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Herbert, Master of the Revels to King James the First, and the two fucceeding kings, that very foon

Lily, the dramatick poet, had long in vain folicited,) on the 24th of July, 1579, (as appears from a book of patents in the Pells-office,) and continued in poffeffion of it during the remainder of her reign, and till October 1610, about which time he died. This office for near fifty years appears to have been confidered as fo defirable a place, that it was conftantly fought for during the life of the poffeffor, and granted in reverfion. King James on the 23d of June, 1603, made a reverfionary grant of it to Sir George Buc, (then George Buc, Efq.) to take place whenever it fhould become vacant by the death, refignation, forfeiture, or furrender, of the then poffeffor Edmund Tilney; who, if I mistake not, was Sir George Buc's maternal uncle. Mr. Tilney, as I have already mentioned, did not die till the end of the year 1610, and should seem to have executed the duties of the office to the laft; for his executor, as I learn from one of the Exitus books in the Exchequer, received in the year 1611, 120l. 18s. 3d. due to Mr. Tilney on the last day of the preceding October, for one year's expences of office. In the edition of Camden's Britannia, printed in folio in 1607, Sir George Buc is called Mafter of the Revels, I fuppofe from his having obtained the reverfion of that place: for from what I have already ftated he could not have been then in poffeffion of it. April 3, 1612, Sir John Aftley, one of the gentlemen of the privy-chamber, obtained a reverfionary grant of this office. to take place on the death, &c. of Sir George Buc, as Ben Jonfon, the poet, obtained a fimilar grant, October 5, 1621, to take place on the death, &c. of Sir John Aftley and Sir George Buc.

Sir George Buc came into poffeffion of the office about November 1610, and held it till the end of the year 1621, when, in confequence of ill health, he refigned it to King James, and Sir John Aftley fucceeded him. How Sir Henry Herbert got poffeffion of this office originally I am unable to afcertain; but I imagine Sir John Aftley for a valuable confideration appointed him his deputy, in Auguft 1623, at which time, to ufe Sir Henry's own words, he was received as Matter of the Revels by his Majefty at Wilton;" and in the warrant-books of Philip Earl of Pembroke, now in the Lord Chamberlain's office, containing warrants, orders, &c. between the years 1625 and 1642, he is conftantly ftyled Mafter of the Revels. If Sir John Aftley had formally refigned or furrendered his office, Ben Jonfon, in confequence of the grant obtained in the year 1621, muft have fucceeded to it; but he never derived any emolument from that grant, for Sir John Aftley, as I find from the probate of his will, in the prerogative office, (in which it is obfervable that

after our poet's death, in the year 1622, there were but five principal companies of comedians in Lon

he calls himself Mafter of the Revels, though both the duties and emoluments of the office were then exercifed and enjoyed by another,) did not die till January 1639-40, above two years after the poet's death. To make his title ftill more fecure, Sir Henry Herbert, in conjunction with Simon Thelwall, Efq. Auguft 22, 1629, obtained a reverfionary grant of this much fought-for office, to take place on the death, furrender, &c. of Sir John Aftley and Benjamin Jonfon. Sir Henry held the office for fifty years, though during the ufurpation he could not exercise the functions nor enjoy the emoluments of it.

Sir George Buc wrote an exprefs treatife as he has himself told us, on the ftage and on revels, which is unfortunately loft. Previous to the exhibition of every play, it was licensed by the Master of the Revels, who had an established fee on the occafion. If ever therefore the Office-books of Mr. Tilney and Sir George Buc fhall be found, they will afcertain precifely the chronological order of all the plays written by Shakspeare; and either confirm or overturn a fyftem in forming which I have taken fome pains. Having however found many of my conjectures confirmed by Sir Henry Herbert's manufcript, I have no reafon to augur ill concerning the event, fhould the registers of his predeceffors ever be discovered.

The regular falary of this office was but ten pounds a year; but, by fees and other perquifites, the emoluments of Sir George Buc in the first year he came into poffeffion of it, amounted to near 100l. The office afterwards became much more valuable.

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Having mentioned this gentleman, I take this opportunity of correcting an error into which Anthony Wood has fallen, and which has been implicitly adopted in the new edition of Biographia Britannica, and many other books. The error I allude to, is, that this Sir George Buc, who was knighted at Whitehall by King James the day before his coronation, July 23, 1603, was the author of the celebrated Hiftory of King Richard the Third; which was written above twenty years after his death, by George Buck, Efq, who was, I fuppofe, his fon. The precife time of the father's death, I have not been able to ascertain, there being no will of his in the prerogative office; but I have reason to believe that it happened foon after the year 1622, He certainly died before August 1629.

The Office-book of Sir Henry Herbert contains an account of almost every piece exhibited at any of the theatres from August 1623, to the commencement of the rebellion in 1641, and many curious anecdotes relative to them, fome of which I fhall presently have eccafion to quote. This valuable manufcript having lain for

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don; the King's Servants, who performed at the Globe and in Blackfriars; the Prince's Servants, who performed then at the Curtain; the Palfgrave's Servants, who had poffeffion of the Fortune; the players of the Revels, who acted at the Red Bull;✦ and the Lady Elizabeth's Servants, or, as they are fometimes denominated, the Queen of Bohemia's players, who performed at the Cockpit in DruryLane.'

When Prynne publifhed his Hiftriomaflix, (1633,) there were fix playhoufes open; the theatre in Blackfriars; the Globe; the Fortune; the Red Bull; the Cockpit or Phoenix, and a theatre in Salisbury-court, White-friars."

confiderable time in a damp place, is unfortunately damaged, and in a very mouldering condition, however, no material part of it appears to have perished.

I cannot conclude this long note without acknowledging the obliging attention of W. E. Roberts, Efq. Deputy Clerk of the Pells, which facilitated every fearch I wifhed to make in his office, and enabled me to ascertain fome of the facts above stated.

31622. The Palfgrave's fervants. Frank Grace, Charles Maffy, Richard Price, Richard Fowler, Kane, Curtys Grevill.' MS. Herbert. Three other names have perifhed. Of these one must have been that of Richard Gunnel, who was then the manager of the Fortune theatre; and another, that of William Cartwright, who was of the fame company.

4"The names of the chiefe players at the Red Bull, called the players of the Revells. Robert Lee, Richard Perkings, Ellis Woorth, Thomas Baffe, John Blany, John Cumber, William Robbins." Ibidem.

5" The cheife of them at the Phoenix. Chriftopher Beefton, Jofeph More, Eliard Swanfon, Andrew Cane, Curtis Grevill, William Shurlock, Anthony Turner." Ibidem. Eliard Swanston in 1624 joined the company at Blackfriars.

That part of the leaf which contained the lift of the king's fervants, and the performers at the Curtain, is mouldered away.

It has been repeated again and again that Prynne enumerates feventeen playhoufes in London in his time; but this is a mistake; he exprefsly fays that there were only fix, (fee his Epittle Dedica

All the plays of Shakspeare appear to have been performed either at The Globe, or the theatre in Blackfriars. I fhall therefore confine my inquiries principally to thofe two. They belonged, as I have already obferved, to the fame company of comedians, namely his majefty's fervants, which title they obtained after a licence had been granted to them by King James in 1603; having before that time, I apprehend, been called the fervants of the Lord Chamberlain. Like the other fervants of the household, the performers enrolled into this company were fworn into office, and each of them was allowed four yards of bastard scarlet for a cloak, and a quarter of a yard of velvet for the cape, every fecond year."

The theatre in Blackfriars was fituated near the

tory,) and the office-book of Sir Henry Herbert confirms his affertion.

Mr. Dodfley and others have fallen into this mistake of fuppofing there were seventeen play-houses open at one time in London; into which they were led by the continuator of Stowe, who mentions that between 1570 and 1630 feventeen playhouses were built, in which number however he includes five inns turned into playhouses, and St. Paul's finging-school. He does not fay that they were all open at the fame time.-A late writer carries the matter ftill further, and afferts that it appears from Rymer's MSS. in the Museum that there were twenty-three playhouses at one time open in London!

"These are to fignify unto your lordship his majesties pleasure, that you caufe to be delivered unto his majefties players whofe names follow, viz. John Hemmings, John Lowen, Jofeph Taylor, Richard Robinfon, John Shank, Robert Benfield, Richard Sharp, Eliard Swanson, Thomas Pollard, Anthony Smith, Thomas Hobbes, William Pen, George Vernon, and James Horne, to each of them the feveral allowance of foure yardes of bastarde scarlet for a cloake, and a quarter of a yarde of crimson velvet for the capes, it being the ufual allowance graunted unto them by his majefty every fecond yeare, and due at Easter laft paft. For the doing whereof theis fhall be your warrant. May 6th, 1629." MS. in the Lord Cham berlain's Office.

prefent Apothecaries-hall, in the neighbourhood of which there is yet Playboufe-yard, not far from which the theatre probably ftood. It was, as has been mentioned, a private house; but what were the distinguishing marks of a private playhouse, it is not eafy to afcertain. We know only that it was fmaller than thofe which were called publick theatres; and that in the private theatres plays were usually prefented by candle-light."

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In this theatre, which was a very ancient one, the Children of the Revels occafionally performed.*

Wright, in his Hift. Hiftrion. informs us, that the theatre in Blackfriars, the Cockpit, and that in Salisbury-Court, were exactly alike both in form and fize. The fmallness of the latter is afcertained by thefe lines in an epilogue to Tottenham Court, a comedy by Nabbes, which was acted there:

"When others' fill'd rooms with neglect disdain ye,

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My little houfe with thanks fhall entertain ye."

"All the city looked like a private play-house, when the windows are clapt downe, as if fome nocturnal and dismal tragedy were prefently to be acted." Decker's Seven Deadly Sinnes of London, 1606. See alfo Hiftoria Hiftrionica.

Many pieces were performed by them in this theatre before 1580. Sometimes they performed entire pieces; at others, they reprefented fuch young characters as are found in many of our poet's plays. Thus we find Nat. Field, John Underwood, and William Oftler, among the children of the Revels, who reprefented feveral of Ben Jonfon's comedies at the Blackfriars in the earlier part of King James's reign, and alfo in the lift of the actors of our author's plays prefixed to the firft folio, publifhed in 1623. They had then become men.

Lily's Campafpe was acted at the theatre in Blackfriars in 1584, and The Cafe is Altered, by Ben Jonfon, was printed in 1609, as acted by the children of Black-friers. Some of the children of the Revels alfo acted occafionally at the theatre in Whitefriars; for we find A Woman's a Weathercock performed by them at that theatre in 1612. Probably a certain number of thefe children were appropriated to each of these theatres, and inftructed by the elder performers in their art; by which means this young troop became a promptuary of actors. In a manufcript in the Inner Temple, No. 515, Vol. VII. entitled "A booke conteyning feveral par

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