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Patient Grissel is a play by Thomas Dekker, Henry Chettle, and William Haughton, first printed in 1603. It is mentioned in Henslowe's diary in the entry for December 1599.

The plot is a variant of the medieval tale of Patient Griselda, as told in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's Decameron.

The play contains Dekker's poem "Golden Slumbers" (which was adapted by Paul McCartney for the song of the same title on The Beatles' Abbey Road album):

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise.
Sleep, pretty wantons; do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby:
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

Care is heavy, therefore sleep you;
You are care, and care must keep you;
Sleep, pretty wantons; do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby:
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.[1]


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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}Collier, J.P., ed. (1841). Patient Grissil: a comedy by T. Dekker, H. Chettle and W. Haughton. Reprinted from the Black Letter Edition of 1603. With an introduction and notes. London: F. Shoberl, Jun. p. 61.

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1893 text

The well-known story, first told by Boccaccio, then by Petrarca, afterwards by Chaucer, and which has since become proverbial. Tom Warton, writing about 1770, says, “I need not mention that it is to this day represented in England, on a stage of the lowest species, and of the highest antiquity: I mean at a puppet show” (“Hist. of English Poetry,” sect. xv.). — B.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Griselda (anglicised to Grizzel and similar forms) is a figure in European folklore noted for her patience and obedience.

In literature the most famous version of the Griselda tale was written by Giovanni Boccaccio c. 1350. Griselda appears in tales by Petrarch[5] (died 1374, Historia Griseldis published 100 years later) and by Chaucer (The Clerk's Tale in The Canterbury Tales, late 1300s). She is also cited in Christine de Pizan's The Book of the City of Ladies.[6] Patient Griselda is a tale by Charles Perrault (fr:La Marquise de Salusses ou la Patience de Griselidis, 1691)[7][8]. John Phillip's play The Commodye of Pacient and Meeke Grissill (also known as The Plaie of Grissill) dates from 1565. Henry Chettle, Thomas Dekker and William Haughton collaborated on another dramatic version, Patient Grissel, first performed in 1599. There are operas named Griselda by Antonio Maria Bononcini (Griselda, 1718), Alessandro Scarlatti (La Griselda, 1721), Giovanni Bononcini (Griselda, 1722), and Antonio Vivaldi (Griselda, 1735). Also Jules Massenets Grisélidis (1901) was inspired by the tale of Griselda.

William Shakespeare's play The Winter's Tale (1623) features many elements of the Griselda story.[9] Anthony Trollope's high Victorian novel Miss Mackenzie (1865) is based on the Griselda theme. The Modern Griselda is a novel by Maria Edgeworth from 1804. Patient Griselda is one of a group of historical or legendary dinner-party guests in Caryl Churchill's 1982 play Top Girls. Patient Griselda is a 2015 short story by Steven Anthony George in the anthology Twice Upon A Time: Fairytale, Folklore, & Myth. Reimagined & Remastered, where the tale is retold as a late twentieth century horror story.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

For those of us not aware of the wisdom of The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, it was a book written during the plague of 1350 which killed approximately half the population of Italy.
It incorporates 100 short, engaging stories with a combined message that they should build back a better world, and to mindfully re-examine attitudes and systems rather than do the old, comfortable things.
Now is the the time to act creatively and intelligently: Pandemics give us a clean start, and we honor the fallen by building back better.
Pepys should have read it ... he did exactly that with the Navy,

A much better summary is at…

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