Poor Man’s Paradise, The

William Haughton (1599)

Historical Records


To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 63v (Greg I.110)

Lent vnto Thomas downton the 20 aguste }
1599 to lend vnto hawghton in earnest of a } xiijs
Boocke called the poore manes paradice the some of }

Fol. 64 (Greg I.111)

Lent vnto Thomas downton the 25 aguste }
1599 to paye [harey chettell] Thomas hawton for his Boocke } xvijs
called the poore manes paradice the some of ... }

Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's Men began payments to William Haughton on "The Poor Man's Paradise" in August 1599 early in their fall season at the Rose; across the way on Maid Lane, the Chamberlain's Men were underway with their fall season at the newly opened Globe.

Probable Genre(s)

Comedy (?) (Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Wiggins, Catalogue (#1201) raises a connection with the Homilies on Luke and St. Jerome's use of "the phrase paradisus pauperis in reference to 'Abraham's bosom' in the biblical parable of Dives and Lazarus."

References to the Play

None known.

Critical Commentary

Greg II says that "[n]othing is known of this play" (#181, p. 205).

Wiggins, Catalogue (#1201) queries a couple of points. For one, he thinks it is "remotely possible" that the name "Thomas" is not a mistake for the familiar "William" Haughton. For another, he weighs whether the play offered "the biblical parable of Dives and Lazarus" or "some unlikely earthly paradise."

For What It's Worth

Knutson considers Henslowe's wording "for his Boocke" in the payment on 25 August 1599 to be a clue that the play was completed (p. 37, n.33).

Works Cited

Knutson, Roslyn L. “Toe to Toe Across Maid Lane: Repertorial Competition at the Rose and Globe, 1599-1600.” Acts of Criticism: Performance Matters in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. Ed. June Schlueter and Paul Nelsen. Madison & Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005. 21-37.

Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 7 November 2009.