Friday, January 29, 2010
In 1594 when it was safe to return to the theatre again Will joined an acting troupe called the
Lord Chamberlain's Men sponsored by Queen Elizabeth I Chamberlin~Henry Carey, Lord Hunsdon. It was during this time that Shakespeare wrote one of my favorites, The Taming of the Shrew. By now Will had hit London like gang busters. He was the talk of the town. Both common and nobility flocked to the Blackfriars theatre to see his plays.
In Elizabethan London plays were big!!! There was money to be made. As soon as one play was produced it hit the stage. The citizens couldn't get enough and Blackfriars couldn't keep up. This prompted Shakespeare and friends to invest in the Globe Theatre built in 1597. It was a huge theatre compared to Blackfriars. It not only served as a theatre but a brothel and gambling house. All plays were done in the afternoon because there was no artificial lighting to be had. The commoners would pay 1 penny to stand and watch, gentry would be seated on the benches and nobility would have a comfortable chair in a theatre box. Shakespeare himself would receive 10% of the take in each day. He became very wealthy.
Theatres did have critics mainly the Church of England. They were very concerned with the unsavory characters surrounding the theatres and the increase in crime. In 1574 the Common Council of London issued this statement:
" great disorder rampant in the city by the inordinate haunting of great multitudes of people, especially youth, to plays, interludes, namely occasion of frays and quarrels, evil practices of incontinency in great inns having chambers and secret places adjoning to their open stages and galleries, inveigling and alluring of maids, especially of orphans and good citizens' children under age, to privy and unmeet contracts, the publishing of unchaste, uncomely, and unshamefast speeches and doings . . . uttering of popular, busy, and seditious matters, and many other corruptions of youth and other enormities . . . [Thus] from henceforth no play, comedy, tragedy, interlude, not public show shall be openly played or showed within the liberties of the City . . . and that no innkeeper, tavernkeeper, nor other person whatsoever within the liberties of this City shall openly show or play . . . any interlude, comedy, tragedy, matter, or show which shall not be first perused and allowed . . . "
The Globe was rebuilt in 1614. The moral critics never let up and in fact increased their demands to shut down all theatres in London. In 1644 the Puritans lead by Oliver Cromwell demolished the Globe and by 1648 all play houses in London were ordered to be pulled down. All was not lost for the London Theatre. When Charles II became King he allowed the theatres to re-build and re-open. The site of the Old Globe was discovered in the 20th century and a New Globe has been re-constructed near the spot.
That is all Mr. Will for today I will continue and wrap-up The Life and Times of Shakespeare on Monday.
Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
A good book will remain with you forever. You may not remember all the names or events, but you will always remember how you felt during the journey.
O Juliet is one of these books, it's a journey you take into another world, into the past that feels like the present. Ms. Maxwell transports you to 15th century Florence where you can feel the warm Italian sun on your face and smell the rich spices. You walk along the corridors and feel the hard coolness of the marble under your bare feet. You visit the Tuscan country side for dinner with Romeo's family and learn how olive oil is created through the olive press. You lay on your back on the earth's rich carpet and look up at the stars. It's earthy and sensual. You can smell the figs, the soil, the flowers. You feel young, in love and alive. Remember when you were a teenager discovering love for the first time, that is how you feel in O Juliet.
You run through the streets of Florence at night when all the dregs of society appear, you are more excited by the adventure than scared. You see things that night that you never knew about. You climb the precarious stairs to the top of the Cathedral and look out over the beautiful city and receive your first real passionate kiss. You know then that you will never feel this way kissing the man your parents have chosen for you to marry. Something must be done, you know you will die if forced to live your life with a man you find completely repulsive. That is impossible! Unthinkable! Events will happen. Heart breaking events, which will lead you to the ultimate decision to die living without freedom and love, or die with the one you love knowing you were free to make that decision.
This is what you have to look forward to reading O Juliet by Robin Maxwell. I suggest you find a quite, comfortable place and take the journey. You will not regret it. In the end you will bring the book up to your heart, close your eyes and breath out a long satisfied sigh.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Will was born in April of 1564, the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son. Not much is known about Will's education or early years, but you can be sure that he was well educated. His father being an important man in the community and having the means, would have wanted his children to have the best education available.
Staford is close to the Cotswold's which has to be some of the most beautiful country in the world and a major sheep-producing area. The town was built on the banks of the River Avon which is interesting in itself. Avon is the Welsh word for river. When the Romans invaded they kept asking the Welsh guides what the name of this and that river was and they kept responding with Avon :-).
Will was 18 when he married 26 year old Anne Hathaway. Her home was just a couple of miles walking distance over the fields from his. Nothing is much known about their courtship, except that 6 months after the couple were married, Anne delivered a healthy baby daughter, Susanna in 1583. Two years later Anne gave birth to twins Hamnet and Judith in 1585.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Some of his best known works are She Walks in Beauty, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and Don Juan. These are just a few.
Byron was no saint and his morals and lifestyle were shocking to the British citizens. He was a rake and libertine, but had a genius for capturing the human spirit in the English prose.
22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824
Some of my favorite quotes of his are:
For truth is always strange; stranger than fiction.
Friendship may, and often does, grow into love, but love never subsides into friendship.
Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.
Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Today's Scottish trip is to Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland. I found such interesting things about this online. Mom thought I might be interested because of Greyfriar's Bobby, a little Cairin Terrier that lived long ago in Edinburgh with his Dad, John Grey. There is a monument to Bobby in the Kirkyard. John and Bobby were very popular on their walks around the town and when John died of Tuberculous in 1858 he was buried in the Kirkyard in an unmarked grave. Bobby was so loyal that every night he would sleep on top of John's grave. He wouldn't be moved. The town took good care of him. Every afternoon at 1 p.m. when the Guards would sound the cannon from the Edinburgh Castle at the top of the hill Bobby would run up the hill into the Castle yard for his lunch. He never missed. He did this for 14 years until he died and was buried next to his beloved John. Later they made a monument to him for his courage and loyalty. The Scots are big on courage and loyalty. I once watched a movie called Brave Heart with Mom and I was impressed with how much courage it took to stand up to that stinky Edward I and the English army. Mom says I shouldn't call Edward stinky, because after all he is her 19th great grandfather. She told me that the movie Brave Heart wasn't exactly how it all happened, but I liked the movie anyway, I thought that Queen Isabella was very beautiful.
Anyway back to Greyfriars Kirkyard; I found out that Kirkyard means Church yard and that Greyfriars Kirk was built in 1602 by the Franciscan Monks~Grey Friars. It's located right outside the Old Town of Edinburgh along the Royal Mile.
Greyfriar's has a poltergeist name Mckenzie. Mom seems skeptical about this, but I believe it's real. That awful Mckenzie was in charge of the Covenanters Prison located in the Kirkyard. They were men who rebelled against the church of England and put in prison. Stinky Mckenzie tortured them and starved them before he executed them. When he died he was buried in the kirkyard. In 1999 a homeless man broke into his mausoleum and opened his casket to sleep in it, that was when Mckenzie got loose and is now haunting the Kirkyard. He attacks people when they go on the ghost tour, there have been many reports of this. Mom says I shouldn't believe everything I read. Well, whatever mom if I was there I would sound the alert and try and chase him right back into this coffin and slam the lid shut. I am sure that is what Bobby would do if he was still alive. Mom said maybe on our Scottish tour we could go on the ghost tour so I could try and catch that old stinky Mckenzie.
I hope you enjoy the pictures I found and my editorial. I have enjoyed reading my comments you left me. I want to tell D.J. that I tried your trick of running around the house alerting after Mom told me to come in, but she didn't love it like you said, she made me go up to my bed in her bedroom and I wasn't aloud to come out for awhile. Gigi I know you love me and I love you too, but you know Mom is my beloved. Miss Prodigal Wife my Mom is really enjoying Sunne in Splendour, she reads to me every night when we go to bed. And Amy Mom said you are more than welcome to go to Scotland with us. The more the merrier.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I have so much to say about my beloved Scotland, well I wasn't born there or anything but my roots come from the West Highlands of Scotland. My great grand fathers were very useful to the farmers of the West Highlands. They would hunt the foxes and the badgers flush them out of their burrows, crags or cairns. That is why my legs are short and I am kind square looking so I can dig fast and squeeze into the hole. There are no badgers or foxes for me to hunt in my backyard, but there are these pesky little rascals called gophers. Well, they don't stand a chance with me on the job! When I spot one, I alert the entire neighborhood that I am on the job. I get down to business digging and squeezing in the hole. Sometimes I'm lucky and catch one, they are kind tricky little guys, but they know I'm on patrol so beware! Mom calls me the Sheriff of Bancroft (that's the street I live on ) because I take my job so seriously. Sometimes I am so good at alerting the neighborhood that mom tells me to come inside and go lay down. I can't figure out why she does that, doesn't she realize that I am passing on good doggie news to others. I think she really just wants to give the other guys in the neighborhood a chance to alert.
I often dream (I sleep a lot) about my beloved Scotland and how it must feel to run over hill and dale, through the heather with the wind on my face and my nose picking up wild scents. I can see in my minds eye me standing at the top of hill and looking down at the ancient castle Eilean Donan Castle. Such a place to be, a mighty fortress built in the 13th century to protect the land from those pesky Viking raids. I wish I would have been there. I would have alerted everyone of their approach and bit their ankles when they came ashore.
Oh, got to go Mom is telling me I've shared enough for today. I will be back next week, hope you will visit and leave me comments, I love visiting!!! I will be online this week finding out more cool things about Scotland to share.
Raise nae mair deils nor ye can lig: Don't bite off more than you can chew
Friday, January 8, 2010
I personally have enjoyed the guest interviews with Ms. Carroll, she is a spunky, witty gal who definitely knows her royal history. I have also enjoyed reading NRM. I am a big fan of well written non-fiction and this book was like dessert a little something sweet to top off your meal. 31 luscious stories about royal couples and their marital secrets. Each chapter is a different story. I love this type of book, much like one of my favorite authors, James Herriott in his All Creatures Great and Small series. You can pick it up and begin at any chapter and it's a story with in itself. This way the book can sit by your bedside and you can read a chapter a night or week or whatever. Ms. Carroll writes in a no nonsense kind of way. She gets to the point without a lot of unnecessary fru fru.
She is a witty and charming author. From the stories that I have read so far I have learned a great deal that I didn't know. In particular about Juana (the mad) and her husband Philip the Handsome and Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson. This is a great reference book as well. My daughter is working on a project concerning the French Revolution and she found the chapter in NRM about Louis XVI and Marie most interesting and informative. I have learned much about the individuals themselves, their time period as well as their marriages and families.
Here's your chance to win a copy of this great book. For my followers who are not much into royal fiction and prefer the "true facts" this really is up your ally. Don't miss out on this one. It' s a keeper in any body's library.
To enter, just leave a comment and a thank-you for Ms. Carroll's gracious participation this week. Sorry this one is good for USA residents only.
Contest ends: Jan 23, 2010
Notorious Royal Marriages by Lesile Carroll
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I want to thank Leslie personally for providing this quest post for my blog. It has been a wonderful week so far for the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table kick off event with Leslie. There has been some awesome posts re: Ms. Carroll's Notorious Royal Marriages. If you have not had a chance to read all of the book reviews, guest and creative posts I encourage you to visit HFBRT and do so.
Now for Leslie...
Was Anne Boleyn’s greatest “failure” in fact her greatest success?
She reigned for only a thousand days, but perhaps the only other queens of England to have received so much attention over the centuries have been two women who ruled in their own rights, and for exponentially longer: Queen Victoria, and Anne’s only child, Elizabeth I.
Anne’s influence on Henry VIII shaped England’s destiny and affected the kingdom’s relationship with continental Europe as well. Over time, she has been portrayed as a schemer, an evangelical, and even as Henry’s “concubine” before their marriage. It took nearly seven years of parry and thrust (personally as well as politically) before the “I do’s” were exchanged on January 25, 1533—by which point Anne was fairly sure she was pregnant.
“Maternal” is not a word that immediately comes to mind when one thinks of Anne Boleyn. But producing an heir was at the core of her job description as queen. Although a female could by law inherit England’s throne (unlike France, where only a male could inherit), anyone who does'nt know how desperate Henry VIII was to have a son has either been living under a rock or dozed through countless history classes.
On June 1, 1533 the six-months-pregnant Anne was crowned queen at Westminster Abbey. She wore an ermine-trimmed mantle of violet-colored velvet with a high starched ruff; the folds of her gown cleverly concealed her condition.
The royal couple was in high spirits as they awaited the birth of the son they had so long desired. Anne had endured a difficult pregnancy, particularly in her final months. The king was so anxious about her health that it was said he’d welcome a miscarriage if it would save Anne’s life.
Henry had confided to François I that he had to have a son “for the quiet repose and tranquility of our realm.” He’d already chosen the baby names, expressing a preference for Edward or, of course, Henry. However, at three p.m. on September 7, 1533, Anne gave birth to a flame-haired daughter, whom the monarchs named Elizabeth after both of their mothers.
Because of Anne’s rough pregnancy, Henry’s initial reaction was relief that both mother and child were healthy, followed briefly by delight that his daughter’s coloring was identical to his own. But he could not conceal his overall disappointment at the birth of a girl.
Nor, at the outset, could Anne. Her fortune had risen as far as it ever would, reaching its zenith on September 6, 1533, the day before Elizabeth’s birth. Within the space of a year, Anne had become Marquess of Pembroke, the king’s wife, the Queen of England, and the mother of the heir to the throne—but when that heir turned out to be a girl, her star plummeted. For all Anne’s education, culture, and wit, she was already failing in the one job requirement of a royal consort: she could not bear Henry VIII a son.
Henry cancelled the joust and the other grand celebrations that had been set to take place upon the birth of his son. He had been so sure Anne would give him a boy—she had practically guaranteed it—that the formal documents had been drawn up with the word “Prince” on them. All that was lacking was the insertion of the heir’s name and date of birth. Henry seethed as “ss” was added to every announcement.
By September 1534, Anne was several months pregnant again, her “goodly belly” a subject of discussion since April 27. She was in her mid-thirties during this second pregnancy, and Henry was forty-three. To their mutual consternation, she miscarried the fetus, and both of them were desperate for her to become pregnant again as soon as possible.
Yet Anne had not utterly forgotten her daughter, Elizabeth, in her rage to give birth to a son. She doted on her little girl, and breast-fed the baby herself, scandalizing the court. Anne even forced Elizabeth’s half sister to dance attendance on her as a servant, banishing Mary (Henry VIII’s daughter by Katherine of Aragon) to a tiny, dark room and demanding that the eighteen-year-old girl’s ears be boxed by her governess “for the cursed bastard she is,” if Mary dared refer to herself as “Princess.” Henry’s elder daughter was now styled the Lady Mary, stripped of her title and birthright when Henry’s marriage to her mother was annulled.
Anne was pregnant again in October 1535, though her condition did not deter Henry from paying a visit early in the month to the Seymour family at their home of Wulfhall. There, Sir John Seymour made certain that his demure and modest daughter Jane fell under the royal gaze as much as possible. It was not long before Henry gave Jane a miniature portrait of himself, which she ostentatiously wore about her throat at court. Anne was so infuriated by Jane’s impudence that she ripped the chain from her neck.
On the day of Katherine of Aragon’s funeral on January 29, 1536, Anne lost a male fetus said to be fifteen weeks old, blaming the miscarriage on two incidents that had caused her great anxiety. Sparked by Henry’s latest flirtation, they’d had a violent quarrel, during which Anne angrily exclaimed, “I saw this harlot Jane sitting on your lap while my belly was doing its duty!” And on January 24, 1536, five days before Anne’s miscarriage, Henry’s horse had fallen heavily in the tiltyard at Greenwich, and after the king in his hundred pounds or so of armor was thrown from the saddle, the mount may have rolled on top of him. Henry had lain unconscious for two hours, and naturally his queen despaired for his life and feared for her own future, should the king die of his injuries.
But Henry was'nt buying either reason. Utterly insensitive to Anne’s grief at losing another baby, he bewailed the death of his son. “I see God will not give me male children,” he lamented, leaving his wife devastated, and terrified of losing his love.
Yet Anne may have conceived again soon after this miscarriage, because in April, Henry was very indiscreetly boasting to his ambassador in France that God might yet see fit to “send us heirs male,” averring, “You do not know all my secrets.” However, there is no mention of this pregnancy in any surviving records. As Henry would never have executed his pregnant queen, it’s likely that if Anne had been with child in the spring of 1536, she lost that fetus as well, unless Henry’s “secret” was his plan to marry Jane Seymour.
There were also international matters that were nearly as pressing as Henry’s need for a son. Charles V was willing to enter an alliance with England, and even accept the legitimacy of Henry’s marriage to Anne, if his cousin Mary were to be recognized at Henry’s heir presumptive. But Henry refused to countenance the validity of his first marriage, which meant that Mary remained illegitimate and therefore unable to succeed him. The way Henry’s Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell saw it, Henry’s allegiance to Anne was jeopardizing, if not obstructing, England’s safest and most effective foreign policy.
Therefore, Anne had to be eliminated from the picture. So Cromwell, who had once been Anne’s staunchest ally for religious reform, switched horses and allied himself with the court’s pro-Seymour faction. It took the crafty Cromwell just a month and a day to transform Anne from Henry’s beloved wife and queen to the executioner’s victim.
It was politically expedient for the minister to destroy Anne’s supporters as well, and within a brief space of time, Cromwell had all his scapegoats in the pen, awaiting slaughter.
On the weekend of April 29 and 30, Anne had an enormous spat with Henry Norris, the king’s groom of the stool, in which she accused him of being attracted to her. Norris stammered that if he ever had such a thought, “he were his head were off,” whereupon Anne threatened to undo him if she chose. Witnesses to their altercation interpreted the quarrel as a come-on from Anne to Norris. To succeed in toppling Anne from the throne, Cromwell’s commission needed to compile a dossier of Anne’s purported lovers; the contretemps between the queen and Norris (because it included a hypothetical exchange about the king’s death), allowed them to put a treasonous construct on it, thereby ensnaring Norris in their lethal net.
Anne’s argument with Norris led to another, even more volatile one with Henry. A letter sent twenty years later to Queen Elizabeth from an eyewitness to the aftermath of the royal squabble, a Scottish Lutheran clergyman named Alexander Ales, describes the mood:
Never shall I forget the sorrow which I felt when I saw the most serene queen, your most religious mother, carrying you, still a little baby, in her arms and entreating the most serene king your father, in Greenwich Palace, from the open window of which he was looking into the courtyard, when she brought you to him. I did not perfectly understand what had been going on, but the faces and gestures of the speakers plainly showed that the king was angry, although he could conceal his anger wonderfully well. Yet from the protracted conference of the council (for whom the crowd was waiting until it was quite dark, expecting that they would return to London), it was most obvious to everyone that some deep and difficult question was being discussed.
Anne was arrested on May 2, 1536, on the charges of adultery, incest with her brother George, and conspiracy to kill the king. As her barge was rowed to the Traitors’ Gate, Anne was on the verge of collapse. “I was treated with greater ceremony last time I was here,” she exclaimed woefully, referring to her coronation procession. Her trial began on May 15 in the Great Hall of the Tower of London. Her brother George, Viscount Rochford, was to be tried by the same council of peers, on the charge of committing incest with his sister. Their uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, presided over the proceedings as High Steward. Two thousand spectators watched the circus from purpose-built stands. Among the bogus charges against the queen was an allegation of statutory treason pursuant to the 1534 Succession Act: “slander, danger, detriment and derogation of the heirs” of Henry and Anne. In other words, Anne was charged with being a traitor to her own daughter, Elizabeth.
Her conviction was a foregone conclusion; and on May 19, 1536, Anne was executed on Tower Hill. It was a sad day for English justice, and for the kingdom’s history. And while it’s true that Anne lost her life—by dint of her own intellect and abilities she had managed to achieve what others could merely dream of. Although her ambitious father and uncle were seasoned courtiers whose success afforded her an entrée into the highest echelons of Tudor society, once she arrived, she was there to stay—despite her family—until an equally self-made individual, Thomas Cromwell, destroyed her.
Few question the fact that Anne Boleyn was innocent of the charges for which she forfeited her head. And although her religious views had a measurable influence on the history of Church and State, perhaps her greatest achievement was as a mother. Neither Anne’s bloodline nor her spirit perished on Tower Hill: she left behind a little redheaded daughter who would become England’s most venerated queen, and perhaps the greatest female monarch the world has ever known: Elizabeth I.
Today HFBRT events:
- Leslie Carroll interview with Marie Burton
- Creative Post by Heather on Peter III & Catherine the Great
- Notorious Royal Marriages book review by Arleigh
- Leslie Carroll's Guest Post on Catherine de Medici: Passages to the Past
- Notorious Royal Marriages Book Review: Hist-FlicChick