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Mr. Rhodes, who had been wardrobe-keeper at the theatre in Blackfriars before the breaking out of the Civil Wars. Sir Henry Herbert, who still retained his office of Master of the Revels, endeavoured to obtain from these companies the same emoluments which he had formerly derived from the exhibition of plays; but after a long struggle, and after having brought several actions at law against Sir William D'Avenant, Mr. Betterton, Mr. Mohun, and others, he was obliged to relinquish his claims, and his office ceased to be attended with either authority or profit. It received its death wound from a grant from King Charles II. under the privy signet, August 21, 1660, authorizing Mr. Thomas Killigrew, one of the grooms of his majesty's bedchamber, and Sir William D'Avenant, to erect two new playhouses and two new companies, of which they were to have the regulation; and prohibiting any other theatrical representation in London, Westminster, or the suburbs, but those exhibited by the said two companies.

Mr. THOMAS BETTERTON having been a great admirer of Shakspeare, and having taken the trouble in the beginning of this [last] century, when he was above seventy years of age, of travelling to Stratford-upon-Avon to collect materials for Mr. Rowe's life of our author, is entitled to particular notice from an editor of his works. Very inaccurate accounts of this actor have been given in the Biographia Britannica and several other books. It is observable, that biographical writers often give the world long dissertations concerning facts and dates, when the fact contested might at once be ascertained by visiting a neighbouring parish church: and this has been particularly the case of Mr. Betterton. He was the son of Matthew Betterton (under-cook to King Charles the First) and was baptized, as I learn from the register of St. Margaret's parish, August 11, 1635. He could not have appeared on the stage in 1656, as has been asserted, no theatre being then allowed. His first appearance was at the Cockpit, in Drury Lane, in Mr. Rhodes's company, who played there by a license in the year 1659, when Betterton was twenty-four years of age.

He married Mrs. Mary Saunderson, an actress, who had been bred by Sir William D'Avenant, some time in the year 1663, as appears by the Dramatis Persona of The Slighted Maid, printed in that year. From a paper now before me, which Sir Henry Herbert has entitled a Breviat of matters to be proved on the trial of an action brought by him against Mr. Betterton in 1662, I find that he continued to act at the Cockpit till November, 1660, when he and several other performers entered into articles with Sir William D'Avenant; in consequence of which they began in that month to play at the theatre in Salisbury Court, from whence after some time, I believe, they returned to the Cockpit, and afterwards removed to a new theatre in Portugal Row near Lincoln's Inn Fields.

On the 15th of Nov. 1660, Sir William D'Avenant's company began to act under these articles at the theatre in Salisbury-court, at which house or at the Cockpit they continued to play till March or April, 1662. In October 1660, Sir Henry Herbert had brought an action on the case against Mr. Mohun and several others of Killigrew's company, which was tried in December, 1661, for representing plays without being licensed by him, and obtained a verdict against them. Encouraged by his success in that suit, soon after D'Avenant's company opened their new theatre in Portugal Row, he brought a similar action (May 6, 1662,) against Mr. Betterton, of which I know not the event. In the declaration, now before me, it is stated that D'Avenant's company, between the 15th of November, 1660, and the 6th of May 1662, produced ten new plays, and 100 revived plays; but the latter number being the usual style of declarations at law, may have been inserted without a strict regard to the fact.

Sir Henry Herbert likewise brought two actions on the same ground against Sir William D'Avenant, in one of which he failed, and in the other was successful. To put an end to the contest, Sir William in June 1662 besought the king to interfere.

The actors who had performed at the Red Bull, acted under the direction of Mr. Killigrew during the years

1660, 1661, 1662, and part of the year 1663, in Gibbon's tennis-court in Vere Street, near Clare-market; during which time a new theatre was built for them in Drury Lane, to which they removed in April, 1663. In the list of their stock-plays, there are but three of Shakspeare.

Downes the prompter has given a list of what he calls the principal old stock plays acted by the king's servants, (which title the performers under Mr. Killigrew acquired,) between the time of the Restoration and the junction of the two companies in 1682; from which it appears that the only plays of Shakspeare performed by them in that period, were King Henry IV. P. I. The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, and Julius Cæsar. Mr. Hart represented Othello, Brutus, and Hotspur ; Major Mohun, Iago, and Cassius; and Mr. Cartwright, Falstaff. Such was the lamentable taste of those times that the plays of Fletcher, Jonson, and Shirley were much oftener exhibited than those of our author.

Sir William D'Avenant's Company, after having played for some time at the Cockpit in Drury Lane, and at Salisbury Court, removed in March or April 1662, to a new theatre in Portugal Row, near Lincoln's Inn Fields. Mr. Betterton, his principal actor, we are told by Downes, was admired in the part of Pericles, which he frequently performed before the opening of the new theatre; and while this company continued to act in Portugal Row, they represented the following plays of Shakspeare, and it should seem those only: Macbeth and The Tempest, altered by D'Avenant; King Lear, Hamlet, King Henry the Eighth, Romeo and Juliet, and Twelfth-night. In Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark was represented by Mr. Betterton; the Ghost by Mr. Richards; Horatio by Mr. Harris: the Queen by Mrs. Davenport; and Ophelia by Mrs. Saunderson. In Romeo and Juliet, Romeo was represented by Mr. Harris; Mercutio by Mr. Betterton; and Juliet by Mrs.Saunderson. Mr. Betterton in Twelfth Night performed Sir Toby Belch, and in Henry the Eighth, the King. He was without doubt also the performer of King Lear. Mrs. Saunderson represented Catharine in King Henry the Eighth,


and it may be presumed, Cordelia, and Miranda. also performed Lady Macbeth, and Mr. Betterton, Macbeth.

The theatre which had been erected in Portugal Row, being found too small, Sir William D'Avenant laid the foundation of a new playhouse in Dorset Garden, near Dorset Stairs, which however he did not live to see completed; for he died in May, 1668, and it was not opened till 1671.

On the 9th of November, 1671, D'Avenant's company removed to their new theatre in Dorset Gardens, which was opened, not with one of Shakspeare's plays, but with Dryden's comedy called Sir Martin Marall.

Between the year 1671 and 1682, when the King's and the Duke of York's servants united, (about which time Charles Hart, the principal support of the former company died,) King Lear, Timon of Athens, Macbeth, and The Tempest, were the only plays of our author that were exhibited at the theatre in Dorset Gardens; and the three latter were not represented in their original state, but as altered by D'Avenant and Shadwell. Between 1682 and 1695, when Mr. Congreve, Mr. Betterton, Mrs. Barry, and Mrs. Bracegirdle, obtained a licence to open a new theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, Othello, A Midsummer-Night's Dream, and The Taming of the Shrew, are the only plays of Shakspeare which Downes the prompter mentions, as having been performed by the united companies: A Midsummer-Night's 'Dream was transformed into an opera, and The Taming of the Shrew was exhibited as altered by Lacy. Dryden's Troilus and Cressida, however, the two parts of King Henry IV. Twelfth Night, Macbeth, King Henry VIII. Julius Cæsar, and Hamlet, were without doubt sometimes represented in the same period: and Tate and Durfey furnished the scene with miserable alterations of Coriolanus, King Richard II., King Lear, and Cymbeline. Otway's Caius Marius, which was produced in

5 King Richard II. and King Lear were produced by Tate in 1681, before the union of the two companies; and Coriolanus, under the title of The Ingratitude of a Commonwealth, in 1682. In the same year appeared Durfey's alteration of Cymbeline, under the title of The Injured Princess.

1680, usurped the place of our poet's Romeo and Juliet for near seventy years, and Lord Lansdown's Jew of Venice kept possession of the stage from the time of its first exhibition in 1701, to the year 1741. Dryden's All for Love, from 1678 to 1759, was performed instead of our author's Anthony and Cleopatra; and D'Avenant's alteration of Macbeth in like manner was preferred to our author's tragedy, from its first exhibition in 1663, for near eighty years.

In the year 1700 Cibber produced his alteration of King Richard III. I do not find that this play, which was so popular in Shakspeare's time, was performed from the time of the Restoration to the end of the seventeenth century. The play with Cibber's alterations was once performed at Drury Lane in 1703, and lay dormant from that time to the 28th of Jan. 1710, when it was revived at the Opera House in the Haymarket; since which time it has been represented, I believe, more frequently than any of our author's dramas, except Hamlet.

On April 23, 1704, The Merry Wives of Windsor, by command of the Queen, was performed at St. James's, by the actors of both houses, and afterwards publickly represented at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, May 18, in the same year, by Mr. Betterton's company; but although the whole force of his company was exerted in the representation, the piece had so little success, that it was not repeated till Nov. 3, 1720, when it was again revived at the same theatre, and afterwards frequently performed.

From 1709, when Mr. Rowe published his edition of Shakspeare, the exhibition of his plays became much more frequent than before. Between that time and 1740, our poet's Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Henry VIII., Othello, King Richard III., King Lear, and the two parts of King Henry IV. were very frequently exhibited. Still, however, such was the wretched taste of the audiences of those days, that in many instances the contemptible alterations of his pieces were preferred to the originals. Durfey's Injured Princess, which had not been acted from 1697, was again revived at Drury

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