Longshanks

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Anon. (1595)

Historical Records

Performance Records

Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary


Fol. 12v (Greg, I. 24)

ye 29 of aguste 1595 ne . . Rd at longe shanke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxxs
ye 10 of septembʒ 1595 Rd at longshancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijll


Fol. 13 (Greg, I. 25)

ye 30 of septembʒ 1595 . . . . . . Rd at longe shancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxijs
ye 21 of octobʒ 1595 Rd at long shancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxs


Fol. 14 (Greg, I. 27)

ye 9 of novembʒ 1595 . . . . . . Rd at longshancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxiijs
ye 26 of novembʒ 1595 Rd at longshancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xviijs
ye 10 of desembʒ 1595 Rd at prynce longshanke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxs
ye 29 of desembʒ 1595 Rd at longshanckes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxijs


Fol. 14v (Greg, I. 28)

ye 5 of febreary 1595 . . . . . . . Rd at longshancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiiijs
ye 27 of febreary 1595 Rd at longshancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxxs


Fol. 15v (Greg, I. 30)

ye 21 of aprell 1596 . . . . . . . . . . Rd at longshancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiiijs
ye 28 of aprell 1596 Rd at longschancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxs


Fol. 21v (Greg, I. 42)

ye 2 of June 1596 . . . . . . . . . . . Rd at longshancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . iijll
ye 9 of July 1596 Rd at longshancke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xvs


Payments

Purchase of the play from Edward Alleyn in Philip Henslowe's diary

Fol. 107 (Greg, I. 169)

pd vnto my sone EA for ij bocke called }
phillipe of spayne & Longshanckes the 8 }     iiijll
of agust 1602 the some of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . }


Inventories

Philip Henslowe's papers in the Dulwich College Library

List of apparel

The booke of the Inventary of the goods of my Lord Admeralles men, taken the 10 of Marche in the yeare 1598. Greg, Papers (APX. I. art. 1, p. 113, l. 7)

Gone and loste.
Item, j longe-shanckes sewte.


The Enventorey of all the aparell of the Lord Admeralles men, taken the 13th of Marche 1598, as followeth: Greg, Papers (APX., I. art. 1, p. 121, l. 175)


Item, j Longeshankes seute.



Theatrical Provenance

The Admiral's players introduced "Longshanks" in the opening week of their fall season at the Rose playhouse, August 1595. It was the first play of the season to be marked by Henslowe's enigmatic "ne." It received fourteen performances through 9 July 1596, and it returned an average of 31s. per performance to Henslowe.

On 8 August 1602 the company purchased the playbook of "Longshanks" from Edward Alleyn, along with another lost play, "Philip of Spain." These purchases belong to a set of transactions in which Alleyn sold plays to Henslowe (and thus to the Admiral's men) in 1601-2. Henslowe recorded nine of these purchases, beginning with "Mahomet" (entered on 22 August 1601) and ending with "Tamar Cham" (entered on 2 October 1602). Some of these plays were revived in conjunction with their purchase from Alleyn, as evidenced by payments for apparel. These include "Mahomet," Massacre at Paris, and "Crack Me This Nut" but not "Longshanks" (if Henslowe's records give an accurate account of its post-purchase stage life).

Probable Genre(s)

History (Harbage).

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

The obvious source for the playwright/s of "Longshanks" is Holinshed, 2.478-546. Given that George Peele focused primarily on "a period of twenty-two years, from Edward's return to England [from the Holy Land] in 1274 until Balliol's defeat in 1296" (Hook, p. 13), the play might have dramatized Edward's participation in the Crusades. Wiggins, Catalogue #1007, noting the fact that Henslowe entered the play on 10 December 1595 as "prynce longshanke," considers it "possible that the play dealt mainly with Edward's adventures in Palestine," culminating in his coronation for which he wore the suit that had gone missing by 1598. Another option was to provide a sequel to Peele's play. Holinshed offers several incidents that might have had resonance in a repertory long on plays by Christopher Marlowe: for example, Longshanks' exile of the Jews in 1290; his border wars, particularly with the Scots, one of the most flamboyant of which episodes was the capture and execution of William Wallace in 1305; and his interfamilial war with Prince Edward over an unsuitable domestic relationship (1305). In conjunction with Holinshed, Hook notes the complementary source of Richard Grafton's A Chronicle at large and meere History of the affayres of England, 1569.

References to the Play

Henry Oxinden's list (ca. 1663-65) includes an item worded "Edward Longshankes 1593," which, due to the 1593 date, appears likely to refer to Peele's play.


Critical Commentary

The central question about the play Henslowe entered "ne" on 29 August 1595 and bought from Edward Alleyn for the Admiral's men on 8 August 1602 has been its relationship to Edward I by George Peele, which was published in 1593 (S.R. 8 Oct 1593) and 1599. If, as some scholars have believed, "Longshanks" is Edward I (or a revision of it), the play is not lost. Current opinion leans toward splitting "Longshanks" from Peele's play, considering it a discrete play, now lost.

"Longshanks" as George Peele's Edward I

Malone, who first published a transcript of Henslowe's diary from the Dulwich Library archives in 1790, opined that the "Longshanks" introduced on 26 August 1595 was "probably" George Peele's play, Edward I, entered in the Stationers' Register on 8 October 1593 by Abel Jeffes and published in 1593 with an advertisement of Jeffes as printer and William Barley as bookseller (Internet Archive, I, pt.2, 297, n1).

Fleay, BCED in 1891 repeated Malone's choice, tagging "Longshanks" as "a 'mended' version of Peele's" Edward I (2.304).

Greg II, whose 1904 edition of the diary and companion 1908 commentary were the benchmark until the edition of R. A. Foakes and R. T. Rickert in 1961, accepted the identification of "Longshanks" with Peele's Edward I. Like Fleay, Greg found it plausible that the play in Henslowe's listings was marked "ne" because it was revised. He did point out that no revisions occur in the 1599 reprint of Peele's play, which had initially been published in 1593. Greg thought it likely that Alleyn, who owned "Longshanks" in 1602, had owned it (as Edward I) when he was a member of Strange's men (#75 p.176).

Chambers, ES opined in 1923 that "Longshanks" was an independent play "unless there had been substantial revision" to Peele's Edward I (III.460-1, esp. 461). However, a year later, he had reconsidered: "When Henslowe marks Longshanks in his diary as n.e. we need not suppose that we have to do with anything but a recast of Peele's Edward I ("Disintegration," p.45).

Hook, discussing "Longshanks" in his introduction to Edward I in the Yale edition of Peele's work, considers the lost play "almost certainly" Peele's play (p. 7). His reasoning is that "Longshanks is a name used for no one but Edward I, and no other play is known to have been written about that monarch" (p. 7). He considers the item of apparel listed as both "Gone and loste" and found in Henslowe's inventory ("long-shanckes sewte," "Longeshankes seute") as additional proof, conjecturing that the suit is no ordinary "royal robe" but the "special garment" specified in the opening stage direction for scene 3 in Edward I: Enter … king Edward in his sute of Glasse (pp. 7, 93). In a note, Hook cites the line-up of Collier, Fleay, Greg, and Chambers as evidence that the identification of "Longshanks" as Edward I (with or without revisions) "is widely accepted" (p. 7).

Braunmuller repeats the received wisdom on the identification of "Longshanks" as Peele's Edward I, considering the 1595-6 run as proof of Peele's "play's popularity" (p. 87). In a note, Braunmuller raises but does not engage the issue of Henslowe's designation of "Longshanks" as "ne" (p. 146).

Gurr follows the tradition of Malone, et. al., by identifying "Longshanks" as Peele's Edward I as "probably a revision" (p. 93). One facet of Gurr's characterization of the repertory of the Admiral's men after its reconfiguration in 1594 is that the company relied on Peele's plays from Edward Alleyn's personal collection. Gurr claims further that Alleyn had bought "Longshanks" (i.e., Edward I) from Peele in 1590 (p. 39).

"Longshanks" as a discrete play

Collier, next after Malone to publish Henslowe's playlists from 1592-1603 (1845), disagreed with the identification of "Longshanks" as Edward I, excusing Malone for not knowing that Henslowe's "ne" marked new plays. Collier assigned the play to "some other dramatist upon the same portion of English history" (p. 55, n2). He implied that the printing of Peele's play disqualified it as the play Henslowe called "Longshanks" and (once) "Prince Longshank."


Knutson, noting that "a regular feature of competition among the professional companies" was the duplication of one another's successful repertorial offerings (p. 4), considers "Longshanks" to be in that sense a duplicate of Edward I; she makes the case for "Longshanks" as a commercially desirable offering both in 1595 and 1602.


Wiggins acknowledges the argument of lumping "Longshanks" with Edward I because of subject matter and the article of apparel (the suit) in Henslowe's inventory, but he finds the "case against identification … [to be] stronger" (Catalogue, #1007). Agreeing with the thrust of Collier's opinion, he thinks it unlikely that the Admiral's men would have staged a play already in print as if it were new. Noting that Henslowe called the play "Prince Longshank" in one entry, Wiggins opines that the 1595 play may have treated "Edward's adventures in Palestine before he became King," and that the suit could have been used for "his coronation … [at] the climax of the action."

For What It's Worth

On 29 November 1595, Henslowe entered a performance of "the welche man," for which show he received 7s. Greg II rejected Fleay's suggestion that this is an early appearance of Robert Armin's Valiant Welshman (1615); he also rejected its identification with a 1598 play in the Admiral's inventory, "Henry I and the Prince of Wales." He thought it "just possible" this entry belongs with the performances of "Longshanks" (#83, p. 178). Wiggins is skeptical (Catalogue, #882). He does not see a neat fit amongst offerings of "Longshanks" for the one performance of "the welche man" ; consequently, he offers a stage history for the play in which it "did poor business" at its initial performance and thus was not given a second chance. Wiggins does not explain why he lists "the welche man" immediately after Peele's Edward I, thus implying a date c. 1593 although 29 November 1595 is the date of its only recorded performance.


Holinshed attributes the nickname, "Longshanks," to the Scots "in mockage, bicause he was a tall and slender man" (2.386).


Michael Drayton began in 1593 to publish poems on historical subjects: Peirs Gaveston (1593/4), Mortimeriados (1596), and Englands Heroicall Epistles (1597). By 1598 he was writing plays for the Admiral's men. Of the twenty-three to which he contributed, twelve are on historical subjects (see "Dramatists," Drayton). Eleven of the twelve are lost (part one of Sir John Oldcastle survives). That same appetite for English chronicle plays is reflected in Edward Alleyn's sale of "Longshanks" to the Admiral's men in 1602. It is perhaps coincidence but nonetheless interesting that scattered references to Edward Longshanks (all very sympathetic) turn up in several of Drayton's poems based on English history (below is a sample):

  • "When famous Edward wore the english crowne/Victorious Longshankes flower of chiualrie,/ ... commaunds, I must depart the court ...." ("Peirs Gaveston" B2r, Cv)
  • "Whilst famous LONGSHANKS Bones (in Fortunes scorne)/As sacred Reliques to the Field were borne" (Englands Heroicall Epistles, "Mortimer to Queene Isabel" (Hebel, 2.169)
  • annotation to Mortimer's line: "Edward Longshankes willed at this Death, that his Bodie should be boyled, the Flesh from the Bones, and that the Bones should be borne to the Warres in Scotland, which he was perswaded unto by a Prophecie which told, That the English should still be fortunate in Conquest, so long as his Bones were carried in the Field (Hebel, 2.173).



Works Cited

Braunmuller, A. R. George Peele. Boston, Twayne Publishers, 1983.
Chambers, E.K. "The Disintegration of Shakespeare," Aspects of Shakespeare, Being British Academy Lectures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933. 23-48.
Gurr, Andrew. Shakespeare's Opposites: The Admiral's Company 1594-1625. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Hebel, J. William, Kathleen Tillotson, and Bernard H. Newdigate, eds. The Works of Michael Drayton. 5 vols. Oxford: The Shakespeare Head Press, 1931-41. rpt. 1961 (corrected edition).
Hook, Frank S., ed. The Dramatic Works of George Peele. Vol. 2. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1932, rept. 1961.
Knutson, Roslyn L. "Play Identifications: The Wise Man of West Chester and John a Kent and John a Cumber; Longshanks and Edward I." Huntington Library Quarterly 47.1 (1984): 1-11. (HLQ)



Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; created in 2012; updated 13 March 2018; updated 11 February 2022.