Marriott's List (1653)

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Background

In late 1653, the printer Richard Marriott entered twenty-one plays on the Stationers' Register. The entry is dated 29 November, although it appears between entries dated 22 December and 30 December, so that it may well be misdated by a month. Of the twenty-one plays he registered that day, eighteen are lost, making Marriott's list an interesting reservoir of records of lost plays.

To begin examining this list, the first place to start is with the three extant plays. These are:

•[Henry Glapthorne], Revenge for Honour, a tragedy printed by Richard Marriott in 1654. (Bentley, 4.489-93).
The Eunuch, identified by most sources, including Bentley, with William Heminge's tragedy The Fatal Contract, printed by "J.M.", probably John Marriott himself, in 1653. This identification has been accepted by Carol A. Morley in her recent and definitive edition of Heminge (239-54). There are parallels with Revenge for Honour in the fact that the two publications had the same dedicatees: James and Isabella, Earl and Countess of Northampton.
•The pastoral tragicomedy The Thracian Wonder, printed in 1661 by Francis Kirkman with a (generally doubted) attribution to John Webster and William Rowley.

The other eighteen are lost, although at least five of the titles are also known from other references to those plays (The Proxy, A Fool and Her Maidenhead Soon Parted, The Younger Brother, The Noble Trial, and The Florentine Friend), and one of them possibly survives under another title (Salisbury Plain).

Bentley sums up the overall picture: "All in all, the list is an odd one which, taken as a whole, throws no light on any of the individual titles. One would like to guess that the list represents part of the repertory of some company, but the evidence is against it… In the absence of evidence one can only assume that Marriott had assembled a miscellaneous group of manuscripts which he intended to publish, but that he later abandoned nearly all of them" (Bentley, 5.1446). The rest of this entry attempts to flesh out Bentley's observation.

Transcription

Cited from Bentley, 5.1445. Stationers' Register, 29 November 1653.

Rich: Marriott Entred for his copies the severall playes following (vizt)
The Paraside or Revenge for honor. by Henry Glapthorne.
The fflorentine friend
The Proxe or Loues after Game
The Eunuch a Tragedy
The Conceits
Salisbury Plaine a comedy.
The Womans Master Piece
Pitty the Maid
The Royall Choice by Sr Robt. Stapleton.
The Noble Rauishers
A Foole & her maiden head soone Parted
Supposed Inconstancy.
The Womans Law.
The Diuorse
The Bond Woman
Castara or Cruelty without hate
The Thracian Wonder
The Blacke Wedding.
The Law Case
The Younger Brother
The Noble Triall



Discussion

Table of plays
Play title (standardized and hyperlinked) Date Company provenance Venue Author Genre
Parricide, The / Revenge for Honour after 1637 Queen Henrietta's Men Salisbury Court Glapthorne T
Florentine Friend, The 1638 Queen Henrietta's Men Salisbury Court Brome C
Love’s Aftergame, or The Proxy 1634 King's Revels Salisbury Court
Eunuch, The 1633-1637 Queen Henrietta's Men Heminge T
Conceits, The
Salisbury Plain  ?1635  ?amateurs  ?St John's College, Oxford  ?Speed  ?pastoral C
Woman's Masterpiece, The
Pity the Maid
Royal Choice, The Sir Robert Stapylton
Noble Ravishers, The
Fool and Her Maidenhead Soon Parted in repertory 1639 Beeston's Boys Cockpit  ?Davenport C
Supposed Inconstancy
Woman's Law, The
Divorce, The
Bondwoman, The
Castara, or Cruelty Without Hate  ?after 1634
The Thracian Wonder 1607-25? (Rowley's career)  ?Rowley and ?Heywood pastoral TC
Black Wedding, The T
Law Case, The
Younger Brother  ?1617  ?Prince Charles (I)  ?Red Bull  ?C
Noble Trial  ?1630s Glapthorne TC or T

The problem with the above table is that there are simply too many gaps to enable firm conclusions to be drawn. The best one can do is to draw attention to possible connections on the list.

First of all, those plays on it which are most securely datable appear to be from the 1630s. The clearest dates of composition on the list are for Revenge for Honour (certainly after 1637, when its main source was published); The Florentine Friend (licensed 1638); and Love's Aftergame (licensed 1634). Also useful, but less cast-iron, are the observations that Castara seems to be dependent on a poem collection published in 1634; that Glapthorne's The Noble Trial can hardly be much earlier than 1630, the start of his known career; and that Salisbury Plain, if it were the same as Stonehenge/The Converted Robber, would be no earlier than 1635. At least six of the twenty-one, then, seem to be from the 1630s. Conversely, pre-1630 dates of composition appear to be indicated for only two - The Thracian Wonder and, potentially, The Younger Brother. The overall flavour, then, tends towards the 1630s.

As for company provenances: the list contains two plays which external records associate with the impresario Richard Heton's operation at Salisbury Court in the 1630s.

Love's Aftergame (from 1634, when his company was known as the King's Revels);
• Brome's The Florentine Friend (from 1638, by when his company had partially absorbed the old Queen Henrietta's Men and taken on their name).

Heton can also be associated with two other plays on the list using internal evidence.

• Heminge's The Fatal Contract belonged to Queen Henrietta's Men, according to its title-page: its first performance has variously been dated to 1634, before the Heton merger, or to 1637, after it. It was seen into print by "A.P." and "A.T.", often identified as Andrew Pennycuike and Anthony Turner. Turner certainly was an actor for Heton (though not certainly "A.T."), and Pennycuike might have been an actor for Heton, although there is a danger of circular reasoning here since the printing of The Fatal Contract is the main prop of the argument that he was.
• Glapthorne's Revenge for Honour was printed with a dedication by William Cartwright the younger and Curtis Greville, both of whom worked with Heton at Salisbury Court through the 1630s (Bentley, 1.404-5, 451). On the strength of that, it could be identified as a play belonging to the Heton-era Queen Henrietta's Men. As a further indication of connections to the world of Queen Henrietta's Men, both The Fatal Contract and Revenge for Honour carry dedications to the Earl of Northampton, who is known to have been a patron to other ex-members of the company in the 1650s.

On the other hand, Marriott's List also contains one play which external evidence places firmly, in the late 1630s, in the possession of Heton's rivals the Beestons: A Fool and Her Maidenhead Soon Parted. This would seem to prevent the too-easy conclusion that the whole list is simply a repertoire from Queen Henrietta's Men. Indeed, Salisbury Plain hails (possibly) from the world of academic drama, rather than from a known performance at any professional theatre.

To sum up: some of this list - in fact, the four plays at the head of it - can be linked to the King's Revels/Queen Henrietta's Men, under the leadership of Richard Heton, at the Salisbury Court Theatre in the 1630s. For the other, often entirely unknown, plays on the list, this theatre company and this era is marginally the leading suspect.


For what it's worth

As Bentley said, this list is tantalizing.

At least five of the twenty-one plays seem to have an identifiably female eponymous character; at least five more seem to have an eponymous act of love, sex, or marriage. It's hard to translate these statistics into meaningful terms, but do they suggest a repertoire unusually interested in women?

Dedicatory Epistle of Revenge for Honour

The dedicatory epistle of Revenge for Honour, addressed to the Earl and Countess of Northampton, appears only in a "special issue" (Greg, BEPD 2:842) of the 1654 quarto, extant in a single copy held at the Harry Ransom Center as part of the Pforzheimer Library (Pforz 158). In the Pforzheimer copy, the dedication appears as a single unsigned leaf, bound after title page. As Greg commented, "While there is no proof that the leaf belongs to the book, there seems no reason to doubt it" (BEPD 2:842). The Pforzheimer Library cataloguers noted that the lead was "apparently printed by Thomas Maxey but there is no evidence by which the printer of the rest of the book can be identified" (Pforzheimer Library, 1.158). While Greg quoted some of the text, the epistle was first published in its entirety only in 2019 by Joshua McEvilla (9). A transcription follows:

To the Right Honourable
JAMES
Earl of NORTHAMPTON,
AND
ISABELLA
His Right Honorable Countesse.


IT may be censured a great Ambition in us to approach your Honours with this Dedication: We have to say in our excuse, That it hath been lawfull in all Ages, for men of the lowest condition to frequent the Altars, and present their Sacrifice. Your Mercy hath been most exemplary in our Age, and till our Nation can boast of Persons that transcend You in Honour, wee are safe in our Devotions.
     For this Poem, which we humbly present to [verso] kisse your hands, wee are at peace in our owne Iudgments, it flowing from the Pen of a most able Writer, and one whose Name may invite an acceptation. The day is come that hath opened the New Yeer, may it begin with a true happinesse to your Family, and continue no lesse fortunate till the Revolution: While we, secure under the shade of your Honours, be exalted in our hearts, that Ye have not disdained to accept this humble tender of our duty from
Your most obedient Servants,
WIL. CARTWRIGHT.
CURTIS GREVILL.
[Running title on verso:] The Epistle Dedicatory.





Works Cited

Heminge, William. The Plays and Poems of William Heminge, ed. Carol A. Morley. Madison: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2006.
McEvilla, Joshua. "Editions and Textual Matters." In McEvilla et al., "Renaissance Drama: Excluding Shakespeare." Year's Work in English Studies 98 (2019). Advance access, https://doi.org/10.1093/ywes/maz003.
[Pforzheimer Library.] The Carl H. Pforzheimer Library, English Literature, 1475–1700. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1997 [1940]. 3 vols.


Site created and maintained by Matthew Steggle: updated by Misha Teramura, 16 May 2019.