Tailor, Robert (DNB00)

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TAILOR, ROBERT (fl. 1614), dramatist, was author of ‘The Hog hath lost his Pearle. A Comedy divers times publikely acted by certaine London Prentices. By Robert Tailor, London. Printed for Richard Redmer, and are to be solde at the Westdore of Paules at the signe of the Starre,’ 1614, 4to. It appears from a letter written by Sir Henry Wotton to Sir Edmund Bacon that this play was acted without license by ‘some sixteen apprentices’ at the Whitefriars theatre. The sheriffs before the end of the performance carried off six or seven of the actors ‘to perform the last Act in Bridewell.’ This was because the character of the usurer Hog was supposed to allude to Sir John Swinnerton, the lord mayor. This occurred probably on 14 Feb. 1613 (Reliquiæ Wottonianæ, ed. 1685, p. 402). It would appear from the prologue to the play that, after being ‘tossed from one house to another,’ it finally obtained ‘a knight’s license.’ The prologue earnestly denies any seditious or political intent. Otway’s ‘Orphan’ has a similar plot. The play is a valuable storehouse of dramatic allusions. In the prologue occurs a mention of Shakespeare’s ‘Pericles.’ The few scenes possessing merit were extracted by Charles Lamb in his ‘Specimens’ (ed. Gollancz, 1893, ii. 143, 342). The play has been reprinted in all the editions of Dodsley’s ‘Old Plays’ (ed. W. C. Hazlitt, 1875, vol. xi.), and in the ‘Ancient British Drama,’ 1810, vol. iii. There has also been attributed to Tailor: ‘Sacred Hymns, consisting of Fifti Select Psalms of David and others, paraphrastically turned In English Verse. And by Robert Tailour set to be sung in five parts, as also to the Viole and the Lute or Orph-arion. Published for the use of such as delight in the exercise of Music in hir original honour. London. Printed by Thomas Snodham by the assignment of the company of Stationers,’ 1615, 4to. The fifty psalms are set to twelve tunes. A ‘Hymn to God’ is prefixed to the volume. The paraphrases have considerable merit. The piety of the serious parts of the play favours the identification of its writer with the paraphraser of the psalms. Some complimentary verses by R. Tailor, dated December 1613, are prefixed to John Taylor's ‘The Nipping or Snipping of Abuses,’ 1614.

[Fleay’s Chronicle of the English Drama, ii. 256–7; Collier’s History of Dramatic Poetry, i. 369–70; Ward’s English Dramatic Literature, ii. 357, and the notes to the play in the reprints.]

R. B.