Civil Wars of France, Parts 1, 2 and 3

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Dekker, ThomasDrayton, Michael (1598)
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Historical Records

Payments to Playwrights (Henslowe's Diary)


"Civil Wars of France," part 1 F. 50v (Greg, I.96)

Lent vnto the company the 29 of septmbʒ 1598 }
to by a boocke of mr drayton & mr dickers } vjli
called the firste syvell wares of france }


Lent vnto thomas dowton the 8 of octobʒ 1598 to }
bye divers thinges for the playe called the } vjli
first sevelle warres of france the some of }


F. 51 (Greg, I. 97)

Lent vnto Thomas dowton the 11 of octobʒ 1598 }
to bye diuers thinges for the play called the first } iiijli
syvell wares of france the some of }



"Civil Wars of France," part 2

F. 51v (Greg, I.98)

Layd owt for the company the 3 novembʒ 1598 }
to mr drayton & mr dickers for a Boocke } vjli
called the seconde ꝑte of the syvell wares of }
fraunce the some of }


In the margin beside the above entry, Henslowe made a note of sums lent to Henry Chettle on personal business::

lent h Cett
vs & ijs & ijs
&vs ijd
& ijs vjd for
to areste one
wth lord lester


F. 52 (Greg, I.98)

Lent vnto Robert shaw & Jewbey the 19 of }
novmbʒ 1598 to bye diuers thinges for the } xli
playe called the 2 ꝑte of the syvelle wares of france }


Lent vnto Jewbey the 24 of novembʒ 1598 to bye }
divers thinges for the playe [of the] called the } xli
2 ꝑte of the syvell wares of france the some of }

In the margin beside the above entry, Henslowe made an accounting entry::

li — s — d
080 — 12 — 0


"Civil Wars of France," part 3

F. 52 (Greg, I.98)

Lent vnto Robarte shawe the 18 of novmbʒ 1598 }
lend vnto mr dickers in earneste of a boocke } xx s
called the 3 ꝑte of the syvell wares of france some }


F. 52v (Greg, I. 100)

Pd vnto mr drayton & mr dickers the 30 of decembʒ }
1598 for a Boocke called the 3 ꝑte of the syvell } vli
wares of france the some of }



Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's men acquired the parts of the "Civil Wars" serial in quick succession, implying a similarly speedy debut (even the "First Introduction," though commissioned last, was acquired within two months of the initial three parts). Indeed, the company was buying apparel for the plays at the same time that they were paying for the scripts. The company was at the time at the Rose playhouse, the plans for the Fortune nearly a year off.

Probable Genre(s)

History ; Harbage is more specific, labeling the plays "Foreign" histories.

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Greg II observes that the playwrights had "plenty of material in the Huguenot struggle and the Wars of the League," but he does not specify specific sources available in English (# 152, 158, 159 & 164, 197-8).

Wiggins, Catalogue, in the entry for "Civil Wars of France" part 1 (#1152), addresses the problem of distributing a sprawling historical narrative across the four-part serial (including the "introduction" to which was commissioned last). He dismisses the likelihood that the dramatists "simply recycled material from The Massacre at Paris". He suggests the assignment of the massacre at Vassy to the "Introduction" (#1152, #1175), the "politicking between Henry III and his brother Monsieur" to part 1 (#1152), the introduction of the Duke of Guise to part 2 (#1152, #1160), and the succession of Henry of Navarre as king at the end of the wars to part 3 (#1152, #1167). On specific sources, Wiggins suggests The True History of the Civil Wars of France by Anthony Colynet (1591).

References to the Play

Information welcome.

Critical Commentary

Information welcome.

For What It's Worth

Information welcome.

Works Cited





Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 13 June 2019.