Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Massinger, Philip

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MASSINGER, PHILIP (1583–1640), dramatist, was son of Arthur Massinger, a member of an old Salisbury family, who was confidential servant or house-steward at Wilton to Henry Herbert, second earl of Pembroke [q. v.], and retained the post under his first master's son, William, third earl [q. v.], the patron and friend of Shakespeare. The elder Massinger is certainly identical with the Arthur Massinger who graduated B.A. from St. Alban Hall, Oxford, in 1571 (M.A. 1577), and became fellow of Merton in 1572; he was subsequently M.P. for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis (1588–9 and 1593) and for Shaftesbury in 1601. In 1587 his master, who regarded him highly, recommended him for the office of examiner in ‘the court of the marches toward South Wales,’ and in 1597 he was conducting the negotiations for a marriage between Lord Pembroke's son and a daughter of Lord Burghley (Notes and Queries, 1st ser. iii. 52; cf. Sydney Papers, ii. 93). ‘Many years he happily spent in the service of your honourable house, and died a servant to it,’ wrote Philip Massinger (1624), when dedicating his ‘Bondman’ to Philip Herbert. He seems to have died in 1606 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, p. 1004; Brodrick, Memorials of Merton College, p. 270). Walter, a brother of the elder Massinger, was also a student at St. Alban Hall about 1572.

Philip, perhaps named after Sir Philip Sidney, brother of the second Earl of Pembroke's wife [see Herbert, Mary], was baptised at St. Thomas's, Salisbury, on 24 Nov. 1583. Gifford supposes him to have been a page at Wilton in his youth, and Wood conjectures that he was supported at the university by Henry Herbert, second earl of Pembroke, until he offended his patron by adopting the Roman catholic religion, but of his religious conversion little is known. On 14 May 1602, ‘Philip Messinger,’ described as a Salisbury man and son of a gentleman, was entered at St. Alban Hall, Oxford, where his father and uncle had already been educated. According to Wood, ‘he applied his mind more to poetry and romances for about four years or more than to logic and philosophy,’ and he left Oxford in 1606 without taking a degree, probably at the time of his father's death.

Coming to London, Massinger seems to have sought the society of writers for the stage, and soon made a reputation for himself as a playwright. The extent of his work it is difficult to define. Many of his dramas are lost, and in accordance with the custom of the time he wrote in association with his friends very much that he did not publicly claim. External evidence proves that Nathaniel Field and Robert Daborne were among his collaborators, and that with Fletcher he formed at an early period a close literary partnership. Internal evidence suggests that he and Cyril Tourneur produced together the ‘Second Maiden's Tragedy’ as early as 1611. Dekker joined him in the ‘Virgin Martyr’ in 1620. Traces of Massinger's hand have been doubtfully suggested in such early works of Beaumont and Fletcher as the ‘Scornful Lady,’ written about 1610, ‘Cupid's Revenge,’ acted in January 1611–12, and the ‘Captain,’ written very early in 1613; but there is little likelihood of Massinger's connection with Fletcher until late in 1613. From about that year Fletcher and Massinger wrote regularly in conjunction until Fletcher's death in 1625. Third or fourth pens occasionally joined them. Sir Aston Cokayne [q. v.] thrice in his poems mentions the friendship subsisting between Fletcher and Massinger, and their association in dramatic composition [see {{sc|Fletcher, John, 1579–1625], but the editions of Fletcher's works, which contain most of their joint efforts, ignore Massinger's name altogether. For some years Fletcher and Massinger were connected with the same company of actors. Both, with Field, joined the king's men in 1616. At the end of 1623 Massinger temporarily transferred his services to the Cockpit company (queen's men, i.e. Lady Elizabeth's), and for them he wrote, apparently for the first time unaided, three pieces, the ‘Parliament of Love,’ the ‘Bondman,’ and the ‘Renegado.’ After Fletcher's death in 1625 he rejoined the king's men. In 1627 his ‘Great Duke of Florence’ was prepared for another company (the queen's servants). There is no other indication of Massinger's connection with any but the king's company at the period, and consequently, with the exception of about a year and a half (1623–5), Massinger may be regarded as writing from 1616 to his death on 18 March 1639–40 for that company alone.

Massinger's literary friends included James Smith (1605–1667), editor of ‘Musarum Deliciæ,’ whom Massinger, according to Wood, habitually called his son (Wood, iii. 776). With the Herbert family he maintained friendly relations to the end. Aubrey describes him as servant to Philip, the fourth earl, and in receipt of a pension of 30l. or 40l. from his master. In 1624 he dedicated his ‘Bondman’ to Earl Philip, and he chose Robert Dormer, earl of Carnarvon, as sponsor for his best-known comedy, ‘A New Way to Pay Old Debts,’ in 1633, on the ground that ‘I was born a devoted servant to the thrice noble family of your incomparable lady,’ the daughter of Earl Philip. In 1634 Massinger wrote ‘verses on the death of Charles, Lord Herbert, [third] son to Philip, [fourth] Earl of Pembroke’ (Brit. Mus. MS. Reg. 18 A xx.). Other men of eminence took notice of him, he tells us, and were patrons of his ‘humble studies’ (Unnatural Combat, Ded.) Among them was Sir Warham St. Leger, to whose son Walter he dedicated his ‘Unnatural Combat’ (1639). He acknowledged that he had ‘tasted of the bounty’ of ‘Sir Robert Wiseman of Thorrell's Hall in Essex’ (Great Duke, Ded.), and of Sir Francis Foljambe and Sir Thomas Bland (Maid of Honour, Ded.) His friend Sir Aston Cokayne brought his work to the notice of his uncle, Lord Mohun of Okehampton, to whom Massinger dedicated his ‘Emperor of the East.’

His political views, like those of his patron Earl Philip, inclined to the popular party. In the ‘Bondman,’ 1623, he clearly denounced Buckingham under the disguise of Gisco (i. 1), and supported the Herberts in their quarrel with James I's favourite. Thinly veiled reflections on current politics figure in ‘Believe as you List,’ the ‘Emperor of the East,’ and the ‘Maid of Honour.’ On 11 Jan. 1630–1 Sir Henry Herbert [q. v.] refused a license to an unnamed play of Massinger ‘because it did contain dangerous matter, as the deposing of Sebastian, king of Portugal, by Philip [the second], and there being a peace sworn betwixt the kings of England and Spain.’ This piece seems to have been an early draft of ‘Believe as you List.’ According to his own account he made a very narrow income out of his literary pursuits.

He died suddenly in his house on the Bankside, Southwark, near the Globe Theatre, in the middle of March 1639–40. ‘He went to bed well, and was dead before morning: whereupon his body, being accompanied by comedians, was buried about the middle of that ch. yard belonging to St. Saviour's Church there, commonly called the Bullhead ch. yard,’ on 18 March 1639–40 (WOOD, Athenæ, ed. Bliss). According to the entry of burial in the parish register he was a ‘stranger,’ that is a non-parishioner (Notes and Queries, 1st ser. x. 206). Cokayne says that he was buried in the same grave as Fletcher. The theory that Massinger was converted to Roman catholicism in middle life depends on the catholic tone of many passages in his ‘Renegado’ and the ‘Virgin Martyr,’ which he wrote with Dekker, but the proofs are by no means conclusive.

Massinger was married, and left a widow, who at one time resided at Cardiff, and received from the Earl of Pembroke, according to Aubrey, the pension bestowed on her husband. She seems to have had children. Miss Henrietta Massinger, claiming to be a direct descendant, died on 4 Aug. 1762 (London Mag. 1762). A portrait was engraved by Worthington after Thurston. Other engraved portraits by Grignion, T. Cross, and H. Robinson are extant (Evans, Cat. Nos. 7027 and 1914).

Massinger wrote fifteen plays unaided—tragedies, tragi-comedies, and comedies—and thence his characteristics as a dramatist are best deduced. Several of his plots are borrowed from Cervantes, and the influence of Spanish and Italian models is often apparent in both matter and manner. But in the masterly working-out of his plots and in his insight into stage requirements he has hardly an equal among his contemporaries either at home or abroad. His characters, as in Italian comedy, are to a great extent conventional. The tyrant grovelling at the feet of a mistress who glories in her power over him; that mistress boasting of her very questionable virtue, and consumed with a desire of forcing all within her sphere to feel and acknowledge the power of her beauty; the pert page and the flippant waiting-woman, are familiar figures in his pages. His men are generally under the influence of one ruling passion, which, paralysing all their mental powers, leads to the catastrophe. ‘For the most part,’ wrote Hazlitt, an unfriendly critic, ‘his villains are a sort of “lusus naturæ;” his impassioned characters are like drunkards or madmen; their conduct is extreme and outrageous, their motives unaccountable and weak.’ Generally speaking, he gives an impression of hardness, and seldom deviates into tender pathos. But his most characteristic trait is a peculiarly corrupt tone of thought, even in his heroines when they are intended as models of virtue. Their morality lies entirely in obedience to outward observances, and in no inner principle. Purity is not to be found in his world, and his obscenity seems often purposeless. The warning in his ‘Roman Actor,’ i. 3, that his portrayal of evil was intended to convey a wholesome reproof to the evil-minded, is unconvincing.

Massinger's language is generally full and flowing, with more of a rhetorical than a dramatic character. In a contemporary poem ‘On the Time-Poets’ (Choyce Drollery, 1656) it is said of him that his

Easy Pegasus will amble o'er
Some threescore miles of Fancy in an hour.

He wrote, according to Charles Lamb, ‘with that equability of all the passions which made his English style the purest and most free from violent metaphors and harsh constructions of any of the dramatists who were his contemporaries.’ Coleridge declares that Massinger's style is ‘differenced in the smallest degree possible from animated conversation by the vein of poetry.’ He often substitutes description for action, and is hardly ever carried away by his situations. He has consequently few passages of the highest poetical beauty. On the other hand, he seldom sinks into the trivial, and his sustained and even flow of language sometimes rises into very solemn eloquence, tinged with a melancholy which suggests a sermon. ‘No author repeats himself oftener or with less ceremony than Massinger’ (Gifford). A list of more than a thousand of repeated phrases and expressions, not counting the commonest, is given in ‘Englische Studien’ (v. 1, vii. 1, x. 3). This habit enables us to recognise Massinger's hand in anonymous or joint plays, and is especially useful in tracing the work of his early life, before his metrical characteristics, which are an adequate test of his later productions, became distinctive.

In his early work he introduces very much prose and rhyme, but in his later work he confines himself to blank verse. His blank verse shows a larger proportion of run-on lines and double endings in harmonious union than any contemporary author. Cartwright and Tourneur have more run-on lines, but not so many double endings. Fletcher has more double endings, but very few run-on lines. Shakespeare and Beaumont alone exhibit a somewhat similar metrical style.

I. Plays by Massinger alone (in approximate chronological order).—1. ‘The Duke of Milan,’ 4to, 1623; acted by the king's men at Blackfriars; probably written about 1618; partly founded on Josephus's ‘History of the Jews’ (xv. 4), and slightly on Guicciardini's ‘History’ (xv. c. iv.). There is a striking resemblance between the painting of the corpse in this play and in the ‘Second Maiden's Tragedy’ and the ‘Revenger's Tragedy.’ A réchauffé of it and Fenton's ‘Mariamne’ by Cumberland was played at Covent Garden 10 Nov. 1779. It was revived at Drury Lane, with Edmund Kean in the title-rôle, 9 March 1816. 2. ‘The Unnatural Combat,’ 4to, 1639; acted by the king's men at the Globe, probably about 1619. It is one of Massinger's most characteristic, but at the same time least pleasing, productions. 3. ‘The Bondman,’ 4to, 1624; licensed 3 Dec. 1623, and played at the Cockpit; partly founded on Plutarch. It was revived, 1 March 1661, when Pepys saw it; at Drury Lane 8 June 1719; and, altered by Cumberland, at Covent Garden 13 Oct. 1779. 4. ‘The Renegado,’ 4to, 1630; licensed 17 April 1624; played by the queen's men. 5. ‘The Parliament of Love’ was first printed by Gifford from an imperfect manuscript in 1805; licensed for the Cockpit 3 Nov. 1624. It was entered on the ‘Stationers' Registers’ 29 June 1660, and ascribed to W. Rowley. 6. ‘A New Way to Pay Old Debts,’ 4to, 10 Nov. 1632, a comedy; acted by the queen's men at the Phœnix. There is an allusion to the taking of Breda, July 1625. Mr. Fleay dates it before May 1622; but it probably belongs to 1625 or 1626. No entries by Sir Henry Herbert are known between 10 Feb. 1625 and 22 Jan. 1626. The first two acts contain passages in Fletcher's peculiar metre, but his contributions must have been slight (he died in August 1625). This comedy retained its popularity longer than any other of Massinger's plays, and kept possession of the stage even into the present century. Genest notices thirteen revivals between 1748 and 1827. 7. ‘The Roman Actor,’ 4to, 1629; played at Blackfriars by the king's men; licensed 11 Oct. 1626, and written immediately before, as it alludes to a terrible storm which swept over London during the same autumn. Massinger calls it the most perfect birth of his Minerva; revived after thirty years at Lincoln's Inn Fields 13 June 1722, and at Drury Lane in 1796 and (in one act) in 1822. 8. ‘The Maid of Honour,’ 4to, 1632, was played by the queen's men at the Phœnix. It is probably a recast of an older play by Massinger. Fulgentio, the king's favourite, can only refer to Buckingham. It was altered by Kemble and produced at Drury Lane 27 Jan. 1785, with Kemble and Mrs. Siddons in the chief parts. 9. ‘The Picture,’ 4to, 1630; licensed 8 June 1629. An altered version, by the Rev. H. Bate Dudley [q. v.], was produced at Covent Garden 8 Nov. 1783. The plot bears some resemblance to the mediæval story of the ‘Wright's Chaste Wife’ (Early English Text Soc. 1866), but was doubtless taken by Massinger from Bandello's ‘Novelle’ (21 Nov.), through Painter's ‘Palace of Pleasure’ (28 Nov.). Musset borrowed from the same story of Bandello the plot of his ‘Barberini’ (Notes and Queries, 5th ser. vii. 81, 160). Bandello doubtless himself derived the tale from the ‘Gesta Romanorum’ (cap. lxiv.). 10. ‘The Great Duke of Florence,’ 4to, 1635, was licensed 5 July 1627 for the queen's servants. 11. ‘The Emperor of the East,’ 4to, 19 Nov. 1631; licensed 4 March 1631 for the king's men. There is a curious parallel between a passage in act iv. 4 and one in Molière's ‘Malade Imaginaire’ (1673), act iii. (the last few lines in Toinette's first long speech) (ib. 3rd ser. viii. 348). 12. ‘Believe as you List;’ entered on the ‘Stationers' Registers’ 1653. This was the play sent back by Herbert 11 Jan. 1631 because it contained dangerous matter. It was discovered in manuscript in 1844, and printed for the Percy Society in 1848. 13. ‘The City Madam,’ 8vo, 1658; licensed 25 May 1632. It has lately been doubted whether this play was Massinger's, but the parallel passages connecting it with Massinger's work, the characterisation, and the metre equally exclude the idea of participation, on the part of Jonson or any other. It was revived for Baddeley's benefit at Drury Lane 29 April 1783. 14. ‘The Guardian,’ published 1655 by Moseley, together with ‘A Very Woman’ (by Massinger and Fletcher, see below) and the ‘Bashful Lover.’ It was licensed for the king's men 31 Oct. 1633; performed at court 12 Jan. 1634; and was ‘well liked.’ 15. ‘The Bashful Lover,’ published as above, licensed 9 May 1636. The play has an allusion to the death of Wallenstein, 25 Feb. 1634. Revived at Covent Garden, 30 May 1798, as ‘Disinterested Love.’

II. Plays by Massinger and others.—In these plays Massinger's hand can only be detected by internal evidence of style, characterisation, and metre. Fletcher was Massinger's collaborateur in each of those numbered 1 to 20, but in a few cases other hands are also visible. Those marked † are by Fletcher and Massinger alone, and first appeared in the 1647 folio of Beaumont and Fletcher's ‘Works.’

1. ‘The Honest Man's Fortune.’ An undated letter, addressed to Philip Henslowe by Field, Daborne, and Massinger, mentions that the three were engaged with Fletcher on a play for Henslowe. Fletcher did not probably begin to write for Henslowe before the burning of the Globe, on 29 June 1613, and the letter was probably drawn up soon after that event. The balance of evidence seems to identify the play mentioned with the ‘Honest Man's Fortune,’ acted by the Lady Elizabeth's men in 1613, and reallowed for the king's men on 8 Feb. 1624–5 by Sir Henry Herbert, whose copy of that date is in the Dyce Library. It was first printed in the 1647 folio edition of Beaumont and Fletcher's works. Act iii. must be pronounced Massinger's (cf. iii. i. 120, and Two Noble Kinsmen, i. i. 118). Act v. is undoubtedly Fletcher's.

2. ‘Thierry and Theodoret’ (printed in 1621) and 3. ‘The Bloody Brother’ (printed in 1639) were by Massinger, Field, Fletcher, and another author. They were probably written in 1613 or 1614. The fourth author wrote act iv. 1 of the ‘Bloody Brother’ and act iii. 2 of ‘Thierry and Theodoret,’ and the grammatical peculiarities of those passages suggest Wilkins. Massinger's share in the ‘Bloody Brother’ is act i. and act v. 1; in ‘Thierry and Theodoret’ it is act i. 2, act ii. 1, 3, and act iv. 2.

4†. ‘The Knight of Malta.’ Massinger's share is act iii. 2, 3, iv. 1, and perhaps a part of v. 2. As Burbage and Field acted together in this play, it was probably produced after the latter had joined the king's men in 1616.

5†. ‘The Queen of Corinth’ (written about 1617). Massinger wrote act i. and act v. Field perhaps aided Fletcher in this piece.

6. ‘Barnavelt,’ by Fletcher and Massinger (first printed in Bullen's ‘Old Plays,’ vol. ii. 1881), played August 1619. Massinger's share is i. 1, 2, ii. 1, iii. 2, 3, 5, iv. 4, 5, v. 1 (down to ‘Enter Provost’); thirty-four parallel passages connect it with Massinger's undoubted work.

7. ‘Henry VIII,’ in the form which has come down to us, was probably not written earlier than 1617. It is doubtless by Massinger and Fletcher (Transactions of the New Shakspere Soc. 1884).

8. ‘The Two Noble Kinsmen,’ 4to, 1634, is in the present writer's opinion entirely by Massinger and Fletcher (ib. for 1882). Massinger's share is i., ii. 1, iii. 1, 2, iv. 3, v. 1 (except the opening eighteen lines), 3, 4. The numerous parallel passages connecting this play with the rest of Massinger's work, and the characterisation, especially of the female characters, are decisive as to Massinger's participation.

9†. ‘The Custom of the Country.’ It is mentioned in Sir Henry Herbert's ‘Office-Book,’ 22 Nov. 1628, as an old play. It is founded on Cervantes's ‘Persiles and Sigismunda,’ and is partly a literal translation from the Spanish novel; even the original names are retained in the drama. Massinger's share is ii. 1, 2, 3, 4, iii. 4, 5, iv. 1, 2, v. 1, 2, 3, 4.

10. ‘The Elder Brother,’ printed as by Fletcher only, 4to, 29 March 1637, and by him and Beaumont in 1651, was probably revised generally by Massinger; it is preserved in a contemporary manuscript, Egerton MS. 1994. Massinger's share is i. 1, 2, v. 1, 2. The plot is like that of Calderon's ‘De una causa dos efectos.’

11†. ‘The Sea Voyage’ was licensed 22 June 1622. Massinger's share is ii. 1, 2, iii. 1 (from ‘Enter Rosellia’), v. 1, 2, 3, 4.

12†. ‘The Double Marriage,’ probably produced about 1620. Massinger's share is i. 1, iii. 1, iv. 1, 2, v. 2 (to ‘Enter Pandulpho’), v. 3.

13†. ‘The Beggar's Bush,’ performed at court at Christmas 1622. Massinger's share is i. 1, 2, 3, v. 1 (latter part of the scene), and 2 (first part of the scene). There are few of the parallel passages characteristic of Massinger, and those only in the scenes here ascribed to him.

14†. ‘The False One,’ probably produced about 1620. Massinger's share is acts i. and v.

15†. ‘The Prophetess,’ licensed 14 May 1622. Massinger's share is ii., iv., v. 1, 2. The plot is based on Plutarch and Lucan.

16†. ‘The Little French Lawyer,’ probably written not later than 1620. A duel between Villiers, the favourite's brother, and Mr. Rich took place in 1619. The seconds also fought, and this is spoken of as a new custom, and explained by Mr. Rich ‘having new come out of France.’ Massinger's part is i., iii. 1, v. 1 (from ‘Enter Cleremont’). There are traces of his hand in other scenes, but the above are the only ones that have parallel passages connecting them with Massinger (fifteen in number). The plot is from the ‘Spanish Rogue,’ ii. 4.

17†. ‘The Lovers' Progress,’ licensed as ‘Cleander,’ 9 May 1634. It is probably an alteration of the ‘Wandering Lovers,’ licensed 6 Dec. 1623. Massinger's share is i. 1, 2 (to ‘Enter Malfort’), ii. 2, iii. 4 and 6 (the last two speeches), acts iv. and v. Founded on Daudiguier's ‘Lysandre et Caliste.’

18†. ‘The Spanish Curate,’ licensed 24 Oct. 1622. Massinger's part is i., iii. 3, iv. 1, 4, v. 1, 3. Founded on Cespedes's ‘Gerardo, the Unfortunate Spaniard’ (English translation by Leonard Digges, 1622).

19†. ‘The Fair Maid of the Inn,’ licensed 22 Jan. 1626. The idea is taken from Cervantes's ‘La illustre Fregona,’ but only in a general way. Massinger's share is i., iii. 2, v. 3. Mr. Fleay gives a great part of the play to Jonson, but adduces no evidence.

20. ‘A Very Woman, or the Prince of Tarent;’ published by Moseley, 1655, in one volume with the ‘Guardian’ and the ‘Bashful Lover;’ licensed 6 June 1634. It was entered as Massinger's on the ‘Stationers' Registers,’ 9 Sept. 1653, but is partly by Fletcher. Massinger's share is i., ii. 1, 2, 3 (down to ‘Enter Pedro’), iv. 1 and 3. The lost plays—the ‘Woman's Plot,’ acted 1621–2, and the ‘Spanish Viceroy,’ acted 20 Dec. 1624, without Herbert's license—may possibly be early versions of this piece.

In the following plays there are no traces of Fletcher's hand, and the names of Massinger's collaborators are determined with less certainty: 21. ‘The Second Maiden's Tragedy,’ licensed by Sir George Buck 31 Oct. 1611, and acted by the king's men. Massinger's hand is traceable in the first two acts, and Tourneur's in the last three. Tourneur in the ‘Revenger's Tragedy’ and Massinger in the ‘Duke of Milan’ have situations similar to the painting of the lady's corpse in this play. The underplot is taken from Cervantes's ‘Curious Impertinent,’ and in the first two acts, which are ascribed to Massinger, there are passages literally taken from the novel. The play must have been written after the execution of Ravaillac, 27 May 1610, to which an allusion is made. A manuscript copy in a scribe's hand is extant in the Lansdowne collection (from the Warburton MSS.). The title suggests that Massinger and his coadjutor were emulating the success of Beaumont and Fletcher's ‘Maid's Tragedy.’

22. ‘Love's Cure, or the Martial Maid,’ fol. 1647. The date must be after 1622, from the allusion to the Muscovite ambassador and the renewal of the war between Holland and Spain, 1622. Massinger's share is i., iv., v. 1, 2. Fleay supposes this play to be an alteration from an old one by Beaumont and Fletcher. There is no trace of Fletcher in the play, nor is there anything in it reminding us of Beaumont. Mr. A. H. Bullen suggests Middleton as the probable coadjutor of Massinger, but in 1623 these dramatists were writing for different companies.

23. ‘The Fatal Dowry,’ 4to, 1632, by Field and Massinger. The latter's share is i., iii. (down to ‘Enter Noval Junior’), iv. 2, 3, 4, v. 1, 2. The date is with all probability supposed to be before Richard Burbage's death in 1619, when Field retired from the stage. Rowe plundered this play in his ‘Fair Penitent,’ which was acted with much success by Betterton in 1703 (Genest, ii. 281–290), and gave up his original intention of editing Massinger in order that his theft might not be discovered.

24. ‘The Virgin Martyr,’ 4to, 1621; licensed 6 Oct. 1620 by Sir George Buck. Massinger's share is i., iii. 1, 2, iv. 3, v. 2; the rest is Dekker's. Partly founded on the story of the martyr Dorothea. It was revived at Drury Lane 27 Feb. 1668, and at Richmond in 1715 in an altered version by Griffin.

In 1656 there was published, as the joint work of Massinger, Middleton, and Rowley, an excellent comedy called ‘The Old Law.’ The fact that 1599, when Massinger was fifteen, has been plausibly argued to be the date of its composition, renders Massinger's responsibility for it doubtful. Internal evidence gives no support to Massinger's claim to part authorship, and it is probable that he merely gave it very slight revision at a late revival (see Middleton, Thomas; and Middleton, Works, ed. Bullen, vol. i. p. xv).

III. Plays alleged to be lost.—Many plays in which Massinger was solely or jointly concerned are lost, several of them being destroyed in manuscript by the carelessness of Warburton's cook. In a few cases the titles of the pieces suggest that they were identical with extant plays known by other names. The titles (those destroyed by Warburton's cook being distinguished by an asterisk) are as follows: 1. ‘The Forced Lady,’ given in Warburton's list with a second title as ‘Minerva's Sacrifice.’ It was licensed 23 Nov. 1629, and entered on the ‘Stationers' Registers,’ 9 Sept. 1653. This play may possibly be identical with the extant ‘Queen of Corinth.’ 2. ‘The Noble Choice, or the Orator.’ A play was licensed as ‘The Orator’ 10 Jan. 1635, and there is an entry in the ‘Stationers' Registers,’ 9 Sept. 1653, ‘The Noble Choice, or the Orator.’ This may be the ‘Elder Brother.’ 3. ‘The Wandering Lovers;’ licensed for the king's men 6 Dec. 1623, is probably the original form of ‘Cleander,’ licensed 9 May 1634, which is in all likelihood the folio play of the ‘Lovers' Progress.’ 4.* ‘Philengo and Hippolito;’ entered on the ‘Stationers' Registers’ 9 Sept. 1653. 5.* ‘Antonio and Vallia;’ entered on the ‘Stationers' Registers’ 29 June 1660. 6. ‘The Tyrant,’ entered on the ‘Stationers' Registers,’ 1660, has been supposed to be another title for the ‘Second Maiden's Tragedy.’ It has also been identified with the ‘King and Subject,’ licensed 5 June 1638, in which King Charles marked a passage as ‘too insolent, and to be changed.’ Fleay identifies this play with the ‘Double Marriage,’ for which he has two further titles, the ‘Unfortunate Piety,’ or the ‘Italian Nightpiece,’ licensed 13 June 1631. 7.* ‘The Woman's Plot,’ acted at court 1621–2; entered on the ‘Stationers' Registers,’ 9 Sept. 1653, as ‘The Very Woman, or the Woman's Plot.’ 8.* ‘The Spanish Viceroy’ was acted without license in 1624. It is probably the same play as the ‘Honour of Women,’ licensed 6 May 1628. Both this and the preceding piece may possibly be drafts of the extant piece, ‘A Very Woman’ (see above). 9. ‘The Judge;’ licensed 6 June 1627. Mr. Fleay supposes this to be a recast of the ‘Fatal Dowry.’ 10. ‘Alexius, or the Chaste Lover;’ licensed 25 Sept. 1639. In Warburton's list the title is ‘Alexius, or the Chaste Gallant.’ 11.* ‘The Fair Anchoress of Pausilippo;’ licensed 26 Jan. 1640; entered on the ‘Stationers' Registers,’ 9 Sept. 1653, as ‘The Prisoner, or the Fair Anchoress.’

Poole, in his ‘English Parnassus,’ notes that he has used Massinger's ‘Secretary’ for purposes of quotation. No such work is now known. It may have been either a play or a compilation resembling a ‘Complete Writer,’ of which many contemporary examples are known (Notes and Queries, 5th ser. v. 429).

No edition of Massinger attempts to give his productions complete. It would be impossible to do so without editing Beaumont, Massinger, and Fletcher in one work. The time for undertaking such an arduous task has almost come, and it would be of immense use in clearing up the relations between these three authors. The principal collected editions of Massinger are:

  1. Coxeter's edition, 4 vols. 8vo, published 1759, and reissued 1761, with an introduction by Davies.
  2. ‘Dramatic Works of Philip Massinger,’ in 4 vols. complete, revised and corrected, with notes, critical and explanatory, by J. Monck Mason, London, 1779.
  3. ‘The Plays of Philip Massinger,’ with notes, critical and explanatory, by William Gifford, 4 vols. 8vo, London, 1805, 1813. This remains the chief edition.
  4. ‘The Dramatic Works of Massinger and Ford,’ with an introduction by Hartley Coleridge, 1 vol. royal 8vo, London, 1840.
  5. ‘The Plays of Philip Massinger,’ from the text of William Gifford, with the addition of the tragedy, ‘Believe as you List,’ edited by Lieutenant-colonel Cunningham, London, 1867.

Selections from Massinger, edited by Arthur Symons, have appeared in the ‘Mermaid Series’ (1887–9).

[Hazlitt's Bibliography of Old English Literature; Hazlitt's Collections and Notes; Ward's History of the Drama; Fleay's History of the Stage; Fleay's Biog. History of the English Drama; Genest's Account of the English Stage, vi. 119–24, and vii. 683–98; Aubrey's Natural Hist. of Wiltshire, ed. Britton, p. 91; Hoare's History of Salisbury; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 654; Transactions of the New Shakspere Society, 1882 seq.; ‘Beaumont, Fletcher, and Massinger,’ by the present writer, in Englische Studien, v. 74, vii. 66, viii. 39, ix. 209, x. 383; Zeitschrift für vergleichende Litteraturgeschichte, vi. 3, new ser.; Anglia; Macaulay's Study of Francis Beaumont; Arber's Transcript of the Stationers' Registers; Halliwell's Dictionary of Old Plays; Mr. Leslie Stephen's Hours in a Library, ii. 141–76 (an interesting critical paper); Mr. S. R. Gardiner on ‘Massinger's Political Views’ in Contemporary Review, August 1876; art. John Fletcher.]

R. B.-e.