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Clown sings,' to pipe and tabor.
When that I was and a little tiny boy.
For the rain it raineth every day.
But when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A great while ago the world begun,
1 The rest of this direction not in fe. 2 "I": not in f. e.
"The Winter's Tale" was first printed in folio in 1623, where it occupies twenty-seven pages, from p. 277 to 303, and is the last in the division of "Comedies." The back of p. 303 is left blank and unpaged. The later folios adopt the same arrangement.
LITTLE doubt can be entertained, that "The Winter's Tale" was produced at the Globe, very soon after that theatre had been opened for what might be called the summer season in 1611. In the winter, as has been well ascertained, the king's players performed at "the private house in Black-friars," and they usually removed to the Globe, which was open to the sky, late in the spring.
Three pieces of evidence tend to the conclusion, that "The Winter's Tale" was brought out early in 1611: the first of these has never until now been adduced, and it consists of the following entry in the account of the Master of the Revels, Sir George Buc, from the 31st of October, 1611, to the same day, 1612:
"The 5th of November: A play called the winters nightes Tayle."
No author's name is mentioned, but the piece was represented at Whitehall, by "the king's players," as we find stated in the margin, and there can be no hesitation in deciding that "The Winter's Night's Tayle" was Shakespeare's "Winter's Tale." The fact of its performance has been established by Mr. Peter Cunningham, in his valuable work, entitled, "Extracts from the Accounts of the Revels at Court," 8vo, 1842, printed for the Shakespeare Society1. "The Winter's Tale" was probably selected on account of its novelty and popu larity2.
The second piece of evidence on this point has also recent1 From the Introduction to the same work, we find that "The Winter's Tale" was also represented at court on Easter Tuesday, 1618.
2 The expenses of eleven other plays are included in the same account, viz. "The Tempest, ," "King and no King," "The City Gallant," "The Almanack," "The Twins' Tragedy," "Cupid's Revenge," "The Silver Age," "Lucretia," "The Nobleman," "Hymen's Holiday," and "The Maid's Tragedy." At most, only one of these had been printed before they were thus acted, and some of them never came from the press "The Nobleman," by Cyril Tourneur, was entered at Stationers' Hall for publication on 15th February, 1611. "Lucretia " may have been a different play from Heywood's "Rape of Lucrece," which bears date in 1608: if so, there is no exception, and all that came from the press at any period were printed subsequently to 1611-12, the earliest in 1613, and the latest in 1655. Hence a strong inference may be drawn, that they were all dramas which had been recommended for court-performance by their novelty and popularity.
ly come to light. It is contained in a MS. Diary, or Notebook, kept by Dr. Simon Forman, (MSS. Ashm. 208.) in which, under date of the 15th May, 1611, he states that he "The Winter's Tale" at the Globe Theatre: this was the May preceding the representation of it at Court on the 5th November. He gives the following brief account of the plot, which ingeniously includes all the main incidents:
"Observe there how Leontes, king of Sicilia, was overcome with jealousy of his wife with the king of Bohemia, his friend that came to see him; and how he contrived his death, and would have had his cup-bearer to have poisoned [him], who gave the king of Bohemia warning thereof, and fled with him to Bohemia. Remember, also, how he sent to the oracle of Apollo, and the answer of Apollo that she was guiltless, and that the king was jealous, &c.; and how, except the child was found again that was lost, the king should die without issue; for the child was carried into Bohemia, and there laid in a forest, and brought up by a shepherd; and the king of Bohemia's son married that wench, and how they fled into Sicilia to Leontes; and the shepherd having showed the letter of the nobleman whom Leontes sent, it was that child, and [by] the jewels found about her, she was known to be Leontes' daughter, and was then sixteen years old. Remember, also, the rogue that came in all tattered, like Coll Pipci, and how he feigned him sick, and to have been robbed of all he had; and how he cozened the poor man of all his money, and after came to the sheep-sheer with a pedlar's packe, and there cozened them again of all their money. And how he changed apparel with the king of Bohemia's son, and then how he turned courtier, &c. Beware of trusting feigned beggars or fawning fellows."
We have reason to think that "The Winter's Tale" its first run on the 15th May, 1611, and that the Globe Theatre had not then been long opened for the season.
The opinion that the play was then a novelty, is strongly confirmed by the third piece of evidence, which Malone discovered late in life, and which induced him to relinquish his earlier opinion, that "The Winter's Tale" was written in 1604. He found a memorandum in the office-book of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels, dated the 19th August, 1623, in which it was stated that "The Winter's Tale," was "an old play formerly allowed of by Sir George Buc." Sir George Buc was Master of the Revels from October, 1610, until May, 1622. Sir George Buc must, therefore, have licensed "The Winter's Tale" between October, 1610, when he was appointed to his office, and May, 1611, when Forman saw it at the Globe.
It might have been composed by Shakespeare in the autumn and winter of 1610-11, with a view to its production on the Bank-side, as soon as the usual performances by the King's players commenced there. Sir Henry Herbert informs us, that when he gave permission to revive "The Winter's Tale" in August 1623, the allowed book" (that to which Sir George Buc had appended his signature) "was missing." It