- 1 Historical Records
- 2 Theatrical Provenance
- 3 Probable Genre(s)
- 4 Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
- 5 References to the Play
- 6 Critical Commentary
- 7 For What It's Worth
- 8 Works Cited
Performance Records (Henslowe's Diary)
- Under the heading, "Jn the name of god amen begininge the 25 of novemb[er] 1596 as foloweth the lord admerall players":
begynyng in leant march 1597 . . 19 . . ne.. . . tt at gvido. . . . . . . . . . 02|00|00-13-01 ... 22 tt at gvido. . . . . . . . . . 01|04|00-03-00 . . Easter mvnday twesday wensday 30 tt at gvido. . . . . . . . . . 02|17|00-00-00 . . Aprelle 1597 4 tt at gvido. . . . . . . . . 01|08|00-04-03 . . Aprelle 1597 23 tt at gvido. . . . . . . . . 00|16|01-11-00
Payments for Properties (Henslowe's Diary)
- Under the heading, "lente vnto my lord admerall players at severall tymes in Redey money as foloweth in 1596":
ll s d 44 - 06 - 00 lent vnto mr porter the 7 of marche 1597 . . . . . . . . . . . iiijll lent vnto my sonne for to by sylckes & other thinges for} gvido the 14 of marche . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . } iiijll ixs
Under Henslowe's title, "The Enventary tacken of all the properties for my Lord Admeralles men, the 10 of Marche 1598" is:
- Item, j tome of Guido, j tome of Dido, j bedsteade.
Under Henslowe's title, "The Enventorey of all the aparell of the Lord Admeralles men, taken the 13th of Marche 1598, as followeth:" is
- Item, j cloth clocke of russete with coper lace, called Guydoes clocke.
Performed by the Admiral's men as a new play on 19 March 1597.
Unknown (Harbage); foreign history (Schelling).
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
From so brief a title, it is difficult to conclude with any certainty what the subject matter (and thus the possible sources) of this play might be, but there are a number of potential candidates for the eponymous role:
• Guido Marquesse of Thusca was said to have smothered Pope John XI (Albott 200).
• Guido Bonotus was a famous astrologer (e.g. see Harvey, who refers to "Guido Bonatus a famous and renowmed Astrologian of Italy", 10).• "Guido king of Italie a marshall man was by pope Steeuen the 5. of that name, crowned emperour of Rome" on 21 Feb 890AD according to Lodowick Lloyd (62); Thomas Bilson likewise reports that "Guido the Duke of Spoletum" was chosen "to be king of Italie" (423).
• Guido de Montano, "whose fame goeth wide" (Ripley sig.E3), appears to be a fourteenth- or fifteenth-century French philosopher or alchemist.
None of these possibilities seem especially convincing though.
A more viable alternative is Schelling's supposition (see Critical Commentary below) about Guido Guerra, which if correct, may mean that the lost play Guelphs and Ghibbelines (1595) (and any of the historical sources associated with that drama) is of relevance here. Guido Guerra V (1220-1272?) was a Captain of the Guelph army in Florence (c.1255), and was depicted by Dante as one of the three Florentine sodomites (Inferno, Canto 16). He is mentioned in various texts, including Machiavelli's The Florentine historie (trans. 1595), pp.32ff. There does not appear to be a substantial narrative source for Guido Guerra's story, however.
The other contender, advanced here for the first time, is the story of Guido and Sibilla in Jerusalem, in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, 234ff. It is described by Foxe as "A worthie example of a true wife to her husband," a "worthy example in Guido of a true subiect to the common wealth," and a "singular example of prudence in a princes, and fidelitie in a wife" (234n). The essence of the story is as follows:
• Amalrike, King of Jerusalem (who destroyed Babylon), has a sickly son, Baldwin, and a daughter, Sibilla.
• Sibilla's second husband, Guido, is entrusted with the government of the city when Baldwin declares his physical inability to continue ruling.• Foxe concludes: "At these words al the assembly being amased, wondred that one simple woman so wisely had beguiled so many wise men. And worthy no doubt was she to be commended and extolled for her singuler vertue both of faythful chastity and high prudēce: so tempering the matter that both she obtayned to her husband the kingdome, and retayned to her selfe agayne her husband, whome she so faythfully loued."
• Guido's leadership proves lacking, and power is transferred to "Raimundus Earle of Tripolis" instead.
• In the meantime a Sultan and his Saracen army prevail against the Christians and overrun Palestine.
• The sickly king Baldwin departs, leaving Sibilla's 5 year old son by her first marriage in line for the throne.
• The crown is officially passed to Guido's replacement, Raimundus, but he dies before he can accept the crown.
• Sibilla is next in line of succession, but the peers and nobles only offer her the crown on condition that she divorce her husband Guido.
• Sibilla refuses the kingdom and these conditions, and the nobles reluctantly agree that "whomesoeuer she woulde choose to be her husband, all they would take and obey as theyr king."
• Guido "with like petition among þe rest, humbly requested her: that the kingdom not for his sake, or for his priuate losse, might be destitute of gouernement."
• Reluctantly, Sibilla acquiesces. She is crowned queen, and Guido departs without hope of wife or crown.
• Sibilla assembles her states and prelates, and holds them to their promise of allegiance to whomever she might choose for her husband.
• As the nobles wait eagerly to find out who she will nominate, Sibilla "with a loud voyce sayd to Guido that stood amongst them: Guido my Lord, I choose thee for my husbād, and yelding my selfe and my kingdome vnto you, openly I protest you to be the king."
References to the Play
In a section on "historical dramas on Italian subjects," Felix E. Schelling notes that "[i]n the [fifteen] nineties, several titles suggesting Italian biographical subjects appear among the entries of Henslowe" (1.408). He infers that "Guido most likely concerned Guido Guerra, a soldier of fortune and leader of the Guelphs in the Florence of the middle of the thirteenth century" (1.409), and thus groups this lost play with The Duke of Milan and the Duke of Mantua (1579), Machiavelli (1592), Pope Joan (1592), Cosmo de' Medici (1592), Daborne's Macchiavel and the Devil (1613), and Tasso's Melancholy (1594). Beyond the plays listed by Schelling, this suggestion of Guido Guerra as subject matter has the potential to connect this lost play to another lost play, Guelphs and Ghibbelines (1595).
See also Wiggins serial number 1062.
For What It's Worth
It is distinctly curious that there should be a different tomb for Guido and for Dido in Henslowe's properties list; what distinction in type might there be?
Site created and maintained by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; updated 09 Feb 2011.