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The Mad Lover is a Jacobean era stage play, a tragicomedy by John Fletcher that was initially published in the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.

Fletcher's sole authorship of the play was specified during the seventeenth century by his friend Sir Aston Cockayne; since Fletcher's distinctive pattern of stylistic and textual preferences is continuous through the text, his authorship is not questioned.

Performance

The play was acted by the King's Men; the cast list added to the play in the second Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1679 includes Richard Burbage, John Lowin, Robert Benfield, William Ecclestone, Nathan Field, Richard Sharpe, and Henry Condell. The cast list indicates a production between 1616, when Field joined the company, and Burbage's death in March 1619. In her diary, Lady Anne Clifford mentions seeing a performance of the play at Court on 5 January 1617 (new style).[1] The play was revived in 1630.

Sources

Fletcher drew materials from Honoré D'Urfé's novel Astrée for this play, as he did with Monsieur Thomas and Valentinian. Fletcher also borrowed story materials from Bandello and Josephus. The plot point in which Cleanthe suborns a priestess, to obtain a favorable oracle for her brother Syphax, is a version of the Paulina and Mundus story in Josephus.

In the Restoration

The play was revived early in the Restoration era, with Edward Kynaston in the role of the princess (when women onstage were still an innovation and a rarity). Samuel Pepys saw it at the Salisbury Court Theatre on 9 February 1661, again on 2 December the same year, and again on 18 February 1669. The play was adapted to meet changing tastes, again like other Fletcherian plays; a version by Peter Anthony Motteux was scored with music and songs by John Eccles and Daniel Purcell and staged by Thomas Betterton in 1703–4.[2][3]

Melancholy and music

The Mad Lover, as its title indicates, deals with a case of "melancholia" or depression due to an unsatisfactory romantic attachment. In this respect, it relates to a number of other dramas of its historical era that include the same or similar subject matter, including Fletcher's The Noble Gentleman, The Nice Valour, and John Ford's The Lover's Melancholy. The Mad Lover has been noted for its use of music as a treatment for mental illness; the play has been called "the most extensive example within a single play of the use of musical sound and imagery in the depiction and cure of madness."[4] The characters in the play stage a masque in their attempt to treat the mad general, Memnon; drawing on the myth of Orpheus, it is a Masque of Beasts and Trees, with an ape, dog, lion, and dancing trees — all former men and foolish lovers.


In 1897, Charles Villiers Stanford composed and orchestrated a musical setting for an excerpt from The Mad Lover, titled "The Battle of Pelusium."[5]

References

  1. ^ J. W. Lawrence, "The Date of The Mad Lover," Times Literary Supplement, 24 November 1927, p. 888.
  2. ^ Arthur Colby Sprague, Beaumont and Fletcher on the Restoration Stage, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1926; pp. 13-14, 19, 26, 271-3.
  3. ^ Katherine West Scheil, The Taste of the Town: Shakespearean Comedy and the Early Eighteenth-Century Theater, Lewisburg, PA, Bucknell University Press, 2003; p. 114.
  4. ^ John P. Cutts, "Music in The Mad Lover," Studies in the Renaissance Vol. 8 (1961), pp. 236-48.
  5. ^ Jeremy Dibble, Charles Villiers Stanford: Man and Musician, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002; p. 289.

3 Annotations

TerryF  •  Link

First acted in 1616, there is no edition of it available on the web, but there are two songs from it:

TO VENUS

by: John Fletcher

OH, fair sweet goddess, queen of love,
Soft and gentle as thy doves,
Humble-eyed, and ever ruing
Those poor hearts, their loves pursuing!
Oh, thou mother of delights,
Crowner of all happy nights,
Star of dear content and pleasure,
Of mutual loves and endless treasure!
Accept this sacrifice we bring,
Thou continual youth and spring;
Grant this lady her desires,
And every hour we'll crown thy fires.

'To Venus' was originally published in The Mad Lover (1647).
----------------

ORPHEUS I AM, COME FROM THE DEEPS BELOW

by: John Fletcher

ORPHEUS I am, come from the deeps below,
To thee, fond man, the plagues of love to show.
To the fair fields where loves eternal dwell
There's none that come, but first they pass through hell:
Hark, and beware! unless thou hast loved, ever
Beloved again, thou shalt see those joys never.

Hark how they groan that died despairing!
Oh, take heed, then!
Hark how they howl for over-daring!
All these were men.

They that be fools, and die for fame,
They lose their name;
And they that bleed,
Hark how they speed!

Now in cold frosts, now scorching fires
They sit, and curse their lost desires;
Nor shall these souls be free from pains and fears,
Till women waft them over in their tears.

'Orpheus I am, Come from the Deeps Below' was originally published in The Mad Lover (1647).
http://www.poetry-archive.com/f/fletcher_john.html

Michael Robinson  •  Link

First published in:-

Comedies and tragedies written by Francis Beaumont and Iohn Fletcher Gentlemen. Neverprinted [sic] before, and now published by the authours originall copies.
London : printed for Humphrey Robinson, at the three Pidgeons, and for Humphrey Moseley, at the Princes Armes in St Pauls Church-yard, 1647.
[52], 75, [1], 143, [1], 165, [3], 71, [1], 172, 92, 51, p. 50, 28, 25-48 p., [1] leaf of plates : port. ; 2⁰.
Wing (CD-Rom, 1996), B1581; Pforzheimer, 53

This was the only edition available to Pepys in the diary period. He replaced the volume later with the 1679 folio 'Works,' PL 2623.

For history, plot etc.:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mad_Lover

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1661

  • Feb
  • Dec

1664

1669