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window". Similarly in Romeo and Juliet, iii. 5, Quarto 2
merely notifies that the ill-starred lovers appear "aloft", but
Quarto 1 has the definite instruction, "enter Romeo and
Juliet at the window ". Reference to this tragedy recalls the
fact that now and again the use of windows is only textually
indicated, no direction, for example, accompanying the line
in Act ii. 2, "But, soft, what light through yonder window
breaks ! " 2 Take again The Antiquary, ii. 1, as acted at the
Cockpit. Aurelio, on the lower stage says, "this is the
window," and bids the musicians play. A song is heard
above, and then "enter Lucretia". Where she really is can
only be determined by Aurelio's bald re-echo of Romeo's
rapturous exclamation, "What more than earthly light
breaks through that window."

Coming now to the question of the employment of case-
ments on the Pre-Restoration stage, I desire to iterate the
statement that the casement was the normal stage window
of that epoch, and (what is important to grasp, with so
much ambiguity confronting us) the kind of "window"

1 So too in The Merry Wives of Windsor, iv. 5, Falstaff seemingly opens a case-
ment before speaking down to mine host.

2 Cf. The Tivo Gentlemen of Verona, iv. 2, folio. After the song Silvia appears,
evidently above at a window, but no instruction is given.



Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage 33

most commonly employed. " Casement " in this connexion
must be interpreted to mean a light iron or wooden sash
for small panes of glass, as constituting a window or part
of a window, and made to open outwards by swinging on
hinges attached to a vertical side of the aperture into which
it is fitted. When opened, the casement was usually held
in position by a long hook. It is noteworthy that on the
stage of to-day doors in room scenes are invariably made to
open outwards because of the better stage effect (especially
in the matter of striking exits) thereby attained. One desires
to lay emphasis on the fact that the old English casement
always opened outwards, because the French casement (of
two hinged leaves), so well known on the Continent, opens
inwards. The latter would have proved very clumsy and
ineffective on the old platform stage. ! The supreme grate-
fulness of the casement as a permanent stage adjunct lay
in the degree of illusion its employment lent to scenes of
gallantry and intrigue. This is evidenced by the remarkable
number of upper-wkidow scenes in the Elizabethan drama.
For purposes of reference a comprehensive list of these
may be given.

The serenade scenes comprise The Insatiate Countess,\\\. 1 ;
The Distresses, Act i ; The Two Gentlemen of Verona, iv. 2 ;
The Antiquary, ii. 1 ; Monsieur Thomas, iii. 3 ; Mother Bombie,
v. 3 ; The Ordinary, iv. 5 ; The Duke of Milan, ii. 1 . Among
rope-ladder scenes may be mentioned Blu rt,Master Constable,
iv. 3; The Partiall Law, ii. 5; The Hog hath lost his Pearle,
Acti; B^meojmdJ4ilut,\\\. 5. Many ordinary upper-window
scenes do not belong to either of these categories. These
include The Two Italian Gentlemen, iv. 6 ; Two Angry Women
of Abington, iii. 2 ; The Taming of the Shrew, Act v; The
Spanish Tragedy, Act iii ; Volpone, ii. 1 ; Two Tragedies in
One, ii. 1 ; The host Lady, iii. 1 ; The Captain, ii. 2 ; The
Widow, i. 1 ; The Roman Actor, Act ii; Every Man Out of his
Humour, ii. 1; The Tale of a Tub, i. 1.

Here we have a goodly list of plays known to have been

1 Cf. The Roxburghe Ballads, I (edit. Chappell, 1888), p. 151, for an old woodcut
showing an upper double casement partly open.

D



34 Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage

acted at the Rose, Globe, Paul's, Blackfriars, Cockpit, and
Whitefriars, as well as of plays acted elsewhere ; and the
inference deducible is that the casement was common to
all theatres of the Pre-Restoration period. To some extent
this may be confirmed by advancing positive evidence of its
employment. In Munday and Chettle's Death of Robert Earl
of 'Huntington, 1 v. 2 (as acted at the Rose circa 1598), Bruce
enters upon the walls of Windsor Castle, and addressing the
King below, says, " See my dead mother and her famish'd
son!" Suiting the action to the word he then "opens a
casement showing the dead bodies within." This casement
is supposed to represent the wide breach which Bruce had
made in the wall. Subsequently he has a long scene on the
battlements and finishes by saying, "now will I shut my
shambles in again," to which we have the accompanying
direction, "closes the casement". Here we have a curious,
almost unique, employment of the casement, for exposures
of this order were generally made by drawing the upper or
lower traverses. Can it be that Henslowe's "little Rose"
had no upper inner stage ?

In a still earlier play, The Two Italian Gentlemen (1584),
we have in Act i. 2, the direction, " Victoria setteth open the
Casement of her windowe and with her lute in her hand,
playeth and singeth," etc., etc. 2 In Jack Drum's Entertain-
ment, or The Pleasant Comedy of Pasquil and Katharine ', 3
ii. 1, we read, "the Casement opens and Katharine appears",
to talk down to Puffe. Again, in The Distresses (otherwise
The Spanish Lovers of 1639) musicians come on in the first
act with a party of serenaders. By way of warning one of
the former says :

Stand all close beneath
The penthouse ! there's a certain chamber-maid
From yond casement will dash us else.

1 A scarce play only readily accessible in Hazlitt's recension of Dodsley's Old
Plays, vol. viii.

2 In Act iv. 6, we have the prompter's marginal note, "Victoria out at her
windowe."

3 4to 1 60 1 as acted at Paul's. I quote from the reprint in Simpson's School of
Shakespeare.



Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage 35

In Greene's Tu Quoque, or The City Gallant, as acted at
the Red Bull circa 161 1, we have pointed allusion to the
realism of the stage casement. l Apostrophising the sun,
Geraldine says :

I call thee up, and task thee for thy slowness.
Point all thy beams through yonder flaring glass.
And raise a beauty brighter than thyself.

Then "enter Gertrude aloft". She speaks down to
Geraldine, thanks him for his music, and makes reference
to the fact that she is standing at a window.

In several other window scenes, where specific mention
of the casement does not occur, its use is implied. In
the amplified edition of Doctor Faustus, published in 161 6
(probably representing the version of the play given at the
Fortune in 1602), Frederick, in Scene ix, cries, "See, see,
his window's ope ! we'll call to him." The accompanying
direction is "enter Benvolio above, at a window in his night-
cap: buttoning". Occasionally one finds the instruction to
close the casement at the end of a window scene included
by the author in his text, as if it were vital the matter
should not be overlooked. An instance of this occurs in The
Captain, ii. 1 (as at the Blackfriars circa 1 6 1 3), where Frank
in departing bids Clora "shut the window".

Of the exact position occupied by the casement — if it had
any stereotyped position (which I very much doubt) — it
would be impossible to speak in our present imperfect state
of knowledge. But at least something can be determined
regarding its relative height. Obviously, it cannot have been
placed in the surmounting hut, or, indeed, in any part of the
tiring-house above "the Heavens". The frequent interplay
of characters at upper windows with characters on the lower
stage negatives the possibility of any considerable altitude.
One may put the matter concretely by instancing the scene
in the third act of The Insatiate Countess (1603), where
Mendosa serenades the Lady Lentulus, who appears at an
upper window. Later on we have the direction, " he throws

1 Hazlitt's Dodsley, xi. p. 225.



36 Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage

up a ladder of cords, which she makes fast to some part of
the window ; he ascends, and at top fals." This does not
mean that he fell on to the balcony. The subsequent dialogue
between the two shows that Mendosa is supposed to have
fallen into the street and injured himself so badly that the
lady is afraid the watch will find him there before he is able to
get away. It is plain to be seen, both from the circumstance
of the throwing up of the ladder and of the fall, that the
casement can have been of no great height from the lower
stage. One takes leave to think that the gallery must have
been within easy range, else Arthur's leap in King John would
have been a death-leap indeed. 1 Many other situations might
be instanced to show that upper windows were of ready
accessibility from below. A couple will suffice. In Volpone^
ii. 1 (as acted at the Globe), a mountebank's stage is erected
under a window, and Volpone ascends it. Celia, from the
window, throws her handkerchief to him, and he catches
and kisses it. Again, in The Partial! Law? ii. 1, occurs the
direction, "Trumpets sound, the Challenger passeth by, his
Page bearing his shield and his squire his lance. The King
and Ladyes are above in the window. The page passing by
presents ye King with his Maister's Scutchion." 3

(c) Bay-Windows

Arising out of (b) comes the question, was the casement
invariably an independent opening or could it have formed
part, now and again, of a bay-window ? There is probably
some significance in the fact that the only evidence of the
employment of bay-windows on the Pre-Restoration stage
occurs in two plays originally produced at the First Globe.
In The Miseries of Enforced Marriage^ as acted there about
1 605, one notes in the fourth act that while llford is above,
Wentloe and Bartley come on below. Bartley says, u Here-
about is the house sure," and Wentloe replies, "we cannot

1 Cf. Fortune by Land and Sea, iii. 1, "Forrest leaps down". This was a Red
Bull play.

2 First published by Bertram Dobell in 1909.

3 Cf. '77s Pity She's a Wkore, v. 1 (a Cockpit play), where Annabella from an
upper window throws a letter down to the Friar.



Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage 37

mistake it ; for here's the sign of the Wolf and the bay-
window." In The Merry Devi/I of Edmonton (a play which
belongs to much about the same period), the second scene
of Act v. passes outside the George Inn. In it the host
asks, "D'yee see yon bay window?"

In the absence of evidence for other theatres we must
be careful here to avoid arguing from the particular to the
general. Since there is a certain type of over-zealous inves-
tigator who, in furtherance of a theory, grasps any straw, it
is requisite to point out that the allusions to bay-windows in
Women Beware Women, iii. 1 , and A Chaste Maid at Cheapside,
v. 1 , so far from indicating their common employment in the
theatres, merely point to their popularity among the women-
folk of the early seventeenth century. " 'Tis a sweet recrea-
tion", we read in Women Beware Women, " for a gentlewoman
to stand in a bay-window and see gallants." How popular the
bay-window was with the thriving middle classes is demon-
strated in an extant view of Goswell Street in Shakespeare's
time, 1 wherein we see a row of bay-windows surmounting
the projecting shops and with their bases resting on the
stall-roofs.

On the strength of the two references cited we may
safely concede that the upper stage of the first Globe was
adorned with a bay-window. As the first Fortune was
modelled on the Globe it may be that it too was similarly
provided. Having gone so far one loses firm foothold
and runs the risk of immersion in the quagmires of specula-
tion. As an argument in favour of the employment of
bay-windows in the later public and private theatres of the
platform-stage order, it may at least be pointed out that
projections of the sort, if provided with goodly casements,
would have been well adapted for upper-stage scenes, and,
through permitting of a better view, would have been
eminently grateful to the public. Moreover, even as a coign
of vantage for favoured spectators, the bay-window would
not have been without its merits. Its most likely position

1 Given in J. P. Malcolm's Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of London (1808),
among the plates at p. 454.



38 Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage

would have been over one or both of the two norm al entering
doors. One looks for some such arrangement to account
for the fact 1 that when the time-honoured entering doors
were transferred at the Restoration to the proscenium arch
of the newly arrived picture-stage they were surmounted by
balconies with windows. Of the perpetuation of Elizabethan
conventionalities in this particular connexion from that
period until the dawn of the eighteenth century I shall say
something at the close.

(d) Windows with Curtains

Unless we can assume the general employment of draped
bay-windows (on the whole a difficult proposition), it seems
to me that references to windows with curtains cannot be
taken as referring to actual windows but to small curtained
rooms on the second floor of the tiring-house. Here are a
few of the examples to which I refer :

In King Henry VIII, v. 2 (folio), we read, "Enter the
King and Buts, at a Windowe above." Some conversation
passes regarding what is going on below, and the King says,
" Let 'em alone, and drawe the curtaine close; we shall hear
more anon."

In The J ewes Tragedy, or their Fatal and final Overthrow
by Vespasian and Titus, his son, Act iv (as performed circa
1633), we have the directions, "Musick and the Lady

Miriam sings in her chamber She drawes her

window curten".

In Monsieur D 'Olive, Act i, as given at the Blackfriars
circa 1606, Vandome comes on in the street outside the
house and says :

And see, methinks through the encurtain'd windows,
(In this high time of day) I see light tapers.
This is exceeding strange !

Here windows were not actually required to lend illusion
to the scene. A glimmer of candlelight emerging from

1 See the paper entitled " Proscenium Doors : an Elizabethan Heritage," in the
First Series of these Studies.



Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage 39

between the upper and lower traverses or other stage
curtains would suffice. Apart from this, it will not be difficult
to prove that upper-stage boxes (sometimes with curtains)
were pressed into service for the due representation of
what might be considered as window scenes. Thus in Lady
Alimony, iv. 6, we have the direction, " The favourites appear
to their half-bodies in their shirts, in rooms above." Subse-
quently, " they come down, buttoning themselves." In that
curious play, The Parson s Wedding, which I have discussed
at length elsewhere, 1 in Act i. 3, the Widow and Pleasant
enter "above". They are evidently in a room looking out
on the street, but no mention is made of any window. After
talking to her companion, the Widow addresses Jolly below,
and later on " shuts the curtain ".

There are sound reasons for believing that in many scenes
of this order the music room was pressed into service.
From a stage-direction and a prompter's note in The
Thracian Wonder we know that in some theatres the music
room was situated on the second floor of the tiring-house,
that it was provided with curtains, and that it was used
occasionally for dramatic purposes. In association with the
present subject it is also vital for us to note that, when songs
were sung offthe stage, they were almost invariably rendered
by boys in the music room. By a curious coincidence, we
have to hand an instance where the music room is spoken
of as a window. In The Bondman, 111. 3 (as acted at the Cock-
pit on 3 December, 1623), the scene is a room in Cleon's
house and a dance is proposed. Gracculo asks, "where's the
music ?" and Poliphron replies, " I have placed it in yon
window." Then the fiddlers play and the dance is given.
But what I want to emphasize is that in the Elizabethan
drama (using the term in its broadest sense) songs were
often heard above as if coming from my lady's chamber
before the lady appeared at her window. An instance of this
has already been quoted from The Jewes Tragedy. Another
occurs in The Roman Actor, as acted at the Blackfriars circa
1 626. In Act ii, while Caesar stands below in the hall of the

1 See The Elizabethan Playhouse and other Studies (First Series), p. 94.



4-0 Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage

Palace, " Domitia appears at the window." Then music is
played above and she sings. We may safely take it, I think,
that all such upper scenes were either played in the music
room or at a window adjoining. If one could be certain that
the upper action in the Blackfriars comedy of The Captain
took place at a certain juncture at a casement, proof would
be to hand that the casement was close to the music room.
In Act ii. 2, Frederick enters below in the street and hears
an accompanied duet sung in his sister's chamber. After-
wards, "enter at the window Frank and Clora." Taken
literally, Frank's subsequent instruction to Clora to "shut
the window " could only refer to a casement, but if we could
assume that, after a certain custom, the scene was acted in the
music room, then the instruction would really mean "close
the curtains."

(e) Grated Windows

There is some reason to believe that on this sub-divided
second floor of the tiring-house one or two grated boxes
were provided for the benefit of those better-class spectators
who desired to see without being seen. In an epigram of
the period of 1 596 Davies writes :

Rufus the Courtier at the theatre,
Leauing the best and most conspicuous place,
Doth either to the stage himselfe transferre,
Or through a grate doth shew his doubtful face :
For that the clamorous frie of Innes of court,
Filles up the priuate roomes of greater prise;
And such a place where all may haue resort,
He in his singularite doth despise. 1

It is a puzzle to determine how far stage-boxes to which
spectators made resort were utilized for theatrical purposes,
but it seems fairly well assured that under pressure of the
moment these stage-box occupants could be temporarily
displaced by the actors. 2 In this way grated boxes could be

1 Cf. Modern Philology, viii. No. 4, April, 191 1, article by C. R. Baskervill on
"The Custom of Sitting on the Elizabethan Stage."

2 See my discussion of this point in The Elizabethan Playhouse and other Studies
(First Series), pp. 32-3.



Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage 41

made to serve a double duty. So seldom, however, were
they pressed into service during the traffic of the scene that
one thinks they would hardly have been provided at all but
for the appeal they made to playgoers of the Rufus type.
Extensive as has been my examination of the Elizabethan
drama I know of scarcely half a dozen instances in which
grated boxes were utilized for stage purposes. The earliest
occurs in King Henry VI^ Pt. 1, Act i. 4, a scene elaborately
discussed (but not with complete satisfaction) by Brodmeier.
Here the lower stage represents the besieged city of Orleans
and the upper the suburbs where the English are encamped.
" Enter the Master Gunner of Orleance, and his Boy." Says
the crossbowman to his son :

Sirrha, thou know'st how Orleance is beseie'tL

The English, in the suburbs close entrencht,
Wont through a secret Grate of iron barres,
In Yonder Tower to over-peere the citie.

He bids the boy keep a sharp look out for the English
and let him know when they appear. When he has gone
the Boy says, " He never trouble you if I may spye them."
Then Salisbury and Talbot enter above and proceed to
examine the besieged city from their sheltered nook. The
boy with his linstock fires as soon as he perceives them, and
" Salisbury falls downe ". The whole scene is difficult to
visualize, and one can easily blunder in its interpretation.
Notwithstanding the crossbowman's reference to the "secret
Grate" in the speech quoted, it is quite possible that
Salisbury was not standing in a grated box when the
shot was fired. The direction simply says, "enter Salisbury
and Talbot with others on the Turrets." This is really too
indefinite to admit of interpretation.

To some extent a similar puzzle is presented in the
second act of that notable Blackfriars play, The Two Noble
Kinsmen. Scene 1 evidently opens in the courtyard of the
prison. Towards its close "enter Palamon and Arcite,
above." The Jailor's exclamation, " Looke, yonder they



42 Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage

are ! that's Arcite lookes out," shows that they appear at a
window, and the reply of his daughter, "No, Sir, no, that's
Palamon : Arcite is the lower of the twaine ; you may per-
ceive a part of him," indicates that they are looking through
a grate. Scene 2 opens with " Enter Palamon, and Arcite
in prison." They are now on the upper inner stage, repre-
senting a cell looking out on a garden, where they behold
Emilia and her attendant. Palamon's threat

Put but thy head out of this window more,
And as I have a soule, He naile thy life to't,

would at first lead us to believe that the two were either at
a casement or in an ordinary stage-box. But to accept this
theory is to negative the possibility of visualizing what
follows. While Palamon and Arcite are quarrelling, the
Keeper enters on the upper gallery, and is seen by Palamon
before he approaches. Since the Keeper takes Arcite away
with him, he must have been able to enter the prison from
the gallery, and this he could not have done had the two
kinsmen been at a casement or in an enclosed box. But at
the close of the scene we are faced with a contradiction, for
when the keeper returns to remove Palamon to another cell,
the latter says :

Farewell, kinde window.
May rude winde never hurt thee —

This certainly sounds as if addressed to a grate or case-
ment, not to the broad aperture of the upper inner stage.
Without full knowledge of the physical disposition of the
Blackfriars stage the problem is insoluble.

Turn we now to two definite instances of the use of
grates. The first is to be found in The Picture^ iv. 2, as acted
at the Globe circa 1 629. Ubaldo appears above, seen to the
middle only, in his shirt. He looks down and says, " Ha !
the windows grated with iron, I cannot force 'em, and if 1
leap down here, I break my neck." Shortly afterwards
Ricardo enters "with a great noise above as fallen " through
a trap-door, and calls to Ubaldo. They see each other, and
Ubaldo asks Ricardo to throw him a cloak to cover him.



Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage 43

In Rowley's A New Wonder^ a Woman Never Vext^ Act iv,
old Foster is in jail for debt at Ludgate. Being the newest
comer, he is told by the Keeper it is requisite, according to
custom, that he should beg for alms for the general relief of
the prisoners " at the iron grate above." Subsequently we
have the direction, "Old Foster appears above at the grate;
a box hanging down." Robert, his son, comes on outside
the jail on the lower stage, and, in response to his father's
pleas, puts money in the box. It is a pathetic situation, for
the old man cannot see him.

(f) Conjunctive Windows

If the employment of grated boxes to represent windows
was comparatively rare, the conjunctive employment of two
windows (whether actual or merely nominal) was rarer still.
One searches the entire Elizabethan drama in vain for a
repetition of that ingenious scene in Act ii. 2 of Tbe Devil
is an Ass, where Wittipol courts Mrs. Fitzdottrell. It will
be as well, therefore, for us to bear in mind that, whatever
deductions can be legitimately made from it, they are only
applicable to the Blackfriars at the period of 1 6 1 6. Unfor-
tunately, the marginal instruction in the folio — "This scene
is acted at two windows as out of two contiguous buildings"
— affords no definite clue to method of staging. Most
of the Elizabethan investigators who have discussed the
scene have been disposed to place the windows at an obtuse
angle, and to arrange the lower stage accordingly. Professor
Reynolds, on the other hand, sees no reason why this par-
ticular scene could not have been presented in adjacent
sections of any balcony like that pictured in the Swan
sketch. 1 Personally I know of only one objection to this
arrangement and that may be more imaginary than real. It
calls, however, for some consideration. At the beginning
of the courtship Pug comes on below to take stock of what
is going on and, after indulging in a brief comment, departs.
The important point is that he is standing in a position

1 Modern Philology ', vol. ix., No. I, July, 191 1, p. 17, article "What we know of
the Elizabethan Stage," where the matter is slightly discussed.



44 Windows on the Pre-Restoration Stage


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