Match Me in London

The biggest question about Match Me in Londonis the date of composition.  Sir Henry Herbert, the Master of the Revels from 1622 onward, referred to it as an “old play” in 1623 when he re-licensed it, also mentioning that it had been formerly allowed by Buc.  This would  be George Buck, who was Master of the Revels from 1608 to 1622 (suceeded by Sir John Astley and then by Herbert).  Dekker was in the King’s Bench prison from 1613 to 1619, leaving only two periods during which he could have written the play.

Title page of the 1631 quarto.

The argument for the period 1611-1613 rests on the following:  the style of the play is tragicomedy, which was slowly coming into vogue after John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont had written such popular plays as Philaster, The Maid’s Tragedy, and A King and No King in the years leading up to 1611.  It seems likely that Dekker wrote the play due to the popularity of the genre.

But, if so, then he was ahead of many other dramitists of the time.  The genre reached the height of its popularity in the years Dekker was in prison in such plays as Websters The Devil’s Law-Case and Middleton’s The Witch and More Dissemblers Besides Women.  This is the basis for the argument that Match Me in London was written at some point from 1619 onward.  Complicating the matter further is the fact that the plot closely resembles that of another Middleton play, Women Beware Women.   But which play was written first?

As to the play itself, there is much to recommend it, though the ending is somewhat implausible which major characters all having sudden changes of heart.  As well, the subplot concerning Prince John is dropped part way through the play, except for a surprise ending in the final scene.

Dramatis Personæ and Dekker’s address to Lodowick Carlisle

Act One, Scene One

Act One, Scene Two

Act  One, Scene Three

Act One, Scene Four

Act Two, Scene One

Act Two, Scene Two

Act Two, Scene Three

Act Two, Scene Four

Act Three, Scene One

Act Three, Scene Two

Act Three, Scene Three

Act Four, Scene One

Act Four, Scene Two

Act Four, Scene Three

Act Four, Scene Four

Act Four, Scene Five

Act Four, Scene Six

Act Five, Scene One

Act Five, Scene Two

Act Five, Scene Three

Act Five, Scene Four

Act Five, Scene Five

Return to Dekker page.

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