I, but I thus construe it--_It is otherwise now_;
   for my very share in playing apparel will not be sold for two hundred
   pounds.' 'Truly,' said Roberto, 'it is strange that you should so
   prosper in that vain practice, for that it seems to me your voice is
   nothing gracious.' 'Nay, then,' said the player, 'I mislike your
   judgement; why, I am as famous for _Delphrygus_ and _The King of
   Fairies_ as ever was any of my time; _The Twelve Labours of Hercules_
   have I thundered on the stage, and played three scenes of the Devil
   in _The Highway to Heaven_.' 'Have ye so?' said Roberto; 'then I pray
   you pardon me.' 'Nay, more,' quoth the player, 'I can serve to make a
   pretty speech, for I was a country author, passing at a moral; for it
   was I that penned _The Moral of Man's Wit_, _The Dialogue of Dives_,
   and for seven years' space was absolute interpreter of the puppets.
   But now my almanac is out of date:

     '"The people make no estimation
     Of morals, teaching education----"

   Was this not pretty for a rhyme extempore? If ye will ye shall have
   more.' 'Nay, it is enough,' said Roberto; 'but how mean ye to use
   me?' 'Why, sir, in making plays,' said the other, 'for which you
   shall be well paid, if you will take the pains.' Roberto, perceiving
   no remedy, thought it best to respect his present necessity, (and,)
   to try his wit, went with him willingly; who lodged him at the town's
   end in a house of retail ... there by conversing with bad company, he
   grew _a malo in pegus_, falling from one vice to another.... But
   Roberto, now famoused for an arch-playmaking poet, his purse, like
   the sea, sometime swelled, anon, like the same sea, fell to a low
   ebb; yet seldom he wanted, his labours were so well esteemed. Marry
   this rule he kept, whatever he fingered beforehand, was the certain
   means to unbind a bargain; and being asked why he so slightly dealt
   with them that did him good, 'It becomes me,' saith he, 'to be
   contrary to the world. For commonly when vulgar men receive earnest,
   they do perform. When I am paid anything aforehand, I break my

The player described here is the same person indicated by Nashe three
years before in his _Menaphon_ "Address." Both are represented as being
famous for their performance of _Delphrygus_ and _The King of the
Fairies_, but the events narrated connecting Greene with Alleyn, and the
opulent condition of the latter, refer to a more recent stage of
Greene's and Alleyn's affairs than Nashe's reference. Both Nashe's and
Greene's descriptions point to a company of players that between 1589-91
had won a leading place in London theatrical affairs; that performed at
the Theatre; that played _Hamlet_, _The Taming of a Shrew_, _Edward
III._, and _Fair Em_: the leader of which personally owned theatrical
properties valued at two hundred pounds, and who was regarded by them as
an actor of unusual ability. Seven years before 1592 this company
performed mostly in the provinces, carrying their "fardels on their
backs." It is very apparent then that it is Alleyn's old and new
companies, the Worcester-Admiral-Strange development, to which the
allusions refer.

While the "idiot art-masters" indicated by Nashe and Greene as those who
chose, purchased, and reconstructed the plays used by Strange's company,
included others beside Shakespeare in their satirical intention, this
phase of their attacks upon the Theatre and its leading figures became
centred upon Shakespeare as his importance in the conduct of its
business increased, and his dramatic ability developed.

It is now generally agreed by critics that Shakespeare cannot have left
Stratford for London before 1585, and probably not before 1586-87, and
the likelihood has been shown that he then entered the service of James
Burbage as a hired servant, or servitor, for a term of years. When
Henslowe, in 1598, bound Richard Alleyn as a hired servant, he did so
for a period of two years, which, we may judge, was then the customary
term of such service. Assuming that Shakespeare bound himself to Burbage
in 1586-87, his term of service would have expired in 1588-89. Though we
possess no evidence that Shakespeare had produced any original plays at
this time, the strictures of Nashe and Greene make it apparent that he
had by then attained to the position of what might be called dramatic
critic for the Burbage interests. In this capacity he helped to choose
the plays purchased by his employers for the use of the companies in
which they were interested.

Greene had come at odds with theatrical managers several years before
Shakespeare could have attained to the position of reader for the
Burbages. Even some of Greene's earlier reflections, however, seem to be
directed against the management of the Shoreditch Theatre. In attacking
theatrical managers he writes in, what he calls, "mystical speeches,"
and transfigures the persons he attacks under fictitious characters and
names. In his _Planetomachia_, published in 1585, he caricatures one
actor-manager under the name of Valdracko, who is an actor in _Venus'
Tragedy_, one of the tales of the book. Valdracko is described as an old
and experienced actor, "stricken in age, melancholick, ruling after the
crabbed forwardness of his doting will, impartial, for he loved none but
himself, politic because experienced, familiar with none except for his
profit, skillful in dissembling, trusting no one, silent, covetous,
counting all things honest that were profitable." This characterisation
cannot possibly have referred to Shakespeare in the year 1585. When it
is noticed, however, that nearly all of Greene's later attacks are
directed against the Theatre and its fellows, it is probable that the
stubborn, wilful, and aged James Burbage is also here scurrilously
indicated. In writing of London and the actors in his "dark speeches,"
Greene refers to London as Rome and to the Shoreditch Theatre as the
"theatre in Rome." In his _Penelope's Web_ he writes: "They which smiled
at the theatre in Rome might as soon scoff at the rudeness of the scene
as give a plaudite at the perfection of the acting." While it is
Burbage's Theatre that is here referred to, it is evident that his
quarrel was not now with the actors--whom both he and Nashe praise in
their quality--but with the plays, their authors, and the theatrical
managers who patronised them.

It is evident that Shakespeare had something to do with the acceptance
by the Burbages of plays by Marlowe and Kyd, and that Greene believed
his own lack of patronage by the companies playing at the Theatre was
due to Shakespeare's adverse influence. Knowing Shakespeare to be _the
son of a Stratford butcher, educated at a grammar school and recently a
bonded servitor to Burbage_, this "Master of Arts in Cambridge"
questions the literary and dramatic judgment of the grammar school
youth, and late serving-man, and employs his fellow university scholar,
Thomas Nashe, to ridicule him and his critical pretensions.

Nashe returned to England in 1589, after a two years' absence upon the
Continent, and cannot have acquired at first hand the knowledge he shows
of dramatic affairs in London during the preceding year. It is evident
that this knowledge was gained from Greene for that purpose. Mr. Fleay
has demonstrated that Nashe, in his preface to Greene's _Menaphon_,
alludes satirically to Thomas Kyd as the author of _The Taming of a
Shrew_, and of the old _Hamlet_. Both of these plays were owned by Lord
Strange's (now the Lord Chamberlain's) company in 1594, when, as I have
suggested, they had recently taken them over from Pembroke's company,
which was undoubtedly a Burbage company--using some of the Burbage
properties and plays while under Shakespeare's management in 1591-94.
Being Burbage properties, these plays were acted by Lord Strange's
company between 1589 and 1591. Besides satirically indicating these
plays and their author, Nashe goes on to criticise the "idiot
art-masters" who make choice of such plays for the actors. "This
affectation of actors and audience," writes Nashe--meaning this suiting
of plays to the crude taste of the actors and the cruder taste of the
public--"is all traceable to their idiot art-masters that intrude
themselves as the alchemists of eloquence, who (mounted on the stage of
arrogance) think to outbrave better pens with the swelling bombast of
bragging blank verse, indeed it may be the ingrafted overflow of some
killcow conceit, etc. Among this kind of men that repose eternity in the
mouth of a player I can but engross some _deep read school men or
grammarians, who have no more learning in their skull than will serve to
take up a commodity, nor art in their brains than was nourished in a
serving man's idleness_, will take upon them to be ironical censurers of
all when God and poetry doth know they are the simplest of all."

This attack of Nashe's upon Shakespeare was recognised by all of the
scholastic clique, and certain of its phrases are re-echoed in later
attacks upon him by other scholars for several years afterwards; in
fact, Nashe's diatribe proved to be a cue for Shakespeare's future
detractors. In the expression "killcow," Nashe alludes to Shakespeare's
father's trade. A few years later--1594--Chapman refers to Shakespeare
as "judgements butcher," and later still, in 1598, Florio in his
dedication of the _Worlde of Wordes_, and, in 1600, Ben Jonson in _Every
Man out of his Humour_, also refer satirically to the supposed fact that
Shakespeare's father was a butcher. In 1593 Chapman, in attacking
Shakespeare in the early _Histriomastix_, re-echoes the term "idiot
art-master." The phrase "ingrafted overflow of a killcow conceit" refers
to Shakespeare's additions to, or revisions of, plays owned by his
company that were originally written by such scholars as Greene. "Deep
read school men or grammarians" is a reference to Shakespeare's grammar
school education. "No more learning than will serve to take up a
commodity" refers to Shakespeare's business management of Burbage's
affairs, and "a serving man's idleness" to his recently ended term of
service with Burbage in that capacity.

It shall be shown that in later years when Chapman, Roydon, Florio,
Marston, and Jonson attacked Shakespeare in published or acted plays
that he invariably answers them in kind. We have only inferential
evidence that he answered Greene's and Nashe's reflections at this time
by writing a ballad against them. Ralph Sidley, in verses prefixed to
Greene's _Never Too Late_, published in the following year (1590),
defends Greene from the attack of a ballad or jig maker, whom he calls a

     "The more it works, the quicker is the wit;
     The more it writes, the better to be 'steemed.
     By labour ought men's wills and wits be deem'd,
     Though dreaming dunces do inveigh against it.
     But write thou on, though Momus sit and frown;
     A Carter's jig is fittest for a clown.
             _Bonum quo communius eo melius._"

At the end of Greene's _Never Too Late_ in the host's tale a ballad
maker and player is attacked under the name of Mullidor; he is described
as follows: "He is said to be a fellow that was of honest parents, but
very poor: and his person was as if he had been cast in Æsop's mould;
his back like a lute, and his face like Thersites', his eyes broad and
tawny, his hair harsh and curled like a horse-mane, his lips were of the
largest size in folio.... The only good part that he had to grace his
visage was his nose, and that was conqueror-like, as beaked as an
eagle.... Into his great head (Nature) put little wit, that he knew
rather his sheep by the number, for he was never no good arithmetician,
and yet he was a proper scholar, and well seen in ditties."

When we discount the caricature and spiteful animus of this description
it closely matches the presentments of Shakespeare given by the most
authoritative portraits which have come down to us. His parents, as we
know, were undoubtedly poor, otherwise he would not have been in London
as a servitor to Burbage. His eyes are invariably shown as hazel in
colour and widely set apart; his hair heavy, curled, and falling to his
shoulders; his lips very full, his nose large and "beaked," and his
brow, or "great head," of unusual height and breadth. It is apparent,
then, that this is a spiteful and distorted, but recognisable,
description of Shakespeare, who, I infer from many indications in his
opponents' plays, wore his hair in a peculiar manner, was not very tall,
and was also somewhat thin-legged. The Chandos portrait which shows his
shoulders, suggests that they were slightly sloping and somewhat round
rather than square. On the whole, a physical type not calculated to
inspire fear in a bully. Greene, on the other hand, is described by
Chettle as a handsome-faced and well-proportioned man, and we may judge
of a rather swash-buckling deportment.

Robert Greene died in September 1592. Shortly afterwards Henry Chettle
published Greene's _Groatsworth of Wit_, which was his last literary
effort, and appended a farewell letter of Greene's addressed "To those
gentlemen, his quandam acquaintances, that spend their time in making
plays, R.G. wisheth a better exercise and wisdom to prevent his
extremities." In this epistle, addressing Marlowe, Nashe, and Peele, as
well as two others at whose identity we can only guess, he says:

   "If wofull experience may move you, gentlemen, to beware, or
   unheard-of wretchedness intreat you to take heed, I doubt not but you
   will look backe with sorrow on your time past, and endevour with
   repentance to spend that which is to come. Wonder not (for with thee
   will I first beginne), thou famous gracer of tragedians, that Greene,
   who hath said with thee, like the foole in his heart, 'There is no
   God,' should now give glorie unto his greatnesse; for penetrating is
   his power, his hand lyes heavy upon me, he hath spoken unto me with a
   voyce of thunder, and I have felt he is a God that can punish
   enemies. Why should thy excellent wit, his gift, be so blinded that
   thou shouldest give no glory to the giver? Is it pestilent
   Machivilian policie that thou hast studied? O peevish follie! what
   are his rules but meere confused mockeries, able to extirpate in
   small time the generation of mankinde? for if _sic volo, sic iubeo_,
   holde in those that are able to command, and if it be lawfull _fas et
   nefas_, to doo any thing that is beneficiall, onely tyrants should
   possesse the earth, and they, striving to exceed in tiranny, should
   each to other be a slaughterman, till, the mightyest outliving all,
   one stroke were left for Death, that in one age mans life should
   end.... With thee I joyne young Juvenall, that byting satyrist, that
   lastly with mee together writ a comedie. Sweet boy, might I advise
   thee, be advised, and get not many enemies by bitter words; inveigh
   against vaine men, for thou canst doo it, no man better, no man so
   well; thou hast a libertie to reproove all and name none; for one
   being spoken to, all are offended--none being blamed, no man is
   injured. Stop shallow water still running, it will rage; tread on a
   worme, and it will turne; then blame not schollers who are vexed with
   sharpe and bitter lines, if they reproove thy too much liberty of

   "And thou no lesse deserving then the other two, in some things
   rarer, in nothing inferiour, driven, as myselfe, to extreame shifts,
   a little have I to say to thee; and, were it not an idolatrous oath,
   I would sweare by sweet S. George, thou art unworthy better hap, sith
   thou dependest on so mean a stay. Base-minded men all three of you,
   if by my misery yee bee not warned; for unto none of you, like me,
   sought those burs to cleave; those puppits, I meane, that speake from
   our mouths, those anticks garnisht in our colours. Is it not strange
   that I to whom they have been beholding, is it not like that you to
   whom they all have been beholding, shall, were yee in that case that
   I am now, be both of them at once forsaken? Yes, trust them not; for
   there is an upstart crow beautified with our feathers, that, with his
   _Tygres heart wrapt in a players hyde_, supposes hee is as well able
   to bombast out a blanke-verse as the best of you; and, beeing an
   absolute Johannes-fac-totum, is in his owne conceit the onely
   Shake-scene in a countrey. Oh, that I might intreat your rare wittes
   to bee imployed in more profitable courses, and let these apes
   imitate your past excellence, and never more acquaynte them with your
   admyred inventions! I knowe the best husband of you all will never
   proove an usurer, and the kindest of them all will never proove a
   kinde nurse; yet, whilst you may, seeke you better maisters; for it
   is pitty men of such rare wits should bee subject to the pleasures of
   such rude groomes.

   "In this I might insert two more[24] that both have writte against
   these buckram gentlemen; but let their owne worke serve to witnesse
   against their owne wickednesse, if they persever to maintaine any
   more such peasants. For other new comers, I leave them to the mercie
   of those painted monsters, who, I doubt not, will drive the
   best-minded to despise them; for the rest, it skills not though they
   make a jeast at them...."

It is now accepted by critics that these allusions of Greene's were
directed against Shakespeare, and that the line "Tygres heart wrapt in a
players hyde" refers to Shakespeare's revision of _The True Tragedy of
Richard, Duke of York_, a play in the original composition of which
Greene evidently had some hand. It has not before been suggested,
however, that this play was performed by the Earl of Pembroke's company,
under Shakespeare's management, in 1592. It was evidently the publicity
given Marlowe's and Shakespeare's revision by the stage revival of the
play by Pembroke's company at this time that called forth Greene's
attack. This brings us to the end of the year 1592 in outlining
chronologically the evidences of the antagonism of the scholars to

In June 1593 George Peele shows animus against Shakespeare by echoing
Greene's phrases in the introduction to _The Honour of the Garter_. In
these verses, in complimenting several noblemen and "gentlemen poets,"
such as Sidney, Spenser, Harrington, Fraunce, Campion, and others, he
refers also to

                              "ordinary grooms,
     With trivial humours to pastime the world,
     That favour Pan and Phoebus both alike."

This appears to be a reflection of Greene's "rude groomes" of the
previous September and a reference to Shakespeare's theatrical work and
his _Venus and Adonis_, which, though only recently published, had no
doubt been read in MS. form for some time before.

I shall now proceed to show that at the end of 1593, after Lord
Pembroke's company had returned from their unprofitable provincial tour
when they were compelled to "pawn their apparel for their charges,"
George Chapman wrote a play satirising Shakespeare and the disastrous
fortunes of this company. This play was revised by Marston and Chapman
in 1599, under the title of _Histriomastix, or The Player Whipt_, as a
counter-attack upon Shakespeare in order to revenge the satire which he,
in conjunction with Dekker and Chettle, directed against Chapman and
Marston in _Troilus and Cressida_, and in a play reconstructed from
_Troilus and Cressida_ by Dekker and Chettle, called _Agamemnon_, in
1598-99. This latter phase of the matter shall be dealt with when I come
to a consideration of the literary warfare of the later period.

It has never before been suggested that George Chapman had any hand in
the composition of _Histriomastix_, though Mr. Richard Simpson shows
clearly that it was an old play roughly revised in the form in which it
was acted in 1599. Mr. Simpson suggests that it might have been written
by Peele, in its original form, owing to certain verbal resemblances
between portions of it and Peele's dedication to his _Honour of the
Garter_. He dates its original composition in about 1590, but in doing
so had evidently forgotten that he had already written: "The early
Chrisoganus (of this play) seems to be of the time when the Earl of
Northumberland, Raleigh, and Harriot strove to set up an Academy in
London, and the spirit of the play, and even its expressions, were quite
in unison with Peele's dedication of his _Honour of the Garter_,1593."
All literary and historical references to the academical efforts of the
Earl of Northumberland, Harriot, and others point to the years 1591-93
as the time in which this attempt to establish an Academy was made.
Chapman in his dedication of _The Shadow of Night_ to Roydon, in 1594,
refers to the movement as then of comparatively recent date. "But I stay
this spleen when I remember, my good Matthew, how joyfully oftentimes
you reported unto me that most ingenious Derby, deep-searching
Northumberland, and skill-embracing Earl of Hunsdon had most profitably
entertained learning in themselves to the vital warmth of freezing
Science," etc. Peele's allusions to the movement in his dedication to
the _Honour of the Garter_, which is dated 26th June 1593, are as

     "Renowned Lord, Northumberland's fair flower,
     The Muses' love, patron and favourite,
     That artisans and scholars dost embrace.
     And clothest Mathesis in rich ornaments,
     That admirable mathematic skill,
     Familiar with the stars and Zodiac,
     To whom the heaven lies open as her book;
     By whose directions undeceivable,
     Leaving our Schoolmen's vulgar trodden paths,
     And following the ancient reverent steps
     Of Trismegistus and Pythagoras,
     Through uncouth ways and unaccessible,
     Doth pass into the pleasant spacious fields
     Of divine science and philosophy," etc.

Shakespeare evidently reflects knowledge of this academical attempt and
pokes fun at the scholars in his reference to "a little academie" in
_Love's Labour's Lost_:

     "Navarre shall be the wonder of the world
     Our Court shall be a little academie
     Still and contemplative in living art."

This play was originally written late in 1591, but was drastically
revised late in 1594, or early in 1595, after Shakespeare had read
Chapman's _Hymns to the Shadow of Night_; and again, in 1598. The
reference to the Academy was evidently introduced at the time of its
first revision.

Mr. Simpson recognises the fact that most of the Chrisoganus passages,
especially those in the earlier portions of _Histriomastix_, pertain to
the play in its original form. If the reader will take the trouble to
read Chapman's _Hymns to the Shadow of Night_ (1594), his poem to Thomas
Harriot, and his _Tears of Peace_, and compare their mental attitude and
verbal characteristics with the "Chrisoganus" and "Peace" passages of
_Histriomastix_, Chapman's authorship of the latter will become
apparent. The following parallels from four of Chapman's poems are
convincing, and they can be extended indefinitely:


     "Have always borne themselves in Godlike State
     With lofty foreheade higher than the stars."

_De Guiana, Carmen Epicum_--

     "Whose forehead knocks against the roof of stars."


     "Consume whole groves and standing fields of corn
     In thy wild rage and make the proud earth groan."

_The Shadow of Night_--

     "Convert the violent courses of thy floods,
     Remove whole fields of corn and highest woods."


     "Whose glory which thy solid virtues won
     Shall honour Europe while there shines a sun."

_Poem to Harriot_--

     "When thy true wisdom by thy learning won
     Shall honour learning while there shines a sun."

Chapman in several instances in this play echoes Greene's slurs against
Shakespeare and, in the same manner as Peele in the _Honour of the
Garter_, repeats the actual phrases and epithets used by Greene and


     "I scorn a scoffing fool about my throne--
     An artless idiot (that like Æsop's daw
     Plumes fairer feathered birds)."

These lines evince Chapman's knowledge of Nashe's phrase "idiot
art-master," and of Greene's "upstart crow beautified with our
feathers," and clearly pertain to the play in its earlier form (1593)
when Greene's _Groatsworth of Wit_ (published late in 1592) was still a
new publication. In fact, it is not improbable that Nashe collaborated
with Chapman in the early form of this play.

Again when Chapman writes the following lines:


     "O age, when every Scriveners boy shall dippe
     Profaning quills into Thessalies spring;
     When every artist prentice that hath read
     The pleasant pantry of conceipts shall dare
     To write as confident as Hercules;
     When every ballad-monger boldly writes," etc.

It is apparent that he again echoes Nashe's and Greene's attacks upon
Shakespeare and Thomas Kyd, all of which, however, he appears to have
thought (as have later critics) were directed against Shakespeare.

The lines quoted above evidently reflect Chapman's knowledge of Nashe's
preface to Greene's _Menaphon_ in the expressions "Scriveners boy,"
"artist prentice," and "ballad-monger," while the words

                                     "shall dippe
     Profaning quills into Thessalies spring"

refer to Shakespeare's _Venus and Adonis_, and the lines from Ovid with
which he heads that poem.

In 1593 when, as I have indicated, _Histriomastix_ in its early form was
written, Shakespeare had published _Venus and Adonis_ and dedicated it
to the Earl of Southampton. In the composition of this poem Shakespeare
undoubtedly worked from Arthur Golding's translation of Ovid's
_Metamorphoses_. He prefixed to the poem two lines from Ovid's fifteenth

     "Vilia miretur vulgus; mihi flavus Apollo
     Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua";

which are rendered in Marlowe's translation:

     "Let base conceited wits admire vile things,
     Fair Phoebus lead me to the Muses springs."

In _The Shadow of Night_, published in the following year, Chapman again
resents the fact that one of Shakespeare's "small Latin and less Greek"
should invade the classical preserves of the scholars for his poetical
and dramatic subjects:

     "Then you that exercise the virgin court
     Of peaceful Thespia, my muse consort,
     Making her drunken with Gorgonean dews,
     And therewith all your ecstasies infuse,
     That she may reach the topless starry brows
     Of steep Olympus, crown'd with freshest boughs
     Of Daphnean laurel, and the praises sing
     Of mighty Cynthia: truly figuring
     (As she is Hecate) her sovereign kind,
     And in her force, the forces of the mind:
     An argument to ravish and refine
     An earthly soul and make it more devine.
     Sing then with all, her palace brightness bright,
     The dazzle-sun perfection of her light;
     Circling her face with glories, sing the walks,
     Where in her heavenly magic mood she stalks,
     Her arbours, thickets, and her wondrous game,
     (A huntress being never match'd in fame,)
     _Presume not then ye flesh-confounded souls,
     That cannot bear the full Castalian bowls_,
     Which sever mounting spirits from the senses,
     _To look into this deep fount for thy pretenses_."

In these lines, besides indicating Shakespeare's recent Ovidian
excursion in _Venus and Adonis_ by his reference to "Castalian bowls,"
Chapman shows knowledge of Shakespeare's intention, in the composition
of _Love's Labour's Lost_, of exhibiting Queen Elizabeth as a huntress.
Chapman's Cynthia of _The Shadow of Night_ is plainly a rhapsodised
idealisation of the Queen. Later on I shall elaborate the fact that
_Love's Labour's Lost_ was written late in 1591, or early in 1592, as a
reflection of the Queen's progress to Cowdray House, the home of the
Earl of Southampton's maternal grandfather, Viscount Montague, and that
the shooting of deer by the Princess and her ladies fancifully records
phases of the entertainments arranged for the Queen during her visit.

Assuming, then, from the foregoing evidence and inferences that Chapman
composed the early _Histriomastix_ in 1593, let us examine the play
further in order to trace its fuller application to Shakespeare and his
affairs in that year.

Though _Histriomastix_ was revised as an attack upon Shakespeare in 1599
by Chapman and Marston, who had commenced to collaborate in dramatic
work in the previous year, its original plot and action remain
practically unaltered. In its revision its early anti-Shakespearean
intention was merely amplified and brought up to date by a few topical
allusions, fitting circumstances in the lives of the persons
caricatured, pertaining to the later period. The substitution of
_Troilus and Cressida_ for _The Prodigal Child_, as the play within the
play presented by Sir Oliver Owlet's company, is also due to the period
of revision. All of the passages of the play which are suggestive of the
period of revision are palpably in the style of John Marston.

Among the persons of the early play is Chrisoganus, a scholar and
mathematician, who has set up an academy to expound the seven liberal
Sciences: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and
Astronomy, all of which are introduced as persons in the first act.
Chrisoganus was undoubtedly intended for Chapman's friend Thomas
Harriot, the mathematician and astronomer, who was so prominent in the
academical movement of 1592-93. The name Chrisoganus is evidently a
reflection of Harriot's _Ephemeris Chrisometra_, a MS. copy of which is
preserved in Zion College. Chapman's poem to Harriot, prefixed to his
_Achilles Shield_ (1599), expresses many of the same ideas voiced in
_Histriomastix_ and in much the same language, and indicates Chapman's
collaboration with Marston in the revision of the play in that year.

In the early _Histriomastix_ Chapman represents himself in the character
of Peace. When the utterances of Peace are compared with certain of
Chapman's poems, such as his _Euthymia Raptus_, or _The Tears of Peace_
(1609), his poem to Harriot (1598), _The Shadow of Night_ (1594), and
_Ovid's Banquet of Sense_ (1595), in all of which he breaks away from
his subject-matter at intervals to extol his own virtues and bewail his
poverty and his neglect by patrons, it becomes evident that he
transfigures himself in _Histriomastix_ as Peace; which character acts
as a chorus to, or running commentary on, the action of the play.

The whole spirit and purpose of this play is reproduced in _The Tears of
Peace_, which is a dialogue between Peace and an interlocutor, who
discuss at great length exactly the same ideas and subjects,
dramatically treated, in _Histriomastix_, _i.e._ the neglect of learning
and the learned, and "the pursuit of wealth, glory, greatness, pleasure,
and fashion" by "plebian and lord alike," as well as the unaccountable
success of an ignorant playwright who writes plays on any subject that
comes into his head:

     "And how they trot out in their lines the ring
     With idly iterating oft one thing,
     A new fought combat, an affair at sea,
     A marriage or progress or a plea.
     No news but fits them as if made for them,
     Though it be forged but of a woman's dream."

The plays of no other dramatist of that period match the description of
the subjects of the plays given here. The "progress," mentioned by
Chapman, is undoubtedly a reference to _Love's Labour's Lost_; "A
marriage," _Midsummer Night's Dream_; "a plea," _The Merchant of
Venice_; "A new fought combat," _Henry V._--as a reflection of the
military services of Southampton and Essex in Ireland in 1599; "an
affair at sea," _Twelfth Night_, _The Merchant of Venice_, etc.

In the second scene of _Histriomastix_, to Peace, the Arts, and
Chrisoganus, come Mavortius and a group of his friends representing the
nobility whom the academicians endeavour to win to their attendance and
support. Mavortius and his followers refuse to cultivate Chrisoganus and
the Arts, preferring a life of dalliance and pleasure, and to patronise
plays and players instead. Other characters are introduced representing
the Law, the Army, and Merchandise, who also neglect the Arts and live
for pastime and sport.

The company of players patronised by Mavortius performs under the
licence of Sir Oliver Owlet, and under the leadership of Posthaste, an
erstwhile ballad maker, who writes plays for the company and who
threatens to return to ballad making when playing proves unprofitable.

One of Mavortius' followers, Landulpho, an Italian lord, criticises the
play presented by Posthaste and his fellows, and lauds the Italian

A period of peace and prosperity, during which Chrisoganus and the Arts
are neglected by the extravagant and pleasure-seeking lords and
populace, is followed by war with an aftermath of poverty when Sir
Oliver Owlet's company of players is disrupted, and the actors are
compelled to "pawn their apparel for their charges."

     _Enter_ CONSTABLE.]

HOST. Master Constable, ho! these players will not pay their shot.

POST. Faith, sir, war hath so pinch'd us we must pawn.

CONST. Alas, poor players! Hostess, what comes it to?

HOST. The Sharers dinners sixpence a piece. The hirelings--pence.

POST. What, sixpence an egg, and two and two an egg?

HOST. Faith, famine affords no more.

POST. Fellows, bring out the hamper. Chose somewhat out o'th stock.

     _Enter the Players._

What will you have this cloak to pawn? What think you its worth?

HOST. Some fewer groats.

ONIN. The pox is in this age; here's a brave world fellows!

POST. You may see what it is to laugh at the audience.

HOST. Well, it shall serve for a pawn.

The further development of this narrative will make it evident beyond
any reasonable doubt that Posthaste, the poet-actor, is intended to
caricature Shakespeare, and Sir Oliver Owlet's company and its
misfortunes to reflect the Earl of Pembroke's company in similar
circumstances in 1593; that Mavortius is the young Earl of Southampton,
to whom Shakespeare dedicated _Venus and Adonis_ in 1593, and _Lucrece_
in the year following; that Landulpho, the Italian lord, represents John
Florio, who, in 1591, in his _Second Fruites_, criticised English
historical drama and praised Italian plays, and who, at about the same
time as teacher of languages entered into the pay and patronage of the
Earl of Southampton, a connection which his odd and interesting
personality enabled him to hold thereafterwards for several years. The
part which Landulpho takes in the play was somewhat developed by Marston
in 1599, at which time it shall later on be shown that the relations
between Florio and Shakespeare had reached a heated stage. The play of
_The Prodigal Child_, which was the play within the play acted by
Posthaste and his fellows in the earlier form of _Histriomastix_, did
not, in my opinion, represent the English original of the translated
German play of _The Prodigal Son_ which Mr. Simpson presents as the
possible original, but was meant to indicate Shakespeare's _Love's
Labours Won_, which was written late in the preceding year as a
reflection of Southampton's intimacy with Florio, and the beginning of
his affair with Mistress Davenant,[25] the Oxford tavern keeper's wife.
The expression _The Prodigal Child_ differs from that of _The Prodigal
Son_ in meaning, in that the word "Child" at that period meant a young
nobleman. There is nothing whatever suggestive of Shakespeare's work in
the translated German play, and it was merely the similarity of title
that led Mr. Simpson to propose it as the play indicated. The play
satirised by Chapman under the title of _The Prodigal Child_ was
undoubtedly written by Shakespeare, and it is no more likely that
Chapman would use the actual name of the play at which he points than
that he would use the actual names of the various persons or of the
company of players whose actions and work he caricatures.

In 1594 George Chapman published _Hymns to the Shadow of Night_, and in
1595 his _Ovid's Banquet of Sense_ and _A Coronet for his Mistress
Philosophy_, dedicating both publications to his friend Matthew Roydon.
The dedication of these poems to Roydon was an afterthought; they were
not primarily written with Roydon in mind.[26] It has been made evident
that Chapman had first submitted these poems to the Earl of Southampton
in an endeavour to win his patronage, and failing to do so dedicated
them to Roydon and attacked Shakespeare in the dedications, where he
refers to him in the capacity of reader to the Earl of Southampton, and
imputes to his adverse influence his ill-success in his attempt. In the
dedication to _The Shadow of Night_ he writes:

   "How then may a man stay his marvailing to see passion-driven men
   reading but to curtail a tedious hour and altogether hidebound with
   affection to great men's fancies take upon them as killing censures
   as if they were judgements butchers or as if the life of truth lay
   tottering in their verdicts.

   "Now what supererogation in wit this is to think skill so mightily
   pierced with their loves that she should prostitutely shew them her
   secrets when she will scarcely be looked upon by others but with
   invocation, fasting, watching; yea not without having drops of their
   souls like an heavenly familiar. Why then should our _Intonsi
   Catones_ with their profit ravished gravity esteem her true favours
   such questionless vanities as with what part soever thereof they seem
   to be something delighted they queamishly commend it for a pretty
   toy. Good Lord how serious and eternal are their idolatrous platts
   for riches."

The expression "passion-driven," as applied by Chapman to Shakespeare in
1594, especially in a dedication written to Matthew Roydon,--who in this
same year published _Willobie his Avisa_,--plainly refers to
Shakespeare's relations at that time with Mistress Davenant, who was the
original for the figure now known as the Dark Lady of the Sonnets, as
well as for the Avisa of _Willobie his Avisa_. The words "reading but to
curtail a tedious hour and altogether hidebound with affection to great
men's fancies," refer to Shakespeare in the capacity of reader to the
Earl of Southampton. In an attack which John Florio makes upon
Shakespeare in 1598, he also makes a similar reference to him in this
capacity. The expression "judgements butcher," like Nashe's "killcow,"
indicates Shakespeare's father's trade of butcher.

It was the obvious parallel between Chapman's, "when she will scarcely
be looked upon by others but with invocation, fasting, watching; yea not
without having drops of their souls like an heavenly familiar," and
Shakespeare's allusion, in Sonnet 86, to a poet who attempted to
supplant him in Southampton's favour--

     "He nor that affable familiar ghost
     Which nightly gulls him with intelligence,
     As victors of my silence cannot boast;
     I was not sick of any fear from thence:
     But when your countenance filled up his line,
     Then lack'd I matter; that enfeebled mine"--

that led Professor Minto to suggest Chapman as the rival poet of the
Sonnets. In a former essay I have demonstrated the truth of Professor
Minto's suggestion.

Chapman's _Intonsi Catones_, or "Unshorn Catos," refers to the peculiar
manner in which Shakespeare wore his hair, which Greene describes as
"harsh and curled like a horse-mane," and is also a reference to his
provincial breeding and, presumed, lack of culture.

There are a number of indications in the few facts we possess of
Shakespeare's life in 1594, and also in his own and contemporary
publications, to warrant the assumption that the Earl of Southampton
bestowed some unusual evidence of his bounty upon him in this year. If
ever there was a period in his London career in which Shakespeare needed
financial assistance more than at other times it was in this year. Lord
Strange's company had now been acting under Henslowe's management for
two years. The financial condition of both Burbage and Shakespeare must
at this time have been at a low ebb. The plague had prevented Pembroke's
company playing in London for nearly a year, and we have seen that their
attempts to play in the provinces had resulted in failure and loss. In
about the middle of 1594, however, Lord Strange's players (now the Lord
Chamberlain's men) return to Burbage and the Theatre, when Shakespeare
becomes not only a member of the company, but, from the fact that his
name is mentioned with that of Kempe and Richard Burbage in the Court
records of the payment for performances in December 1594, it is evident
that he was then also a leading sharer in the company.

In parting from Henslowe and reorganising under Burbage in 1594 it is
apparent that the reorganisers of the Lord Chamberlain's men would need
considerable capital if we may judge the financial affairs of this
company by those of the Lord Admiral's company (subsequently Lord
Nottingham's men) while under Henslowe's management. On 13th October
1599 Henslowe records in his _Diary_: "Received with the company of my
Lord of Nottingham's men to this place, beinge the 13th of October 1599,
and it doth appeare that I have received of the debte which they owe
unto me three hundred fifty and eight pounds." This was only a partial
payment of this company's debt, which evidently was considerably in
excess of this amount. It is unlikely, then, that Lord Strange's company
was free of debt to him at the end of their term under his management.

Shakespeare's earliest biographer, Nicholas Rowe, records, on the
authority of Sir William Davenant, "that my Lord Southampton at one time
gave him a thousand pounds to enable him to go through with a purchase
which he heard he had a mind to." Whatever truth there may be as to the
amount of money here mentioned, it is apparent that Southampton
evidenced his bounty to Shakespeare in 1594 in some substantial manner,
which quickly became noised abroad among the poets and writers who
sought patronage. Several of these poets in approaching Southampton
refer inferentially to his munificence to Shakespeare. In 1594 Barnabe
Barnes writes:

     "Vouchsafe right virtuous Lord with gracious eyes
     _Those heavenly lamps which give the muses light_
     To view my muse with your judicial sight," etc.

The words italicised evidently refer to Southampton's acceptance of
_Venus and Adonis_ in the preceding year. Later in 1594, Thomas Nashe
dedicated _The Life of Jack Wilton_ to Southampton, and in a dedicatory
Sonnet to a poem preserved in the Rawlinson MS. in the Bodleian Library,
entitled _The Choice of Valentines_, Nashe apologises for the salacious
nature of the poem, and in an appended Sonnet evidently refers to
Shakespeare's _Venus and Adonis_ in the line italicised below:

     "Thus hath my pen presumed to please my friend,
     Oh might'st thou likewise please Apollo's eye;
     No, honor brooks no such impietie,
     _Yet Ovids Wanton Muse did not offend_,
     He is the fountain whence my streams do flow,
     Forgive me if I speak as I were taught."

In 1595 Gervase Markham, in a Sonnet prefixed to his poem on Richard
Grenville's fight in the _Revenge_, addresses Southampton as:

     "Thou glorious laurel of the Muses' hill,
     _Whose eyes doth crown the most victorious pen_,
     Bright lamp of virtue, in whose sacred skill
     Lives all the bliss of ear-enchanting men."

The line italicised not only refers to Shakespeare but gives evidence
also of the assured standing among poets which he had now attained in
unbiased judgments.

In addition to these evidences of Southampton's bounty to Shakespeare at
this time, we have the poet's own acknowledgment of the recent receipt
of a valuable gift in the _Lucrece_ dedication: "_The warrant I have of
your honourable disposition, not the worth of my untutored lines, makes
it assured of acceptance_."

In his _Hymns to the Shadow of Night_ (1594) and its dedication, Chapman
complains of his lack of patronage and refers to what he designates as
Shakespeare's "_idol atrous platts for riches_."[27] In the body of the
poem he writes:

     "Wealth fawns on fools; virtues are meat for vices,
     Wisdom conforms herself to all earth's guises,
     _Good gifts are often given to men past good
     And noblesse stoops sometimes beneath his blood_."

In view of the general knowledge of Southampton's bounty to Shakespeare
at this time, and of the anti-Shakespearean intention which I have
demonstrated in Chapman's poem, it is apparent that these lines refer to
the nobleman's gift as well as to the intimacy between the peer and the
player at this period.

In this same year (1594) the scholars devised a plan to disrupt the
intimacy between Shakespeare and Southampton by producing and publishing
a scandalous poem satirising their relations, entitled _Willobie his
Avisa, or the true picture of a modest maid and a chaste and constant
wife_. In this poem Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, is
represented as "Henry Willobie a young man and a scholar of very good
hope," while Shakespeare is indicated as "W.S.," an "old actor." "W.S."
is depicted as aiding and abetting Henry Willobie in a love affair with
Avisa, the wife of an Oxford tavern keeper who conducts a tavern
described as follows:

     "See yonder house where hangs the badge
     Of England's saint when captains cry
     Victorious land to conquering rage."

In this poem Henry Willobie is alleged to have fallen in love with Avisa
at first sight, and to have confided in his friend "W.S.," "who not long
before had tryed the courtesy of the like passion and was now newly
recovered of the like infection." _Willobie his Avisa_ in some measure
reproduces but at the same time grossly distorts actual facts in the
lives of Shakespeare and Southampton which are dimly adumbrated in
Sonnets written by Shakespeare to Southampton and to the Dark Lady at
this time. I have elsewhere demonstrated Matthew Roydon's authorship as
well as the anti-Shakespearean intention of this poem.

In 1595 George Chapman published his _Ovid's Banquet of Sense_ and his
_A Coronet for his Mistress Philosophy_, in both of which poems, as well
as in the dedications, he again indicates and attacks Shakespeare.
Shakespeare's cognizance of Chapman's intention, as well as the manner
in which he answered him, have been examined in detail in a previous
essay which is now generally accepted by authoritative critics as
definitely establishing the fact of Chapman's ingrained hostility to
Shakespeare as well as his identity as the rival poet of the

Thus we find that, beginning with the reflections of Nashe and Greene in
1589, Shakespeare was defamed and abused by some one or more of this
coterie of jealous scholars in every year down to 1595, and that the
rancour of his detractors intensifies with the growth of his social and
literary prestige.

The one thing of all others that served most to feed and perpetuate the
envy of the scholars against Shakespeare was the friendship and
patronage accorded him by the Earl of Southampton.

Past biographers and critics usually date the beginning of the
acquaintance between Shakespeare and Southampton in 1593, when _Venus
and Adonis_ was published. In a later chapter I shall advance new
evidence to show that their acquaintance had its inception nearly two
years before that date.


[Footnote 20: _English Dramatic Companies_, 1558-1641, by John Tucker

[Footnote 21: In 1594 Cuthbert Burbie published a play entitled _The
Cobbler's Prophecy_, the authorship of which is ascribed to "R. Wilson"
on the title-page. The textual resemblances between this play, _The
Pedlar's Prophecy_, _The Three Ladies of London_, and _The Three Lords
and Three Ladies_, and certain parallels between the two latter and
_Fair Em_, all of which plays were published anonymously, led Mr. Fleay
to credit all of them to Wilson, in which--excluding _Fair Em_--he was
probably correct. All of these plays, with the exception of _The
Pedlar's Prophecy_, were either Burbage's or Admiral's properties. _The
Three Lords and Three Ladies_ was published for Richard Jones in 1590,
and _The Cobblers Prophecy_ for Cuthbert Burbie in 1594. All plays
published for Richard Jones were formerly old Admiral's properties, and
nearly all the early plays published for Cuthbert Burbie old Burbage
properties. _Fair Em_, while not published until 1631, records on the
title-page that it was acted by Lord Strange's company. _The Pedlar's
Prophecy_ was, however, published by Thomas Creede, all of whose
publications Mr. Fleay has found were old Queen's properties. Admitting,
then, that all of these plays were written by Robert Wilson, the latter
play must have been written by him for the Queen's company later than
1582-83, when he left Leicester's company. It appears probable also that
the earlier plays--_The Three Ladies_ and _The Cobbler's Prophecy_--were
written for Leicester's company before that date, and retained by
Burbage when he severed his connection with Leicester's men, or else,
that they were retained by Leicester's men as company properties and
brought to Strange's men in 1588-89 by Kempe, Pope, and Bryan, when
their old company disbanded. It is evident, then, _The Three Lords and
Three Ladies_, which Mr. Fleay admits is merely an amplification of the
old play of _The Three Ladies_, which he dates as being first published
in 1584, was a revision made when all these plays became Strange's
properties, and that the scriptural parallels between _The Three Lords
and Three Ladies_, _The Three Ladies_, and _Fair Em_, which are quite
absent in _The Pedlar's Prophecy_--the only one of these plays ascribed
in the publication itself to Wilson--are due to the revisionary efforts
of the "theological poet" referred to by Greene as doing such work for
Strange's company, and as having had a hand in _Fair Em_, which was
acted in about 1590, in which year _The Three Lords and Three Ladies_,
which shows similar scriptural characteristics, was published. From a
time reference in the earlier form of this play--_The Three Ladies_--in
the first scene, "not much more than twenty-six years, it was in Queen
Mary's time," Mr. Fleay arbitrarily dates from the last year of Mary's
reign, and concludes that it may have been acted by the Queen's company
in 1584. He admits, however, that it does not appear in the list of the
Queen's men's plays for this year, and later on infers from other
evidence that the allusion to twenty-six years from Queen Mary's time
probably referred to the first date of publication, which is unknown,
but which he places, tentatively, in 1584. "That it was played by the
Queen's men," he writes, "is shown under the next play,--_The Three
Lords and Three Ladies_,--which is an amplification of the preceding
play performed shortly after Tarleton's death in about 1588." Mr. Fleay
writes further: "If I rightly understand the allusions, Tarleton acted
in _Wit and Will_ in 1567-68. The allusion to Tarleton's picture shows
that _Tarleton's Jests_, in which his picture appears, had already been
published. The statement that Simplicity (probably acted by Wilson
himself), Wit, and Will had acted with Tarleton, proves that the present
play was acted by the Queen's men."

In arguing to place Robert Wilson as a member of Strange's company in
1588-89, Mr. Fleay borrows both premises and inference from the facts to
support his theory. He is no doubt right in dating the original
composition of _The Three Ladies of London_ before 1584, and probably
also in attributing all of these plays to Wilson, but, seeing that they
were all Burbage properties in 1589-90, is it not evident that _The
Three Ladies of London_ was an old Leicester play produced by Wilson
before 1582-83, when he and Burbage left that company, and either that
Burbage then retained possession of it, or, that it was brought to
Strange's men by Pope, Kempe, and Bryan in 1589? Mr. Fleay admits that
_The Three Lords and Three Ladies_ is merely an amplification of _The
Three Ladies_ made after Tarleton's death, which occurred in 1588. It
seems apparent, then, that the scriptural phraseology noticeable in _The
Three Ladies_, _The Three Lords and Three Ladies_, and _Fair Em_, which
led Mr. Fleay to impute the last to Wilson's pen, and also to connect
him as a writer and an actor with Lord Strange's company in 1589-90, is
the work of the "theological poet" indicated by Greene and Nashe as
having had a hand in _Fair Em_ in 1589. It is also evident that the
actors who took the parts of Simplicity, Wit, and Will,--in _The Three
Lords and Three Ladies_,--who had formerly acted with Tarleton, were
Kempe, Pope, and Bryan, Strange's men, who were all formerly Leicester's
men. It is much more likely that these old members of Leicester's
company, who in Tarleton's time would have been juniors in the company,
would recall and boast of their old connection, than that his late
associates in the Queen's company would do so within a year or two of
his death.]

[Footnote 22: Bentley was a Queen's player in 1584, and probably came
from Sussex's company to the Queen's upon the organisation of that
company in 1583.]

[Footnote 23: This letter and the verses are printed in _Henslowe's
Papers_, p. 32, W.W. Greg, 1907, and in the works of several earlier

[Footnote 24: "The two more" here indicated by Greene are, I believe,
Lodge and Matthew Roydon, both of whom are mentioned by Nashe in his
address "To the Gentlemen of the two Universities" prefixed to Greene's
_Menaphon_. I have elsewhere shown that Roydon was a prolific ballad
writer who invariably wrote anonymously, or under pen names, and have
made evident his authorship of _Willobie his Avisa_, as well as its
anti-Shakespearean intention. Roydon also wrote plays as well as
ballads, and was possibly one of the "theological poets" referred to by
Greene in the introduction to his _Farewell to Folly_, who, he
intimates, were averse "for their calling and gravity" to have their
names appear as the authors of ballads or plays, and so secured "some
other batillus to set their names to their verses." Roydon's affected
anonymity is referred to by several other contemporary writers. Robert
Arnim writes of him as "a light that shines not in the world as it is
wished, but yet the worth of his lustre is known." Roydon was a curate
of the Established Church. Shakespeare's lack of respect for Church of
England curates, which is several times exhibited in his plays, was, no
doubt, due in some degree to his dislike of Roydon.]

[Footnote 25: Since the publication of _Mistress Davenant, the Dark Lady
of Shakespeare's Sonnets_, in 1913, I have learned that John Davenant
was married twice. Roydon's _Willobie his Avisa_ refers to his first
wife, who was Anne Birde, daughter of Mayor William Birde of Bristol,
whom he married before July 1592. I have also found that his second wife
was Jane Shepherd of Durham. This matter will be fully elucidated in a
forthcoming publication.]

[Footnote 26: _Shakespeare and the Rival Poet_, 1902.]

[Footnote 27: A probable allusion to his _Lucrece_ dedication.]

[Footnote 28: _Shakespeare and the Rival Poet_, John Lane, London,




The three parts of _Henry VI._ and their originals are of interest to
Shakespearean students as marking the beginning of a phase of English
historical drama, afterwards developed by Shakespeare, Kyd, Marlowe, and
others. They owed their origin to the demand of the theatres for
material with which to cater to the ebullient national spirit aroused by
the long-threatened danger of a Spanish invasion, and its happy issue in
the destruction of the great Armada, in 1588. They were originally
produced between 1589 and 1591, and evidently for the Queen's players.
The theatrical managers having found them a profitable investment,
encouraged the continued production of historical plays. Peele, who is
usually supposed to have been the author of _The First Part of Henry
VI._, soon after wrote a play upon the reign of _Edward I._; Marlowe
appropriating _Edward III._ and later on _Edward II._; and Shakespeare
_King John_ in 1591 and _Richard II._ in 1592-93.

Shakespeare, before composing _Richard II._,--in the composition of
which he was evidently guided by the previous production of Marlowe's
_Edward II._,--tried his "prentice hand" on _King John_. Both this play
and the older play of _The Troublesome Raigne of King John_ (upon which
it is based, and which, in fact, it practically recasts) owe their
origin to the same influences as the other historical plays mentioned.
_The Troublesome Raigne of King John_ was composed for the Queen's
company at, or near to, the date of the Spanish Armada, and at a period
when religious animosities were acute. Its anti-Catholic spirit is very
aggressive. We have good evidence, in the manner in which Shakespeare,
on recasting the old play, toned down or eliminated this spirit, that
whatever dogmatic latitude he allowed himself in religion, his social
and religious sympathies at this period were Catholic rather than
Protestant. He was, withal, in common with a large proportion, and
probably a majority, of his compatriots at that time, an English, as
distinguished from a Roman, Catholic, and like them, though he outwardly
acquiesced in the established religion, tacitly favoured the old Church
in spiritual matters, while resenting its political activities.

Socially and politically, Shakespeare was essentially conservative. He
looked naturally unto the rock whence he was hewn and to the hole of the
pit whence he was digged. With a deep and abiding pride of race, linking
him spiritually with the historic past of his people, he was inclined to
look askance at the subverting spirit of Puritanism, which was now
beginning to give Merrie England food for serious thought. His
temperamental bias against Puritanism was accentuated by the openly
avowed hostility of the Puritans to his chosen profession. Though born
of the people, Shakespeare's social ideals were strongly aristocratic,
and, while possessing, in an unusual degree that unerring knowledge of
human nature in all classes and conditions of men, and broad tolerance
of human foibles and weaknesses, attainable only by spiritual sympathy,
in the political wisdom of democracy as it could then be conceived he
had little confidence.

We have good evidence that Shakespeare's father was a Catholic, and it
is more than likely that Shakespeare's sympathies were Catholic. His
most intimate affiliations were Catholic. Southampton's family, the
Wriothesleys, and his mother's family, the Browns, were adherents of the
old faith, and though Southampton, in later life, turned to
Protestantism he was Catholic during the early years of his intimacy
with Shakespeare. For the clergy of the Established Church Shakespeare
had little respect; he probably regarded the majority of them as
trimmers and time-servers. He always makes his curates ridiculous; this,
however, was probably due to his hostility to Roydon, whom he
caricatures. On the other hand, his priests and friars, while erring and
human, are always dignified and reverend figures. There is, however, no
indecision in his attitude towards Rome's political pretensions. The
most uncompromising Protestant of the time sounds no more defiant
national note than he.

In _King John_ we have an ingenuous revelation of Shakespeare's outlook
on life while he was still comparatively young, and within a few years
of his advent in London. He was yet unacquainted with the Earl of
Southampton at the date of its composition, early in 1591.

In the character of Falconbridge, with which one instinctively feels its
creator's sympathy, I am convinced that Shakespeare portrayed the
personality of Sir John Perrot, an illegitimate son of Henry VIII., and
half-brother to Queen Elizabeth. The immense physical proportions of
both Perrot and Falconbridge; their characteristic and temperamental
resemblances; their common illegitimate birth; the fact that both were
trusted generals and relatives of their sovereigns; their similar bluff
and masterful manner; their freedom of speech; and the suggestive unison
between important incidents in their lives, all exhibit a resemblance
much too remarkable for mere coincidence.

In the development of certain of Shakespeare's characters we
instinctively feel his sympathy with, or antipathy for, the type he
represents. Like Thackeray in the case of _Barry Lyndon_, he paints in
Falstaff a rascal so interesting that he leads us almost to condone his
rascality; yet who can doubt in either instance the author's inherent
antipathy to the basic character he portrays. On the other hand, in
depicting Biron, Antonio, and Jacques, we feel a sympathetic touch. For
no one of his numerous characters is his admiration so apparent and
unreserved as for that of Falconbridge. With other characters, such as
Biron, Antonio, Jacques, Hamlet, and Prospero in their successive
stages, we apprehend a closer mental likeness to, and spiritual
synthesis of, their creator; here, however, is no creature of the brain,
but a flesh-and-blood man of action, taken bodily from life. An early
date for the original composition of _King John_ is manifest in the
broad strokes of portraiture, and lack of introspective subtlety, with
which this character is drawn.

Sir John Perrot was a natural son of Henry VIII. and Mary Berkley,
afterwards wife of Thomas Perrot of Islington and Herrodston in
Pembrokeshire. His resemblance to Henry VIII. was striking, although his
physical proportions were still larger. Much as he resembled his father
he more nearly approximated in type both temperamentally and physically
to "Coeur-de-lion." Perrot lived about two hundred years too late for
his own fame. Had he been born a couple of centuries earlier he might
have lived in history as a paladin of romance. He was a fantastical
recrudescence, of the most fanciful age of chivalry. He is reported to
have possessed extraordinary strength, and in his youth to have been
much addicted to brawling. At about the age of twenty he owed his
introduction to Henry VIII. to a fight in which he became engaged with
two of the Yeomen of the Guard who endeavoured to oust him from the
palace grounds, and whom he worsted in the effort. The King appearing
upon the scene, Perrot is reported to have proclaimed himself his son.
Henry received him favourably and promised him preferment, but died soon
afterwards. Edward VI., upon his accession, acknowledged his kinship and
created him Knight of the Bath. He was a very skilful horseman and
swordsman, and excelled in knightly exercises.

In 1551 he accompanied the Marquis of Southampton to France upon the
mission of the latter to negotiate a marriage between Edward VI. and
Elizabeth, daughter of Henry II. The French King was so well pleased
with him that he offered to retain him in his service. While generous
and brave to an unusual degree, Perrot was extremely hot-tempered and of
an arbitrary disposition. He seems to have inherited all of his father's
mental, moral, and physical attributes in an exaggerated form, and to
have had an ever-present consciousness of his kingly lineage. Money
flowed through his fingers like water; he was rarely out of debt, and
was relieved in this respect by both Edward VI. and Elizabeth. Upon the
accession of Queen Mary, Perrot, though a Protestant, continued in
royal favour; his kinship outweighing his religious disadvantage. He
was, however, never without enemies at Court, created largely by his
high-handed behaviour. During Mary's reign he was accused of sheltering
heretics in his house in Wales, and was, in consequence, committed for a
while to the Fleet, but was soon released. He saw service in France
under the Earl of Pembroke, being present at the capture of St. Quentin.
Later on he had a violent disagreement with his old commander, owing to
his refusal to assist the latter in persecuting Welsh Protestants. A
life-enduring friendship was later established between them by
Pembroke's magnanimity in rallying to his support at a crucial period in
his career. When Protestantism, at a later period, gained the upper hand
under Elizabeth, he was equally averse to the persecution of Catholics.
Elizabeth upon her accession continued the favours shown him by her
predecessors. He was selected as one of four gentlemen to carry the
canopy of state at her Coronation, and was appointed Vice-Admiral of the
seas about South Wales. In 1570 he was made President of Munster, where
he performed his duties in an extremely strenuous manner. He used
deputies only in clerical matters; where there was fighting to be done
he was there in person, and usually in the thick of it. Much as he liked
to command he never could resist being in the actual scrimmage. He
challenged James Fitmaurice Fitzgerald, the rebel leader in Munster, to
single combat, which the latter prudently refused; later on, Fitzgerald
led him and a small body of men into an ambush where he was out-numbered
ten to one; Perrot refused to surrender, and though he made great
slaughter of his assailants, was saved only by the timely arrival of a
small body of his own men, whom the rebels supposed to be the advance
guard of a stronger force. He was as generous in victory as he was
imprudent in action; having defeated and captured Fitzgerald, he forgave
him and restored him to his property. Such actions on his part being
criticised by the Council, Perrot, in dudgeon, resigned his command and
returned to England in 1573. He was received favourably by Elizabeth,
whose goodwill he still continued to keep in spite of his numerous
enemies at Court. Retiring to his Welsh estates at this time, he told
Burghley that he intended thereafter to lead a "countryman's life," and
"to keep out of debt." Much of his time during the following ten years
was spent in suppressing piracy on the seas in his capacity of
Vice-Admiral and Warden of the Marches. In 1584 he was appointed Viceroy
of Ireland, an office which he executed vigorously and effectively, but
in the same dominating spirit and with the same impatience of control
that had marked his earlier Irish career. Exasperated at the delays of
the Council in agreeing to his plans, he even went to the length of
addressing the English Parliament in a letter, which, however, was
suppressed by Walsingham, who apprehended the resentment of Elizabeth at
such an unwarranted appropriation of her prerogative.

While Perrot's physical proportions were much above the average he was
an extremely graceful and handsome man. A German nobleman of the time,
visiting Ireland, seeing Perrot at the opening of Parliament, declared
that though he had travelled all Europe he had never seen any one
comparable to him for his port and majesty of personage.

Perrot's arbitrary and dominating manner created constant friction in
his Council and aroused the enmity of his coadjutors and subordinates.
He challenged Sir Richard Bingham, President of Munster, to a duel, and
came to actual blows in the council chamber with Sir Nicholas Bagenal.
He aroused the deadly enmity of Loftus, Archbishop of Dublin, who set
many plots on foot to work his undoing. One Philip Williams, a former
secretary of Perrot's, was set on by Loftus to make revelations
reflecting on Perrot's loyalty, which gained such credence that they
resulted in his recall to England in 1588. He left behind him, writes
Sir Henry Wallop, "a memory of such hard usage and haughty demeanour
amongst his associates as I think never any before him in this place
hath done." After Perrot's return to England, Loftus continued his
machinations against him. Informers of all kinds were forthcoming to
accuse him. One Denis O'Roughan, an ex-priest, offered to prove that he
was the bearer of a letter from Perrot to Philip of Spain, promising
that if the latter would give him the Principality of Wales, he would
make him Master of England and Ireland. While this evidence was palpably
false, the excited condition of public feeling in regard to the Jesuit
plots and the aggressive plans of Spain lent it credence. A year before,
Sir William Stanley, previously quite unsuspected of disloyalty, had
turned the fortress of Deventer over to the Spaniards, and the Armada,
which had been in preparation for years, was expected daily on the
English coasts. Perrot, while not yet placed under arrest, was treated
coldly by the Court. His was not a temper that could stand such
treatment uncomplainingly. Knowing that the Queen's ill-usage of him
arose largely from the influence of Sir Christopher Hatton, he expressed
himself somewhat freely regarding that gentleman, and in a manner that
reflected upon the Queen. Hatton's hatred of Perrot was well founded,
he having seduced Hatton's niece some years before. The unceasing
plotting of Perrot's enemies and his own imprudence of speech led to his
arrest early in 1591. After a short confinement in Burghley's house, he
was removed to the Tower, where he remained for a year before he was
brought to trial. At this period and while still under restraint at
Burghley's house, I date the composition of Shakespeare's _King John_.
He was tried for high treason in April 1592, being charged with using
contemptuous words about the Queen, relieving known traitors and Romish
priests, and also with treasonable correspondence with Philip of Spain
and the Duke of Parma. All of the evidence against him, except that
relating to the use of disrespectful expressions regarding the Queen,
fell to the ground. He was found guilty on this one point and taken back
to the Tower. Two months later--that is, on 26th June--he was brought up
for judgment and condemned to death. "God's death," he exclaimed, on
being led back to the Tower, "will the Queen suffer her brother to be
offered up as a sacrifice to the envy of his frisking adversary?" He
died a natural death in the Tower in September 1592. It is probable that
had he lived the Queen would have pardoned him. It was rumoured at the
time that she intended to do so. While such an intention appears
probable from the fact that after his death his son was restored to his
estates, it is more likely that Perrot's death, while under the Queen's
disfavour, softened her resentment toward his family. Perrot's son, Sir
Thomas, who inherited his estates, had incurred the ill-will of
Elizabeth some years before by his clandestine marriage to Dorothy
Devereux, sister of the Earl of Essex. She vented her displeasure upon
every one remotely concerned in this transaction. Essex, who was
entirely innocent of any complicity in it, was frowned upon for a time,
and Bishop Aylmer, under whose surreptitiously obtained licence the
marriage ceremony was performed, was called before the Council. The
Queen for years declined to receive Lady Perrot, and upon one occasion,
when visiting the Earl of Essex, refused to remain in his house upon the
arrival of his sister, and was pacified only when Lady Perrot removed to
a distant neighbour's.

It thus appears that the rancour of Elizabeth towards Sir John Perrot,
which led to his imprisonment in 1591 and his later prosecution, was
intensified by the fact of his family connection with the Earl of Essex,
who at this same period was deep in her disfavour owing to his own
unauthorised marriage to Lady Sidney. We may then infer that Court
circles were divided in their attitude towards Perrot, and that while
Sir Christopher Hatton and his followers were antagonistic to him, that
Essex and his faction were correspondingly sympathetic.

I am convinced that Shakespeare's first recast of _The Troublesome
Raigne of King John_ was made at about this period, at the instigation
of a court of action friendly to Perrot and antagonistic to Hatton, with
the intention of arousing sympathy for Perrot by presenting him
inferentially in heroic colours in the character of Falconbridge.
Whatever animosities his outspoken criticisms and arbitrary demeanour
may have aroused, amongst the courtiers and politicians, it is likely
that his romantic history, his personal bravery, and his interesting
personality had made him a hero to the younger nobility and the masses.
It is evident that the author of _The Troublesome Raigne of King John_
had Perrot in mind in the composition of that play, which is usually
dated by the text critics in about 1588-89. It is acknowledged that the
old play is based almost entirely upon the second edition of Holinshed's
_Chronicles_, which was published in 1587, and that the Falconbridge
incident has no foundation in that source, it being transposed from a
portion of Hall's _Chronicles_ relating to French history of an earlier
time. If the original author's intention had been to dramatise the reign
or character of King John, why should he have transposed incidents and
characters from French history in no way connected with John's reign,
and also have made one of these characters practically the protagonist
of the action? Bearing this fact in mind, in conjunction with the
evident date of composition of the old play in or about 1588-89, at the
time when Perrot was recalled from Ireland and was being accused of
disloyalty by his political enemies, it appears evident that the author,
or authors, of _The Troublesome Raigne_ had Perrot's interests in mind
in its composition, and that its intention and personal point were
recognised by the public upon its presentation, and also that it was
published and rewritten in 1591, at the time when Perrot was sent to the
Tower, in order further to stir up sympathy for his cause by a still
more palpable and heroic characterisation.

In recasting the old play in 1591 at the most crucial period of Perrot's
troubles, Shakespeare--evidently cognizant of its original intention and
of the interpretation placed upon it by the theatre-going public--still
further enhanced the character of Falconbridge as the protagonist of the
drama, while he minimised the character of King John and quite neglected
to explain the reason for much of the plot and action, which is quite
clear in the old play. The neglect of historical and dramatic values,
and the absence of analytical characterisation shown by Shakespeare in
this play when it is considered as a dramatisation of the reign of King
John, has been noticed by many past critics, who have not suspected the
possibility of an underlying intention in its production. Mr. Edward
Rose, in his excellent essay upon Shakespeare as an adapter, writes:

   "Shakespeare has no doubt kept so closely to the lines of the older
   play because it was a favorite with his audience and they had grown
   to accept its history as absolute fact; but one can hardly help
   thinking that, had he boldly thrown aside these trammels and taken
   John as his Hero, his great central figure; had he analyzed and built
   up before us the mass of power, craft, passion, and devilry which
   made up the worst of the Plantagenets; had he dramatized the grand
   scene of the signing of the Charter and shown vividly the gloom and
   horror which overhung the excommunicated land; had he painted John's
   last despairing struggles against rebels and invaders as he has given
   us the fiery end of Macbeth's life, we might have had another
   Macbeth, another Richard, who would by his terrible personality have
   welded the play together and carried us breathless through his scene
   of successive victory and defeat. That, by this means, something
   would be lost, 'tis true--Falconbridge, for example, would certainly
   be lesser," etc. etc.

While regretting Shakespeare's neglect of the great dramatic
possibilities in the reign and the character of King John, Mr. Rose
recognised Shakespeare's evident interest in the character of
Falconbridge. He writes:

   "In reconstructing the play the great want that struck Shakespeare
   seems to have been that of a strong central figure. He was attracted
   by the rough, powerful nature which he could see the Bastard must
   have been; almost like a modern dramatist writing up a part for a
   star actor, he introduced Falconbridge wherever it was possible, gave
   him the end of every act (except the third), and created from a rude
   and inconsistent sketch a character as strong as complete and as
   original as even he ever drew. Throughout a series of scenes not
   otherwise very closely connected, this wonderful real type of faulty
   combative, not ignoble manhood, is developed, a support and addition
   to the scenes in which he has least to say, a great power where he is

Had Mr. Rose endeavoured briefly to describe the character of Sir John
Perrot, he could not have done so more aptly.

Shakespeare in recasting _The Troublesome Raigne of King John_ did not
endeavour to dramatise either the character or reign of that King, but
purposely followed the story of the earlier dramatist, having the same
personal point in view. The author of _The Troublesome Raigne of King
John_ intentionally subordinated or distorted the actual facts of
history in order to match his dramatic characterisation to the
personality of Perrot, and its action to well-known incidents of
Perrot's career in France and England. A palpable instance of this is
exhibited in Falconbridge's soliloquy in Scene i., when questioned by
the King before the Court regarding his paternity. Here the old author
reflects a story of Perrot's youth which his biographers state was
frequently related by Perrot to his friends. Soon after the accession of
Edward VI., Perrot having by his extravagance become deeply involved in
debt purposely placed himself in the path of the King's daily walk and,
hearing his footsteps and pretending not to know of his presence,
indulged in a soliloquy complaining of his misfortunes and lamenting his
lack of wisdom and bemoaning the nonage of his half-brother the King,
who in endeavouring to help him would probably be overruled by the Lord
Protector and the Lords of the Council. He also debated aloud with
himself other means of retrieving his fortune, such as retiring from the
Court into the country or betaking himself to the wars. His anonymous
biographer of 1592 wrote:

   "As he was thus sadly debating the Matter unto hymselfe, the Kinge
   came behynd hym, and overheard most of that which he sayd, who at
   length stepped before him, and asked him, How now Perrott (quoth the
   Kinge) what is the matter that you make this great Moane? To whom Sir
   John Perrott answered, And it lyke your Majestie, I did not thinck
   that your Highness had byn there. Yes, said the Kinge, we heard you
   well inough: And have you spent your Livinge in our Service, and is
   the Kinge so younge, and under Government, that he cannot give you
   any Thinge in Recompence of your Service? Spie out somewhat, and you
   shall see whether the Kinge hath not Power to bestow it on you. Then
   he most humbly thanked his Majestie and shortly after founde out a
   Concealment, which as soon as he sought, the Kinge bestowed it on
   hym, wherewith he paid the most part of his Debtes; and for always
   after he became a better Husband. This story Sir John Perrott would
   sometimes recounte unto his Frends, acknowledging it a greate
   Blessinge of God, that had given him Grace in Time to look into his
   decaying Estate."

Comparison of this biographical incident with the following passage from
_The Troublesome Raigne_ not only reveals the source of the dramatist's
inspiration but also accounts for a scene that has appeared peculiar to
many critics.

   K. JOHN. Ask Philip whose son he is.

   ESSEX. Philip, who was thy father?

   PHILIP. Mass, my lord, and that's a question: and you had not taken
   some pains with her before, I should have desired you to ask my

   K. JOHN.. Say, who was thy father?

   PHILIP. Faith, my lord, to answer you sure, he is my father that was
   nearest my mother when I was gotten; and him I think to be Sir
   Robert Falconbridge.

   K. JOHN. Essex, for fashion's sake demand again: And so an end to
   this contention.

   ROBERT. Was ever man thus wrong'd as Robert is?

   ESSEX. Philip! Speak, I say; who was thy father?

   K. JOHN. Young man, how now? what! art thou in a trance?

   Q. ELINOR. Philip, awake! The man is in a dream.

   PHILIP. Philippus, atavis edite Regibus. (_Aside._)
   What say'st thou: Philip, sprung of ancient Kings?
   Quo me rapit tempestas?
   What wind of honour blows this fury forth,
   Or whence proceed these fumes of majesty?
   Methinks I hear a hollow echo sound,
   That Philip is the son unto a King:
   The whistling leaves upon the trembling trees
   Whistle in concert I am Richard's son;
   The bubbling murmur of the water's fall
   Records Philippus Regis filius;
   Birds in their flight make music with their wings,
   Filling the air with glory of my birth;
   Birds, bubbles, leaves and mountains, echo, all
   Ring in mine ears, that I am Richard's son.
   Fond man, ah, whither art thou carried?
   How are thy thoughts yrapt in Honour's heaven?
   Forgetful what thou art, and whence thou cam'st?
   Thy father's land cannot maintain these thoughts;
   These thoughts are far unfitting Falconbridge;
   And well they may; for why this mounting mind
   Doth soar too high to stoop to Falconbridge
   Why, how now? Knowest thou where thou art?
   And know'st thou who expects thine answer here?
   Wilt thou, upon a frantic madding vein,
   Go lose thy land, and say thyself base-born?
   No, keep thy land, though Richard were thy sire;
   Whate'er thou think'st say thou art Falconbridge.

   K. JOHN. Speak, man! be sudden, who thy father was.

   PHILIP. Please it your Majesty, Sir Robert ...
   Philip, that Falconbridge cleaves to thy jaws: (_Aside_)
   It will not out; I cannot for my life
   Say I am son unto a Falconbridge.
   Let land and living go! 'tis Honour's fire
   That makes me swear King Richard was my sire.
   Base to a King, adds title of more state,
   Than knight's begotten, though legitimate.
   Please it your Grace, I am King Richard's son.

While it is generally agreed by text critics that Shakespeare's _King
John_ was drastically revised in about 1596, the metrical tests and the
scarcity of classical allusions denote its composition at about the same
period as that of the original composition of _Richard II._; and though
the later time revision of both of these plays has no doubt replaced
much of Shakespeare's earlier work in them with matter of a later time,
an early date for their original composition is very evident. I
therefore assign the original composition of _King John_ to the early
part of the year 1591, and believe, that in writing this play
Shakespeare worked from a copy of _The Troublesome Raigne of King John_,
and that he followed, and still further developed, the original
intention of that play regarding the interests of Sir John Perrot. It is
evident that _King John_ was written at the time _The Troublesome
Raigne_ was published in 1591, and that the play was Burbage property
when it was published. A play was not as a rule published until it had
outrun its interest upon the stage, or had been replaced by a new play
upon the same subject.

While records of Henslowe's affiliations with Lord Strange's and the
Admiral's companies do not appear in his _Diary_ until February 1592,
when the Rose Theatre was ready for their occupancy, it is likely that
their connection commenced in the previous year and that his
affiliations with the Queen's company ended at the same time. The number
of old plays formerly owned by the Queen's company that came into the
hands of Strange's, the Admiral's, and Pembroke's men at this time were
probably purchased from Henslowe, upon the reorganisation of companies
in 1591-92, or else were brought to these companies as properties by
Queen's men who joined them upon the disruption of this large and
powerful company at this period. Gabriel Spencer, Humphrey Jeffes, and
John Sinkler, whose names are mentioned in _The True Tragedy of the Duke
of York_, were evidently old Queen's men, the former two joining
Pembroke's men, and Sinkler, Strange's men at this time. The entry of
their names as actors in this play was evidently made while it was a
Queen's property and when the Queen's company acted under Henslowe's
auspices at the Rose Theatre between 1587 and 1591. Both Jeffes and
Spencer rejoined Henslowe upon the new reorganisation of companies in
1594, and continued to perform with him and the Lord Admiral's men as
Pembroke's men until 1597, when they became Admiral's men. After Spencer
was killed in a duel by Ben Jonson in 1598, his widow continued to be a
protégé or pensioner of Henslowe's for some years.

The generally accepted belief that the old _Henry VI._, _The
Contention_, and _The True Tragedie_ were--like _The Troublesome Raigne
of King John_, _The Seven Deadly Sins_, and other plays owned by
companies with which Burbage was connected--originally Queen's plays, is
responsible for the otherwise unsupported assumption that Burbage was a
member and the manager of the Queen's company for several years.

As the disruption of the old Queen's company and its reorganisation into
a smaller company under the two Duttons, as well as the inception of
Henslowe's connection with Strange's men, evidently took place some time
between the Christmas season of 1590-91, when the Queen's company
performed four times at Court and the Admiral-Strange company only once,
and the Christmas season of 1591-92, when Strange's company performed
six times and the Queen's only once, and then for the last time on
record, it is evident that Pembroke's company was formed also in this
year. It is not unlikely then that Shakespeare's recast of _The
Troublesome Raigne of King John_ into _King John_ was made at the
instigation of the Earl of Pembroke himself at the time of Perrot's
arrest in 1591. As Pembroke's father was a lifelong friend of Perrot's
it is extremely probable that he also would be his partisan and

In every poem or play written by Shakespeare from the time he made the
acquaintance of the Earl of Southampton at the end of 1591, and even for
some time after the accession of James I. in 1603, I find some
reflection of his interest in that nobleman or in the fortunes of the
Essex party with which he was affiliated. I find no reflection of this
interest in _King John_ nor in _The Comedy of Errors_, except in a few
passages which palpably pertain to a period of revision in the former
play. From this and other subjective evidence already advanced I date
the composition of both of these plays in 1591, and in doing so conform
to the chronological conclusions reached by authoritative text critics
whose judgments have been formed altogether upon textual and stylistic

While nearly all writers upon the Elizabethan drama recognise the
topical, political, or controversial nature of much of the dramatic
representation of that age, it is usual to deny for Shakespeare's plays
any such topical significance. This attitude of the critics is due
largely to neglect or ignorance of contemporary history, and also to the
lack of a proper understanding of the chronological order in which the
plays were produced, and their consequent inability to synchronise the
characters or action of the plays, with circumstances of Shakespeare's
life, or with matters of contemporary interest, as well as to the
masterly objective skill by which he disguised his intentions, in order
to protect himself and his company from the stringent statutes then in
force, prohibiting the presentation of matters concerning Church or
State upon the stage.




A few months after the publication of Greene's _A Groatsworth of Wit_,
Henry Chettle issued a book entitled _Kinde Heartes Dreame_, to which he
prefaced an apology for publishing Greene's attack upon Shakespeare. He
writes: "I am as sorry as if the original fault had been my fault,
because myselfe have seene his demeanour no lesse civill than he exelent
in the qualitie he professes, besides divers of worship have reported
his uprightnes of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious
grace in writing that approoves his art." When critically examined,
these references to Shakespeare take on a somewhat greater biographical
value than has usually been claimed for them. Agreeing with the
assumption that Shakespeare left Stratford between 1586 and 1587,--that
is, at between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-three years,--we are
informed by these allusions, that by the time he had reached his
twenty-eighth year he had attained such social recognition as to have
enlisted in his behalf the active sympathies of "divers of
worship,"--that is, men of assured social prestige and distinction,--whose
protest against Greene's attack evidently induced Chettle's amends.
Chettle's book was published in December 1592; just four months later,
in April 1593, _Venus and Adonis_ was licensed for publication, and
shortly afterwards was issued with the well-known dedication to Henry
Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. It is reasonable to assume that
this poem and its dedication had been submitted in MS. to Southampton
and held some time previous to the date of the application for licence
to publish, and that his favour was well assured before the poem was
finally let go to press. The few months intervening between Greene's
attack and Chettle's apology, and the application for licence
to publish, may then easily be bridged by the reading in MS. form of
_Venus and Adonis_ by Southampton's friends. It is likely also that
Greene's public attack upon Shakespeare led this generous and
high-spirited nobleman to acquiesce in the use of his name as sponsor
for the publication. The nearness of these dates and incidents gives us
good grounds for believing that the Earl of Southampton was included in
the number referred to by Chettle as "divers of worship." In using the
expression "the qualitie he professes," Chettle plainly referred to
Shakespeare's profession as an actor-manager, and of his excellence in
this respect bears his own record: "myselfe," he writes, "_have seene_
his demeanour no lesse civill than he exelent in the qualitie he
professes." Of Shakespeare's literary merits, however, he expresses no
personal knowledge, but tells us that "divers of worship have reported
his uprightnes of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious
grace in writing that approoves his art." Had Chettle referred to any of
Shakespeare's known dramatic work he could have passed his own judgment,
as in fact he does upon his civility as manager and his excellence as
an actor. Having seen Shakespeare act he would also, no doubt, have
heard his lines declaimed had our poet at that period produced upon the
_public boards_ any of his original dramas. The term "facetious grace"
might well be applied to the manner and matter of Shakespeare's lighter
comedies had any of them been _publicly acted_, but would be somewhat
inapt if applied to the rather stilted staginess of his early historical
work. Much argument has been advanced in various attempts to prove that
Shakespeare produced _Love's Labour's Lost_, _The Two Gentlemen of
Verona_, _Romeo and Juliet_, and _Midsummer Nights Dream_ previous to
the year 1591-92, but no particle of evidence, either external or
internal, has yet been advanced in support of these assumptions; much,
however, has been advanced against them. If we may accept Shakespeare's
own subscribed statement as evidence, and that evidence is truthful,
_Venus and Adonis_ was his first acknowledged original literary effort.
In the dedication to Southampton he distinctly names it "the first heir
of my invention." It is probable, then, that the "facetious grace" in
writing, of which "divers of worship" had reported, referred to this
poem, which had been held then for several months (as were his Sonnets
for years) in MS. "among his private friends."

At the time that Chettle published his _Kinde Heartes Dreame_
Shakespeare had already produced _The Comedy of Errors_ and _King John_,
and had evidently had a hand with Marlowe in the revision of _The True
Tragedie of the Duke of York_. It is unlikely, however, that Chettle had
witnessed a performance of _The Comedy of Errors_, which was produced
primarily for private presentation. _The True Tragedie of the Duke of
York_ and _The Troublesome Raigne of King John_ were both old plays by
other hands, and it was for publishing Greene's attack upon Shakespeare
for his share in the revision of the former, that Chettle now
apologised. He would therefore not regard his revision of _The
Troublesome Raigne_, if he knew of it, as original work. It is evident,
then, Shakespeare's "facetious grace in writing," of which Chettle had
heard, referred either to _Venus and Adonis_, or _The Comedy of Errors_,
or both, neither of which were known to the public at this time.

Friendship may perhaps be too strong a term to apply to the relations
that subsisted at this date between Southampton and Shakespeare, but we
have good proof in Chettle's references to him late in 1592, in the
dedication of _Venus and Adonis_ in 1593, and of _Lucrece_ in 1594, as
well as the first _book_ of Sonnets,--which I shall later show belongs
to the earlier period of their connection,--that the acquaintance
between these two men, at whatever period it may have commenced, was at
least in being towards the end of the year 1592. A brief outline and
examination of the recorded incidents of Southampton's life in these
early years may throw some new light upon the earliest stage of this
acquaintance, especially when those incidents and conditions are
considered _correlatively with the spirit and intention of the poems
which Shakespeare wrote for him, and dedicated to him a little later_.

Thomas Wriothesley, second Earl of Southampton, and father of
Shakespeare's patron, died on 4th October 1581. Henry, his only
surviving son, thus became Earl of Southampton before he had attained
his eighth birthday, and consequently became, and remained until his
majority, a ward of the Crown. The Court of Chancery was at that period
a much simpler institution than it is to-day, and Lord Burghley seems
personally to have exercised the chief functions of that Court in its
relation to wards in Chancery, and also to have monopolised its
privileges. We may infer that this was a position by no means
distasteful to that prudent minister's provident and nepotic spirit.
Burghley was essentially of that type of statesmen who are better
contented with actual power, and its accruing profits, than the
appearance of power and the glory of its trappings. Leicester, Raleigh,
and Essex might, in turn, pose their day as they willed upon the
political stage so long as they confined themselves to subordinate or
ornamental capacities; but whenever they attempted seriously to encroach
upon the reins of power, he set himself to circumvent them with a
patience and finesse that invariably wrought their undoing.

In this system of politics he had an apt pupil in his son, Sir Robert
Cecil, who, viewed through the ages, while presenting a less solid
figure than his father, displays a much more refined and Machiavellian

The attention and care which Burghley bestowed from the beginning upon
his young ward's affairs bespeak an interest within an interest when his
prudent and calculating nature is borne in mind and the later incidents
of his guardianship are considered.

Towards the end of 1585, at the age of twelve, Southampton became a
student of St. John's College, Cambridge, from whence he graduated as
M.A. about four years later, _i.e._ in June 1589. After leaving
Cambridge in 1589, _he lived for over a year with his mother at Cowdray
House in Sussex_. Early in this year, or possibly while Southampton was
still at Cambridge, Burghley had opened negotiations with the Countess
of Southampton with the object of uniting the interests and fortunes of
her son with his own house, by consummating a marriage between this
wealthy and promising young peer and his own granddaughter, Lady
Elizabeth Vere, daughter of the Earl of Oxford. Burghley's extreme
interest in the match is fully attested by a few letters that are still
extant. In the Calendar State Papers we have an apologetic letter from
Sir Thomas Stanhope (whose wife and daughter had recently visited Lady
Southampton at Cowdray) to Lord Burghley, dated 15th July 1590, assuring
him that he had never sought to procure the young Earl of Southampton in
marriage for his daughter, as he knew Burghley intended marriage between
him and the Lady Vere. That an actual engagement of marriage had already
been entered into, we have proof in another letter dated 19th September
1590, from Anthony Brown, Viscount Montague (Southampton's maternal
grandfather), to Lord Burghley. Regarding this engagement he writes,
that Southampton "is not averse from it," and repeats further, that his
daughter, Lady Southampton, is not aware of any alteration in her son's
mind. The tone of this latter epistle does not seem to evince any great
enthusiasm for the match upon the part of either Southampton or his
mother; its rather diffident spirit was not lost upon Burghley, who,
within a few days of its receipt, commanded the attendance of his young
ward at Court. Upon 14th October 1590--that is, less than a month after
Viscount Montague's letter to Burghley--we have a letter from Lady
Southampton announcing her son's departure for London, and commending
him to Burghley, but making no mention of the proposed marriage. _From
the fact that she thanks Burghley for the "long time" he "had intrusted"
her son with her, we may infer that his present departure for London
was occasioned by Burghley's order, and also that the "long time"_
indicated by Lady Southampton's letter, was the interval between
Southampton's leaving Cambridge in June 1589 and his present departure
for London in October 1590. We are also assured by this data that
Southampton had not travelled upon the Continent previous to his coming
to Court. Between the time of his coming to London in October 1590 and
August 1591, I find no dates in contemporary records referring to
Southampton; but it appears evident that these nine months were spent at

Some misgivings regarding the young Earl's desire for the match with his
granddaughter seem to have arisen in Burghley's mind in March 1592, _at
which time Southampton was with the English forces in France_. From this
we may judge that Southampton's departure for the wars was undertaken at
his own initiative and not at Burghley's suggestion. It appears likely
that a lack of marital ardour inspired his martial ardour at this time,
and that Burghley was conscious of his disinclination to the proposed
marriage. In a letter dated 6th March 1592 (new style) Roger Manners
writing to Burghley tells him he has been at North Hall with the
Countess of Warwick, whom he reports as "very well inclined to the match
between the Earl of Bedford and the Lady Vere." "She is desirous to
know," he adds, "if your Lordship approves of it." While this letter
shows that Burghley at this date had doubts regarding Southampton's
fulfilment of his engagement, other inferences lead me to judge that _it
was not finally disrupted until the spring of 1594_.

We have record that Southampton's name was entered as a student of
Gray's Inn in July 1590,--that is, three months before his arrival in
London,--and may therefore assume that some of his subsequent time in
London was occupied in more or less perfunctory legal studies.

As continental travel and an acquaintance with foreign tongues--at least
Italian and French--had then come to be regarded as a part of a
nobleman's education, Burghley, soon after Southampton's coming to
Court, provided him with a tutor of languages in the person of John
Florio, who thereafter continued in his pay and patronage as late as, if
not later than, 1598. Even after this date Southampton continued to
befriend Florio for many years.

As Florio continued in Southampton's service during the entire Sonnet
period and played an important rôle in what shall hereafter be developed
as _The Story of the Sonnets_, and as he shall also be shown to have
provided Shakespeare with a model for several important characters in
_The Plays of the Sonnet Period_, a brief consideration of his heredity
and personal characteristics may help us to realise the manner in which
Shakespeare held "the mirror up to nature" in his dramatic

John Florio was born before 1553 and was the son of Michael Angelo
Florio, a Florentine Protestant, who left Italy in the reign of Henry
VIII. to escape the persecution in the Valteline. Florio's father was
pastor to a congregation of his religious compatriots in London for
several years. He was befriended by Archbishop Cranmer, and was
patronised by Sir William Cecil during the reign of Edward VI.; but lost
his church and the patronage of Cecil on account of charges of gross
immorality that were made against him. We are informed by Anthony Wood
that the elder Florio left England upon the accession of Mary, and moved
to the Continent, probably to France, where John Florio received his
early education. The earliest knowledge we have of John Florio in
England is that he lived at Oxford for several years in his youth, and
that, in or about 1576, he became tutor in Italian to a Mr. Barnes, son
of the Bishop of Durham. In 1581, according to Anthony Wood, Florio
matriculated at Magdalen and was teacher and instructor to certain
scholars at the University. In 1578 he was still living at Oxford when
he dedicated his _First Fruites_ to the Earl of Leicester, his
dedication being dated "From my lodgings in Worcester Place." In 1580 he
dedicated a translation from the Italian of Ramusio to Edward Bray,
sheriff of Oxford, and two years later dedicated to Sir Edmund Dyer a
MS. collection of Italian proverbs, which is also dated from Oxford on
the 12th of November 1582.

Nothing definite is known concerning Florio between 1582 and 1591; in
the latter year he published his _Second Fruites_, dedicating it to a
recent patron, Mr. Nicholas Saunder of Ewell. Between about 1590 and
1591, and the end of 1598 and possibly later, he continued in the pay
and patronage of the Earl of Southampton, dedicating his _Worlde of
Wordes_ in the latter year "To the Right Honourable Patrons of Virtue,
Patterns of Honour, Roger, Earl of Rutland; Henry, Earl of Southampton;
and Lucy, Countess of Bedford." A new and enlarged edition of this book
containing his portrait was published in 1611. In the medallion
surrounding this picture he gives his age as fifty-eight, which would
date his birth in 1553, the year of Queen Mary's accession. It is
probable that Florio understated his age, as he is said to have received
his early education in France and to have returned to England with his
father upon the accession of Elizabeth in 1558. Anthony Wood gives the
date of his birth as 1545, and though I cannot find his authority am
inclined to believe the earlier date to be correct. Florio was vain
enough to prevaricate on a matter of this nature. In 1603 he published
his chief work, a translation of _The Essaies of Montaigne_. Florio was
attached to the Court of James I. as French and Italian tutor to Prince
Henry and the Queen, and also held the appointment of Gentleman of the
Privy Chamber.

Florio was married on 9th September 1617 to a Rose Spicer, of whom
nothing earlier than the marriage record is known. From the facts that
his daughter Aurelia was already married at the time of his death in
1625, and that in his will he leaves her "the wedding ring wherewith I
married her mother," it is evident that Rose Spicer was his second wife.

Following a suggestion made by the Rev. J.H. Halpin, it is supposed that
his first wife was a Rose Daniel, a sister of Samuel Daniel, the poet,
who was Florio's classfellow at Oxford. In the address to dedicatory
verses by Daniel, prefixed to the 1611 edition of Florio's _Worlde of
Wordes_ he calls Florio "My dear friend and brother, Mr. John Florio,
one of the gentlemen of Her Majesties Royal Privy Chamber." From this it
has been supposed that Florio's first wife was Daniel's sister, and Mr.
Halpin inferred that she was named Rose from his assumption that Spenser
refers to her as Rosalinde, and to Florio as Menalcas in _The Shepheards
Calendar_ in 1579. Mr. Grosart, who carefully investigated the matter,
states that Daniel--who in 1611 was also a Gentleman of the Privy
Chamber--had only two sisters, neither of them being named Rose. It is
likely, then, that Daniel referred to his official connection with
Florio by the term "brother," as in 1603, in a similar address to
dedicatory verses prefixed to _Montaigne's Essaies_ he refers to him
only as "My Friend." There is no record of Florio's first marriage.

It is very unlikely, however, that two women named Rose should have come
so intimately into Florio's life, and probable, when all the evidence is
considered, that Rose Spicer, the "dear wife Rose" mentioned in his
will, was the "Rosalinde" of his youth, whom, it appears, he had
seduced, and with whom he had evidently lived in concubinage in the
intervening years; making tardy amends by marriage in 1617, only eight
years before his death. His marriage to Rose Spicer was evidently
brought about by the admonitions of his friend Theophilus Field, Bishop
of Llandaff, under whose influence Florio became religious in his
declining years.

In Florio's will, in which he bequeaths nearly all of his small property
to his "beloved wife Rose," he regrets that he "cannot give or leave her
more in requital of her tender love, loving care, painful diligence, and
_continual labour to me in all my fortunes and many sicknesses_, than
whom never had husband a more loving wife, painful nurse, and
comfortable consort." The words I have italicised indicate conjugal
relations covering a much longer period than the eight years between his
formal marriage in 1617 and his death in 1625. The term "_all my
fortunes_" certainly implies a connection between them antedating
Florio's sixty-fourth year.

We may infer that the Bishop of Llandaff and Florio's pastor, Dr. Cluet,
whom he appointed overseers and executors of his will, held Florio in
light esteem, as "for certain reasons" they renounced its execution. The
Earl of Pembroke, to whom he bequeathed his books, apparently neglected
to avail himself of the legacy, and probably for the same reasons. An
examination of Florio's characteristic will--in the Appendix--will
suggest the nature of these reasons.

Mr. Halpin's inference that Florio as Menalcas had already married
"Rosalinde" in 1596, when the last books of _The Faerie Queen_ were
published, is deduced from the idea that the originals for "Mirabella"
and the "Carle and fool" of the _The Faerie Queen_ are identical with
those for "Rosalinde" and "Menalcas" of _The Shepheards Calendar_. While
it is probable that Spenser had the same originals in mind in both
cases, an analysis of his verses in _The Faerie Queen_ shows that the
"Carle and fool," who accompany Mirabella, represent two persons, _i.e._
"Disdaine" and "Scorne." In the following verses Mirabella speaks:

     "In prime of youthly yeares, when first the flowre
     Of beauty gan to bud, and bloosme delight,
     And Nature me endu'd with plenteous dowre
     Of all her gifts, that pleased each living sight,
     I was belov'd of many a gentle Knight,
     And sude and sought with all the service dew:
     Full many a one for me deepe groand and sight,
     And to the dore of death for sorrow drew,
     Complayning _out on me_ that would not on them rew.

     But let them love that list, or live or die,
     Me list not die for any lovers doole;
     Ne list me leave my loved libertie
     To pitty him that list to play the foole;
     To love myselfe I learned had in schoole.
     Thus I triumphed long in lovers paine.
     And sitting carelesse on the scorners stoole,
     Did laugh at those that did lament and plaine;
     But all is now repayd with interest againe.

     For loe! the winged God that woundeth harts
     Causde me be called to accompt therefore;
     And for revengement of those wrongfull smarts,
     Which I to others did inflict afore,
     Addeem'd me to endure this penaunce sore;
     _That in this wise, and this unmeete array,
     With these two lewd companions, and no more,
     Disdaine and Scorne, I through the world should stray._"

Assuming "Mirabella" and "Rosalinde" to indicate the same woman, _i.e._
Rose Spicer, whom Florio married in 1617, but with whom he had been
living in concubinage for about eighteen years when the last three books
of _The Faerie Queen_ were published, Mirabella's penance of being
forced to "stray through the world" accompanied by "Disdaine" and
"Scorne," would match her plight as Florio's mistress, but would not
apply to her as his wife.

The Rosalinde indicated by Spenser was undoubtedly a north of England
girl, while Samuel Daniel belonged to a Somerset family. While it is
certain that Florio was married before 1617, it is evident he did not
marry a Miss Daniel, and that Menalcas had not married Rosalinde in
1596; yet it is practically certain that Spenser refers to Florio as
Menalcas, and that Shakespeare recognised that fact in 1592 and
pilloried Florio to the initiated of his day as Parolles in _Love's
Labour's Won_ in this connection. Florio habitually signed himself
"Resolute John Florio" to acquaintances, obligations, dedications, etc.
When he commenced this practice I cannot learn, but the use of the word
was known to Spenser in 1579, as the Greek word Menalcas means Resolute.
It is not difficult to fathom Spenser's meaning in regard to the
relations between Menalcas and Rosalinde, and it is clear that he had a
poor opinion of the moral character of the former, and plainly charges
him with seduction.

     "And thou, Menalcas, that by treacheree
     Didst underfong my lasse to waxe so light,
     Shouldest well be known for such thy villanee.
     But since I am not as I wish I were,
     Ye gentle Shepheards, which your flocks do feede,
     Whether on hylls, or dales, or other where,
     Beare witnesse all of thys so wicked deede:
     And tell the lasse, whose flowre is woxe a weede,
     And faultlesse fayth is turned to faithlesse fere,
     That she the truest shepheards hart made bleede,
     That lyves on earth, and loved her most dere."

The very unusual word "underfong" which Spenser uses in these verses,
and the gloss which he appends to the verses of _The Shepheards
Calendar_ for June, were not lost upon Shakespeare. Spenser, in the
glossary, writes: "Menalcas, the name of a shephearde in Virgile; but
here is meant a person unknowne and secrete, against whome he often
bitterly invayeth. _Underfonge_, undermyne, and deceive by false
suggestion." The immoral flippancy of the remarkable dialogue between
the disreputable Parolles and the otherwise sweet and maidenly Helena,
in Act I. Scene i. of _All's Well that Ends Well_, has often been
noticed by critics as a peculiar lapse in dramatic congruity on the part
of Shakespeare. This is evidently one of several such instances in his
plays where he sacrificed his objective dramatic art to a subjective
contingency, though by doing so undoubtedly adding a greater interest to
contemporary presentations not only by the palpable reflection of
Spenser's point at Florio in the play on the word "undermine" in a
similar connection, but also as reflecting the wide latitude his
Italianate breeding and manners and his Mediterranean unmorality allowed
him and his type to take in conversing with English gentlewomen at that

The Rev. J.H. Halpin was not far from the truth in saying that "Florio
was beset with tempers and oddities which exposed him more perhaps than
any man of his time to the ridicule of his contemporaries"; and that "he
was in his literary career, jealous, vain, irritable, pedantic,
bombastical, petulant, and quarrelsome, ever on the watch for an
affront, always in the attitude of a fretful porcupine."

Florio became connected as tutor of languages with the Earl of
Southampton some time before the end of April 1591, when he issued his
_Second Fruites_ and dedicated it to his recent patron, Nicholas Saunder
of Ewell. In this publication there is a passage which not only exhibits
the man's unblushing effrontery, but also gives us a passing glimpse of
his early relations with his noble patron, the spirit of which
Shakespeare reflects in Falstaff's impudent familiarity with Prince Hal.
This passage serves also to show that at the time it was written, the
last of April 1591, Florio had entered the pay and patronage of the Earl
of Southampton. He introduces two characters as follows, and, with true
Falstaffian assurance, gives them his own and the Earl of Southampton's
Christian names, Henry and John. Falstaff invariably addresses the
Prince as Hal.

   HENRY. Let us make a match at tennis.

   JOHN. Agreed, this fine morning calls for it.

   HENRY. And after, we will go to dinner, and after dinner we will see
   a play.

   JOHN. The plaies they play in England are neither right comedies nor
   right tragedies.

   HENRY. But they do nothing but play every day.

   JOHN. Yea: but they are neither right comedies nor right tragedies.

   HENRY. How would you name them then?

   JOHN. Representations of history, without any decorum.

It shall later be shown that Chapman also noticed Florio's presumption
in this instance, and that he recognised the fact, or else assumed as a
fact, that Florio's stricture on English historical drama was directed
against Shakespeare.

We may judge from the conversation between Henry and John that
Southampton, in attaining a colloquial knowledge of French and Italian,
entered into intimate relations with Florio, and from the interest that
he displayed in dramatic affairs in later years, that during his first
year in London he would be likely frequently to witness the performance
of plays in the public theatres. It is probable, then, that he would
have seen performances by both Pembroke's and Strange's companies in
this year.

It is evident that an acquaintance between the Earl of Southampton and
Shakespeare was not formed previous to Southampton's coming to Court in
November 1590. A first acquaintance undoubtedly had its inception
between that date and Southampton's departure for France early in 1592.
I shall now develop evidence for my belief that their first acquaintance
was made upon the occasion of the Queen's progress to Cowdray and
Tichfield House in August and September 1591.

I find no record in the State Papers concerning Southampton between the
date of his departure from home for the Court in October 1590, and 2nd
March 1592 (new style), when he wrote from Dieppe to the Earl of Essex.
We may, however, infer that he was still in England on 15th August 1591,
the date of the arrival of the Queen and Court at Cowdray House. _It is
evident also that the progress would not have proceeded a week later to
his own county seat, Tichfield House, unless he was present._ We have
evidence in the State Papers that the itineraries of the Queen's
progresses were usually planned by Burghley; the present progress to
Cowdray and Tichfield was undoubtedly arranged _in furtherance of his
matrimonial plans for his granddaughter and Southampton_. The records of
this progress give us details concerning the entertainments for the
Queen, which were given at some of the other noblemen's houses she
visited; the verses, masques, and plays being still preserved in a few
instances, even where she tarried for only a few days. The Court
remained at Cowdray House for a full week. No verses nor plays recited
or performed upon this occasion, nor upon the occasion of her visit, a
week later, to the Earl of Southampton's house at Tichfield, have been
preserved in the records. It is very probable, however, in the light of
the facts to follow, _that our poet and his fellow-players attended the
Earl of Southampton, both at Cowdray House and at Tichfield, during this
progress_. In the description of the Queen's entertainment during her
stay at Cowdray, I find a most suggestive resemblance to much of the
action and plot of _Love's Labours Lost_. The Queen and Court arrived at
Cowdray House at eight o'clock on Saturday evening, 15th August. That
night, the records tell us, "her Majesty took her rest and so in like
manner the next, which was Sunday, being most royally feasted, the
proportion of breakfast being 3 oxen and 140 geese." "The next day," we
are informed, "she rode in the park where a delicate bower" was prepared
and "a nymph with a sweet song delivered her a crossbow to shoot at the
deer of which she killed three or four and the Countess of Kildare one."
In _Love's Labour's Lost_ the Princess and her ladies shoot at deer from
a coppice.

   PRINCESS. Then, forester, my friend, where is the bush
                      That we must stand and play the murderer in?

   FOR.      Hereby, upon the edge of yonder coppice;
                      A stand where you may make the fairest shoot.

In Act IV. Scene ii., Holofernes makes an "extemporal epitaph on the
death of the deer," which is reminiscent of the "sweet song" delivered
to the Queen by "the nymph."

   HOL. Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph on the death
   of the deer? And, to humour the ignorant, call I the deer the
   princess killed a pricket.

       *       *       *       *       *

   I will something affect the letter, for it argues facility.

   The preyful princess pierced and prick'd a pretty pleasing pricket;
     Some say a sore, but not a sore, till now made sore with shooting.
   The dogs did yell; put L to sore, then sorel jumps from thicket;
     Or pricket sore, or else sorel; the people fall a-hooting.
   If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores one sorel.
   Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one more L.

_In a former publication I have shown that an antagonism had developed
between Shakespeare and Chapman as early as the year 1594, and in a more
recent one have shown Matthew Roydon's complicacy with Chapman in his
hostility to Shakespeare, and also Shakespeare's cognizance of it._ I
have displayed Shakespeare's answers to the attacks of these scholars in
his caricature of Chapman as Holofernes, and of the curate Roydon as the
curate Nathaniel. Chapman's attack upon Shakespeare in 1593 in the early
_Histriomastix_ and his reflection of the Earl of Southampton as
Mavortius give evidence that his hostility owed its birth to
Shakespeare's success in winning the patronage and friendship of
Southampton; unless Chapman and Roydon had already solicited this
nobleman's patronage, or had at least come into contact with him in some
manner, and considered themselves displaced by Shakespeare, both the
virulence of their opposition to our poet, and the manner and matter of
Chapman's slurs against him in _Histriomastix_, and in the dedications
of his poems to Matthew Roydon in 1594-95, are unaccountable.

It is likely that Matthew Roydon was one of the theological poets--who
wrote anonymously for the stage--mentioned by Robert Greene in the
introduction to _The Farewell to Folly_, which was published in 1591.
It is probable also that Roydon is referred to as a writer for the stage
in Greene's _Groatsworth of Wit_, where, after indicating Marlowe,
Peele, and Nashe, he says:

   "In this I might insert two more who have both writ against (for)
   these buckram gentlemen."

Now seeing that both Roydon and Chapman are satirised by Shakespeare in
_Love's Labours Lost_, it occurs to me that the "preyful Princess"
verses quoted above (which display parody in every line) are intended by
Shakespeare to caricature the known work of the author of the sweet song
delivered to the Queen by the nymph, and consequently that this song was
from the pen of one of this learned couple. As I have already noticed,
in the records of the Queen's stay at the other noblemen's houses that
she visited on this progress, many verses and songs appear which were
written specially for these occasions, while no songs, nor verses, have
been preserved from the Cowdray or Tichfield festivities, occasions when
they would be likely to have been used, considering Southampton's
interest in literary matters and the court paid to him by the writers of
the day. Among the poems which I have collected that I attribute to
Roydon, I have elsewhere noticed one that Shakespeare makes fun of at a
later time in _Midsummer Night's Dream_--that is, _The Shepherd's
Slumber_. This poem deals with the exact season of the year when the
Queen was at Cowdray--"peascod time"--and also with the killing of deer,

     "when hound to horn gives ear till buck be killed";

and in one verse describes just such methods of killing deer as is
suggested, both in _Love's Labours Lost_ and in _Nichol's Progresses_,
which latter records the entertainment for the Queen at Cowdray House.

     "And like the deer, I make them fall!
     That runneth o'er the lawn.
     One drops down here! another there!
     In bushes as they groan;
     I bend a scornful, careless ear,
     To hear them make their moan."

May not this be the identical "sweet song" delivered by the nymph to the
Queen, and the occasion of the progress to Cowdray, in 1591, indicate
the entry of Roydon and Chapman into the rivalry between Shakespeare and
the scholars inaugurated two years earlier by Greene and Nashe?

This poem which I attribute to Roydon has all the manner of an
occasional production and is about as senseless as most of his other
"absolute comicke inventions." The masque-like allegory it exhibits,
introducing "Delight," "Wit," "Good Sport," "Honest Meaning" as persons,
was much affected by the Queen and Court in their entertainments. At the
marriage of Lord Herbert, son of the Earl of Worcester, in 1599, a
masque was given for the Queen in which we are told eight ladies of the
Court performed. One of these ladies "wooed her to dawnce, her Majesty
asked what she was, affection she said, affection, said the Queen,
affection is false, yet her Majesty rose and dawnced." During the stay
at Cowdray similar make-believe and allegory were evidently used in the
entertainments given for the Queen. Roydon's poem may, like _Love's
Labours Lost_, be a reflection of such courtly nonsense.

During the first three days of the Queen's stay at Cowdray she was
feasted and entertained (the records inform us) by Lady Montague, but on
the fourth day "she dined at the Priory," where Lord Montague kept
bachelor's hall, and whither he had retired to receive and entertain
the Queen without the assistance of Lady Montague. This reception and
entertainment of the Queen by Lord Montague was, no doubt, accompanied
by fantastic allegory--Lord Montague and his friends playing the parts
of hermits, or philosophers in retreat, as in the case of the King of
Navarre and his friends in _Love's Labour's Lost_. The paucity of plot
in this play has been frequently noticed, and no known basis for its
general action and plot has ever been discovered or proposed.

At this time (1591) Shakespeare had been in London only from four to
five years, and, judging from the prominence in his profession which he
shortly afterwards attained, we may be assured that these were years of
patient drudgery in his calling. Neither in his Stratford years, nor
during these inceptive theatrical years, would he be likely to have had
much, if any, previous experience with the social life of the nobility;
yet here, in what is recognised by practically all critical students as
his earliest comedy, the original composition of which is dated by the
best text critics in, or about, 1591, he displays an intimate
acquaintance with their sports and customs which in spirit and detail
most significantly coincide with the actual records of the Queen's
progress, late in 1591, to Cowdray House, the home of the mother of the
nobleman whose fortunes, from this time forward for a period of from ten
to fifteen years, may be shown to have influenced practically every poem
and play he produced.

As the incidents of the Queen's stay at Cowdray are reflected in the
plot and action of _Loves Labour's Lost_, so, in _All's Well that Ends
Well_, or, at least, in those portions of that play recognised by the
best critics as the remains of the older play of _Love's Labour's Won_,
the incidents and atmosphere of the Queen's stay at Tichfield House are
also suggested. The gentle and dignified Countess of Rousillon suggests
the widowed Countess of Southampton; the wise and courtly Lafeu gives us
a sketch of Sir Thomas Heneage, the Vice-Chamberlain of the Court, who
married Lady Southampton about three years later. Bertram's
insensibility to Helena's love, and indifference to her charms, as well
as his departure for the French Court, coincide with the actual facts in
the case of Southampton, who at this time was apathetic to the match
planned by his friends, and who also left home for France shortly after
the Queen's visit to Cowdray. Parolles is, I am convinced, a caricature
from life, and in his original characterisation in _Love's Labour's Won_
was probably a replica of the original Armado of the earliest form of
_Love's Labours Lost_. Both of these characters I believe I can
demonstrate to be early sketches, or caricatures, of John Florio, the
same individual who is caricatured in _Henry IV._ and the _Merry Wives
of Windsor_ as Sir John Falstaff. The characterisation of Parolles as we
have it in _All's Well that Ends Well_ is probably much more accentuated
than the Parolles of the earlier form of the play, in which he would
most likely have been presented as a fantastical fop, somewhat of the
order of Armado. By the time the earlier play of 1591-92 was rewritten
into its present form, in 1598, the original of the character of
Parolles had in Shakespeare's opinion developed also into a "misleader
of youth"; in fact, into another Falstaff, minus the adipose tissue.

As both _Loves Labour's Lost_ and _Love's Labour's Won_ (_All's Well
that Ends Well_ in its early form) reflect persons and incidents of the
Cowdray-Tichfield progress, it is evident that both plays were composed
after the event. It is of interest then to consider which, if any, of
Shakespeare's plays were likely to have been presented upon that

As this narrative and argument develop, a date of composition later than
the date of the Cowdray progress--when Shakespeare first formed the
acquaintance of the Earl of Southampton--and based upon subjective
evidence regarding the poet's relations with this nobleman, yet
coinciding with the chronological conclusions of the best text critics,
shall be demonstrated for all of Shakespeare's early plays with the
exception of _King John_ and _The Comedy of Errors_. In all the early
plays except these two I find palpable time reflections of Shakespeare's
interest in the Earl of Southampton or his affairs. I therefore date the
original composition of both of these early plays previous to the
Cowdray progress, in September 1591. I have already advanced my evidence
for the original composition of Shakespeare's _King John_ early in 1591.
I cannot so palpably demonstrate the composition of _The Comedy of
Errors_ in this year, but, following the lead of the great majority of
the text critics who date its composition in this year, and finding no
internal reflection of Southampton or his affairs, I infer that it was
written after the composition of _King John_, before Shakespeare had
made Southampton's acquaintance and intentionally for presentation
before the Queen and Court at Cowdray or Tichfield. The fact that _The
Comedy of Errors_ is the shortest of all Shakespeare's plays, the
farce-like nature of the play and its recorded presentation in 1594
before the members of Gray's Inn, with which Southampton was connected,
marks it as one of the plays originally composed for private rather than
for public presentation. It is evident that it never proved sufficiently
popular upon the public boards to warrant its enlargement to the size of
the average publicly presented play.

While I cannot learn the actual date at which Southampton left England,
we have proof in a letter written by him to the Earl of Essex, that he
was in France upon 2nd March 1592.

When we take into consideration the fact that this visit of the Queen's
to Cowdray and Tichfield was arranged by Burghley in furtherance of his
plans to marry his granddaughter to the Earl of Southampton, and that
Shakespeare's earlier sonnets (which I shall argue were written with the
intention of forwarding this match) are of a period very slightly later
than this, it is evident that the incidents of the Queen's stay at
Cowdray and Tichfield would become known to Shakespeare by report, even
though he was not himself present upon those occasions. The plot of the
first four Acts of _Love's Labour's Lost_, such as it is, bears such a
strong resemblance to the recorded incidents of that visit as to suggest
reminiscence much more than hearsay.

While Burghley in this affair was, no doubt, primarily seeking a
suitable alliance for his granddaughter, the rather hurried and
peremptory manner of Southampton's invitation to Court may partially be
accounted for by other motives, when the conditions of the Court and its
intrigues at that immediate period are considered.

The long struggle for political supremacy between Burghley and
Elizabeth's first, and most enduring favourite, Robert Dudley, Earl of
Leicester, came to an end in 1588 through the death of Leicester in that
year. While Elizabeth's faith in Burghley's political wisdom was never
at any time seriously shaken by the counsels of her more polished and
courtly confidant, Leicester, there was a period in her long flirtation
with the latter nobleman when the great fascination, which he
undoubtedly exercised over her, seemed likely to lead her into a course
which would completely alter, not only the political complexion of the
Court, but possibly also the actual destinies of the Crown. There was
never at any period of their career any love lost between Burghley and
Leicester; the latter, in the heyday of his favour, frequently expressed
himself in such plain terms regarding Burghley that he could have had
little doubt of the disastrous effect upon his own fortunes which might
ensue from the consummation of Leicester's matrimonial ambitions. He,
withal, wisely gauged the character and limits of Leicester's influence
with Elizabeth. While Leicester played upon the vanities and weakness of
the woman, Burghley appealed to the strong mentality and love of power
of the queen; yet though he unceasingly opposed Leicester's projects and
ambitions, wherein they threatened his own political supremacy, or the
good of the State, he seems to have recognised the impossibility of
undermining the Queen's personal regard for her great favourite, which
continued through all the years of his selfish, blundering, and criminal
career, down to the day of his death. While Leicester also in time
appears to have realised the impossibility of seriously impairing
Burghley's power, he, to the last, lost no opportunity of baffling that
minister's more cherished personal policies. In introducing his stepson,
Essex, to Court life and the notice of the Queen, in 1583, it is evident
that he had in mind designs other than the advancement of his young
kinsman. Essex, from the first, seems to have realised in whose shoes he
trod, and for the first ten years of his life at Court fully maintained
the Leicester tradition, and seemed likely in time even to refine upon
and enhance it. Had this young nobleman possessed ordinary equipoise of
temper it is questionable if Burghley would later have succeeded in
securing the succession of his own place and power to his son, Sir
Robert Cecil. Preposterous as it may seem, when judged from a modern
point of view, that the personal influence of this youth of twenty-three
with the now aged Queen should in any serious measure have menaced the
firm power and cautious policies of the experienced Burghley, we have
abundance of evidence that he and his son regarded Essex's growing
ascendancy as no light matter. From their long experience and intimate
association with Elizabeth, and knowing her vanities and weaknesses, as
well as her strength, they apprehended in her increasing favour for
Essex the beginning and rooting of a power which might in time
disintegrate their own solid foundations. The subtlety, dissimulation,
and unrelenting persistency with which Burghley and his son opposed
themselves to Essex's growing influence while yet posing as his
confidants and well-wishers, fully bespeak the measure of their fears.
While Burghley himself lacked the polished manners and graceful presence
of the courtier, which so distinguished Raleigh, Leicester, and Essex,
and owed his influence and power entirely to qualities of the mind and
his indefatigable application to business, he had come to recognise the
importance of these more ornamental endowments in securing and holding
the regard of Elizabeth. His son, Sir Robert Cecil, who was not only
puny and deformed, but also somewhat sickly all his days, made, and
could make, no pretensions to courtier-like graces, and must depend for
Court favour, to a yet greater degree than his father, upon his own
powers of mind and will. To combat Essex's social influence at Court,
these two more clerkly politicians, soon after Essex's appearance,
proceeded to supplement their own power by making an ally of the
accomplished Raleigh; to whom, previous to this, they had shown little
favour. They soon succeeded in fomenting a rivalry between these two
courtiers which, with some short periods of truce, continued until their
combined machinations finally brought Essex to the block. How Sir Robert
Cecil, having used Raleigh as a tool against Essex, in turn effected his
political ruin shall be shown in due course.

We shall now return to Southampton and to the period of his coming to
London and the Court, towards the end of October, in the year 1590. A
recent biographer of Shakespeare, writing of Southampton, sums up the
incidents of this period in the following generalisation: "It was
naturally to the Court that his friends sent him at an early age to
display his varied graces. He can hardly have been more than seventeen
when he was presented to his Sovereign. She showed him kindly notice,
and the Earl of Essex, her brilliant favourite, acknowledged his
fascination. Thenceforth Essex displayed in his welfare a brotherly
interest which proved in course of time a very doubtful blessing." This
not only hurries the narrative but also misconstrues the facts and
ignores the most interesting phases of the friendship between these
noblemen, as they influenced Southampton's subsequent connection with
Shakespeare. Essex may have acknowledged Southampton's fascination at
this date, though I find no evidence that he did do so, but for the
assertion that he "_thenceforth_" displayed in his welfare a brotherly
interest there is absolutely no basis. All reasonable inference, and
some actual evidence, lead me to quite divergent conclusions regarding
the relations that subsisted between these young noblemen at this early
date. Southampton's interests, it is true, became closely interwoven
with those of Essex at a somewhat later period when he had become
enamoured of Essex's cousin, Elizabeth Vernon, whom he eventually
married. The inception of this latter affair cannot, however, at the
earliest, be dated _previous to the late spring of 1594_. At whatever
date Southampton and Essex became intimate friends, there can be no
doubt _that such a conjunction was contrary to Burghley's intentions in
bringing Southampton to the Court in October 1590_. In making use of
Raleigh to counteract Essex's influence with the Queen, the Cecils were
well aware, as their subsequent treatment of Raleigh proves, that they
might in him augment a power which, if opposed to their own, would prove
even more dangerous than that of Essex; yet feeling the need of a friend
and ally in the more intimately social life of the Court, whose
interests would be identical with their own, they chose what appeared to
them an auspicious moment to introduce their graceful and accomplished
protégé and prospective kinsman, to the notice of the Queen, whose
predilection for handsome young courtiers seemed to increase with
advancing age.

Essex, although then but in his twenty-sixth year, had spent nearly six
years at Court. During this period he had been so spoiled and petted by
his doting Sovereign that he had already upon several occasions
temporarily turned her favour to resentment by his arrogance and
ill-humour. In his palmiest days even Leicester had never dared to take
the liberties with the Queen now, at times, indulged in by this
brilliant but wilful youth. In exciting Essex's hot and hasty temper the
watchful Cecils soon found their most effectual means of defence. Early
in the summer of 1590, Essex, piqued by the Queen's refusal of a favour,
committed what was, up till that time, his most wilful breach of Court
decorum and flagrant instance of opposition to the Queen's wishes. Upon
the 6th of April in that year the office of Secretary of State became
vacant by the death of Sir Francis Walsingham. Shortly afterward, Essex
endeavoured to secure the office for William Davison, who, previous to
1587, had acted in the capacity of assistant to Walsingham and was
therefore presumably well qualified for the vacant post. Upon the
execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1587, Elizabeth, in disavowing her
responsibility for the act, had made a scapegoat of Davison, who, she
claimed, had secured her signature to the death-warrant by
misrepresentation, and had proceeded with its immediate execution
contrary to her commands. Though she deceived no one but herself by this
characteristic duplicity, she never retreated from the stand she had
taken, but, feeling conscious that she was doubted, to enforce belief in
her sincerity, maintained her resentment against Davison to the last.
Upon Elizabeth's refusal of the Secretaryship to his luckless protégé,
Essex, in dudgeon, absented himself from the Court, and within a few
weeks chose a yet more effectual means of exasperating the Queen by
privately espousing Sir Francis Walsingham's daughter, Lady Sidney,
widow of the renowned Sir Philip. When knowledge of this latest action
reached the Queen her anger was kindled to a degree that (to the Court
gossips) seemed to preclude Essex's forgiveness, or the possibility of
his reinstatement in favour. With the intention of increasing Essex's
ill-humour and still further estranging him from the Queen, Burghley now
proposed that all his letters and papers be seized. _He also chose this
period of estrangement to introduce his prospective grandson-in-law,
Southampton, to the Court._ The very eagerness of Essex's enemies,
however, appears to have cooled the Queen's anger, as we find that
within a month of Southampton's arrival at the Court--that is, on 26th
November--Essex is reported as "once more in good favour with the

In the light of the foregoing facts and deductions, it does not seem
likely that Burghley would encourage a friendship between Essex and
Southampton. The assumption that he would (at least tacitly) seek rather
to provoke a rivalry is under the circumstances more reasonable. Though
I find no record in the State Papers of this immediate date that
hostility was aroused between these young courtiers, in a paper of a
later date, which refers to this time, I find fair proof that such a
condition of affairs did at this period actually exist. In the
declaration of the treason of the Earl of Essex, 1600-1, in the State
Papers we have the following passage: "There was present this day at the
Council, the Earl of Southampton, with whom in former times he (Essex)
_had been at some emulations and differences at Court_, but after,
Southampton, having married his kinswoman (Elizabeth Vernon), plunged
himself wholly into his fortunes," etc.

Though the matrimonial engagement between Burghley's granddaughter and
Southampton never reached its consummation, and we have evidence in
Roger Manners' letter of 6th March 1592 that some doubt in regard to its
fulfilment had even then arisen in Court circles, we have good grounds
for assuming that all hope for the union was not abandoned by Burghley
till a later date. Lady Elizabeth Vere eventually married the Earl of
Derby in January 1595. This marriage was arranged for in the summer of
the preceding year, and after the Earl of Derby had come into his titles
and estates, through the death of his elder brother, in April 1594.

Referring again to the State Papers, we have on 15th August 1594 the
statement of a Jesuit, named Edmund Yorke, who is reported as saying
"Burghley poisoned the Earl of Derby so as to marry his granddaughter to
his brother." Fernando Stanley, Earl of Derby, died under suspicious
circumstances after a short illness, and it was reported at the time
that he was poisoned. As he had recently been instrumental in bringing
about the execution of a prominent Jesuit, whom he had accused of having
approached him with seditious proposals, it was believed at the time
that an emissary of that society was concerned in his death. While
disregarding Yorke's atrocious imputation against Burghley, we may
safely date the inception of the negotiations leading to Elizabeth
Vere's marriage somewhere after 16th April, the date of the preceding
Earl's death; Burghley did not choose younger sons in marriage for his
daughters or granddaughters. Thus we are fully assured that, at however
earlier a date the prospects for a marriage between Southampton and Lady
Vere were abandoned, they had ceased to be entertained by the early
summer of 1594. Shortly after this, Southampton's infatuation for
Elizabeth Vernon had its inception. The intensity of the young
nobleman's early interest in this latter affair quite precludes the
necessity for Shakespeare's poetical incitements thereto; we may
therefore refer the group of sonnets, in which Shakespeare urges his
friend's marriage, to the more diffident affair of the earlier years and
to a period antedating the publication of _Venus and Adonis_ in May
1593. A comparison of the argument of _Venus and Adonis_ with that of
the first book of Sonnets will indicate a common date of production, and
that Shakespeare wrote both poems with the same purpose in view.



Probably the most remarkable and interesting æsthetic study of a single
Shakespearean character ever produced is Maurice Morgann's _Essay on the
Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff_, which was written in 1774, and
first published in 1777. This excellent piece of criticism deserves a
much wider cognizance than it has ever attained; only three editions
have since been issued.

Morgann's _Essay_ was originally undertaken in jest, in order to
disprove the assertion made by an acquaintance that Falstaff was a
coward; but, inspired by his subject, it was continued and finished in
splendid earnest. As his analysis of the character of Falstaff becomes
more intimate his wonder grows at the concrete human personality he
apprehends. Falstaff ceases to be a fictive creation, or the mere
dramatic representation of a type, and takes on a distinctive
individuality. He writes:

   "The reader will not now be surprised if I affirm that those
   characters in Shakespeare, which are seen only in part, are yet
   capable of being unfolded and understood in the whole; every part
   being in fact relative, and inferring all the rest. It is true that
   the point of action or sentiment, which we are most concerned in, is
   always held out for our special notice. But who does not perceive
   that there is a peculiarity about it, which conveys a relish of the
   whole? And very frequently, when no particular point presses, he
   boldly makes a character act and speak from those parts of the
   composition, which are inferred only, and not distinctly shewn. This
   produces a wonderful effect; it seems to carry us beyond the poet to
   nature itself, and give an integrity and truth to facts and
   character, which they would not otherwise obtain. And this is in
   reality that art in Shakespeare, which being withdrawn from our
   notice, we more emphatically call nature. A felt propriety and truth
   from causes unseen, I take to be the highest point of Poetic
   composition. If the characters of Shakespeare are thus whole, and as
   it were original, while those of almost all other writers are mere
   imitation, it may be fit to consider them rather as Historic than
   Dramatic beings; and, when occasion requires, to account for their
   conduct from the whole of character, from general principles, from
   latent motives, and from policies not avowed."

Morgann was closer to the secret of Shakespeare's art than he realised;
he had really penetrated to the truth without knowing it. The reason
that his fine analytical sense had led him to feel that "it may be fit
to consider them rather as Historic than Dramatic beings" is the fact
that in practically every instance where a very distinctive
Shakespearean character, such as Falconbridge, Falstaff, Armado,
Malvolio, and Fluellen, acts and speaks "from those parts of the
composition, which are inferred only, and not distinctly shewn," the
characters so apprehended may be shown by the light of contemporary
social, literary, or political records to have been, in some measure, a
reflection of a living model. Shakespeare had literally, in his own
phrase, held "the mirror up to nature"; the reflection, however, being
heightened and vivified by the infusion of his own rare sensibility, and
the power of his dramatic genius.

With all his genius Shakespeare was yet mortal, and human creativeness
cannot transcend nature. What we call creativeness, even in the greatest
artists, is but a fineness of sensibility and cognition, or rather
recognition, coupled with the power to express what they see and feel in

As a large number of Shakespeare's plays were written primarily for
private or Court presentation, to edify or amuse his patron and his
patron's friends, or with their immediate political or factional
interests in mind to influence the Court in their favour, the shadowed
purposes of such plays, the acting or speaking of a character "from
those parts of the composition, which are inferred only, and not
distinctly shewn," as well as a number of hitherto supposedly
inexplicable asides and allusions, such as Bottom's "reason and love
keep little company together nowadays; the more the pity, that some
honest neighbours will not make them friends," would give to those
acquaintances who were in Shakespeare's confidence an added zest and
interest in such plays quite lacking to the uninitiated, or to a modern

I propose in this chapter to demonstrate the facts that John Florio--the
translator of _Montaigne's Essays_ and tutor of languages to
Shakespeare's patron, the Earl of Southampton--was Shakespeare's
original for Sir John Falstaff and other of his characters; that the
Earl of Southampton and Lady Southampton were cognizant of the shadowed
identity, and that Florio himself recognised and angrily resented the
characterisation when a knowledge of its personal application had spread
among their mutual acquaintances.

In preceding chapters and in former books[29] I have advanced evidence
of a cumulative nature for Southampton's identity as the patron
addressed in the Sonnets; the identity of Chapman as the "rival poet,"
and Shakespeare's caricature of him as Holofernes; the identity of
Matthew Roydon as the author of _Willobie his Avisa_, as well as
Shakespeare's caricature of him as the curate Nathaniel; and the
identity of Mistress Davenant as the "dark lady" of the Sonnets. If,
then, we find in the same plays in which these personal reflections are
shown a certain distinctly marked type of character, bearing stronger
_prima facie_ evidence than the others of having been developed from a
living original, may we not reasonably infer that the individual so
represented might also have been linked in life in some manner
approximating to his relations in the play, with the lives and interests
of the other persons shadowed forth?

With this idea in mind I have searched all available records relating to
Southampton, in the hope of finding among his intimates an individual
whose personality may have suggested Shakespeare's characterisation, or
caricature, set forth in the successive persons of Armado, Parolles, and
Sir John Falstaff. The traceable incidents of John Florio's life, his
long and intimate association with Shakespeare's patron, and reasonable
inferences for the periods where actual record of him is wanting, gave
probability, in my judgment, to his identity as Shakespeare's original
for these and other characters. A further consideration of the man's
personality, temperament, and mental habitude, as I could dimly trace
them in his few literary remains that afford scope for unconscious
self-revelation, left no doubt in my mind as to his identity as
Shakespeare's model.

Supposing it to be impossible, with our present records, to visualise
Shakespeare more definitely in his contemporary environment, it has been
common with biographers, in their endeavours to link him with the men of
his times, to draw imaginative pictures of his intimate and friendly
personal relations with such men as Sir Walter Raleigh, Bacon, Chapman,
Marston, and others, equally improbable, forgetting the social
distinctions, the scholastic prejudices, and still more, the religious
or political animosities that divided men in public life in those days,
as they do, though in a lesser degree, to-day. The intimate relations of
the Earl of Southampton with Lord Burghley, during the earliest period
of his Court life, when he was affianced to Burghley's granddaughter,
and his later intimacy with the Earl of Essex and with the gentlemen of
the Essex faction, coupled with Shakespeare's sympathy with the cause of
his patron and his patron's friends, must be borne in mind in any
endeavour that is made to trace in the plays either Shakespeare's
political leanings or his probable affiliations with, or antagonisms to,
his early contemporaries. The natural jealousies that would arise
between the followers, dependants, or protégés of a liberal patron must
also be considered.

John Florio became connected, in the capacity of Italian tutor, with the
Earl of Southampton late in the year 1590, or early in 1591, shortly
after his coming to Court, and a little before Southampton first began
to show favour to Shakespeare. We have Florio's own statement for the
fact that he continued in Southampton's "pay and patronage" at least as
late as 1598, in which year he published his _Worlde of Wordes_. Whether
or not he continued in Southampton's service after this date is
uncertain, but we may safely impute to that nobleman's good offices the
favour shown to him by James I. and his Queen in 1604, and later.

From the first time that Shakespeare and Florio were thrown together,
through their mutual connection with Southampton, in or about 1591, down
to the year 1609, when the Sonnets were issued at the instigation of
Shakespeare's literary rivals, I find intermittent traces of antagonism
between them, and also of Florio's intimacy and sympathy with Chapman
and his friends. In later years, Chapman, Jonson, and Marston, however,
seem to have recognised in Florio an unstable ally, and tacitly to have
regarded him as a selfish and shifty opportunist. Florio appears to have
used his intimacy with Southampton, and his knowledge of that nobleman's
relations with Shakespeare and the "dark lady" in 1593 to 1594, to the
poet's disadvantage, by imparting intelligence of the affair to Chapman
and Roydon, the latter of whom exploited this knowledge in the
production of _Willobie his Avisa_.

In Chapman's dedication to Roydon of _The Shadow of Night_ in 1594, he
shows knowledge of the fact that Shakespeare was practically reader to
the Earl of Southampton, and that he passed his judgment upon literary
matter submitted to that nobleman. Referring to Shakespeare, Chapman
writes: "How then may a man stay his marvailing to see passion-driven
men, reading but to curtail a tedious hour, and altogether hidebound
with affection to great men's fancies, take upon them as killing
censures as if they were judgment's butchers, or as if the life of truth
lay tottering in their verdicts." This reference to Shakespeare as
"passion-driven" refers to the affair of the "dark lady," upon which
Chapman's friend, Roydon, was then at work in _Willobie his Avisa_.
Florio, in later years, as shall appear, also makes a very distinct
point at Shakespeare as a "reader." Unless there was an enemy in
Shakespeare's camp to report to Chapman and Roydon the fact of his
"reading" to curtail tedious hours for his patron, and to convey
intelligence to Roydon of Shakespeare's and Southampton's relations with
the "dark lady," either by reporting the affair or by bringing
Shakespeare's earlier MS. _books_ of sonnets to his notice, it is
improbable that these men would have had such intimate knowledge of the
incidents and conditions of this stage of Shakespeare's friendship with
his patron. Florio probably fostered the hostility of these scholars to
Shakespeare by imputing to his influence their ill-success in winning
Southampton's favour. It is not improbable that for his own protection
he secretly used his influence with Southampton in defeating their
advances while posing as their friend and champion. Shakespeare
distrusted Florio from the beginning of his acquaintance, and deprecated
his influence upon his patron.

In the earlier stages of Shakespeare's observation of Florio he appears
to have been more amused than angered, but as the years pass his dislike
grows, as he sees more clearly into the cold selfishness of a character,
obscured to his earlier and more casual view by the interesting
personality and frank and humorous worldly wisdom of the man. However
heightened and amplified by Shakespeare's imagination the
characterisation of Falstaff may now appear, a consideration of the
actual character of Florio, as we find it revealed between the lines of
his own literary productions, and in the few contemporary records of him
that have survived, suggests on Shakespeare's part portrayal rather than

Assuming for the present that Shakespeare has characterised, or
caricatured, Florio as Parolles, Armado, and Falstaff, the first and
second of these characters are represented in plays originally produced
in, or about, 1592, but reflecting the spirit and incidents of the
Cowdray and Tichfield progress of the autumn of 1591. While these plays
were altered at a later period, or periods, of revision, it is apparent
that both characters pertain in a large measure to the plays in their
earlier forms. If Shakespeare used Florio as his model for these
characters, we have added evidence that by the autumn of 1591 Florio had
already entered the "pay and patronage" of Southampton, who about this
period, under his tuition and in anticipation of continental travel,
developed his knowledge of Italian and French. In his dedication of the
_Worlde of Wordes_ to Southampton in 1598, Florio writes:

   "In truth I acknowledge an entire debt, not only of my best
   knowledge, but of all, yea of more than I know or can, to your
   bounteous Lordship, most noble, most virtuous, and most Honourable
   Earl of Southampton, in whose pay and patronage I have lived some
   years, to whom I owe and vow the years I have to live."

Further on in this dedication he refers to Southampton's study of
Italian under his tuition as follows:

   "I might make doubt least I or mine be not now of any further use to
   your self-sufficiencie, being at home so instructed in Italian as
   teaching or learning could supply that there seemed no need of
   travell, and now by travell so accomplished as what wants to

_All's Well that Ends Well_, in its earlier form of _Loves Labour's
Won_, reflects the spirit and incidents of the Queen's progress to
Tichfield House in September 1591; the widowed Countess of Rousillon
personifies the widowed Countess of Southampton; the wise and courtly
Lafeu the courtly Sir Thomas Heneage, who within three years married the
Countess of Southampton. I have suggested that Bertram represented
Southampton, and that his coolness towards Helena, and his proposed
departure for the French Court, reflects Southampton's disinclination to
the marriage with Elizabeth Vere, and the fact of his departure shortly
afterwards for France. In Florio, who was at that time attached to the
Earl of Southampton's establishment, and presumably was present upon the
occasion of the progress to Tichfield, we have the prototype of
Parolles, though much of the present characterisation of that person,
while referring to the same original, undoubtedly pertains to a period
of later time revision, which on good evidence I date in, or about, the
autumn of 1598, at which period Shakespeare's earlier antipathy had
grown by knowledge and experience into positive aversion.

In 1591 Southampton was still a ward in Chancery, and the management of
his personal affairs and expenditures under the supervision of Lord
Burghley, to whose granddaughter he was affianced. It is evident then
that when Florio was retained in the capacity of tutor, or bear-leader,
and with the intention of having him accompany the young Earl upon his
continental travels, his selection for the post would be made by
Burghley--Southampton's guardian--who in former years had patronised and
befriended Florio's father.

In Lafeu's early distrust of Parolles' pretensions, and his eventual
recognition of his cowardice and instability, I believe we have a
reflection of the attitude of Sir Thomas Heneage towards Florio, and a
suggestion of his disapproval of Florio's intimacy with Southampton.
This leads me to infer that though Lady Southampton and Heneage
apparently acquiesced in, and approved of, Burghley's marital plans for
Southampton, secretly they were not displeased at their miscarriage.

When Southampton first came to Court he was a fresh and unspoiled youth,
with high ideals and utterly unacquainted with the ethical latitude and
moral laxity of city and Court life. In bringing him to Court and the
notice of the Queen, and at the same time endeavouring to unite his
interests with his own by marriage with his granddaughter, Burghley
hoped that--as in the case of his son-in-law, the Earl of Oxford, some
years before--Southampton would become a Court favourite, and possibly
supplant Essex in the Queen's favour, as the Earl of Oxford had for a
while threatened to displace Leicester. The ingenuous frankness and
independence of the young Earl, however, appeared likely to defeat the
plans of the veteran politician. Burghley now resolved that he must
broaden his protégé's knowledge of the world and adjust his ideals to
Court life. He accordingly engaged the sophisticated and world-bitten
Florio as his intellectual and moral mentor. I do not find any record of
Southampton's departure for France immediately after the Cowdray
progress, but it is apparent either that he accompanied the Earl of
Essex upon that nobleman's return to his command in France after a short
visit to England in October 1591, or that he followed shortly
afterwards. Essex was recalled from France in January 1592 (new style),
and on 2nd March of the same year we have a letter dated at Dieppe from
Southampton to Essex in England, which shows that Southampton was with
the army in France within a few months of the Cowdray progress.

Conceiving both Parolles and Falstaff to be caricatures of Florio I
apprehend in the military functions of these characters a reflection of
a probable quasi-military experience of their original during his
connection with Southampton in the year 1592.

An English force held Dieppe for Henry IV. in March 1592, awaiting
reinforcements from England to move against the army of the League,
which was encamped near the town. If Southampton took Florio with him at
this time it is quite likely that he had him appointed to a captaincy,
though probably not to a command. Captain Roger Williams, a brave and
capable Welsh officer (whom I have reason to believe was Shakespeare's
original for the Welsh Captain Fluellen in _Henry V_.), joined the army
at the end of this month, bringing with him six hundred men. In a letter
to the Council, upon his departure from England, he writes sarcastically
of the number and inefficiency of the captains being made. This letter
is so characteristic of the man, and so reminiscent of blunt Fluellen,
that I shall quote it in full.

   "Moste Honorables, yesterdaie it was your Lordship's pleasure to
   shewe the roll of captaines by their names. More then half of them
   are knowen unto me sufficient to take charges; a greate number of
   others, besides the rest in that roll, although not knowen unto me,
   maie be as sufficient as the others, perhapps knowen unto menn of
   farr better judgment than myselfe. To saie truthe, no man ought to
   meddle further than his owne charge. Touching the three captaines
   that your Lordships appointed to go with me, I knowe Polate and
   Coverd, but not the thirde. There is one Captaine Polate, a Hampshire
   man, an honest gentleman, worthie of good charge. There is another
   not worthie to be a sergeant of a band, as Sir John Norris knows,
   with many others; and I do heare by my Lord of Sussex it is he.
   Captain Coverd is worthie, but not comparable unto a dozen others
   that have no charge; but whatsoever your Lordships direct unto me, I
   muste accept, and will do my best endeavour to discharge my dutie
   towards the service comitted unto me. But be assured that the more
   new captaines that are made, the more will begg, I meane will trouble
   her Majestie after the warrs, unless the olde be provided for. I must
   confess I wrote effectual for one Captaine Smithe unto Sir Philipp
   Butler; two of the name Sir John Norris will confess to be well
   worthie to commande, at the least, three hundred men a-piece. He that
   I named, my desire is that he may be one of myne. I protest, on my
   poore credytt, I never delt with her Majestic concerning any of those
   captaines, nor anything that your Lordships spake yesterday before
   me; but true it is, I spake before the Earle of Essex and Sir John
   Norris, it was pittie that young captaines should be accepted and the
   old refused. True it is that I toulde them also that the lieutenants
   of the shire knew not those captaines so well as ourselves. On my
   creditt, my meaning was the deputies lieutenants, the which, as it
   was toulde me, had made all these captaines. My speeches are no lawe,
   nor scarce good judgment, for the warrs were unknowen to me 22 yeres
   agon. Notwithstanding, it shall satisfie me, that the greatest
   generalls in that time took me to be a souldier, for the which I will
   bring better proofs than any other of my qualitie shall deny. Humbly
   desiring your Lordships' accustomed good favor towards me, I reste to
   spend my life alwaies at her Majestie's pleasure, and at your
   Lordships' devotion. (27th March 1591.)"

Within a short period of the arrival of Sir Roger Williams he had
dispersed the enemy and opened up the road to the suburbs of Paris;
which city was then held by the combined forces of the League and the
Spanish. I cannot learn whether Southampton accompanied the troops in
the proposed attack on Paris or continued his travels into the
Netherlands and Spain. Some verses in _Willobie his Avisa_ suggest such
a tour at this time. He was back in England, however, by September 1592,
when he accompanied the Queen and Court to Oxford. It is probable that
Florio accompanied the Earl of Southampton upon this occasion, and that
the nobleman's acquaintance with the mistress of the Crosse Inn, the
beginning of which I date at this time, was due to his introduction.
Florio lived for many years at Oxford and was undoubtedly familiar with
its taverns and tavern keepers.[30]

In depicting Parolles as playing Pander for Bertram, and at the same
time secretly pressing his own suit, I am convinced that Shakespeare
caricatured Florio's relations with Southampton and the "dark lady." It
is not unlikely that Florio is included by Roydon in _Willobie his
Avisa_ among Avisa's numerous suitors.

The literary history of _All's Well that Ends Well_, aside from internal
considerations, suggests that it was not composed originally for public
performance, nor revised with the public in mind. It appeared in print
for the first time in the Folio of 1623, and it is practically certain
that no earlier edition was issued. If we except Meres' mention of the
play, _Love's Labour's Won_, in 1598, the earliest reference we have to
_All's Well that Ends Well_ is that in the Stationers' Registers dated
8th November 1623, where it is recorded as a play not previously entered
to other men. There is no record of its presentation during
Shakespeare's lifetime.

Though the old play of _Love's Labour's Won_ mentioned by Meres has been
variously identified by critics, the consensus of judgment of the
majority is in favour of its identification as _All's Well that Ends
Well_. In no other of Shakespeare's plays--even in instances where we
have actual record of revision--can we so plainly recognise by internal
evidence both the work of his "pupil" and of his master pen. As I have
assigned the original composition of this play to the year 1592,
regarding it as a reflection of the Queen's progress to Tichfield House
and of the incidents of the Earl of Southampton's life at, and
following, that period, so I infer and believe I can demonstrate that
its revision reflects the same personal influences under new phases in
later years.

In February 1598 the Earl of Southampton left England for the French
Court with Sir Robert Cecil. He returned secretly in August and was
married privately at Essex House to Elizabeth Vernon, whose condition
had recently caused her dismissal from the Court. Southampton returned
to France as secretly as he had come, but knowledge of his return and of
his unauthorised marriage reaching the Queen, she issued an order for
his immediate recall, and upon his return in November committed him, and
even threatened to commit his wife (who was now a mother), to the Fleet.
It is not unlikely that Florio accompanied Southampton to France upon
this visit, and that much of Shakespeare's irritation at this time arose
from Southampton's neglect or coolness, which he supposed to be due to
Florio's increasing influence, to which Shakespeare also imputed much of
the young Earl's ill-regulated manner of life at this period.

In the happy ending of Helena's troubles, and in Bertram's recognition
of his moral responsibility and marital obligations, and also in the
significant change of the title of this play from _Love's Labour's Won_
to _All's Well that Ends Well_, we have Shakespeare's combined reproof
and approval of Southampton's recent conduct towards Elizabeth Vernon,
as well as a practical reflection of the actual facts in their case.

At about this time, in addition to the revision of _All's Well that Ends
Well_, I date the first production, though not the original composition,
of _Troilus and Cressida_, and also the final revision of _Love's
Labour's Lost_. In this latter play the part taken by Armado was, I
believe, enlarged and revised, as in the case of Parolles in _All's Well
that Ends Well_, to suit the incidents and characterisation to
Shakespeare's developed knowledge of, and experience with, Florio. There
are several small but significant links of description between the
Parolles of 1598 and the enlarged Armado of the same date. Both of these
characters are represented as braggart soldiers and also as linguists,
which evidently reflect Florio's quasi-military connection with
Southampton and his known proficiency in languages.

In Act IV. Scene iii. Parolles is referred to as "the manifold linguist
and armipotent soldier." In _Love's Labour's Lost_, in Act I. Scene i.,
in lines that palpably belong to the play in its earliest form, Armado
is described as "a man of fire-new words." He is also represented as a
traveller from Spain. In Act V. Scene ii., in lines that pertain to the
revision of 1598, he is made to take the soldier's part again, in giving
him the character of Hector in _The Nine Worthies_. In this character
Armado is made to use the peculiar word "armipotent" twice. It is
significant that this word is never used by Shakespeare except in
connection with Armado and Parolles. In giving Armado the character of
Hector, I am convinced that Shakespeare again indicates Florio's
military experience. In the lines which Armado recites in the character
of Hector, Shakespeare intentionally makes his personal point at Florio
more strongly indicative by alluding to the name Florio by the word
"flower," in the interrupted line with which Hector ends his verses.

   ARM. Peace!----
         "The armipotent Mars, of lances the almighty,
         Gave Hector a gift, the heir of Ilion;
         A man so breathed, that certain he would fight ye
         From morn till night, out of his pavilion.
         I am that flower,----"

He reinforces his indication by Dumain's and Longaville's
interpolations--"That mint," "That columbine." Florio undoubtedly
indicated this meaning to his own name in entitling his earliest
publication _First Fruites_ and a later publication _Second Fruites_. In
a sonnet addressed to him by some friend of his who signs himself
"Ignoto," his name is also referred to in this sense. In his
Italian-English dictionary, published in 1598, he does not include the
word Florio. In the edition of 1611, however, he includes it, but states
that it means, "A kind of bird." In using the word "columbine"
Shakespeare gives the double meaning of a flower and also a bird. Florio
used a flower for his emblem, and had inscribed under his portrait in
the 1611 edition of his _Worlde of Wordes_:

     "Floret adhuc et adhuc florebit
     Florius haec specie floridus optat amans."

The frequent references to the characters of the _Iliad_ in this act and
scene of _Love's Labour's Lost_ link the period of its insertion with
the date of the original composition of _Troilus and Cressida_ in, or
about, 1598, to which time I have also assigned the revision of _Love's
Labour's Won_ into _All's Well that Ends Well_, and the development of
Parolles into a misleader of youth.

Another phase of Act V. Scene ii. of _Love's Labour's Lost_ appears to
be a reflection of an affair in the life of the individual whom
Shakespeare has in mind in the delineation of the characters of Armado
and Sir John Falstaff. Costard accuses Armado regarding his relations
with Jaquenetta.

   COST. The party is gone, fellow Hector, she is gone; she is two
   months on her way.

   ARM. What meanest thou?

   COST. Faith, unless you play the honest Trojan, the poor wench is
   cast away: she's quick; the child brags in her belly already: 'tis

   ARM. Dost thou infamonize me among potentates?

Precisely similar conditions are shown to exist in the relations between
Falstaff and Doll Tearsheet, in the _Second Part of Henry IV._, in which
play there are also allusions to the characters of the _Iliad_, which
link its composition with the same period as _Troilus and Cressida_; and
an allusion to _The Nine Worthies_ that apparently link it in time with
the final revision of _Love's Labour's Lost_ late in 1598.


   _Enter_ BEADLES _dragging in Hostess_ QUICKLY _and_ DOLL TEARSHEET.

   HOST. No, thou arrant knave; I would to God that I might have thee
   hanged: thou hast drawn my shoulder out of joint.

   FIRST BEAD. The constables have delivered her over to me: and she
   shall have whipping-cheer enough I warrant her: there hath been a man
   or two lately killed about her.

   DOL. Nut-hook, nut-hook, you lie. Come on; I'll tell thee what, thou
   damned tripe-visaged rascal, and the child I now go with miscarry,
   thou wert better thou hadst struck thy mother, thou paper-faced

   HOST. O the Lord, that Sir John were come! he would make this a
   bloody day to somebody. But I pray God the fruit of her womb

The natural sequel to the conditions so plainly indicated in the
passages quoted from the lately revised _Love's Labour's Lost_,
regarding Jaquenetta and Armado, and from the recently written _Henry
IV._ in reference to Doll Tearsheet and Falstaff, is reported in due
time in a postscript to a letter written by Elizabeth Vernon, now Lady
Southampton, on 8th July 1599, to her husband, who was in Ireland with
Essex. She writes from Chartley:

   "All the nues I can send you that I thinke will make you mery is that
   I reade in a letter from London that Sir John Falstaff is by his
   Mistress Dame Pintpot made father of a godly millers thum a boye
   thats all heade and very litel body: but this is a secret."

Here we have record that Shakespeare's patron, and his patron's wife,
knew that Falstaff had a living prototype who was numbered among their
acquaintances. That the birth of this child was not in wedlock is
suggested by the concluding words of the Countess's letter "but this is
a secret."

The identification of Florio as the original caricatured as Parolles and
Falstaff has never been anticipated, though some critics have noticed
the basic resemblances between these two characters of Shakespeare's.
Parolles has been called by Schlegel, "the little appendix to the great

A few slight links in the names of characters have led some commentators
to date a revision of _All's Well that Ends Well_ at about the same time
as that of the composition of _Measure for Measure_ and _Hamlet_. While
the links of subjective evidence I have adduced for one revision in, or
about, the autumn of 1598, and at the same period as that of the
composition of the _Second Part of Henry IV._, of the final revision of
_Love's Labour's Lost_, and shortly after the production of _Troilus and
Cressida_, in 1598, are fairly conclusive, a consideration of the
characterisation of Falstaff in the _First Part of Henry IV._ and of the
evidence usually advanced for the date of the composition of this play
will elucidate this idea.

The _First Part of Henry IV._ in its present form belongs to a period
shortly preceding the date of its entry in the Stationers' Registers, in
February 1598. I am convinced that it was published at this time with
Shakespeare's cognizance, and that he revised it with this intention in
mind. All inference and evidence assign the composition of the _Second
Part of Henry IV._ to some part of the year 1598. It is unlikely,
however, that it was included in Meres' mention of _Henry IV._ in his
_Palladis Tamia_, which was entered on the Stationers' Registers in
September of that year. If the link between Doll Tearsheet's condition
and the similar affair reported in Lady Southampton's letter in July
1599 be connected in intention with the same conditions reflected in the
case of Armado and Jaquenetta, its date of production is palpably
indicated, as is also the final revision of _Love's Labour's Lost_ in
about December 1598. Both of these plays were probably presented--the
_Second Part of Henry IV._ for the first time, and _Love's Labour's
Lost_ for the first time in its final form--for the Christmas
festivities at Court, in 1598. While the Quarto of _Love's Labours Lost_
is dated as published in 1598, there is no record of its intended
publication in the Stationers' Registers. It must be remembered,
however, that all publications issued previous to the 25th of March 1599
would be dated 1598.

A comparison of the two parts of _Henry IV._ under the metrical test,
while clearly showing _Part I._ as an earlier composition, yet
approximates their dates so closely in time as to suggest a
comparatively recent and thorough revision of the earlier portion of the
play in 1597 or 1598. It is plain, however, that Shakespeare's _Henry
IV., Part I._, held the boards in some form for several years before
this date. The numerous contemporary references, under the name of Sir
John Oldcastle, to the character now known as Falstaff, evidences on the
part of the public such a settled familiarity with this same character,
under the old name, as to suggest frequent presentations of
Shakespeare's play in the earlier form. The Oldcastle of _The Famous
Victories of Henry V._ has no connection whatever with the
characterisation of Falstaff.

Though the metrical evidences of so early a date are now obscured by the
drastic revision of the autumn of 1597, or spring of 1598, I am of the
opinion that _Henry IV., Part I._, as it was originally written, belongs
to a period antedating the publication of _Willobie his Avisa_ in 1594,
and that it was composed late in 1593, or early in 1594. I am led to
this conclusion by the underlying thread of subjective evidence linking
the plays of this period with the affairs of Southampton and his
connections. It is unlikely that Shakespeare would introduce that "sweet
wench" my "Young Mistress of the Tavern" into a play after the
publication of the scandal intended by Roydon in 1594, and probable that
he altered the characterisation of the hostess to the old and widowed
Mistress Quickly in the _Second Part of Henry IV._ for this reason.

Believing that _Love's Labour's Won_--i.e. _All's Well that Ends Well_
in its earlier form--reflects Southampton in the person of Bertram, and
Florio as Parolles, I have suggested that the military capacity of the
latter character infers a temporary military experience of Florio's in
the year 1592. It is evident that most of the matter in this play
following Act IV. Scene iii. belongs to the period of revision in 1598.
In Act IV. Scene iii. we have what was apparently Parolles' final
appearance in the old play of 1592; here he has been exposed, and his
purpose in the play ended.

   FIRST SOLDIER. You are undone, Captain, all but your scarf; that has
   a knot on't yet.

   PAROLLES. Who cannot be crushed with a plot?

   FIRST SOLDIER. If you could find out a country where women were that
   had received so much shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare
   ye well, Sir; I am for France too; we shall speak of you there.

      [_Exit Soldiers._

   PAROLLES. Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great,
             'Twould burst at this. Captain, I'll be no more;
             But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
             As captain shall: simply the thing I am
             Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
             Let him fear this, for it will come to pass
             That every braggart shall be found an ass.
             Rust sword! cool blushes! and, Parolles, live
             Safest in shame, being fool'd, by foolery thrive.
             There's place and means for every man alive.
             I'll after them.


The resolution he here forms augurs for the future a still greater moral
deterioration. He resolves to seek safety in shame; to thrive by
foolery; and, though fallen from his captaincy, to

     "eat and drink, and sleep as soft as captain shall."

When Shakespeare resumed his plan of reflecting Florio's association
with Southampton, in the _First Part of Henry IV._ he recalled the state
of mind and morals in which he had left him as Parolles in _Love's
Labour's Won_, and allowing for a short lapse of time, and the effects
of the life he had resolved to live, introduces him in _Henry IV._,
Part I. Act 1. Scene ii., as follows:

   FAL. Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad?

   PRINCE. Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack and
   unbuttoning thee after supper and sleeping upon benches after noon,
   that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou would'st
   truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day?
   Unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the
   tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the
   blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-coloured taffeta, I see
   no reason why thou should'st be so superfluous to demand the time of

In Parolles and Falstaff we have displayed the same lack of moral
consciousness, the same grossly sensuous materialism, and withal, the
same unquenchable optimism and colossal impudence.

When we remember that though Shakespeare based his play upon the old
_Famous Victories of Henry V._ and took from it the name Oldcastle, that
the actual characterisation of his Oldcastle--Falstaff--has no prototype
in the original, the abrupt first entry upon the scene of this
tavern-lounger and afternoon sleeper-upon-benches, as familiarly
addressing the heir apparent as "Hal" and "lad," supplies a good
instance of Shakespeare's method--noticed by Maurice Morgann--of making
a character _act and speak from those parts of the composition which are
inferred only and not distinctly shown_; but to the initiated, including
Southampton and his friends, who knew the bumptious self-sufficiency of
Shakespeare's living model, and who followed the developing
characterisation from play to play, the effect of such bold dramatic
strokes must have been irresistibly diverting.

It is difficult now to realise the avidity with which such publications
as Florio's _First_ and _Second Fruites_ were welcomed from the press
and read by the cultured, or culture-seeking, public of his day. Italy
being then regarded as the centre of culture and fashion a colloquial
knowledge of Italian was a fashionable necessity. A reference in a
current play to an aphorism of Florio's or to a characteristic passage
from the proverbial philosophy of which he constructs his
Italian-English conversations, which would pass unnoticed now, would be
readily recognised by a fashionable Elizabethan audience.

When Shakespeare, through the utterances of the prince, characterises
Falstaff by suggestion upon his first appearance in the play in the
following lines:

   "Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack and unbuttoning
   thee after supper and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou
   hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou would'st truly know,"

for the benefit of his initiated friends he links up and continues
Florio's characterisation as Parolles and Falstaff, and in the remainder
of the passage,

   "What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? Unless hours
   are cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of
   bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the blessed sun
   himself a fair hot wench in flame-coloured taffeta,"

suggests Florio's character from his own utterances in the _Second
Fruites_, where one of the characters holds forth as follows:

   "As for me, I never will be able, nor am I able, to be willing but to
   love whatsoever pleaseth women, to whom I dedicate, yield, and
   consecrate what mortal thing soever I possess, and I say, that a
   salad, a woman and a capon, as yet was never out of season."

A consideration of certain of the divergences between the _dramatis
personæ_ of the _First Part of Henry IV._ and the _Second Part of Henry
IV._, made in the light of the thread of subjective evidence in the
plays of the Sonnet period, may give us some new clues in determining
the relative periods of their original composition.

In the _First Part of Henry IV._ the hostess of the tavern is referred
to as a young and beautiful woman in Act I. Scene ii., as follows:

   FALSTAFF.... And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?

   PRINCE. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a
           buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?

   FAL.    How now, how now, mad wag! what, in thy quips and quiddities?
           What a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?

   PRINCE. Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?

   FAL.    Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a time and oft.

   PRINCE. Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?

   FAL.    No, I'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there. */

   PRINCE. Yes, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch; and
           where it would not, I have used my credit.

   FAL.    Yea, and so used it that, were it not here apparent that thou
           art heir apparent--but, I prithee, sweet wag, shall there be
           gallows standing in England when thou art king? And resolution
           thus fobbed as  it is with the rusty curb of old father antic
           the law? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief.

Falstaff's impertinent and suggestive reference to the prince's intimacy
with the hostess, not being taken well, he quickly gives the
conversation a turn to cover up the mistake he finds he has made. It is
palpable that the characterisation of the hostess in the _First Part of
Henry IV._, in its original form, was not the same as that presented in
the _Second Part_ of this play in which she is represented as Mistress
Quickly, an old, unattractive, and garrulous widow. In the _First Part
of Henry IV._ she is mentioned only once as Mistress Quickly. In Act
III. Scene iii. the prince addresses her under this name and inquires
about her husband.

   PRINCE. What sayest thou, Mistress Quickly? How doth thy husband? I
           love him well; he is an honest man.

This single mention of the hostess as Mistress Quickly is evidently an
interpolation made at the period of the revision of this play late in
1597, or early in 1598. It is also probable that the revision at this
time was made with the intention of linking the action of the _First
Part_ to the _Second Part_ of the play, the outline of which Shakespeare
was probably planning at that time.

The dramatic time of the _First Part_ of the play has been estimated as
at the outside covering a period of three months, and of the _Second
Part_, a period of two months. No long interval is supposed to have
elapsed between the action of the two parts; yet, in the _First Part_ of
the play the hostess is young, attractive, and has a husband. In the
_Second Part_, she is old, unattractive, and is a widow. This divergence
is evidently to be accounted for by the fact that the _First Part of
Henry IV._ in its earliest, and unrevised, form was written, not long
after the composition of _Love's Labour's Won_ (_All's Well that Ends
Well_ in its early form), and during the estrangement between
Southampton and Shakespeare in 1594, caused by the nobleman's relations
with the "dark lady," that "most sweet wench," "my hostess of the

I have indicated a certain continuity and link of characterisation
between Parolles, as we leave him in _All's Well that Ends Well_, and
Falstaff, as we first encounter him in the _First Part of Henry IV._ I
shall now demonstrate parallels between the characterisation of Falstaff
in the _First Part of Henry IV._, and the tone and spirit of the
conversations between the imaginary characters of Florio's _Second
Fruites_. Fewer resemblances are to be found between the _Second
Fruites_ and the _Second Part of Henry IV._ From this I infer that when
Shakespeare composed the _First Part of Henry IV._ in its original form,
his personal acquaintance with Florio was recent and limited, and that
he developed his characterisation of Falstaff in that portion of the
play largely from Florio's self-revelation in the _Second Fruites_, and
that in continuing this characterisation later on, in the _Second Part_
of the play, he reinforced it from a closer personal observation of the
idiosyncrasies of his prototype.

The Earl of Southampton, who was shadowed forth as Bertram in _Love's
Labour's Won_, with Parolles as his factotum,--representing Florio in
that capacity,--becomes the prince in _Henry IV._, while Florio becomes
Falstaff. The _First Part_ of the play in its original form reflected
their connection and the affair of the "dark lady" in 1593-94. The
_First Part of Henry IV._, in its revised form, and the _Second Part of
Henry IV._ reflect a resumed, or a continued, familiarity between
Southampton and Florio in 1598. This leads me to infer that Florio may
again have accompanied Southampton when he left England with Sir Robert
Cecil for the French Court in February 1598, in much the same capacity
as he had served him on his first visit to France in 1592, when they
were first reflected as Bertram and Parolles.

In the original development of the characterisation of Parolles, Armado,
and Falstaff, I am convinced that Shakespeare worked, not only from
observation of his prototype in their daily intercourse, but that he
also studied Florio's mental and moral angles and literary mannerisms in
his extant productions. If Armado's letters to Jaquenetta and to the
King be compared with Florio's dedication of his _Second Fruites_--which
was published in 1591, several months preceding the original composition
of _Love's Labour's Lost_--and also with his "Address to the Reader," a
similitude will be found that certainly passes coincidence. A comparison
of Parolles' and Falstaff's opportunist and materialistic philosophy
with Florio's outlook on life as we find it unconsciously exhibited in
his _Second Fruites_, reveals a characteristic unity that plainly
displays intentional parody on Shakespeare's part.

Didactic literature seldom presents the real character and workaday
opinions and beliefs of a writer. The teacher generally speaks from a
height transcending his ordinary levels of thought and action. In
Florio's _Second Fruites_ his intention is didactic only in relation to
imparting a colloquial knowledge of Italian. In this endeavour he
arranges a series of twelve conversations on matters of everyday life
between imaginary characters, who are, presumably, of about the same
social quality as his usual pupils--the younger gentry of the time. In
these talks his intention was to be entirely natural and to reproduce,
what he conceived to be, ordinary conversation between gentlemen of
fashion. In doing this he reveals ethics, manners, and morals of a
decidedly Falstaffian flavour. The gross and satyr-like estimate of
women he displays; his primping enjoyment of apparel; the gusto with
which he converses of things to eat and drink--of ale, and wine, and
capons; his distrust of the minions of the law; his knowledge and horror
of arrest and imprisonment, and his frankly animal zest of life, all
suggest Shakespeare's knowledge of the book as well as the man.

As Florio's _Second Fruites_ is not easily accessible to the general
reader, a few extracts may serve to exhibit the characteristic
resemblances to Shakespeare's delineation of Falstaff.

The twelve chapters of the work are headed as follows:

   The first chapter, "Of rising in the morning and of things belonging
   to the chamber and to apparel."

   The second, "For common speech in the morning between friends;
   wherein is described a set of tennis."

   The third, "Of familiar morning communication; wherein many
   courtesies are handled, and the manner of visiting and saluting the
   sick, and of riding, with all that belongeth to a horse."

   The fourth chapter, "Wherein is set down a dinner for six persons,
   between whom there fall many pleasant discourses concerning meat and

   The fifth, "Wherein discourse is held of play and many things thereto
   appertaining, a game of primero and of chess."

   The sixth chapter, "Concerning many familiar and ceremonious
   compliments among six gentlemen who talk of many pleasant matters,
   but especially of divers necessary, profitable, civil, and proverbial
   receipts for a traveller."

   The seventh, "Between two gentlemen who talk of arms, and of the art
   of fencing, and of buying and selling."

   The eighth chapter, "Between James, and Lippa, his man, wherein they
   talk of many pleasant and delightsome jests, and in it is described
   an unpleasant lodging, an illformed old woman, also the beautiful
   parts that a woman ought to have to be accounted fair in all
   perfection, and pleasantly blazoned a counterfeit lazy and
   naught-worth servant."

   The ninth, "Between Cæzar and Tiberio; wherein they discourse of news
   of the Court, of courtiers of this day, and of many other matters of

   The tenth chapter, "Between gentlemen and a servant; wherein they
   talk of going to supper, and familiar speech late in the evening."

   The eleventh, "Wherein they talk of going to bed, and many things
   thereto belonging."

   The twelfth, "Wherein proverbially and pleasantly discourse is held
   of love and women."

He makes one of his characters end this last chapter as follows:

   "As for me, I never will be able, nor am I able, to be willing but to
   love whatsoever pleaseth women, to whom I dedicate, yield, and
   consecrate what mortal thing soever I possess, and I say, that a
   salad, a woman, and a capon as yet was never out of season."

The remarkable resemblance between the sentiments here expressed and the
characteristics attributed to Falstaff by Prince Henry in the passage
quoted above from _Henry IV._, Act I. Scene ii., suggest Shakespeare's
knowledge of the _Second Fruites_.

He describes the wardrobe of a man of fashion with envious unction,
giving a minute inventory of his shirts, handkerchiefs, ruffs, cuffs,
towels, quoises, shoes, buskins, daggers, swords, gloves, doublets,
jerkins, gowns, hats, caps, and boots. The very superabundance
recalling, by contrast, the paucity in this regard in the cases of
Armado and Falstaff.

The philosophy of his conversations is selfish and worldly-wise to a
degree, with nowhere the slightest suggestion of ideality or altruism.

   "T. From those that I do trust, good Lord deliver me, from such as I
   mistrust, I'll harmless come to be.

   G. He gives me so many good words I cannot fail but trust him.

   T. Wot you not that fair words and foul deeds are wont to make both
   fools and wise men fain.

   G. I know it, but if he beat me with a sword, I will beat him again
   with a scabbard.

   T. What, will you give him bread for cake then?

   G. If any man wrong thee, wrong him again, or else be sure to
   remember it."

In the conversation concerning meats and repast he is Gargantuan in his

   "S. The meat is coming in, let us set down.

   C. I would wash first if it were not to trouble Robert.

   S. What, ho! Bring some water to wash our hands.

   ROBERT. Here it is fresh and good to drinke for a neede.

   H. God hath made water for other things than to drinke.

   C. Hast thou not heard that water rots, not only men, but stakes?

   R. Yet men say that water was made to drinke, to saile, and to wash.

   M. It was good to drinke when men did eat acornes.

       *       *       *       *       *

   T. I pray you set down for I have a good stomach.

   N. As for a good stomach, I do yield a jot unto you.

   S. My masters, the meat cooles.

       *       *       *       *       *

   S. My masters, sit down; every man take his place.

   N. Tush, I pray you, sit down.

   C. With obliging you I shall show myself unmannerly.

   H. Of courtesie, Master M., sit here between us two.

   M. Virtue consists in the midst quothe the devil when he found
   himself between two nuns.

   S. Bring hither that salad, those steaks, that leg of mutton, that
   piece of beef with all the boiled meats we have.

   S. I pray you, every man serve himself, let everyone cut where he
   please, and seek the best morsels.

   N. Truly these meats are very well seasoned.

       *       *       *       *       *

   S. Call for drinke when you please, and what kind of wine you like

   N. Give me some wine but put some water in it.

   S. You may well enough drinke it pure, for our wines are all borne
   under the sign of Aquarius.

   M. Do you not know that wine watered is esteemed a vile thing?

   C. Give me a cup of beere, or else a bowl of ale.

   S. I pray you, do not put that sodden water into your bellie.

   C. I like it as well as wine, chiefly this hot weather.

   T. He that drinks wine drinks blood, he that drinks water drinks
   fleame (phlegm).

   H. I love to drink wine after the Dutch fashion.

   T. How do they drinke it, I pray you?

   H. In the morning, pure; at dinner, without water, and at night as it
   comes from the vessel.

   M. I like this rule; they are wise, and God's blessing light upon

   H. A slice of bacon would make us taste this wine well.

   S. What, ho! set that gammon of bacon on the board.

       *       *       *       *       *

   M. God be thanked, I am at a truce with my stomach.

   T. In faith, I would stay until the bells do ring.

   S. You were not fasting then when you came here?

   M. I had only drunk a little Malmslie.

   T. And I a good draught of Muscatine, and eat a little bread.

   S. Bring the meat away, in God's name.

   R. The meat is not enough yet.

       *       *       *       *       *

   S. Take away that empty pot, set some bread upon the table and put
   some salt in the salt cellar, and make roome for the second messe.

   R. Now, comes the roast.

   S. Welcome may with his flowers.

   T. And good speed may our barke have.

   S. The Jews do not look for their Messias with more devotion than I
   have looked for the roast meat.

       *       *       *       *       *

   S. Set that capon upon the table, and those chickens, those rabbits,
   and that hen, that goose; those woodcock, those snipes, those larks,
   those quails, those partridges, those pheasants and that pasty of

   R. Here is everything ready.

   N. You have led us to a wedding.

   S. I pray you, cut up that hen, I pray God it be tender.

   C. Alas, I think she was dam to the cock that crowed to St. Peter.

   S. I thought that so soon as I saw her.

   N. I beseech you, sir, will you carve some of that pheasant?

   M. They be offices that I love to do.

   N. I will one day fill my bellie full of them.

   S. Master Andrew, will it please you to eat an egg?

   A. With all my heart, sir, so be it new laid.

   S. As new as may be; laid this morning.

   A. I love new-laid eggs well.

   S. Sirra, go cause a couple of eggs to be made readie.

   R. By and by, will you have them hard or soft?

   A. It is no matter, I love them better raire.

   T. An egg of an hour, bread of a day, kidd of a month, wine of six,
   flesh of a year, fish of ten, a woman of fifteen, and a friend of a
   hundred, he must have that will be merrie.

       *       *       *       *       *

   S. What aileth Master T. that he looks so sad?

   T. I am not very well at ease.

   S. What feel you, where grieves it you?

   T. I feel my stomach a little over-cloyde.

   N. Shall I teach you a good medicine?

       *       *       *       *       *

   H. My mother, of happy memorie, was wont to tell me that a pill of
   wheat, of a hen the days work sweat, and some vine juice that were
   neat was best physick I could eat.

   M. Your mother was a woman worthy to govern a kingdom.

       *       *       *       *       *

   S. My masters, you see here the period of this poor dinner; the best
   dish you have had hath been your welcome.

   H. As that hath fed our minds so have the others fed our bodies well.

   S. It grieves me that you have been put to such penance, but yet I
   hope you will excuse me.

   C. If doing such penance a man might win heaven, O sweet penance for
   a man to do every day."

Portions of the sixth chapter, with its talk of divers necessary
prophetic and proverbial precepts for a traveller, evidently supplied
Shakespeare with the hint for Scene iv. Act II. of the _First Part of
Henry IV._, between Falstaff and Prince Hal, wherein Falstaff personates
the prince's father.

   "S. Mister Peeler, whatsoever I shall tell you, according to my
   wonted manner, I will speak as plainly unto you as though you were my
   son, and therefore pardon me, if I shall seem eyther too familiar, or
   too homely with you.

   P. Say on boldly, for I shall be very proud if it please you to
   account me as your child, and that I may repute you as my father.

   S. First, my loving Mister Peeler, if you purpose to come unto the
   wished end of your travel, have always your mind and thought on God."

This highly moral preamble is followed by much ungodly, worldly wisdom.

   "S. And if you will be a traveller and wander safely through the
   world, wheresoever you come have always the eyes of a falcon that you
   may see far, the ears of an ass that you may hear well, the face of
   an ape that you may be ready to laugh, the mouth of a hog to eat all
   things, the shoulder of a camel that you may bear anything with
   patience, the legs of a stag that you may flee from dangers, and see
   that you never want two bags very full; that is, one of patience, for
   with it a man overcomes all things, and another of money, for,

     They that have good store of crownes,
     Are called lordes, though they be clownes;

   and gold hath the very same virtue that charity hath, it covereth a
   multitude of faults, and golden hammers break all locks, and golden
   meedes do reach all heights, have always your hand on your hat, and
   in your purse, for,

     A purse or cap used more or less a year
     Gain many friends, and do not cost thee dear.

   Travelling by the way in winter time, honour your companion, so shall
   you avoid falling into dangerous places. In summer go before, so
   shall not the dust come into your eyes. Setting at board, if there be
   but little bread, hold it fast in your hand, if small store of flesh,
   take hold on the bone, if no store of wine, drink often, and unless
   you be required, never offer any man either salt, etc."

The ninth chapter, wherein they "plausibly discourse of news of the
Court and of courtiers of this day, and of many other matters of
delight," is full of Falstaffian paradox, and reminiscent of Justice
Shallow's relations with Jane Nightwork.

   "C. What is become of your neighbour, I mean the old doating man
   grown twice a child?

   T. As old as you see him he has of late wedded a young wench of
   fifteen years old.

   C. Then he and she will make up the whole bible together; I mean the
   old and new testament.

   T. To an old cat a young mouse.

   C. Old flesh makes good broth.

   T. What has become of his son that I see him not?

   C. He was put in prison for having beaten an enemy of his.

   T. Be wrong or right prison is a spite.

   C. A man had need look to himself in this world.

   T. What is become of his fair daughter whom he married to what you
   call him that was sometime our neighbour?

   C. She spins crooked spindles for her husband and sends him into
   Cornwall without ship or boat.

   T. What, does she make him wear the stag's crest then?

   C. You have guessed right and have hit the nail on the head.

   T. His blood is of great force and virtue then.

   C. What virtue can his blood have, tell me in good faith?

   T. It is good to break diamonds withal.

   C. Why, man's blood cannot break diamonds.

   T. Yes, but the blood of a he-goat will.

   C. Moreover, he may challenge to have part in heaven by it.

   T. What matter is it for him then to be a he-goat, or a stumpbuck, or
   a kid, or a chamois, a stag, or a brill, a unicorn, or an elephant so
   he may be safe, but how may that be, I pray thee, tell me?

   C. I will tell thee, do not you know that whosoever is made a cuckold
   by his wife, either he knows it, or he knows it not.

   T. That I know, then what will you infer upon it?

   C. If he knows it he must needs be patient, and therefore a martyr,
   if he knows it not, he is innocent, and you know that martyrs and
   innocents shall be saved, which if you grant, it followeth that all
   cuckolds shall obtain paradise.

   T. Methinks then that women are not greatly to be blamed if they seek
   their husbands' eternal salvation, but are rather to be commended as
   causes of a noble and worthy effect."

He speaks with evident feeling of one who is imprisoned for debt.

   "T. Take heed of debts; temper thy desires, and moderate thy tongue.

   C. It is a devilish thing to owe money.

   T. For all that he is so proud that though he have need of patience
   he calleth for revenge.

   C. Could not he save himself out of the hands of those catchpoles,
   counter guardians, or sergeants?

   T. Seeking to save himself by flight from that rascality he had
   almost left the lining of his cap behind.

   C. I am sorry for his mischance, for with his jests, toys, fooleries,
   and pleasant conceits, he would have made Heraclitus himself to burst
   his heart with laughing.

   T. Did you ever go see him yet?

   C. I would not go into prison to fetch one of my eyes if I had left
   it there.

   T. Yet there be some honest men there.

   C. And where will you have them but in places of persecution?

   T. You have reason.

   C. I would not be painted there so much do I hate and loathe the

Speaking of the Court and courtiers he says:

   "C. The favours of the Court are like fair weather in winter, or
   clouds in summer, and Court, in former time, was counted death.

   T. It is still Court for the vicious, but death for the virtuous,
   learned and wise.

   C. Seven days doth the Court regard a virtuous man, be he never so
   mannerly, well-brought up, and of gentle conditions. That is, the
   first day he makes a show of himself, he is counted gold; the second,
   silver; the third, copper; the fourth, tin; the fifth, lead; the
   sixth, dross; and the seventh, nothing at all, whereas the contrary
   happeneth of the vicious.

   T. Yet the virtuous have sometimes got rich gifts there.

   C. Yea, but they come as seldom as the year of jubilee.

       *       *       *       *       *

   T. Yet some of them are so courteous, so gentle, so kind, so liberal,
   so bountiful, that envy itself cannot choose but love them, and blame
   honour them, and, I think, there is no Court in the world that hath
   more nobility in it than ours.

       *       *       *       *       *

   T. But tell me truth, had you never the mind to become a courtier?

   C. He that is well, let him not stir, for if in removing he break his
   leg, at his own peril be it.

   T. Where there is life there is means; where means, entertainment;
   where entertainment, hope; where hope, there is comfort."

How closely this last passage resembles the philosophy of Parolles,
after his disgrace, in Act IV. Scene iii. of _All's Well that Ends

       PAR. Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great,
     'Twould burst at this. Captain, I'll be no more;
     But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
     As captain shall: simply the thing I am
     Shall make me live.

            *       *       *       *       *

     There's place and means for every man alive.

The familiarity of the public with the character of Falstaff, under the
name of Sir John Oldcastle, is evidenced by the frequency with which
both this play and character are referred to by the latter name even
after the publication of the _First Part of Henry IV._ in 1598, with the
name changed to Falstaff. If this play was originally composed, as is
usually suggested, in 1596 or 1597, the short period which it could have
been presented in its earlier form, and before its revision in the
beginning of 1598, would scarcely allow for the confirmed acquaintance
of the public with the name of Sir John Oldcastle in connection with the
characterisation developed by Shakespeare. While Shakespeare took this
name from the old play of _The Famous Victories of Henry V._, there is
no similarity between the characterisation of the persons presented
under that name in the two plays.

Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's earliest biographer, is responsible for the
report that the change of the name of this character from Oldcastle to
Falstaff was made by Shakespeare at the command of the Queen, and owing
to the protest of Lord Cobham. It is not unlikely that there was some
basis of truth for this report, nor improbable that Lord Cobham's
alleged objection was caused by the misrepresentations of Shakespeare's
literary rivals, including Florio, whose own "ox had been gored."

In 1597 the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports having become vacant, Sir
Robert Sidney, who had been long absent from England as Governor of
Flushing, and was desirous of returning, made application for the
office, being aided in his suit by the Earl of Essex and others of his
friends in Essex's party. Sir Robert Cecil, while encouraging Sidney and
professing friendship, secretly aided Lord Cobham for the post. Sidney's
military fitness for so responsible a charge was constantly urged
against Cobham's lack of martial experience, but the Queen, after a long
delay, during which much heat developed between the contestants and
their friends, finally decided in favour of her relative, Lord Cobham.
The Earl of Southampton was one of Sir Robert Sidney's most intimate
friends and ardent admirers, and must have taken some interest in this
long-drawn-out rivalry. It is possible that Shakespeare, instigated by
Southampton, may have introduced some personal reflections suggestive of
Cobham's military inadequacy into the performance of the play at this
crucial period, Cobham's alleged descent from the historical Oldcastle
lending the suggestion its personal significance.

The sixth _book_ of Sonnets was written either late in 1596, or in 1597.
A line in the first Sonnet of this book (Thorpe's 66) implies, on
Shakespeare's part, a recent unpleasant experience with the authorities:

     "And art made tongue-tied by authority."

It is apparent that whatever was the cause, some difficulty arose in
about 1597 regarding the name Oldcastle. Nicholas Rowe's report is
substantiated by Shakespeare's own apologetic words in the Epilogue to
_Henry IV., Part II._:

   "If you be not too much cloyed with fat meat, our humble author will
   continue the story, with Sir John in it, and make you merry with fair
   Katherine of France; where, for any thing I know, Falstaff shall die
   of a sweat, unless already a' be killed with your hard opinions; for
   Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man."

If Shakespeare was compelled to alter this name for the reasons reported
by Nicholas Rowe, it is not unlikely that Florio and his literary allies
helped in some manner to arouse the resentment of Lord Cobham. In
altering the play in 1598, and changing the name of Sir John Oldcastle
to Sir John Falstaff, I am convinced that Shakespeare intentionally made
his caricature of John Florio more transparent by choosing a name having
the same initials as his, and furthermore, that in altering the
historical name of _Fastolfe_ to _Falstaff_, he intended to indicate
Florio's relations with Southampton as a _false-staff_, a misleader of
youth. The Epilogue of the _Second Part of Henry IV._, while denying a
representation of the historical Sir John Oldcastle in the words "this
is not the man," implies at the same time _that some other personal
application is intended_ in the characterisation of Falstaff.

The _First Part of Henry IV._, with its significant allusion to the
"Humourous Conceits of Sir John Falstaff" on the title-page, was entered
on the Stationers' Registers under date of 25th February 1598, and was
published within a short period. That John Florio recognised
Shakespeare's satire and personal intention in choosing a character with
his own initials he shows within a month or two of this date in his
"Address to the Reader," prefixed to his _Worlde of Wordes_. He accuses
a person, whom he indicates under the initials "H.S." of having made a
satirical use of his initials "J.F." It is evident that in using the
letters "H.S." he is not giving the actual initials of his antagonist.
Addressing "H.S." he says: "And might not a man, that can do as much as
you (that is reade) finde as much matter out of H.S. as you did out of
J.F.?" He says the person at whom he aims is a "reader" and a "writer"
too; he also indicates him as a maker of plays. He says:

   "Let Aristopanes and his comedians _make plaies_, and scowre their
   mouthes on Socrates; those very mouthes they make to vilifie, shall
   be meanes to amplifie his vertue. And it was not easie for Cato to
   speake evill, so was it not usuall for him to heare evill. It may be
   Socrates would not kicke againe, if an asse did kicke at him, yet
   some that cannot be so wise, and will not be so patient as Socrates,
   will for such jadish tricks give the asse his due burthen of
   bastonadas. Let H.S. hisse, and his complices quarrell, and all
   breake their gals, _I have a great faction of good writers to bandie
   with me_."

Florio here gives palpable evidence of the fact that his was not an
isolated case, but that he was banded with a literary faction in
hostility to Shakespeare, which included Roydon, who published _Willobie
his Avisa_, in 1594, again in 1596, and again in 1599; Chapman, who, in
1593, attacked Shakespeare in the early _Histriomastix_, and again in
1599 in its revision, as well as in his poem to Harriot, appended to his
_Achilles Shield_ in the same year; and Marston, who joined Chapman in
opposition to Shakespeare, and helped in the revision of
_Histriomastix_. In the words "Let H.S. hisse, and his complices
quarrell, etc.," Florio also gives evidence that Shakespeare at this
period had literary allies. In the story of the Sonnets I shall show
that Dekker was Shakespeare's principal ally in what has been called the
"War of the Theatres," which is supposed to have commenced at this time,
and, bearing in mind Chettle's recorded collaboration with Dekker at
this same period, it is evident that he also sided with Shakespeare.

A careful search of Elizabethan literature fails to bring to light _any
other writer who makes a satirical use of the initials "J.F.," or any
record of a writer bearing initials in any way resembling "H.S." who in
any manner approximates to Florio's description of a "reader" and a
"writer too" as well as a maker of plays_.

I have already shown Chapman's references to Shakespeare in the
dedication of _The Shadow of Night_. His allusion to Shakespeare as
"passion-driven" at that date (1594) being a reference to his relations
with the "dark lady." That he suggests Shakespeare, in his capacity of
"reader" to the Earl of Southampton, and that he takes flings at his
social quality in the expression "Judgements butcher," which I recognise
as an allusion to his father's trade, and in the words "Intonsi
Catones," as a reference to his provincial breeding as well as to the
flowing manner in which he wore his hair. In elucidating the meaning of
the initials "H.S.," Florio still more coarsely indicates our
country-bred poet, and accuses him of being a parasite, a bloodsucker,
and a monster of lasciviousness. His abusive descriptions are given in
Latin and Italian phrases commencing with the letters H and S. His
reason for using the letter H no doubt being that _there is no W in
either Italian or Latin, H being its nearest phonetic equivalent_. Let
us consider the whole passage.

   "There is another sort of leering curs, that rather snarle than bite,
   whereof I coulde instance in one, who lighting upon a good sonnet of
   a gentlemans, a friend of mine, that loved better to be a Poet, then
   to be counted so, called the author a rymer, notwithstanding he had
   more skill in good Poetrie, then my slie gentleman seemed to have in
   good manners or humanitie. But my quarrell is to a tooth-lesse dog,
   that hateth where he cannot hurt, and would faine bite when he hath
   no teeth. His name is H.S. Do not take it for the Romane H.S. for he
   is not of so much worth, unlesse it be as H.S. is twice as much and a
   halfe as halfe an As. But value you him how you will, I am sure he
   highly valueth himselfe. This fellow, this H.S. reading (for I would
   you should knowe he is _a reader and a writer too_) under my last
   epistle to the reader J.F. made as familiar a word of F. as if I had
   bin his brother. Now Recte fit oculis magister tuis, said an ancient
   writer to a much-like reading gramarian-pedante[31]: God save your
   eie-sight, sir, or at least your insight. And might not a man, that
   can do as much as you (that is, reade) finde as much matter out of
   H.S. as you did out of J.F.? As for example H.S. why may it not stand
   as well for Hæres Stultitiæ, as for Homo Simplex? or for Hircus
   Satiricus, as well as for any of them? And this in Latine, besides
   Hedera Seguace, Harpia Subata, Humore Superbo, Hipocrito Simulatore
   in Italian. And in English world without end. Huffe Snuffe, Horse
   Stealer, Hob Sowter, Hugh Sot, Humphrey Swineshead, Hodge Sowgelder.
   Now Master H.S. if this do gaule you, forbeare kicking hereafter, and
   in the meane time you may make a plaister of your dried Marjoram. I
   have seene in my daies an inscription, harder to finde out the
   meaning, and yet easier for a man to picke a better meaning out of
   it, if he be not a man of H.S. condition."

It will be noticed that Florio's reflections upon Shakespeare's
breeding, morals, and manners, while couched in coarser terms, are of
the same nature as Chapman's. Ben Jonson,--as shall later be shown,--in
_Every Man out of his Humour_, casts similar slurs at Shakespeare's
provincial origin. It is likely that the friend whose sonnet had been
criticised and who was called a "rymer" by "H.S." was none other than
George Chapman. The fifth _book_ of Shakespeare's Sonnets to the Earl of
Southampton was written against Chapman's advances upon his patron's
favour. In the tenth Sonnet in this _book_, which is numbered as the
38th in Thorpe's arrangement, Shakespeare refers to Chapman as a rhymer
in the lines:

     "Be thou the tenth Muse ten times more in worth
     Than those old nine which _rhymers_ invocate."

The few records concerning Florio, from which we may derive any idea of
his personal appearance and manner, suggest a very singular
individuality. There was evidently something peculiar about his face; he
was undoubtedly witty and worldly-wise, a braggart, a sycophant, and
somewhat of a buffoon. He was imbued with an exaggerated idea of his own
importance, and possessed of most unblushing assurance. In 1591 he
signed his address "To the Reader," prefixed to his _Second Fruites_,
"Resolute John Florio," a prefix which he persisted thereafter in using
in similar addresses in other publications. In 1600 Sir William
Cornwallis (who at that time had seen Florio's translation of
_Montaigne's Essays_ in MS.) writes of him: "Montaigne now speaks good
English. It is done by a fellow less beholding to nature for his fortune
than wit, yet lesser for his face than fortune. The truth is, he looks
more like a good fellow than a wise man, and yet he is wise beyond
either his fortune or education."

Between the year 1598 (when Florio dedicated his _World of Wordes_ to
the Earl of Southampton) and 1603, when Southampton was released from
the Tower upon the accession of James I., we have no record of Florio's
connection with that nobleman. It was undoubtedly due to Southampton's
influence in the new Court that Florio became reader to Queen Anna and
Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to James I. His native vanity and
arrogance blossomed into full bloom in this connection, in which he
seems to have been tolerated as a sort of superior Court jester. The
extravagant and grandiloquent diction of his early dedications read like
commonplace prose when compared with the inflated verbosity of his later
dedications to Queen Anna. In 1613 he issued a new edition of
_Montaigne's Essays_ which he dedicated to the Queen. A comparison of
the flattering sycophancy of this dedication with the quick transition
of his tone in his curt and insolent address "To the Reader" in the same
book will give some idea of the man's shallow bumptiousness.


   By the grace of God, Queen of England, Scotland, France and Ireland.
   Imperial and Incomparable Majestic. Seeing with me all of me is in
   your royal possession, and whatever pieces of mine have hitherto
   under the starres passed the public view, come now of right to be
   under the predomination of a power that both contains all their
   perfections and hath influences of a more sublime nature. I could not
   but also take in this part (whereof time had worn out the edition)
   which the world had long since had of mine and lay it at your sacred
   feet as a memorial of my devoted duty, and to show that where I am I
   must be all I am and cannot stand dispersed in my observance being
   wholly (and therein happy)--Your Sacred Majesties most humble and
   Loyal servant,



   Enough, if not too much, hath been said of this translation, if the
   faults found even by my own selfe in the first impression be now by
   the printer corrected, as he was directed, the work is much amended;
   if not, know, that through this mine attendance on her Majestic I
   could not intend it: and blame not Neptune for thy second shipwrecke.
   Let me conclude with this worthy mans daughter of alliance 'Que l'en
   semble donc lecteur.'

     Still Resolute

     Gentleman Extraordinary and Groome of the Privy Chamber."


[Footnote 29: _Shakespeare and the Rival Poet_, 1903; _Mistress
Davenant, the Dark Lady of Shakespeare's Sonnets_, 1913.]

[Footnote 30: While correcting proof sheets for this book I have found
evidence that Florio was living in Oxford, and already married in
September 1585. The Register of St. Peter's in the Baylie in Oxford
records the baptism of Joane Florio, daughter of John Florio, upon the
24th of September in that year. Wood's _City of Oxford_, vol. iii. p.
258. Ed. by Andrew Clark.]

[Footnote 31: A grammar-school pedant, alluding to Shakespeare's limited





SIR, in this stirring time, and pregnant prime of invention when everie
bramble is fruitefull, when everie mol-hill hath cast of the winters
mourning garment, and when everie man is busilie woorking to feede his
owne fancies; some by delivering to the presse the occurrences &
accidents of the world, newes from the marte, or from the mint, and
newes are the credite of a travailer, and first question of an
Englishman. Some like Alchimists distilling quintessences of wit, that
melt golde to nothing, and yet would make golde of nothing; that make
men in the moone, and catch the moon shine in the water. Some putting on
pyed coates lyke calendars, and hammering upon dialls, taking the
elevation of _Pancridge_ Church (their quotidian walkes) pronosticate of
faire, of foule, and of smelling weather; men weatherwise, that wil by
aches foretell of change and alteration of wether. Some more active
gallants made of a finer molde, by devising how to win their Mistrises
favours, and how to blaze and blanche their passions, with aeglogues,
songs, and sonnets, in pitifull verse or miserable prose, and most for a
fashion: is not Love then a wagg, that makes men so wanton? yet love is
a pretie thing to give unto my Ladie. Othersome with new caracterisings
bepasting al the posts in _London_ to the proofe, and fouling of paper,
in twelve howres thinke to effect _Calabrian_ wonders: is not the number
of twelve wonderfull? Some with Amadysing & Martinising a multitude of
our libertine yonkers with triviall, frivolous, and vaine vaine
droleries, set manie mindes a gadding; could a foole with a feather make
men better sport? I could not chuse but apply my self in some sort to
the season, and either proove a weede in my encrease without profit, or
a wholesome pothearbe in profit without pleasure. If I prove more than I
promise, I will impute it to the bountie of the gracious Soile where my
endevours are planted, whose soveraine vertue divided with such worthles
seedes, hath transformed my unregarded slips to medcinable simples.
Manie sowe corne, and reape thisles; bestow three yeares toyle in
manuring a barraine plot, and have nothing for their labor but their
travel: the reason why, because they leave the low dales, to seeke
thrift in the hill countries; and dig for gold on the top of the Alpes,
when _Esops_ cock found a pearle in a lower place. For me I am none of
their faction, I love not to climbe high to catch shadowes; suficeth
gentle Sir, that your perfections are the Port where my labors must
anchor, whose manie and liberall favours have been so largely extended
unto me, that I have long time studied how I might in some fort
gratefully testifie my thankfulnes unto you. But when I had assembled
all my thoughts, & entred into a contrarious consultation of my utmost
abilities, I could not find anie employment more agreeable to my power,
or better beseeming my dutie, than this present Dedication, whereby the
world, by the instance of your never entermitted benevolence towards me,
should have a perfect insight into your vertue & bountie, (qualities
growne too solitary in this age) and your selfe might be unfallibly
perswaded in what degree I honor and regarde you. For indeede I neither
may in equitie forget, nor in reason conceale the rare curtesies you
vouchsaft me at Oxford, the friendly offers and great liberalitie since
(above my hope and desert) continued at _London_, wherewith you have
fast bound me to beare a dutiful & grateful observance towards you while
I live, & to honour that mind from which as from a spring al your
friendships & goodnes hath flowed: And therefore to give you some paune
and certaine assurance of a thankfull minde, and my professed devotion I
have consecrated these my slender _endevours_ wholy to your _delight_,
which shall stand for an image and monument of your worthines to
posteritie. And though they serve to pleasure and profite manie, yet
shall my selfe reape pleasure, also if they please you well, under whose
name and cognisance they shall goe abroad and seeke their fortunes. How
the world will entertaine them I know not, or what acceptance your
credit may adde to their basenes I am yet uncertaine; but this I dare
vaunt without sparke of vaine-glory that I have given you a taste of the
best Italian fruites, the Thuscane Garden could affoorde; but if the
pallate of some ale or beere mouths be out of taste that they cannot
taste them, let them sporte but not spue. The moone keeps her course for
all the dogges barking. I have for these fruites ransackt and rifled all
the gardens of fame throughout Italie (and they are the Hesperides) if
translated they do prosper as they flourished upon their native stock,
or eate them & they will be sweete, or set them & they will adorne your

The maiden-head of my industrie I yeelded to a noble Mecenas (renoumed
Lecester) the honor of England, whom thogh like Hector every miscreant
Mirmidon dare strik being dead, yet sing _Homer_ or _Virgil_, write
friend or foe, of _Troy_, or _Troyes_ issue, that _Hector_ must have his
desert, the General of his Prince, the Paragon of his Peeres, the
watchman of our peace,

     "_Non so se miglior Duce o Cavalliero_"

as _Petrarke_ hath in his triumph of fame; and to conclude, the
supporter of his friends, the terror of his foes, and the _Britton_
Patron of the Muses.

     "Dardanias light, and Troyans faithfulst hope."

But nor I, nor this place may halfe suffice for his praise, which the
sweetest singer of all our westerns shepheards hath so exquisitely
depainted, that as Achilles by Alexander was counted happy for having
such a rare emblazoner of his magnanimitie, as the Meonian Poete; so I
account him thrice-fortunate in having such a herauld of his vertues as
Spencer; Curteous Lord, Curteous Spencer, I knowe not which hath
purchast more fame, either he in deserving so well of so famous a
scholler, or so famous a scholler in being so thankfull without hope of
requitall to so famous a Lord: But leaving him that dying left al Artes,
and al strangers as Orphanes, forsaken, and friendles, I will wholy
convert my muze to you (my second patron) who amongst many that beare
their crests hie, and mingle their titles with TAMMARTI QUAM MERCURIO
are an unfayned embracer of vertues, and nourisher of knowledge and
learning. I published long since my first fruits of such as were but
meanely entred in the Italian tongue, (which because they were the
first, and the tree but young were something sower, yet at last digested
in this cold climat) knowing well that they would both nourish and
delight, & now I have againe after long toyle and diligent pruning of my
orcharde brought forth my second fruites, (better, riper, and pleasanter
than the first) not unfit for those that embrace the language of the
muses, or would beautifie their speech with a not vulgar bravery. These
two I brought forth as the daughters and offsprings of my care and
studie: My elder (as before is noted) because she was ambitious (as
heires are wont) I married for preferment and for honour, but this
younger (fayrer, better nurtured, & comelier than her sister) because my
hope of such preferment and honour as my first had, fayled me, I thought
to have cloystred up in some solitarynes, which shee perceiving, with
haste putting on her best ornaments and (following the guise of her
countrie-women presuming very much upon the love and favour of her
parentes) hath voluntaryly made her choyce (plainly telling me that she
will not leade apes in hell) and matched with such a one as she best
liketh, and hopeth will both dearly love her, & make her such a joynter
as shal be to the comfort of her parents, and joy of her match, and
therefore have I given her my consent, because shee hath jumped so well
with modesty, and not aspired so high that shee might be upbraided
either with her birth or basenes when she could not mend it. I know the
world will smile friendlier, and gaze more upon a damzell marching in
figured silkes (who are as paper bookes with nothing in them) than upon
one being onely clad in home-spunn cloth (who are as playne cheasts full
of treasure) yet communis error shall not have my company, and therefore
have I rather chosen to present my Italian and English proverbiall
sportes to such a one as I know joynes them both so aptly in himselfe,
as I doubt whether is best in him, but he is best in both; who loves
them both, no man better; and touching proverbs, invents them, no man
finer; and aplyes them, no man fitter; and that taketh his greatest
contentment in knowledge of languages (guides and instruments to
perfection and excellency) as in Nectar and Ambrosia (meate onely for
Gods and deyfied mindes,) I shal not neede to trouble my selfe or you
with any commendation of the matter I deliver, nor to give credit by
some figures and colours to proverbs and sentences, seeing your selfe
know well (whose censure I most respect) both how much a proverbiall
speech (namely in the Italian) graceth a wise meaning, and how probably
it argueth a good conceipt, and also how naturally the Italians please
themselves with such materyall, short, and witty speeches (which when
they themselves are out of Italy and amongst strangers, who they think
hath learnt a little Italian out of Castilions courtier, or Guazzo his
dialogues, they will endevour to forget or neglect and speake bookish,
and not as they wil doe amongst themselves because they know their
proverbs never came over the Alpes) no lesse than with the conceipted
apothegmes, or Impreses, which never fall within the reach of a barren
or vulgar head. What decorum I have observed in selecting them, I leave
to the learned to consider. Thus craving the continuall sun-shine of
your worships favour towards me, and that they may never decline to any
west, and desiring your friendly censure of my travailes, I wish unto
you your owne wishes, which are such as wisedome endites, and successe
should subscribe.--Your affectionate in all he may.





READER, good or bad, name thyself, for I know not which to tearme thee,
unless heard thee read, and reading judge, or judging exercise; or
curtesie the cognisance of a Gentleman, or malice the badge of a Momus,
or exact examination the puritane scale of a criticall censor: to the
first (as to my friends) I wish as gracious acceptance where they desire
it most, as they extend where I deserve it least; to the second I can
wish no worse than they worke themselves, though I should wish them
blyndnes, deafnes, and dumbnes: for blynd they are (or worse) that see
their owne vices, others vertues: deafe they are (or worse) that never
could heare well of themselves, nor would heare well of others: and
dumbe they are (and worse) that speake not but behinde mens backs (whose
bookes speake to all;) and speake nought but is naught like themselves,
than who, what can be worse? As for critiks I accompt of them as
crickets; no goodly bird if a man marke them, no sweete note if a man
heare them, no good luck if a man have them; they lurke in corners, but
catch cold if they looke out; they lie in sight of the furnace that
tryes others, but will not come neare the flame that should purifie
themselves: they are bred of filth, & fed with filth, what vermine to
call them I know not, or wormes, or flyes, or what worse? They are like
cupping glasses, that draw nothing but corrupt blood; like swine, that
leave the cleare springs to wallow in a puddle: they doo not as Plutarke
and Aristarcus derive philosophie, and set flowers out of Homer; but
with Zoylus deride his halting, and pull asunder his faire joynted
verses: they doo not seeke honie with the bee, but suck poyson with the
spider. They will doo nought, yet all is naught but what they doo; they
snuff our lampes perhaps, but sure they add no oyle; they will heale us
of the toothache, but are themselves sick of the fever-lourdane.
Demonstrative rethorique is their studie, and the doggs letter they can
snarle alreadie. As for me, for it is I, and I am an Englishman in
Italiane, I know they have a knife at command to cut my throate, Un
Inglese Italianato, e un Diauolo incarnato. Now, who the Divell taught
thee so much Italian? speake me as much more, and take all. Meane you
the men, or their mindes? be the men good, and their mindes bad? speake
for the men (for you are one) and I will doubt of your minde: Mislike
you the language? Why the best speake it best, and hir Majestie none
better. I, but too manie tongues are naught; indeede one is too manie
for him that cannot use it well. Mithridates was reported to have
learned three and twentie severall languages, and Ennius to have three
harts, because three tongues, but it should seeme thou hast not one
sound heart, but such a one as is cancred with ennui; nor anie tongue,
but a forked tongue, thou hissest so like a snake, and yet me thinkes by
thy looke, thou shouldst have no tongue thou gapest and mowest so like a
frogg: I, but thou canst reade whatsoever is good in Italian, translated
into English. And was it good that they translated then? or were they
good that translated it? Had they been like thee, they were not woorth
the naming; and thou being unlike them, art unworthie to name them. Had
they not knowen Italian, how had they translated it? had they not
translated it, where were not thy reading? Rather drinke at the
wel-head, than sip at pudled streames; rather buy at the first hand,
than goe on trust at the hucksters. I, but thou wilt urge me with their
manners & vices, (not remembring that where great vices are, there are
infinit vertues) & aske me whether they be good or bad? Surely touching
their vices, they are bad (& I condemne them) like thyself; the men are
as we are, (is bad, God amend both us & them) and I think wee may verie
well mend both. I, but (peradventure) thou wilt say my frutes are
wyndie, I pray thee keepe thy winde to coole thy potage. I, but they are
rotten: what, and so greene? that's marvell; indeede I thinke the
caterpiller hath newly caught them. If thy sight and taste be so altred,
that neither colour or taste of my frutes will please thee, I greatly
force not, for I never minded to be thy fruterer. Muro bianco is paper
good enough for everie matto: Prints were first invented for wise mens
use, and not for fooles play. These Proverbs and proverbiall Phrases,
(hethertoo so peculiar to the Italians, that they could never find the
way over the Apenines, or meanes to become familiar to anie other
Nation) have onely been selected and stamped for the wise and not for
thee, (and therefore hast thou no part in them) who will kindly accept
of them: (though in the ordering of them I differ from most mens
methodes, who in their compositions onely seeke for words to expresse
their matter, and I have endevored to finde matter to declare those
Italian words & phrases, that yet never saw Albions cliffes) for the
pleasure of which, I will shortly send into the world an exquisite
Italian and English Dictionary, and a compendious Grammer. The Sunne
spreading his beames indifferently (and my frutes are in an open
orchyard, indifferent to all) doth soften wax, and harden clay; (my
frutes will please the gentler, but offend the clayish or clownish sort,
whom good things scarcely please, and I care not to displease). I know I
have them not all, and you with readie (if I should say so) with Bate me
an ace quoth Bolton, or Wide quoth Bolton when his bolt flew backward.
Indeed here are not all, for tell me who can tell them; but here are the
chiefs, and thanke me that I cull them. The Greekes and Latines thanks
Erasmus, and our Englishmen make much of Heywood: for Proverbs are the
pith, the proprieties, the proofs, the purities, the elegancies, as the
commonest so the commendablest phrases of a language. To use them is a
grace, to understand them a good, but to gather them a paine to me,
though gain to thee. I, but for all that I must not scape without some
new flout: now would I were by thee to give thee another, and surely I
would give thee bread for cake. Farewell if thou meane well; els fare as
ill, as thou wishest me to fare.

     The last of April, 1591.






This dedication (Right Honorable and that worthily) may haply make your
Honors muse; wellfare that dedication, that may excite your muse. I am
no auctorifed Herauld to marshall your precedence. Private dutie might
perhaps give one the prioritie, where publike respect should prefer
another. To choose _Tullie_ or _Ausonius_ Consuls, is to prefer them
before all but one; but to choose either the former of the twaine, is to
prefer him before all. It is saide of _Atreus_ in a fact most
disorderly, that may be saide of any in so ordering his best dutie.

It makes no matter whether, yet he resolves of neither. I onely say your
Honors best knowe your places: An Italian turne may serve the turne.
Lame are we in _Platoes_ censure, if we be not ambidexters, using both
handes alike. Right-hand, or left-hand as Peeres with mutuall paritie,
without disparagement may be please your Honors to joyne hand in hand,
an so jointly to lende an eare (and lende it I beseech you) to a poore
man, that invites your Honors to a christening, that I and my poore
studies, like _Philemon_ and _Baucis_, may in so lowe a cottage
entertaine so high, if not deities, yet dignities; of whom the Poet

     "Ma sopraogni altro frutto gradito
       Fu il volto allegro, e'l non bigiardo amore.
     E benchefosse pouero il conuito,
       Non fu la volonta pouera e'l core.

     But of all other cheere most did content
       A cheerefull countenance, and a willing minde,
     Poore entertainment being richly ment,
       Pleaded excuse for that which was behinde."

Two overhastie fruites of mine nowe some yeeres since, like two forwarde
females, the one put her selfe in service to an Earle of Excellence, the
other to a Gentleman of Woorth, both into the worlde to runne the race
of their fortune. Now where my rawer youth brought foorth those female
fruites, my riper yeeres affoording me I cannot say a braine-babe
_Minerva_, armed at all affaies at first houre; but rather from my
Italian _Semele_, and English thigh, a bouncing boie, _Bacchus_-like,
almost all named: And being as the manner of this countrie is, after
some strength gathered to bring it abroade; I was to entreate three
witnesses to the entrie of it into Christendome, over-presumptuous (I
grant) to entreate so high a preference, but your Honors so gracious (I
hope) to be over-entreated. My hope springs out of three stems: your
Honors naturall benignitie; your able employment of such servitours; and
the towardly likeliehood of this Springall to do you honest service. The
first, to vouchsafe all; the second, to accept this; the third, to
applie it selfe to the first and second. Of the first, your birth, your
place, and your custome; of the second, your studies, your conceits, and
your exercise: of the thirde, my endevours, my proceedings, and my
project gives assurance. Your birth, highly noble, more than gentle:
your place, above others, as in degree, so in height of bountie, and
other vertues: your custome, never wearie of well dooing: your studies
much in al, most in Italian excellence: your conceits, by understanding
others to work above them in your owne: your exercise, to reade, what
the worlds best wits have written and to speake as they write. My
endevours, to apprehend the best, if not all: my proceedings, to impart
my best, first to your Honors, then to all that emploie me: my project,
in this volume to comprehend the best and all. In truth I acknowledge an
entyre debt, not onely of my best knowledge, but of all, yea of more
then I know or can, to your bounteous Lordship most noble, most
vertuous, and most Honorable Earle of Southampton, in whose paie and
patronage I have lived some yeeres; to whom I owe and vowe the yeeres I
have to live. But as to me, and manie more the glorious and gracious
sunne-shine of your Honor hath infused light and life: so may my lesser
borrowed light, after a principall respect to your benigne aspect, and
influence, affoorde some lustre to some others. In loyaltie I may averre
(my needle toucht, and drawne, and held by such an adamant) what he in
love assumed, that sawe the other stars, but bent his course by the
Pole-starre, and two guardes, avowing, _Aspicit unam_ One guideth me,
though more I see. Good parts imparted are not empaired: Your springs
are first to serve your selfe, yet may yeelde your neighbours sweete
water; your taper is to light to you first, and yet it may light your
neighbours candle. I might make doubt, least I or mine be not now of any
further use to your selfe-sufficiencie, being at home so instructed for
Italian, as teaching or learning could supplie, that there seemed no
neede of travell: and nowe by travell so accomplished, as what wants to
perfection? Wherein no lesse must be attributed to your embellisht
graces (my most noble, most gracious, and most gracefull Earle of
Rutland) well entred in the toong, ere your Honor entered Italie, there
therein so perfected, as what needeth a Dictionarie? Naie, if I offer
service but to them that need it, with what face seeke I a place with
your excellent Ladiship (my most-most honored, because best-best adorned
Madame) who by conceited Industrie, or industrious conceite, in Italian
as in French, in French as in Spanish, in all as in English, understand
what you reade, write as you reade, and speake as you write; yet rather
charge your minde with matter, then your memorie with words? And if this
present, present so small profit, I must confesse it brings much lesse
delight: for, what pleasure is a plot of simples, _O non vista, o mal
note, o mal gradite_, Or not seene, or ill knowne, or ill accepted? Yet
heere-hence may some good accrewe, not onelie to truantlie-schollers,
which ever-and-anon runne to _Venuti_, and _Alunno_; or to new-entred
novices, that hardly can construe their lesson; or to well-forwarde
students, that have turned over _Guazzo_ and _Castiglione_, yea runne
through _Guarini_, _Ariosto_, _Taffo_, _Boccace_ and _Petrarche_: but
even to the most compleate Doctor; yea to him that best can stande
_All'erta_ for the best Italian, heereof sometimes may rise some use:
since, have he the memorie of _Themistocles_, of _Seneca_, of _Scaliger_
yet is it not infinite, in so finite a bodie. And I have seene the best,
yea naturall Italians, not onely stagger, but even sticke fast in the
myre, and at last give it over, or give their verdict with An
_ignoramus_, _Boccace_ is prettie hard, yet understood: _Petrarche_
harder, but explaned: _Dante_ hardest, but commented. Some doubt if all
aright. _Alunno_ for his foster-children hath framed a worlde of their
wordes. _Venuti_ taken much paines in some verie fewe authors; and our
_William Thomas_ hath done prettilie; and if all faile, although we
misse or mistake the worde, yet make we up the sence. Such making is
marring. Naie all as good; but not as right. And not right, is flat
wrong. One saies of _Petrarche_ for all: A thousand strappadas coulde
nor compell him to confesse, what some interpreters will make him saie
he ment. And a Judicious gentleman of this lande will uphold, that none
in England understands him thoroughly. How then ayme we at _Peter
Aretine_, that is so wittie, hath such varietie, and frames so manie new
words? At _Francesco Doni_ who is so fantasticall, & so strange? At
_Thomaso Garzoni_ in his _Piassa universale_; or at _Allesandro
Cittolini_, in his _Typecosmia_, who have more proper and peculiar words
concerning everie severall trade, arte, or occupation for everie
particular toole, or implement belonging unto them, then ever any man
heeretofore either collected in any booke, or sawe collected in any one
language? How shall we understand _Hanniball Caro_, who is so full of
wittie jestes, sharpe quips, nipping tantes, and scoffing phrases
against that grave and learned man _Lodivico Castelvetri_, in his
_Apologia de' Banchi_? How shall the English Gentleman come to the
perfect understanding of _Federico Grisone_, his _Arte del Cavalcare_,
who is so full of strange phrases, and unusuall wordes, peculiar onely
to horse-manship, and proper but to _Cavalarizzi_? How shall we
understand so manie and so strange bookes, of so severall, and so
fantasticall subjects as be written in the Italian toong? How shall we,
naie how may we ayme at the Venetian, at the Romane, at the Lombard, at
the Neapolitane, at so manie, and so much differing Dialects, and
Idiomes, as be used and spoken in Italie, besides the Florentine? Sure
we must saie as that most intelligent and grave Prelate said, when he
came new out of the South into the North, and was saluted with a womans
sute in Northern. Now what is that in English? If I, who many yeeres
have made profession of this toong, and in this search or quest of
inquirie have spent most of my studies; yet many times in many wordes
have beene so stal'd, and stabled, as such sticking made me blushinglie
confesse my ignorance, and such confession indeede made me studiouslie
seeke helpe, but such helpe was not readilie to be had at hande. Then
may your Honors without any dishonour, yea what and whosoever he be that
thinkes himselfe a very good Italian, and that to trip others, doth
alwaies stande _All'erta_, without disgrace to himselfe, sometimes be at
a stand, and standing see no easie issue, but for issue with a
direction, which in this mappe I hold, if not exactlie delineated, yet
conveniently prickt out. Is all then in this little? All I knowe: and
more (I know) then yet in any other. Though most of these you know
alreadie, yet have I enough, if you know anie thing more then you knew,
by this. The retainer doth some service, that now and then but holds
your Honors styrrop, or lendes a hande over a stile, or opens a gappe
for easier passage, or holds a torch in a darke waie: enough to weare
your Honors cloth. Such then since this may proove, proove it (right
Honorable) and reproove not for it my rudenes, or my rashnes; rudenes in
presuming so high, rashnes in assuming so much for it that yet is
unaprooved. Some perhaps will except against the sexe, and not allowe it
for a male-broode, sithens as our Italians saie, _Le parole sono femine,
& i fatti sono maschy_, Wordes they are women, and deeds they are men.
But let such know that _Detti_ and _fatti_, wordes and deeds with me are
all of one gender. And although they were commonly Feminine, why might
not I by strong imagination (which Phisicions give so much power unto)
alter their sexe? Or at least by such heaven-pearcing devotion as
transformed _Iphis_, according to that description of the Poet.

     "Et ognimembro suo piu forte e sciolto
       Sente, e volge allamadre il motto, e'l lume.
     Come veto fanciullo esser vede
       Iphi va con parole alme, e devote
     Altempio con la madre, e la nutrice,
       E paga il voto, e'l suo miracoldice.

     Feeling more vigor in each part and strength
       Then earst, and that indeede she was a boy.
     Towards hir mother eies and wordes at length
       She turns, and at the temple with meeke joy
     He and his nurse and mother utter how
       The case fell out, and so he paide his vow."

And so his strength, his stature, and his masculine vigor (I would, naie
I coulde saie vertue) makes me assure his sexe, and according to his
sexe provide so autenticall testimonies. Laie then your blisse-full
handes on his head (right Honorable) and witnes that he by me devoted
to your Honors, forsakes my private cell, all retired conceites, and
selfe-respects to serve you in the worlde, the world in you; and
beleeves in your Honors goodnes, in proportion as his service shall be
of moment and effectuall; and that you will not onely in due censure be
his judges, but on true judgement his protectors; and in this faith
desires to be numbered in your familie; so in your studies to attend, as
your least becke may be his dieugarde; for he hath toong to answer,
words at will, and wants not some wit, though he speake plaine what each
thing is. So have I crost him, and so blest him, your god-childe, and
your servant; that you may likewise give him your blessing, if it be but
as when one standes you in steede, supplies you, or pleases you, you
saie, Gods-blessing on him. But though in the fore-front he beares your
Honorable names, it may be demanded how is it, your Honors gave not him
his name? Heerein (right Honorable) beare with the fondnes of his
mother, my Mistresse _Muse_, who seeing hir female _Arescusa_ turn'd to
a pleasing male _Arescon_ (as _Plinie_ tels of one) beg'd (as some
mothers use) that to the fathers name she might prefixe a name befitting
the childes nature. So cald she him, A worlde of wordes: since as the
Univers containes all things, digested in best equipaged order,
embellisht with innumerable ornaments by the universall creator. And as
_Tipocosmia_ imaged by _Allesandro Cittolini_, and _Fabrica del mondo_,
framed by _Francesco Alunno_, and Piazza _universale_ set out by
_Thomaso Garzoni_ tooke their names of the universall worlde, in words
to represent things of the world: as words are types of things, and
everie man by himselfe a little world in some resemblances; so thought
she, she did see as great capacitie, and as meete method in this, as in
those latter, and (as much as there might be in Italian and English) a
modell of the former, and therefore as good cause so to entitle it. If
looking into it, it looke like the Sporades, or scattered Ilands, rather
than one well-joynted or close-joyned bodie, or one coherent orbe: your
Honors knowe, an armie ranged in files is fitter for muster, then in a
ring; and jewels are sooner found in severall boxes, then all in one
bagge. If in these rankes the English outnumber the Italian,
congratulate the copie and varietie of our sweete-mother toong, which
under this most Excellent well-speaking Princesse or Ladie of the worlde
in all languages is growne as farre beyond that of former times, as her
most flourishing raigne for all happines is beyond the raignes of former
Princes. Right Honorable, I feare me I have detained your Honors too
long with so homelie entertainment, yet being the best the meanenes of
my skill can affoorde; which intending as my childes christening-banquet,
heereunto I presumed to invite your Honors: but I hope what was saide at
you Honors first comming (I meane in the beginning of my Epistle) shall
serve for a finall excuse. And in conclusion (most Honorable) once againe
at your departure give me leave to commend this sonne of mine to your
favourable protections, and advowe him yours, with this licence, that
as _Henricus Stephanus_ dedicated his Treasure of the Greeke toong
to _Maximilian_ the Emperour, to _Charles_ the French king, and to
_Elizabeth_ our dread Soveraigne, and by their favours to their
Universities: So I may consecrate this lesser-volume of little-lesse
value, but of like import, first, to your triple-Honors, then under your
protections to all Italian-English, or English-Italian students. Vouchsafe
then (highlie Honorable) as of manie made for others, yet made knowne to
your Honors, so of this to take knowledge, who was borne, bred, and
brought foorth for your Honors chiefe service; though more service it may
do, to many others, that more neede it; since manie make as much of that,
which is made for them, as that they made them-selves, and of adopted,
as begotten children; yea Adrian the Emperour made more of those then
these; since the begotten are such as fates give us, the adopted such
as choice culs us; they oftentimes _Stolti, sgarbati, & inutili_, these
ever with _Corpo intiero, leggiadre membra, entente sana_. Accepting
therefore of the childe, I hope your Honors wish as well to the Father,
who to your Honors all-devoted wisheth meeds of your merits, renowme of
your vertues, and health of your persons, humblie with gracious leave
kissing your thrice-honored hands, protesteth to continue ever

     Your Honors most humble and
     bounden in true service,





I know not how I may again adventure an Epistle to the reader, so are
these times, or readers in these times, most part sicke of the sullens,
and peevish in their sicknes, and conceited in their peevishnes. So
should I feare the fire, that have felt the flame so lately, and flie
from the sea, that have yet a vow to pay for escaping my last
shipwracke. Then what will the world say for ventring againe? A fuo
danno, one will say. Et a torto si lamenta del mare, chi due volte
civoul tornare, will another say. Good council indeede, but who
followeth it? Doe we not daily see the contrarie in practise? Who loves
to be more on the sea, then they that have been most on it? Whither for
change if they have kept at a stay: or for amends if they have lost: or
for increase if they have gotten. Of these there are ynow and
wise-ynough to excuse me. Therefore I have put forward at aventure: But
before I recount unto thee (gentle reader) the purpose of my new voyage:
give me leave a little to please my selfe and refresh thee with the
discourse of my olde danger. Which because in some respect is a common
danger, the discoverie thereof may happily profit other men, as much as
please myselfe. And here might I begin with those notable Pirates in
this our paper-sea, those sea-dogs, or lande-Critikes, monsters of men,
if not beastes rather than men; whose teeth are Canibals, their toongs
adder-forkes, their lips aspes-poyson, their eies basiliskes, their
breath the breath of a grave, their wordes like swordes of Turkes, that
strive which shall dive deepest into a Christian lying bound before
them. But for these barking and biting dogs, they are as well knowne as
Scylla and Charybdis.

There is another sort of leering curs, that rather snarle than bite,
whereof I coulde instance in one, who lighting upon a good sonnet of a
gentlemans, a friend of mine, that loved better to be a Poet, then to be
counted so, called the auctor a rymer, notwithstanding he had more skill
in good Poetrie, then my slie gentleman seemed to have in good manners
or humanitie But my quarrell is to a tooth-lesse dog that hateth where
he cannot hurt, and would faine bite, when he hath no teeth. His name is
H.S. Doe not take it for the Romane H.S. for he is not of so much worth,
unlesse it be as H.S. is twice as much and a halfe as halfe an As. But
value him how you will, I am sure he highly valueth himselfe. This
fellow, this H.S. reading (for I would you should knowe he is a reader
and a writer too) under my last epistle to the reader I.F. made as
familiar a word of F. as if I had bin his brother. Now Recte fit oculis
magister tuis, said an ancient writer to a much-like reading
gramarian-pedante: God save your eie-sight, sir, or at least your
insight. And might not a man that can do as much as you (that is, reade)
finde as much matter out of H.S. as you did out of I.F.? As for example,
H.S. why may it not stand as well for Haerus Stultitiae, as for Homo
Simplex? or for Hara Suillina, as for Hostis Studioforum? or for Hircus
Satiricus, as well as for any of them? And this in Latine, besides
Hedera Seguice, Harpia Subata, Humore Superbo, Hipocrito Simulatore in
Italian. And in English world without end, Huffe Snuffe, Horse Stealer,
Hob Sowter, Hugh Sot, Humfrey Swineshead, Hodge Sowgelder. Now Master
H.S. if this doe gaule you, forbeare kicking hereafter, and in the meane
time you may make you a plaister of your dride Maroram. I have seene in
my daies an inscription, harder to finde out the meaning, and yet easier
for a man to picke a better meaning out of it, if he be not a man of
H.S. condition. There is a most excellent preface to the excellently
translated booke signed A.B. which when I sawe, I eftsoones conceived,
could I in perusing the whole A B C omit the needelesse, and well order
the requisite letters, I should find some such thing as Admirabilis
Bonitas, or Amantum Beatissumus. But how long thinke you would H.S. have
bin rooting and grunting ere he could have found as he is Hominum
Simplicissimus, or would have pickt out as he is Hirudo Sanguifuga, so
honest a meaning? Trust me I cannot but marvell at the disposition of
these men, who are so malicious as they will not spare to stab others,
though it be through their owne bodies, and wrong other men with their
owne double harme. Such mens wordes a wise man compares to boltes shot
right-up against heaven, that come not neare heaven, but downe againe
upon their pates that shot them: or a man may compare them to durt flung
at another man, which besides it defiles his handes that flings it,
possibly it is blowne backe againe upon his owne face: or to monie put
out to usurie, that returnes with increase, so they delivered with
hatred, are repaide with much more: or to the blasting Sereno in hot
countries, rising from puddles, dunghils, carions, putrified dampes,
poysoned lakes, that being detestable itselfe, makes that much more
detested from whence it comes. On the other side a good word is a deaw
from heaven to earth, that soakes into the roote and sends forth fruite
from earth to heaven: it is a precious balme, that hath sweetenesse in
the boxe, whence it comes, sweetnesse and vertue in the bodie, whereto
it comes: it is a golden chaine, that linkes the toongs, and eares, and
harts of writers and readers, each to other. They hurt not God (faith
Seneca) but their owne soules, that overthrowe his altars: Nor harme
they good men, but themselves, that turns their sacrifice of praises
into blasphemie. They that rave, and rage, and raile against heaven I
say not (faith be) they are guiltie of sacrilege, but at least they
loose their labour. Let Aristophanes and his comedians make plaies, and
scowre their mouthes on Socrates; those very mouthes they make to
vilifie, shall be the meanes to amplifie his vertue. And as it was not
easie for Cato to speake evill, so was it not usuall for him to hear
evill: it may be SOCRATES would not kicke againe, if an asse did kicke
at him, yet some that cannot be so wise, and will not be so patient as
Socrates, will for such jadish tricks give the asse his due burthen of
bastonadas. Let H.S. hisse, and his complices quarrell, and all breake
their gals, I have a great faction of good writers to bandie with me.

     "Think they to set their teeth on tender stuffe?
     But they shall marre their teeth, and finde me tough."

Conantes frangere frangam, said Victoria Collonna:

     "Those that to breake me strive,
     I'le breake them if I thrive."

Yet had not H.S. so causelesly, so witlesly provoked me, I coulde not
have bin hired, or induced against my nature, against my manner thus far
to have urged him: though happily heereafter I shall rather contemne
him, then farther pursue him. He is to blame (faith Martiall, and
further he brandes him with a knavish name) that will be wittie in
another mans booke. How then will scoffing readers scape this marke of a
maledizant? whose wits have no other worke, nor better worth then to
flout, and fall out? It is a foule blemish that Paterculus findes in the
face of the Gracchi. They had good wits, but used them ill. But a fouler
blot then a Jewes letter is it in the foreheads of Caelies and Curio,
that he sets, Ingeniose nequam, they were wittily wicked. Pitie it is
but evermore wit should be vertuous, vertue gentle, gentrie studious,
students gracious. Let follie be dishonest, dishonestie unnoble,
ignobilitie scandalous and scandall slanderous. Who then are they that
mispend all their leisure, yea take their cheefe pleasure in back biting
well-deservers? I see and am sorie to see a sort of men, whose fifth
element is malediction, whose life is infamie, whose death damnation,
whose daies are surfeiting, whose nights lecherie, yea such as Nanna
could never teach Pippa, nor Comare and Balia discourse of and whose
couches are Spintries; whose thrift is usurie, meales gluttonie,
exercise cousenage, whose valour bragardrie, Astolpheidas, or
Rodomontadas, or if it come to action, crueltie; whose communication is
Atheisme, contention, detraction, or Paillardise, most of lewdness, seld
of vertue, never of charitie; whose spare-time is vanitie or villanie:
yet will I not deale by them, as they doe by others. I like not reproofe
where it pertaines not to me: But if they like to see their owne
pictures in lively colours of their own ornaments, habillements,
attendants, observances, studies, amours, religions, games, travels,
imployments, furnitures, let them as gentlemen (for so I construe
Nobiles, and more they be not, if they be no lesse) goe to the Painters
shop, or looking-glasse of Ammianus Marcellinus, an unpartiall
historian, in his 28. booke about the middle, and blush, and amend, and
think, that thence, and out of themselves I might well draw a long
declamation: they that understand him, will agnise this; they that doe
not, let them learne: let both conceive, how they conforme, and both
reforme their deformities; or if they will not, at least let them
forbeare to blur others because they are blacke themselves, least it be
saide to them, as Seneca saide to one not unfitely, Te fera scabies
depascitur, tu nacuos rides pulchriorum? this let them construe, and
take to them the meaning of their labour. And though I more then feare
much detracting: for I have already tasted some, and that extraordinarie
though in an ordinarie place, where my childe was beaten ere it was
borne: some divining of his imperfectnes for his English part; some
fore-speaking his generall weakenes, and very gently seeming to pitie
his fathers. And one averring he could beget a better of his owne,
which like ynough he can, and hath done many a one, God forgive him. But
the best is, my sonne with all his faultes shall approove himself no
misse-begotten. And for those exceptions, knowing from whom they come, I
were very weake-minded if they coulde anything moove me. And that
husbandman might be counted very simple, that for the ominous shreekes
of an unluckie, hoarce-voist, dead-devouring night-raven or two, or for
feare of the malice of his worst conditioned neighbors, would neglect
either to till and sowe his ground, or after in due time to reape and
thresh out his harvest, that might benefite so many others with that,
which both their want might desire, and their thankfulness would
deserve. So did I intend my first seede, so doe I my harvest. The first
fruites onely reserved to my Honorable Patrones, the rest to every
woorthie Ladie and gentleman that pleases to come and buy; and though I
doubt not but ravens and crowes both, will have a graine or two now and
then in spite of my teeth, especially H.S. who is so many graines too
light: yet I am well content to repay good for evill, thinking it not
impossible that by the taste of the corne those very soules may in time
have their mouthes stopt for speaking evill against the husbandman. And
let this comparison of a labouring man by the way put you in minde
(gentle reader) of his labours, that hath laboured so much, and so long
to save you a labour, which I doubt not but he may as justly stand upon
in this toong-work, as in Latin Sir Thomas Eliot, Bishop Cooper, and
after them Thomas Thomas, and John Rider have done amongst us: and in
Greeks and Latin both the Stephans, the father and the sonne, who
notwithstanding the helpes each of them had, yet none of them but
thought he might challenge speciall thankes for his special travell, to
better purpose then any before him. And if they did so in those toongs,
where they had so many, and so great helpes, and in toongs which were
helpes to one another; they that understande, will easily acknowledge
the difference betwixt my paines and theirs: yet I desire no
pre-eminence of thankes; but either equall thankes, or equall excuse.
And well may I make that comparison betwixt our labours, that
Allessandro Cittolini maketh in his Tipocosmia: we all fared indeed like
sea-faring men (according to my first comparison) and lanched foorth
into a deepe, and dangerous sea, but they had this advantage of me, that
they were many to steere a passage-boate; I was but one to turne and
winde the sailes, to use the oare, to sit at sterne, to pricke my carde,
to watch upon the upper decke, boate-swaine, pilot, mate, and master,
all offices in one, and that in a more unruly, more unweildie, and more
roome-some vessell, then the biggest hulke on Thames, or burthen-bearing
Caracke in Spaine, or slave-tiring Gallie in Turkie, and that in a sea
more divers, more dangerous, more stormie, and more comfortlesse then
any Ocean. If any thinke I had great helpes of Alunno, or of Venuti, let
him confer, and knowe I have in two, yea almost in one of my letters of
the Alphabet, more wordes, then they have in all their twentie; and they
are but for a few auctors in the Italian toong, mine for most that write
well, as may appeere by the Catalog of bookes that I have read through
of purpose for the accomplishing of this Dictionarie. I would not meddle
with their defects and errors nor yet amplifie the fulnesse or
perfection of my owne worke, farther then upon a just ground to satisfie
his good desire that wisheth the best helpe. If any man aske whether all
Italian wordes be here? I answer him, it may be no: and yet I thinke
heere be as many, as he is likely to finde (that askes the question)
within the compasse of his reading; and yet he may have read well too. I
should thinke that very few wordes could escape those auctors I have set
downe, which I have read of purpose to the absolute accomplishing of
this worke, being the most principall, choisest, and difficult in the
toong; especially writing in such varietie not onely of matters, but of
dialects: but what I aske him againe, how many hundred wordes he, and
possibly his teachers too were gravelled in? which he shall finde here
explaned? If no other bookes can be so well perfected, but still some
thing may be added, how much lesse a Word-booke? Since daily both new
wordes are invented; and bookes still found, that make a new supplie of
olde. We see the experience in Latin, a limited toong, that is at his
full growth: and yet if a man consider the reprinting of Latin
Dictionaries, ever with addition of new store, he would thinke it were
still increasing. And yet in these Dictionaries as in all other that
that is printed still is reputed perfect. And so it is no doubt after
the customarie and possible perfection of a Dictionarie, which kinde of
perfection if I chalenge to mine (especially considering the yeerelt
increase, which is as certainly in this, in French, in Spanish, in
Dutch, &c., as we find by experience it is in English; and I thinke I
may well saie more in this, then in the rest; yea and in the rest mostly
from this) I hope no man that shall expend the woorth of this worke in
impartiall examination, will thinke I challenge more then is due to it.
And for English-gentlemen me thinks it must needs be a pleasure to them,
to see so rich a toong out-vide by their mother-speech, as by the
manie-folde Englishes or manie wordes in this is manifest? The want
whereof in England heeretofore, I might justly say in all Europe, might
more endeare the woorth. Though without it some knew much, yet none knew
all Italian, as all may do by this. That well to know Italian is a grace
of all graces, without exception, which I ever exemplifie in her
gracious Highnes; whose due-deserved-praises set foorth aright I may
rightly say, as a notable Italian writer saide earst of hir
most-renowmed father of famous memorie, Che per capir le giufte lodi
della quale conuerrebbe o che il cieli s'inalzaffe, o ch'il mondo
s'allargaffe; or as the moderne Italian Homer saide of a Queene far
inferious to hir thrice-sacred Majestie, Che le glorie altrui si
esprimono scrivendo e parlando, quelle di fua serenissima e sacratissima
Maesta si possono solo esprimere maravigliando e tacendo. Of whose
innumerable excellencies, is not the fore-most, yet most famous I have
heard, and often have had the good hap and comfort to see, that no
Embassador or stranger hath audience of hir Majestie, but in his native
toong; and none hath answere but in the same; or in the common toongs of
Greeke and Latin, by hir sacred lips pronounced. That the best by hir
patterne desire to doe as much, I doubt not; but I doubt how they can
without such helpe, and that such helpe was to be had till now. I denie:
yet doe I understand that a gentleman of worshipful account, well
travelled, well conceited, and well experienced in the Italian, hath in
this very kinde taken great pains, and made as great proofes of his
inestimable worth. Glad would I be to see that worke abroad; some sight
whereof gave me twenty yeeres since the first light to this. But since
he suppresseth his, for private respects, or further perfection, nor he,
nor others will (I hope) prize this the lesse. I could here enter into a
large discourse of the Italian toong, and of the teachers and teaching
thereof, and shew the ease and facilities of it, with setting downe some
few, yea very few observations whereunto the Italian toong may be
reduced: which some of good sort and experience have merrily compared to
jugling-tricks, all which afore a man know or discover how they are
done, one would judge to be very hard and difficult; but after a man
hath seene them and knowes them, they are deemed but slight and easie.
And I was once purposed for the benefite of all learners to have done
it, and to have shewed why through my Dictionarie I have in all verbs of
the first conjugation onely set downe the Infinitive moode, except it be
of fower irregular verbes, and wherefore in all of the seconde and
thirde conjugations I have noted besides the Infinitive moode, the first
person singular of the present-tence of the Indicative moode, the first
person singular of the first preterperfect-tence of the Indicative, and
the participle. And why in the verbes of the fourth conjugation, I have
besides the Infinitive moode, the participle, the first person singular
of the present-tence of the Indicative moode of some very few, and not
of all, and how by those fewe onely one may frame all the persons of all
the tences of all the verbes in the Italian toong; without the knowledge
of which, and of those few observations glanced at before, no man can or
shall ever learne to speake or write true Italian in England: But that I
understand there be some that are perswaded, yea and affirme, that
nothing can be set down either by me, or any else that they have not or
knowe not before; and I am informed, that some would not be ashamed to
protest they knewe as much before: and therefore contrarie to my first
resolution I forbeare to doe it, grieving that for their sakes the
gentle reader and learner shall be barred of so necessarie a scale of
the Italian toong. If these, or others thinke of this no such paines,
little price, or lesse profit then I talke of, I onely wish, they felt
but halfe my paines for it; or let them leave this, and tie themselves
to the like taske, and then let the fruites of our labors, and the
reapers of the fruites judge betwixt us whose paines hath sorted to best
perfection: which ere long (if God sende me life, and blesse these
labors) I meane to perfect with addition of the French and Latine, and
with the wordes of some twenty good Italian auctors, that I could never
obtaine the sight of, and hope shortly to enjoy: And I intend also to
publish and annexe unto this, an Alphabeticall English Dictionarie, that
any man knowing but the English word, shall presently finde the Italian
for it. Meane-while I wish to thee, as of me thou shalt deserve, and
wish of thee as I knowe of thee I have deserved.




In the blessed name of God the Father my gracious Creator and Maker, of
God the Sonne Jesus Christ my merciful Savyo^r and Redeemer, and of God
the Holie Ghost three persons and one ever liveing and omnipotent God,
in unity and Trinity my most loving Comforter and preserver Amen. I John
Florio of Fulham in the Countie of Middlesex Esq^re, being of good
health and sound minde and perfect memory, hearty thankes bee ever
ascribed and given therefore unto Almighty God, And well in remembering
and knowing that nothing is more certayne unto mortall man than death
and noe one thing more uncertayne then is the houre therof, doe make
appoint pronounce and declare this my Testament therin fully contayning
my last direct and unrevocable will and intention in manner and forme
following; That is to say, First and principally as duty and
Christianity willeth mee I most heartily and penitently sorrowfull for
all my sinnes committ and recommend my soule into the mercifull handes
of Almighty God, assuredly trusting and faithfully beleeving by the
onely meritts bitter passion precious blood and glorious death of the
immaculate Lambe Jesus Christ his Sonne, to have full remission and
absolute forgiveness of all my sinnes whatsoever, and after this
transitory life to live and raigne with him in his most blessed Kingdome
of heaven. As for my wretched Body I committe the same as earth to earth
and dust to dust to be buried in such decent order as to my deare Wife
and by my executors here under-named shalbee thought meete and
convenient. And as touching the disposing and ordering of all and
whatsoever such goodes cattle, chattle, Leases, monie, plate, jewells,
bookes, apparrell, bedding, hangings, peawter, brasse, household stuffe
moveables, immoveables and all other things whatsoever named or unnamed,
specifide or unspecifide, wherwith my most gracious God hath beene
pleased to endowe mee with or hereafter shall of his infinite mercy bee
pleased to bestowe or conferre upon me in this transitory life, I will
appoint give order dispose and bequeath all and every part and parcel of
the same firmely and unalterably to stand in manner and forme following,
That is to say, Item, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Aurelia
Molins the Wedding Ring wherewith I married her mother, being aggrieved
at my very heart that by reason of my poverty I am not able to leave her
anything els. Item, I give and bequeath as a poore token of my love to
my sonne in law James Molins, a faire black velvett deske embroidered
with seede pearles and with a silver and guilt inkhorne and dust box
therin, that was Queen Anne's. Item, I give and bequeath unto the right
honourable my sigulare and even honoured good Lord William Earle of
Pembroke Lord Chamberlaine to the Kings most excellent maiestie and one
of his royal counsell of state (if at my death he shall then be living)
all my Italian, French and Spanish bookes, as well printed as unprinted,
being in number about Three hundred and fortie, namely my new and
perfect dictionary, as also my tenne dialogues in Italian and English
and my unbound volume of divers written collections and rapsodies, most
heartilie entreating his Honorable Lordshippe (as hee once promised mee)
to accept of them as a sign and token of my service and affection to his
honor and for my sake to place them in his library, either at Wilton or
else at Baynards Castle at London, humbly desiring him to give way and
favourable assistance that my dictionarie and dialogues may bee printed
and the profitt therof accrud unto my wife. Item, I doe likewise give
and bequeath unto his noble Lordship the Corinne Stone as a jewell fitt
for a Prince which Ferdinando the great Duke of Tuscanie sent as a most
precious gift (among divers others) unto Queen Anne of blessed memory;
the use and vertue wherof is written in two pieces of paper, both in
Italian and English being in a little box with the Stone, most humbly
beseeching his honour (as I right confidently hope and trust hee will in
charity doe if neede require) to take my poore and deere wife into his
protection and not suffer her to be wrongfully molested by any enemie of
myne, and also in her extremity to afforde her his helpe good worde and
assistance to my Lord Treasurer, that she may be payed my wages and the
arrearages of that which is unpayed or shall bee behind at my death. The
rest the residue and remainder of all whatsoever and singular my goods,
cattles, chattles, jewells, plate, debts, leases, money, or monie worth,
household stuffe, utensills, English bookes, moveables or immoveables,
named or not named, and things whatsoever by mee before not given
disposed or bequeathed (provided that my debts bee paid and my funerall
discharged). I wholly give, fully bequeath, absolutely leave, assigne
and unalterably consigne unto my deerly beloved wife Rose Florio, most
heartily greiving and ever sorrowing that I cannot give or leave her
more in requitall of her tender love, loving care painfull dilligence,
and continuall labour, to me and of mee in all my fortunes and many
sicknesses; then whome never had husband a more loving wife, painfull
nurce, or comfortable consorte, And I doe make institute, ordaine,
appoint and name the right Reverend Father in God, Theophilus Feild Lord
bishoppe of Landaffe and Mr. Richard Cluet Doctor of Divinity vicar and
preacher of the word of God at Fulham, both my much esteemed, dearely
beloved and truely honest good frendes, my sole and onely Executors and
overseers; And I doe give to each of them for their paines an ould
greene velvett deske with a silver inke and dust box in each of them
that were sometymes Queene Annes my Soveraigne Mistrisse, entreating
both to accept of them as a token of my hearty affection towards them,
and to excuse my poverty which disableth mee to requite the trouble,
paines, and courtesie, which I confidently beleeve they will charitably
and for Gods sake undergoe in advising directing and helping my poore
and deere wife in executing of this my last and unrevocable will and
testament, if any should be soe malicious or unnaturall as to crosse or
question the same; And I doe utterly revoke and for ever renounce,
frustrate, disanull, cancell and make void, all and whatsoever former
wills, legacies, bequests, promises, guifts, executors or overseers (if
it should happen that anie bee forged or suggested for untill this tyme,
I never writt made or finished any but this onely) And I will appoint
and ordaine that this and none but this onely written all with mine owne
hand, shall stand in full force and vigor for my last and unrevocable
will and Testament, and none other nor otherwise. As for the debts that
I owe the greatest and onelie is upon an obligatory writing of myne owne
hand which my daughter Aurelia Molins with importunity wrested from me
of about threescore pound, wheras the truth, and my conscience telleth
mee, and soe knoweth her conscience, it is but thirty-four pound or
therabouts, But let that passe, since I was soe unheedy, as to make and
acknowledge the said writing, I am willing that it bee paid and
discharged in this forme and manner, My sonne in lawe (as daughter his
wife knoweth full well) hath in his handes as a pawne, a faire gold ring
of mine, with thirteene faire table diamonds therein enchased; which
cost Queene Anne my gracious Mistrisse seaven and forty pounds starline,
and for which I might many tymes have had forty pounds readie money:
upon the said ring my sonne in the presence of his wife lent me Tenne
pound. I desire him and pray him to take the overplus of the said Ring
in parte of payment, as also a leaden Ceasterne which hee hath of myne
standing in his yard at his London-house that cost mee at a porte-sale
fortie shillings, as also a silver candle cup with a cover worth about
forty shillings which I left at his house being sicke there; desiring my
sonne and daughter that their whole debt may bee made up and they
satisfied with selling the lease of my house in Shoe lane, and soe
accquitt and discharge my poore wife who as yet knoweth nothing of his
debt. Moreover I entreat my deare wife that if at my death my servant
Artur [_blank_] shall chance to bee with mee and in my service, that for
my sake she give him such poore doubletts, breeches, hattes, and bootes
as I shall leave, and therwithall one of my ould cloakes soe it bee not
lyned with velvett. In witnesse whereof I the said John Florio to this
my last will and Testament (written every sillable with myne owne hande,
and with long and mature deliberation digested, contayning foure sheetes
of paper, the first of eight and twenty lines, the second of nine and
twenty, the third of nyne and twenty and the fourth of six lines) have
putt, sett, written and affixed my name and usual seale of my armes. The
twentyth day of July in the yeare of our Lord and Savyour Jesus Christ
1625, and in the first yeare of the raigne of our Soveraigne Lord and
King (whom God preserve) Charles the First of that name of England,
Scotland, France and Ireland King. By mee John Florio being, thankes bee
ever given to my most gracious God, in perfect sence and memory.

Proved 1 June 1626 by Rose Florio the relict, the executors named in the
Will for certain reasons renouncing execution.


   Florio was eighty years of age at his death in 1625. From significant
   references by Shakespeare, in _Henry IV._, to Falstaff's age, I have
   long been of the opinion that Florio was more than forty-five years
   old in 1598, when the _First Part_ of this play was revised and the
   _Second Part_ written; yet if the age of fifty-eight, which Florio
   gives himself in the medallion round his picture in the 1611 edition
   of his _Worlde of Wordes_ is to be believed, he was only forty-five
   in 1598. I have now found Anthony Wood's authority for dating his
   birth in 1545.

   In _Registrium Universitalus Oxon._, vol. ii., by Andrew Clark, I
   find: "1st May 1581, Magd. Co., John Florio, æt. 36, serviens mei

   In a copy of Florio's first edition of his _Worlde of Wordes_ in my
   library, which evidently belonged to his friend William Godolphin, as
   his name is written in it, there is also written in an old hand,
   under Florio's name on the title-page, "born 1545."


_Achilles Shield_, 120

Admiral's company, the Lord, 6, 10, 12, 50, 51, 52, 53;
  at Dover, 54; 56, 57, 59;
  identity between 1585 and 1589, 60; 65;
  under Henslowe, 73; 78, 81, 82, 84, 14

_Agamemnon_, 114

Allen, Giles, 39, 43, 45, 75

Alleyn, Edward, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 38, 61, 62, 65, 70;
  manager of Strange's men, 77; 82, 85;
  as Roscius, 98; 100, 101

Alleyn, John, 8, 62;
  servant to the Lord Admiral, 63; 102

Alleyn, Richard, 105

_All's Well that Ends Well_, 163, 170, 171, 193, 194, 195, 205

_Anatomy of Absurdity_, 98, 99

Anna, Queen, 222

Antonio, 134

Arden, Mary, 21, 23

Arden, Robert, 21

Arden, the name, 21

Ardens of Parkhill, the, 21-22

Armada, the, 2, 131, 132

Armado, 18, 182, 206

Armin, Robert, 114 n.

Arundell's players, Lord, 44, 48

_Ave Cæsar_, 99

Avisa, 129

Aylmer, Bishop, 140

Bacon, Sir Francis, 185

Barnes, Barnabe, 127

Barnstaple, 9

Biron, 134

_Blacke Bookes Messenger, The_, 47 n.

Bodleian Library, 128

Brandes, Georg, 8 n.

Brayne, John, 39, 43, 75

Brown, John, 26

Brown, Ned, 47

Browne, Robert, 8, 62, 65, 102

Browning, Robert, 19

Bryan, George, 29, 55, 60, 83

Burbage, Cuthbert, 44, 45, 75

Burbage, James, 5, 9, 11, 38;
  as theatrical manager, 38, 42, 43, 45, 52, 53, 58, 63, 65, 67, 70,
  75, 106, 126

Burbage, Richard, 5, 8, 14, 55, 66, 70, 75, 77, 83, 126

Burbie, Cuthbert, 96 n.

Burghley, Lord, 11, 17, 73, 154, 155, 173, 174

Carey, Henry, Lord Hunsdon, 50

Castle, William, parish clerk of Stratford, 68

Cecil-Howard faction, 73

Cecil, Sir Robert, 17, 154, 175, 194, 216

Cecil, Sir William, 157

Censor, Public, 17

Chamberlain's company, the Lord, 10, 12, 13, 14, 38, 42, 52, 57, 59, 84;
  leave Henslowe, 86

Chamberlain's musicians, the Lord, 54;
  at Coventry, 50, 60

Chambers, E.K., 56

Chandos portrait, the, 110

Chapman, George, 15, 23, 31, 92, 93, 109, 114, 115, 119, 128, 167, 184,
  185, 186

Chettle, Henry, 93, 110, 151

_Choice of Valentines, The_, 128

Chrisoganus, 120

Classical allusions, 79

Cobham, Lord, 215, 217

_Comedy of Beauty and Housewifery, A_, 49

_Comedy of Errors, The_, 8, 17, 83, 148, 152, 172

_Contention, and True Tragedie, The_, 80, 147

Cornwallis, Sir William, 221

_Coronet for my Mistress Philosophy, A_, 124, 130

Court performances, 82

Court records, 13

Coventry, 9

Coventry records, 54

Cowdray House, 37, 165, 166

Cranmer, Archbishop, 157

Crosskeys, the, 51, 53, 55, 70, 72, 73, 77, 81

Curtain Theatre, the 6, 14, 39, 44, 46, 48, 50, 51, 72, 74

_Cymbeline_, 3

Dame Pintpot, 198

Daniel, Samuel, 159, 162

Davenant, Mistress, 123, 125, 184

Davenant, Sir William, 36, 127

Davies, John, 81, 90-91

Davison, William, 178

_De Guiana Carmen Epicum_, 116

Dekker, Thomas, 93, 218

_Delphrygus_, 103, 104

Derby, Countess of, 55

Derby, Earl of, 55, 115, 179

Devereux, Dorothy, 139

_Dialogue of Dives_, 104

_Diary_, Henslowe's, 7, 8, 67, 68, 75, 77, 80, 127

Doll Tearsheet, 197

Dulwich College, 99

"Duttons, The Two," 74

_Edward I._, 78, 80, 81, 101

_Edward II._, 85, 88, 131

_Edward III._, 101, 105, 131

Edward VI., 135, 143

Elizabeth, Queen, as Cynthia, 119

_English Dramatic Companies_, 41 n., 96 n.

_Ephemeris Chrisometra_, 120

_Essaies of Montaigne_, 191, 222

Essex, Earl of, 140, 154, 175-78, 216

Essex faction, 73

_Euthymia Raptus_, 120

_Every Man out of his Humour_, 108, 220

_Faerie Queen, The_, 161

_Fair Em_, 95, 105

Falconbridge, as Sir John Perrot, 133-34

Falstaff, Sir John, 181, 182, 206, 215

_Famous Victories of Henry V._, 200, 202, 215

_Farewell to Folly_, 95, 168

Feis, Jacob, 74

Field, Theophilus, Bishop of Llandaff, 160

_First Fruites_, 92, 196

Fleay, F.G., 66, 74, 80, 95, 96, 107

Fleetwood, Recorder, as an enemy of the players, 11; 44, 46;
  as Burghley's gossip, 49

Florio, John, 15;
  as Falstaff's original, 18; 91, 92, 108;
  as Landulpho, 122, 123; 125, 157-60, 183-91;
  as Parolles, 171, 193; 201;
  signs as "Resolute," 221

Fluellen, 182, 191

_Four Plays in One_, 87

Froude, James Anthony, 1, 16

Gardiner, S.R., 1, 16

Golding, Arthur, 118

Gray's Inn, 156, 172

Greene, Robert, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 30, 35, 69, 80, 85, 88, 92, 94;
  as Roberto, 103; 106, 110, 117, 130, 151, 169

Greg, W.W., 101 n.

_Groatsworth of Wit, A_, 5, 15, 102, 110, 117, 150

Grooms of the Privy Chamber, 58

Halliwell-Phillipps, J.O., 43, 45, 50, 60

_Hall's Chronicles_, 141

Halpin, Rev. J.H., 15, 159, 161

_Hamlet_, 4, 81, 86, 105, 107, 198

Harriot, Thomas, 115, 120

Hart, Joan, 36

Hart, John, Lord Mayor of London, 72

Harvey, Gabriel, 92

Hatton, Sir Christopher, 138-39, 140

Heneage, Sir Thomas, 36;
  as Lafeu, 171; 189

_Henry IV._, 80, 198

_Henry IV., Part I._, 199, 200, 202, 203, 204

_Henry IV., Part II._, 32, 197, 199, 203

_Henry V._, 80, 121

_Henry VI., Part I._, 7, 14, 77, 78, 131, 147

_Henry VI., Part III._, 7, 87, 88

Henry VIII., 134, 135

Henslowe, Philip, 6, 8, 10, 11, 38, 59, 61, 69, 70, 82

Heralds, The College of, 32, 90, 92

_Highway to Heaven, The_, 104

_Histriomastix_, 93, 108, 114, 116, 117, 118, 119, 167

Holinshed's _Chronicles_, 141

_Honour of the Garter_, 92, 113, 115, 117

Howard of Effingham's company, Lord Charles, at Ipswich, 1591, 60

Howe's _Additions to Stowe's Chronicles_, 58

"H.S.," 217-18, 219

Hunsdon, Lord, 9, 10, 43, 46, 50

Hunsdon's company, Lord, 42, 45, 48;
  at Ludlow, 49; 53, 55;
  disappear from records, 55

Hyde, John, 43, 45

_Hymns to the Shadow of Night_, 93, 115, 116, 118, 124, 128, 186

_Iliad_, Homer's, 197

_Intonsi Catones_, 125, 126, 219

Jacques, 134

Jacquespierre, 21

"J.F.," 217-18, 219

James I., 186, 221

Jaquenetta, 206

Jeffes, Humphrey, 87, 147

Jones, Richard, 8, 62, 65, 102

Jonson, Ben, 90, 93, 108, 109, 147, 186, 220

Keats, John, 19, 31

Kempe, William, 29, 55, 60, 83, 126

Kildare, Countess of, 166

_Kinde Heartes Dreame_, 150, 152

_King John_, 8, 17, 34, 80, 83, 131, 132, 133, 139, 146, 152, 172

_King Lear_, 3

_King of the Fairies, The_, 103, 104

Kyd, Thomas, 107, 117, 131

"Lanam and his fellowes," 51

Laneham, John, 43, 51, 58

Langley, William, 13

Leases, Elizabethan, 43

Lee, Sir Sidney, 6 n., 46 n.

Leicester's company, Earl of, 5, 9, 13;
  at Stratford, 29; 43, 45; 52;
  at Dover, 54;
  disappear from records, 55; 55, 57, 58, 59, 66, 67, 84

Leicester, Earl of; death, 29; 49, 154, 173-75

Leicester's musicians, Earl of, 9, 54

Leicester Records, City of, 8

_Life of Jack Wilton_, 128

Lodge, Thomas, 114 n.

Loftus, Archbishop, 138

_Love's Labours Lost_, 8, 83, 116, 119, 121, 152, 166, 168, 170, 197, 206

_Love's Labour's Won_, 8, 83, 123, 162, 170, 171

_Lucrece_, 13, 82;
  dedication, 128; 153

Lucy, Sir Thomas, alleged deer preserves, 32

Malvolio, 182

Manners, Roger, 156, 179

Markham, Gervase, 128

Marlowe, Christopher, 12, 30, 80, 85, 88;
  as "Merlin," 95;
  as "the cobbler," 101; 107, 131

Marston, John, 93, 109, 119, 185, 186

Martin Marprelate Controversy, 72

_Martin's Month's Mind_, 51

Mary, Queen, 135-36

Mary, Queen of Scots, 178

Master of the Revels' company, the, 64

_Measure for Measure_, 198

Menalcas, 161

_Menaphon_, Greene's, 67, 98, 102, 107, 118

_Merchant of Venice, The_, 121

Meres, Francis, 31, 193, 199

_Merry Wives of Windsor_, 171

_Metamorphosis of Ajax_, 51

_Midsummer Night's Dream, A_, 8, 83, 121, 152, 168

Miles, Robert, 76

Minto, Prof. William, 126

"Mirabella," 161, 162

Montague, Lady, 169-70

Montague, Viscount, 155, 169-70

_Moral of Man's Wit_, 104

Morgann, Maurice, 181, 202

Murray, John Tucker, 9 n., 41 n.

Nashe, Thomas, 7, 12, 14, 67, 69, 78, 80, 92, 94, 98, 100, 102, 104, 107,
  108, 117, 128, 130, 169

_Never too Late to Mend_, 98, 109

_News Out of Purgatory_, 51

_Nichol's Progresses_, 168-69

Nightwork, Jane, 213

_Nine Worthies, The_, 195, 197

Northumberland, Earl of, 115

Nottingham's company, Lord, 127

Oldcastle, Sir John, 200, 215, 217

O'Roughan, Denis, 138

_Outlines for the Life of Shakespeare_, 45

_Ovid's Banquet of Sense_, 120, 124, 130

Ovid's _Elegies_, 118

Oxford, Earl of, 190

_Palladis Tamia_,199

Parolles, 18, 171, 206

Peckham, Edward, 75

Peele, George, 12, 31, 78, 79, 80, 81, 92, 98;
  as Tully, 98, 99; 101, 113, 117, 131

Pembroke, Earl of, 136, 148

Pembroke's company, Earl of, 7, 12, 13, 14, 57, 71, 75, 76, 84, 85;
  pawn their apparel, 86;
  plays, 86; 107, 113

_Penelope's Web_, 106

Perrot, Sir John, 134-39;
  recalled from Ireland, 138;
  death of, 139

Perrot, Sir Thomas, 139

Phillip II. of Spain, 138, 139

_Pierce Penniless_, 51

Pipe Rolls, the, 56, 73

Plague, the, 85

_Planetomachia_, 106

Pope, Thomas, 29, 55, 60, 83

Privy Council, Acts of the, 56, 73

_Prodigal Child, The_, 120, 123

_Prodigal Son, The_, 123

Puritanism, 132

Queen's company, Old Plays of the, 14, 74

Queen's company, the, 6, 11, 43, 46, 48, 50, 51, 53, 55, 59, 75, 84, 131,
  146, 147

Queen's progress to Cowdray and Tichfield, the, 37, 119, 165

Queen's tumblers, the, 56 n.

Quickly, Mistress, 200, 204

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 115, 154, 175, 185

_Richard II._, 8, 80, 83, 88, 131, 146

_Richard III._, 8, 80, 83

_Romeo and Juliet_, 152

"Rosalinde," 160, 161, 162

Roscius, 98, 102

Rose, Edward, 142

Rose Theatre, the, 6, 10, 11, 51, 59, 61, 69, 70, 76, 81, 146

Rowe, Nicholas, 67, 127, 215, 216

Roydon, Matthew, 15, 31, 93, 109, 114 n., 124, 125, 167, 168, 184, 200, 218

Saexberht, 20

Saunder, Nicholas, 158

Scapula, 24

Schlegel, 198

_School of Shakespeare_, 95

_Second Fruites_, 123, 164, 196, 203, 205, 206;
  extracts from, 207-14

_Seven Deadly Sins, The_, 147

Shakespeare families, 19;
  the name, 19

Shakespeare, Hamnet, 26

Shakespeare, John, 21, 25;
  applies for grant of arms, 32

Shakespeare, Judith, 26

Shakespeare, Richard, of Snitterfield, 21

Shakespeare, William;
  as Burbage servitor, 13;
  brothers and sisters of, 19;
  Norman origin, 19;
  his mother, 22;
  as _Johannes factotum_, 22;
  boyhood, 24;
  marriage, 26;
  leaves Stratford, 28;
  alleged poaching adventure, 30;
  return to Stratford in 1597, 30;
  grant of arms, 30;
  "Shakespeare's boys," 35;
  "rude groome," 35;
  a bonded servitor, 67;
  early training with Lord Hunsdon's and the Lord Admiral's companies, 68;
  in kingly parts, 81;
  co-operates with Marlowe, 88;
  leader of Pembroke's company, 88;
  Groom of the Privy Chamber, 91;
  as an "idiot art-master," 105;
  alluded to as a serving man, 108;
  as Mullidor in _Never too Late_, 109;
  Chandos portrait of, 110;
  rejoins Chamberlain's company, 126;
  indicated as "W.S.," an "old actor," 129;
  distrust of Florio, 187

Shallow, Justice, 213

Shaxper, 19

Sheffield's company, Lord, 62, 63

_Shepheards Calendar, The_, 159, 160, 163

_Shepherd's Slumber, The_, 168

Sidley, Ralph, 109

Sidney, Lady, 140, 178

Sidney, Sir Robert, 216

Simpson, Richard, 74, 95, 114, 116

Sinkler, John, 87, 147

Smith, Mr. J.M., 36

Smithe, Humprey, 47

_Sonnets, The_, 17, 82

Southampton, Countess of, 171, 189

Southampton, Earl of, 13, 17, 18, 36, 74, 91;
  as Mavortius, 121; 124, 126;
  bounty to Shakespeare, 127; 153, 156, 164, 167, 172;
  early relations with Essex, 176;
  as Bertram, 189; 194, 216

Spencer, Gabriel, 86, 87;
  death of, 90; 147

Spenser, Edmund, 30, 162

Spicer, Rose, 159-60

Stanhope, Sir Thomas, 155

Stanley, Sir William, 138

Star Chamber, the, 45

Stopes, Mrs. C.C., 39 n., 76

Strange, Lord, 55

Strange's company, Lord, 6, 9, 11, 12, 52, 53, 57, 59, 74, 82, 83, 95,
  107, 126, 147

Strange's tumblers, Lord, 6, 55, 56, 59, 67, 84

Stratford Free Grammar School, 23

Stratford-on-Avon, 5, 25

Sussex's company, Earl of, 12, 14, 57;
  disrupted, 86-87

Swan Theatre, the, 13

"Symons and his fellowes," 56

Talbot Scenes, 7, 14, 78, 80

_Taming of a Shrew, The_, 86, 102, 105, 107

Tarleton, Richard, 43, 50, 96

_Tears of Peace, The_, 116, 120, 121

_Tempest, The_, 3

"Temple Garden" Scene, the, 79

Theatre, the, 6, 9, 11, 36, 39, 44, 46, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 72, 75,
  77, 81, 106

_Three Ladies of London, The_, 95

_Three Lords and Three Ladies, The_, 95

Tichfield House, Queen's progress to, 37, 165

Tilney, Edmund, Master of the Revels, 43, 59, 96

_Timon of Athens_, 3

_Titus Andronicus_, 12, 14, 86

_Titus and Vespasian_, 12

_Troilus and Cressida_, 114, 120, 195, 197

_Troublesome Raigne of King John, The_, 132, 140, 143, 146

_True Tragedie of the Duke of York, The_, 7, 85, 87, 88, 113, 147

_Twelfth Night_, 121

_Twelve Labours of Hercules, The_, 103

_Two Gentlemen of Verona, The_, 8, 83, 152

Tyburn "T," 90

Valdracko, 106

_Venus and Adonis_, 13, 82, 114, 118, 119, 127, 128, 151, 152, 153, 180

_Venus' Tragedy_, 106

Vere, Lady Elizabeth, 155, 179

Vernon, Elizabeth, 177, 180, 194, 198

Volumnia, a reflection of Shakespeare's mother, 23

Wallop, Sir Henry, 138

Walsingham, Sir Francis, 178

War of the Theatres, the, 15

Wars of the Roses, 79

Williams, Sir Roger, as Fluellen, 191, 192

_Willobie his Avisa_, 93, 125, 129, 184, 186, 187

Wilson, Robert, 43, 58, 95, 96, 98

_Winter's Tale, A_, 3

Wood, Anthony, 157

Woodward, Joan, 9

Worcester, Earl of, 61, 63, 64

Worcester's company, Earl of, 8, 9, 10, 61, 62;
  in trouble at Ipswich and Leicester, 63

_Worlde of Wordes, A_, 15, 94, 108, 158, 185, 188, 196, 217

Wriothesley, Henry. _See_ Earl of Southampton

Wriothesley, Thomas, Earl of Southampton, 153

Yorke, Edmund, Jesuit, 180


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