William Rufus, the king of England, a lustful, treacherous tyrant. He tricks and taunts Sir Walter into promising to send his beautiful wife alone to the palace, intending to violate her. When Sir Walter brings him her apparently dead body, the king is seized with remorse; he repents, and on her revival he gives her back to her husband unharmed.
Sir Walter Terrill
Sir Walter Terrill, the king’s loyal follower. He agrees to let his wife take poison rather than become the prey of the king.
Caelestine, Sir Walter’s beautiful bride. She too prefers the poison to the loss of her virtue.
Sir Quintilian Shorthose
Sir Quintilian Shorthose, Caelestine’s father. Deceiving both Caelestine and Sir Walter, he pretends to poison her but actually gives her a sleeping potion that causes her to appear dead.
Mistress Miniver, a foolish wealthy widow. Her hand is sought by Sir Quintilian, Sir Vaughan, Sir Adam, and Captain Tucca. She yields to the aggressive Tucca and rejects the three knights.
Sir Vaughan ap Rees
Sir Vaughan ap Rees, a Welsh knight, one of the widow’s suitors.
Sir Adam Prickshaft
Sir Adam Prickshaft, another of the widow’s suitors.
Horace, the humorous poet, an amusing caricature of Ben Jonson. A specialist in satires and epithalamiums, he writes satirical pieces on his fellow poets and others and on invitation works on a marriage song for Sir Walter and Caelestine. He is forced by Tucca to wear a laureate crown of nettles and to swear to give up satirical writing against his fellows.
Asinius Bubo, Horace’s admiring follower, perhaps a caricature of Michael Drayton.
Crispinus, a poet, probably a representation of John Marston.
Demetrius, another poet, probably a representation of the playwright himself.
Captain Tucca, a roaring roisterer, loudmouthed and vulgar, given to fantastic figures of speech. He is the instrument of Horace’s humiliation at court. He wins the hand of the widow in spite of her knightly suitors.