The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

XIII. Lesser Elizabethan Dramatists


For the titles of early impressions of extant plays by lesser Elizabethan dramatists, see Greg’s List of Plays; while fuller information is supplied in Fleay’s English Drama and in his Chronicle of the Stage, from which present-day research in this field may be said to have started. Henslowe’s Diary provides a critical list of the plays (chap. III) and of the persons (chap. II) mentioned in the diary. The Stationers’ register, of course, is a most important source of information. The most recent bibliographical learning is supplied by the Bibliographical Essay and List of Plays in vol. II of Schelling’s Elizabethan Drama.

Since the more important among the old dramatists have been separately edited by modern scholars, the plays of lesser dramatists have been more largely included in the collections of plays published from time to time, of which the most important are mentioned in the General Bibliography. See Carpenter, F. J., Metaphor and Simile in the Minor Elizabethan Drama. Chicago, 1895.


The Monarchicke Tragedies. By William Alexander of Menstrie. 1604. [Contains: The Tragedie of Croesus. The Tragedie of Darius.] Other eds., 1607, 1616 and 1637, include Croesus, Darius, The Alexandraean, Julius Caesar.

The Tragedie of Darius. Edinburgh, 1603.

His Poetical Works were published in 3 vols., with a memoir, Glasgow 1870–2. See, also, Beumelburg, H., Sir William Alexander, Graf von Stirling, als dramatischer Dichter, Halle, 1880.


The Tragedy of Hoffman or A Revenge for a Father, As it hath bin divers times acted with great applause, at the Phenix in Druery-lane. Extant in a very corrupt quarto printed 1631. This was edited, with an introduction by Leonard, H. B., in 1852, and, again, by Ackerman, R., Bamberg, 1894.

For an article on Hoffman and Hamlet, see Delius, N., in Shakesp. Jahrb., vol. IX, 1874.


Tragedie of Cleopatra. Printed with Delia and Rosamond augmented. 1594. Other eds. 1595, 1598; and in Daniel’s collections of his poetry, 1599, 1601, 1705, etc.

Ed. Grosart, A. B., vol. III, Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Samuel Daniel (Huth Library), Blackburn, 1883–96.

Certaine Small Poems Lately Printed: with the Tragedie of Philotas. Written by Samuel Daniel. 1605, and in succeeding editions of Daniel’s works, of which, The Whole Workes of Samuel Daniel Esquire in Poetrie, 1623, is the most important.

Ed. by Grosart, A. B. Complete Works, vol. III.

As to Samuel Daniel’s other works, see bibliography to Vol. IV, Chap. VII, and to Vol. VI, Chap. XIII.


The Blind-Begger Of Bednal-Green, With The merry humor of Tom Strowd the Norfolk Yeoman, as it was divers times publickly acted by the Princes Servants. Written by John Day. 1659.

Rptd. in Bang’s Materialien, vol. I, and in Bullen, A. H., Complete Works of John Day with introduction and notes, 1881.

As to Day’s other works, see bibliography to Vol. VI, Chap. IX.


For general bibliography of Drayton’s works, see bibliography to Vol. IV, Chap. X.

On Drayton, consult An Introduction to Michael Drayton by Elton, O., Spenser Soc. Publ., Manchester, 1895, and Whitaker, L., Michael Drayton as a Dramatist, Pennsylvania Thesis, 1903.


Certaine Learned and Elegant Workes of the Right Honorable Fulke, Lord Brooke, Written in his Youth, and familiar exercise with Sir Philip Sidney. 1633. [Contains Alaham and Mustapha.]

The Tragedy of Mustapha. 1609.

Fulke Greville’s Works have been edited by Grosart, A. B., 1870. The most recent discussion of his poetry is in Croll, M. W., The Works of Fulke Greville, Pennsylvania Thesis, 1903.

As to Fulke Greville’s other works, see bibliography to Vol. III, Chap. XII, and Vol. IV, Chap. IX.


English-Men For my Money: Or, A pleasant Comedy, called A Woman will have her Will. 1616. Other eds. 1626, 1631.

Rptd. in Old English Drama, vol. I, and in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vol. X.

Grim the Collier of Croyden; or, The Devil and his Dame: with the Devil and Saint Dunston. By I. T. Printed in the year [1662].

Rptd. in Ancient B. D., vol. III, and in Reed’s and in Collier’s Dodsley, vol. XI, and in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vol. VIII.


As to Thomas Kyd’s Cornelia, ptd. in 1594 and 1595, see bibliography to Chap. VII ante.


Among Munday’s plays, Fedele and Fortunio has been quite recently found. The play is entered in the Stationers’ register, under date 12 November, 1584, as “Fedele et Fortuna. The deceiptes in love Discoursed in a Commedia of ii Italyan gent[lemen] and translated into Englishe.” The Literature of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Illustrated by Reprints of very rare Tracts by Halliwell[-Phillipps], J. O., 1851, contains, in no. 2, extracts from The pleasaunt and fine conceited Comoedie of two Italian Gentlemen with the merie devises of Captaine Crack-stone. Collier, vol. III, p. 61, states that the running title of the play is The Two Italian Gentlemen, and quotes the Dedication which is signed A.M., and some lines which are not in Halliwell’s extracts. From Collier’s language, it seems clear that he saw and examined the two copies of which he speaks. One of these came, apparently, from the British Museum, but is not there now.

A copy has, however, been discovered in the Duke of Devonshire’s library at Chatsworth and reprinted by Flügge, F., in Herrig’s Archiv, vol. CXXIII, vol. XXIII of New Series, parts 1 and 2, 1909. It is the copy without the dedication and lacks a page or thereabouts of the conclusion. It contains 1694 lines. The Italian original, also, has been discovered by Keller, W. and Smith, G. C. Moore, as related in Shakesp. Jahrb., vol. XLV, 1909. This original is, Il Fedele. Comedia Del Clarissimo M. Luigi Pasquiligo. Venice. The British Museum copy is dated 1579, but the dedication has the date 1575.

This full text of the play makes clear its importance. It is a modification of Italian romantic comedy which has obvious affinities with Shakespeare’s early comedies, and in its frequent use of the six-lined stanza appears to have influenced his poem Venus and Adonis. Munday’s originality as a translator is considerable. He turns the Italian prose into lyrical work which often has real merit and poetical power. It need no longer perplex the critic that Munday was the “Shepherd Tony” of England’s Helicon.

Of Munday’s other extant plays, John a Kent and John a Cumber (which is preserved in manuscript) was edited for the Shakespeare Society in 1851 by Collier, with some other tracts by Munday. In Henslowe’s diary, Munday’s signature is “invariably in Henslowe’s hand” (W. W. Greg’s ed., vol. I, p. XXXV), therefore, we cannot confirm the probability that the scribe of our MS. is Munday. There is a date at the end, “Decembris, 1595,” in a handwriting of the time, but not that of the rest of the book. See Madden, F., Anthony Mundy, Notes and Queries, Ser. I, vol. IV, pp. 55–56; and Collier, J. P., John a Kent and John a Cumber, ibid. p. 83.

The Downfall of Robert, Earle of Huntington, Afterward called Robin Hood of merrie Sherwodde: with his love to chaste Matilda, the Lord Fitzwaters Daughter, afterwarde his faire Maide Marian. Acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Nothingham, Lord high Admirall of England, his servants. 1601.

Rptd. by Collier, J. P., 1828, and in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vol. VIII.

(With Chettle.) The Death of Robert, Earle of Huntington. Otherwise called Robin Hood of merrie Sherwodde: with the lamentable Tragedie of chaste Matilda, his faire maid Marian, poysoned at Dunmowe by King John. Acted by the Right Honourable the Earle of Nothingham, Lord high Admirall of England, his servants. 1601.

Rptd. by Collier, J. P., 1828, and in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vol. VIII.

For the sources of these two plays, consult Ruckdeschel, A., Die Quellen des Dramas The Downfall and the Death of Robert, Earle of Huntington, otherwise called Robin Hood, Erlangen, 1897.


The Pleasant Historie of the two angrie women of Abington. With the humorous mirth of Dicke Coomes and Nicolas Proverbes, two Servingmen. As it was lately playde by the right Honorable the Earle of Nottingham, Lord High Admirall, his servants. By Henry Porter, Gent. 1599.

Ed. Dyce, A., Mercy Soc. Publ., vol. V, 1841; rptd. in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vol. VII, 1874; ed. Ellis, Havelock, in Nero and other Plays, Mermaid Series, 1888; and ed. Gayley, C. M., in Gayley’s R. E. C.


When you see me, You know me. Or the famous Chronicle Historie of king Henry the eight, with the birth and vertuous life of Edward Prince of Wales. As it was playd by the high and mightie Prince of Wales his servants. By Samuell Rowly, servant to the Prince. 1605. Other eds. 1613, 1621 and 1632.

Ed. Elze, K., Dessau and London, 1874.

The Noble Souldier. Or, A Contract Broken, Justly Reveng’d. A Tragedy. Written by S. R.… Non est, Lex Justior Ulla Quam Nescis Artifices Arte perire sua. 1634.

Rptd. in Bullen’s Old English Plays, vol. I.


A Discourse of Life and Death. Written in French by Ph. Mornay. Antonius, A Tragoedie written also in French by Ro. Garnier Both done in English by the Countesse of Pembroke. 1592.

The latter was ptd. as The Tragedie of Antonie, in 1595; and ed. with introduction by Luce, A., in Literarhistorische Forschungen, vol. III, Weimar, 1897.


Two Lamentable Tragedies. The one, of the Murther of Maister Beech A Chaundler in Thames-streete, and his boye, done by Thomas Merry. The other of a Young childe murthered in a Wood by two Ruffins. with the consent of his Uncle. By Rob. Yarington. 1601.

Rptd. in Bullen’s Old English Plays, vol. IV.

Law, R. A. Yarington’s Two Lamentable Tragedies. Modern Language Review, April, 1910.


The Weakest goeth to the Wall. As it hath bene sundry times plaide by the right honourable Earle of Oxenford, Lord great Chamberlaine of England, his servants. 1600.

The 1618 ed. is rptd. in The Dramatic Works of John Webster, ed. Hazlitt, W. C., vol. IV, 1857.

A Pleasant Commodie called Looke about you. As it was lately played by the right honourable the Lord High Admirall his Servaunts. 1600.

Rptd. in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vol. VII.

A Warning for Faire Women. Containing The most Tragicall and Lamentable Murther of Master George Sanders, of London, Marchant, nigh Shooters Hill. Consented unto By his owne wife, acted by M. Browne, mistris Drewry, and Trusty Roger agents therein: with thier severall ends. As it hath beene lately diverse times acted by the right Honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his Servantes. 1599.

Rptd. in Simpson, vol. II.