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Title: Memoranda on Shakespeare's Tempest chiefly with reference to the probable date of the composition of that romantic drama




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      Dryden gives us two interesting pieces of information respecting the comedy of the Tempest,--the first, that it was acted at the Blackfriars' Theatre; the second, that it was successful. His words are,--"the play itself had formerly been acted with success in the Black-Fryers," Preface to the Tempest, or the Enchanted Island, a Comedy, as it is now Acted at his Highness the Duke of York's Theatre, ed. 1670. If this means that the comedy was originally produced at the Blackfriars' Theatre, it may be concluded that it appeared after the Children had left that establishment. The Tempest is alluded to in a list of "some of the most ancient plays that were played at Blackfriars," a manuscript dated in December, 1660.
      The notice of the performance of the Tempest in November, 1611, is not to be lightly rejected. If it is really a forgery, it is one framed by the most consummate ingenuity, widely different from the Revels' notices of 1604-5, which are clumsy and evident deceptions so far as the writing is concerned. The texts of both manuscripts are, I am convinced, substantially genuine. If both are forgeries, they must have been taken from some old transcripts. Malone was certainly acquainted with both lists many years before the period to which the forgeries can be attributed. Speaking of the Tempest, in the Account of the Incidents, 1809, p. 39, he distinctly says,--"I know that it had a being and a name in the / p.6 / autumn of 1611." Malone was not the kind of critic to use these decisive words, unless he had possessed absolute contemporary evidence of the fact.
      On the 8th of January, 1605-6, John Trundell entered "the Picture of Nobodye" on the book-registers of the Stationers' Company. Can this be the first edition of some broadside alluded to by Trinculo in the second scene of the third act?
      That the Tempest was originally produced before the Court may perhaps be inferred from the circumstance that Robert Johnson, one of the King's Musicians, was the composer of the music to Full Fathom Five and Where the Bee Sucks, the melodies of which, though re-arranged, are preserved in Wilson's Cheerfull Ayres or Ballads set for three Voices, 4to, Oxford, 1660. Johnson is mentioned, in the accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber for the year 1616, as "one of his Majesties Musicions for the lutes"; and his name occurs as "one of his Majestie's musitians" in a manuscript in the Lord Chamberlain's Office, dated June 22nd, 2 Charles I. Mr. Alfred Roffe, in an interesting article in Notes and Queries, has pretty well demonstrated that the melodies in Wilson's book above alluded to were the original ones by Johnson. "It seemed to be very unlikely," he observes, "that, if Dr. Wilson had newly composed these songs, he should put the name of Robert Johnson to them simply because he also had once composed the same words. That Dr. Wilson by set merely meant arranged, seems to be raised into something like certainty by examining his title-page more carefully,--Cheerful Ayres or Ballads first composed for one single voice and since set for three voices. Thus, it would appear that the work consists of what we should now call / p.7 / Song, harmonized for three voices, and that Dr. Wilson retained, to five out of some seventy songs, the names of Robert Johnson and of Nicholas Lamere, for the very simple reason that the melodies were theirs."
      The Tempest was one of the dramas selected early in the year 1613 for representation before Prince Charles, the Lady Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine Elector. The introduction of the masque in the fourth act affords some ground for the conjecture that the comedy was originally written expressly for its performance before the Court.
      It may be worth notice that, in ed. 1613 of Florio's translation, partitions is found instead of dividences and dissimulations for dissimulation.
      "In the Bermudos, upon which iland the Spaniardes, affrighted and dismaied with the frequencie of hurricanes which they ever mette about that place, durst not adventur, but calle it daemonorum insulam. But from this iland of develles our men have sene some amber and some seede perles for an assaie, which the devilles of the Bermudos love not better to retaine then the angeles of Castile doo to recover," MS. temp. Jac.I.
      The mention of the Bermudas is no evidence, as some have supposed, in the question of the chronology. "The sea about the Bermudas, a hellish sea for thunder, lightning and stormes," Hakluyt's Voyages, 1598.
      "It is curious," observes Waldron, "that Shakespeare should have so erred against the known laws and customs of nations as to couple the daughter of a Christian King with a Mahometan." Shakespeare evidently cared little for special accuracy in such / p.8 / matters. The blunder was most likely occasioned by the original foundation-novel.
      The "dead Indian" is supposed by Steevens to refer to the individual brought to England by Sir Martin Frobisher. The frontispiece to the present little volume is a representation of this Indian in his boat, and is taken from an engraving published in the year 1580.

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[In handwriting:]
Twenty Copies Only.
Number Nine.
J. O. H.-P.