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of the king's company on their opening their The Epilogue, which consists of but twelve theatre in Drury-Lane in April, 1663; and it lines, is in the same strain of apology: appears from a paper found with Sir Henry

* And how do you like her? Come, what is'i ye drive at Herbert's Office-book, and indorsed by him, She's the same thing in public as in private ; that it was one of the stock-plays of the same

As far from being what you call a whore ;

As Desdemona, injur'd by the Moor: company from the time they began to play wilb- Then he that censures her in such a case,

Hath a soul blacker than Othello's face. out a patent at the Red Bull in St. John-Street.

Bat, ladies, what think you ? for if you tax Mrs. Hughs performed the part of Desdemona Her freedom with dishonour to your sex,

She means to act no more, and this shall be in 1663, when the company removed to Drury

No other play but her own tragedy.
Lane, and obtained the title of the king's ser- She will submit to none but your commands,

And take commission only from your hands." vants; but whether she performed with them while they played at the Red Bull, or in Vere- From a paper in Sir Henry Herbert's handStreet, near Clare-Market, bas not been ascer-writing, I find that Othello was performed by lained. Perhaps Mrs. Saunderson made her the Red Bull company (afterwards his majesty's first essay there, though she afterwards was servants), at their new theatre in Vere-Street, enlisted in D'Avenant's company. The received near Clare - Market, on Saturday, December 8, Iradition is, that she was the first English actress. 1660, for the first time that winter. On that The verses which were spoken by way of intro- day, therefore, it is probable an actress first ducing a female to the audience, were wrillen appeared on the English stage. This theatre by Thomas Jordan, and being only found in a was opened on Thursday, November S, with very scarce miscellany, * I shall here transcribe the play of King Henry the Fourth. Most of them:

Jordan's prologues and epilogues appear to bave

been written for that company. A Prologue, to introduce the first Woman

It is certain, however, that for some time that came to act on the Stage, in the Tragedy after the Restoration men also acted female ralled The Moor of Venice.

parts; and Mr. Kynaston, even after women bad "I come, unknown to any of the rest,

assumed their proper rank on the stage, was To tell you news: I saw the lady drest:

not only endured, but admired; if we may beThe woman plays to-day; mistake me not, No man in gown, or page in petticoat :

lieve a contemporary writer, who assures us, A woman to my knowledge ; yet I can't, If I should die, make affidavit on't.

“that being then very young, he made a comDo you not twitter, gentlemen? I know

plete stage-beauty, performing his parts so well You will be censuring : do it fairly though. 'Tis possible a virtuous woman may

(particularly Arthiope and Aglaura), that it has Abhor all sorts of looseness, and yet play ;

since been disputable among the judicious, Play on the stage, where all eyes are upon her:Shall we count that a crime, France counts an honour?

whether any woman that succeeded him, touched In other kingdoms husbands sufely trust 'em ; The difference lies only in the custom.

the audience so sensibly as he.” And let it be our custom, I advise ;

In D'Avenant's company, the first actress I'm sure this onstom's better than th' excise, And may procure us custom: hearts of flint

that appeared was probably Mrs. Saunderson, Will melt in passion, when a woman's in't.

who performed Ianthe in The Siege of Rhodes, “But, gentlemen, you that as judges sit

on the opening of his new theatre in Lincoln's In the star-chamber of the house, the pit,

Jon Fields, in April, 1662. It does not appear Have modest thoughts of her; pray, do not run To give her visits when the play is done,

from Downes's account, that while D'Avenant's With 'damn me, your most humble servant, lady;' She knows these things as well as you, it may be :

company performed at the Cockpit in Drury. Not a bit there, dear gallants, she doth know Lane during the years 1659, 1660, and 1661, Her own deserts—and your temptations too.-But to the point:- In this reforming age

they had any female performer among them: or We have intents to civilize the stage.

that Othello was acted by them at that period. Our women are defective, and so siz'd, You'd think they were some of the guard disguis'd :

In the infancy of the English stage it was For, to speak truth, men act, that are between

customary in every piece to introduce a Clown, Forty and fifty, wenches of fifteen; With bone so large, and nerve so incompliant,

“by his mimic gestures to breed in the less When you call Desdemona, enter Giant.

capable mirth and laughter.” The privileges We shall purge every thing that is unclean, Lascivious, scurrilous, impious, or obscene ;

of the Clown were very extensive; for, between And when we've put all things in this fair way, Barebones himself may come to see a play."

The acts, and sometimes between the scenes, he

claimed a right to enter on the stage, and te * "A Royal Harbour of Loyal Poesie,” by excite merriment by any species of buffoonery Thomas Jordan, no date, but printed, as Mr. Malone believes, in 1662. Jordan was an actor as

that struck him. Like the Harlequin of the well as a poet.

Italian comedy, 'his wit was often extemporal,

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and be sometimes entered into a contest of same judge, besides bis own part of the clowne; raillery and sarcasm with some of the audience. and Knel, ihen playing Henry the Fifth, hit He generally threw his thoughts into hobbling Tarleton a sound box indeed, which made the dicerel verses, which he made shorter or longer people laugh the more, because it was he: but as he found convenient; but, however irregular anon the judge goes in, and immediately Tarlhis metre might be, or whatever the length of ton in his clownes cloalhes comes out, and his verses, be always look care to lag them with asks the actors, What news? O, saith one, vords of corresponding sound; like Dryden's had'st thou been here, thou shouldest have seen DOEG,

Prince Henry hit the judge a terrible box on

the eare. What, man, said Tarlton, strike a • He fagotted his notion as they fell, And if they rhym'd and rattled, all was well." judge! It is true, i' faith, said the other. No Thomas Wilson and Richard Tarleton, both

other like, said Tarlton, and it could not be but

terrible lo the judge, when the report so lerrifies #arn servants to Queen Elizabeth, were the nist popular performers of that time in this me, that melhinks the blowe remains still on department of the drama, and are highly praised my cheeke, that it burnes againe. The people by the Continuator of Stowe's Annals, for their laught at this mightily, and to this day i have Fondrous plentiful, pleasant, and extemporal for be had many of these. But I would see

heard it commended for rare; but no marvell, wit." Tarleton, whose comic powers were so

our clownes in these days do the like. No, I preal, that, according to Sir Richard Baker,

warrant ye; and yet they thinke well of them*he delighted the spectators before he had

selves too.” spoken a word,” is thus described in a very rare

The last words show that this practice was od pamphlet : “ The next, by his sute of russet,

not discontinued in the time of Shakspeare, and bis buttoned cap, his taber, his standing on the

we here see that he had abundant reason for his loe, and other tricks, I knew lo be either the body or resemblance of Tarleton, who living, precept in Hamlet: “Let those that play your for his pleasant conceits was of all men liked, clowns, speak no more than is set down for und, dying, for mirth left pot his like.” In them; for there be of them, that will of them1611 was published a book entitled his Jeasts, selves laugh, to set on some quantity of barren in which some specimens are given of the spectators to laugh too; though in the mean time attempore wit which our ancestors thought so

some necessary question of the play be then to be

considered.rice:lent. As he was performing some part "at the Ball in Bishops-gate-Street, where the

This practice was undoubledly coeval with the Queenes players oftentimes played,” while he English stage ; for we are told that sir Thomas Was “kneeling down to aske his father's blessa More, while he lived as a page with Archbishop ing," a fellow in the gallery threw an apple at

Morelon (about the year 1490), as the Christmas kun, which bit him on the cheek. He im- plays were going on in the palace, would somemediately took up the apple, and advancing to

times suddenly step upon the stage, without 'he audieoce, addressed them in these lines:

studying for the matter," and exhibit a part of his

own, which gave the audience much more enterGentlemen, this fellow, with his face of mapple,

tainment than the whole performance besides. Instead of a pippin bath throw ne me an apple ; Bz as for an apple he hath cast a crab,

But the peculiar province of the Clown was So instead of an honest woman God bath sent him a drah.”

to entertain the audience after the play was The people,” says the relater, “laughed finished, at which time themes were sometimes beartily; for the fellow bad a quean to his wife.” given to him by some of the spectators, to

Another of these stories, which I shall give descant upon; but more commonly the audience in the author's own words, establishes what I were entertained by a jig. A jig was a ludihave already mentioned, that it was customary crous metrical composition, often in rhyme, which for the Clown to talk to the audience or the was sung by the Clown, who likewise, I believe, actors ad libitom.

occasionally danced, and was always accom"At the Bull at Bishops-gate, was a play of panied by a tabor and pipe. In these jigs more Heary the V. (the performance wbich preceded persons than one were somelimes introduced. Shakspeare's) wherein the judge was to take a The original of the entertainment which this burn on the eare; and because he was absent that buffoon afforded our ancestors between the acts muld take the blow, Tarleton himselfe ever and after the play, may be traced to the satirical sward to please, looke upon him to play the interludes of Greece, and the Altellans and

Mimes of the Roman slage. The Exodiarü At the end of the piece, the actors, ia nobleand Emboliariæ of the Mimes are undoubtedly men's houses and in laverns, where plays were the remote progenitors of the Vice and Clown frequently performed, prayed for the health and of our ancient dramas.

prosperity of tbeir patrons; and in the public No writer that I have met with intimates theatres, for the king and queen. This prayer that in the time of Sbakspeare it was customary sometimes made part of the epilogue. Hence, to exhibit more than a single dramatic piece on probably, as Mr. Steevens has observed, the one day. Had any shorter pieces of the same addition of Vivant rex et regina, to the moderu kind with our modern. farces (beside the jigs play-bills. already mentioned) been presented after the Plays in the time of our author began at one principal performance, some of them probably o'clock in the afternoon; and the exbibition was would have been printed; but there are none of sometimes finished in two hours. Even in 1667, them extant of an earlier date than the time of they commenced at three o'clock. About thirty the Restoration. The practice, therefore, of years afterwards (in 1696) theatrical entertainesbibiling two dramas successively in the same ments began an hour later. afternoon, we may be assured, was not esta- We have seen that in the infancy of our stage, blished before ibat period. But though our Mysteries were usually acted in churches; and ancient audiences were not gratified by the re- the practice of exbibiting religious dramas in presentation of more than one drama in the buildings appropriated to the service of religion same day, the entertaioment in the middle of on the Lord's day certainly continued after the the reign of Elizabeth was diversified, and the Reformalion, populace diverted, by vaulting, lumbling, slight During the reigo of Queen Elizabeth plays of nand, and morrice-dancing; and in the time were exbibited in the public theatres on Sonof Shakspeare, by the extemporaneous buffoonery days, as well as on olher days of the week. The of the Clown, whenever he chose to solicit the license granted by that queen to James Burbage attention of the audience : by singing and dancing in 1574, which has been already printed in a between the acts, and either a song or the metri- former page, shows that they were then reprecal jig already described at the end of the piece: sented on that day out of the hours of prayer. a mixture not more heterogeneous than that with We are told indeed by Jobo Field, in bis which we are now daily presented, a tragedy and Declaration of God's Judgment al Paris Gara farce. In the dances, I believe, not only men, den, ibat in the year 1580 “the magistrales of but boys in women's dresses, were introduced: the city of London obtained from Queen Elizaa practice which prevailed on the Grecian stage, belh, that all heathenish playes and enterludes and in France till late in the last century. should be banished upon Sabbath dayes.” This

The amusements of our ancestors, before the prohibition, however, probably lasted but a commencement of the play, were of various short time; for her majesty, when she visited kinds. While some part of the audience enter- Oxford in 1592, did not scruple to be present tained themselves with reading, or playing at at a theatrical exhibition on Sunday night, the cards, others were employed in less refined 24th of September in that year. During the occupations; in drinking ale, or smoking lo- reign of James the First, though dramatic enterbacco; with these and nuts and apples they were tainments were performed at court on Sundays, furnished by male attendants, of whose clamour I believe, no plays were publicly represented a salirical writer of the time of James I. Joudly on that day; and by the statute 3 Car. I. c. l. complains. In 1633, when Prypne published their exbibition on the Sabbath day was abhis Histriomastix, women smoked tobacco in the solutely prohibited: yet, notwithstanding this playbouses as well as men.

act of parliament, both plays and masques were It was a common practice to carry table- performed at court on Sundays, during the first books to the theatre, and either from curiosity, sixteen years of the reign of that king, and ceror enmity to the author, or some other motive, lainly in private houses, if not on the public stage. to write down passages of the play that was re- It has been a question, whether it was presented; and there is reason to believe that formerly a common practice to ride on borsethe imperfect and mutilated copies of one or back to the playbouse: a circumstance that {wo of Shakspeare's dramas, which are yet ex- would scarcely deserve consideration, if it were tant, were taken down by the ear or in shori- not in some sort connected with our author's hand during the exhibition.

history, a plausible story having been built on this foundation, relative to his first introduction first day that a new play was represented ; a to the stage.

regulation which would have been very favourThe modes of conveyance to the thealre, able to some of the ephemeral productions of anciently, as at present, seem to have been modern times. Lhave found no authority which various; some going in coaches, others on proves this to have been the case in the time of borseback, and many by water. To the Globe Shakspeare ; but at the beginning of the present playboose the company probably were conveyed (last] century it appears to have been customary by waler: lo that in Blackfriars, the gentry in Lent for the players of the theatre in Drury. went either in coaches, or on horseback; and Lane to divide the profits of the first represenIbe common people on foot.

talion of a new play among them. Plays in the time of King James the First From D'Avenant, indeed, we learn, that in the and probably afterwards) appear to have been latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the performed every day at each theatre during the poel had bis benefit on the second day. As it vialer season, except in the time of Lent, when was a general practice, in the time of Shakhey were not permitted on the sermon days, speare, to sell the copy of the play to the theatre, as they were called, that is, on Wednesday 1 imagine, in such cases, an author derived no and Friday; nor on the other days of the week, olber advanlage from his piece, than what arose except by special license; which bowever was from the sale of it. Sometimes, however, he blained by a fee paid to the Master of the found it more beneficial to retain the copy-right Revels. In the summer season the stage ex

in his own hands; and when be did so, I supbibitions were continued, but during the long pose he had a benefit. It is certain that the vacation they were less frequently repeated. giving authors the profits of the third exhibition However, it appears from Sir Henry Herberl's of their play, wbich seems to bave been the hanuscript, that the king's company usually usual mode during the great part of the last brougbl out two or three new plays at the Globe (seventeenth] century, was an established custom every summer.

in the year 1612; for Decker, in the prologue Tbough, from the want of newspapers and to one of his comedies, printed in that year, other periodical publications, intelligence was speaks of the poet's third day. i so speedily circulaled in former times as at The unfortunale Otway bad no more than present, our ancient theatres do not appear to one benefit on the production of a new play; bave laboured under any disadvantage in this and this too, it seems, he was sometimes forced respect; for the players printed and exposed 10 mortgage, before the piece was acted. Sonaccounts of the pieces that they intended to therne was the first dramatic writer who obtained exhibit, wbich, however, did not contain a list the emoluments arising from lwo representaof the characters, or the names of the actors by lions; and to Farqubar, in the year 1700, whom they were represented.

the benefit of a third was granted; but this The long and whimsical lilles which are pre-appears to bave been a particular favour to that Esed lo the quarto copies of our author's plays, gentleman ; for for several years afterwards were undoubtedly either written by booksellers, dramatic poets bad only the benefit of the third er transcribed from the play-bills of the time. and sixth performance. They were equally calculated to attract the notice The profit of three representations did not of the idle gazer in the walks at St. Paul's, or become the established right of authors lill after to draw a crowd about some vociferous Auto- the year 1720. lycus, who perhaps was bired by the players thus To the honour of Mr. Addison, it should lo raise the expectations of the multitude. It be remembered, that he first discontinued the is indeed absurd to suppose, that the modest ancient, but humiliating, practice of distributing Shakspeare, who has more than once apologized tickets, and soliciting company to altend at the for bis untutored lines, should in his manuscripts theatre on the poet's nights. bave entitled any of his dramas most excellent When an author sold bis piece to the sharers and pleasant performances.

or proprietors of a lheatre, it could not be perIt is apcertain at what time the usage of giv- formed by any other company, and remained ing authors a benefit on the third day of the for several years unpublished; but, when that fahibition of their piece commenced. Mr. Oldys, was not the case, be printed it for sale, to which node of his manuscripls, intimates that dra-nany seem to have been induced from an apmatic poets bad anciently their benefit on the prehension that an imperfect copy might be

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issued from the press without their consent. be performed at any of the royal palaces in the The customary price of the copy of a play, in neighbourhood of London, by which the actors the time of Shakspeare, appears to have been were prevented from deriving any profit from: twenty nobles, or six pounds thirteen shillings a public exhibition on the same day, the fee, and four-pence. The play when printed was as appears from a manuscript in the Lord sold for sixpence; and the usual present from Chamberlain's office, was in the year 1630, and a patron, in return for a dedication, was forly probably in Shakspeare's time also, twenty 1 shillings.

pounds; and this circumstance I formerly stated, On the first day of exhibiting a new play, the as strongly indicating that the sum last menprices of admission appear to have been raised, Lioned was a very considerable produce on any sometimes to double, sometimes to treble, one representation at the Blackfriars or Globe ? prices; and this seems to have been occasionally playhouse. The office-book which I have so practised on the benefit nights of auihors, and often quoted, has fully confirmed my conjecture. on the representalion of expensive plays, lo the The custom of passing a final censure on: year 1726.

plays at their first exhibition is as ancient as the opp Dramatic poets in ancient times, as at pre- time of our author; for no less than three plays a: bent, were admitted gratis into the theatre. of his rival, Ben Jonson, appear to have been

It appears from Sir Henry Herbert's Office deservedly damned ;* and Fletcher's Faithful book that the king's company between the years Shepherdess, and The Knight of the burning 1622 and 1641 produced either at Blackfriars Pestie, written by him and Beaumont, underor the Globe at least four new plays every year.

went the same fate. Every play, before it was represented on the It is not easy to ascertain what were the stage, was licensed by the Master of the Revels, emoluments of a successful actor in the time of for which he received in the time of Queen Shakspeare. They had not then annual beneElizabeth but a noble, though at a subsequent fits, as at present. The clear emoluments of period the stated fee on this occasion rose to the theatre, aster deducting the nightly expenses two pounds.

for lighls, men occasionally bired for the evenNeither Queen Elizabeth nor King James ing, etc. which in Shakspeare's house was bul the First, nor Charles the First, I believe, ever forty-five sbillings, were divided into shares, ol went to the public theatre; but they frequently which part belonged to the proprietors, wbo were ordered plays to be performed at court, which called housekeepers, and the remainder was were represented in the royal theatre called the divided among the actors according to their rank Cockpit, in Whitehall; and the actors of the and merit. I suspect that the whole clear reking's company were sometimes commanded ceipt was divided into forty shares, of which lo allend his majesly in his summer's progress, perhaps the housekeepers or proprietors bad 10 perform before him in the country. Queen fifteen, the actors twenty-two, and three were Henrietta Maria, bowever, went sometimes to devoted to the purchase of new plays, dresses, the public theatre at Blackfriars. I find from the elc. From Ben Jonson's Poetaster, it should Council-bookis, that in the time of Elizabeth ten seem that one of the performers had seven pounds was the payment for a play performed shares and a balf; but of what integral sum is before her ; that is, twenty nobles, or six pounds not mentioned. The person alluded to (if any thirteen shillings and four-pence, as the regular person was alluded 10, which is not certain), and stated fee; and three pounds six shillings must, I think, have been a proprietor, as well and eight-pence, by way of bounty or reward. as a principal actor. Our poet in his Hamlet The same sum, as I learn from the manuscript speaks of a whole share, as no contemptible notes of Lord Stanhope, Treasurer of the Cham- emolument; and from the same play we learn ber to king James the First, continued to be paid that some of the performers had only ball a during his reign: and this was the stated pay- share. Others probably bad still less. ment during the reign of his successor also. It appears from a deed executed by Thomas Plays at court were usually performed at night, Killigrew and others, that in the year 1666 by which means they did not interfere with the the whole profit arising from acting plays, regular exhibition at the public theatres, which masques, &c. at the King's theatre, was dividwas early in the afternoon; and thus the royal ed into twelve shares and three quarters, of bounty was for so much a clear profit to the

This offensive term appears to have been as company: but when a play was commanded to old at least as Sir W. D'Avenant's time. C.

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