Comic Literary Footnotes

Thursday, March 6th, marked the anniversary of the death of English playwright Francis Beaumont, died in 1616. From the Forgotten English calendar of that day:

One evening in a tavern, Mr. Beaumont and his writing partner, John Fletcher, were hammering out the details of either The Maid’s Tragedy or another of their tragic plays when a waiter overhead them plotting the assassination of the story’s king. On the patriotic ale-slinger’s say-so, the two were quickly arrested, thrown into prison, and charged with high treason. Shortly afterward, the basis of their villainous-sounding plan was revealed, allowing this tragic-sounding story to end as a comic literary footnate.

And also the clear inspiration for Edmund Blackadder’s foul scheme against Messeurs Keanrick and Mossop in “Sense and Senility,” the fourth episode of Blackadder the Third, when Baldrick hears them plotting out The Bloody Murder of the Foul Prince Romero and his Enormous Bosomed Wife and relates his misheard conversation to the zounderkite Prince George, who believes the two thespians are plotting against him and fears for his life.

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