The questionable material status of Tomkis's stage properties becomes significant when Albumazar
is examined in a context of the history of science as well as the history of theatre.
The Black Joke, according to Albumazar
, and Erra Pater, is the best for Service, as those who dispose of them are the most honourable: They will neither force their Wares upon you, nor refuse 'em at a tolerable Price.
In the Prologue to his Albumazar
, staged before King James at Trinity College in 1615, Thomas Tomkis said his play was to be recited in "this forraigne language," English, for the sake of the ladies in the audience, "for whose sake / Wee now speake English (For Latine is our mother tongue)." An earlier play, Club Law, staged at Clare College in 1599-1600, was allegedly written in English so that the uneducated citizens of the town would understand it.
(63) Thomas Tomkis, Albumazar
(1615), 2.1.12-14; Tomkis's Lingua (1607) had mocked the "Gallemaufry of speech" as being like a cold lump of different metals congealed, "like your Fantasticall Gull's Apparell," with one garment from each of many countries' styles (3.5.24-36).
(34) What he did not observe was that the non-King's Men plays are clustered on fragment D, while all the plays on fragments A, B, and C can be linked with the King's Men (except one, Albumazar
, a play performed at Cambridge University in 1615; nothing is known of its subsequent history).
The links to Tomkis's Lingua are unsupported by any to his later Albumazar
(1614), and although he lived till 1634, "There is no evidence that Tomkis wrote any plays after 1616." (21) Besides, among the many plays with single links to the MS, Shirley's are again more numerous than anyone else's: The Coronation (1635), The Duke's Mistress (1636), The Gamester (1633), The Gentleman of Venice (1639), The Humorous Courtier (1631), The School of Compliment (1625), and St.
Nel 1611 John Donne attacca Galileo nella violenta satira antigesuitica Ignatius His Conclave; nel 1614 Thomas Tomkis riscrive L'astrologo di Della Porta nella commedia Albumazar
inserendovi Galileo per accusarlo di vendere astri inesistenti--caustica allusione alla dedica del Sidereus nuncius e all'offerta delle lune di Giove alla casata medicea (Tomkis K3r).
Furthermore, by mimicking the typography of classical and academic drama, continuous printing could serve 'to distance the play from its theatrical origins and from the "vulgar" spectacles that win the favor of audiences in the commercial theater.' (28) This is clearly the case with plays such as Jonson's Catiline and The Alchemist, (29) Webster's The White Devil, Beaumont's The Knight of the Burning Pestle, and Thomas Tomkis's Albumazar
, (30) where the heightened literariness produced by the technique of continuous printing is also rhetorically expressed in scoffs at ignorant theatrical audiences made in prefaces to the reader or in the play itself.
John's presented Edward Cecil's Aemelia (now lost); on the second night Clare Hall gave George Ruggle's longish Ignoramus, a play that satirized lawyers; on the third night the students at Trinity College acted Thomas Tomkis's Albumazar
; and on the fourth evening, Samuel Brooke's Latin pastoral Melanthe concluded these entertainments.
Another possible avenue might have been Porta's dramatic works, popular and influential with seventeenth-century English playwrights; Louise George Clubb notes that Dryden wrote a Prologue for a production of Porta's Albumazar
Porta's Magiae naturalis was published in English as Natural Magick in 1658 and again in 1669, and the Library of the Royal Society, to which Dryden had access, included this title and a number of other scientific books by Portal Another possible avenue might have been Porta's dramatic works, popular and influential with seventeenth-century English playwrights; Louise George Clubb notes that Dryden wrote a Prologue for a production of Porta's Albumazar