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are thus referred to in Fack Drum's Entertainment; or, Pasquil and Katherine, 1601 :

• I sawe the children of Paules last night,
And troth they pleased me pretty, pretty well.
The apes, in time, will do it handsomely.

I like the audience that frequenteth there
With much applause ; a man shall not be choaked
With the stench of garlic, nor be pasted

To the barmy jacket of a brewer,' etc. The Rev. Joseph Hunter, in his New Illustrations of Shakespeare, vol. ii, p. 230, presents another view of the matter. 'Inhibition,' he says, 'appears to me, to be opposed to residence. Their inhibition, their travelling, comes by means of the late innovation. What the innovation was is plainly intimated in the dialogue which follows; it was the appearance of children on the stage, who, for a time, drew away the public from the old performers. But that this was the innovation which produced this effect we learn more decidedly from the newly-discovered copy [of the quarto 1603]. There we read: “Y-faith novelty carries it away; for the principal public audience that come to them, are turned to private plays and the humours of children"-S. Timmins' Hamlet, 1603-4, p. 40. We have the most decisive evidence that the company to which Shakespeare belonged did occasionally leave London and travel, in the title-page of this quarto of 1603, in which the play is said to have been performed at Oxford, Cambridge, and other places. This scene was of the nature of an apology for their travelling, which was probably then, as it would be now (1845), thought beneath the dignity of a company of performers who were the Lord Chamberlain's servants.'

A good deal might be said in favour of each of the foregoing expositions of the enigma of Rosencrantz's reply, although all of them seem to fail in some way when they come to specialise the fact in theatricals referred to. Perhaps more attention has been paid to the passage as one that afforded some likelihood of attaining a trustworthy mark of the time of the production of the play than for the mere purpose of elucidating the text. We believe that to get the meaning of the text is the main requisite. If that is gained, any mark of time implied will be an interesting and certain inference from sound premises. With that aim we s'all examine the passage with a little attention.

Inhibition is, we suppose, a law term signifying a restraining interdict or legal prohibition, an authoritative forbidding of an intent or practice.

Innovation means the change of an old fashion for a new custom, and, in law, the introduction of some fresh measure to accomplish a desired end. In this view the passage should imply that the enforcement on the actors of a legal hindrance to the exercising of their craft upon the stage had been brought about or effected by the introduction of some new law, or measure having the force of law,

which, as being new, was looked on as an infringement of the rights or privileges of those affected by it, and probably regarded also as unjustifiable and tyrannical by those exposed to its operation. J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps has brought to light a letter from the Lord Mayor of London to the Privy Council, 12th April 1580, in which the opinion is expressed that the players of playes which are used at the theatre and other such places, and tumblers and such like, are a very superfluous sort of men, and of such facultie as the laws have disallowed, and theire exercise of these playes is a great hinderaunce of the service of God, who hath with His mighty hand so lately admonished us of oure earneste repentance.'' The law referred to by the Lord Mayor by which players were 'disallowed, was that of 14th Eliz. (1572), which forbade such persons not belonging to any baron of the realm, or towards any other honourable personage of greater degree,' to wander abroad.' To evade this, various companies were enrolled in the service of the nobility, and in 1583 twelve of the best comedians and stage-players were chosen, and at the request of Sir Francis Walsingham, they were sworn the queen's servants, and were allowed wages and liveries as grooms of the chamber.' This royal patronage and protection of the drama did not, however, save it from censure and opposition. Complaints against players still continued to be poured forth, and the agitation for the suppression of the stage was eagerly kept up. One example of the form this opposition took is sufficiently interesting to merit quotation. It is contained in a letter from a zealous Protestant soldier, which was addressed to Sir Francis Walsingham (the queen's adviser to take the players into her service). It supplies a notice of the popularity of the drama and the intensity of the feeling entertained against it at that time. The date of it is 25th January 1586-7, and it runs as follows:

"The daily abuse of stage-plays is such an offence to the godly and so great a hinderance to the gospell as the Papistes doe exceedingly rejoyce at the blemyshe thereof, and not without cause, for evereye daye in the weeke the playeres billes are sett upp in sondry places of the cittie, some in the name of her Majesties menne, some the Erle of Leicesters)

, some the Erle of Oxfordes, the Lord Admyralles, and divers others, so that when the belles tole to the lectoures the trumpetts sound to the stages, whearat the wicked faction of Rome lawghethe for joy while the godlye weepe for sorrowe. Woe is me! the play-howses are pestered when the churches are naked. Att the one it is not possible to gett a place; at the other voyde seats are plentie. The profaning of the Sabbath is redressed, but as bolde a custume entertayned, and yet still our longe-suffering God forbayrith to punisshe. Yt is a woeful sight to see two hundrede proude players jett in their silkes, wheare five hundred pore people sterve in the streetes; but yf needes this mischief must be tollerated, whearat, no doubt, the Highest frownith,

* Illustrations of the Life of Shakespeare, part i, p. 19.

yett for Gode's sake, sir, lett every stage in London pay a weekeley portion to the pore, that ex hoc malo, proveniat aliquid bonum (out of this evil, something good may come); but yt weare rather to be wisshed that playes might be used as Appollo did his lawghinges, semel in anno' (once in the year).

'In 1589 Lord Burleigh appears to have directed the Lord Mayor to silence the players of the Lord Admiral's and Lord Strange's companies for introducing matters of state and religion upon the stage.' 'In this year also proposals were made to appoint two commissioners to act with the Master of the Revels for the purpose of examining and licensing every play, and so restraining the abuses of the actors. On 13th September 1595, the Lord Mayor complained to the Privy Council that 'among other inconveynencies,'

the refuse sort of evill-disposed and ungodly people,' 'frequent the playes as ther manner is, that ar daily shewed at the Theator and Banckside, whereof will follow the same inconveynencies, whearof we have had to[o] much experience heartofore for preventing, whearof we ar humble suters to your lordship and the rest to direct your letters to the justices of peac of Surrey and Middlesex for the present stay and final suppressing of the said playes, as well at the Theator and Bankside as in all other places about the cytie.' An order of the Privy Council, dated 28th July. 1597, was issued to the justices of the shire of Middlesex, in her Majesty's name 'to chardge and commaund them to take present order there be no more plaies used in any public place within thre miles of the cittie until Allhal. lowtide next,' and to see the Curtaine Theatre or anie other common playhouse' so destroyed that it could ‘not be imploied agayne to suche use.' The Lord Mayor's opposition must have been successful, at least for a time. In a petition presented to the Privy Council by the inhabitants of Blackfriars, November 1596, against the building of a theatre there by 'one Burbadge,' it is stated that now all players being banished by the Lord Mayor from playing within the cittie by reason of the great inconveniencies and ill rule that followeth them, they now think to plant themselves in liberties,' and they therefore pray their honours 'that no playhouse may be used or kept there. Again, in a volume of epigrams and satires, by Edward Guilpin, entitled Skialethia; or, a Shadow of Truth, published in 1598, the author says:

See yonder
One, like the unfrequented theater,

Walkes, in darke silence and vast solitude. Thereafter, too, we find that the players built all their regular theatres in the suburbs of the city beyond the limits of the jurisdiction of the Lord Mayor and the corporation, who were for the most part violently opposed to theatricals during the reigns of Elizabeth and James.

A further order was made for the restraint of the immoderate use of playhouses 22d June 1600, and another was issued 31st December

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which, as being new, was looked on as an infringement of the rights or privileges of those affected by it, and probably regarded also as unjustifiable and tyrannical by those exposed to its operation. J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps has brought to light a letter from the Lord Mayor of London to the Privy Council, 12th April 1580, in which the opinion is expressed that the players of playes which are used at the theatre and other such places, and tumblers and such like, are a very superfluous sort of men, and of such facultie as the laws have disallowed, and theire exercise of these playes is a great hinderaunce of the service of God, who hath with His mighty hand so lately admonished us of oure earneste repentance. The law referred to by the Lord Mayor by which players were 'disallowed, was that of 14th Eliz. (1572), which forbade such persons not belonging to any baron of the realm, or towards any other honourable personage of greater degree,' to wander abroad.' To evade this, various companies were enrolled in the service of the nobility, and in 1583 twelve of the best comedians and stage-players were chosen, and at the request of Sir Francis Walsingham, they were sworn the queen's servants, and were allowed wages and liveries as grooms of the chamber.' This royal patronage and protection of the drama did not, however, save it from censure and opposition. Complaints against players still continued to be poured forth, and the agitation for the suppression of the stage was eagerly kept up. One example of the form this opposition took is sufficiently interesting to merit quotation. It is contained in a letter from a zealous Protestant soldier, which was addressed to Sir Francis Walsingham (the queen's adviser to take the players into her service). It supplies a notice of the popularity of the drama and the intensity of the feeling entertained against it at that time. The date of it is 25th January 1586-7, and it runs as follows:

*The daily abuse of stage-plays is such an offence to the godly and so great a hinderance to the gospell as the Papistes doe exceedingly rejoyce at the blemyshe thereof, and not without cause, for evereye daye in the weeke the playeres billes are sett upp in sondry places of the cittie, some in the name of her Majesties menne, some the Erle of Leicesters), some the Erle of Oxfordes, the Lord Admyralles, and divers others, so that when the belles tole to the lectoures the trumpetts sound to the stages, whearat the wicked faction of Rome lawghethe for joy while the godlye weepe for

Woe is me! the play-howses are pestered when the churches are naked. Att the one it is not possible to gett a place; at the other voyde seats are plentie. The profaning of the Sabbath is redressed, but as bolde a custume entertayned, and yet still our longe-suffering God forbayrith to punisshe. Yt is a woeful sight to see two hundrede proude players jett in their silkes, wheare five hundred pore people sterve in the streetes; but yf needes this mischief must be tollerated, whearat, no doubt, the Highest frownith,

sorrowe.

* Illustrations of the Life of Shakespeare, part i, p. 19.

yett for Gode's sake, sir, lett every stage in London pay a weekeley portion to the pore, that ex hoc malo, proveniat aliquid bonum (out of this evil, something good may come); but yt weare rather to be wisshed that playes might be used as Appollo did his lawghinges, semel in anno' (once in the year).

'In 1589 Lord Burleigh appears to have directed the Lord Mayor to silence the players of the Lord Admiral's and Lord Strange's companies for introducing matters of state and religion upon the stage.' 'In this year also proposals were made to appoint two commissioners to act with the Master of the Revels for the purpose of examining and licensing every play, and so restraining the abuses of the actors. On 13th September 1595, the Lord Mayor complained to the Privy Council that “among other inconveynencies,' the refuse sort of evill-disposed and ungodly people,' 'frequent the playes as ther manner is, that ar daily shewed at the Theator and Banckside, whereof will follow the same inconveynencies, whearof we have had to[o] much experience heartofore for preventing, whear. of we ar humble suters to your lordship and the rest to direct your letters to the justices of peac of Surrey and Middlesex for the present stay and final suppressing of the said playes, as well at the Theator and Bankside as in all other places about the cytie.' An order of the Privy Council, dated 28th July. 1597, was issued to the justices of the shire of Middlesex, in her Majesty's name 'to chardge and commaund them to take present order there be no more plaies used in any public place within thre miles of the cittie until Allhallowtide next,' and to see the Curtaine Theatre or anie other common playhouse' so destroyed that it could 'not be imploied agayne to suche use.' The Lord Mayor's opposition must have been successful, at least for a time. In a petition presented to the Privy Council by the inhabitants of Blackfriars, November 1596, against the building of a theatre there by 'one Burbadge,' it is stated that now all players being banished by the Lord Mayor from playing within the cittie by reason of the great inconveniencies and ill rule that followeth them, they now think to plant themselves in liberties,' and they therefore pray their honours 'that no playhouse may be used or kept there. Again, in a volume of epigrams and satires, by Edward Guilpin, entitled Skialethia; or, a Shadow of Truth, published in 1598, the author says:

See yonder
One, like the unfrequented theater,

Walkes, in darke silence and vast solitude. Thereafter, too, we find that the players built all their regular theatres in the suburbs of the city beyond the limits of the jurisdiction of the Lord Mayor and the corporation, who were for the most part violently opposed to theatricals during the reigns of Elizabeth and James.

A further order was made for the restraint of the immoderate use of playhouses 22d June 1600, and another was issued 31st December

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