The Plays & Poems of Robert Greene - Vol. 2

The Plays & Poems of Robert Greene - Vol. 2

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The Plays & Poems of Robert Greene - Vol. 2

The Plays & Poems of Robert Greene - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

This play was first published in quarto byEdward White in 1594, and in the May of that year it was entered on the Stationers' Registers, thus:--

xiiii die Maij

Entred for his Copie under th(e h)andes of bothe the
wardens a booke entituled the Historye of ffryer
BACON and ffryer BOUNGAYE
. . . vj C/'

It was reprinted also in quarto in 1630 and in 1655 . The text printed here is that of the first Quarto collated with that of the second and third.

Of the time of its composition and of its first appearance there is no record. It would seem from an entry in Henslowe Diary that it had been performed in February, 159 ½.

'R at fryer bacone, the 19 of febrary, Satterdaye . . . xvij iijd.' Collier Transcript, p. 20.

Henslowe does not note that it was a new play, and it probably was not. In the Diary it heads the list of plays performed by 'my lord Stranges mene.' With regard to its composition and first appearance we have nothing to guide us but conjecture and inference. In point of merit it stands with James IV at the head of Greene's dramas. The versification and style, as well as its merit from a dramatic and idyllic point of view, seem to warrant us in concluding that its composition must have been subsequent to that of Alphonsus, the Looking Glasse, and Orlando Furioso. It is as plainly the work of a comparatively practised hand as they are the work of a tiro in his apprenticeship. If we assign it to the end of 1591 or the beginning of 1592 we shall probably not be far from the mark. Mr. F. G. Fleay (see Ward's Introduction, Appendix B) very ingeniously deduces from l. 137, 'Lacie, thou knowst next friday is S. Iames,' that the play was produced before August 1589. He observes that dramatic authors always used the almanac of the current year, and that St. James's day fell on a Friday in 1578, 1589, and 1595. Of these dates the first would be too early, the third too late, and thus we are limited to 1589. But this is as obviously unsatisfactory as the conclusion he draws from the curtail-

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