Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hathway, Richard

HATHWAY, RICHARD (fl. 1602), dramatist, was probably a native of Warwickshire. Several families of the name resided in the sixteenth century at Stratford-on-Avon and its immediate neighbourhood. Shakespeare's wife was Anne Hathway or Hathaway of Shottery, and her father's christian name was Richard. Richard Hathway, the dramatist, was possibly related to the Shottery family (cf. Halliwell-Phillipps, Outlines of Life of Shakespeare, 7th edit. ii. 183 sq.)

Although named by Francis Meres in 1598 as among the best writers of comedy in his day (Wit's Treasury, New Shakspere Soc., p. 161), Hathway was one of the struggling dramatists in the pay of Philip Henslowe, the manager of the Rose Theatre, and usually wrote in conjunction with one, two, or three writers in the same unhappy condition. Only one of the plays in which he was concerned is known to be extant, and that is in print. It is entitled ‘The First Part of the True and Honorable Historie of the Life of Sir John Old-castle, the good Lord Cobham;’ was played for the first time at the Rose between 1 and 8 Nov. 1599, and was the joint work of Hathway, Drayton, Munday, and Robert Wilson, who, on the previous 16 Oct., received from Henslowe for the first part and in earnest of a second part 10l. The success seems to have been sufficient to induce Henslowe to make the four poets a present of half a crown each (Diary, Shakespeare Soc., p. 158). The play, together with a second part, was licensed for publication by the Stationers' Company to Thomas Pavier 11 Aug. 1600. Nothing is known of the second part beyond this entry in the Stationers' registers, which does not supply the authors' names. Two editions of the first part were issued in quarto by Pavier in 1600—one anonymously, and the other with the name of Shakespeare on the title-page, a very fraudulent device.

In the composition of the following plays, none of them extant, Hathway is reported to have had a share: 1. ‘The Life of Arthur, King of England,’ acted by the lord admiral's servants in Henslowe's theatre in 1598, and for which the manager paid the author 20s. ‘in earnest’ 11 April 1598. 2. ‘Valentine and Orson’ (with Munday), acted in 1598 (an interlude with this title, ‘played by her majesty's players,’ was licensed for publication 23 May 1595, and ‘a famous history,’ with this title, also played by ‘her majesty's players,’ was similarly licensed 31 March 1599–1600, but no printed copy is known). 3. ‘Owen Tudor’ (with Wilson, Munday, and Drayton), for which they received on account 4l. in January 1599 (ib. p. 163). 4. ‘Hannibal and Scipio’ (with William Rankins), in January 1600 (ib. pp. 97, 174, 175). 5. An unnamed play (with Rankins) in January 1600, in which Scogan, or Scoggin, and Skelton (a jester and jester-poet of the reign of Henry VIII) were characters (ib. p. 175). 6. ‘The Fayre Constance of Rome’ (with Munday, Drayton, and Dekker), which was completed on 14 June 1600 (ib. p. 171). A week later the four poets were busy on a second part of the same drama (ib. p. 172). 7. ‘The Conquest of Spain by John of Gaunt,’ a play belonging to the spring of 1601 (with Day and William Haughton) (cf. Alleyn Papers, Shakespeare Soc., p. 25). 8. ‘The Sixe Clothyers of the West’ (with Hathway, Wentworth Smith, and Haughton), in May or June 1601. A second part was acted in the same year. 9. ‘Too Good to be True, or the Poor Northern Man,’ a piece founded upon the old ballad reprinted by the Percy Society in 1841 (with Henry Chettle and Wentworth Smith) in 1601 (Alleyn Papers, p. 25). 10. ‘As Merry as May be’ (with Wentworth Smith and Day), acted in 1602. 11. ‘The Black Dog of Newgate’ (with Day, Smith, and ‘the other poet’), acted in 1602. A second part was produced in the same year. 12. ‘The Boast of Billingsgate’ (with Day), acted in 1602. 13. ‘The Fortunate General: a French History,’ acted in 1602. 14. ‘The Unfortunate General’ (with Day, Smith, and ‘the other poet’), acted early in 1603. Hathway has verses before J. Bodenham's ‘Belvedére,’ 1600.

[Hunter's Chorus Vatum, v. 526 (Addit. MS. 24491); Baker's Biog. Dram. 1812; Halliwell's Dict. of Old Plays; Henslowe's Diary (Shakespeare Soc.); F. G. Fleay's Annals of the Stage.]

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