Madman's Morris, The

Thomas Dekker, Michael Drayton, and Robert Wilson (1598)

Historical Records


To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 47 (Greg 1.89)

lent vnto mr willson mr drayton & mr dickers the }
31 of June 1598 in earneste of a boocke called the } iijll
made manes mores the some of . . . . . . . }

lent vnto mr drayton the 9 of July 1598 vpon }
a Boocke <of> called the mad manes mores the } xxs
some of . . . . . . . . . . }

pd vnto mr willsone & mr deckers in fulle payment }
of a boocke called the mad manes moris the 10 of } xxxxs
July 1598 the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . }

For apparel in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 48 (Greg 1.91)

Lent vnto wm borne the 25 of July 1598 to by }
a sewte of satten for the playe of the made } iiijll xiijs 4d
manes moris the some of . . . . . . . . . . }


Philip Henslowe's papers in the Dulwich College Library

List of playbooks

Greg, Papers (APX. I, art. 1, p. 121, col. 2, l. 196):

Under Henslowe's title, A Note of all suche bookes as belong to the Stocke, and such as I have bought since the 3d of March 1598, is:
Mad mans morris.

Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's men acquired the full book and paid for properties for "The Madman's Morris" by late July 1598, suggesting a likely performance or performances shortly thereafter; the company was at the Rose at this time.

Probable Genre(s)

Comedy (?) (Harbage).

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

As Wiggins notes (Catalogue #1134), the phrase "madman's morris" is common enough in the period, but offers "no clue about any likely narrative for the play".

References to the Play

Information welcome.

Critical Commentary

Wiggins notes the existence of a ballad sharing its name with this play (Roxburghe Ballads ii.479-85; cf. EBBA 33051, 34485, etc.) but emphasises that "any connection with the play necessarily remains conjectural". The ballad describes "a man who is driven mad for love, and runs around naked; he also talks to himself in the market, with capon feathers in his cap, and is eventually taken off to Bedlam" (Catalogue' #1134).

For What It's Worth

Information welcome.

Works Cited

Hindley, Charles, ed. The Roxburghe Ballads. vol.2. London: Reeves and Turner, 1874.

Site created and maintained by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; updated 04 March 2015.