Samuel Bernard (1618/19)
(see also Phocasse (Focas), 1596)
Bodleian Library ms. Crynes 701, an eighteenth-century auction catalogue:
Jacob Hooke, Bibliotheca Bernardiana: Or, A Catalogue Of the Library of the Late Charles Bernard, Esq; Serjeant Surgeon to Her Majesty. Containing a curious Collection of the best Authors in Physick, History, Philology, Antiquities, &c. With several MSS. Ancient and Modern which will begin to be sold by Auction on Thursday the 22d of March, 1710-11. At the Black-Boy Coffee-House in Ave-Mary-Lane, near Ludgate-Street (London, 1711).
It is described by Elliott-Nelson, REED Oxford 2.899:
A copy preserved in the Bodleian Library (Crynes 701) has auction prices recorded in the margins. Lot 674 (p 217), which fetched 10s from an unknown buyer, was a folio-sized manuscript of tragedies by Charles Bernard's ancestor, Samuel Bernard, containing:
- 1) Julius and Gonzaga, performed in the president's house in Magdalen College, 23 January 1616/17 (this may be the play referred to by Peter Heylyn on 8 March 1616/17);
- 2) Andronicus, performed on 26 January 1617/18, in the Magdalen College hall; and
- 3) Phocas, performed on 27 January 1618/19, in the Magdalen College hall.
A second item, lot 925 (p 218) which fetched 2s, was a quarto-sized manuscript containing three tragedies and other poetical works by 'Sarmueli Bernardi': since the plays are not named, it is uncertain whether or not these were the same three plays. Neither volume has been traced.
W. D. Macray, A Register of the Members of St. Mary Magdalen College, Oxford, iii.45:
1617. ... In this year and in the two years following plays written by Samuel Bernard the schoolmaster were performed. The particulars are learned from the description of the orginal MSS. ... On...Jan. 27. 1618/19, 'Phocas, tragoedia nova,' also in the Hall.
(qtd. in Bentley 3.28; the "original MSS" Macray refers are the ones auctioned by Charles Bernard in the eighteenth century, and whose whereabouts are now unknown).
Performed 27 January 1618/19, in the Magdalen College hall. (REED Oxford 2.851).
Referring to Macray's account, Bentley notes that "'In the Hall' presumably means in Magdalen College hall before the members of the college, but whether by undergraduates or by the boys of Magdalen School one cannot tell" (3.28).
Latin Tragedy (Elliott-Nelson)
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
Phocas is often mentioned in early modern texts. For example, a 1554 reprint of John Lydgate's translation of Boccaccio contains a chapter, "Hovve the Emperoure Mauricius hys wyfe and hys children were slayne at Calcidony", which provides a brief summary:
In Asia this Emperour Maurice was slain,
In the cite that called is Calcidony,
Al his housholde and many good Romaine
By Phocas & perciēs (as had is in memorye)
And Phocas after for his vaynglory
Slaine by Heraclius, he thā was Emperour
Four & twenty wynter he was gouernour.
Purchase also summarises the key details of the Roman emperor's reign:
This Cosroes raigned nine and thirtie yeares. Hee held peace with the Romanes whiles Mauritius liued; but when Phocas cruelly and treacherously had slaine him, a world of euils at once assaulted the Empire. The Germanes, Gaules, Italians, Hunnes, and Persians, by their Armies afflicted the publike State; and the Roman Bishop then began to aspire to an vniuersall Soueraignetie, which that Murtherer first entitled him vnto. That Armie which was yet redde with the bloud of Mauritius, by the Persians sword was punished, and died in their owne bloud: who hauing ouerthrowne the Romanes in two battailes, possessed Mesopotamia, Syria, Aegypt, Palaestina, and Phoenicia. He entred Ierusalem, slew and captiued many Christians, and carried thence the Crosse. Against the Iberians, Armenians, Cappadocians, Galatians, Paph|lagonians, euen vnto Chalcedon, hee preuailed. Thus did GOD punish that Murtherer, and besides (to pay him in his owne coyne) Priscus, Heraclon, and Heraclius conspired against this Conspirer, and murthered the Murtherer, and hauing cut off his Priuities, and his Head, hurled him into the Sea, and destroyed his Issue. (308)
Greg observes that "Phocas, a centurion, was elected Emperor of Constantinople in 606, and was deposed and killed by Heraclius in 610" (Greg 2.180).
References to the Play
Only the eighteenth-century auction catalogue described above, in Historical Records.
Bentley notes that "[i]t is not likely that there was any connexion between Henslowe's play and that of the learned schoolmaster [Bernard]" (3.28).
For What It's Worth
Site created by David McInnis, updated 28 December 2010.