Bad Beginning Makes a Good Ending, A
Accounts of the Office of the Chamber (MS. Rawl. A 239; Cook and Wilson, 56)
- 47b Item paid to the said Iohn Heminges vppon the lyke warrant: dated att Whitehall xx0 die Maij 1613 for presentinge sixe severall playes viz one playe called a badd ‡ beginininge makes a good endinge, One other called ye Capteyne, One other the Alcumist. One other Cardenno. One other The Hotspurr. And one other called Benidicte and Bettris All played wthin the tyme of this Accompte viz pd Fortie powndes, And by waye of his Mates rewarde twentie powndes In all …… lxli
The play was one of 20 performances by the King’s Men at court through the winter holiday season of 1612-13 (the other 14 plays named are Philaster (a second time by its sub-title, “Love Lies a-Bleeding”), The Knot of Fools (q.v.), Much Ado About Nothing (also played under the title “Benidicte and Bettris”), The Maid’s Tragedy, The Merry Devil of Edmonton, The Tempest, A King and No King, The Twins Tragedy (q.v.), The Winter’s Tale, “Sir John Falstaff” (1H4?), The Nobleman (q.v.), and Caesars Tragedy (q.v., Julius Caesar?).
In addition, the Prince’s Men put on the two parts of The Knaves (q.v.); the Children of the Chapel put on The Coxcombe, Cupid’s Revenge, and The Widow’s Tears; Lady Elizabeth’s Men put on Cockle de Moye [The Dutch Courtesan] and Raymond Duke of Lyons (q.v.)
The winter of 1612-13 was a bittersweet time for the court. Prince Henry died suddenly of a fever on 6 November 1612, yet the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to the Elector Palatine took place as scheduled on Valentine’s Day, 1613.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
Though none are known specifically, it is impossible to resist considering this play as yet another domestic comedy in the mode of patient wives and prodigal husbands.
References to the Play
For What It's Worth
Cook, David, and F. P. Wilson (eds). “Dramatic Records in the Declared Accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber 1558–1642.” in Malone Society Collections, 1961, vi.
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 30 August 2009.