« PreviousContinue »
Ir was intended to make each volume of the biographical department of the Cabinet Cyclopædia as miscellaneous as possible. In the present volume, however, there is a deviation from that intention. reader will perceive, entirely devoted to our old It is, as the dramatic literature. Taken in connection with the Life of John Heywood in the preceding volume, it exhibits a consecutive and, we hope, comprehensive view of the subject, from the origin of theatrical representation in England to the middle of the seventeenth century.
As the period in question, viz. from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, is less known to the general reader than the subsequent one, viz. from the middle of the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, we have been much more diffuse than we can be hereafter. In the future volumes we cannot find space for the Lives of many dramatists. We will, however, connect the parts of the subject by such observations on the state of dramatic literature, between the periods in which those writers lived, as to leave nothing wanting towards a general knowledge of the English stage, from the most distant antiquity to the present century.
After perusing the present volume, the reader may possibly inquire why we have omitted all notice of Shirley, who is generally esteemed the last of our great dramatists. For this omission we have two reasons. The first is, that in following the stream of time we are not yet descended to the year in which he died. The second is, that we consider him rather the first of a