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when Prynne published his Histriomastix *. From this writer it should seem that “ tobacco, wine, and * beer †" were in those days the usual accommodations in the theatre, as now at Sadler's Wells.
* He speaks in page 492, of the playhouses in Bishops gate-Street, and on Ludgate-Hill, which are not among the SEVENTEEN enumerated in the Preface to Dodsley's Old Plays.
+ So, I think, we may infer from the following passage, wiz. “ How many are there, who according to their seve66. ral qualities, spend 2d. 3d. 4d. 6d. 12d. 18d. 2s. and « sometimes 4s. or 5s. at a playhouse, day by day, if $ coach-hire, boatshire, tobacco, wine, beere, and such 6 like vaine expences, which playes doe usually occasion, 66 be cast into the reckoning?” Prynne's Histriomastix, P. 322.
But that Tobacco was smoked in the play-houses, appears from Taylor, the Water-Poet, in his Proclamation for Tobacco's Propagation. " Let PLAY-HOUSES, drink, “ ing-schools, taverns, &c. be continually haunted with 65 the contaminous vapours of it; nay (if it be possible) * bring it into the Churches, and there choak up their s preachers.” (Works, p. 253.) And this was really the case at Cambridge : James 1. sent a letter in 1607, against “ taking Tobacco" in St. Mary's. So I learn from my friend, Mr. FARMER.
A gentleman has informed me, that once going into a church in Holland, he saw the male part of the audience sitting with their hats : on, smoking tobacco, while the preacher was holding forth in his morning-gown. Tij
With regard to the players themselves, the several companies were retainers, or menial servants to particular noblemen *, who protected them in the exercise of their profession: and many of them were occasionally strollers, that travelled from one gentleman's house to another. Yet so much were they encouraged, that, notwithstanding their multitude, some of them acquired large fortunes. Edward Allen, master of the playhouse called the globe, who founded Dulwich College, is a known instance, And an old writert speaks of the very inferior actors, whom he calls the
* See the Preface to Dodsley's Old Plays. -The author of an old Invective against the Stage, called, A third Blast of Retrait from Plaies, &c. 1580. 12mo. says,
66 Alas! " that private affetion should so raigne in the nobilitie, " that to pleasure their servants, and to upholde them in " their vanitye, they should restraine the magistrates from “ executing their office! ,... They [the nobility] are “ thought to be covetous, by permitting their servants.., " to live at the devotion or almes of other men, passing s from countrie to countrie, from one gentleman's house “ to another, offering their service, which is a kind of " beggerie, Who indeede, to speake more trulie, are be
come beggers for their servants, For, comonlie, the "good-wil men beare to their Lordes, make them draw " the stringes of their purses to extend their liberalitie." Vide page 75, 76, &c.
+ Stephen Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, 1579. 12mo, folio 23, says thus of what he terms in his margin,
Hirelings, as living in a degree of splendour, which was thought enormous in that frugal age.
At the same time, the ancient prices of admission were often very low. Some houses had penny-benches; * The “two-penny gallery” is mentioned in the prologue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Woman-Hater, And seats of three-pence and a groat seem to be intended in the passage of Prynne above referred to. Yet different houses varied in their prices : That play,
PLAYER S-MEN : “ Over-lashing in apparel is so common
a fault, that the very hyerlings of some of our Players, “ which stand at revirsion of vi. s. by the week, jet under “ gentlemen's noses in sutis of silke, exercising themselves “ to prating on the stage, and common scolfing when they " come abrode, where they look askance over the shoulder
at every man, of whom, the Sunday before, they begged an almes.
I speake not this, as though everye one that “ professeth the qualitie, so abused himselfe, for it is well 5 knowen, that some of them are sober, discreete, pro“ perly learned, honest housholders and citizens, well " thought on among their neighbours at home.” [he seems to mean EDWARD ALLEN, above mentioned] “ though $the pryde of their shadowes (I meane those hangbycs, “ whom they succour with stipend) cause them to be 66 somewhat ill-talked of abroad.”
* So a MS. of Oldys, from Tom Nash, an old pamphlets writer. And this is confirmed by Taylor, the Water-Poet, in his Praise of Beggerie, (page 99.)
6. Yet have I seen a begger with his many, [sc. vermin] 56 Come at a Play-house, all in for one penny." Tiij
house, called the Hope, had five several priced seats from sixpence to half a crown*. But the general price of what is now called the Pir, seems to have been a shilling t.
The day originally set apart for theatrical exhibi, tion, appears to have been Sunday ; probably because the first dramatick pieces were of a religious cast, During a great part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the playhouses were only licensed to be opened on that day f: but, before the end of her reign, or soon after, this abuse was probably removed,
* Induction to Ben Jonson's Bartholomew-Fair.
+ Shakspere's Prologue to Henry VIII.-Beaumont and Fletcher's Prologue to the Captain, and to the Mad-Lover, The Pit, probably, had its name from one of the Play, houses having been a Cock-Pit,
# So Stephen Gosson, in his Schoole of Abuse, 1579, 12mo. speaking of the Players, says, “ These, because " they are allowed to play every Sunday, make iiij. or v, “ Sundayes, at least, every week.” fol, 24.--So the Author of A Second and Third Blast of Retrait from Plaies, “ Let the magistrate but repel them from the 4 libertie of plaieing on the Sabboth-daie, Ta
plaie on the Sabboth is but a privilege of sufferance, " and might with ease be repelled, were it thoroughly “ followed." page 61, 62. So again, “ Is not the Sabboth “ of al other daies the most abused ? ... Wherefore, abuse < not so the Sabbotn-daie, my brethren; leave not the "temple of the Lord.” 66 Those unsaverię morsels
The usual time of acting was early in the afternoon*, plays being generally performed by day-light t. All female parts were performed by men, no English actress being ever seen on the publick stage I before the civil wars. And as for the playhouse furniture
o of unseemelie sentences, passing out of the mouth of a “ ruffenlie plaier, doth more content the hungrie humors " of the rude multitude, and carrieth better rellish in " their mouthes, than the bread of the worde, &c." Vide page 63, 65, 69, &c. I do not recollect that exclamaa tions of this kind occur in Prynne, whence I conclude that this enormity no longer subsisted in his time.
It should also seem, from the author of the Third Blast, above quoted, that the Churches still continued to be used occasionally for theatres. Thus in page 77, he says, “ the Players (who, as has been observed, were servants of the nobility),
66 under the title of their maisters, or as 66 reteiners, are priviledged to roave abroad, and permitted “ to publish their mametree in everie temple of God, and o that throughout England, unto the horrible contempt of
praier." * “ He entertains us (says Overbury, in his character of
an Actor) in the best leasure of our life, that is, be“ tweene meales; the most unfit time either for study, or " bodily exercise."--Even so late as in the reign of Charles 11. Plays generally began at three in the afternoon, + See Biogr. Brit. I. 117. n. D.
no ENGLISH Actress on the PUBLICK 46 Stage," because Prynne speaks of it as an unusual enora mity, that “they had French-women actors in a play not
# I say