1. Although many of the plays produced at English Catholic seminaries and colleges on the Continent during the seventeenth century are anonymous, NOTE 1 a few authors do stand out as personalities. The most familiar is the Jesuit Emannuel Lobb [1593 - 1671], who wrote and published plays under the name Joseph Simons. He served as Professor of Humanities at the Jesuit St. Omers College, who as part of his professorial duties there wrote and produced seven plays, five of which were printed in his 1656 Tragoediae Quinque. NOTE 2 Then too, Thomas Compton Carleton S. J.’s Fatum Vortigerni was produced at the English College of Douai in 1619. Although Carleton is chiefly remembered as a philosopher, two other plays by him, both now lost, were produced at Douai, Emma Angliae Regina ac Mater Hardicanuti Regis in 1620, and Henricus Octavus in 1623.
2. A second Douai playwright contemporary with Carleton was William Drury [1584 - ca. 1643]. The salient facts of Drury’s life can conveniently be read in Thomas Cooper’s O. D. N. B. article: he was baptized at Tendring, Essex, in 1584, and educated at London and St. Omers. In 1605 he entered the English College at Rome in 1605, where he was ordained five year later, although, unlike his younger brother Robert, he appears not to to have entered the Jesuit Order. Imprisoned in England because of his Catholicism, he was freed and banished the realm in 1618. After coming to Douai, he joined the faculty, first as a teacher of music, and then of rhetoric and poetry. He later returned to England, where he was imprisoned in 1635, and evidence exists tending to show he was still alive in 1643. David Erskine Baker’s Biographia Dramatica (London, 1812) I.199 provides some more circumstantial detail:
He began to teach poetry and rhetoric at the English college of Douay, in Oct. 1618, having been invited thither by Dr. Kellison, the president, who had at that time drawn the students from the Jesuits’ schools, and was providing professors to teach them at home, according to the first institution of the college. Mr. Drury had been some time prisoner in England, on account of his religion, but about two years before was released, at the intercession of Count Gondemar, ambassador from Spain, to whom he dedicated the plays hereafter mentioned. These, we are told, were exhibited with great applause, first privately, in the refectory of the college, and again in the open court or quadrangle, at which all the principal persons of the town and university were present.
3. In 1620 Drury published two plays, a tragicomic history play Aluredusabout Alfred the Great and a comedy entitled Mors, and in 1628 a volume entitled Dramatica Poemata, containing those two plays supplemented by a third entitled Reparatus sive Depositum Tragicomoedia, Prima Pars, and an elegiac poem describing the celebration of the Eucharist by bees (all these books were printed locally at Douai, although Dramatica Poemata evidently proved sufficiently popular to warrant an Antwerp reprinting in 1641). According to the Douai Diaries, an unnamed play by Drury, presumably Aluredusor Mors, was performed on 8 and 11 January, 1619, and the Diary entry for 15 July, 1621 is Reparatum Sto. Joanni Evangelistae concreditum egerunt nostri publice ac cum laude. Actionem composuit Dns. Gulielmus Drurae. An edition of Aluredusexists, and it and Mors were subjects of seventeenth century translations, both of which have been reproduced in modern times. NOTE 3 Reparatus, however, has never been edited or translated, and so is eminently suitable for inclusion in The Philological Museum.
4. The printed Reparatus presents two obvious problems. First, why is it identified as prima pars? And second, can it be identified with the July 1621 Reparatus play recorded by the diary? To deal with the first question, it is tolerably clear that this indeed was the first of two Reparatus plays by Drury, which for some unknown reason he saw fit to publish by itself. The extant play tells the story of a robber-chief grown disgusted with his previous evil ways. In Act I he comes across a shipwrecked young man, Orianus, discovers he is unable to kill him in his usual way, but rather is gripped by a strange compulsion to help him in his distress. Later on, his spiritual anguish reaches such a point that he plans on suicide, something from which his mother cannot dissuade him (V.i). He is debating how best to accomplish this when he become distracted by a confrontation with Cacus the Gnostic (an obvious stage-Protestant) in V.iv. Indignant at Cacus’ sophistries, which manage to twist Christianity into a self-serving pseudo-religion, he beats him to the ground with a crucifix. This is, obviously, not the proper use for a crucifix, but it is nevertheless significant that he selects this particular weapon, and the heat of the fight drive thoughts of suicide entirely out of his mind (we perhaps do not know whether his loss of enthusiasm for this project is permanent or only temporary: although his remark to Cacus at 3280f. suggests it indeed is permanent, this statement is possibly not definitive). Finally, he is moved by sympathy for the Christian Sophronia, and indignant at her mistreatment by her trimming husband Polypus, and makes arrangements for her protection and Polypus’ punishment (V.vii).
5. All of these things are hopeful signs of Reparatus’ spiritual progress, but the process of his redemption can scarcely be called complete. He does not yet live up to his significant name, for he is not yet fully repaired. His guardian angel may be winning the battle for his soul we see waged against the devil in I.iii, but the contest is not yet won. The angel tells us as much in the play’s Epilogue: notice the use of hucusque and nec adhuc (“thus far” and “not yet”) in its first lines, as well as its conclusion,
Meliora laetum initia successum parant,[“Good beginnings pave the way for a happy ending, and the day which sees a man despair amidst his woes, will quickly be followed by one that’s bound to see him changed.”]
Et una desperare quem vidit malis,
Vix mox est alia conversum dies.
So this passage contains strong hints that the story of Reparatus is not yet finished. In this Epilogue, the angel tells us that he has intervened at many points in the plot to help Reparatus, but, clearly, there is more work for him to do.
6. Then too, St. John is given a good deal of prominence in the play. At 1383ff. Reparatus’ mother Beatrix relates how the apostle had stayed with Reparatus’ mother Beatrix and had come to love the boy, just as Jesus had loved him, and realized that Beatrix was too poor to support him, so adopted him as his own son. Subsequently he entrusted him to the care of the local bishop, It is possible that in the sequel it turned out that John’s peculiar concern for Reparatus continued down to the present time: this may be hinted by his appearance to Beatrix in a dream, as related in III.ii. And certainly the terms of Clement of Alexandria’s story which provided the germ for Drury’s plot (discussed below) require’s John’s personal intervention. But at no point in the extant Reparatus does he make an appearance or play any personal part in speeding along Reparatus’ spiritual improvement, let alone in effecting a genuine conversion. That, evidently, remains for the future. Another important consideration is that the play concludes by leaving a number of loose ends still hanging. Of these, the most conspicuous is that, by the invariable rule of comedy, Amaranthus needs to be reunited with his family, from whom he has been forcibly separated and whom he wrongly supposes to be dead (I.i). Indeed, Amaranthus’ nameless daughter makes no appearance in this play, and it is tempting to imagine she and the resolution of her predicament are being held in reserve for the sequel. For these reasons, the conclusion of the present play is unsatisfactory both theologically and dramatically. We must either think that Drury was an incompetent playwright or that he deliberately left important elements unfinished so as to make room for a sequel. So, all in all, the pars prima of the printed play’s title deserves to be taken seriously, and we must assume there was, or at least that there was intended to be, a pars secunda.
7. Now, as the second problem, the title of recorded by the Douai Diary (“Reparatus Entrusted to St. John the Evangelist”) is obviously not the same as that of the printed edition, but concreditum and depositum are synonyms, so that both titles evidently refer to the same transaction, when the young Reparatus was entrusted to St. John the Apostle (St. John the Evangelist was often equated with St. John the Divine in the seventeenth century), as described at lines 1383ff. So it is tolerably clear that both forms of the title refer to the our play, and its performance can therefore can be dated to July, 1621.
8. The play draws its inspiration from a tale told by Clement of Alexandria, Quis dives salvus xlii: NOTE 4
And that you may be still more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale, which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant’s death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit. Having come to one of the cities not far off (the name of which some give), and having put the brethren to rest in other matters, at last, looking to the bishop appointed, and seeing a youth, powerful in body, comely in appearance, and ardent, said, “This youth I commit to you in all earnestness, in the presence of the Church, and with Christ as witness.” And on his accepting and promising all, he gave the same injunction and testimony. And he set out for Ephesus. And the presbyter taking home the youth committed to him, reared, kept, cherished, and finally baptized him. After this he relaxed his stricter care and guardianship, under the idea that the seal of the Lord he had set on him was a complete protection to him. But on his obtaining premature freedom, some youths of his age, idle, dissolute, and adepts in evil courses, corrupt him. First they entice him by many costly entertainments; then afterwards by night issuing forth for highway robbery, they take him along with them. Then they dared to execute together something greater. And he by degrees got accustomed; and from greatness of nature, when he had gone aside from the right path, and like a hard-mouthed and powerful horse, had taken the bit between his teeth, rushed with all the more force down into the depths. And having entirely despaired of salvation in God, he no longer meditated what was insignificant, but having perpetrated some great exploit, now that he was once lost, he made up his mind to a like fate with the rest. Taking them and forming a hand of robbers, he was the prompt captain of the bandits, the fiercest, the bloodiest, the cruelest. Time passed, and some necessity having emerged, they send again for John. He, when he had settled the other matters on account of which he came, said, “Come now, O bishop, restore to us the deposit which I and the Saviour committed to thee in the face of the Church over which you preside, as witness.” The other was at first confounded, thinking that it was a false charge about money which he did not get; and he could neither believe the allegation regarding what he had not, nor disbelieve John. But when he said “I demand the young man, and the soul of the brother,” the old man, groaning deeply, and bursting into tears, said, “He is dead.” “How and what kind of death?” “He is dead,” he said, “to God. For he turned wicked and abandoned, and at last a robber; and now he has taken possession of the mountain in front of the church, along with a band like him.” Rending, therefore, his clothes, and striking his head with great lamentation, the apostle said, “It was a fine guard of a brother’s soul I left! But let a horse be brought me, and let some one be my guide on the way.” He rode away, just as he was, straight from the church. On coming to the place, he is arrested by the robbers’ outpost; neither fleeing nor entreating, but crying, “It was for this I came. Lead me to your captain”; who meanwhile was waiting, all armed as he was. But when he recognized John as he advanced, he turned, ashamed, to flight. The other followed with all his might, forgetting his age, crying, “Why, my son, dost thou flee from me, thy father, unarmed, old? Son, pity me. Fear not; thou hast still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for thee. If need be, I will willingly endure thy death, as the Lord did death for us. For thee I will surrender my life. Stand, believe; Christ hath sent me.” And he, when he heard, first stood, looking down; then threw down his arms, then trembled and wept bitterly. And on the old man approaching, he embraced him, speaking for himself with lamentations as he could, and baptized a second time with tears, concealing only his right hand. The other pledging, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness for himself from the Savior, beseeching and falling on his knees, and kissing his right hand itself, as now purified by repentance, led him back to the church. Then by supplicating with copious prayers, and striving along with him in continual fastings, and subduing his mind by various utterances of words, did not depart, as they say, till he restored him to the Church, presenting in him a great example of true repentance and a great token of regeneration, a trophy of the resurrection for which we hope.
9. In his elaborate dramatization of Clement’s tale, Drury manages to write a play that is appreciably Shakespearian and, one assumes, is calculated to cater to the popularity of that writer with his Douai audience. NOTE 5 In saying this, I am not thinking merely of the possible reference to the Globe Theater at lines 8f, (see the note ad loc.):
Spectaculi instar stat theatralis globus
Nor do I only mean the specific imitations visible in the play. Ageon’s description of his shipwreck in Comedy of Errors I.i supplied the model for Amaranthus’ recitation of his similar woes at I.94ff. and Richard III I.2 is also laid under contribution in the course of IV.iii (2285ff.), when Carinus gives Sophronia a dagger and bids her kill him if she is unwilling to believe his sincerity and listen to what he has to say. NOTE 6 It would seem that during his nominal imprisonment in 1610, Drury had the freedom to attend the London popular theaters (The Comedy of Errors was not printed until 1629). Rather, speaking more generally, Reparatus has two important features which are easily recognizable as Shakespearian. First, the play is fleshed out and complicated by two subplots, the Polypus - Sophronia one and the other involving Amaranthus and his lost children. Second, the play involves the coexistence and interaction of two radically different existential realms, the “big world” of its serious characters, who are faced with truly pathetic problems and capable of genuine and deeply-felt emotions, and the “little world” of clowns and buffoons whose problems are essentially trifling and who are incapable of experiencing real pain. On at least one occasion, a “little world” transaction is a distinct parody of a “big world” inasmuch as Cacus’ comic transvestitism when he is forced to wear an old woman’s costume is a grotesque parody of Orianus’ description of the refugee couple exchanging costumes and genders in order save the girl’s chastity, events that are immediately juxtaposed in II.iii.
10. And yet Drury places his own distinctive spin on this dichotomy. In Shakespeare, the dividing line that separates these two “worlds” and their characters is one of social class: membership in the upper classes is a necessary qualification for inclusion in the “big world,” while the clowns and buffoons are recruited from further down the social scale. Not so in Reparatus, which confronts us with the extraordinary spectacle of Sophronia, very much a “big world” character, married to Polypus, one of the play’s comic characters despite his high social standing. Then too, by Shakespearian standards the play’s protagonist is a striking anomaly because he has a foot in both camps. Reparatus’ own problems and feelings are as genuine as anyone else’s in the play, but at the same time he is able to consort and negotiate with the low-down characters on their own level when the need arises. This is memorably shown in Act V, in which he is onstage continually. For the first three scenes of the Act he is a “big world” character, confronted with a “dark night of the soul” and on the verge of suicide. But as soon as the clownish Cacus appears in V.iv, he undergoes an abrupt change of both character and speech-patterns, so as to deal on equal terms with Cacus and the other “little world” characters who subsequently turn up in the Act. By Shakespearian standards, both these differences are extraordinary, but they simply go to show that Drury’s dividing line between the two “worlds” runs along a different axis than Shakespeare’s, for his is one of religion rather than social class. His “big world” is composed of the Christian characters, his “little world” of the unbelievers, and Reparatus himself is simultaneously a citizen of both, not just because of his criminal history, but more importantly because he is still engaged in making the transition to Christianity, but the process is not yet complete.
11. We do not know why Drury did not publish his sequel to our Reparatus, if he ever wrote one. Possibly he did, but did not consider it worthy of publication. The idea that he left Douai before he could write a sequel is discouraged, although perhaps not definitively so, by the consideration he published his play-collection there in 1628. In any event, it is easy enough to imagine some of the contents such a sequel would have included. As noted above, the various problems surrounding Amaranthus’ family urgently require resolution. Amaranthus’ yet-unnamed daughter and Carinus need to be reunited, at which time they would no doubt become romantically involved so that the play could end with the Christian marriage that is all but obligatory for Renaissance comedy. When last heard of, the daughter was running away dressed in a man’s clothing, and no doubt this would have dictated the nature of her further adventures. In the course of the play, Orianus would be revealed to be the girl’s long-lost brother, so that both children would ultimately be reunited with their father. Very likely a love-interest would have been invented for Orianus, to provide complete symmetry for the happy ending. Either the clownish characters of our Reparatus would recover from the various defeats and humiliations they have already suffered, so that they would require further such treatment, or they would be replaced by a new crew of similar buffoons to supply the play’s comic relief. And, of course, the crowning event of the play would be the arrival of St. John, come to intervene in Reparatus’ redemption in person. Possibly he would first appear as a mysteriously attractive old stranger taken prisoner by the robbers, and the play would end with the general conversion of their entire gang rather than just that of Reparatus himself.
12. I wish to thank Dr. Martin Wiggins of The Shakespeare Institute for drawing my attention to this play, and for supplying me with a photographic reproduction of the original text and offering valuable advice for the improvement of this edition.
NOTE 1 This situation may eventually be subject to change: The St. Omers Constitutiones (§ A.3) specified that the production of college plays (which ordinarily involved their writing) was the duty of Professor of Humanities, and if archival research could produce a list of the occupants holding that position during the seventeenth century, then we could determine the authorship of St. Omers plays of known date. Having done that, it might subsequently be possible to identify the authorship of at least some undated plays by stylometric analysis. As a result of such research, some of these playwrights might begin to emerge as distinct personalities.
NOTE 2 The five printed plays have been translated by L. J. Oldani and P. C. Fischer, Jesuit Theater Englished: Five Tragedies of Joseph Simons (Institute of Jesuit Sources, St. Louis, 1989). Two other plays are available in the Philological Museum, Sanctus Damianus and Sanctus Pelagius Martyr. See the references provided by Thompson Cooper and Alison Shell in the O. D. N. B. biography. By far the most important of these is William H. McCabe S. J., An Introduction to the Jesuit Theater (Institute of Jesuit Sources, St. Louis, 1983).
NOTE 3 Alfred Edgar Hall edited the Latin text of Aluredus as an undated University of Chicago dissertation, and Albert H. Tricorni has published Robert Knightley’s translation, entitled Alfrede, or, Right reinthron’d (Binghamton, 1993). Robert Squire’s translation of Mors was the subject of a 1982 Syracuse University dissertation by Michael Siconolfi.
NOTE 4 Studied by G. W. Butterworth, “The Story of St. John and the Robber,” Journal of Theological Studies old series xviii (1917) 141 - 46.
NOTE 5 There is nothing revoluti0nary in the suggestion that Shakespeare exerted influence on Anglo-Catholic playwrights working on the Continent. See Martin Wiggins, “Shakespeare Jesuited: The Plagiarisms of Pater Clarcus,” The Seventeenth Century XX (2005) 1 - 21, available online here.
NOTE 6 Shakespeare got the idea for this transaction from Thomas Legge’s 1579 Cambridge trilogy Richardus Tertius (4199ff.). The scene in Shakespeare was also parodied in Robert Burton’s 1606 Oxford comedy Philosophaster (III.vi, line 1138, Aut mihi nunc acquiesce, aut hac sica me interfice).