‘As strayght as ony pole’: Publius Cornelius, Edmund de la Pole, and Contemporary Court Satire in Henry Medwall’s Fulgens and Lucres

By Ray Siemens

University of Victoria

With the discovery of its text early in this century, Medwall's interlude Fulgens and Lucres became immediately remarkable in literary historical and critical circles for being the earliest extant drama in English that was purely secular....

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With the discovery of its text early in this century, Medwall's interlude Fulgens and Lucres became immediately remarkable in literary historical and critical circles for being the earliest extant drama in English that was purely secular. Printed first by John Rastell ca. 1512, it has appeared since its discovery in several editions -- the earliest by F.S. Boas and A.W. Reed, and more recently the near-simultaneous texts of the early 1980s by M.E. Moeslein and Alan H. Nelson -- and has been accorded a prominent place in the history of the English drama. It is a two-part piece with a disguising,requiring only a small company for performance, one which may have included a young Sir Thomas More, and is set in imperial Rome; internal references suggest that it was played in a large hall during the winter season, at a time of some festivities, and, as there are compliments paid to the Spaniards and Flemish, it is likely that it was intended originally as entertainment at a diplomatic event. Its author, Henry Medwall, was a notary for Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, during the last decade of the fifteenth century, the time in which the interlude was most probably written and first performed.

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Original publication information:

Originally published in Renaissance Forum Vol. 1 No. 2

Date: September, 1996

URL: http://web.uvic.ca/~siemens/pub/1996-Medwall.pdf

Original citation:

Siemens, Ray ‘As strayght as ony pole’: Publius Cornelius, Edmund de la Pole, and Contemporary Court Satire in Henry Medwall’s Fulgens and Lucres. Renaissance Forum 1.2: 1-37. 1996.