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The Shoemakers' Holiday, composed by Thomas Dekker in the early part of 1599,1 has for its main source Thomas Deloney's collection of tales, The Gentle Craft (1597). The structure of the play falls readily into three parts. Its first plot has to do with Simon Eyre, the shoemaker of Tower Street, and his rise to be Lord Mayor of London; its second, with the romantic courtship of Rose, daughter of Eyre's immediate predecessor as Lord Mayor, by Lacy, really nephew of the Earl of Lincoln, but disguised as Hans, a Dutch shoemaker in Eyre's employ; its third, with the separation by war of Ralph, another shoemaker employed by Eyre, and Jane, his bride, together with the false report of Ralph's death and Jane's consequent preparation for a second wedding, which is interrupted by the reappearance of Ralph in the flesh. That all three of these plots are founded primarily on stories found in Deloney's book has been clearly brought out by Professor A. F. Lange.2 Deloney's tale of "Simon Eyre" furnishes practically all details for the main plot, and several incidents of the RalphJane story, as well. His first tale, "Saint Hugh," inspired a few lines, but his second tale, "Crispine and Crispianus," contains the complete outline of the Lacy-Rose romance. More specifically as to the two love plots, the Simon Eyre story as given by Deloney includes a Dutch shoemaker named Hans, and a wedding interrupted by the unlooked-for entrance of the bridegroom's lawful wife. Then the story of "Crispine and Crispianus" tells of two princes disguised as shoemakers, how one is drafted for the wars in France, and how his brother wins the heart and hand of Ursula, the Emperor's daughter, despite his shoemaker's garb, and is afterwards forgiven and reconciled to his father-in-law. But one looks in vain through Deloney for a figure corresponding to Master Hammon to complete the triangle in each story. His suit of Rose,

1 For the Lord Admiral's Players; cf. Lange in Gayley's Representative English Comedies, Vol. II (1914), p. 4.

2 In both his edition of The Gentle Craft, Palæstra, No. 18 (1903), and his subsequent edition of The Shoemakers' Holiday, Gayley's Rep. Eng. Com., Vol. III.

as Dekker gives it, is urged less strongly by himself than by her testy father, who asserts his care in the choice of a suitable match for his daughter and her stubbornness in opposing it, abuses, imprisons, and threatens to disown her. Hammon's later suit of Jane, supposed widow of the soldier Ralph, is again marked by his gentleness and thoughtful courtesy, ending with a graceful retirement in favor of Jane's husband after he learns the truth.



"For hints here and there and for inspiration," Lange suggests Dekker's debt to Greene's Friar Bacon and James the Fourth, to the anonymous George-a-Greene, to Jonson's Every Man in His Humor, "and possibly" to Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth. Fleay and Hart 5 find in the play one passage strongly reminiscent of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Koeppel on doubtful grounds parallels a passage from Venus and Adonis. But, so far as I can learn, no one has ever suggested a likeness between this early play of Dekker and Romeo and Juliet.


That no such suggestion has been made is surprising for several reasons. First the respective dates of the two plays would easily permit borrowing by Dekker. The first quarto of Romeo was printed in 1597, while, as we have seen, Dekker's play was composed in 1599. Again, Romeo and Juliet was a favorite play with other dramatists. Says John Munro in his introduction to the latest edition of The Shakspere Allusion Book, "Of his early plays,

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A Chronicle of the English Drama (1891), vol. 1, pp. 124-5.

5 The Shakspere Allusion Book (1909), vol. 1, p. 64.

The Shoemakers' Holiday, II, 1. 1 ff.:

"Here sit thou down upon this flowery bank,

And make a garland for thy Lacy's head.
These pinks, these roses, and these violets,
These blushing gilliflowers, these marigolds,
The fair embroidery of his coronet,

Carry not half such beauty in their cheeks
As the sweet countenance of my Lacy doth."

Cf. A Midsummer Night's Dream, IV, 1. 1 ff.

"Come sit thee down upon this flowery bed,

While I thy amiable cheeks do coy,

And stick musk roses in thy sleek, smooth head."

7 Ueber Shakespeare's Wirkung auf Zeitgenossische Dramatiker, Bang's Materialen, vol. 9 (1905), p. 1.

those which most struck his contemporaries were Romeo and Richard III. After 1600 these gave place to Hamlet and the Falstaff plays." Finally, Dekker, in particular, was not only apt to imitate Shakespeare, but was especially indebted to the Romeo. This fact might be easily shown by analysis, for example, of The Honest Whore, but for present purposes it is sufficient to quote two sentences from the most complete study of Dekker's work recently undertaken. Mary L. Hunt's volume, Thomas Dekker, in the Columbia University Studies in English, states: "Of contemporary playwrights he naturally enjoyed Shakespeare most, especially A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. He shows his admiration sometimes by imitation or quotation, but perhaps more often by adaptation, as when, to illustrate on a small scale, he modifies a well-known line by Puck, to describe 'God's arm, like a girdle, going round about the world."" The natural presumption, in my judgment, is that Dekker was acquainted with the Romeo in 1599, and that a play whose incidents so nearly resemble some in the Romeo story would contain evidence of this acquaintance.

In the last three acts of The Shoemakers' Holiday, I believe, such evidence is not far to seek. The Crispine tale related by Deloney, as already indicated, has no suitor favored by the father of Ursula, nothing more than a momentary displeasure on the parent's part over the girl's choice of a husband, no attempt to force on her the paternal will. In other words, the whole function of the gentle Paris in the Romeo and Juliet, with his modest affection for the maiden, and also Old Capulet's endeavor to drive his daughter into the marriage are translated into Dekker's comedy, with Rose's father corresponding to Capulet and with Paris rechristened as Hammon. Again in the latter part of Romeo and Juliet, it will be recalled, Juliet is struggling desperately against wedlock with Paris while her lawful husband is still alive; to avert that danger she swallows the sleeping potion on the eve of her second marriage. No such struggle as this occurs in Deloney. Yet in The Shoemakers' Holiday Jane, already married to Ralph, refuses to break faith in his absence by accepting Hammon's suit until she is convinced that Ralph is not alive. Plans for her sec

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ond wedding are frustrated by the timely appearance of the supposedly dead. Again Hammon functions as Paris.

If these resemblances are more than fanciful, one would expect to find closer echoes both in the context of the dialogue and also in the phrasing when situations in the two plays are paralleled. Let us see if this be true.

The Lord Mayor, learning from Rose's own lips of her refusal to marry Hammon, denounces her thus:

"Now, mammet, you have well behav'd yourself. . .
'Fore God, I would have sworn the puling girl
Would willingly accepted Hammon's love;

But banish him, my thoughts! Go, minion, in!" 10

The three epithets, then, applied by the angry Lord Mayor to his daughter are: "mammet," " puling girl," and "minion." Now in Act III, Scene 5, of Romeo and Juliet, a scene exactly corresponding to this one, the wrathful Capulet terms his stubborn daughter "a whining mammet," "a wretched puling fool." 12 and "Mistress minion," 13 for refusing to marry Paris at her father's demand. Other parallels follow:

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10 The Shoemakers' Holiday (ed. Neilson, Chief Elizabethan Dramatists), III, 3. 56, 60-62.

11 Op. cit., 1. 186.


12 Line 185. The 1597 Quarto reads "whyning foole" and puling mammet," according to Furness, from whose New Variorum Romeo and Juliet (1871) all readings of the First Quarto are taken.

13 Line 152. No corresponding line is found in the First Quarto.

14 Neilson, III, 5. 49-55.

15 IV, 2, 14. Q. 1 reads "a headstrong selfewild harlotrie it is."

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Finally, I wish to compare certain lines of Jane's flirtatious dialogue with Hammon, whom she does not then love, and Juliet's conversation under precisely similar conditions with Paris. The phrasing is not identical, but the spirit is.

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