Julius et Gonzaga

Samuel Bernard (1616/17)

Historical Records

Bodleian Library ms. Crynes 701, an eighteenth-century auction catalogue:

Jacob Hooke (comp), Bibliotheca Bernardiana: Or, A Catalogue Of the Library of the Late Charles Bernard, Esq; Serjeant Surgeon to Her Majesty. Containing a curious Collection of the best Authors in Physick, History, Philology, Antiquities, &c. With several MSS. Ancient and Modern which will begin to be sold by Auction on Thursday the 22d of March, 1710-11. At the Black-Boy Coffee-House in Ave-Mary-Lane, near Ludgate-Street (London, 1711).

It is described by Elliott-Nelson, REED Oxford 2.899:

A copy preserved in the Bodleian Library (Crynes 701) has auction prices recorded in the margins. Lot 674 (p 217), which fetched 10s from an unknown buyer, was a folio-sized manuscript of tragedies by Charles Bernard's ancestor, Samuel Bernard, containing:

1) Julius and Gonzaga, performed in the president's house in Magdalen College, 23 January 1616/17 (this may be the play referred to by Peter Heylyn on 8 March 1616/17);
2) Andronicus, performed on 26 January 1617/18, in the Magdalen College hall; and
3) Phocas, performed on 27 January 1618/19, in the Magdalen College hall.

A second item, lot 925 (p 218) which fetched 2s, was a quarto-sized manuscript containing three tragedies and other poetical works by 'Sarmueli Bernardi': since the plays are not named, it is uncertain whether or not these were the same three plays. Neither volume has been traced.

Theatrical Provenance

Performed in the president's house in Magdalen College, 23 January 1616/17.

Probable Genre(s)

Latin tragedy (Elliott-Nelson); tragedy (?) (Wiggins).

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Wiggins offers a few examples of Julius (including three popes) and Gonzaga (the Marquess or Duke of Mantua; the Governor of Milan), but notes that "there is no obvious narrative securely collocating any real Julius with any real Gonzaga" (1818).

References to the Play

As the REED editors note, Julius et Gonzaga may be the play by Samuel Bernard which Peter Heylyn refers to in his memoirs when he writes that on 08 March 1616/17, "My English Tragedy cald Spurius was acted privatly (as Mr Whites & Mr Bernards plaies were) in the presidents Lodgings" REED Oxford 1.422; REED Oxford 2.899

Critical Commentary

(Information welcome).

For What It's Worth

(Information welcome.)

Works Cited

REED Oxford 1 & 2.

Site created by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; updated 17 March 2017.