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in Surrey, in May, 1605, and was buried, at his dying request, in the chancel of the church of that parish, leaving his wife, Anne, executrix of his will; with this proviso, however, that if he married again, John Heminges, Richard Burbage, William Sly, and Timothie Whithorne, should be his executors. His widow did marry again, and John Heminges immediately proved the will, on the 16th of May, 1607, and assumed the trust which Philips had reposed in him.
Was the successor of Tarleton. must needs remember Tarleton," says Heywood in his Apology for Actors, "in his time gracious with the queen his soveraigne, and in the people's general applause; to whom succeeded William Kempe, as well in the favour of her majestie, as in the opinion and good thoughts of the general audience." From the 4to editions of some of our author's plays, we learn that he was the original performer of Dogberry, in much Ado about Nothing, and of Peter, in Romeo and Juliet. From an old comedy, called The Return from Parnassus, we may collect that he was the original Justice Shallow; and the contemporary writers inform us that be usually acted the part of a clown, in which, like Tarleton, he was celebrated for his extemporal wit. Launcelot, in the Merchant of Venice; Touchstone, in As You Like It; Launce, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona; and the Grave-digger, in Hamlet, were, probably, also performed by this comedian. He was an author as well as an actor. So early as the year 1559, Kempe's comic talents seem to have been highly estimated; for an old pamphlet called An Almond for a Parrot, written by Thomas Nashe, is dedicated "to that most comicall and conceited cavaleire monsieur du Kempe, jestmonger, and vice gerent generall to the ghost of Dick Tarleton." From a passage in one of Decker's tracts, it may be presumed that this comedian was dead in the year 1609. In Braithwaite's Remains, 1618, he
is thus commemorated :
*Upon Kempe and his Morice, with his Epitaph, "Welcome from Norwich, Kempe: all joy to see Thy safe return moriscoed lustily.
But out, alas! how soone's thy morice done,
Then all thy triumphs fraught with strains of mirth, Shall be cag'd up within a chest of earth:
Shall be? they are; thou hast danc'd thee out of breath; And now must make thy parting dance with death."
This actor likewise played the part of a clown. He died before the year 1600. He is mentioned in an old book, called Humour's Ordinarie, where a Man may be verie merie and exceeding well used for Sixpence.
What meenes Singer then,
And Pope, the clowne, to speak so borish, when They counterfaite the clownes upon the stage?
Nothing is known of this performer, except that in the exhibition of the Seven Deadly Sins he represented the Earl of Warwick. He was certainly on the stage previously to the year 1588.
Is said by Roberts, the player, to have been a comedian; but he does not mention any authority for this assertion but stage tradition. In Webster's Duchess of Malfy, he originally acted the part of the Cardinal; and, as when that play was printed in 1623, another performer had taken the character, it is probable that he had retired from the stage before that time. He still, however, continued to have an interest in the theatre, being mentioned with the other players to whom a license was granted by Charles 1. in 1625. He had, probably, a considerable portion of the shares or property in the Globe and Blackfriars theatres. actor, as well as Heminges, lived in Aldermanbury. He is honourably noticed in Shakspeare's will, and was one of the editors of his dramas.
Was joined with Shakspeare in the license granted in 1603. He is introduced personally in the Induction to Marston's Malecontent, 1604; and from his there using an affected phrase of Osrick's in Hamlet, we may collect that he performed that part. He died before the year 1612.
Is said to have been an actor of a low class, having taken the part of Verges, in Much Ado
about Nothing: he, probably, acted such parts as required dry humour rather than splendid declamation. He was recognised as a fellow by Augustine Phillips, in 1605, and distinguished as a friend by a legacy of twenty shillings. He lived among the other players, and among the fashionable persons of that period, in Holywell-street. The exact date
of his death is unknown, but he was buried, says the register of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, on the 13th of March, 1618, three days before the great Burbage was laid in the same cemetery.
Was a principal performer in Shakspeare's plays. If the date on his picture in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, is accurate, he was born in 1576. Wright mentions in his Historia Histrionica, that “before the wars, he used to act the part of Falstaff with mighty applause" but, without doubt, he means during the reign of king Charles I. from 1625 to 1641. When our poet's King Henry IV. was first exhibited, Lowin was but twenty-one years old; it is, therefore, probable that Heminges, or some other actor, originally represented the fat knight, and that several years afterwards the part was given to Lowin. Roberts, the player, informs us, that he also performed King Henry VIII. and Hamlet; but with respect to the latter, his account is certainly erroneous, since it appears from more ancient writers, that Joseph Taylor was the first representative of that character. Lowin is introduced in the Induction to Marston's Malecontent, and he and Taylor are noticed in a copy of verses, written in the years 1632, soon after the appearance of Jonson's Magnetic Lady, as the two most
esteemed actors of that time:
"Let Lowin cease, and Taylor scorn to touch
The leathed stage, for thou hast made it such."
Though Heminges and Condell had an interest in the theatre to the time of their death, yet they ceased to act about the year 1623; and, in the next year, Lowin and Taylor took the management. After the theatres were suppressed, Lowin became miserably poor; and, in his later years, he kept an inn, the Three Pigeons at Brentford. He died in London, aged eightythree, and was buried in the ground belonging to the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, March 18, 1658.
This actor was, probably, dead before the year 1600; for Heywood, who had himself written for the stage before that time, says he had never seen him.
It appears that this actor was the heroine of the stage, even before the year 1588. He acted as a woman in Jonson's Sejanus, and in The Fox; and it is thence reasonably supposed, that he represented the lighter females of Shakspeare's dramas. Alexander Cooke was recollected as a fellow by Augustine Philips, and distinguished as an intimate by a legacy.
SAMUEL GILBURNE, unknown.
Performed in The Alchymist, in 1610, and was alive in 1611, some verses having been addressed to him in that year by John Davies of Hereford, from which he appears to have occasionally performed the part of the clown or fool:
"To honest, gamesome, Robert Armine,
Who tickles the spleene like a harmless vermin." "Armine, what shall I say of thee, but this, Thou art a fool and knave; both ?—fie, I miss, And wrong thee much; sith thou indeed art neither, Although in shew thou playest both together."
He was the author of a comedy called The Two Maids of More-clack, 1609; also of a book called A Nest of Ninnies, simply of themselves without Compound, 1608; and, at Stationers' Hall, was entered, in the same year, a book called Phantasm, the Italian Taylor, and his Boy, made by Mr. Armin, servant to his majesty. He was certainly one of the Lord Chamberlain's Players at the accession of king James, and was received, with greater actors, into the royal company. As a fellow, Armin was kindly remembered by Philips, who left him a legacy of twenty shillings.
Had been one of the Children of the Chapel, having acted in Jonson's Poetaster, together with Field and Underwood, in 1601, and is said to have performed women's parts. In
1610, both he and Underwood acted as men in Jonson's Alchymist. In Davies's Scourge of Folly, there are some verses addressed to him with this title: "To the Roscius of these times, William Ostler." He acted Antonio, in Webster's Duchess of Malfy, in 1623; but the period of his death is uncertain.
AND JOHN UNDERWOOD.
Both these actors had been Children of the Chapel; and, probably, at the Globe and Blackfriars theatres, performed female parts. Field, when he became too manly to take the characters of women, played the part of Bussy d'Ambois, in Chapman's play of that name. From the preface to one edition of it, it appears that he
was dead in 1641.
Nothing more is known of John Underwood but that he performed the part of Delio, in The Duchess of Malfy, and that he died about the year 1624.
Was one of the unnamed associates of Shakspeare, Burbage, and Heminges, at the Globe, and was one of the original actors in our bard's dramas. He, too, represented women, as early as 1589, and acted Rodope, in Tarleton's Platt of the Seven Deadlie Sinns. He performed in the Alchymist, in the year 1610. Tooley, from some expressions in his will, seems to have been the servant or apprentice of Burbage, to whose last testament he was a witness. Tooley made his own will on the 3d of June, 1623; he died soon after, in the house of Cuthbert Burbage, in Holywell-street; to whose wife, Elizabeth, the testator left a legacy of ten pounds, "as a remembrance of his love, in respect of ner motherly care of him." Tooley was a most benevolent man; while he bustled in the world he did many kind acts, and when be could no longer perform, he gave considerable legacies to the poor of St. Leonard's Shoreditch, and St. Giles's Cripplegate, which administer to the comfort of the needy even to the present
All we know of this actor is from Ben Jonson's Alchymist, in which his name occurs, in the year
1610. It is highly probable, however, that be performed in our author's plays.
According to Downes, the prompter, he was instructed by Shakspeare to play Hamlet; and Wright, in his Historia Histrionica, says, “He performed that part incomparably well." From the remembrance of his performance of Hamlet, sir William Davenant is said to have conveyed his instructions to Mr. Betterton. He likewise played lago, and is highly commended by various contemporary authors. In the year 1614, Taylor was at the head of a distinct company of players, called The Lady Elizabeth's Servants, but he soon returned to his old friends; and after the deaths of Burbage, Heminges, and Condell, became manager of the King's Company, in conjunction with Lowin and Swanston. In September, 1639, he was appointed Yeoman of the Revels in Ordinary to his Majesty, in the room of Mr. William Hunt; there were certain perquisites annexed to this office, and a salary of sixpence a day. When he was in attendance upon the king, he had a salary of 31. 6s. 8d. per month. Taylor died in the year 1653, and was buried at Richmond. must have been nearly seventy years of age at his death. He is said by some to have painted the portrait of Shakspeare, now in the possession of the duke of Chandos; but, if genuine, it is much more likely that Burbage was the artist, for there is a picture in Dulwich College, which he is known to have painted.
Was but a second-rate actor. He acted the King, in the Deserving Favourite; Ladialaus, in The Picture; and Junius Rusticus, in The Roman Actor. He was living in 1647, being one of the players who signed the dedication to the folio edition of Fletcher's plays, published in that year.
This actor performed female characters: in the Seven Deadly Sins he played Aspatia; but in 1611 he had arrived to an age which entitled him to represent male parts; for in The Second Maiden's Tragedie, which was produced in that year, he performed the Tyrant.
Acted in Jonson's Cataline in 161; and from a passage in The Devil is an Ass, 1616, it appears that at that period he usually took female characters
The merriest supper of it there, one night
To a gossip's feast: now he, sir, brought Dick Robinson
he performed the Marquis of Pescara, an inconsiderable part in The Duchess of Malfy. He was, perhaps, the brother of Stephen Rice, who is mentioned in the will of John Heminges.
We have thus enumerated all those performers who appear, with any certainty, to have distinguished themselves in the original productions of Shakspeare's dramas. Of their real merits it is impossible to speak; yet some of them, doubtless, particularly Burbage, Taylor, and Lowin, were very excellent actors; and though the mechanical part of stage representations was, in their time, extremely imperfect, we may be certain that they were able to furnish the public of that age with an entertainment highly acceptable. The drama, indeed, was much more a national pastime then than at present, for it furnished a source of delight to all ranks, and was highly patronised. In our own more enlightened age, dicing, boxing, and horse-racing have superseded, among the higher classes, the antiquated attractions of that stage, which Shakspeare, Jonson, and Massinger Nothing is known of this player, except that illustrated by their transcendent genius.
In The Second Maiden's Tragedie he performed the Lady of Govianus. In The Deserving Favourite, 1629, he played Orsino; and in The Wild Goose Chase, Le Castre. Hart, the celebrated actor, was originally his boy or apprentice. In the civil wars he served in the king's army, and was killed in an engagement by Harrison, who was afterwards hanged at Charing-cross. Harrison refused him quarter after he had laid down his arms, and shot him in the head, saying at the same time, Cursed is he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently."
Fac-Simile of an ancient Engraving
The Red Bull Theatre.
Little more of this theatre is known than that it formerly stood on a plot of ground, called till within these twenty years, Red Bull Yard, near the upper end of St. John Street, Clerkenwell,
During the civil wars, it was much reputed for the representations of Drolls, to a collection of which pieces, published by Francis Kirkman in 1672, the annexed view forms a frontispiece. This relique derives much interest from its throwing some light on the interior economy of the ancient theatres. The figures on the stage are supposed to be portraits of the popular actors in these drolls. The one playing Simpleton is known tobe Robert Cox, then a great favourite, of whom the publisher thus speaks in his preface: "I have seen the Red Bull Playhouse, which was a large one, so full, that as many went back for want of room as had entered. Robert Cox, a principal actor and contriver of these pieces, how I have heard him cryed up for his, John Swabber, and Simpleton the Smith: in which latter, he being to appear with a large piece of bread and butter on the stage, I have frequently known some of the female spectators to long for it."
The following Table contains the Name, Situation, and Time of Erection of
the Theatres on which the preceding Actors appeared.
N.B. The above were exclusive of ST. PAUL'S SCHOOL, and other occasional theatres. Of the more modern theatres, the PORTUGAL STREET THEATRE was opened 1695; COVENT GARDEN in 1733; GOODMAN'S FIELDS in 1729; and the HAYMARKET near the same time.