Ingrediuntur, Dr Sampsonus...

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Anon. (1613)(?)

NB: This lost play is untitled, and seemingly unmentioned in existing catalogues. The title here is derived from the opening words of its summary, as quoted by Bruce, and is offered here merely for temporary convenience.


Historical Records

John Bruce's account (see below)

Theatrical Provenance

St. John's College, Oxford, in 1613 (according to Bruce)

Probable Genre(s)

Satirical comedy

Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues

In the fourteenth century, scholars from Oxford had indeed attempted to set up a rival university at the town of Stamford in Lincolnshire. This play appears to be a satirical comedy taking inspiration from those events, but more research would help to establish its exact relationship with possible sources.

References to the Play

None known. Information welcome.

Critical Commentary

This entry is (currently) only a brief pointer towards a research opportunity. Writing in 1864, John Bruce describes "Unpublished humorous and satirical papers of Archbishop Laud" located somewhere in the State Papers. He dates the collection of papers to 1613 (without giving a firm reason) and transcribes some of them. Most of them are to do with the idea of Gotham College, a mock-college of folly which functions partly as a satirical representation of St. John's College, Oxford, of which, in 1613, Laud was president. Bruce transcribes a mock-set of statutes for the college, and goes on:

There are many other similar random jottings which I must leave, at any event for the present, and among them that which some people may esteem the most curious thing of the whole, — the outline of perhaps an intended Latin play upon the same subject. It is divided into what would have been acts or scenes, and the first of them runs thus: —
Ingrediuntur, Dr. Sampsonus, Dr. Danielus, Albeeus Equinus, colloquentes de Oxoniia relinquenda et Stanfordiae erigendo collegio suis ingeniis magis digno. Causas hujus secessionis enarrant, praepropere faciendum. Dr. Dan. et Albeeus statuunt statim Stanfordium iter facere, et ibi situm commodissimum designare. Interea Equinus recipit se apud Vilpolum rhetorem insignem acturum ut literas suasorias ad Dominum Lectum det, quae istos ad hoc collegium junctis sumptibus aedificandum efficaciter hortantur. Exeunt."
(Bruce, 5)

In a rough translation:

Enter Dr Sampson, Dr Daniel, Albeeus [and] Equinus, speaking of leaving Oxford and erecting a college more fit for their genius at Stamford. They relate the reasons behind this secession, and what needs to be done to take it forward. Dr Daniel and Albeeus decide to set off for Stamford at once, and there to choose the most suitable site they can. Meanwhile Equinus takes himself to Vilpolus, a famous rhetorician, who is to give his persuasive words to Master Lectus, which exhort him effectively to combine resources to build this college. They exit.

Bruce does not transcribe the rest of the Latin plot summary, and, as far as is known, this apparently lost play has not been mentioned in any scholarly source since 1864.

For What It's Worth

This looks like a satirical comedy. Dr Sampson and Dr Daniel appear as figures of fun elsewhere in the papers described by Bruce. Questions which should be answerable include:
- Is there any indication that it was ever performed, or that it ever even went beyond a plot summary?
- Are the named academics historically identifiable?

Fairly obviously, though, research on the play would start by finding, and transcribing, the full plot summary of which Bruce gives an extract.

Martin Wiggins points out (pers.comm) a problem with Bruce's dating, in that the preceding papers appear to allude to Ruggles's Latin comedy Ignoramus (1615).

The manuscript mentioned by Bruce has now been relocated.

Works Cited

John Bruce, "Unpublished humorous and satirical papers of Archbishop Laud". Notes and Queries 3rd series, 5 (1864): 1-5.

Site created and maintained by Matthew Steggle, Sheffield Hallam University; updated 4 November 2013.

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