By Mark Twain
From 1601 (1876).

the cast of players for an ingenious work

By Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

Sir Francis Bacon: (1561-1626) Writer, philosopher, lawyer. He became Lord Chancellor of England under James I. Much of his literary work is incomplete, as he tried write while dealing with the day to day pressures of holding public office. The writings that exist are held in high esteem, and he is considered to have contributed to the 17th century scientific revolution.

Sir Walter Raleigh: (1554?-1618) Historian, Politician, Soldier, Explorer and Poet. A favorite and rumored lover of Queen Elizabeth. The legend has it that he gained her favor by placing his cloak over a muddy spot in the Queen's path for her to walk on without soiling her shoes. He was heavily involved in the development of the new world, and introduced tobacco and the potato to Ireland. He was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1603, after an unfair trial for conspiring the against the King's life. It was there he began his History of the World. He was beheaded in 1618, noting, as he touched the edge of the ax, that "This is a sharp medicine, but it is a sure cure for all diseases."

Ben Jonson: (1572-1637) Jacobean poet, critic and dramatist generally considered second only to Shakespeare for plays in late 16th and early 17th century England. He is thought to be one of the prime models for dramatic characterization in in Restoration and 18th and 19th century comedy.

Francis Beaumont: (1584-1616) Jacobean Playwright and Poet. Attempted to study the law at Oxford, never getting a degree, devoting more time to enjoying the hospitality of the Mermaid Tavern than to pursuing his legal studies. He collaborated with John Fletcher on many works, but is probably best remembered for the ribald and farcical The Knight of the Burning Pestle (1607).

William Shakespeare: Famous Elizabethian playright. More information about him can be found elsewhere.

Sir Nicholas Throckmorton: Queen Elizabeth's chamberlain of the exchequer and ambassador to France and Scotland. He was imprisoned for a time at Windsor Castle during the intrigue around the attempt to marry Thomas Howard to Mary Stuart.

Elizabeth Throckmorton: Sir Nicholas Throckmorton's daughter, who was seduced by and later married to Sir Walter Raleigh.

John Lyly: Author of books and plays performed by the court's children's theater. He wrote Euphues, which was published in two parts in the late 1500's, and this work created a fad for flowery language and conceits by his followers, the Euphuists.

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