NOTES TO THE INTRODUCTION
NOTE 1 Boas 179 - 91 gives a seminal discussion of the play. The assessment is found on p. 183.
NOTE 2 British Library ms. Twayne xvii, fol. 170, cited by Boas, ib. 179. As with all contemporary English documents, abbreviated words are spelled out in full.
Although the visit of Adalbert Łaski, Voivode of Siradia [1527 - 1605] is amply documented, nobody then or afterwards seems to have been quite clear about its purpose, and it is possible that he rated the red carpet precisely because the English government did not know quite what to make of him. That it need not have exerted itself so strenuously is perhaps hinted at by William Camden, Annales Gestarum Angliae et Hiberniae Regnante Elizabetha for the year 1583, E Polonia Russiae vicina hac aestate venit in Angliam, ut reginam inviseret, Albertus Alasco Palatinus Siradiensis, vir erudutus, corporis lineamentis, barba promississima, vestitu decoro et pervenusto, qui perbenigne ab ipsa nobilibusque magno honore et lautitiis, et ab academia Oxoniensi eruditis oblectationibus atque variis spectaculis exceptus, post quatuor menses aere alieno oppressus clam recessit. [“Out of Polonia a Country neighbouring upon Russia, came this Summer into England to see the Queene, Albert Alasco Palatine of Siradia, a learned man, of good feature of body, a very long beard, and very comely and decent apparrell; who being graciously welcomed by her, and intertained by the nobility with great honour and feasting, and by the University of Oxford with learned delightes and sundry pageants, after foure monethes abode heere, withdrew himselfe secretly, being runne farre in debt.”]
University and collegiate archival documents pertinent to Łaski’s visit are given at John R. Elliott et al., Records of Early English Drama: Oxford (Toronto, 2004) I.181 - 91 and II.881f. — note that at II.995 the end of the Camden passage just quoted is wrongly translated “being oppressed by the alien air.” See also the detailed account of Anthony à Wood, The History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford (Oxford, 1796) II.215 - 18, which concludes “But that which was in him most observable, was his prodigality, for so far did he exceed his abilities, that being not able to keep within bounds (notwithstanding he had 50 Castles of great value with a wife) was forced at length to quit England (after he had tarried there 4 Months) to prevent the coming on of Creditors, and retiring to his own Country, was afterwards seen at Crakow by an English Gentleman very poor and bare.” Returning from Oxford, he stopped at Mortlake and made the acquaintance of Dr. John Dee (Łaski appears to have dabbled in alchemy), and in September he, Dee, Dee's con-man friend Edward Kelley, together with their families set off for the Continent: see Arthur Edward Waite, Lives of the Famous Alchemistical Philosophers from the year 850 to the close of the 18th century (London, 1888) p. 155.
Łaski was a bit of an adventurer both during his English visit and at other times in his life, but he was by no means a mere imposter. He belonged to the same aristocratic family which produced two individuals named Jan Łaski, the first [1456 - 1531] was by turns royal secretary, Archbishop of Gniezno, Primate of Poland and Grand Chancellor of the Crown, and was also the uncle of King Sigismund I the Old, and the second [1499 - 1560] a distinguished reforming theologian who had come to England in 1550 and, at the invitation of Cranmer, served as superintendent of the Strangers’ Church at London, ministering to Protestant foreign residents, and exerted some influence on ecclesiastical affairs in the reign of Edward VI (he decamped with a boatload of coreligionists when Mary came to the throne). Adalbert was evidently his nephew, which probably helped gain him a friendly reception in England. A good deal of information about him is furnished by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska at this site.
NOTE 3 For Bruno at this time see Hilary Gatti, The Renaissance Drama of Knowledge (London - New York, 1989) 25 - 35, and John Bossy, Giordano Bruno and the Embassy Affair (New Haven, 1991), 22 - 7. For Sidney see John Dee's diary for June 15, 1583, quoted by Baumann-Wisseman, p. 128, from J. O. Halliwell (ed.), The Private Diary of John Dee (Camden Society, 1st Series XIX, London, 1842), p.20. Lasky and his company, including Sidney, visited it him at his house on their way back from Oxford, so it is likely Sidney was a member of the party at Oxford too.
NOTE 6 William Percy writes in his Aphrodisial, “also a showre of Rosewater and confits, as was acted in Christ Church, in Oxford, in Dido and Aeneas.” (Huntington Library ms. HM 4, fol. 126). Brooke, “Life and Times” 417, observes that Percy did not matriculate at Oxford until 1589. So this is a description cribbed out of Holinshed — the language is very similar — and not an independent eyewitness account.
NOTE 7 I mean, of course, within the context of Dido only: many poets, writing in the vernacular as well as in Latin, referred to Elizabeth as Elisa or Eliza with no intention of drawing any comparison with Dido. For Elizabeth under this name cf. E. C. Wilson, England’s Eliza, Cambridge, Mass., 1939.
NOTE 8 Boas p. 189.
NOTE 10 Boas p. 180.
NOTE 11 To give some idea of the scale of this expenditure, in 1584 Convocation lent Joseph Barnes £100 to go into the printing business, and by his death in the next century he had only managed to repay £80. It cost nearly as much to put on two plays and a fireworks show as it did to found the Oxford University Press!
NOTE 12 A bear may also have been produced onstage: cf. the note on 610.
NOTE 13 While an undergraduate at Trinity College, Cambridge, Dr. John Dee had designed a similar device for production of Aristophanes’ Peace, doubtless to facilitate the ascent of the giant dung beetle in the first scene of the play. Cf. Richard Deacon, John Dee (London, 1968) 17.
NOTE 14 This does not discount the possibility that Gager had already been contemplating a dramatization of the subject. That the story of Dido exerted a powerful attraction for him is shown by a remark in his oration Eloquentiae Encomium delivered on January 17, 1585: sed tamen quis est qui si quartum illum Aeneidos librum legerit, ut in nimis saepe laetitia fit, ita prae summa animi delectatione non abeat in lacrhymas?
NOTE 16 Binns, ib. 169, writes “Lines such as Iopas’ salutation of Aeneas…which in the event gained in significance through the presence of Prince Alasco at the performance need not necessarily have been written with his visit in mind: they fill a dramatic function within the play,” which is unconvincing in view of the explicit Epilogue.
NOTE 17 Boas p. 183.
NOTE 19 A good parallel, written for a similar purpose, is the comedy Alba composed for performance at Christ Church during the visit of King James in 1605. One of the collaborators on that play was Robert Burton.
NOTE 21 For the purpose of this analysis I include among resolutions situations (such as the word maria) where the foot can or cannot be scanned as a disyllable by synaeresis. Whether or not this is a wise policy, since I am applying it to both text-groups, I very much doubt that the overall outcome is affected.
NOTE 22 To be sure, a few metrical slips can be found in some of Gager’s other works. But they scarcely occur with similar frequency.
NOTE 23 (Christ Church Disbursement Books, 1582 - 3 volume.) The most detailed study of Peele’s involvement with the production of Dido is David H. Horne, The Life and Minor Works of George Peele (New Haven, 1952) I.57 - 64 (who gives a facsimile of the document just quoted on p. 63). From this the reader can glean interesting information about the way Christ Church Hall was employed as a theater.
NOTE 26 The May 17 Convocation authorized the construction of theatra…pro ludis theatricis. Horne, op. cit. 64 suggested that the money “was most likely advanced because [Peele] had to buy materials which required ready cash, presumably in London.” All that Peele would have had to do was issue bulletins to London indicating what was needed. We probably do not have to imagine him shuttling back and forth personally.
NOTE 28 Photographically reproduced in William Gager, Oedipus (Acted 1577 - 1592), Dido (Acted 1583), Prepared with an Introduction by J. W. Binns (Renaissance Latin Drama in England, First Series, vol. 1, Hildesheim - New York, 1981); both the manuscript and the photographic reproduction are unpaginated. Boas p., op. cit. 167 wrote that this manuscript “is not improbably the ‘book’ used at the actual performance.” This is sheer speculation: there is nothing about this manuscript (a very formal fair copy) to suggest it was employed for the purpose.
NOTE 30 William Gager’s Pyramis (Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 32, 1936) 250 - 349. Cf. pp. 252f. for a photographic reproduction of the first two pages of the manuscript.
NOTE 31 Now part of the Dyce Collection of the British National Library.
NOTE 34 A. Roberts-Baytop, Dido, Queen of Infinite Literary Variety: The English Renaissance Borrowings and Influence (Salzburg Studies in English Literature, Elizabethan & Renaissance Studies No. 25, Salzburg, 1974) 37 - 94. Cf. the appraisal of Baumann - Wisseman, op. cit. infra. 28 - 30, n. 48.
NOTE 35 Uwe Baumann and Michael Wissemann, William Gager, Dido Tragoedia, Herausgegeben, übersetzt, eingeleitet und kommentiert (Bibliotheca Humanistica 1, Frankfurt a. M. - Bern - New York, 1985). Their deviations from Binns are itemized on p. 28 n. 48. Save for an emendation necessary to correct the meter at 222, their alterations amount to correction of typographical errors (605, 1067, 1116) or introduction of unnecessary changes where the received text is perfectly acceptable (85, 267, 450, 480).
NOTE 36 In Binns’ transcript, 1217 hunc would also be wrong. But the true reading is hinc with an undotted i.
NOTE 38 Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: the Latin Writing of the Age (Leeds, 1990) 139.