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prefixed an introduction on the dramatic art of the authors by George Darley. The book is known as Darley's edition. It was reprinted in 1866, and again in 1885. In Burlesque Plays and Poems (Morley's Universal Library), 1885, there is a reprint of our play, taken, not as might be expected, from the standard edition of Dyce, but from the wretched and universally condemned edition of 1750! In it, readings from the later editions are now and then substituted, and objectionable passages are altered or expurgated; but there is no distinctiveness about the book, and it does not call for extended description. Dyce's text is incorporated, save for a few slight alterations, in the two volumes of Beaumont and Fletcher's plays, among them The Knight of the Burning Pestle, published in 1887 in The Mermaid Series. The editor is J. St. Loe Strachey. Dyce's text in also adopted, except in one or two details, by R. W. Moorman, in his edition of The Knight of the Burning Pestle in the series of The Temple Dramatists, 1898. Moorman includes a brief introduction, notes which are mostly reduced from Dyce, and a small but useful glossary. The Library Catalogue of the British Museum contains the following entry: 1. “The Works of the British Dramatists. Carefully selected from the best editions, with copious notes, biographies,
and a historical introduction by J. S. K. (John Scott Keltie). Edinburgh, 1870. 8°. 2. 'Famous Elizabethan Plays expurgated and adapted for modern readers, by H. Macaulay Fitzgibbon, M. A. London, 1890.' Each of these selections contains The Knight of the Burning Pestle. I have been unable to see a copy of either book, but I am informed by the authorities of the British Museum that in each case the text of our play is based on Weber's edition, with the exception
of a few unimportant deviations which are adopted from Dyce. The majority of Keltie's notes are his own, but they are such as could have been gathered from a dictionary, or from an intelligent reading of the context. Fitzgibbon's notes are very few, and the majority are supplied by Dyce. Fitzgibbons has expurgated or altered objectionable passages.
B. DATE AND STAGE-HISTORY.
The first published quarto of The Knight of the Burning Pestle bears the date of 1613. The date of the play's composition is to be determined by the evidence of internal allusions, and the statements of Burre, the publisher.
To find the earliest probable limits for the date, one must turn to the lines of the play itself. R. Boyle', and, following him, A. H. Thorndike?, adduce the resemblance in burlesque spirit to The Woman Hater, and the allusion (4.44) to an incident in Day, Rowley, and Wilkin's Travailes of Three English Brothers, as presumptive evidence that our comedy originated about 1607, in which year the first of these plays seems to have appeared, and in which the second was printed as acted at the Curtain Theatre. Boyle believes that since the Travailes was based on the adventures of the three Shirleys, and was only of immediate interest, a reference to it would most likely be made only when that play was fresh. The Boy in our passage, however, expressly states that the play is ‘stale'; moreover, that it had beene had before at the red Bull,' and so far as is ascertainable,
· Beaumont and Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle. Englische Studien, Band XII, p. 156.
· Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Shakespeare, 1901, p. 60.
the Red Bull Theatre was not occupied before 1609. The comparison with The Woman Hater is hardly a tenable argument, since there is no good reason why Beaumont, whose hand is everywhere manifest in that comedy, and whose humor is essentially of the broader sort, should not, any number of years after 1607, have conceived another play similarly burlesque in tone ; particularly is this true in view of the fact that he did effect semi-burlesque creations in the character of Bessus (King and No King), 1608, of Pharamond (Philaster), 1610, and of Calianax (The Maid's Tragedy), 1610. Thorndike would have it also that the allusion to the King of Moldavia' (4. 71) points to 1607 as the date of our play, since in Nichols' Progresses of King James the First 2. 157 it is recorded that one Rowland White wrote from the court on Nov. 7 of that year: “The Turke and the Prince of Moldavia are now going away. But there is a similar allusion to the Prince of Moldavia, as to a former visitor to England, in Jonson's Epicoene 5. 1, which was not produced until 1609-10, as is proved by internal references to the plague of 16091. The recollection of the eastern potentate's visit seems to have lasted at least two years. The evidence produced by Boyle and Thorndike would really indicate 1609, at least, as the earliest possible date. An added indication to the same effect is that several of Old Merrythought's songs are founded on Ravenscroft's collections, Deuteromelia and Pammelia, which were both entered on the Stationers' Registers in 1609, though, as Thorndike justly remarks, these were collections of songs and snatches already familiar.
But the date seems to be still further pushed forward by the apparent identity of the little child
Cf. Epicoene, ed. Aurelia Henry (Yale Studies in English), p. XXII.
that was so faire growne,' &c., (3. 304) and 'the boy of six years old,' &c., in Ben Jonson's Alchemist 5. 1, which appeared in 1610. I think we may reject as of very doubtful value Fleay's statement that the hermaphrodite' (3. 305) was no doubt the monstrous child' born 1609, July 31, at Sandwich (see S. R. 1609, Aug. 26, 31), which was probably shown in London 1609-10'? This is pure conjecture; in the Stationers' Registers there is no specification of a hermaphrodite, and we do not know that the monstrous child' was shown in London. On the other hand, a strong internal evidence on the date of the play is pointed out by Fleay, and I am inclined to accept is as nearly conclusive. It rests in the Citizen's words: read the play of the Foure Prentices of London' (4. 66). That this play of Heywood's, though the earliest extant edition was printed in 1615, was previously issued from the press in 1610, is virtually proved by the author's preface, where he says that The Four Prentices could not have 'found a more seasonable and fit publication then at this time, when ... they haue begun again the commendable practice of long forgotten arms. This is an allusion to the revival of the practice of arms in the Artillery Gardens, 1610, and to that revival as of very recent occurrence. If, as is indicated by this allusion, The Four Prentices was thus first published in 1610, the Citizen could only have directed his auditor to 'read' it in that or a succeeding year.
It must be acknowledged that there is one considerable difficulty in the way of establishing 1610 as the date. It is in the Citizen's statement, 'This seven yeares there hath beene playes at this house,' &c.
Fleay's discussion of the date is in his Biog. Chr. of the English Drama I. 182-5.
(Ind. 8). Mr. Fleay believes that play was acted by the Queen's Revels Children at Whitefriars', but there is no mention of a Whitefriars theatre as existent seven years before 1610. The first known record of the playhouse is in regard to its occupancy from 1607 to 16102. Frequent references in the play to children as its actors show that it was produced by a children's company, which fact, coupled with the reference to 'the seven yeares,' leads Thorndike to suggest its presentation either by the Queen's Revels at Blackfriars during their seven years of occupancy of that theatre from 1600-1607, or by the Paul's boys during the period 1599-1606-7 (the years of their second organization); all of which circumstances are used by Thorndike to fix the date at 1607. However, there is nothing to warrant the supposition that the theatre to which the Citizen refers had been continuously occupied by children for seven years; its early tenants may have been an adult company. It may, therefore, have been another theatre than Blackfriars. Fleay's inference that the play was produced at Whitefriars, and therefore that that playhouse was in existence seven years before 1610 is indeed a conjecture, but it seems to me, in the light of other considerations supporting the 1610 date, not a violent one. At all events, there is nothing to disprove it, and it does not so positively invalidate the argument for 1610 as the facts above adduced invalidate the argument for 1607.
The external evidence points explicitly to 1610 or 1611 as the date. In his dedicatory epistle to Robert Keysar, Burre, the publisher of the First Quarto, 1613,
1 Cf. Fleay, History of the Stage, pp. 186, 203.
• Cf. Greenstreet, The Whitefriars Theatre in the Time of Shakspere (New Shaks. Soc. Trans., 1888).