Love of an English Lady, The
Playlists in Philip Henslowe's diary
Fol. 10 (Greg, I.19)
ye 24 of septembʒ 1594
. . . ne . .
Rd at venesyon & the love of &Jngleshelady . . . . . . . .
F. 10v (Greg, I.20) ol
ye 24 of octobʒ 1594
. . . . . . . . . . . .
Rd at love of & Jngleshe ladey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Philip Henslowe's entry of "The Love of an English Lady" on 24 October 1594 confirms as much as is possible that a script by that title existed and was performed by the Admiral's men at the Rose playhouse.
The earlier entry, muddled as it is with the apparently errant inclusion of "venesyon," raises the question of what was actually performed on 24 September (given that a play named "venesyon" had appeared [not marked "ne"] in playlists at the Rose a month earlier [25 August] and had by 24 September already received four performances). One explanation is that the inclusion of "The Venetian Comedy" was simply a mistake left uncorrected and that the debut of "The Love of an English Lady" occurred on 24 September 1594. See Critical Commentary below for other explanations of the 24 September entry.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
References to the Play
Malone and Fleay, BCED made no comment on the appearance of "The Love of an English Lady" in Henslowe's playlists (p. 295 and 2.303 #157, respectively). Collier commented cryptically on the 24 September entry that the "play ... here mentioned" was being given "its first performance," later to be called simply "Love of and Ingleshe ladey" (p. 41, n.2). Instead of reading "venesyon" in the context of the previous four offerings of "The Venetian Comedy", Collier looked for a ballad that linked a love-sick Venetian with an English lady but found none (p. 41, n.2). Greg II, however, thought it "probable" that Henslowe's entry had recorded "a double" bill of "The Venetian Comedy" and "The Love of An English Lady" (p. 168, #54).
Knutson, examining the five-play cluster of "The Love of a Grecian Lady," "The Venetian Comedy," "The Love of an English Lady," "The Grecian Lady," and "The Grecian Comedy," decided that Henslowe's "English" was a mistake. She consequently reduced the titles to two: "The Venetian Comedy" and the play that Henslowe at first called "The Love of an English/Grecian Lady" but came to call "The Grecian Comedy" (pp. 21-26). She has since regretted the dubious reasoning of this conclusion and now considers "The Love of an English Lady" an independent play.
Gurr reads the 24 September entry as the play's being "a sequel to The Venetian Comedy" or a mistake in that "Henslowe may have started to write the title of the older play, corrected it, and then forgot to delete the first words" (p. 208, n.20). He points out Knutson's contraction of five plays to two and disagrees (207, n.17).
Wiggins, Catalogue #967 considers in some detail the relationship of "The Love of an English Lady" both to "The Love of a Grecian Lady and "The Venetian Comedy." He favors independent scripts for each but does propose that two of the plays represent "a linked pair ... one new and one old, which dealt with the loves of English and Grecian ladies respectively." Considering "The Love of an English Lady" as a repertorial item, he notes its lack of success compared to "The Love of a Grecian Lady." He does not, however, give "The Love of a Grecian Lady an entry separate from that of "The Grecian Comedy," thereby implying one script for these two titles (#785).
For What It's Worth
See Critical Commentary on the pages for "The Love of a Grecian Lady," "The Venetian Comedy," and "Grecian Comedy" for alternative opinions on the relationship of this play-set in the Admiral's repertory at the Rose in the fall of 1594.
Site created and maintained by Roslyn L. Knutson, Professor Emerita, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; 8 August 2020.