Madon, King of Britain
29 June 1660 (SR2, 2.271, CLIO)
|Entred for his copies under the hand of MASTER THRALE warden, the severall plays following that is to say . . . . xiijs
Unknown. If the play really were by Beaumont, it might have belonged to the Children of the Queen's Revels or alternatively the King's Men.
Pseudo-History (Harbage); History (Wiggins).
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
Madon (or Madan), King of Britain, was son of Locrine (cf. the story of "Estrild"). After his father's death, Madon was not old enough to assume the crown himself; Guendoline, his mother, acted as Regent ("Britain's first woman ruler", as Wiggins notes, 1608). Guendoline passes power to Madon in due course, and he proves a tyrant.
References to the Play
Chambers noted that "Madan is a character in Locrine, but even Moseley can hardly have ascribed that long-printed play to Beaumont" (3.233).
This lost play's evident interest in ancient British history led Tristan Marshall to suggest that it may have appealed to audiences who also paid to see Cymbeline, King of Britain (68).
McMullan suggests that it is "probable that Beaumont wrote Madon, King of Britain for a children's company, which may very possibly have been Paul's", and that he may have written it as early as 1605, before meeting Fletcher. (278n).
For What It's Worth
Unfortunately Moseley's registration of the title is also the only grounds for ascribing the play to Beaumont, and Moseley's ascriptions are far from certain. In this same batch of entries he registered "King Stephen', "Duke Humphrey", and "Iphis and Ianthe" to Shakespeare, and 6 years earlier he had registered "The Maiden's Holiday" to Marlowe and Day. Moseley seems to have had a number of old playscripts in his possession, one of which may well have actually been by Beaumont -- and as Wiggins (1608) notes, a number of plays dealing with early British history at the end of the first decade of the 17th century -- around the time Beaumont was most active -- makes the existence of a "Madon" play at least plausible.
Site created and maintained by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; updated 08 March 2016.