Hampshire, Freefolk, 16th Century

Description of a Morality Play

Jervoise of Herriard Collection, HRO: 44M69/A9/2/1

f [12]

Thargument of the first tryvmphe is howe man beinge made a compest of a bodie & a sowle hathe in hem sens reason & vnderstandinge & every of these hathe his propre affecons. & how love ys an affecon rysinge of them all & the most puissant ruler of man

love therfore by force conquerethe the will within man & restrainethe hem from his liberte putting in hem those contrarye passions which ordinarilie torment the harte & thens by diuers means bringethe man to a serten servile thraldome tryompheth.

The first scene of the first act. philo with yowthe & simplicite comethe in & reioisethe at his estate so well left in welthe so soone cominge to it so rendered of nature & fre a lyffee & voide of all care. devisethe with yowthe what trade of lyffe he shall take most to his plesure yowthe advisethe hem to spende his yeres in myrthe in all plesures of activite &c. simplesse confirmethe ye same & wisheth hem to serve a mistris

The seconde scene. nobilite & franchize mete. embrase/ & congratulat ther meetinge for le familliarte & from hensfoorth be swore to eche other. nobillite having herde of philo the prince late cam to his estate declarethe to franchize his entent to se yat cowrte & ther to remayne a while. franchize is content to ye <.>osse

The thirde scene. reason comethe not obe<.>. & ladi nature tellinge of her son philo who among many other her children/ is only to inherite the kingdome declarethe to her all the circumstances of his birthe/ & age/ & condicons/ & disposition telleth hem the importance of his rule & estate betakethe hem to his government & direction in all thinges & reason obeyethe & promisethe his service

The fowrth scene philo after he had in his palaice entertaind nobillite & franchize cometh owte with them in reioisinge & thei together perswade with philo to vse the lustines of yeeres/ & the welt of his estate to some eccerise of honur as the names/ or lyke mattes philo herethe hem but will in one case attempt any matter without reasonz advise & goethe in

The fifthe scene yowthe & nobillite taryeth behinde & seeme to mislike that councelling with reson & feare lest he will hindre the matter devise how thei wille at the matter & prick foorthe philo. thei meet, philo & reson cominge philo staiethe them to here reson perswadethe to the contrarye by many examples allowing peece with forran princes/ & at home wyshethe not to be vnfurnished aganst al forren assaultz & notwithstanding the persuacons of euell & from reason prevailethe

The sixt scene nature moved to vnderstand of her son. telleth genius her chaplen her great care. sendeth for reson who moche comforteth her. in prayse of her conformable childe. lyke to proper & wyse prince.

f [13]

Triumpho del amore.

"> desin
reason ou consilio
male bouche
ben parler
bien seler
morte. atropos.
par age
par age
par impatiens
par dolor
  • Footnotes
    • Thargument … man: this paragraph takes up half the normal text area and is written on the right side of the leaf
    • mattes: for matters or matter
    • philo: scribbled over; possibly for deletion
    • mislike: 3 minims for mi
    • Triumpho del amore: 'The trimuph of love' (It)
    • amore...genius: 4 lines encompassed by right brace
    • desin: 'design, intent' (F dessein)
    • delict: 'delight' (F) [AND delit]
    • vtile: 'profit, benefit' (It)
    • desin...vtile: 4 lines encompassed by right brace
    • philo...sophia: 7 lines encompassed by right brace
    • ou consilio: 'or counsel' (It)
    • passetempo: 'pastime' (It passatempo)
    • dieta: 'diet, daily regimen' (L, It)
    • Sobrieta: 'sobriety, moderation' (It)
    • pauowra: 'fear' (It paura)
    • vergona: 'shame' (It vergogna)
    • ialesia: 'jealousy' (It gelesia)
    • male bouche: 'evil mouth, scandal' (F)
    • ocio: 'idleness' (It ozio)
    • pigritia: 'sloth' (L cp It pigrizia)
    • αΘϵία :'godlessness', 'ungodliness'
    • curtesia: 'courtesy' (It)
    • ben parler: 'speaking well' (Fr)
    • bien seler: 'concealing well' (Fr bien celer)
    • morte: underlined in MS
    • atropos: one of the 3 fates of Greek mythology
    • radamanthus: ie, Rhadamanthus of Greek mythology, son of Europa and Zeus, a severe judge
    • surfett: 'surfeit, excess' (Fr) [AND surfeit]
    • marte...age: 5 lines encompassed by right brace pointing to5
    • impatience...maladie: 3 lines encompassed by right brace pointing to3
    • remors terror: 2 lines encompassed by right brace pointing to2
    • Sophia...reason: 3 lines encompassed by right brace
    • labor exercize: 2 lines encompassed by right brace pointing toage
    • paoura: 'fear' (It paura)
    • gelesia: 'jealousy' (It)
    • vergone: 'shame' (It vergogna)
    • pauora...&: 4 lines encompassed by right brace pointing topar age
    • compania passetempo: 2 lines encompassed by right brace pointing toper impateins
    • Labore exercise: 2 lines encompassed by right brace pointing topar dolor
    • Sophia … dolor: written in a second column
  • Glossed Terms
    • affecon n affection
    • compest n composition, combination, compound [OEDO compost n.1 1.a]
    • condicon n condition
    • eccerise n exercise
    • familliarte n familiarity
    • forran adj foreign
    • lyffee n life
    • persuacon n persuasion
    • welt n wealth
  • Endnote

    The Paulet family was resident at Freefolk.

    The characters are grouped with brackets to the right. In the left column the first four names are bracketed, then the second four. After a space, the next fourteen names are not bracketed, nor is (after a space) ‘morte atropos’; the next bracket begins with ‘marte’ and includes five names, ending with ‘age.’ The next bracket joins ‘impatience,’ ‘dolor,’ and ‘maladie’; the last bracket the remaining two names. In the second column, the first seven names are bracketed. Then there is a space and eleven names that are not bracketed, followed by another space. After the space the first three names are bracketed, then two, then four, then two and two, with the final bracket extending to the left under ‘exercise.’

    The editors have not been able to identify this description as a known morality play or allegorical pageant, and Martin Wiggins, author of British Drama, has privately indicated to them that this play does not appear to correspond with any extant play or any known post-Reformation lost play (Wiggins suggests the play may be mid-sixteenth century and has assigned the play a provisional catalogue number of 276.5). Almost half of the allegorical figures named in the list on f [13] correspond to characters in the Roman de la Rose, the French thirteenth-century allegorical poem by Guilliaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun. Some are spelled as in the Roman, while others have been rendered in an attempt at Italian. The scenes described on f [12] do not, however, resemble the narrative of the poem, so it is difficult to ascertain the extent to which the Roman de la Rose influenced the writer(s) of the description and list.

    The list of characters does not appear to be in Sir Richard Paulet's hand, though the description may be; it has signs of being written rapidly, perhaps during a performance, much as Paulet's Parliamentary Diary does. Paulet certainly showed an interest in plays, as he purchased a number of play texts, as well as attending plays. He may have been recording the argument of a play he had seen, or this document may be some kind of plan for a performance of a morality play that he somehow acquired. The use of French in the list of characters is reminiscent of the French (or perhaps Frenchified) names of the signatories to the Maskers' Letter of 1586, but the possibility that this document is a description of the performance of those maskers is highly conjectural (see The Maskers' Letter to Sir Richard Paulet, 1586). The two different hands of the character list and the description do not resemble the hand of the Maskers' Letter.

  • Document Description

    Record title: Description of a Morality Play
    Repository: Jervoise of Herriard Collection, HRO
    Shelfmark: 44M69/A9/2/1
    Repository location: Winchester

    Sir Richard Paulet (c 1558–1614) was the grandnephew of William Paulet (1474/5?–1572), first marquess of Winchester and longtime lord treasurer under three Tudor monarchs. Richard Paulet inherited estates at Herriard, south of Basingstoke, and Freefolk, near Whitchurch. He served multiple times as sheriff of Hampshire and in parliament for Whitchurch. For further details see the section on Hampshire families in Historical Background.

    The document containing the play description comprises miscellaneous records to do with the manor of Hill Croome, Worcestershire, which Richard Paulet had inherited from his great uncle Thomas Walshe in 1593. The manuscript begins with records of the manor court of Hill Croome for 1506 and ends with a 1601 survey of the lands which Paulet's adopted son and heir Thomas Jervoise inherited from his father. The item on f [46v] is a copy of Richard Paulet's 1582 recognizance to pay his sister Elizabeth £20 when she comes of age or marries. The manuscript thus seems to be a collection of records concerning Richard Paulet's lands and finances, but the records have been copied by several different hands and are not arranged in chronological order, so they give little indication of the date or origin of the play description. The two different hands of the play description are both late 16th century. The two folios of the play description (ff [12] and [13]) are written upside down in relation to the rest of the manuscript. (f [12v] is written right side up in a different hand from the play description, and is a survey of the manor of Stockton, Worcestershire, which Paulet also inherited from Thomas Walshe.) The list of virtues and vices on f [13] is written in a different hand from the summary on f [12], but the two are linked by the word 'Triumph' at the top of both, and several of the virtues in the list appear in the summary.

    1506–1601; English with some Latin; paper; 49 leaves; 316mm x 200mm; unnumbered (ff [42–9] written reversed from opposite end, many leaves blanks); generally good condition, though some leaves (mostly those without writing) have had parts removed, perhaps due to damage; plain parchment cover bound to the paper book with 4 leather thongs, Herriard Collection stamp, with coat of arms in the middle, is inked front and back, front cover has modern pencil notation: 'Walsh/ Hilcourt/ Croome Hill/ (Co. Wigorn).'

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