Notes to the Introduction
NOTE 1 Legge also began work on a second trilogy, Solymitana Clades, a dramatization of Josephus’ history of the Jewish Wars. But for some reason he ceased work on it before any but the first play in the cycle was brought to a performable state.
NOTE 2 A play entitled Julius Caesar may have been presented at Court in 1561, and an anonymous Massinissa and Sophonisba was produced there in 1565. The Windsor Boys performed several classical dramas at Court: Quintus Fabius in 1574, King Xerxes in 1575, Mutius Scaevola in 1577. In 1578 Stephen Gosson’s Catiline’s Conspiracies was acted in London by Leicester’s men, and in 1580 a Scipio Africanus was produced at Court.
NOTE 3 The sole academic history play prior to Legge was the Marcus Geminus, about the reign of Alexander Severus, produced during the Queen’s 1566 visit to Oxford. But since this is a lost work, we have no way of knowing if it (or any of these other lost early plays) followed the standard practice of the later Tudor history drama in dramatizing the narrative of a great historian.
NOTE 4 I am unqualifiied to form an opinion about possible influence on a seventeenth-century Dutch play about Richard III, but for channels by which Legge’s work could easily have spread to the Netherlands cf. my “Justus Lipsius to Thomas Legge, January 1, 1585,” Humanistica Lovaniensia 40 (1991) 275 - 81.
NOTE 5 Modern style (as are all dates in this edition).
NOTE 6 Bodleian ms. Top. Oxon. e. 5, fol. 359. Cf. Frederick S. Boas, University Drama in the Tudor Age (Oxford, 1914, repr. New York, 1966) 163 - 5. Possible inþuence on Shakespeare has been appraised variously: it is entirely discounted by Boas, but cf. John Semple Smart, Shakespeare Truth and Tradition (London, 1928) 179 - 82, a view endorsed by C. F. Tucker Brooke, “The Life and Times of William Gager (1555 - 1622),” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 95 (1951) 415.
NOTE 7 Our playwright’s name is variously spelled both in contemporary and modern sources as Gwin, Gwinn, Gwinne, Gwyn, Gwynn, and Gwynne; the form Gwinne appears on Nero’s title page.
NOTE 8 For evident verbal echoes of Richardus Tertius in Nero, see Commentary notes on lines 112ff,, 2055, 3721, and 3726. In each case, admittedly, the possibility exists that both writers echo some common source I have not been able to identify.
NOTE 9 A fair amount of nonsense has been written about Richard Tertius’ alleged poor structural organization by those who failed to appreciate that it is a trilogy rather than a single play. In the light of this observation, at least some of its alleged faults are nonexistent.
NOTE 10 Such a criticism of Gwinne was expressed by Leicester Bradner, “The Latin Drama of the Renaissance, ca. 1340 - 1640,” in Studies in the Renaissance 4 (1957) 48.
NOTE 11 As this document otherwise consists of little more than the tediously elaborate þattery so dear to James, it is not reproduced in this edition.
NOTE 12 This idea is discussed by Eleanor Rosenberg, Leicester, Patron of Letters (New York, 1952) 59 - 64. For its embodiment in Shakespeare, cf. E. M. W. Tillyard, Shakespeare’s History Plays (New York, 1946).
NOTE 13 Nero’s printing history will be described at the end of this Introduction.
NOTE 14 Jahrbuch der Deutschen Shakespeare-Gesellshaft 35 (1898) 266 - 71.
NOTE 15 Egon Mühlbach, Die englischen Nerodramen des XVII. Jahrhunderts (Weida, 1910) 16f.
NOTE 16 Felix E. Schelling, Elizabethan Drama 1558 - 1642 (Boston - New York, 1908) II.28; Leicester Bradner, loc. cit.
NOTE 17 J. W. Binns, “Seneca and Neo-Latin Tragedy in England,” in C. D. N. Costa (ed.), Seneca (London, 1974) 215 - 24. See also Binns’ Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: The Latin Writing of the Age (Leeds, 1990) 132 - 6.
NOTE 18 Matthew Gwinne, Nero (Printed 1603), Prepared with an Introduction by Heinz-Deiter Leidig (Renaissance Latin Drama in England Series, vol. I.13, Hildesheim, 1983).
NOTE 19 Sources for this biographical sketch are John Ward, The Lives of the Professors of Gresham College (London, 1740, repr. New York, 1967) 260 - 65; Anthony à Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (ed. Philip Bliss, London, 1813 - 20, reprinted Hildesheim, 1969) II.415 - 18; Joseph Fowler, Alumni Oxonienses ( London, 1891 - 2, repr. Nendeln, 1968) III.624; the article in the Dictionary of National Biography.
NOTE 20 P. 260.
NOTE 21 A painting in the National Portrait Gallery, London, shows an expiring Unton surrounded by his physicians; they are not particularized to the point that we can wonder whether any one of these figures was meant to represent Gwinne.
NOTE 22 Ward, p. 264.
NOTE 23 The doubts about the date of his death expressed by Ward were effectively answered in the course of the biographical notice by William Munk, The Roll of the Royal College of Physicians of London (second edition, London, 1878) I.118 - 21.
NOTE 24 Robert Burton included an amusing lampoon of this common practice in his comedy Philosophaster (acted 1617): see p. 146 of Paul Jordan-Smith’s edition (Palo Alto, 1931, repr. New York, 1977), in which the lines are not numbered.
NOTE 25 Cf. William A. Ringler, Jr., The Poems of Sir Philip Sidney (Oxford, 1962) 531ff.
NOTE 26 Frances A. Yates, John Florio (Cambridge U. K., 1934) 221f.; in the course of this study Yates provides a number of other glimpses of Gwinne: cf. the index s. v.
NOTE 27 Specifically, of Gager’s Rivales and Hutten’sBellum Grammaticale. We also have record of Gwinne participating in an academic disputation before the Queen on this occasion, but it would not seem that this activity had anything to do with his membership on the committee.
NOTE 28 Cf. the account from Rex Platonicus quoted by Ward, p.163.\
NOTE 29 Both items may be seen, in photographic reproduction of the original printed version (also issued by Blount) in Vertumnus sive Annus Recurrens (Printed 1607), Tres Sibyllae (Printed 1607) Prepared with an Introduction by Alexander Cizek (Renaissance Latin Drama in England Series, vol. I.5, Hildesheim, 1983). Cf. Henry N. Paul, The Royal Play of Macbeth (New York, 1971) Chapter I, the most recent author to have argued that Shakespeare was present at Oxford during the King’s visit. Robert Burton co-authored another comedy produced on this occasion, the lost Alba: cf. Richard L. Nochimson at Review of English Studies n. s. 21 (1970) 325 - 31.
NOTE 30 From the way that Gwinne variously cites Dio and Xiphilinus in his abundant sidenotes, it does not seem that he fully grasped that these sources were one and the same.
NOTE 31 For this latter cf. David Womersley, “Sir Henry Savile’s Translation of Tacitus and the Political Interpretation of Elizabethan Texts,” Review of English Studies 42 (1991) 313 - 42.This translation, allegedly printed by Joseph Barnes at Oxford, was in all probability a London job.
NOTE 32 As perhaps did William Fulbecke in his similar continuation of Livy, printed in 1601.
NOTE 33 And in each of the first three acts the murder involves a banquet: those at which Claudius and Britannicus are poisoned, and the spurious banquet to which Agrippina is invited as a way of luring her to her destruction.
NOTE 34 The Elizabethans liked long plays no less than long sermons. This is at least one of the reasons why William Gager and some of the translators of plays in the Seneca His Tenne Tragedies collection wrote extra scenes to pad out Seneca’s tragedies.
NOTE 35 Op. cit. 9.
NOTE 37 Cf. Mühlbach, op. cit. 7 - 14 and Gerard Walter, Nero (Paris, 1955) Appendix VI.
NOTE 38 When I was a doctoral student one of my professors, Viktor Pöschl, who had recently delivered his Berkeley Sather Lectures on Tacitus (which, regrettably, for some reason he never published), remarked that a pervasive weakness of Tacitus and most other ancient historians was a fundamental inability to grasp the concept that personality changes over time.
NOTE 38 Op. cit. 9.
NOTE 39 I do not mean to convey that Nero is unique among University plays for its horrors. It finds matches in such other items as Thomas Legge’s Solymitana Clades (never produced) and William Alabaster’s Roxana (ca. 1595). Surely this relish for atrocitas, like such other elements as music, dance, and extravagant stage spectacle, reflects the influence of the London popular stage on academic drama.
NOTE 40 Each of these sound-effects is also used, individually or in combination with others, in situations not involving balanced constructions.
NOTE 41 This and a couple of the other examples cited in this section simultaneously illustrates another feature of Euphuism: the use of very compressed aphorisms expressed as pointed antitheses.
NOTE 42 One might call this “jingling” but I prefer to reserve that term for the use of words with like-sounding endings.
NOTE 43 For Euphuism and related “anti-Ciceronian” styles, cf. such works as Albert Feuillerat, John Lyly (Cambridge U. K., 1910), George Williamson, The Senecan Amble (Chicago, 1951), and M. W. Croll, Style, Rhetoric, and Rhythm (Princeton, 1966), and Gilbert Highet, The Classical Tradition (Oxford, 1957) 322ff.
NOTE 44 Cf. William Ringler, “The Immediate Source of Euphuism,” PMLA 53 (1938) 678 - 86. Cf. also Lawrence D. Green, John Rainolds’ Oxford Lectures on Aristotle’s Rhetoric (Newark, N. J., 1986) 76 - 8. But it is likelier that the most important stylistic inþuence on Gwinne was his friend John Florio, who also cultivated the euphuism (Yates, op. cit. 40f. and 51 - 3).
NOTE 45 Admittedly, his suggestion may be overoptimistic, since Gwinne cultivates this same style in the other prose and poetry of his mature years.
NOTE 46 A. H. Bullen, A Collection of Old Plays (London, 1882 - 89, reprinted New York, 1964) I.3 - 98. The lines of the text are unnumbered. Cf. also Herbert P. Horne, Nero and Other Plays (London, 1903). The most detailed examination of this play remains Mühlbach, op. cit. 21 - 39. An anonymous pot-boiler entitled The Tragedy of Nero, Romes Greatest Tyrant printed in 1607, is about the emperor Tiberius.
NOTE 47 The 1624 play goes over just about the same narrative ground as is handled in Gwinne’s Act V, although sometimes quite differently.
NOTE 48 The Gager-Rainolds controversy has generated a large literature. First, source documents. Momus and an immediately following Epilogus Responsivus, and his letter to Rainolds of July 31, 1592 are available in the Philological Museum. Rainolds printed his own side of the correspondance, and some of Gentili’s, in Th’ Overthrow of Stage-Players (Middleburgh, Holland, 1599), photographically reproduced with an introduction by J. W. Binns, New York, 1972; also reprinted with an introduction by Arthur Freeman, New York, 1974). Some (but not all) of the Gentili-Rainolds correspondance has also been edited by John Marcowicz, Latin Correspondence by Alberico Gentili and John Rainolds on Academic Drama (Salzburg Studies in English Literature: Elizabethan and Renaissance Studies 68, Salzburg, 1977) and the unedited remainder is preserved in Corpus Christi College (Oxford) ms. 352; Gentili got the last word with de Actoribus et Spectatoribus Fabularum non Notandis Disputatio (the first item in his Disputationes Duae, printed at Hanover in 1599); he had already put his views in print in Commentatio ad l. III. C. de Prof. et Med. (Oxford, 1593) pp. 248 - 50.
Secondary studies include Frederick S. Boas, “A Defence of Oxford Plays and Players,” Fortnightly Review 88 (August, 1907) 309 - 19, and University Drama in the Tudor Age (Oxford, 1914, repr. New York, 1966) 220 - 51; Karl Young, “An Elizabethan Defense of the Stage,” Shakespeare Studies by Members of the Department of English of the University of Wisconsin (Madison, 1916) 103 - 24; J. W. Binns, “Alberico Gentili in Defense of Poetry and Acting,” Studies in the Renaissance 19 (1972) 224 - 72, and “Women or Transvestites on the Elizabethan Stage?: An Oxford Controversy,” Sixteenth Century Journal 5 no. 2 (1974) 95 - 120; D. Panizza, Alberico Gentili, Giurista Ideologo nell’ Inghilterra Elisabettiana (Padova, 1981) 55 - 78; Stephen Orgel, “Nobody’s Perfect: On Why Did the English Stage Take Boys for Women,” South Atlantic Quarterly 88 (1989) 7 - 29; and Binns, op. cit. 1990, 350 - 4. I have discussed the controversy in the Introduction to his letter to Rainolds.
NOTE 49 Th’ Overthrow p. 22.
NOTE 50 Gwinne does not explicitly credit this view to his opponent, but from the amount of time he spends on citing Roman precedent this does not seem an unfair inference. Rainolds also found comfort in a Deuteronomy injunction against transvestitism.
NOTE 51 Owned by Corpus Christi College, reproduced at James McConica (ed.), The Collegiate University (Oxford, 1986), Plate XVIa. The alternative is perhaps to think the portrait shows him already in the grip of the consumption destined to kill him in 1607.
NOTE 52 On the basis of the preface to his Sex Theses de Sacra Scriptura et Ecclesia (1584) Fraser, op. cit. 9, shows that Rainolds’ hostility towards actors was only an aspect of a more general mislike of the theater. In his Histrio-Mastrix (1633) William Prynne alleged Rainold’s Th’ Overthrow as one of the authorities who “have expresly condemned and prohibited Christians to pen, to print, to sell, to read, or Schoole-masters and others to teach any amorous wanton Play-bookes, Histories, or Heathen Authors, especially Ovids wanton Epistles and Bookes of love; Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, Martiall, the Comedies of Plautus, Terence, and other such amorous Bookes” (p. 916, citing Th’ Overthrow pp. 122f.). In fact, Rainolds had only recommended banning Plautus and Terence from the schoolroom, but Prynne’s use of his passage to authorize press censorship is only another step down the road marked out.
NOTE 53 “The Life and Times of William Gager” 420 and 422.
NOTE 54 Ib. 420.
NOTE 55 Ib. 422.
NOTE 56 For Gentili, cf. a remark made by Rainolds on p. 164 of Th’Overthrow (to Gentili): sed adversus alios dis putavi, quos sequi non potui: eos etsi tu sequereris, et adprobares. rogavi te coram de utraque quaestione, and we have seen that Gentili published his views on the subject as early as 1593. For Case cf. his Speculum Moralium Questionum in Universam Ethicen Aristotelis I.xxx.7 (printed by Joseph Barnes at Oxford, 1585), discussed by Boas, op. cit. (1914) 228f. and also his 1588 Sphaera Civitatis (V.viii.12).
NOTE 57 Corpus Christi College, Oxford, ms. 352, p. 59. The sharp-eyed reader may detect allusions to a second one, University College, Oxford, ms. J 18, in such earlier sources as the D. N. B. biography of Gager. But this is in fact the same manuscript, which changed hands ca. 1850.
NOTE 58 James Shapiro, The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 (New York - London, 2015).
NOTE 59 A. W. Pollard and G. R. Redgrave, Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad 1475 - 1640 (2nd ed. London, 1976 - 86), nos. 12550 - 53.
NOTE 60 M. B. Parkes, Pause and Effect: An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West (Berkeley, 1993) 306f.