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“ To the right honorable St. Thomas Egerton, knight, Lord Keeper of the Great Seale of England.
"I will not indeavour, Right honorable, to thanke you in wordes for this new great and unlookt for favor shown ynto me, whereby I am bound to you for ever, and hope one day with true harte and simple skill to prove that I ame not vnmindfull. Most earnestly doe I wish I could praise as your Honor has knowne to deserue, for then should I, like my maister Spenser, whose memorie your Honor cherisheth, leave behinde me some worthie worke, to be treas. ured by posterity. What my pore Muse could performe in haste is here set downe, and though it be farre below what other poets and better pens have written, it cometh from a gratefull harte and therefore may be accepted. I shall now be able to live free from those cares and troubles that hetherto have bene my continuall and wearisome companions. But a little time is past since I was called vpon to thanke your Honor for my brothers advancement, and now I thanke you for myne owne; which double kindnes will alwaies receive double gratefulnes at both our handes. I cannot but knowe that I am lesse deserving then some that sued by other of the nobility vnto her Matie for this roome : if M. Draiton, my good friend, had bene chosen, I should not have murmured, for sure I ame he wold have filled it most excellentlie: but it seemeth to myne humble iudgement that one who is the authour of playes now daylie presented on the public stages of London, and the possessor of no small gaines, and moreover him selfe an Actor in the Kings Companie of Comedians, could not with reason pretend to be Mr. of the Queenes Maties Revells, for as much as he wold sometimes be asked to approve and allow of his owne writings. Therefore, he, and more of like quality, cannot justlie be disappointed because through your Honors gracious interposition the chance was haply myne. I owe this and all else to your honor, and if ever I have time and abilitie to finish anie noble vndertaking, as God graunt one daye I shall, the worke will rather be your Honors then myne. God inaketh a poet, but his creation would be in vaine if patrons did not make him to live. Your Honor hath ever showne your self the friend of desert, and pity it were if this shold be the first exception to the rule. It shall not be, while my pore witt and strength doe remaine to me, though the verses which I now send be indeede no proofe of myne abilitie. I onely intreat your Honor to accept the same, the rather as an earnest of my good will then as an example of my good deede. In all things I am your Honors
" Moste bounden in dutie and observaunce,
The passage in this letter that I conceive applies to Shakspeare, is that where, after mentioning Drayton as a candidate for the place of master of the queen's revels, Daniel speaks of another person who had endeavored to procure it, who was the author of
plays in a course of daily performance, who had realized wealth by the profession, and who was himself an actor in the King's Company. This description could apply to no other member of that association but Shakspeare. Ben Jonson, whose Sejanus was acted by the King's Servants in 1603,* had quitted the stage before that date, and it is besides known that he was then far from rich: in February, 1602-3, he was “living upon one Townshend,” according to a piece of evidence adduced in the “ History of Dramatic Poetry," i., 334. What “other of the nobility” had supported Shakspeare's claim to the new office (for we never before nor afterwards hear of the master of the queen's revels) does not appear, but most likely it was the Earl of Southampton. Daniel was appointed on the 30th of January, 1603, so that the preceding letter must have been written very shortly afterwards.
With the letter, Daniel sent a poem to Lord Ellesmere; and in 1603 was printed an epistle “ To Sir Thomas Egerton, knight,” which followed “A Panegyric congratulatory” to James I. on his ascending the throne. The first may have been the production alluded to, which the author says was composed “in haste.”
You will observe that Daniel adverts to his “ brother's advancement” by the instrumentality of Lord Ellesmere; and the principal
• It is worth adding in a note, that, among other MSS. at Bridgewater House, is preserved an original copy of Ben Jonson's " Expostulation with Inigo Jones," in the hand-writing of the author, and corresponding very exactly (some words only excepted) with the copy printed by Mr. Gifford (Ben Jonson's Works, viii., 116), although that critic contended that only "i some part " of it proceeded from Jonson's pen. Mr. Gifford was naturally anxious to deny its authenticity, because he had denied that Ben Jonson meant Inigo Jones, by Lantern Leatherhead in Bartholomeu Fair. Hence, in fact, “ Lantern Lerry," or Lantern Leathery, became the nick-name of Jones, and Ben Jonson applies it to him in this very Elpostulation, coupling it with a mention of Adam Overdo in Bartholomer Fair. When Mr. Gifford had made up his mind upon a point, no evidence, however clear, could unconvince him. Two or three verbal variations may be pointed out. Ben Jonson's original copy reads
“ You'd be an Assinigo by your ears?
Why much good do't you; be what beast you will
You'll be, as Langley said, 'an Inigo still.'" The printed copy has part for beast. Again,
“No velvet sheath you wear will alter kind,
A wooden dagger is a dagger of wood,” &c. The printed copy has suit for sheath. Farther on,
• The eloquence of masques ! what need of prose,
Or verse or sense t'express immortal you."
object of the second letter of the same poet, preserved at Bridgewater House, is to thank the lord keeper for this “preferment.” What was the nature of it we are not informed, but it was probably procuring for him a patent for a company of theatrical children: there is no doubt that this letter was shortly anterior in point of date to that above quoted. Daniel also mentions his incomplete poem, “The Civil Wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster," which he intended to bring down to the reign of Henry VII., but never carried farther than the marriage of Edward IV. The letter contains nothing regarding Shakspeare; but, at the same time, it is so interesting, on account of the distinguished writer, the subject, and the person to whom it was addressed, that I shall not hesitate to insert a copy of it. Communications of the kind, by poets of eminence of that day, are the rarest, and to me the most precious, relics.
" Right honorable. Amongst all the great workes of your worthynes it will not be the least that you have donne for me in the preferment of my brother, with whome yet now sometimes I may eat whilst I write, and so go on with the worke I have in hand, which God knowes had long since bene ended, and your Honor had had that which in my harte I have prepared for you, could I have but sustayned my self and made truce within, and peace with the world. But such hath bene my misery, that whilst I should have written the actions of men, I have bene constrayned to live with children, and contrary to myne owne spirit put out of that scene which nature had made my parte. For could I but live to bring this labor of mine to the Union of Henry VII., I should have the end of all my ambition in this life, and the utmost of my desyres: for therein, if wordes can worke any thing vppon the affections of men, I will labor to give the best hand I can to the perpetuall closing up of those woundes, and the ever keeping them so, that our land may lothe to looke over thise blessed boundes (which the providence of God hath set vs) vnto the horror and confusion of farther and former claymes. And though I know the greatnes of the worke requires a greater spirit then myne, yet we see that in theas frames of motions, little wheeles move the greater, and so by degrees turne about the whole, and God knowes what so pore a Muse as myne may worke vppon the affections of men. But howsoever I shall her-in show my zeale to my country and to do that which my soule tells me is fit. And to this end do I now purpose to retyre me to my pore home, and not againe to see you till I have payd your Honor my vowes; and will onely pray that England which so much needes you may long injoy the treasure of your councell, and that it be not driven to complayne with that good Roman videmus quibus extinctis jurisperitis, quam in paucis nunc spes, quam in paucioribus facultas, quam in multis audacia. And for this comfort I have received from your goodnes I must and ever will remayne your Honors in all I ame
Having, perhaps, gone a little out of my way in the insertion of the letters of the master of the queen's revels, an office Shakspeare endeavored to procure in 1603, I must now revert briefly to the draft of the warrant of 1609, according to which, had it been carried into effect, Shakspeare would have been at the head of a company of juvenile performers. When that draft was sent to Lord Ellesmere, some inquiry seems to have been made as to the nature and names of the “ Tragedies, Comedies, &c.," which the children were to act; for in the margin of the paper are written the titles of thirteen plays, five of which are perhaps known, and eight certainly unknown. They are theseProud Povertie
Hate and love
Taming of s.
K. Edw. 2.
Proud Poverty is no where mentioned ; and the same may be said of Widow's Mite, Triumph of Truth, Touchstone, Mirror of Life, English Tragedy, False Friends, and Hate and Love: Anthony Munday, indeed, wrote a play called The Widow's Charm; Thomas Middleton, a pageant called The Triumphs of Truth; and Kirton, a tract called The Mirror of Man's Life; but they could have had no other connection with the names of plays in the margin of the draft than some similarity of title. Antonio may have been Marston's Antonio and Mellida, printed in 1602, or the old play of Antonio and Vallia, introduced into Henslowe's Diary. Kinsmen was possibly The Two Noble Kinsmen, attributed to Shakspeare and Fletcher, which was not printed until 1634. Grisell was doubtless some dramatic version of Boccaccio's Story of Griselda, and perhaps the comedy of Patient Grisell, printed anonymously in 1603, but, from Henslowe's Diary, ascertained to have been written by Haughton, Chettle, and Dekker. Taming of S. instantly brings to mind Shakspeare's Taming of the Shrew; or it
vol. 1. K
misht be the older comedy, The Taming of a Shrou, to which
Of course it is impossible even to guess at the authors of the
I shall offer no other apology for the length of this letter, than by saying that, if I had consulted my own inclination, I should have made it at least four times as long, by adding a great deal of other meir matter relating to Shakspeare, his works, and his fellow dramatists and actors. I wish a few other people had half your knowledge of, and half your liking for, such details; but perhaps, after all, you may only have a temporary escape.
I must not conclude without expressing my personal thankfulness,
J. PAYNE COLLIER.