New World's Tragedy, The
|F.13 (Greg I.25):||ye 17 of septmb[r] 1595 ne . .||R[d] at the worldes tragedy . . . . . .||iijll vs|
|ye 25 of septmb[r] 1595||R[d] at the worldes tragedy . . . . . .||xxxviijs|
|ye 7 of octob[r] 1595||R[d] at the worldes tragedy . . . . . .||xxxjs|
|ye 22 of octob[r] 1595||R[d] at the new worldes tragedy . . .||xxxiijjs|
|ye 3 of novemb[r] 1595||R[d] at the new worldes tragedy . . .||xxixs|
|F.14 (Greg I.27):||ye 27 of novemb[r] 1595||R[d] at the newes wordles tragedy . .||xviijs|
|ye 12 of desemb[r] 1595||R[d] at the new worldes tragedy . . .||xxxjs vjd|
|ye 22 of desemb[r] 1595||R[d] at the newe worldes tragedie . .||xxs|
|ye 8 of Jenewary 1595||R[d] at new worldes tragedie . . . . .||xviijs|
|F.14v (Greg I.28):||ye 25 of Jenewary 1595------------||R[d] at the new worldes tragedy . . .||xiiijs|
|F.15v (Greg I.30):||ye 27 of aprell 1596||R[d] at new worldes tragedy . . . . .||xxixs|
Played as a new play at the Rose on 17 September 1595 by the Admiral’s.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
References to the Play
Cawley suggestively notes that “[t]he Drake-Hawkins expedition of 1595 suffered every kind of bad luck” (both men died during this fateful voyage to the West Indies) and that a “non-extant play, New World’s Tragedy … was acted at the Rose in that year” (289). But Drake did not die until early 1596, so it is unclear what aspects of this expedition the play might have dramatised by 17 September 1595.
Ramsaram assumes that “[t]he lost plays—New World’s Tragedy, 1595, and The Conquest of the West Indies, 1601, must surely have given a prominent place to Drake’s adventures” (99). Ramsaram offers no evidence to support this speculation, and indeed the example of Drake’s immortalisation in verse that Ramsaram does produce seems to contradict this inference of a lead role in lost plays. Ramsaram cites a verse panegyric by Oxford scholar Charles Fitz-Geffrey (Sir Francis Drake. His Honorable Life’s Commendation … 1596) which “[i]n addition to addressing Spenser, Daniel and Drayton by name … had sought to interest the dramatists of his day” in the adventures of Drake (101). But Fitz-Geffrey’s very offer to the “quaint tragedians of our time” of “a modern subject for your wits” (qtd. in Ramsaram 101) surely ought to imply that Drake’s adventures had not yet been dramatised by 1596.
Parr speculates that The New World’s Tragedy was “perhaps inspired by the lost colony on Roanoke Island in Virginia or by the much-trumpeted atrocities of the Spanish further south” (3).
For What It’s Worth
New World, colony, Drake, Hawkins, travel.
Cawley, Robert Ralston. The Voyagers and Elizabethan Drama. Boston: MLA, 1938. Print.
Parr, Anthony (ed). Introduction. Three Renaissance Travel Plays. Manchester: Manchester UP, c1995; rpt. 1999. Print. The Revels Plays Companion Library.
Ramsaram, J. A. “Sir Francis Drake in Contemporary Verse.” Notes & Queries 202 (1957): 99-101. Print.
Site created and maintained by David McInnis, University of Melbourne; updated, 04 September 2009.