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Thomas Cecil (1615)

Historical Records

Chamberlain's letter

Described by Chamberlain in his letter of 16 March 1615 to Sir Dudley Carleton (quoted in Mayor 617):

The first night's entertainment was a Comedy [Aemilia, in Latin, by Tho. Cecill], made and acted by St John's men, the chief part consisting of a counterfeit Sir Edward Radcliffe, a foolish Doctor of Physic, which proved but a lean argument; and though it were larded with pretty shews at the beginning and end, and with somewhat too broad speech for such a presence, yet it was still dry.

Cambridge University Library MS. Add. 2677

See also Cambridge University Library ms. Add. 2677 (art. 1), p.538. This MS (the "Dering Manuscript") from c.1615 is a commonplace book containing various fragments concerning the royal visits to Cambridge University of James I in 1615 and Charles I in 1642. It is in Latin and English; Art.1 contains an account of the plays of 1614-15 (REED Cambridge 2.796).

Theatrical Provenance

Produced at Trinity College, Cambridge, March 1615. (Harbage has St John’s, Cambridge). REED has "Trinity College hall, by students of St John's, 7 March 1615" (Cambridge 2.928, Appendix 6.2). Chainey notes that the performance was one in a series put on for King James and Prince Charles when they visited the university in 1615 (Chainey 33).

Probable Genre(s)

Latin Comedy (Harbage)

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

Possibly no source other than contemporary history, if Sir Edward Radcliffe's persona was staged in the play (see Chamberlain's account above).

References to the Play

See Historical Records above for Chamberlain's description of the play in performance.

Critical Commentary

Information needed.

For What It's Worth

Sir Edward Radcliffe (d.1632), whose likeness was (according to Chamberlain) featured in this lost play, was physician to James I.

Works Cited

Chainey, Graham. A Literary History of Cambridge. Cambridge: CUP, 1995. rpt. Print.
Mayor, John E. B., ed. Thomas Baker. History of the College of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge. Cambridge, 1869. Print. (Internet Archive)

Site created by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; updated 18 Feb 1010.