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The entire title of the old quarto of this historical play is the following : 66 The Chronicle Historie of Perkin Warbeck. A strange truth. Acted (some times) by the Queenes Majesties Servants at the Phænix in Drurie-lane. Fide Honor.
London, printed by T. P. for Hugh Beeston, and are to be sold at his shop, neere the Castle in Cornehill, 1634.” In 1715 it was reprinted in octavo, to serve in the list of antidotes to the rebellion of that year, but was not then acted. In 1745, still greater ex. ertions were made to draw a parallel between the mock Duke of York and the unfortunate Charles Edward.
« There are now," says Oldys in his MS. notes to Langbaine, “ 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 John Ford's has got the start of them at Goodman's Fields. Macklin's was a silly per. formance, 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.” The latter play was never printed, and is not noticed in the Biographia Dramatica. With regard to Macklin's, the author of that work excuses its imperfections by informing us, " that it was the six weeks labour only of au actor, who, even in that short space, was often called from it by his profession ; and that the players, for the sake of dis. patch, had it to study act by act, just as it was blotted ; and that the only revisals it received from the brouillon to the press, were at the rehearsals of it."
Ford's play is founded upon the chronicles of the reign of Henry VII., and particularly upon the history of that monarch by the celebrated Lord Bacon, as appears from the beginning of
the following dedication. To the old quarto, five copies of recommendatory verses are prefixed, which will be found in the First Volume. The excellence of the piece must have insured it good reception, and the praises of such a man as Dr Donne were certainly not misapplied, though, from the words in the titlepage, 66 acted soine times,” we cannot infer that it obtained great popularity. The word may, however, be used in the very common sense of formerly, and, in this case, the play was pro. bably produced a considerable time before it was printed.
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 pent), I have endeavoured to personate a great attempt, and in it, a greater danger. In other labours you
* This accomplished nobleman 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 Baron Ogle and Viscount Mansfield in 1623. He continued in favour with Charles I., who created him Earl of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and, in 1638, 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 1664, and died twelve years after, at the advanced age of 84, loaded with ho.
He was not only a patron of playwrights, but also condescended to cultivate the dramatic muse himself, having produ. ced four comedies. But his lady exceeded him in the fertility of her imagination, having left to the world not less than twentyseven dramatic performances.
+ Alluding to the History of King Henry VII. by the great Lord Bacon.