The Interlude of Vice (Horestes)

The Interlude of Vice (Horestes)

The Interlude of Vice (Horestes)

The Interlude of Vice (Horestes)

Excerpt

No entry has been found for A New Interlude of Vice (or Horestes) in the Register of the Stationers' Company, but the title-page and colophon of the only known copy, preserved in the British Museum (C.34.g.28), state that it was printed by William Gryffith in 1567. The verso of the title-page bears the arms of William Marshall, but McKerrow, who notes the appearance of this block also in Marshall's translation of Menandrius, The Defence of Peace, printed for him by Robert Wyer in 1535, is unable to explain its presence in the interlude, except merely as an ornament ( Printers' and Publishers' Devices in England and Scotland 1485-1640 ( 1913), No. 87). Also unexplained is the appearance on E4v, between the end of the text and the colophon, of a woodcut used between 1505 and 1511 by Wynkyn de Worde( E. Hodnett, English Woodcuts 1480-1535 ( 1935), No. 924).

The date of the play's composition is not known. The title-page gives no information about performances, but a play 'of Orestes' was one of a group of seven presented at court between Christmas and Shrovetide 1567-8 ( E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, iv. 144-5). Feuillerat agreed with Collier that the two plays were not the same, the one here reprinted being such a crude production that it could 'never have been performed before any audience but one of the lowest description' ( Documents relating to the Office of the Revels, Elizabeth, p. 449); Chambers, however, thinks that the coincidence of date strongly suggests that they were one and the same play (op. cit. iii. 466), No firm conclusion can be drawn from the evidence at present available. It may be noted, however, that although the Revels Accounts mention ' Orestioes howse' no details of this are given, and no such structure seems to be called for specifically either in the text or in the stage directions of the play as we have it.

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