CHAPTER VI
LA FARCE D'UN PARDONNEUR, PARDONER AND FRIAR, THE FOUR PP

TEXTS. I cite from the modern reprint of the farce ( Ancien thçàtre françois, ii. 50-63) with marginal readings in square brackets from the text in the British Museum collection. Negligible editorial alterations are not noted.

I cite from the Tudor facsimile text of Pardoner and friar, with page references to Farmer's collected edition, and from the text of Four PP in Manly's Specimens.

THE CONTENTIONS TO BE EXAMINED IN THIS CHAPTER ARE that the Farce d'un pardonneur was the source of Heywood's Pardoner and friar, and had some influence on his Four PP.

Pardoner and friar was printed by William Rastell in 1533. No earlier edition is known; but the reference ([A. iii], p. 9) to Leo X is strong evidence that it was written before his death in 1521. Reed suggests (p. 141) that it was probably written about 1519, on the ground that in 1517 Leo X 'had authorized the famous sale of indulgences' for the building of St. Peter's, and that such a play 'would be received with full popular approbation' at a time when his pardoners were becoming troublesome. The suggestion is tentative and seems to rest on a misconception. The St. Peter's bull, Liquet omnibus, was issued by Julius II in 1510,1 and farmed for some years, at first in Italy, and then, from the beginning of 1515, in various countries beyond the Alps.2 In 1517 John Tetzel began to farm it in Germany; but it seems never to have been promulgated at all in France or England.3 Indulgences were a regular feature of church discipline, and no doubt pardoners were busy enough in England at all times.4 Domestic inconvenience rather than

____________________
1
H. C. Lea, Auricular confession and indulgences ( London, 1896), iii. 74.
2
Ibid., p. 386; A. Vacant and E. Maginot, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, vii, pt. 2 ( 1923), cols. 1615 and 1618-9.
3
H. C. Lea, op cit., iii. 386, note 4 (at p. 387).
4
In 1514, for instance, an indulgence was offered to all who would visit an English cathedral church and contribute towards the building of Norham Castle ( Lea, op. cit., iii. 283); and Rymer Federa, etc. ( The Hague, 1739-45) vi, pt. 1, 59, records a papal letter of March in the same year requesting the king to permit the sale of an indulgence in England. St. Leonard's chapel, referred to in the play as lately destroyed by fire, has not been identified ( Reed, p. 141).

-70-

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French Farce & John Heywood
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Acknowledgments 7
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 11
  • Chapter I - The Family of Farce 13
  • Chapter II - The Matter of Farce 24
  • Chapter III - The Art of Farce 37
  • Chapter IV - The Case Stated 49
  • Chapter V - Pernet and John 56
  • Chapter VI - La Farce D'Un Pardonneur, Pardoner and Friar, the Four Pp 70
  • Chapter VII - Le Dialogue Du Fou Et Du Sage and Witty and Witless 87
  • Chapter VIII - A General Survey 97
  • Appendix A - List of Farces 121
  • Books Summarily Cited and Abbreviations 164
  • Index 169
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