COMMENTARY NOTES

Dramatis personae Perhaps this priest had been named Probus in the original 1624 version of the play.

spacer37 Ulferus’ father Penda [d. 655] was a great pagan warrior-king who did much to enhance Mercia’s power.

spacer48 A deliberate echo of Aeneid I.150.

spacerstage direction after 53 For some reason, Simons was prone to using imperfect tenses for verbs in stage directions; they need not be translated as such.

spacer67 Ceadda’s two companions are the priests Clytus and Tityrus, who appear as speaking parts later in the play.

spacer93f. See the note on 2683ff.

spacerI.iii (stage direction) The setting is the temple of Jove, represented as an interior scene. Probably the scene begins with the princes reclining in front of the open proscenium door.

spacer123ff. The angels presumably stand on the roof of the stage building, as they do in Act V. Meter: anapaestic dimeters.

spacer168 Jupiter was not particularly known for his gluttony. Rather, the word refers to his lifestyle in general, with an emphasis on his propensity for satisfying his physical appetites (which were mostly sexual).

spacer191 A rather proverbial idiom meaning “if he doesn’t like it he can go choke,” derived from Vergil, Eclogue vii.26, rempantur ut ilia Codro.

spacerI.iv As was the custom in academic drama of the time, the five Acts of the play are subdivided into numbered scenes. Each of these, prefaced by a list of the speaking parts in it, is precipitated either by a change in the grouping of characters or when the stage is momentarily cleared. As such, these scene-divisions often serve as a rather imperfect means of indicating entrances and exits, and no discontinuity of time or place is necessarily implied. In the present case, the remainder of this Act is played out in the same place with no break in time.

spacer320 Hecate had three faces (maiden, mother, crone), and is sometimes portrayed as facing in three directions.

spacerII.i All of Act II is set in Ulferus’ royal hall.

spacer517 The sons of Oedipus and Jocasta. After their parents’ death they agreed to take turns ruling the city in alternate years. But Eteocles clung to the throne and banished his brother, who returned with Argive supporters (the Seven Against Thebes). Then the two killed each other in battle.

spacer540 The Roman goddess of Justice.

spacerLUDI REGII Mimed or danced interludes such as this are very typical of Jesuit drama.

spacer634 Such descriptions of the physical symptoms of fear are common in plays of the Senecan corpus. Cf., for example, Ps. - Seneca, Hercules Oetaeus 706, Vagus per artus errat excussos tremor, imitated by Grotius, Adamus Exsul p. 48, Gelidus per artus vadit excussos tremor.

spacer700 Hercules.

spacer785 Megaera was one of the Furies.

spacer786 In Senecan tragedy, the creak of the stage door was a frequent cue for the entrance of a new character.

spacerIII.i A room in Ulferus’ palace.

spacer1013 The judge of the dead in the Underworld.

spacer1030 See the note on 785.

spacer1041 The dragon who guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides.

spacer1087 Cf. Aeneid VI.625, non mihi si linguae centum sint oraque centum.

spacer1111 Evidently he means Owine, King of Deira, who died in 651. But in actuality Oswine was defeated by Oswiu of Bernicia, and subsequently killed by his soldiers.

spacer1149 See the note on 1013.

spacer1166 See the note on 540.

spacer1280 See the note on 48.

spacer1330 See the note on 1013.

spacer1374 See the note on 785 (the Eumenides or The Kindly Ones is an euphemistic title for the Furies).

spacerIV.i The setting is Ceadda’s woodland cottage.

spacerIV.ii Another part of the forest. In both printed texts, the list of speakers for this scene wrongly includes Ceadda.

spacer1522 Tityrus and Mopsus are two traditional shepherds’ names (Tityrus appears in Vergil’s first eclogue, and Mopsus in his fifth). But here, evidently, they are both shepherds of souls (the staff is probably a priestly badge of office). The scourge which figures later in this scene makes Tityrus seem a kind of proto-Jesuit.

spacerIV.iii The scene shifts to the palace dungeon, where it remains for the rest of the Act. The rooms built into the proscenium come in handy for representing its individual cells.

spacerIV.iv A room in the palace.

spacer1648 Two famous deceivers: Sinon was the designer of the Trojan Horse.

spacer1691 The allusion is to the mythological Giants who rebelled against Jupiter and sought to storm heaven. As such, they became symbols of hubris.

spacer1742 See the note on 191.

spacer1749 The bull who emerged from the sea to destroy Hippolytus in response to his father’s prayer to Neptune.

spacer1821 The incense of Sabaea (Sheba) on the Arabian Peninsula was highly prized in antiquity.

spacer1955f. It might be possible to restore a greater degree of syntactical coherence to these lines by repunctuating them. But, given the dramatic context, it is not unlikely that Simons was deliberately making the shocked and indignant Jumenta sputter incoherently, so I have left them as found in the book.

spacerV.i Scenes i - iii are set in the palace dungeon.

spacer1981 The Attalid dynasty, with its capital at Pergamum, ruled an Alexandrian possessed of proverbial wealth.

spacer1984ff. Meter: Sapphic stanzas.

spacer1990 See the note on 700.

spacer2008 In antiquity, Panchaea was another Arabian source of incense.

spacer2224 In antiquity Thessaly was thought to be rife with witches.

spacerV.iv The scene shifts back to the forest.

spacerV.v The setting is the great hall of Ulferus’ palace.

spacer2329 See the note on 540.

spacer2344 The Greek goddess of justice.

spacer2371ff. See the note on 517.

spacerV.vi The scene shifts to Ceadda’s cottage, where it remains for the rest of the play.

spacer2426ff. This extended simile is of course based on the Myth of the Cave in Plato’s Republic.

spacer2453 Ausonian = Roman. Presumably Ulfadus is thinking of the Pope, since the Holy Roman Emperors did not yet exist.

spacer2484 Cumae was the home of the ancient Sibyl we meet in Book VI of the Aeneid.

spacer2683 Simons cannot resist concluding his play with a reminder of the Catholic theory of the proper relation of Church and state: spiritual concerns must always trump secular ones, so that Church authority should prevail over the requirements of the secular state whenever these interests came into conflict (a theory painstakingly spelled out by Francisco Suarez S. J. in his 1613 Defensio Fidei Catholicae et Apostolicae Adversus Anglicanae Sectae Errores). There may be an implication that, since these terms were accepted by this early Anglo-Saxon king, they ought to be binding on his successors.