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THE drama before the time of Shakspeare was so little cultivated, or so ill understood, that to many it may appear unnecessary to carry our theatrical researches higher than that period. Dryden has truly observed, that he “ found not, but created first the stage;" of which no one can doubt, who considers, that of all the plays issued from the press antecedent to the year 1592, when there is reason to believe he commenced a dramatick writer, the titles are scarcely known, except to antiquaries; nor is there one of them that will bear a second perusal. Yet these, contemptible and few as they are, we may suppose to have been the most popular productions of the time, and the best that had been exhibited before the appearance of Shakspeare.

1 There are but thirty-eight plays, (exclusive of mysteries, moralities, interludes, and translated pieces,) now, extant, written antecedent to, or in, the year 1592. Their titles are as follows:* Acolastus

1540 | Tancred and Gismund 1568 Ferrex and Porrex 1561 Cambyses, no date, but Damon and Pythias 1562 | probably written before 1570

* To this list may be added a piece hitherto mentioned in no catalogue, nor to be found in any library, except that of the Duke of Bridgewater, entitled, “ The rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune. Plaide before the Queene's most excellent Maiesty; wherein are manye fine conceites with Abingdon great delight. At London. Printed by E. A. for Edward White, and are to be solde at the little Northe doore of St. Paules Church, at the signe of the Gunne. 1589.” 4to. REED.

A minute investigation, therefore, of the origin

Appius and Virginia,} 1575 Midas

Soliman and Perseda

in or



Promos and Cassandra - 1578 Galathea
Arraignment of Paris |Arden of Feversham
Sappho and Phao

Orlando Furioso

1584 Alexander and Cam

Alphonsus King of Arpaspe

Misfortunes of Arthur - 1587 James IV. King of

Spanish Tragedy, or A Lookinglass for Lon-

Hieronimo is mad 1588 don and England

Friar Bacon and Friar Tamburlaine

Bungay Titus Andronicus

1589 Jew of Malta King Henry V. in or before 1589 Dr. Faustus Contention between the Edward II.

Houses of Yorke and Lust's Dominion Lancaster, in or before 1590 Massacre of Paris ,




King John in two parts } 1591 Dido

1593 Edward III.


Between the years 1592 and 1600, the following plays were printed or exhibited; the greater part of which, probably, were written before our author commenced play-wright: Cleopatra

Antonius Edward I. } 1593

1595 Battle of Alcazar

Wily Beguiled Wounds of Civil War

Woman in the Moon 1597 Selymus, Emperor of Mucedorus the Turks

The virtuous Octavia Cornelia

Blind Beggar of AlexMother Bombie


1598 The Cobler's Prophecy Every Man in his Hu

1594 The Wars of Cyrus King Leir

Pinner of Wakefield
Taming of a Shrew

Warning for fair Wo-
An old Wives Tale
Maid's Metamorphoses David and Bethsabe

1599 Live's Metamorphoses Two angry Women of Pedler's Prophecy



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