Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 September 2009
Why, all this while I ha but plaid a part,
Like to some boy, that actes a Tragedie,
Speakes burly words, and raues out passion:
But, when he thinkes vpon his infant weaknesse,
He droopes his eye.
This final chapter turns to the most prestigious and, at times, most problematic of early modern dramatic genres: tragedy. The performance of tragedies by the children's companies is often downplayed or overlooked, but within the repertory of the Children of the Queen's Revels they form a substantial and intriguing body of drama. At the Blackfriars the Queen's Revels performed Chapman's Bussy D'Ambois, Daniel's Philotas, Marston's Sophonisba, Beaumont and Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge and Chapman's The Conspiracy and Tragedy of Charles Duke of Byron. At the Whitefriars they revived Cupid's Revenge and revised Bussy D'Ambois, which seems to have been performed in tandem with its sequel, The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois; other tragedies in this period include The Insatiate Countess, seemingly revised by Barksted and Machin from an early version by Marston, and Daborne's A Christian Turned Turk. Although the other Jacobean children's companies performed tragedies – the early Children of Paul's repertory included Marston's Antonio's Revenge, and the King's Revels played John Mason's satirically Marlovian play The Turk – the preponderance of tragedies in the Queen's Revels repertory is unusual. As in their pioneering performance of tragicomedy, it seems that the Queen's Revels were trying to outdo the adult companies in scope and ambition.