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A programme printed on silk for a performance of Rule a Wife and Have a Wife in Jersey on 20 December 1809

Rule a Wife and Have a Wife is a late Jacobean stage play, a comedy written by John Fletcher. It was first performed in 1624 and first published in 1640.

The play was licensed for performance by Sir Henry Herbert, the Master of the Revels, on Oct. 19, 1624. It was performed by the King's Men, who performed it at Court twice in that season. The 1640 quarto was printed at Oxford by Leonard Lichfield, the printer to the University of Oxford. It was later reprinted in the second Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1679. It was revived in the Restoration era in an adaptation, like many of Fletcher's plays; the revised version was printed in 1697 and repeatedly thereafter, and proved to be among the dramatist's most popular works.[1]

External evidence, including Herbert's entry in his records and the 1640 quarto, assigns the play to Fletcher alone. The play's internal evicence of style and textual preferences confirms Fletcher's solo authorship: "Fletcher's sole responsibility for it has never been questioned."[2]


  • Michael Perez, called a "Copper Captain"
  • Juan de Castro
  • Servant
  • Donna Clara
  • Estifania
  • Juan
  • Sanchio
  • Alonzo
  • Altea
  • Leon
  • Cacafogo
  • Margarita
  • Boy
  • Sancho
  • Old woman
  • Maid
  • Duke of Medina
  • Lorenzo
  • Coachman


  1. ^ Alfred Claghorn Potter, A Bibliography of Beaumont and Fletcher, Cambridge, MA, Library of Harvard University, 1890; pp. 13-14.
  2. ^ E. H. C. Oliphant, The Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1927; p. 146.

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWood, James, ed. (1907). "article name needed". The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne. 

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Bill  •  Link

This Comedy was the sole production of Fletcher, and one of the last written by him. According to Sir William Herbert's office-book, it was licenced for exhibition the 19th of October, 1624, about a year before the poet's death. The first edition was printed in quarto, in the year 1640, with the following title: "Rule a Wife and Have a Wife. A Comedy. Acted by his Majesties Servants. Written by John Fletcher, Gent. Oxford, Printed by Leonard Lichfield, Printer to the University. Anno 1640."
---The works of Beaumont and Fletcher. 1812.

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


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