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ing notice, that “the Children of the Queen's Revels” were thereby licensed not only to act “ tragedies, comedies,” &c. in the Blackfriars theatre, but “ elsewhere within the realm of England;" so that even places where the city authorities had indisputably a right to exercise jurisdiction were not exempted.
It will be recollected that this had been a point in dispute in 1574, and that the words “as well within our city of London” were on this account excluded from the patent granted by Elizabeth to the players of Lord Leicester, though found in the privy seal dated three days earlier". For the same reason, probably, they are not contained in the patent of James I. to Fletcher, Shakespeare, and others, in 1603. We may be satisfied that the warrant of 1609-10 to Daborne and his partners was not carried into effect, and possibly on that account: although it may have been decided at this date that the lord mayor and aldermen had no power forcibly to exclude the actors from the Blackfriars, it may have been held inexpedient to go the length of authorizing a young company to act within the very boundaries of the city. So far the corporation may have prevailed, and this may be the cause why we never hear of any steps having been taken under the warrant of 1609-10. The word “stayed” is added at
we will and command you, and everie of you, to permitt her said servaunts to
Hate and Love.
Taming of S.
K. Edw. 2.
Mirror of Life.
s See Hist. Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage, vol. i. p. 212.
the conclusion of the draft, as if some good ground had been discovered for delaying, if not for entirely withholding it. Perhaps even the question of jurisdiction had not yet been completely settled, and it may have been thought useless to concede a privilege which, after all, by the operation of the law in favour of the claim of the city, might turn out to be of no value, because it could not be acted upon. Certain it is, that the new scheme seems to have been entirely abandoned; and whatever Shakespeare may have intended when he became connected with it, he continued, as long as he remained in London, and as far as any evidence enables us to judge, to write only for the company of the King's players, who persevered in their performances at the Blackfriars in the winter, and at the Globe in the summer.
It will be seen that to the draft in favour of “ Daborne and others,” as directors of the performances of the Children of the Queen's Revels, a list is appended, apparently of dramatic performances in representing which the juvenile company was to be employed. Some of these may be considered, known and established performances, such as “ Antonio,” which perhaps was intended for the “ Antonio and Mellida” of Marston, printed in 1602; “Grisell,” for the “ Patient Grisell” of Dekker, Chettle, and Haughton, printed in 1603; and “K. Edw. 2.,” for Marlowe's “Edward II.," printed in 1598. Of others we have no information from any quarter, and only two remind us at all of Shakespeare: “Kinsmen,” may mean “The two Noble Kinsmen,” in writing which, some suppose our great dramatist to have been concerned; and “ Taming of S,” is possibly to be taken for “The Taming of the Shrew,” or for the older play, with nearly the same title, upon which it was founded.
“Troilus and Cressida” and “Pericles” were printed in 1609, and to our mind there seems but little doubt that they had been written and prepared for the stage only a short time before they came from the press. With the single exception of “Othello,” which came out in 4to in 1622, no other new drama by Shakespeare appeared in a printed form between 1609 and the date of the publication of the folio in 16236. We need not here discuss what plays, first found in that volume, were penned by our great dramatist after 1609, because we have separately considered the claims of each in our preliminary Introductions. “Timon of Athens,” “Coriolanus,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “Cymbeline,” “The Winter's Tale,” and “The Tempest,” seem to belong to a late period of our poet's theatrical career, and some of them were doubtless written between 1609 and the period, whatever that period might be, when he entirely relinquished dramatic composition.
Between January 1609-10, when Shakespeare was one of the parties to whom the warrant for the Children of the Queen's Revels was conceded, and the year 1612, when it has been reasonably supposed that he quitted London to take up his permanent residence at Stratford, we are in possession of no facts connected with his personal history'. It would seem both natural and prudent that, before he withdrew from the metropolis, he should dispose of his theatrical property, which must necessarily be of fluctuating and uncertain value, depending much upon the presence and activity of the owner for its profitable management. In his will (unlike some of his contemporaries
& One copy of the folio is known with the date of 1622 upon the title-page. The volume was entered at Stationers' Hall on the 8th Nov. 1623, as if it had not been published until late in that year, unless we suppose the entry made by Blount and Jaggard some time after publication, in order to secure their right to the plays first printed there, which they thought might be invaded.
? We ought perhaps to except a writ issued by the borough court in June 1610, at the suit of Shakespeare, for the recovery of a small sum. A similar occurrence had taken place in 1604, when our poet sought to recover Il. 158. Od. from a person of the name of Rogers, for corn sold to him. These facts are ascertained from the existing records of Stratford.
who expired in London) he says nothing of any such property, and we are left to infer that he did not die in possession of it, having disposed of it before he finally retired to Stratford.
It is to be recollected also that the species of interest he had in the Blackfriars theatre, independently of his shares in the receipts, was peculiarly perishable: it consisted of the wardrobe and properties, which in 1608, when the city authorities contemplated the purchase of the whole establishment, were valued at 500l.; and we may feel assured that he would sell them to the company which had had the constant use of them, and doubtless had paid an annual consideration to the owner. The fee, or freehold, of the house and ground was in the hands of Richard Burbage, and from him it descended to his two sons: that was a permanent and substantial possession, very different in its character and durability from the dresses and machinery which belonged to Shakespeare. The mere circumstance of the nature of Shakespeare's property in the Blackfriars seems to authorize the conclusion, that he sold it before he retired to the place of his birth, where he meant to spend the rest of his days with his family, in the tranquil enjoyment of the independence he had secured by the exertions of five and twenty years. Supposing him to have begun his theatrical career at the end of 1586, as we have imagined, the quarter of a century would be completed by the close of 1612, and for aught we know, that might be the period Shakespeare had in his mind fixed upon for the termination of his toils and anxieties.
It has been ascertained that Edward Alleyn, the actor-founder of the college of “God's Gift” at Dulwich, purchased property in the Blackfriars in April 1612°, and although it may possibly have been thea
* See the “Memoirs of Edward Alleyn,” p. 105, where a conjecture is
trical, there seems sufficient reason to believe that it was not, but that it consisted of certain leasehold houses, for which, according to his own account-book, he paid a quarterly rent of 401. The brief memorandum upon this point, preserved at Dulwich, certainly relates to any thing rather than to the species of interest which Shakespeare indisputably bad in the wardrobe and properties of the Blackfriars theatre': the terms Alleyn uses would apply only to tenements or ground, and as Burbage valued his freehold of the theatre at 10001., we need not hesitate in deciding that the lease Alleyn purchased for 5991. 6s. 8d. was not a lease of the play-house. We shall see presently that Shakespeare himself, though under some peculiar circumstances, became the owner of a dwelling-house in the Blackfriars, unconnected with the theatre, very soon after he had taken up his abode at Stratford, and Alleyn probably had made a similar, but a larger investment in the same neighbourhood in 1612. Whatever, in fact, became of Shakespeare's interest in the Blackfriars theatre, both as a sharer and as the owner of the wardrobe and properties, we need not hesitate in concluding that, in the then prosperous state of theatrical affairs in the metropolis, he was easily able to procure a purchaser.
He must also have had a considerable stake in the
hastily hazarded that it might be Shakespeare's interest in the Blackfriars theatre. Upon this question we agree with Mr. Knight in “Shakspere, a Biography," prefixed to his pictorial edition of the Poet's works.
9 It is in the following form, upon a small damp-injured piece of paper, and obviously a mere memorandum.
“ April 1612,
310! The writinges for the same and other small charges : 3li 6s 8d If this paper had any relation at all to the theatre in the Blackfriars, it is very evident that Shakespeare could neither grant nor sell a lease; and it is quite clear that Burbage did not, because he remained in possession of the playhouse at the time of his death: his sons enjoyed it afterwards; and Alleyn continued to pay 401. a quarter for the property he held until his decease in 1626.