Pastoral Tragedy, A

George Chapman (1599)

Historical Records


To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 63v (Greg I.110)

Lent vnto Thomas downton the 17 of }
July 1599 [in ear] to lend vnto mr chapman }
in earneste of a pastrall tragedie the } xxxxs
some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }

To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary (fragment, now British Museum MS. Add. 30262, f. 66)

Greg, I, pp. xlviii-xlix (it is his transcription that is duplicated below); Foakes, p. 266.

Receaued by me George Chapman for a Pastorall }
ending in a Tragedye in part payment the }
Sum[me] of fortye shilling[es], this xvijth of July } x [ ]
Anno 1599. }
By me George Chapman

Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's Men, through their player-sharer Thomas Downton, paid George Chapman in earnest toward a pastoral tragedy in the summer of 1599, as the company played at the Rose and anticipated the arrival of the Chamberlain's Men across Maid Lane at the Globe, which presumably was open for business by August.

Probable Genre(s)

Tragedy (Harbage) Pastoral tragedy Wiggins, Catalogue (#1197)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

None known.

References to the Play

None known.

Critical Commentary

Greg assumed the play was never finished; he notes that this instance is Chapman's last mention in Henslowe's diary (II, #177 p.204). He transcribed the receipt in Chapman's hand, including "x [ ]" as payment (I.xlix).

Foakes did not see the "x" of the payment on the receipt in Chapman's hand and thus did not include it in his transcription (p. 266). He referred readers to Greg's essay on the fragment, cited below.

Knutson categorizes "Pierce of Exton" among the titles in Henslowe's diary without evidence of having been completed (p. 162).

Wiggins, Catalogue assumes that the play was performed by the Admiral's men at the Rose (#1197).

For What It's Worth

The receipt signed by Chapman is in Chapman's hand, as is his signature.

Works Cited

Greg, W. W. "A Fragment from Henslowe's Diary," The Library, 4th series, xix (1938-9), 180-4.
Knutson, Roslyn L. “The Commercial Significance of the Payments for Playtexts in Henslowe’s Diary, 1597-1603.” Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England 6 (1991): 117-63.

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 5 November 2009.