Henslowe's Payments (Henslowe's Diary)
- Res at Jeronymo the 7 of Jene[y]wary 1597 in ꝑte}
- of payment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . } vijli
Performance Records (Henslowe's Diary)
- Under the heading, "Jn the name of god amen begininge the 25 of novembʒ 1596 as foloweth the lord admerall players":
ye 7 of Jenewary 1597 [ne] Res at Joronymo . . . . . . . . . . iijli ye 11 of Janewary 1597 Res at Joranymo . . . . . . . . . . xxxxs ye 17 of Janewary 1597 Res at Joronymo . . . . . . . . . . xxs ye 22 of Janewarye 1597 Res at Joronymo . . . . . . . . . . xixs
|31||tt at Joronymo. . . . . . . . . .||01|04|01-15-06|
|9||tt at Joronymo. . . . . . . . . .||00|17|04-15-02|
|begynyng in leant|
|8||tt at JoRonymo. . . . . . . . . .||01|01|00-03-04|
|21||tt at Jeronymo. . . . . . . . . .||00|17|00-03-04|
|4||tt at Jorenymo. . . . . . . . . .||00|11|03-14-00|
|25||tt at Joronymo. . . . . . . . . .||00|19|00-14-06|
|20||tt at Joronemo. . . . . . . . . .||00|14|00-00-00|
|marten slather went|
|for the company of|
|my lored admeralles|
|men the 18 of July|
|19||tt at Joronymo. . . . . . . . . .||01|00|01-13-01|
The play in 1597 that Henslowe called "Jeronymo" and marked "ne" has until recently been considered a revival of The Spanish Tragedy, played with its apparent prequel ("The Spanish Comedy of Don Horatio") at Rose according to Henslowe's records in 1992-3 by Strange's men (13 performances, from 13 March—18 June 1592; 3 performances, 30 December 1592—22 January 1593). Greg II codified already settled opinion in 1908 by stating flatly that "the Admiral's men revived the piece in 1597 … as a new play"; he was also on solid scholarly ground by asserting further that the 1597 play "had, therefore, no doubt been revised and probably added to" (#16, p. 153-4). The quarto of The Spanish Tragedy published in 1602, advertising and providing new additions, appeared to justify Henslowe's labeling of the 1597 "Jeronymo" as new; further, the two payments in the diary to Ben Jonson for additions "in geronymo" (Greg I, F. 94, F. 106v) appeared to identify the author of the revisions.
However, in recent years, those 1602 additions have provoked scholars in authorship studies and theater history to reconsider the fixed narrative on the stage life of The Spanish Tragedy post-1593. Studies by Warren Stevenson, Hugh Craig, Brian Vickers, and Douglas Bruster (to name a few) have provided evidence of William Shakespeare's hand in the additions. Since no one can imagine Shakespeare's writing such additions for the Admiral's men at the Rose in 1597 (or at any other time), the links that connected the 1592 "Jeronymo" and the 1597 one (as well as the "geronymo" named in payments to Jonson) no longer appear to be ironclad. Theater historians, most vocally Holger Syme, are now suggesting that The Spanish Tragedy, in the repertory of Strange's men in 1592-3, moved with one or more of Strange's players to the Chamberlain's men where, sometime before 1602, their resident player and playwright undertook revisions which are manifest in the additions to the 1602 quarto of The Spanish Tragedy.
Thus the identity of the 1597 "Jeronimo" has come under fresh scrutiny. Might it indeed be a new play telling again the tragic story of Hieronimo, the Knight Marshall of Spain, as Henslowe's notation ("ne") appears to specify?
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
Presumably the playwright/s of "Jeronimo" used the The Spanish Tragedy itself as well as some of its sources (as suggested by Arthur Freeman): A Courtlie Controversie of Cupids Cautels, by Jacques Yver (1578); accounts of the wars between Portugal and Spain such as "A discourse of that which happened in the battell fought between the two Navies of Spain and Portugal at the Islands of the Azores" (1582); and narratives of the role of English expeditions to Spain such as Christopher Ockland's Anglorum Proelia (translated into English in 1585).
References to the Play
Syme addresses the concerns of Henslowe's use of "ne" for a play being revived as well as the absence of evidence that plays performed by Strange's men in 1592-3 migrated to the repertory of the Admiral's men. Supporting the reasoning that The Spanish Tragedy migrated instead to the repertory of the Chamberlain's men, Syme points out several references to Richard Burbage's having played the role of Hieronimo. Syme suggests that the "Jeromino" in the Admiral's repertory in 1597 was a marketing response on the part of the Admiral's men, who were thereby countering the revival of Thomas Kyd's play by the Chamberlain's men at another playhouse c. 1597.
See also Theatrical Provenance, above.
For What It's Worth
Any fresh interpretation of the cluster of Spanish Tragedy/"Jeronimo" plays needs to look again at the famous quip by King's men's players in the Induction to The Malcontent, in which (speaking as themselves) Henry Condell and William Sly joke about their having taken another company's play (i.e., The Malcontent) as payback for that company's having taken one of theirs ("Jeronimo").
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; 19 November 2019.