Difference between revisions of "Christmas Comes but Once a Year"

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==Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues==
 
==Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues==
  
The impetus behind the play is likely to have been the proverbial saying that is repeated in the title. Books of proverbs record the appearance of the phrase as early as 1573, in ''Five hundredth points of good Husbandrie ...'' by Thomas Tusser ([http://www.archive.org/stream/fivehundredpoint08tussuoft/fivehundredpoint08tussuoft_djvu.txt Tusser]).
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The impetus behind the play is likely to have been the proverbial saying that is the title. Books of proverbs record the appearance of the phrase as early as 1573, in ''Five hundredth points of good Husbandrie ...'' by Thomas Tusser ([http://www.archive.org/stream/fivehundredpoint08tussuoft/fivehundredpoint08tussuoft_djvu.txt Tusser]). In Tusser, the phrase occurs in a holiday-themed verse in the following stanza:
  
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::All Saints doe laie for porke and souse,
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::for sprats and spurlings for their house.
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::At Christmas play and make good cheere,
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::for Christmas comes but once a yeere.
 +
 +
''Five hundreth points of good Husandrie'' began in 1557 as ''A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry''; the Christmas proverb occurs in the first expansion to five hundred points. Very popular, the book enjoyed new editions every few years to 1604, then sporadically until 1692.
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<br>
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<br>
  
 
==References to the Play==
 
==References to the Play==
  
<List any known or conjectured references to the lost play here.>
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Information welcome.
 
 
  
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<br><br>
  
 
==Critical Commentary==
 
==Critical Commentary==
  
<Summarise any critical commentary that may have been published by scholars. Please maintain an objective tone!>
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'''Fleay''' made no guesses about the content of ''Christmas Comes but Once a Year'' (''BCED'') and '''Greg''' was equally silent, saying "Nothing is known of this piece" (II, #272).
 
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<br><br>
 
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'''Clark''' is bolder, suggesting that the play "may have been a Christmas show for the holiday season" (35). Observing that "Henslowe proved more lavish than usual," Clark posits that an entry immediately following the payment in earnest to Heywood and Webster on 2 November might also be for the Christmas play; that purchase was for "vj yards''es'' of tynsell" at the cost of £3 ([http://www.archive.org/stream/henslowesdiary00unkngoog#page/n244/mode/1up Greg I.184]).
  
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<br><br>
 
==For What It's Worth==
 
==For What It's Worth==
  
<Enter any miscellaneous points that may be relevant, but don't fit into the above categories. This is the best place for highly conjectural thoughts.>
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1602, ''Satiromastix''
 
 
  
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<br><br>
  
 
==Works Cited==
 
==Works Cited==
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<br>
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<div style="padding-left: 2em; text-indent: -2em">Clark, Arthur Melville.''Thomas Heywood, Playwright and Miscellanist''. 1931. rpt. New York, Russell and Russell, 1958, 1967.</div>
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<div style="padding-left: 2em; text-indent: -2em"> Tusser, Thomas. ''Five hundreth points of good Husbandrie, as well for the Champion or Open country, as also for the Woodland or Several, mixed in eerie month with Huswiferie, ouer and besides the book of Huswiferie''. London 1585.  </div>
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<br><br>
  
<List all texts cited throughout the entry, except those staple texts whose full bibliographical details have been provided in the masterlist of Works Cited found on the sidebar menu. Use the coding below to format the list>
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[[category:Proverbs]]
 
 
<div style="padding-left: 2em; text-indent: -2em"> citation goes here </div>
 
 
 
<If you haven't done so already, also add here any key words that will help categorise this play. Use the following format, repeating as necessary: [[category:example]]>
 
 
 
 
 
 
Site created and maintained by [[Roslyn L. Knutson]], Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 28 March 2015.
 
Site created and maintained by [[Roslyn L. Knutson]], Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 28 March 2015.
 
[[category:all]][[category:Roslyn L. Knutson]][[category:Henslowe's records]]
 
[[category:all]][[category:Roslyn L. Knutson]][[category:Henslowe's records]]

Revision as of 17:32, 29 March 2015

Thomas Heywood, John Webster, Henry Chettle, and Thomas Dekker (1602)


Historical Records

Payments to Playwrights (Henslowe's Diary)


F. 117v (Greg I.184)

Lent vnto Thomas hewode & John webster }
the 2 of novmber 1602 in earneste of a playe }
called chyssmas comes bute one ayeare the }
some of } iijli

F. 118 (Greg, I.185)

Lent vnto John dewcke the 23 of novmber 1602 }
to paye vnto hareye chettell & thomas deckers }
in parte of paymente of a playe called crysmas }
comes but once a yeare the some of } xxxxs


pd at the a poyntment of Thomas hawode the }
26 of novmber 1602 … to harey chettell in }
fulle paymente of a playe called cryssmas }
comes but once a yeare the some of } xxxxs



Payments for Properties (Henslowe's Diary)


F. 118v (Greg, I. 186)

Layd owt for the companye the 9 of novmber }
1602 to by ij calleco sewtes & ij buckerom }
sewtes for the playe of cryssmas comes but }
once a yeare the some of } xxxviijs 8d
Sowld vnto the company the 9 of desember }
1602 ij peces of cangable taffetie to macke }
a womones gowne & a Robe some of } iiijli xs
for the play of crysmas comes but once a year

Theatrical Provenance

"Christmas Comes but Once a Year" was written for Worcester's players while they were at the Rose, 1602-3; the purchase of apparel in December 1602 invites the conjecture that the play was in performance by February 1603.If so, its maiden run would have been disrupted by London playhouse closures due to the fatal illness of Queen Elizabeth in mid-March 1603 and further by the general raggedness of theatrical schedules later in the spring due to the onset of plague.

Probable Genre(s)

Comedy (Harbage)


Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

The impetus behind the play is likely to have been the proverbial saying that is the title. Books of proverbs record the appearance of the phrase as early as 1573, in Five hundredth points of good Husbandrie ... by Thomas Tusser (Tusser). In Tusser, the phrase occurs in a holiday-themed verse in the following stanza:

All Saints doe laie for porke and souse,
for sprats and spurlings for their house.
At Christmas play and make good cheere,
for Christmas comes but once a yeere.

Five hundreth points of good Husandrie began in 1557 as A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry; the Christmas proverb occurs in the first expansion to five hundred points. Very popular, the book enjoyed new editions every few years to 1604, then sporadically until 1692.

References to the Play

Information welcome.



Critical Commentary

Fleay made no guesses about the content of Christmas Comes but Once a Year (BCED) and Greg was equally silent, saying "Nothing is known of this piece" (II, #272).

Clark is bolder, suggesting that the play "may have been a Christmas show for the holiday season" (35). Observing that "Henslowe proved more lavish than usual," Clark posits that an entry immediately following the payment in earnest to Heywood and Webster on 2 November might also be for the Christmas play; that purchase was for "vj yardses of tynsell" at the cost of £3 (Greg I.184).



For What It's Worth

1602, Satiromastix



Works Cited


Clark, Arthur Melville.Thomas Heywood, Playwright and Miscellanist. 1931. rpt. New York, Russell and Russell, 1958, 1967.
Tusser, Thomas. Five hundreth points of good Husbandrie, as well for the Champion or Open country, as also for the Woodland or Several, mixed in eerie month with Huswiferie, ouer and besides the book of Huswiferie. London 1585.



Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; updated 28 March 2015.