1691 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Barnabe Barnes

Gerard Langbaine, in Account of the English Dramatick Poets (1691) 9-10.



This Person lived in the Reign of K. James the First; and writ a Play called The Devil's Charter, a Tragedy, containing the Life and Death of Pope Alexander the VI. play'd before the King's Majesty, upon Candlemass Night, by his Majesty's Servants; printed in quarto London 1607. and dedicated to the Honourable and his very dear Friends, Sir W. Herbert, and Sir W. Pope Knights, Associates in the Noble Order of the Bath.

This Tragedy seems to be written in imitation of Shakspear's old Play of Pericles Prince of Tyre: for as Shakspear raises Bower, and old English-Bard, for his Interlocutor or Introductor, in that Play; so this Author revives Guicciardini for the same design. This was the common practice of the Poets of the last Age, as Shakspear, Heywood, &c. at which time they frequently introduced dumb Shews, which took much with the Spectators of those Times.

'Tis evident the Author followed Guicciardine, who has largely treated of this Pope, in his History of the Wars of Italy; see the first six Books. Other Authors have likewise treated of him, as Du Preau, Hist. de l'Estat & succes de l'Eglise, tom. 2. p. 293. & seq. Vollater anus, tit. 22. sub fine, Massonius de Gestis Pontificum Romanorum &c.

This Author has extant besides, four Books of Offices about Princes, how they ought to be administered, printed fol. Lond. 1606.