Cavalier Poetry and Drama

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Criticism: Cavalier Drama

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SOURCE: Aggeler, Geoffrey D. “The Rebellion in Cavalier Drama.”1Western Humanities Review 32, no. 1 (winter 1978): 53-75.

[In this essay, Aggeler discusses Cavalier drama of the interregnum and notes that it is rich in political and religious content.]

In spite of the great contributions by Hyder Rollins, Leslie Hotson and Alfred Harbage, the history of the drama between 1642 and 1660 remains “perhaps the obscurest chapter in the history of English literature.”2 Students still commonly assume that the ordinance of September 2, 1642, ordaining that “publike Stage-playes shall cease, and bee forborne,” succeeded in halting the activities of playwrights and players for nearly two decades.3 In fact, as Professor Rollins demonstrated long ago, “theatrical productions never ceased, in spite of the active and relentless hostility of the government,” throughout the period of the Great Rebellion. Several London playhouses, including the Red Bull, Salisbury Court, and the Cockpit, presented surreptitious performances regularly during the entire interregnum, and there are records indicating that it was necessary for the authorities in the provinces to exercise considerable severity to enforce the laws against playing.4

Professor Rollins's conclusions were based largely on his examination of newsbooks, pamphlets and broadsides in the Thomason Collection of Tracts in the British Museum. He was concerned primarily with presenting “facts connected with the stage” rather than discussing any of the plays themselves. Stimulated by the Rollins essay, Leslie Hotson continued the study, combining some of Rollins's discoveries with some of his own based upon further examination of newsbooks, pamphlets and other sources. But the early chapters of his Commonwealth and Restoration Stage are primarily concerned with performances and conditions affecting them rather than Commonwealth plays.5 It remained for Alfred Harbage to produce the first major study of the drama itself, a work which has yet to be superseded.6 Harbage's Cavalier Drama examines the continuity of literary tradition in the English drama during the Caroline and Commonwealth periods and the early years of the Restoration. It includes the only critical discussions of a number of Commonwealth plays that are still available only in manuscript or early printed editions. Since the purpose of Harbage's survey was to reveal trends in English drama over an extensive period, he tended to confine his discussions to aspects of the plays that illustrate the trends and the nature of the development of the “Cavalier mode” which culminated in Restoration heroic drama. He also chose not to discuss some plays which are among the more distinguished achievements of an age which, overall one must admit, produced little in the way of distinguished drama. But again, Harbage was justified in these omissions by the limitations of his critical focus.

The focus of the present study is the drama of the interregnum, not as it reveals trends and transitions, but as it reveals an interesting variety of political and religious responses to historical events. I will not however confine my discussion to the ways in which the plays reveal social history. I will suggest, at least in passing, that some of these plays are worthy of serious critical attention, which they are not likely to receive until they are made more accessible, perhaps in facsimile editions or modern critical reprints.

The ordinance of 1642 prohibited the staging of “publike Stage-playes.” It did not prohibit the writing or publication of plays, and even if it had, the ill success of the authorities in suppressing performances suggests how effective such a prohibition would have been. In fact, one gathers that the prohibition may have stimulated some individuals to try their hands...

(This entire section contains 10682 words.)

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at play writing for the first time, possibly as an act of rebellion against the triumphant rebels who had overthrown the King. It is significant that many of the satiric pamphlets of the 1640's are dramatic in form, playlets divided into five acts and running to about a dozen or twenty pages in quarto.7 Most of these are ferociously anti-Roundhead, and one infers that their dramatic form was chosen partly to increase the sting of their satire, a reminder that the English appetite for theatre was not to be dampened by Puritanical restrictions.

A number of the longer plays written in the same period and later during the Commonwealth, plays which cannot be classified as dramatic pamphlets, appear to have been similarly inspired in their composition, literary rebellions against a Puritan establishment brought into being by the Great Rebellion. But it would be a mistake to assume that all of the plays of this period were written by disgruntled Royalists. Indeed, “Cavalier drama,” as it has been applied to virtually all of the drama of the interregnum is in many ways a misnomer. According to Harbage, “After 1642 plays became an avowed instrument of partisanship and propaganda. Naturally they were on the Cavalier side, the Roundheads disdaining to use a devilish instrument even in a righteous cause.”8 The only exception to this rule he acknowledges is the translation of George Buchanan's Baptistes sive Calumnia, a political allegory which the House of Commons itself ordered published in 1643, and which may have been the work of John Milton.9 In fact, if we compare the dramatic treatments of a subject that is an obsessive concern of a number of dramatists, the Great Rebellion itself, it becomes apparent that the drama of the interregnum represents virtually every current political stance, from Royalism to ardent Republicanism.

Perhaps the most indisputably Royalist extant dramatic treatment of the Rebellion is The Famous Tragedie of King Charles I (1649). Written and published in the year of the regicide, this raging dramatic attack on the Roundheads supports Harbage's generalizations fully and reveals how extensively even very recent history can be distorted to support a political viewpoint. It is, however, by its very one-sidedness, not representative of the majority of Commonwealth dramatic treatments of the Rebellion. The analysis I offer here is intended primarily to illuminate the ways in which it is representative of a minority of the extant plays in which partisanship is so intense that every dramatic element and history itself are made to serve narrowly propagandist ends.

King Charles himself never appears in The Famous Tragedie. The protagonists are the Roundheads, and, like Shakespeare's Richard III or the French in his 1 Henry VI, they are comic villains. The Royalists were especially fond of pointing out that while the Roundheads had shut down the theatres they were themselves in the process of acting out a prolonged comedy at Westminster.10 Clearly intending to reveal this same tragicomic “irony,” the author of the Famous Tragedie opens his play with a ludicrous exchange between two of the principal comedians, Oliver Cromwell and Hugh Peters. Oliver asks the chaplain if he is ready to preach to the Parliament (“all my Myrmidons”) “against the essence and the power of KINGS.” The chaplain prefaces his reply with an hilarious hyperbolic tribute to Oliver's might that gorgeously parodies the rhetoric of Tamburlaine. Like other Cavalier dramatists, the author of this play is steeped in the works of the Elizabethan masters, several of whom he mentions in his prologue.11 That he intends to parody Marlovian hyperbole is clearly indicated by his specific reference to Tamburlaine's caging of Bajazeth, to which he parallels Cromwell's imprisonment of Charles I. Like Tamburlaine, Cromwell is defined and magnified by mythic parallel, a Herculean figure with death in his countenance. But whereas Tamburlaine is not diminished until he is mocked by the satiric commentary of Calyphas,12 Oliver is made ridiculous from the outset:

                                                                                                                                                      … thy
Nose, like a bright Beacon, sparkling still (the Aetna,
that doth fame our English world) hangs like a Comet o're
thy dreadfull face, denouncing death & vengeance; the
Ancients fam'd Alcides for his Acts, thou hast not slaine,
but tane the Kingly Lyon, and like great Tamberlaine with
his Bajazet, canst render him within an Iron-Cage a
spectacle of mirth, when e're thou pleasest.(13)

Peters goes on to assure Cromwell that he is prepared to speak against kingship in general and the reign of Charles in particular. In fact, the sermon is no invention by the playwright. Shortly before the execution of the King, Peters was commanded to preach before the two Houses, and, as G. P. Gooch observes, “took advantage” of the occasion to urge the abolition of monarchy “both here and in all other places.” Only in this way could the nation be freed from its Egyptian bondage. In the same sermon, Peters compared Charles to Barabbas, whom it had been folly to release.14

Beyond this point, the plot becomes more fanciful, as does the characterization of both Cromwell and the chaplain. As in other Royalist propaganda, Peters is revealed as a gluttonous, loose living lecher, and in this play he serves Cromwell's appetites as well by functioning as his pander in an invented affair with the wife of General Lambert, who had, by his campaign in the early summer of 1648, been largely responsible for the final Parliamentarian victory.15 A loosely related subplot dramatizes the siege of Colchester and a much publicized atrocity that followed the surrender of the Royalists. Following the surrender, on 28 August 1648, two of the Royalist leaders, Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, had been executed by a firing squad to serve as examples to other would-be insurgents against the Parliamentarian regime. According to contemporary accounts, the Parliamentarian officer mainly responsible was General Ireton. In the words of Clarendon:

The manner of taking the lives of these worthy men was new, and without example, and concluded by most men to be very barbarous; and was generally imputed to Ireton, who swayed the general, and was upon all occasions of an unmerciful and bloody nature.16

In The Famous Tragedie, however, Ireton merely seconds the urging of Colonel Rainsborough, the great champion of the Levellers. It would appear that the dramatist measured and assigned the villainy of the various Roundheads according to the intensity of their opposition to monarchy itself. Ireton, like Rainsborough, was an Independent and a convinced republican, but he was not opposed to a monarchy that would exercise its power within clearly defined “limitations.”17 Rainsborough, on the other hand, was regarded as being wholly in sympathy with the Levellers.18 At the meeting of the Council of the Army at Putney Church on 16 September 1647, he had led the minority which opposed further negotiation with the King, and during the subsequent debates in the House of Commons concerning relations with the King, had been one of the leaders of the Independent faction which aimed at the abolition of monarchy.19

Rainsborough's political stance may also explain why the dramatist alters the facts concerning his death. The colonel was actually killed by a party of Cavaliers from the besieged Pontefract Castle who were trying to kidnap him. Their intention was to exchange him for Sir Marmaduke Langdale, then held prisoner by the Parliamentarians.20 When he resisted these Cavalier commandos, Rainsborough was run through by their swords.21 The author of The Famous Tragedie makes Rainsborough's death a direct result of the atrocity at Colchester. One of the soldiers who serves on the firing squad, thrilled with remorse and resolved to expiate his crime by avenging Lucas and Lisle, follows Rainsborough toward Pontefract and challenges him. In the ensuing duel, Rainsborough is disadvantaged by the guilt that “hangs heavie” on his arm and slain. This brief triumph of virtue is, however, followed by a scene in which Cromwell, in bed with Mistress Lambert, receives the news of the Regicide, and the tragedy concludes with a doleful chorus assigning blame to various Royalist leaders, especially the Duke of Hamilton, “sole Causer of the strife … Betwixt the King and Parliament.”

The Famous Tragedie is one of the very few plays concerned with the Rebellion that deals explicitly with current events and personages. Others, such as T. B.'s The Rebellion of Naples (1649), The Disloyall Favorite (165?), The Tragedy of Marcus Tullius Cicero (1651), Tatham's The Distracted State (1651), Manuche's The Just General (1652), and The Banish'd Shepheardess (1660?), Baron's Mirza (1655), and Kirkham's Alfrede or Right Reinthroned (1659), provide commentary by implicit parallels with either dramatized history in remote settings or invented plots. In most of these plays, partisanship is a good deal less obvious than it is in The Famous Tragedie, but this is not to say that they are lacking in the expression of political and religious points of view. These points of view are not, however, readily identifiable or capable of being labelled as either unreservedly “Cavalier” or “Roundhead.” Most of them were, in fact, probably written by individuals who leaned toward Royalism, but few could, like The Famous Tragedie of King Charles I, be accurately described as instruments of partisanship and propaganda. Most of them appear to be serious attempts to illuminate dramatically various aspects of the Great Rebellion, its causes, and its consequences. With such material, total objectivity may not be possible, even for the historians. (S. R. Gardiner is clearly as supportive of the Roundheads as Clarendon is of the Royalists.) But most of the dramatists, like the historians, appear to be at least attempting to reveal more than their biases in assessing the responsibility, and irresponsibility, of participants in the conflict.

T. B.'s The Rebellion of Naples, or the Tragedy of Massenello, another tragedy published in the year of the Regicide, is introduced as a dramatization of recent events abroad, “Written By a Gentleman who was an eyewitness where this was really acted upon that bloudy Stage, the streets of NAPLES Anno Domini MDCXLVII.”22 In the address to the reader, T. B. denies that the play is a commentary on recent English history: “… if there be any thing in my booke which points at the present condition of our affairs, I assure you the times are busie with me, and not I with the times.” However, the prologue contradicts this:

If wonders do delight ye: on this Stage
Acted's the greatest wonder of our age
Or if you'r pleas'd with seasonable things,
Here's fightings ‘twixt the people and their Kings.

And it seems fairly obvious that the play is an attempt to dramatize events in England by implicit parallels with recent Neapolitan history.23 The dramatist apparently intended to reveal some of the underlying causes of the Rebellion, the nature of the Rebellion itself, and consequences he foresaw. In effect, he telescoped a period of English history extending from about 1634 until the Restoration, which he dimly foresaw, into the brief and “bloudy” span of Neapolitan history that mirrored it.

In the first act of The Rebellion of Naples, Di Arcas, the Vice-Roy, is overthrown and seized by the citizens of Naples under the leadership of Tomaso Massenello, a Neapolitan general. The main reason for the Vice-Roy's overthrow is that he has yielded to the advice of evil counselors in matters involving revenue. Moments before the rebellion actually begins, a counselor who has been dismissed for protesting against unjust taxation prophesies the downfall of the politicians surrounding the Vice-Roy who “think the Sacred Unction not sufficient to anoynt [their] King, except it mingled with the peoples tears.” His view of these counselors is verified in the next scene, when the Vice-Roy's Lord-Treasurer is heard urging him to lay an excise on fruit in order to raise money for supplies demanded by Spain. The Vice-Roy indulges in a bit of guilty hand-wringing at “having laid Excise on all things upon earth, on fire, in water,” but the Lord-Controller soothes him with assurances that the nobility's current prosperity is all that matters. When they are interrupted by news of the rebellion, the desperate Vice-Roy is willing to promise any redress but is told that the people will not believe someone who has broken his word so often. A mob led by Massenello rushes in and seizes the Vice-Roy, but he escapes, and the enraged general lays down martial law.

It is not difficult to see in this rather crowded first act a dark reflection of English affairs. Di Arcas is a far from flattering image of Charles—weak, vacillating, treacherous, capable of exercising a feeble cunning,24 as when he escapes by scattering handfuls of coins among the rabble, but mostly controlled by self-serving counselors. The Lord-Controller could be modelled on practically any one of the powerful favorites of either Charles or his father. The Neapolitan Lord Treasurer seems clearly to be modelled on Weston, the Lord Treasurer who encouraged the King to raise his revenues by fines, the enforcement of forest laws, the issue of ship-money writs and other measures that effectively alienated many subjects of every class.25 The fact that the Lord Treasurer in the play is urging an excise in order to pay for military supplies for Spain would also support the identification, for Weston was a strong proponent of an English alliance with Spain that would threaten the Dutch commercial supremacy, and shortly before his death in 1635 an agreement was negotiated whereby Spain would meet part of the expenses of vindicating Charles' claim to Dunkirk in return for England's entrance into an alliance with Spain against the Dutch and the French. Money for a fleet was raised by the issue of ship-money writs in 1634 and again in 1635, but these measures met with tremendous resistance since they effectively reduced the right of parliamentary taxation and indeed the need for Parliament itself.26

The remainder of The Rebellion of Naples is taken up with the ultimately successful struggles of the Vice-Roy to regain power and the degeneration of Massenello from a champion of liberty into a raving tyrant. Again it requires little effort of imagination to see the essential similarity of the schemes of the Vice-Roy and his advisors to the schemes of Charles and his supporters in 1647 and '48. Like Charles delivering England up to Scottish Presbyterianism, in the secret treaty of Newport, the Vice-Roy is willing to deliver his city into the hands of practically anyone as long as he himself is restored to the throne. He is delighted with a plan proposed by one advisor to arrange for a takeover of the city by bandits. The project fails, even as the Scottish invasion under Hamilton failed, and the Vice-Roy's advisors are forced to “tack about again.” Their new plan involves the circulation of false rumors of a French invasion that will cause the citizens to be armed against Massenello and then a secret Austrian invasion that will restore the Vice-Roy. The role planned for Don John and the Austrians corresponds to the one Queen Henrietta Maria and her advisors apparently had in mind for the Marquis of Ormond and the Irish Royalists, to accomplish in 1649 what the Scots had failed to accomplish in 1648.27 Like Henrietta Maria, the Vice-Roy's Queen plays an important part in affairs of state. While the Vice-Roy deludes Massenello with promises that he will subscribe to “articles of agreement” between himself and the general as representative of the people, the Queen lulls his suspicions by arranging a marriage between her son and his daughter.

As it turns out, none of these Royalist machinations is necessary, for Massenello, who may be a crude caricature of Cromwell, degenerates with astonishing and rather unconvincing rapidity into a tyrannical maniac who alienates the people and brings about his own downfall. After carrying out numerous atrocities in the name of “justice,” he finally undoes himself by tearing down the marble monument upon which the “articles of agreement” are inscribed and which would restrain his own tyranny as well as the Vice-Roy's. Ironically, the monument is counterfeit and meaningless anyway. The dramatist may intend here some reference to The Agreement of the People and Cromwell's opposition to it,28 but no real parallel is worked out.

T. B. was no doubt more of a Cavalier than a Roundhead in his sympathies, but his dramatic handling of the Rebellion reveals no belief in the essential righteousness of either cause. Unlike other Cavalier dramatists who base their prophecies of a restoration on optimistic faith in the benevolence of Divine Providence,29 he expresses no hope for the future. His belief in the likelihood of a restoration appears to be based wholly upon a cynical appraisal of human nature. Power corrupts, and a new-made tyrant will inevitably render himself even more obnoxious than an established predecessor. T. B. may even be suggesting further, in his picture of the weak Vice-Roy and his court, that a restoration is more than likely to be followed by yet another revolution, since kings cannot be trusted to rule justly without some constitutional restraints, which they will seek to avoid by any means including deceit and treachery. Although T. B. does not give any positive expression of his political philosophy, beyond depicting the horrors of two different types of tyranny, we may reasonably infer that he was, like Clarendon, a moderate Royalist who was capable of sympathizing with some of the Parliamentarian aims. His pessimism may be explained by the fact that in 1649 there seemed to be so little likelihood of a compromise between extremes of tyranny. Charles had been sentenced to death by a tribunal nominated for the occasion by the army leaders, who had come to accept the necessity of sailing without legal ballast. Triumphant Independents, who had been champions of toleration, legal and political reform, advocates of democratic change, they had been driven by the reluctance of the people themselves to rely increasingly on the army as an instrument of government.30 Massenello's progress from a champion of liberty and constitutional reform into an arbitrary and corrupt dispenser of “justice” is obviously a crude parody of this ironical development, and the play as a whole dramatizes T. B.'s sense of the utter futility of all revolutionary endeavor.

The Famous Tragedie and The Rebellion of Naples dramatize and interpret from two rather differing Royalist points of view the Rebellion as a fait accompli. Other Royalist plays dramatize what in effect might have been if the rebels had been dealt with differently. One of these, The Disloyall Favorite or the Tragedy of Metellus, survives in a single tattered manuscript in the Bodleian.31 It is impossible to date with any precision, but references to the horrors of civil war and a scene in which quarreling citizens argue about who contributes most to the “commonwealthe” suggest sometime after 1649. It is a crudely wrought play, knit together by little besides typical Cavalier sentiments regarding the virtue of loyalty and the dangers of rebellion and treachery in a royal court, but it is illuminating in connection with this discussion as a dramatic expression of a Royalist point of view that is intensely anti-democratic yet enlightened by a recognition of a monarch's need for policy and a willingness to concede in dealings with rebellious subjects.

As the title indicates, the main plot concerns the treachery of Metellus, favorite of the king of Egypt. When it is revealed to the king that Metellus has had an affair with his queen and has murdered a fellow courtier to maintain their secrecy, the king orders her banishment and the execution of Metellus by burning. The ordinary citizens (“Rable”), who regard Metellus as their “champion,” are put into a rebellious mood by the king's action. They believe it is their right to be consulted:

2 RAB:
Why I tell you … a word with you neighbour (calls him from the rest). It is perfect arbitrary government. I know noe reason why we should be imposed upon. The Queen he has banisht her, executed Metellus, and we never acquainted with it (comes to the rest) Think you neighbours is the king guilty or not guilty?
OMNES ira:
Guilty (!)

Having been advised of the disorder by one of the citizens, the king appears, accompanied by his nobles. With remarkable ease, he succeeds in pacifying the “rable,” and preventing an uprising. Significantly, he accomplishes this by promising to yield to them in whatever has been the cause of their grievance. Unlike the Vice-Roy in The Rebellion of Naples, he does not give us any reason to suspect his sincerity, and he is willing to make any concession that will avert civil war:

I am beholden to you countrymen, & I will be a father to you all &
to my country & pray unite your selves.
Love one another & be free from jare
Noe pestilence so bad as civil ware.

We may reasonably infer that the author of this play was one of those Royalists who saw the possibility of compromise between the demands of King Charles and those of the Commons and earnestly wished that the King had been capable of yielding more. The turbulent scene with the “rable” may also have been intended as a commentary on the King's trial, both reflecting the lawless nature of the arrival at a guilty verdict and suggesting how the fatal outcome might have been avoided by an exercise of regal policy.

What is puzzling about The Disloyall Favorite and in some ways atypical of Cavalier drama is the handling of religious themes. It's clear that the author has a puritanical horror of idolatry. The Egypt of his play is much given over to idolatrous worship that is condemned by various characters, including even the adulterous queen, who maintains a proud loyalty to an unnamed religion. A barely connected subplot is introduced for no other apparent purpose than to contrast true spiritual devotion with idolatry. The protagonist, Doriman, has been thrown into prison to starve by order of the king for ridiculing the Egyptian gods. While the prison guards are attending an idolatrous devotion with the king and his court, Doriman manages to escape with the help of a woman named Maria. Her loyalty to him has prevented his dying for his loyalty to his religion.

On the basis of the play's religious elements, as well as the main plot's implication that kings must render an account to their people and justify themselves, I would suggest that the author may have been a Presbyterian, perhaps one of those who turned Royalist during the second civil war and who, as a result of this war, were more than ever hostile to the champions of toleration, the Independents.32

The three plays I have discussed so far are not among the more distinguished extant dramas of the Commonwealth, and it is highly unlikely that we will ever know who wrote them. All three appear to be closet dramas, though it is not difficult to imagine private performances of The Famous Tragedie of King Charles I in the homes of ardent Royalists. The surviving plays of Major Cosmo Manuche, on the other hand, which boldly proclaim his authorship on their title pages, seem clearly to have been written for performance.33 The fact that there is no record of their having been acted does not warrant the assumption that they were not, perhaps surreptitiously or privately, and as the prologue and epilogue to The Just General (1652) indicate, it at least was “intended for the stage.” Lacking records of performances, I would argue the likelihood of their having been acted mainly on the basis of the quality of the dramatic craftsmanship and their obvious stageability.34 While hardly in the same class with the great dramatists of the previous age, Manuche is a competent builder of complex tragi-comic plots involving a wide variety of characters, some of whom are clearly recognizable as types drawn from Elizabethan tragi-comedy while others are obviously modelled on the contemporary London citizenry. They reveal themselves naturally in speech that is suited both to character and setting, whether it be the court, an idealized pastoral scene, or the streets of a city resembling London. In comic dialogue especially Manuche is at his best. Clearly he was schooled in the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, Jonson, and Massinger, among others, and was gifted with a knack for exploiting comic situations.

That Manuche's plays reflect his Royalism has been noticed by the few critics who have bothered to discuss them.35The Loyal Lovers combines romantic tragi-comedy with savagely funny satire involving Puritan caricatures. The scene is “Amsterdam,” but Gripe-man, a “Committee-man,” Sodome, “One of the Synod,” and the hypocritical divine Phanaticus obviously represent the powers in control of Commonwealth England, even as Adrastus, Albinus, and Symphronio, “Loyall Comrades,” represent pleasure-loving, alienated Cavaliers. Though he satirizes the triumphant rebels, Manuche does not deal with the Rebellion in this play. In The Just General, however, it appears to be one of his central concerns. As my previous discussion may suggest, Cavalier dramatists generally tended to share the Roundheads' opinion that the King's evil, self-serving counselors were ultimately to blame for the Rebellion. The culpability of the kings in the drama who are threatened with rebellion may vary, but almost invariably they are shown to be misled by treacherous advisors. In The Just General Manuche dramatizes the saving of a kingdom for its rightful ruler by the wise actions of a loyal counselor. Like The Disloyall Favorite, it seems to suggest what might have been.

The central conflict in The Just General arises from the fact that the young king of Sicily, Amasius, is in love with Aurelia, a woman of surpassing beauty and virtue but lowly birth. His most trusted counselor, the great general Bellicosus, attempts unsuccessfully to dissuade him from marrying her because he fears the possibility of rebellion by subjects who will regard the match as unsuitable. That Manuche intended here a parallel with Charles's persistence in his decision to marry a Roman Catholic princess, a course of action inevitably conducive to widespread discontent, seems likely. But Bellicosus is no Buckingham. In fact, one gathers that Manuche in drawing his ideal courtier-advisor, may have intended to reveal the virtues Charles's advisors conspicuously lacked and a freedom from the weaknesses common among courtiers generally. Bellicosus “hath to much honesty, mixt with knowledg” to act against the interests of either the king or his country. While the other courtiers urge the king to gratify his desires and not concern himself with “that many headed beast (the commonwealth)” the general is steadfast in his opposition to a match “the subject may make his pretence of quarrel.”36

Beyond this there would seem to be implicit parallels with events in England on the very eve of the Rebellion. When Aurelia disappears, led into hiding in the country by a friend who would save her from the murderous plots of a jealous woman named Artesia, the king is convinced that she has either been spirited away or murdered by Bellicosus. Resolving to abandon the court and search for her himself, he leaves behind a letter to the general bitterly accusing him of murder and treason. Bellicosus, who prides himself on his loyal service, on having saved for the young ruler an “unhappy Kingdome with fear and conquest almost spent,” is understandably bitter. But his loyalty remains unshaken. When the king's absence causes “the factious People (mutable by nature)” to threaten an uprising, Bellicosus yields to pressure to take the crown himself rather than allow the kingdom to be led by either Sicilian Levellers who “would have no King” or those who “Would have they knew not what.” When the young king returns with his beloved Aurelia, Bellicosus immediately restores the crown to him. The trials of loyalty have been severe. Bellicosus has had to endure not only the king's ingratitude and distrust but the pain of sentencing his own son, Delirus, to death for his involvement in Artesia's plot to murder Aurelia. Loyalty, however, is abundantly rewarded with the pardoning of all offenders by the restored king.

The specific historical reference of The Just General to the Rebellion emerges, I believe, if we compare it briefly with an earlier Royalist drama, John Denham's The Sophy, published in August 1642. The Sophy, like Baron's Mirza (1655), deals with a tragic event in recent Persian history, the destruction of the good prince Mirza by the machinations of the evil courtiers surrounding his father, the emperor of Persia.37 The prince, having achieved a tremendous victory over the Turks, returns in triumph to his father's court but only remains a short time before departing again. During the prince's absence, an evil courtier arouses in the emperor's mind fears and jealousy against his son. When the prince returns, he is blinded and killed, and soon after, the remorseful emperor dies. In a recent article, John M. Wallace argues persuasively that The Sophy, as a dramatization of the destructive effects of fears and jealousies on a state, was a timely fable constructed around morals King Charles might well have heeded. Had a contemporary of Denham's read this closet drama closely, says Wallace, “he would have observed that both the arbitrary ruler and the good prince were largely to blame for their misfortunes, one by letting too much power fall into the hands of evil counselors, the other by absenting himself from the capital at the crucial moment. Charles was guilty of both errors, as his friends lamented.”38 Wallace goes on to note that “Parliament repeatedly requested that Charles return to London after he left the city on January 10, 1642.”39 After it began to appear that the king could not raise an army, Parliament began to assume an uncompromising attitude. Some of his most trusted advisors, having given up all hope of his being able to raise an army, urged him to surprise the houses by a sudden appearance at Westminster which might startle them into granting favorable terms.40 I would argue that Manuche too, in The Just General, consciously dramatized the dangers of an untimely departure by a ruler from his kingdom, and, like Denham, appears to be suggesting that Charles was at least partially responsible for his misfortunes.

In a later play, The Banish'd Shepheardess, Manuche celebrates the Restoration and pays a graceful tribute to the Queen Dowager. The play, a courtly pastoral comedy rather in the tradition of Lyly and Peele, has been tentatively dated 1665,41 and the references to General Monck clearly indicate a date no earlier than 1660.42 In it the story of the rebellion is told by a character named Lysander, a loyal subject to Charilaus, son of the Banish'd Shepheardess. Neither in his account nor anywhere else in the play is there criticism explicit or implicit of the late king:

The Arcadians: surfeiting, with Ease, and plenty
.....Under, a neuer to be forgotten, vertuous prince.
(An unfortunate shepheard: to such a woolvish
And ungratefull flock) began, under that
Common cloake for Rebellion (Religion) To pretend
Earnist desyers, to a Conformitie therein.
finding fault with what had no fault in it, but decency.(43)

The fact that this play reveals a far narrower Royalist point of view than The Just General is not difficult to explain. For one thing, this play was written to be presented to Henrietta Maria herself. In the dedicatory address, he beseeches her to accept “(by the hands of my perishing Children) The Endeavors of a poore suffering subiect Whose Loyallty (the cause of his many crewell imprisonments) May iustly hope your Gracious pardon for his weakness, When the head still suffers for the bodies distemper.” It would appear that Manuche's primary intention was to ingratiate himself with the Court and perhaps to put to rest all doubts that may have arisen concerning his loyalty. It could hardly have been a secret that he had been in the service of the Protectorate.44 If in fact he truly suffered for his “Loyallty,” it may have been the result of his having served as a double agent. The fact that several prominent noblemen were willing in 1661 to sign a certificate attesting his loyal service suggests that he was able to explain his apparent defection.45

With the exception of King Charles I and The Banish'd Shepheardess, all of the plays I have discussed might be regarded as representing a kind of return to the tradition of the Mirror for Magistrates. And even in The Banish'd Shepheardess we may see, along with the obvious intention of flattery, a didactic burden intended to profit princes and magistrates. As in Lyly's Endymion, a pastoral setting is used to project an idealized image of the Court and to criticize all the forces that inhibit the realization of that ideal in the world outside it. In another Cavalier drama in manuscript, written on the eve of the Restoration, Alfrede or Right Reinthroned (1659) drama in the Mirror tradition and pastoral tragi-comedy are fully fused. The play is dedicated to Lady Blounte by R. K. (“your most affectionate Brother”). The author has been identified as R. Kirkham, though there appears to be some question about this.46 Whoever the author was, and I will assume for now that it was Kirkham, he appears to have been a member of that most threatened of Royalist minorities, the Roman Catholics. I find this abundantly reflected throughout the play itself but especially in the dolorous epilogue spoken by St. Cuthbert:

O wretched England! would thou still dids't know
that ancient happy state; thou wouldst not now
As from y(e) world thou separated art,
So from y(e) worlds true faith be kept apart:
Thou wouldst not then be cald an Isle ingrate
ffrom Heau'n rebelliously degenerate;
Nor wouldst thou consecrated Temples spoile,
Nor them with sacrilegious Hands defyle;
Nor let unparent-like thy Children bee
Shipwrackt upon y(e) Rockes of Heirsy
          But England's now a Stepmother, alas
          which once of Saints a fertile Parent was.(47)

One could argue, I suppose, that the dramatist was an Episcopalian lamenting Puritan domination, or even a Presbyterian lamenting toleration. Indeed the accusation of “Heirsy” (heresy) was one levelled by virtually every sect in England against all rivals. But the reference in this speech to an “ancient happy state” in which England had been one with the rest of the Christian world in religion seems strongly to suggest a time prior to the Reformation. And while the shattering of stained glass windows and the stabling of horses in cathedrals certainly outraged Episcopalians as well as Catholics, the lamentation of this writer for the widespread desecration and sacrilege of the time seems to come from one whose spiritual ancestors “consecrated” the “Temples” appropriated by the Protestants.

Whether Catholic or Episcopalian, Kirkham dramatically recreates an England in which there was no government “of saints” on the Genevan pattern, but the possibility of assistance from saints such as St. Cuthbert, who might be looked to in times of crisis. The crisis dramatized in Alfrede is an invasion by the Danes under the bloodthirsty King Gothurnus. As the play begins, King Alfred, his generals, and all the members of his family are fleeing the invaders and lamenting their misfortunes in speeches that reveal Kirkham's fondness for Senecan rhetoric. The longer speeches are classic set speeches of lamentation, complete with all the expected topoi, apostrophes, imprecations, rhetorical questions, epic similes and longing for annihilation. Not surprisingly, much of the dialogue takes the form of stichomythia. Clearly, Seneca's tragedies were among Kirkham's models, but they were not his only ones. The titanic self-definition of Gothurnus raging over his brother's supposed death inevitably recalls Tamburlaine:

Call downe y(e) Gods with an imperious voice.
and Marshall that treasonous, impious Band
against me; like Atlas Ile encounter all.
Doe's the supernall Crew then envy me?
perhaps they were affraid least after earth
their Heaven should next become due to my
uncontroled triumphs. So 'twas. Ile climbe
Heav'ns lucide spheare and dislocate the stars;
Nor shall the Sun afford y(e) world his light;
Nor y(e) Moone lend any brightnesse to th' earth:
Jove shall not find within the Orbs a seat
secure, till Osbern's death be expiate.

And the progress of King Alfred from grief and self-pity toward Christian Stoic acceptance recalls the similar progress of the defeated Duke Andrugio in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, even as the fusion of materials for a revenge play with a comedy of forgiveness recalls The Malcontent.48 Kirkham's use of a pastoral setting as a regenerative force suggests Shakespearean models as well, though the radical transformations of his characters are far less convincing than anything in Shakespeare. A number of comic interludes involve a miles gloriosus and a clever servus, not unlike Armado and Moth, and a family of English rustics. Obviously, Kirkham was a perceptive student of Elizabethan as well as Roman drama who sought to imitate in the language, structure and characterization of his play the techniques of the masters. If he did not succeed in creating a “tragical-comical-historical-pastoral” drama comparable to the Elizabethan masterpieces, he succeeded nonetheless in creating a lively piece of reading entertainment which probably could, unlike so many other Commonwealth closet dramas, be staged successfully.

Like The Disloyall Favorite and The Just General, Alfrede seems to suggest what might have been if King Charles had been wiser and his counselors more just. Alfred's generals are good counselors who assist him in shaking off the paralysis of self-pity. But even more helpful in this regard is the spiritual advisor he encounters in the wilderness. Neothus, a holy hermit, recognizes the King beneath his disguise but refuses to comfort him. Instead he urges him to regard his downfall as a just punishment for his failures as a king. The King acknowledges the justice of the indictments and repents. The hermit then comforts him with the assurance that he will be given even greater kingdoms than he has lost. Meanwhile, the King's mother, who is repeatedly tempted to suicide, is being consoled by a simple swineherd. Significantly, as a result of their misfortunes, the royal family has come to know the people, who, as Neothus's speech suggests, have been neglected. The Danish invasion, which appeared to be nothing but disastrous, has been a kind of grace.

The play moves toward a joyously triumphant conclusion as everyone, including even the Danes, undergoes some form of spiritual regeneration. Alfred's forces are victorious, and he is reconciled with Gothurnus to the extent even that he is willing to share the rule of England with him. Again, it is possible to see here a dramatic expression of the wish of many Royalists that the King had been capable of compromise, as well as a Catholic yearning for England's return to the True Faith which would, presumably, protect her against future civil wars.

One of the most distinguished and interesting plays of this period, the anonymous Tragedy of Marcus Tullius Cicero (1651), cannot, at least in terms of its political sentiments, be properly termed “Cavalier drama.” Rather surprisingly, it has not received any critical attention at all beyond Harbage's brief comment that it was one of the plays making 1651 “a banner year for rimed plays.”49 In fact, it deserves a good deal more attention as a very competently written closet drama which could, with very little revision, be acted. A director might wish to cut some of the longer speeches, though few lines are superfluous.

Unlike other Commonwealth writers of history plays who used the genre to comment on their own times, the author of Cicero did not find it necessary to alter history drastically to suit his didactic purposes. He knew his Roman history and chose an episode, the fall of Cicero, which clearly mirrored the destruction of the Republican dream in Commonwealth England. Like “T. B.” and other Royalist playwrights, he suggests that England has leaped from the frying pan of one tyranny into the fire of another, but unlike the Royalists, he seems to imply that England's folly has been the acceptance of a faulty dilemma and the rejection of a scheme involving neither king nor dictator. The Republican alternative appears in the play as an ideal that Rome has not really known since her Golden Age. Cicero's man Laureas sings of it:

How happy was the Roman State
when her chiefest Magistrate
was rais'd to the fasces from the plow,
When such as Cincinnatus sway'd
The helme of th' Common-wealth, and made
Her proudest Adversaries humbly bow(50)

It is this ideal that had inspired Brutus and the other conspirators against Julius Caesar, and it is in Brutus that Cicero places his hopes for Rome's deliverance from tyranny under Antony:

'Tis Brutus whom Antonius copes with, Brutus
The Omen of whose very name, and blood
Fatall to State usurpers were sufficient
To fortifie our drooping souls, and raise them
From thought of servitude.

Brutus never appears in the play, but Cicero frequently refers to him, always with unreserved admiration and affection.

Cicero himself is a sympathetically drawn tragic figure, a great Roman patriot whose commitment to Republican principles is unshakable. One of the few unhistorical aspects of the play is the character's utter freedom from the vanity, conceit, changefulness and other faults reflected so clearly in the letters of the historical Cicero. Also omitted is the fact that Brutus had reproached him for his enthusiasm about Octavius.51 In the play, it is Cicero who reproaches himself for having thrown his support so unreservedly to Octavius in order to counter the threat of Antony. Significantly, Octavius, whose alliance with Antony brings about Cicero's downfall and who appears in the play as an embodiment of ruthless ambition, shares the Republicans' admiration for Cicero. Pondering the necessity of letting Antony destroy the great orator, Octavius is severely exercised in conscience:

And shall Octavius ruine so great worth?
Be still my melting passions: He must die,
And therefore 'cause he is his Countreys parent,
He that is Caesars friend must be a foe
Unto his countreys freedome, which he prizes
Above his life, and for this cause must lose it.
Shall he then die—? Ambition sayes he must.

Indeed, only Antony and his supporters refuse to share in the general reverence for Cicero as a great patriot. In the play, Antony is willing to spare Cicero, provided that he will burn his Philippic orations. Thus the dramatist gives his Cicero the opportunity, not available to the historical Cicero in 43 b.c., to choose between life under the Triumvirate and death with the rest of the proscribed. Cicero chooses to reject both alternatives, as well as a third, Stoic suicide, and his death while in flight, betrayed by the servant Philologus, occurs as Plutarch describes it.52

The author of Cicero had a goodly share of both talent and learning. Politically, he (or she) obviously shared his protagonist's ideals. Monarchy is unequivocally condemned, not merely in the speeches of Cicero and his friends, but in speeches not limited in point of view by political prejudices. One of these, a choric speech coming at the end of Act IV, recalls Rome's historic resistance to monarchy, manifested in the expulsion of Tarquin and the condemnation of Manlius, among other actions, but continues dolefully:

Boast this, and more, doe, but withall
                    With horrour say,
You did it only to install
                    Worse plagues then they,
That you one viper of the State
                    Have chang'd for three;
And for a worse Triumvirate
                    A Monarchy.

Earlier in the same act, Cicero and the Senators solicit the prophecies of soothsayers, one of whom falls dead immediately after uttering the following:

Then fathers, hear your dismall fate,
Your freedome shall be lost, your state
Converted to a Monarchy,
And all be slaves but only I (stops his breath and falls down dead)

In 1651, the year this play was published, the progress of England toward a dictatorship was already apparent. Cromwell and his generals, along with Sir Henry Vane and other leaders in Parliament, were still committed to the ideal of a free state governed according to the resolutions of elected representatives and guaranteeing individual liberties, but it was evident that most Englishmen did not revere this ideal and were, in fact, quite willing to return to monarchy. Gardiner conjectures that at this time Cromwell's “thoughts were beginning to crystallise round the notion of reconciling monarchy and commonwealth by entrusting some undefined measure of executive power to a ‘single person’ not of Stuart blood.”53 1651, it will be recalled, was also the year in which Hobbes's Leviathan appeared, a work which argues in favor of monarchy based on reason and which asserts, among other things, that the State is omnipotent over human action so long as it is able to put to death those who violate its laws.54 The great Leveller John Lilburne and Cromwell were on good terms at this time, but within a year Lilburne would be banished by the Rump for his pamphlet attacking Hazlerigg.55 The author of The Tragedy of Marcus Tullius Cicero, who was clearly a Republican, perhaps even a Leveller, could see the imminent betrayal of the ideals which had inspired the Great Rebellion, and his play is a tragic lament.

Cicero was by no means the only dramatic commentary on the current political situation to appear in 1651. The title sheet of John Tatham's The Distracted State indicates that it was “Written in the Yeer, 1641,” but as Professor Wallace observes, the play is filled with clear references to England's progress toward dictatorship in 1651, which only a man of extraordinary perception could have prophesied ten years earlier.56 It is a much less polished play than Cicero. Like The Rebellion of Naples, it begins with the downfall of a ruler who is “not without his faults,” and most of the subsequent action involves the struggles of various successors to gain and maintain power. Not surprisingly, Agathocles, one of the protagonists who is an outspoken anti-monarchist, is one of those who aspires to the kingship. The play concludes with the restoration of the lawful king and his forgiveness of the churchmen and others who had assisted in overthrowing him. With heavy irony, Tatham represents the ambitious anti-monarchists in his play as being inspired by ancient Roman republican ideals. To his fellow conspirators Agathocles exclaims:

How sweet and freely Rome enjoy'd her self
'Till she submitted to the Power and pride
Of one mans Rule?(57)

It would appear that quite a few citizens of the Commonwealth were aware of parallels between England's post-civil war progress toward a new tyranny and Rome's post-civil war progress toward dictatorship under Augustus. Another work that appeared in 1651 was Part III of Clement Walker's Historie of Independencie, in which Cromwell is shown to be following in the footsteps of Sulla and Augustus, as well as the Duke D'Alva in his suppression of the Netherlands. The parallel with Augustus is the most fully developed because, in Walker's view, the rise of Augustus had involved essentially the same hypocrisy and betrayal of professed ideals as had Cromwell's rise:

Augustus usurped the Title of Tribune of the People, whereby his Person became sacred and inviolable; and (humouring the irrational Animals) tooke upon him the especial Protection of that Brutish heard, the Rascall multitude, The Tribunes of the People having bin originally instituted to protect the People. His next step was to make himself Perpetual Dictator, whereby he arrogated to himself a vaste, unlimited power above all Laws. The Tribuneship was his Buckler, The Dictatorship was his Sword. And last of all (for Ornament only, He having already the full power of an absolute Monarch (although he forbore the Title of (King) because it was hatefull to the People and against the Laws ever since the Regifugium) he took upon him the Title of Princeps Senatus, or President of the Senate; to keep a corresponding power over that great Counsell or Parliament: And finally usurped the Title and Office of Imperator or Generalisimo of all forces by Land and Sea, Garisons, &c.58

That the author of Cicero was also thinking of similarities between Augustus and Cromwell in 1651 seems likely.

It is apparent, then, that the extant drama of the interregnum provides a faithful mirror of virtually the whole spectrum of contemporary political and religious attitudes toward the Great Rebellion. Raging Royalists, thoughtful moderates, disappointed Republicans, alienated Catholics, Episcopalians and Presbyterians all turned to a genre whose raison d'etre, performance, was suppressed by a Puritan government, which would itself in the course of the interregnum manifest a variety of governing styles. The few plays I have discussed are merely a representative sampling. There is certainly plenty of room for another book length study to extend the investigations of Rollins, Hotson and Harbage. Like their studies, it should focus initially on the conditions affecting playing, but mainly it should include extensive discussion of the plays themselves and their numerous topical references. There is room as well for studies of individual playwrights, Manuche for instance, who have been underservedly neglected. Obviously such studies would be greatly stimulated if the plays were made more accessible. Admittedly, some of them are hardly worth editing for publication, but this is not the case with Manuche's plays, with Alfrede, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Fane's De Pugna Animi,59 Baron's Mirza, the anonymous comedy The Hectors, or with A Comedy by “R. M.” This last named play, which can, I believe, be identified as the work of the economic writer Ralph Maddison, has almost totally escaped notice and is not even listed in the C.B.E.L.60 Perhaps new studies and individual editions would in turn encourage the publication of an anthology of these plays, which are of considerable interest to the historian of the English drama as well as revealing reflections of England under the Puritans.


  1. From a book-in-progress, English Drama Under the Puritans.

  2. Hyder E. Rollins, “A Contribution to the History of the English Commonwealth Drama,” Studies in Philology XVIII (July, 1921) p. 267.

  3. The ordinance has recently been reprinted in Commonwealth Tracts 1625-1650 ed. Arthur Freeman (New York & London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1974).

  4. Rollins, op. cit. pp. 304-305.

  5. Leslie Hotson, The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage (Cambridge: Harvard, 1928).

  6. Alfred Harbage, Cavalier Drama an historical and critical supplement to the study of the Elizabethan and Restoration Stage (New York: Modern Language Association, 1936).

  7. E.g. The Committee Man Curried by S. Sheppard, Parts I & II (1647); Scottish Politic Presbyter (1647); M. Nedham, The Levellers Levell'd (1647); Crafty Cromwell, or Oliver Ordering Our New State, Parts I & II (1648); Mistress Parliament Presented In Her Bed (1648); Mistress Parliament Brought to Bed (1648); Mistress Parliament Her Gossiping (1648); Newmarket Fair, Parts I & II (1649); The Disease of the House (1649). Professor Rollins conjectures plausibly: “Perhaps some of these brief plays were performed (what better could the noblemen who hired actors at their private homes want?”) op. cit. p. 299.

  8. Harbage, op. cit., p. 178.

  9. Ibid. The translation, entitled Tyrannicall-Government Anatomized, or a Discourse concerning Evil-Councellors, being the Life and Death of John the Baptist and “Presented to the King's most Excellent Majesty by the Author. Die Martis, 30. Januarii, 1642.” was “Ordered by the Committee of the House of Commons concerning Printing, That this Book be forthwith printed and published.” It was reprinted in George Buchanan Glasgow Quatercentenary Studies 1906 (Glasgow: Maclehose, 1907) pp. 92-173. It is prefaced with an essay by the editor, J. T. T. Brown, arguing the likelihood that Milton is the translator. Harbage was impressed by Brown's arguments (op. cit., p. 178). William Riley Parker, on the other hand, simply lists the translation among works attributed to Milton which “may safely be ignored as not his work.” (Milton A Biography Vol. II Oxford, 1968, p. 836).

  10. This idea becomes virtually a cliché of Royalist propaganda. E.g. Mercurius Pragmaticus (October 26-November 2) 1650: “Unlesse the houses take some speciall Order, Stage-playes will never downe while the heavenly Buffones of the Presbyterie are in Action, all whose Sermons want nothing but Sence and Wit, to passe for perfect Comedies.” And Mercurius Elencticus (October 29-November 5): “They of Westminster have Acted their parts now seaven years upon the stage of this Kingdome; insomuch that they have even tyred and wearyed out the Spectators, and are themselves ready to be hissed off the Stage, and yet they cannot endure that their Elder brethren of the Cock-pit should live by them …” Quoted by Rollins, op. cit., p. 285.

  11. “Though Johnson, Shakespeare, Gosse, and Devenant,
    Brave Sucklin, Beaumont, Fletcher, Shurley want
    The life of action, and their learned lines
    Are loathed, by the Monsters of the times;
    Yet your refined Soules, can penetrate
    Their depth of merit, and excuse their Fate …”
  12. See my article “Marlowe and the Development of Tragical Satire,” English Studies LVIII (June 1977) 209-220.

  13. All quotations are from the copy in the Worcester College Library, Oxford.

  14. G. P. Gooch, English Democratic Ideas in the 17th Century (New York: Harper & Row, 1959) p. 149. Cf. the entry in John Evelyn's Diary for Jan. 17, 1649: “I heard the rebell Peters incite the Rebell powers met in the Painted Chamber, to destroy his Majestie & saw that Arch Traytor Bradshaw, who not long after condemn'd him.” ed. E. S. DeBeer (London: Oxford, 1959) p. 275. See also Godfrey Davies, The Early Stuarts 1603-1660 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1967) p. 157 for discussion of the chaplain's role in persuading the members of the court to sign the King's death-warrant.

  15. See Maurice Ashley, Cromwell's Generals (London: Jonathan Cape, 1954) pp. 102-103.

  16. Clarendon, History Bk XI, p. 2306. Cf. Evelyn, Diary February 6, 1652: “… this day I saw the Magnificent Funeral of that arch-Rebell Ireton, carried in pomp from Somerset house to Westminster … This Ireton was a stout rebell, & had ben very bloudy to the Kings party, witnesse his severity at Colchester, when in cold blood he put those gallant gent: Sir Charles Lucas & G. Lisle to death:” See also July 8, 1656. Rainsborough was one of those appointed to witness the execution. (Gardiner, Civil War IV, p. 203).

  17. Gooch, op. cit., pp. 134-140. Ireton was the principal author of the Heads of Proposals issued in August, 1647, which includes the following: “That (the things here before being provided, for settling and securing the rights, liberties, peace and safety of the kingdom) His Majesty's person, his Queen, and royal issue, may be restored to a condition of safety, honour and freedom in this nation, without diminution to their personal rights, or further limitation to the exercise of the regal power than according to the particulars foregoing.” (S. R. Gardiner, The Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution 1625-1660 Oxford: Clarendon, 1899, p. 321-322.).

  18. Gooch, op. cit. p. 129.

  19. Gardiner, Civil War III, p. 366.

  20. Clarendon, History XI, pp. 2318-2319.

  21. Gardiner suggests that these men were motivated by a desire for vengeance since Rainsborough was known to have been one of the first to advocate a trial of the King. (Civil War IV, p. 232).

  22. British Museum, E. 1358 (one of the plays collected by Thomason). All quotations are from this copy.

  23. Harbage remarks: “Although an address to the reader cautions that the play is not to be mistaken as English allegory, some of its preachments leave no other alternative.” op. cit., p. 224.

  24. Phrase borrowed from S. R. Gardiner, The First Two Stuarts and The Puritan Revolution (New York: Scribners, 1891) p. 155. Used to describe Charles attempting to play off the Army against the Parliament in November 1647.

  25. Ibid., p. 77.

  26. Ibid., p. 96.

  27. Gardiner, Civil War IV, p. 224.

  28. Ibid., Vol. III, p. 383.

  29. E.g. Sir Gilbert Talbot's Epistle Dedicatory prefacing his translation of Bonarelli's Filli di Sciro “To his sacred Majesty Charles 2d—prophetically written at Paris an: 1657”: “I must confess, I was desirous to represent to your Majesty the providence which herein appeareth soe highly miraculous, although but in the fictitious redemption of two captive Lovers, and the unexspected restitution of theyre country to its ancient freedome, that I might take occasion, from hence, to give the world this sad (yet cheerefull) account of my fayth: That, as Heaven hath been pleased to punish the sinnes of yr. kingdomes upon the most innocent of Kings, in the martyrdome of your royall father, and exile of your selfe; soe its justice will never suffer such horrid, and unparallel'd villany to prosper into generations, either through the open defection, or (which little differs) the tame temporising of your Subjects under a tyrannical Imposter: but that all yr. persecutions, and sufferings hitherto have bin onely to render you more glorious, and magnify the day of your redemption; which is ye firme hope and humble assurance of … Your Maiestyes Most dutifully, and faythfully devoted Subject, and servant.” (Bodleian MS. Rawlinson, poet. 130).

  30. See Davies, op. cit. Chapt. VII; Gardiner, Civil War IV, pp. 327-28.

  31. Bodleian MS. Rawlinson D. 1361, ff. 285-306.

  32. See Davies, op. cit. Chapt. VIII.

  33. Manuche's extant printed plays include The Just General (1652), The Loyal Lovers (1652), and possibly The Bastard (1652) though its attribution to Manuche has never been supported. Surviving plays in manuscript include The Feast (MS Worcester College, Oxford) and The Banish'd Shepheardess (MS Huntington Lib. EL 8395).

  34. Harbage apparently assumes that the printed plays were not acted. He conjectures that the plays in manuscript may have been privately acted. op. cit., p. 274.

  35. Harbage, op. cit., pp. 226-227. Frank H. Ristine, English Tragicomedy Its Origin and History (New York: Russell & Russell, 1963) pp. 154-155. See also Thornton S. Graves, “Notes on Puritanism and the Stage,” Studies in Philology XVIII (1921) p. 163.

  36. All quotations are from the Bodleian Library copy.

  37. Robert Baron's Mirza (British Museum, E. 1449. 360) is one of the plays collected by Thomason. The Sophy is reprinted in Sir John Denham, The Poetical Works, ed. Theodore H. Banks, 2nd. ed. (Hamden, Conn., 1969).

  38. John M. Wallace, “‘Examples Are Best Precepts’: Readers and Meanings in Seventeenth-Century Poetry,” Critical Inquiry I (Dec. 1974) p. 274.

  39. Ibid.

  40. Davies, op. cit., pp. 129-130.

  41. Alfred Harbage, Annals of English Drama 975-1700 (Philadelphia: Univ. of Penn. Press, 1940) p. 130. The brief note “(Past.?)” suggests that he did not have the opportunity to view the manuscript.

  42. In the last act, a gentleman kneels before Prince Charilaus and informs him that he has been restored to the throne of Arcadia:

    The Common people: hight'ned, by the Noble Actions:
    Of Their (late come) General:
    (Who, still, receives his orders, from the Godds)
    speaking, no other language,
    But the restoring, Their: lawful & long suffering
    prince: To His just rights. Seem'd All on fyre
    (With impacience) for that blest houre.
    Whils't the braue General: (with swift motion)
    Brought, Their desyers, to that mature Effect,
    Hee: (through the Citty) streight, proclaimes you: king:
    With such a generall aclamation, of a reall joye.
    Roomes: Conquests: ne'er brought home.
  43. All quotations are from the Huntington Library MS EL 8395.

  44. On June 4, 1656, he sent to Cromwell, through Secretary Thurloe, the following:

    Petition of Cosmo Manuche to the Protector. I have long laboured to serve you and this late distracted State, and acknowledge your bountiful relief to enable my endeavors. But in making discoveries of the disturbers of our present happy Government, I have spent 20 £ more than I have received, which, if not speedily paid, will deprive me of liberty, and be my undoing, my former livelihood, by boarding scholars, being taken away. I have more knowledge now, and a better will to increase your store than exhaust it.

    (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1655-56, p. 348.)

  45. Dictionary of National Biography Vol. XXII Supplement p. 1010.

  46. Harbage, op. cit., p. 277. Also attributed to Kirkham with a parenthetical question mark in Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama VIII (1965) p. 21.

  47. All quotations are from Bodleian MS. Rawlinson, poet. 80.

  48. See my article “Stoicism and Revenge in Marston,” English Studies LI (Dec. 1970) 507-517.

  49. Harbage, op. cit., p. 64.

  50. All quotations are from the copy in the Worcester Library, Oxford. (Checked against British Museum 643. d. 11.)

  51. See Brutus's letter from Macedonia to Atticus, at Rome, (middle of June, 43 B.C.) Included in Letters of Cicero ed. L. P. Wilkinson (London: Arrow Books, 1959) pp. 234-236, and Cicero's reply, pp. 236-239.

  52. Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, “Cicero.”

  53. S. R. Gardiner, History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate 1649-1656 in 4 volumes (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1903) Vol. II, p. 77.

  54. See Gardiner's discussion of the relevance of Leviathan to the situation in England at this time. Commonwealth and Protectorate II, pp. 77-78.

  55. Ibid., pp. 79-80. See also Gooch, op. cit., pp. 214-216.

  56. John M. Wallace, “The Date of John Tatham's Distracted State,Bulletin of the New York Public Library LXIV (Jan. 1960) pp. 29-40.

  57. All quotations are from John Tatham, The Distracted State (1651) Huntington Library 128944.

  58. Clement Walker, The High Court of Justice or Cromwell's New Slaughter-house in England With the Authoritie that constituted and ordained it, Arraigned, Convicted, and Condemned; for Usurpation, Treason, Tyrannie, Theft, and Murder. Being the III. Part of the Historie of Independencie Printed Anno Dom. 1651. (Huntington Library 347116).

  59. Fane's Raguaillo D'Oceano and Candy Restored have been edited by Clifford Leech (Louvain, 1938).

  60. Bodleian MS. Rawlinson C.923 is listed with the untitled plays and fragments in the rough checklist included in Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama VIII (1965), p. 33. In fact, its title is “A Comedy.”


Criticism: Overviews


Criticism: Major Figures