« PreviousContinue »
The title of the old quarto is “ The Chronicle Historie of Perkin Warbeck. A strange truth. Acted (some-times) by the Queenes Majesties Servants at the Phænix in Drurie-lane. London, printed by T. P. for Hugh Beeston, and are to be sold at bis shop, neere the Castle in Cornehill, 1634.” Here again we have the poet's anagram, Fide Honor.
It was reprinted in 1714, in 12mo, when the nation was in a state of disquietude, from insurgent movements in Scotland. In 1745, it appears to have been brought out at Goodman's Fields, on occasion, Oldys says, of the present rebellion under the Pretender's eldest son. Nothing is said of its reception : it could scarcely be very favourable at such a period; for, to the reproach of the judgment of those who brought it forward, it is calculated to defeat the very object which they bad in view, and to excite a compassionate feeling-not for the king upon the throne, but-for his youthful competitor."
1“ There are now, in December, 1745, on occasion of the present rebellion under the Pretender's eldest son, two plays, near finished, on this story of Perkin Warbeck, one by Charles Macklin the player, the other by Mr.Joseph Elderton, a young attorney; the former for Drury Lane, the latter at Covent Garden, but this play of Jobn Ford's has got the start of them at Goodman's Fields. Macklin's was a silly performance, and was soon dismissed, he being twenty pounds out of pocket by acting it, yet got it printed. Elderton's was not finished before it was too late in the season to act it; and when the rebellion was suppressed in the field, it was thought unreasonable to revive it on the stage. Macklin's was called by the foolish title of King Henry VII. or the Popish Impostor, popery being looked on as no objection in that reign. Elderton's was called The Pretender.”—MS. Notes to Langbaine, by Oldys.
My kind old friend, Mr. Waldron, with whom perished more interesting and amusing theatrical history, than can perhaps now be found on the stage, told me that Badeley, the actor, gave him the following anecdote :-" I was sitting one evening at the Cyder Cellar with Macklin, and incidentally observed, (for Î was not very deeply read in theatrical history,) that I wondered there had not been a play written on the story of Perkin Warbeck. There has, sir,' gruffly replied Macklin. •Indeed! and how did it succeed?' • It was damned, sir. • Bless me! it must have been very ill written then-such a story! Pray, Mr. Macklin, who was the stupid author ? •I, sir !' roared the veteran, in a tone that took away, continued Badeley, all desire to continue the conversation.”
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EARL OF NEWCASTLE, VISCOUNT MANSFIELD,
LORD BOLSOVER AND OGLE.?
MY LORD, Out of the darkness of a former age, (enlightened by a late both learned and an honourable pen,)? I have endeavoured to personate a great attempt, and in it, a greater danger. In other labours you may read actions of antiquity discoursed; in this abridgment, find the actors themselves discoursing; in some kind practised as well what to speak, as
2 “ William Cavendish, (nephew to the first Earl of Devonshire) Lord Ogle, Collins says, “jure materno," was born in the year 1592, and was early in favour with James I. by whom he was made a Knight of the Bath in 1610, and created a peer by the title of Viscount Mansfield in 1623. He continued in favour with Charles I. who created him Earl of Newcastle-upon-Type, 1628, and Marquis, six years afterwards. In 1638 the king assigned him the office of governor to the Prince of Wales. His exertions in favour of the royal cause during the rebellion are too well known to require any notice in this place. He was created Duke of Newcastle in 1665, and died in 1676, at the advanced age of 84."
So much is said of the Duke of Newcastle in the Introduction to the “Works of Ben Jonson,” that it may suffice to refer the reader, wbo is desirous of learning more of so distinguished a nobleman, to that collection.-See vol. i. and ix.
learned and honourable pen,] that of the great Lord Bacon. He alludes to his “ History of King Henry VII."
speaking why to do. Your lordship is a most competent judge, in expressions of such credit; commissioned by your known ability in examining, and enabled by your knowledge in determining, the monuments of Time. Eminent titles may, indeed, inform who their owners are, not often what. To your's the addition of that information in both, cannot in any application be observed flattery; the authority being established by truth. I can only acknowledge the errors in writing, mine own; the worthiness of the subject written being a perfection in the story, and of it. The custom of your lordship's entertainments (even to strangers) is rather an example than a fashion: in which consideration I dare not profess a curiosity; but am only studious that your lordship will please, amongst such as best honour your goodness, to admit into your noble construction,
4 The monuments of Time.] i.e. such as are destined to live to future ages; a compliment somewhat too high even for this great and good man, whose judgment in matters of mere literature never possessed that commanding influence which the grateful poet seems inclined to endow him with.