Mayden Queene" again; which indeed the more I see
the more I like, and is an excellent play, and so done
by Nell, her merry part, as cannot be better done in
nature, I think.
May 24, 1667. To the King's playhouse, and there
saw "The Mayden Queene," which, though I have
often seen, yet pleases me infinitely, it being impos-
sible, I think, ever to have the Queen's part, which is
very good and passionate, and Florimel's part, which
is the most comicall that was ever made for woman,
ever done better than they two are done by young
Marshall 3 and Nelly.
August 23, 1667. To the King's house, and saw
"The Mayden Queene," which pleases us mightily.
January 18, 1667-68. I bought "The Mayden
Queene," a play newly printed, which I like at the
King's house so well, of Mr. Dryden's, which he him-
self, in his preface, seems to brag of, 4 and indeed is
a good play.
January 24, 1667-68. I to the King's playhouse,
to fetch my wife, and there saw the best part of "The
Mayden Queene," which, the more I see, the more I
love, and think one of the best plays I ever saw, and
is certainly the best acted of any thing ever the House
did, and particularly Becke Marshall, to admiration.
3 Rebecca Marshall played the heroic Queen of Sicily. The
other principal parts were taken as follows, according to Roscius
Anglicanus (p. 7): Philocles by Mohun; Lysimantes, Burt;
Celadon, Hart; Asteria, Mrs. Knepp; Melissa, Mrs. Corey.
4 In his dedication of the play to the King, Dryden remarks
that he has "ever valued" it "above the rest of my follies of this
kind," and proceeds to defend it against the critics.
152 PEPYS ON THE RESTORATION STAGE
January 1, 1668-69. To the King's playhouse, and
there in a box saw "The Mayden Queene."
January 13, 1668-69. To the King's playhouse,
and there saw, I think, "The Mayden Queene."
SIR MARTIN MAR- ALL, OR THE FEIGNED INNOCENCE
August 16, 1667. To the Duke's playhouse, where
we saw the new play acted yesterday, "The Feign
Innocence, or Sir Martin Marr-all"; 1 a play made
by my Lord Duke of Newcastle, but as everybody
says, corrected by Dryden. It is the most entire piece
of mirth, a complete farce from one end to the other,
that certainly ever was writ. I never laughed so in
all my life. I laughed till my head [ached] all the
1 Sir Martin Mar-all, or The Feign'd Innocence, an adaptation
of Moliere's L'Etourdi, which was entered on the books of the
Stationers' Company as the production of the Duke of Newcastle,
was published in 1668. Downes says (Roscius Anglicanus, p.
28) : "The Duke of Newcastle giving Mr. Dryden a bare Trans-
lation of it, out of a Comedy of the Famous French Poet Mon-
sieur Moleiro; he Adapted the Part purposely for the Mouth of
Mr. Nokes, curiously Polishing the Whole. . . . This and Love
in a Tub got the Company more Money than any preceding
Comedy." The part of Sir Martin was taken by Nokes ; Harris
was Warner; Smith, Sir John Swallow; Young, Lord Dart-
mouth ; and Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Millicent. Downes makes the
further statement that the Dorset Gardens theatre was opened
November 9, 1671, with Sir Martin Mar-all "notwithstanding
it had been Acted 30 Days before in Lincolns-Inn Fields, and
above 4 times at Court." Langbaine and later dramatic his-
torians ascribe this play to Dryden.
CONTEMPORARY RESTORATION PLAYS 153
evening and night with the laughing; and at very
good wit therein, not fooling. The house full.
August 19, 1667. To the Duke of York's house,
all alone, and there saw "Sir Martin Marr-all" again,
though I saw him but two days since, and do find it
the most comical play that ever I saw in my life.
August 20, 1667. Thence, ... to the Duke's
Playhouse, . . . and there saw "Sir Martin Marr-all"
again, which I have now seen three times, and it hath
been acted but four times, and still find it a very
ingenious play, and full of variety.
September 28, 1667. To the Duke of York's play-
house, and there saw a piece of "Sir Martin Marrall,"
with great delight, though I have seen it so often, and
October 8, 1667. Some other pleasant simplicities
of the fellow did give occasion to us to call him Sir
Martin Marrall. . . . Away to Cambridge, it being
foul, rainy weather, and there did take up at the Rose
for the sake of Mrs. Dorothy Drawwater, the vint-
ner's daughter, which is mentioned in the play of Sir
Martin Marrall. 2
October 14, 1667. To the Duke of York's House,
and there went in for nothing into the pit, at the last
act, to see Sir Martin Marr-all, still being pleased
with the humour of the play, almost above all that
ever I saw.
Januanj 1, 1667-68. To the Duke of York's
playhouse, and there saw "Sir Martin Mar-all";
which I have seen so often, and yet am mightily
2 Cf. Act. V, Sc. 1 : "Her name was Dorothy, daughter to one
Draw-water, a vintner at the Rose."
154 PEPYS ON THE RESTORATION STAGE
pleased with it, and think it mighty witty, and the
fullest of proper matter for mirth that ever was
writ; and I do clearly see that they do improve in
their acting of it. Here a mighty company of citi-
zens, 'prentices, and others.
April 25, 1668. To the Duke of York's playhouse,
and there saw "Sir Martin Marr-all," which, the
more I see, the more I like.
May 22, 1668. Thence to the Duke of York's
house to a play, and saw Sir Martin Marr-all, where
the house is full; and though I have seen it, I think,
ten times, yet the pleasure I have is yet as great as
ever, and is undoubtedly the best comedy ever was
Dryden, John THE RIVAL LADIES
August 4, 1664. He [Sir W. Pen] did carry me
to a play, and pay for me at the King's house, which
is "The Rivall Ladys," 1 a very innocent and most
pretty witty play. I was much pleased with it, and it
being given me, I look upon it as no breach to my
July 18, 1666. To Woolwich, reading "the Rivall
Ladys" all the way, and find it a most pleasant and
fine writ play.
August 2, 1666. To Woolwich, reading and
making an end of the "Rival Ladys," and find it a
very pretty play.
1 A tragi-comedy (1664) by John Dryden, based on a Spanish
plot. Genest (I, 50) says of this play under this date, "Not
CONTEMPORARY RESTORATION PLAYS 155
Dry den, John THE WILD GALLANT
February 23, 1662-63. We took coach and to
Court, and there got good places, and saw "The
Wilde Gallant," 1 performed by the King's house, but
it was ill acted, and the play so poor a thing as I never
saw in my life almost, and so little answering the
name, that from beginning to end, I could not, nor
can at this time, tell certainly which was the Wild
Gallant. The King did not seem pleased at all, all
the whole play, nor any body else, though Mr. Clerke
whom we met here did commend it to us.
Dryden and Sir Robert Howard
THE INDIAN QUEEN
January 27, 1663-64- In the way observing the
streete full of coaches at the new play "The Indian
Queene"; 1 which for show, they say, exceeds "Henry
February 1, 1663-64. To the King's Theatre, it
1 Dryden's first comedy (1663). Evelyn had seen its first
performance on February 5 of this year. (Cf. Diary, Wheatley
ed., II, 158.) Genest (I, 35) asserts that "it was unsuccessful
at this time, and was brought out again in 1667." For Dryden's
alteration of The Tempest (with D'Avenant), see pp. 75-77 of
1 A rhymed heroic tragedy (1664) by Sir Robert Howard and
Dryden. Evelyn saw it acted on February 5 of this year. He
calls it "a tragedie well written,, so beautified with rich scenes
as the like had never ben seen here, or haply (except rarely)
elsewhere on a mercenary theater" (Diary, Wheatley ed., II,
156 PEPYS ON THE RESTORATION STAGE
being a new month, and once a month I may go, 2 and
there saw "The Indian Queene" acted; which indeed
is a most pleasant show, and beyond my expectation;
the play good, but spoiled with the ryme, which
breaks the sense. 3 But above my expectation most,
the eldest Marshall 4 did do her part most excellently
well as I ever heard woman in my life ; but her voice
not so sweet as lanthe's ; but, however, we came home
2 According to the terms of one of his several "vows against
3 It will be seen from this entry that Restoration spectators
did not without exception welcome the heroic couplet in tragedy.
4 Anne Marshall, doubtless in the title part. Mrs. Aphra
Behn gives the following interesting description of the Queen's
realistic costume in The History of Oroonoko: Or, The Royal
Slave, in an account of the trade with the natives of Surinam:
"We trade for Feathers, which they order into all Shapes, make
themselves little short Habits of 'em, and glorious Wreaths for
their Heads, Necks, Arms and Legs, whose Tinctures are incon-
ceivable. I had a set of these presented to me, and I gave 'em
to the King's Theatre; it was the Dress of the Indian Queen,
infinitely admir'd by Persons of Quality; and was inimitable."
Like other statements made by Mrs. Behn which would seem
to show that she had actually visited Oroonoko, this has been
challenged by Mr. Ernest Bernbaum, who thus laughs it out of
court: "To think of Nell Gwynn in the true costume of a Carib
belle is indeed ludicrous" (Mrs. Behn's Oroonoko, in The George
Lyman Kittredge Anniversary Papers, p. 432). The matter
cannot, however, be so briefly dismissed. It is improbable that
Mrs. Behn would have gone out of her way to expose herself to
contradiction upon so easily verifiable a statement. And we may
infer from the play itself that there was some attempt at realism
in the costumes, however slight or "ludicrous" it may have been.
The stage direction before Act V reads: "Four Priests in habits
CONTEMPORARY RESTORATION PLAYS 157
June 27, 1668. To the King's playhouse, and saw
''The Indian Queene," but do not doat upon Nan
Marshall's acting therein, as the world talks of her
Etherege, Sir George
THE COMICAL REVENGE, OR LOVE IN A TUB
January 4, 1664-65. To "Love in a Tubb," 1 which
is very merry, but only so by gesture, not wit at all,
which methinks is beneath the [Duke's] House.
October 29, 1666. To White Hall and into the
new play-house there, the first time I ever was there,
and the first play I have seen since before the great
plague. 2 . . . By and by the King and Queene, Duke
and Duchesse, and all the great ladies of the Court;
which, indeed, was a fine sight. But the play being
"Love in a Tub," a silly play, and though done by
the Duke's people, yet having neither Betterton nor
his wife, 3 and the whole thing done ill, and being ill
of white and red Feathers"; and in the Epilogue, spoken by
Montezuma, there is this reference to the play:
"Our naked Indians then, when Wits appear.
Would as soon chuse to have the Spaniards here."
1 The Comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub (1664), Etherege's
first play. Evelyn mentions it on April 27, 1664: "Saw a
facetious comedy called 'Love in a Tub' " (Diary, Wheatley ed.,
2 Since May 15, 1665, to be exact, when he had seen Love's
Mistress at the King's theatre.
3 Betterton usually acted Lord Beaufort. Mrs. Betterton (as
158 PEPYS ON THE RESTORATION STAGE
also, I had no manner of pleasure in the play. Be-
sides, the House, though very fine, yet bad for the
voice, for hearing. The sight of the ladies, indeed,
was exceedingly noble; and above all my Lady
Castlemayne. The play done by ten o'clock. I
carried them all home, and then home myself, and
well satisfied with the sight, but not the play, we with
great content to bed.
April 29, 1668. To the Duke of York's playhouse,
and there saw "Love in a Tubb"; and, after the play
done, I stepped up to Harris's dressing-room, where
I never was, and there I observe much company come
to him, and the Witts, to talk, after the play is done,
and to assign meetings.
Etherege, Sir George SHE WOULD IF SHE COULD
February 6, 1667-68. To the Duke of York's
playhouse; where a new play of Etherige's, called
"She Would if she Could," 1 and though I was there
by two o'clock, there was 1000 people put back that
could not have room in the pit : and I at last, because
my wife was there, made shift to get into the 18d.
box and there saw ; but, Lord ! how full was the house,
and how silly the play, there being nothing in the
world good in it, and few people pleased in it. The
Graciana), Harris (as Sir Frederick Frolic), Smith, Nokes,
Sandford, and Mrs. Davis (as Aurelia) were in the cast.
According to Roscius Anglicanus (pp. 24-25), the play brought
the house 1,000 in a month.
1 The second comedy (1668) by Sir George Etherege.
CONTEMPORARY RESTORATION PLAYS 159
King was there ; but I sat mightily behind, and could
see but little, and hear not all. The play being done,
I into the pit. . . . There I found . . . Sidly, and
Etherige, the poet; the last of whom I did hear
mightily find fault with the actors, 2 that they were
out of humour, and had not their parts perfect, and
that Harris did do nothing, nor could so much as
sing a ketch in it; and so was mightily concerned;
while all the rest did, through the whole pit, blame
the play as a silly, dull thing, though there was some-
thing very roguish and witty; but the design of the
play, and end, mighty insipid.
February 1, 1668-69. To the Duke of York's
playhouse, and there saw "She Would if She Could."
Evelyn, John THYRSANDER (?)
November 5, 1665. By water to Deptford, and
there made a visit to Mr. Evelyn. . . . He read me
part of a play 1 or two of his making, very good, but
not as he conceits them, I think, to be.
2 Harris was Sir Joslin Jolly; Nokes, Sir Oliver Cockwood;
Smith, Courtall; Young, Freeman; Mrs. Shadwell, Lady Cock-
wood; Mrs. Davis, Gatty. "It took well," says Downes (Roscius
Anglicanus, pp. 28-29), "but Inferior to Love in a Tub."
1 In a letter of February 9, 1664-65, to Lord Cornebery,
Evelyn writes: "You know, my Ld, that I (who have written a
play & am a scurvy poet too some times) am far from Puri-
tanisme" (Diary, Wheatley ed., Ill, 302). The play here re-
ferred to and one of those later read to Pepys was probably
"Thyrsander" a "Tragy-Comedy," mentioned in one of the
MSS. at Wotton in a list entitled "Things I would write out
faire and reform if I had leasure" (Ibid., Ill, 194).
160 PEPYS ON THE RESTORATION STAGE
Falkland, Lord THE MARRIAGE NIGHT
March 21, 1666-67. I alone out and to the Duke of
York's playhouse, where unexpectedly I come to see
only the young men and women of the house act ; they
having liberty to act for their own profit on Wednes-
days and Fridays this Lent: and the play they did
yesterday, being Wednesday, was so well-taken, that
they thought fit to venture it publickly to-day; a
play of my Lord Falkland's called "The Wedding
Night" a kind of tragedy, and some things very
good in it, but the whole together, I thought, not so.
I confess I was well enough pleased with my seeing it :
and the people did do better, without the great actors,
than I did expect, but yet far short of what they do
when they are there, which I was glad to find the
Flecknoe, Richard (?) THE LADIES A LA MODE
September 15, 1668. To the King's playhouse, to
see a new play, acted but yesterday, a translation out
of French by Dryden, called "The Ladys a la
Mode": 1 so mean a thing as, when they come to say
1 Should be The Marriage Night, a tragi-comedy by Henry
Gary, Viscount Falkland, published in 1664. (Cf. Genest, I,
75.) It has been generally stated that this play was never acted.
1 Pepys appears to have been wrongly informed. The play
which seems best to fit the requirements of date, title, and sug-
gestion of French origin is Richard Flecknoe's Damoselles a la
Mode, printed in 1667, which according to the preface was
CONTEMPORARY RESTORATION PLAYS 161
it would be acted again to-morrow, both he that said
it, Beeson, 2 and the pit fell a-laughing, there being
this day not a quarter of the pit full.
Green, Alexander THE POLITICIAN CHEATED
July 29, 1663. To see Sir W. Pen at Deptford,
reading by the way a most ridiculous play, a new one,
called "The Politician Cheated." 1
Holden, T. THE GHOSTS
April 17, 1665. We all to a play, "The Ghosts," 1
at the Duke's house, but a very simple play.
"taken out of several Excellent pieces of Moliere." Langbaine,
on the authority of this preface, states (p. 201) that it was
designed "to have been acted by the King's Servants . . . but
I know not for what reason they refus'd it." Langbaine's state-
ment would, however, have no bearing upon the performance
described by Pepys, which took place the year after Flecknoe's
Damoselles a la Mode was printed.
2 William Beeston.
X A comedy by Alexander Green, published in 1663, is men-
tioned by Genest (X, 138) in his chapter on plays "printed but
1 Downes (Roscius Anglicanus, p. 26) attributes this comedy
(1665?) to Holden. Hazlitt (A Manual for the Collector and
Amateur of Old English Plays, p. 95) states that it was by T.
Holden and was "not printed."
162 PEPYS ON THE RESTORATION STAGE
Howard, Edward THE CHANGE OF CROWNS
April 15, 1667. To the King's house by chance,
where a new play: so full as I never saw it; I forced
to stand all the while close to the very door till I took
cold, and many people went away for lack of room.
The King, and Queene, and Duke of York and
Duchesse there, and all the Court, and Sir W. Cov-
entry. 1 The play called "The Change of Crownes"; 2
a play of Ned Howard's, the best that ever I saw at
that house, being a great play and serious ; only Lacy
did act the country-gentleman come up to Court,
who do abuse the Court with all the imaginable wit
and plainness about selling of places, and doing
everything for money. The play took very much.
. . . Then home, . . . mightily pleased with the new
April 16, 1667. Knipp tells me the King was so
angry at the liberty taken by Lacy's part to abuse
him to his face, that he commanded they should act
no-more, till Moone 3 went and got leave for them to
act again, but not this play.
Howard, Edward THE USURPER
January 2, 1663-64. To the King's house, and
there met Mr. Nicholson, my old colleague, and saw
1 Sir William Coventry (1628-1686), Commissioner of the
Navy, and Privy Councillor, often mentioned in the Diary in
terms of praise.
2 "This play," says Genest (I, 69), "is not printed it seems
to have been a T.C. by E. Howard."
3 Michael Mohun.
CONTEMPORARY RESTORATION PLAYS 163
"The Usurper," 1 which is no good play, though better
than what I saw yesterday.
December 2, 1668. To the King's playhouse, . . .
and there saw "The Usurper"; a pretty good play, in
all but what is designed to resemble Cromwell and
Hugh Peters, 2 which is mighty silly.
ALL MISTAKEN, OR THE MAD COUPLE
September 20, 1667. To the King's playhouse,
and there saw "The Mad Couple," 1 which I do not
remember that I have seen; it is a pretty pleasant
December 28, 1667. To the King's house, and
there saw "The Mad Couple," which is but an ordi-
nary play; but only Nell's and Hart's mad parts 2
are most excellently done, but especially her's: which
makes it a miracle to me to think how ill she do any
serious part, as, the other day, just like a fool or
changeling; and in a mad part, do beyond all imita-
tion almost. It pleased us mightily to see the natural
X A tragedy (1664) by Edward Howard, printed in 1668.
Pepys had seen Henry VIII on January 1.
2 The character supposed to resemble Cromwell was Damocles,
while Hugo de Petra was intended for Hugh Peters, and "Cleom-
enes probably for General Monck" (Genest, I, 72).
1 All Mistaken, or The Mad Couple (1667), was a comedy by
2 The "mad couple" were Philidor and Mirida, acted by Hart
and Nell Gwyn respectively.
164 PEPYS ON THE RESTORATION STAGE
affection of a poor woman, the mother of one of the
children 3 brought on the stage: the child crying, she
by force got upon the stage, and took up her child
and carried it away off of the stage from Hart.
Many fine faces here to-day.
July 29, 1668. To the King's house, and saw "The
Mad Couple," a mean play altogether.
Howard, James THE ENGLISH MONSIEUR
December 8, 1666. To the King's playhouse, which
troubles me since, and hath cost me a forfeit of 10s.,,
which I have paid, and there did see a good part of
'The English Monsieur," 1 which is a mighty pretty
play, very witty and pleasant. And the women do
very well; but, above all, little Nelly, 2 that I am
mightily pleased with the play, and much with the
House, more than ever I expected, the women doing
better than ever I expected, and very fine women.
April 7 , 1668. To the King's playhouse, and there
saw "The English Monsieur"; sitting for privacy
sake in an upper box : the play hath much mirth in it
as to that particular humour.
3 In an attempt to collect money from their father, Philidor,
several babes in arms, his illegitimate offspring, are brought on
the stage by their nurses at various times during the play.
X A comedy by James Howard, printed in 1674. The forfeit
was paid in accordance with one of Pepys's vows.
2 Nell Gywn played the part of Lady Wealthy. This is
the year following her debut in the role of Cydaria in The
Indian Emperor, and is the first time Pepys mentions seeing her
on the stage.
CONTEMPORARY RESTORATION PLAYS 165
Howard, Sir Robert THE COMMITTEE
June 12, 1663. To the Royall Theatre, and there
saw "The Committee," 1 a merry but indifferent play,
only Lacey's part, an Irish footman, 2 is beyond imagi-
August 13, 1667. To the King's house, and there
saw "The Committee," which I went to with some
prejudice, not liking it before, but I do now find it a
very good play, and a great deal of good invention in
it ; but Lacy's part is so well performed that it would
set off anything.
October 28, 1667. To the King's house, and there
saw "The Committee," a play I like well.
May 15, 1668. To the King's house, and there saw
the last act of "The Committee," thinking to have
seen Knepp there, but she did not act.
1 The Committee (1662) was Sir Robert Howard's most popu-
lar comedy. Evelyn had seen this play on November 29, 1662,
at the "Queene Mother's Court." He calls it "a ridiculous play
of Sir R. Howard, where ye mimic Lacy acted the Irish footeman
to admiration" (Diary, Wheatley ed., II, 155). The Cambridge
History of English Literature (VIII, 121) gives the date of its
production as 1665, which Pepys and Evelyn show is an -error,
as Professor Nettleton has recently pointed out (English Drama
of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century, p. 111).
2 "Teague, an early Irish comic character, if deficient in
dialect, has Irish wit enough to 'take the Covenant' by stealing
a copy of it from a bookseller" (Ibid.). For The Indian Queen,
in which Sir Robert Howard collaborated with Dryden, see p.
155 of this book.
166 PEPYS ON THE RESTORATION STAGE
Howard, Sir Robert
THE GREAT FAVOURITE, OR THE DUKE OF LERMA
January 11, 1667-68. She [Knepp] told me also
of ... another play called, "The Duke of Lerma." 1
February 20, 1667-68. By one o'clock to the
King's house: a new play, "The Duke of Lerma" of
Sir Robert Howard's : where the King and the Court
was; and Knepp and Nell spoke the prologue most
excellently, especially Knepp, who spoke beyond any
creature I ever heard. The play designed to re-
proach our King with his mistresses, that I was
troubled for it, and expected it should be interrupted ;
but it ended all well, which salved all. The play a
well-writ and good play, only its design I did not
like of reproaching the King, but altogether a very
good, and most serious play.
April 18, 1668. To the King's playhouse, \s., and
to the play of the "Duke of Lerma," 2s. Qd., and
Howard, Sir Robert THE SURPRISAL
April 8, 1667. To the King's house, and saw the
latter end of the "Surprisall," 1 wherein was no great
matter, I thought, by what I saw there.
August 26, 1667. To the King's playhouse, . . .
1 The Great Favourite, or the Duke of Lerma (1668), is a
tragedy with "some scenes in blank Verse, others in Rhime."
1 A comedy by Sir Robert Howard, previously published in
Foure New Plays (1665).
CONTEMPORARY RESTORATION PLAYS 167
and saw "The Surprizall," a very mean play, I
thought : or else it was because I was out of humour,
and but very little company in the house.
December 26, 1667. To the King's playhouse, and
there saw "The Surprizall"; which did not please me
to-day, the actors not pleasing me; and especially
Nell's acting of a serious part, 2 which she spoils.