Tristram de Lyons
Payments to Playwrights (Henslowe's Diary)
F. 64v (Greg, I.112)
- the 13th of october 1599
- Lent vnto Thomas Downton for the
- Booke of Trystram de Lyons ..……………… 3li
The Admiral's players paid Thomas Downton, one of their players and sharers, £3 for the playbook of "Tristram de Lyons" on the 13th of October 1599. In the fall of 1599, the company was in its last year at the Rose; it would move to the new Fortune playhouse in Middlesex at the end of the summer of 1600.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
Entered in the Stationers' Register by Thomas Gosson and John Danter, 20 Jan 1595/96 (Clio, S.R.I, 3.57):
- Entred for their Copie vnder th[e h]andes of bothe the wardens a
- booke intituled. The ffirste part of the famous histories of CHINAN of
- England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vjd
The text in question is Christopher Middleton's The famous historie of Chinon of England with his strange aduentures for the loue of Celestina daughter to Lewis King of Fraunce. VVith the worthy atchiuement of Sir Lancelot du Lake, and Sir Tristram du Lions for fair Laura, daughter to Cador Earle of Cornewall, beeing all knights of King Arthurs round table (1597).
References to the Play
Greg did not refer to the Middleton narrative as a source for the Tristram narrative, noting instead that "[n]othing whatever is known of this piece"; he did add that "Lyons" is a "corruption of Lionesse" (Greg, II.206, Item : 184).
Knutson observes that The Famous Historie of Chinon of England by Christopher Middleton (S. R. 20 Jan 1596, Q1597) carries a sub-title that names Tristram of Lyons: "With the worthy Atchieuement of Sir Lancelot du Lake, and Sir Tristram du Lions for faire Laura." She notes that the Admiral's players had performed "Chinon of England" in 1596, positing that the publication of Middleton's Chinon was "a bit late for the debut of "Chinon" on January 3, 1596, but it was perfect timing for a spin-off on Tristram in 1599-1600" ("Toe" 29).
For What It's Worth
Following Greg and Chambers, who note that sums lower than £5 in Henslowe's payments for plays raise questions about whether the plays were completed or new, Knutson categorizes "Tristram de Lyons" as completed but possibly secondhand ("Commercial" 119, 160).
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professsor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 1 March 2013.