Galfrido and Bernardo

Falsely attributed to Anon. (falsely attributed to 1595)

NB This purported lost play is a hoax. It is listed here simply to document that it is indeed inauthentic.

Historical Records

An interpolated entry at the bottom of one of the pages of the manuscript of Henslowe's Diary:

18 of maye 1595… Rd at galfrido & Bernardo… xxxis. (Foakes ed., Diary, 28.)

MS VII f11v detail.jpg
MS VII, f11v (detail), © David Cooper and reproduced with kind permission of the Governors of Dulwich College. No further reproduction permitted.

The entry was not reported by Malone, since it was not actually in the Diary when Malone saw it. It was written in by the forger J. P. Collier, who then reported it in his own edition of the Diary. It was recognized as Collier's own forgery within his own lifetime, and is categorized as such by the subsequent editors of the Diary, Greg I. pp. xxxviii; 22; and Foakes, p. 28 n6.

Theatrical Provenance


Probable Genre(s)


Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Collier clearly intended it to look like an adaptation of the 1570 poem Galfrido and Bernardo, discussed by Mike Pincombe here.

References to the Play


Critical Commentary

This forgery was caught fairly early on, but it had already made it into some reference works besides Collier's own edition - for instance, J. O. Halliwell-Phillips's Dictionary of Old English Plays (1860), 105-6. GoogleBooks

As late as 1904 it was still causing W. W. Greg I needless suspicion about the genuineness of the 1570 poem itself (xxxvi-xxxviii). The forgery is still occasionally resurrected by new discussions of Henslowe which rely, unwarily, on Collier's edition.

The fullest discussion is in Freeman and Freeman, 2.367-8.

For What It's Worth

It's not.

Works Cited

Freeman, Arthur and Janet Ing Freeman. John Payne Collier: Scholarship and Forgery in the Nineteenth Century. 2 vols. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004.

Site created and maintained by Matthew Steggle, Sheffield Hallam University; updated 18 May 2015.