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number *) were prepared to assert a priority of title
I may add, that the difficulty of procuring licences
* Mr. Dodsley, in a note to the preface to his collection of Old Plays, has the following enumeration of the different theatres which had been built between the years 1570 and 1629, when that in White-Friars was finished:~" St. Paul's Singing-School, The Globe on the Bank-Side, Southwark. The Swan and the Hope there. The Fortune, between Whitecross-Street and Golding-Lane, which Maitland tells us was the first playhouse erected in London, The RedBull in St. John's-Street. The Cross-Keys in GracechurchStreet. The Tuns. The Theater. The Curtain. The Nursery in Barbican. One in Black-Friars. One in WhiteFriars. One in Salisbury-Court. The Cockpit, and the Phænix in Drury-Lane."
To this account I may subjoin, that the Fortune (as appears from the following advertisement in the Mercurius Politicus, Tuesday, Feb. 14, to Tuesday 21, 1661) must have been a place of considerable extent; and it is by no means improbable, that all the actors resided within its
who stopped the sale of several works, which, nevertheless, have escaped into the world, and appear to be of the most innocent nature, we may be tempted to regard their severity as rather dictated by jealousy and caprice, than by judgment and impartiality. See a note to my Advertisement which follows Dr. Johnson's Preface.
The publick is now in possession of as accurate an account of the dates, &c. of Shakspere's works, as perhaps will ever be compiled. This was by far the most irksome part of my undertaking, though facili. tated, as much as possible, by the kindness of Mr. Longman, of Paternoster-Row, who readily furnished me with the three earliest volumes of the records of
precincts. « The Fortune playhouse, situate between Whitecross-Street and Golding-Lane, in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, with the ground thereunto belonging. is to be lett to be built upon; where 23 tenements may be erected, with gardens; and a street may be cut through for the better accommodation of the buildings.” The Curtain was in Shoreditch, a part of which district still retains the name of The Curtain. The original sign hung out at this theatre was the painting of a striped Curtain. We learn, likewise, from Prynne's Histriomastix, that in the time of Queen Elizabeth there were two other playa, houses, the one called the Bell-Savage (situated, very probably, on Ludgate-Hill), the other in Bishopsgate-Street; and Taylor, the Water-Poet, in “ The true cause of the Watermen's Suit concerning Players, 1613,"mentions another theatre called the Rose.
the the Stationers-Company, together with accommoda. tions which rendered the perusal of them convenient to me, though troublesome to himself.
Mr. Malone has attempted, in the following pages, to ascertain the chronological order in which the plays of Shakspere were written. By the aid of the registers at Stationers-Hall, and such internal evidence as the pieces themselves supply, he has so happily accomplished his undertaking, that he only leaves me the power to thank him for an arrangement which I profess my inability either to dispute or to improve.