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the King's Servants, in Drury-Lane ; and revised his early unsuccessful performance, The WILD GALLANT, which, on its revival, derived some. support from the growing fame of the author. This, and all his other dramatick pieces, in which he alone was concerned, except three, 8 were acted by the King's Company of Comedians, with whom he probably was induced to engage in consequence of their being successively under the direction and superintendance of Thomas, Henry, and Charles Killigrew, to the various branches of which family he appears to have been strongly attached.
Of The Maiden Queen the King himself was the great patron, having, it should seem,“ suggested the plot, and rescued the piece from the
former, therefore, was probably acted early in the preceding winter, when also The Wild GALLANT seeins to have been revived.
8 The six plays acted by the Duke of York's Ser. vants were, The TEMPEST, Sir Martin MARALL, LIMBERHAM, Oedipus, TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, and The SPANISH FRIAR. But two of these plays being written in conjunction with other poets, he probably thought they had as good a right as himself to determine to which theatre they should be given; and Sir Martin MARALL, being originally the Duke of Newcastle's play, that nobleman had a right to dictate at which of the two play. houses it should be represented. About the time that LIMBERHAM, OEDIPUS, and TROILUS AND CRESSIDA were produced, our author's contract with the King's Company seems to have ceased ; and when The SPANISH FRIAR was exhibited, it was certainly at an end.
severity of its enemies.” At this period too he was highly indebted to the young Duchess of Monmouth, who had so warmly patronized his Indian EMPEROR, that one of his adversaries tells
“ She the whole court brought over to his side,
“ And favour flow'd upon him like a tide:"9 and notwithstanding his subsequent opposition to the Duke, her husband, she seems to have continued her kindness to him to a late period of his life.'
Not long after the recommencement of dramatick exhibitions in London, our author took a more secure method of obtaining emolument from his dramas, than the patronage of any individual, however elevated by rank or fortune, could afford; that of contracting with the King's Theatre for an annual stipend, on condition of furnishing a certain number of plays in each year. The emolument was agreed to be one share and a quarter, out of twelve shares and three quarters of a share, into which the theatrical stock was divided ; which is stated by the players to have produced to him, communibus annis, between three and four hundred pounds a year. With respect to the number of plays stipulated to be written, there is a great variation of statement in this as in almost all traditional tales ; nor would it have been easy to find out the truth, were it not for an authentick
9 MEDAL OF John Bayes.
See vol. ii. p. 214.
document by which it is ascertained. Dr. Johnson, misled probably by the Key to The ReHEARSAL, published a few years after Dryden's death, has said, that he contracted to produce four plays a year : Cibber, on the other hand, says, two :? but the true number which he agreed to write, was—three ;} as appears from a memorial yet extant, presented probably to the Lord Cham
APOLOGY, p. 161. 3 Our author seems to allude to this stipulation in the following lines of his Prologue to The Mock AsTROLOGER, which appears to have been represented in 1668 :
“ As for the poet of the present night,
“ Be kind to him to-day, and cuckold him to-morrow." The gallants here alluded to were his brother poets, the writing Monsieurs of the time, as he calls them in a former part of this prologue.
Gildon inaccurately states, (Laws of Poetry, 8vo. 1721, p. 38.) that “ after the Restoration, when the two houses struggled for the favour of the town, the taking poets were secured to either house by a sort of retaining fee, which seldom or never amounted to more than forty shillings a week, nor was that of any long continuance." That sum would not have produced more than sixty pounds a year, the theatrical season being usually about thirty weeks.
Etherege, Lord Orrery, Otway, Shadwell, Ravens
berlain about the year 1678. The reasoning upon this contract has not been less vague than the account of the stipulations which it contained; for it
croft, Crowne, Settle, Behn, and Tate, were all attached to the Duke's House ; some of them gratuitously, and some probably by contract. The Poets of the King's Theatre were, Dryden, Sir Robert Howard, Wycherley, James Howard, Lacy, D'Urfey, and Duffet.—Lee, from 1675 to 1678, received a pension from the King's Ser. vants; from that time to 1682, he attached himself to their opponents. Edward Howard, Sir Charles Sidley, and Bankes, gave their plays sometimes to one theatre, and sometimes to the other.
4 The original of the following paper remained long in the hands of the Killigrew family, and is now in the possession of Isaac Reed, Esq. of Staple Inn, by whom it was obligingly communicated to me several years ago, to illustrate the History of the Stage. The superscription is lost : but it was probably addressed to the Lord Chamberlain, Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, in the year 1678.
" Whereas upon Mr. Dryden's binding himself to write three playes a yeere, he the said Mr. Dryden was admitted and continued as a Sharer in the King's Play. house for diverse years, and received for his share and a quarter, three or four hundred pounds, communibus annis*;
* In an indenture tripartite, dated 31 Dec. 1666, between Thomas Killigrew and Henry Killigrew, his son and heir, of the first part, Thomas Porter, Esq. of the second part, and Sir John Sayer and Dame Catharine his wife, of the third part, it is recited (inter alia) “ that the profits arising by acting of plays, masques, &c. then performed by the company of actors called the King and Queen's players, were, by agreement amongst themselves and Thomas Killigrew, divided into twelve shares and three quarters of a share,—and that Thomas Killi.
has been said, and repeated from book to book, that it is not to be wondered at that our author's
but though he received the moneys, we received not the playes, not one in a yeare. After which, the House being burnt, the Company in building another contracted great debts, so that the Shares fell much short of what they were formerly. Thereupon Mr. Dryden complaining to the Company of his want of proffit, the Company was so kind to him, that they not only did not presse him for the playes which he so engaged to write for them, and for which he was paid beforehand, but they did also, at his earnest request, give him a third day for his last new play, called All for Love; and at the receipt of the money of the said third day, he acknowledged it as a guift; and a particular kindnesse of the Company. Yet not. withstanding this kind proceeding, Mr. Dryden has now, jointly with Mr. Lee, (who was in pension with us to the last day of our playing, and shall continue,) written a play called Oedipus, and given it to the Duke's Company, contrary to his said agreement, his promise, and all gratitude, to the great prejudice and almost undoing of the Company, they being the only poets remaining to us. Mr. Crowne, being under the like agreement with the Duke's House, writt a play called The DESTRUCTION
grew was to have two full shares and three quarters. And by agreement between Henry and Thomas, Henry was to have £.4 per week out of the two shares of Thomas, except such weeks when the players did not act.”
From the emoluments which Dryden is here said to have received by his share and a quarter, the total profits of the King's Theatre, antecedent to its being burnt down, should seem to have been about £4,000 per annum. So that Wright, who asserts in his Historia HistrIONICA, 8vo. 1699, p. 11, that every whole sharer in Killigrew's company, for many years re. ceived a thousand pounds, a year, was undoubtedly mistaken.