. 3
( 6)


the mouth of Simony precisely because this is slander and not the truth.
But these epithets provide at least representations of alien confusion and
help make the point that Usury, whatever his parentage, is a second
generation English resident whereas the others (pace the testimony of
Simony) are all new immigrants; he was born in London, served in
Venice, and now has returned because ˜England was such a place for
Lucre to bide, / As was not in Europe and the whole world beside™ (2.222“
3). Usury as an international money-man, but more usefully as an allegory
of human behaviour and the contemporary economic state of the nation,
draws the gallimaufry of foreign bodies into circulation in England.
These bodies, moreover, are unknowable, mutable identities that inev-
itably forsake the body within which they are accommodated: ˜every man
doth sue™ for Lady Lucre, says Lady Conscience, ˜And comes from
countries strange and far of her to have a view™ (1.7“8). Lady Love con-
¬rms that ˜men come from Italy, Barbary, Turkey, / From Jewry: nay, the
Pagan himself / Endangers his body to gape for her pelf. / They forsake
mother, prince, country, religion, kiff and kin™ (1.13“16).
The drawing of this foreignness to England, however, is bound up with
an Englishness already tied to the alien economy. When Lucre orders
Mercadorus to waste the English economy by exporting ˜wheat, peas,
barley, oats, and vetches, and all kind of grain, / . . . / leather, tallow, beef,
bacon, bell-metal and everything, / And for these good commodities
tri¬‚es to England thou must bring, / As bugles to make baubles, coloured
bones, glass, beads to make bracelets withal™, everything ˜slight, pretty and
pleasant, they care not to have it pro¬table™ (3.40“7), this is a description
of the existing state of affairs that has let in the alien rather than a plan of
the future. Mercadorus replies that he has been exporting staple goods ˜all
tis while™ and importing ˜many baubles dese countrymen to beguile™
(3.53“4), and the effectiveness of this anti-English practice is borne out in
the decades that follow. William Harrison™s Description of England (1587)
laments the English fashion for foreign products at the expense of home-
production; Robert Yarington™s Two Lamentable Tragedies (1594) says
much the same thing; and in his A Direction for Travailers (1592) Sir John
Stradling tells how the admiration of foreign artisans in England has
encouraged apprentices to learn under foreign masters instead of
English.34 Philip Stubbes seconds the fear of ˜draining™ the country of
good product in The Anatomie of Abuses, while the greater part of his text
suggests an increase in English ˜vanity™. ˜[W]e are so captivate in Pride™,
writes Stubbes, ˜that if it come not from beyond the seas, it is not woorth
a strawe. And thus we impoverish our selves in buying their tri¬‚ing
Accommodating the alien in mid-Elizabethan London plays 71
Merchandizes, more pleasant than necessary, and inritch them, who laugh
at us in their sleeves, to see our great folly in affecting of tri¬‚es, and
parting with good wares for them.™35 Some would say that the English
were expending or impoverishing their very identity. John Deacon wrote
in 1616 of ˜Our carelesse entercourse of traf¬cking with the contagious
corruptions, and customes of forreine nations™:
so many of our English-mens minds are thus terribly Turkished with Maho-
metan trumperies . . . thus spitefully Spanished with super¬‚uous pride; thus
fearfully Frenchized with ¬lthy prostitutions; thus fantastically Flanderized with
¬‚aring net-works to catch English fooles; thus huf¬ngly Hollandized with ruf¬an-
like loome-workes, and other ladi¬ed fooleries; thus greedily Germandized
with a most gluttonous manner of gormandizing; thus desperately Danished
with a swine-like swilling and quaf¬ng; thus skulkingly Scotized with
Machiavillan projects; thus inconstantly Englished with every new fantasticall

That ¬nal phrase has a delightful ring to it that sounds more than one
note at once. To be ˜inconstantly Englished with every new fantasticall
foolerie™ is to be shifted around, thrown from identity to identity, ever
unsure of the centre of Englishness. But if each new fashion re-Englishes
at each turn, however different from the one before, then behind the
bare imitation is something native about that very behaviour. This idea
echoes my discussion in Chapter 1 of Mary Floyd-Wilson™s work on
geohumoralism and Sara Warneke™s work on the foreign in¬‚uence on
English travellers as ways into understanding the separatist Englishness
that is paradoxically built on confusion of international identities.37 To
display Englishness is to incorporate the variety of foreignness that
already exists or that comes along.
If hospitality between English citizens is dead, and if Conscience
consequently disappears from view in London, the remaining honest
Christians like Wilson™s craftsman ˜Artifex™, ˜living hitherto with good
Conscience™ (3.87), can no longer survive untainted by the alien. Artifex is
drawn into a scheme in which foreign goods are made poorly but dressed
well and sold to the impoverishment of the honest English worker. This
might already be a doubtful accusation against the aliens, who were
generally known for superior knowledge and workmanship; but a sig-
ni¬cant number of immigrants were also found to be coming to England
out of economic desperation. English reactions to this phenomenon
included the production of the Dutch church libel of 1593, which is often
discussed for its apparent allusions to Marlowe and his plays of the
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
immediately preceding years “ both ˜Tamerlaine™ and ˜paris massacre™
appear in the text. This in¬‚ammatory document was attached to the wall
of London™s Dutch church in Broadstreet Ward and threatened the lives
of resident aliens. It was one of a number of such texts, and I discuss the
climate of fear and control in which they were produced below. A small
caveat and a note to keep in mind as I refer to this document: the extant
text is not original or entirely contemporary, but a transcript of 1600, the
provenance of which is discussed by Arthur Freeman;38 also, the Privy
Council notes in its Acts that among a number of libels set about the city
of London ˜there is some set uppon the wal of the Dutch churchyard™,
possibly suggesting that this was not the sole example found in that
location (although some one libel could be implied by the word).39
We might now add Wilson to Marlowe and read in the Dutch church
libel allusions to Mercadorus and Artifex in The Three Ladies, a recently
revived and published play of the important Queen™s Men™s company,
and a play more directly concerned with the complaints in the libel than
anything Marlowe produced. Despite being over a decade old by the time
of the libel, The Three Ladies could well have remained a vital touchstone
for such a reactionary text. The Three Ladies™ constant presence in the
literary imagination of the rest of the sixteenth century is indicated by
several events: very soon after its composition, The Three Ladies prompted
a response, London against the Three Ladies; as late as 1598 Everard
Guilpin™s Skialetheia directly refers to The Three Ladies;40 the play was
revived with The Three Lords in 1590; and a second quarto was published
in 1592. It is easy to see reference to The Three Ladies in a text already
˜dramatized™ by Marlovian allusion; just ¬ve lines into the ¬fty-four-line
poem, we read:
Your Machiavellian Marchant spoyles the state,
Your usery doth leave us all for deade
Your Artifex, & craftesman works our fate,
And like the Jewes, you eate us up as bread. (lines 5“8)41

The proximity of these two characters in the poem and the connector of
usury and Jewishness strongly suggests that the writer had Wilson™s play
in mind. The cunning Italian merchant, the facility of usury, and the
Jewish source for the ruining of the English provide a nutshell summary
of the foreign-situated in¬‚uence in The Three Ladies.42 ˜Artifex™ in the
libel would seem to be an alien, but his position is closely aligned with
Wilson™s English Artifex. He begins as the English arti¬cer, complaining:
Accommodating the alien in mid-Elizabethan London plays 73
But my true working, my early rising, and my late going to bed
Is scant able to ¬nd myself, wife and children dry bread,
For there be such a sort of strangers in this country,
That work ¬ne to please the eye, though it be deceitfully,
And that which is slight, and seems to the eye well,
Shall sooner than a piece of good work be proffered to sell. (3.88“93)

Fraud manages very quickly to persuade Artifex to play the alien. Artifex
is sick of being poor and seeing the foreign artisans succeed, so ˜to be a
workman to Lady Lucre™ (3.101) he will work under the name of Fraud,
inhospitable to his foreign neighbours, and a cheat to his English cus-
tomers. When Fraud asks that ˜the next piece of work that thou dost
make, / Let me see how deceitful thou wilt do it for my sake™ (3.110“11),
the corrupted Artifex replies, ˜Yes sir, I will, sir, of that be you sure, / I™ll
honour your name, while life doth endure™ (3.112“13). Artifex pledges a
life-long commitment to alien behaviour, becoming one of them “ from
the English libel™s point of view, ˜Your Artifex™.
The aliens are all con¬rmed as part of the English establishment by the
end of the play. Judge Nemo (whose name suggests impotence and
absence) only has the women in his courtroom:
. . . there are but three prisoners, so far as I know, . . .
No! Where is that wretch Dissimulation?
j ud g e ne mo .
He hath transformed himself after a strange fashion.
Fraud: where is he become?
j ud g e ne mo .
He was seen in the streets, walking in a citizen™s gown.
What is become of Usury?
j ud g e ne mo .
He was seen at the Exchange very lately.
Tell me, when have you heard of Simony?
j ud g e ne mo .
He was seen this day walking in Paul™s, having conference and
very great familiarity with some of the clergy. (17.3“12)

Dissimulation™s ˜strange fashion™ is at once a marker of the alien (strange),
yet also of the ˜inconstantly Englished™. Fraud has a citizen™s gown,
confusing the status of London freeman and deceptive identity, and
Usury and Simony are accepted in their respective social spheres with
˜very great familiarity™. These ˜aliens™ are not so much escaping from
English judgement as they are exposing the mistaken emphasis of a scene
of judgement that sets up aliens against Englishness at all. Throughout
the play, these characters have been acting as part of a politic web of alien
presence that always relies on pre-existing English social structure and the
˜character™ of Englishness. They cannot be extricated from their English
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
contexts and isolated for presentation in the courtroom. Sentencing Lady
Lucre, however, has an effect on the characters in the sequel The Three
Lords. Dissimulation and Simony have had an increasingly hard time
getting by in London, although Dissimulation manages to slip back into
town during the market-day at Leadenhall and into Westminster to pick
up the latest news. Only Usury continues to ˜livest but too wel™ (613; D)
in London, as he is branded with ˜A litle x. standing in the midd™st of a
great C™ (1954; H3) to denote the maximum percentage he is allowed to
take on usury by law since the Usury Act of 1571. Of course, this comedy
is tempered: just as the Judge™s name ˜Nemo™ might suggest in The Three
Ladies, as Louis B. Wright noted, that ˜the dramatist satirically showed
that no judge had yet dared sentence Lucre™, so the branding as punish-
ment is countered by reading it as a con¬rmation of the legitimacy of
Usury in London.43 This brand declares that London owns Usury, or that
Usury is London™s adopted child. Just as the death of the merchant
Greediness could not kill greediness in England at the end of The Tide
Tarrieth No Man, so Usury, although mutilated and thwarted from his
previous free-ranging character, is given a permanence, a safety to settle
into London under the law that made usury a safer and therefore
established practice in England.
Whether we can read this episode as showing Usury ˜no longer pos[ing]
a threat within the world of the play™ is arguable, but Teresa Nugent
seems right to emphasize that a suppression of the danger of usury in
The Three Lords indicates not a solution to ¬nancial ˜pinching™ and
˜biting™, but an equivocal shift, whereby the new arch-enemy of a
merchandising state is the trade-threatening ¬gure of Fraud.44 The
concept of Fraud arguably almost runs the show in later Elizabethan
comedy, and Wilson himself put forward this proposition in the comic
episode of The Three Lords, where Simplicity is allowed to punish Fraud
for deceiving him earlier in the play (when Fraud is playing a French-
man, incidentally). Lord Pleasure orders that Fraud be bound to a post
and Simplicity run at him, blindfolded, with a ¬re-brand to burn out
his tongue ˜that it never speake more guile™ (2292“3; I3v). Over-excited
at the prospect of personal revenge, Simplicity runs at ˜the contrarie
post™ (2300; I3v) (presumably the stage posts of the public theatre) and
burns that instead. While everybody watches Simplicity™s comic show,
Dissimulation rushes over, unbinds Fraud, and the two escape. It seems
that no matter how many mistakes these ˜alien™ vice ¬gures make they
remain in the interstices of English behaviour, as ˜London and its rulers
are blind to the presence of caterpillars of the commonwealth™.45 In the
Accommodating the alien in mid-Elizabethan London plays 75
full context of their history in The Three Ladies and The Three Lords, this
scene con¬rms the confusion of alien vice and English virtue, of the
embeddedness of the alien in London. Lines like ˜Dissimulation like a
shadow ¬‚eetes, / And Simony is out of knowledge growen™ (2239“40; I2v)
seem to convey celebratory notes about the suppression of vice, meaning
that Dissimulation now lives a ghostly, unreal existence, frightened of
virtuous authority, and Simony no longer exists in England. But such
readings contain an exact and clear counterpart: Dissimulation was always
a shadow (that is what de¬nes his inscrutability), and Simony is going
about his business under the moral radar of the country.
Moreover, Fraud is not ˜unfound in London™ (2241; I2v) because he
does not exist, but because he is Fraud and cannot be found. When
Simplicity™s blindfold is removed, he is convinced by Diligence that the
lack of a body next to his burnt post is because he ˜hast quite consumed
him into nothing™ (2309“10; I3v). The irony of Simplicity™s naive belief
in the death of Fraud “ he is of course being defrauded at that moment “
is the last important note in the play before the closing prayer to God and
queen. It is a note that echoes the insistence of the Elizabethan moral
corpus in general that these alien vices are English problems that cannot
be eradicated by practical or violent means but are rather issues for the
English Christian conscience “ something that by now seems hard to
locate or believe in. It is a note too that sounds within the public theatre
announcing that the new drama of the 1590s “ both history and comedy “
will entertainingly but frustratingly emphasize the urban, material,
physical con¬‚ict between alien and English identity. What Simplicity says
is, as usual, funny but apt:
wel, al London, nay, al England is beholding to me, for putting Fraud out of this
world . . . But let me see, I shal have much anger, for the Tanners wil misse him
in their lether, the Tailors in cutting out of garments, the Shoo-maker in closing,
the Tapsters in ¬lling pots, and the verie oistermen to mingle their oisters at
Billinsgate. (2313“19; I3v“I4)

English Simplicity is convinced that Fraud is dead but this puts him in a
quandary. He knows that these settled ˜foreign™ vices are in fact an
ingrained part of the English artisans™ and traders™ (Artifex-like) habits,
and his good deeds will bring little thanks from his fellow workers.
The Three Lords that brought The Three Ladies back to life in 1588“90
may well have been revived in turn for a double-bill when the second
extant quarto of The Three Ladies appeared in 1592, a print-run timed to
comment on the building tension in the capital. Such a production would
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
have coincided with the writing of another play with similar concerns that
probably never reached the stage because of its scenes of political violence:
Sir Thomas More by Anthony Munday and others.46 Simplicity had
warned in The Three Ladies that the playgoers were ˜eating up™ (8.180) the
play as if it was something to be digested as they go about their business
in the city. The fear was that such ˜eating™ could lead either to digestion
and a feeding of illicit energies or to regurgitation in some foul manner.
After several years of native“alien unrest in the early and mid 1590s, it was
becoming common to hear protests that
Stage Plaies . . . move wholy to imitacion & not to the avoyding of those vyces
which they represent, which wee verely think to bee the cheef cause, aswell of
many other disorders & lewd demeanors which appeer of late in young people of
all degrees . . . who wee doubt not driew their infection from these & like

The London authorities were painfully aware of such possibilities, and the
inclusion of scenes of civil unrest in the play of Sir Thomas More led the
Master of the Revels to blue-pencil it back onto the authors™ desks.48 This
study is concerned with the ¬rst two acts of the play, which outline alleged
abuses of Londoners by resident aliens and dramatize the 1517 ˜evil May-
Day™ attacks on the strangers. The second act has More (un-historically)
quell the unrest with speeches widely attributed to Shakespeare, after which
More claims that the balance of ˜My country™s love, and next the city™s care™
(2.3.198) lay behind his action. The leaders of the unrest are sentenced to
death, and Lincoln suffers execution moments before the king™s pardon
arrives. In Act 3 More™s famous comic sense is portrayed in his meeting
with Erasmus and his improvising with a troupe of travelling players. Act 4
introduces the debate over the Oath of Supremacy and Act of Succession
and More™s family™s suffering, with Act 5 containing More™s imprisonment
and execution.
This play inserted itself into the fray of Elizabethan London™s alien“
native con¬‚ict from the not-too-safe distance of the Ill May-Day anti-
alien disturbances of 1517. On 2 June 1592 the Privy Council attempted to
calm both alien and native sides in the long-standing war over the
London marketplace. Complaints from Dutch candle-makers that they
were being threatened by English traders and defences from the English
that their livelihood was being threatened by the aliens were investigated
secretly, while openly the Council declared a stay of action against the
alleged native malefactors.49 The apprentices were not satis¬ed and
gathered to rise up a week later in Southwark. But Scott McMillin™s
Accommodating the alien in mid-Elizabethan London plays 77
comment that ˜A riot of apprentices actually broke out on 11 June™, and
Richard Dutton™s ˜there was . . . rioting led by feltmakers™ apprentices™,
are not proved by the epistolary evidence, which seems to indicate that
the ˜rude tumult™ was an assembly put down before it got out of hand.50
As Barbara Freedman has reminded us, we should beware the use of
words such as ˜riot™, whose connotations change with time, especially if
the words do not appear in the relevant documents.51 ˜Riot™ in the period
could refer to large-scale gatherings but also to a general tendency toward
ruf¬an-like behaviour (even sometimes mirthful revelry annoying to
others) and in the street could involve as little as ˜where three (at the least)
or more doe some unlawful act: as to beate a man, Entre upon the
possession of an other, or such like™.52 Caused by the wrongful impris-
onment of apprentices, the Southwark crowd was calmed by Mayor
Webbe who had a suspicion of ˜a great disorder and tumult lyke to grow™
(my emphasis). ˜Having made proclamation, & dismissed the multitude™,
he reports, matter-of-factly, ˜I apprehended the chief doers . . . & have
committed them to prison™.53 Sir Thomas More repeated this story
element with violent rhetoric, and the Master of the Revels™ fear of the
play was, quite rightly, that by using the Ill May Day riots as analogue to
current unrest it sensationalized contemporary events that were not in
themselves quite so serious.54
Having said as much, this event, with its potential for wide-scale
unrest, may have been a potent prompt for beginning to write Sir Thomas
More. McMillin believes that the play was written ˜between the summer
of 1592 and the summer of 1593 and that the representation of the Ill May-
Day uprising was intended to re¬‚ect the crisis over aliens that was
troubling the City during those months™.55 In fact, it is not until the late
spring of 1593 that we hear of signi¬cant trouble, when a libel (a
threatening or illegal placard set up in a public place) seems to have sent
the court itself into convulsions, and it issued a carte blanche to the
arresting of¬cer to apprehend and torture those who had threatened
violence against aliens in the document.56 On 22 April the Privy Council
recorded the queen™s demands against the ˜disordered and factious
persons™ responsible, authorizing of¬cers ˜to examine by secret meanes
who maie be authors of the saide libells™.57 The letter goes on to suggest
the employment in these secret investigations of strangers who might
possess some intelligence concerning possible libellers; results of the
search were to be reported to the queen personally. It is clear that
the authorities were willing to take great risks by employing strangers.
Should the native libel supporters discover the cooperation of state and
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
immigrants, their fears of being betrayed by the noble class could extend
to the feeling of abandonment by their government as a whole, thus
breaking down any faith in the non-alien identity of authority.58
The connection of alien fear and national class disunity was made on
5 May 1593 in the Dutch church libel. Its inclusion of the problem of
inter-class tension manifests in the plays either as moral and political
vacancy (the absence of Sir Nicholas in The Three Ladies, the corruption
of Scrope and the conspirators in Henry V ) or as vicious, money-based
con¬‚ict (evil landlords, usurers, corrupt of¬cials):
With Spanish gold, you all are infected
And with yt gould our Nobles wink at feats
Nobles said I? nay men to be rejected,
Upstarts yt enjoy the noblest seates
That wound their Countries brest, for lucres sake[.] (lines 45“9)

As we move on to discuss Shakespeare™s second tetralogy, we will see that
the English“alien disturbances in the years leading up to these history
plays foregrounded and embedded the fusion of class and national
identity. The Dutch church libel notes, ˜And our pore soules, are cleane
thrust out of dore™ (line 31) by the immigrant population, with the
collusion of the upper classes who do anything ˜for lucres sake™. (Inci-
dentally, this latter phrase or its equivalent appears in The Three Ladies
at 5.90, 6.25, 14.24, and 14.56.) What seems to have been a stalemate
position between the ˜libel™ threats without signi¬cant action and the
Council™s worry provided a hot-bed for any new crisis that should come
along. The potential for unrest put the Privy Councillors on the edge of
their seats, and it warned the Mayor of London that ˜oftentymes it doth
fall out of soche lewde beginninges that further mischiefe doth ensue yf
in tyme it be not wyselie prevented™.59 The authorities certainly did not
want to leave it to chance. The Friday after the appearance of the libel, 11
May 1593, the Privy Council ordered of¬cials to enter into all houses of
suspects, and since ˜of late divers lewd and malicious libells set up within
the citie of London [this] doth excead the rest in lewdnes™, the suspected
malefactors were to be put ˜to the torture in Bridewel . . . to th™end
the aucthor of these seditious libells maie be known™.60 If such a response
is directed against the apprentice class angry with mistreatment, it is a
dangerous move, since it could easily be interpreted as further mistreat-
ment. This could fan the ¬‚ames of inter-class tension and certainly risked
a repetition of the unrest from the wrongful imprisonment the year
Accommodating the alien in mid-Elizabethan London plays 79
The frank and mimetic thrust of Sir Thomas More gives us an
immediacy that lies right between the topical but allegorical plays by
Wilson on the one hand and the ˜real™ and potent Shakespeare histories
displaced by time and the foregrounding of theatricality on the other.
The dramatic study of alien presence, it seems, required some signi¬cant
˜buffering™ from present anxieties if it was to question the English self. Sir
Thomas More, for all it is nominally set seventy-¬ve years in the past,
interferes too much with the stability of the present “ in particular,
stability associated with a young, theatre- and game-oriented demo-
graphic. Ten years earlier the Lord Mayor of London had written to a
Justice of Middlesex laying out the concerns of crowd size, place, and
symbolic signi¬cance in public shows. Referring to an illegal fencing bout
planned for playing at the Theatre, the Lord Mayor worried speci¬cally
about ˜the danger of disorders at such assemblies, the memorie of ill May
daie begon vpon a lesse occasion of like sort™.61 The play of Sir Thomas
More, had it been allowed, would have provided a far more direct
˜occasion of like sort™ in the second act: a rumour circulates of a
Frenchman beating a carpenter in Cheap, and Lincoln incites a crowd
assembled at St Martin™s to ˜¬re the houses of these audacious strangers™
(2.1.21“2). Doll predicts ˜we™ll drag the strangers out into Moor¬elds, and
there bombast them till they stink again™ (2.1.42“4), to which George
Bettes adds ˜Let some of us enter the strangers™ houses, / And if we ¬nd
them there, then bring them forth™ (2.1.46“7). In an added hand intended
to replace the same scene, a Clown replies to Doll™s reservations with the
exclamation that he is ripe for going a-raping; moreover, he will do it in
the name of the god of war: ˜Now Mars for thy honour, / Dutch or
French, / So it be a wench, / I™ll upon her™ (2.1.50“3).62 Generic and
temporal contexts are all-important in these matters. The role of rape in
subversive acts by men of the lower order or by powerful men against
their vassals and inferiors appears frequently in male-oriented histories of
nations and peoples. Jean Howard and Phyllis Rackin cite Jack Cade™s
warning in 2 Henry VI that the nobility attack the lower orders with
¬nancial and physical pains, including rape of wives and daughters. By
Henry V, rape is a military tactic of the English against foreigners.63
Shakespeare™s mode of the history genre, however, tends to allow tem-
poral distance to mollify the potentiality of such terror. In Sir Thomas
More, we have something with more immediacy and political power than
Henry V. The early sixteenth-century riots were still fresh in the
authorities™ minds and the Clown™s rapacious call is savagely imminent
and primitively appropriate as it calls up the power of impregnation by
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
the conqueror. This listing of violent acts to be performed against the
aliens is the kind of rhetoric that frightened authority: a call to action in a
libel and in the theatre was a call to action in the city, or at least food for
poisonous thought.
Dutton has written, ˜It is the depiction of the riot, and any talk of
rioting, which is uppermost in his [Tilney™s] mind, particularly when it is
directed at foreigners: “It is hard when Englishmens pacience must be
thus jetted on by straungers and they dare not revendge their owne
wrongs” [1.1.25“7] is one passage speci¬cally crossed out by him.™64 In
fact, simply gathering with intent to act unlawfully was itself an offence;
incitement on the stage to act against strangers comes close to this line.65
Certainly Doll preaches the incorrectness of vigilantism as she stands on
the execution scaffold, but her coming to terms with death and its ¬nal
justice makes her all the more the heroic martyr of the working class. This
balance to be struck between the acceptable playing out of opinions
against orthodoxies of state and religion on the one hand, and provoking
unrest on the other, was largely what permission to stage plays in the
1580s and early 1590s depended on. The manner of depiction more than
the content being depicted led Tilney to get out his censor™s pen;66
Robert Wilson™s play™s incorporation of the city itself, although central,
remains part of a conservative socio-religious lesson, a kind of predictable
text, glossed revealingly by the characters who move around within
London. As Melchiori and Gabrieli have noted, Sir Thomas More brings
in the city as a character in its own right, and maintains what Tracey
Hill terms a ˜topographical topicality™;67 the London comedies and the
second tetralogy carry out their own versions of this ˜mapping™ or place-
determining strategy, as we shall see in Chapters 4 and 5. Hill points out,
moreover, that ˜the offences done to the citizens by the strangers™ in Sir
Thomas More ˜are regarded as attacks on the City itself™.68 The English are
depicted as protectors of Englishness through a protection of London as
Englishness. And London, as character and space that needs defending
from alien penetration, mingling, and confusion, takes on a somatic and
gendered identity. Indeed Doll herself claims that it will fall to women to
defend femininity from male alien aggression (1.1.53“74). Hill further
emphasizes the determination of the play™s Londoners to take the aliens
outside the city boundaries, to Moor¬elds, and indeed the trope of
expulsion or asserting native/alien boundaries in and around the city is
another one that we shall see again in the London comedies of Chapter 5.
The city is of course the product of its inhabitants and, as Ian Munro
has outlined, London in the 1580s and 1590s was continually identi¬ed as
Accommodating the alien in mid-Elizabethan London plays 81
a centre of excessive population, one that incorporated foreigners, who
˜overcharged™ the city and threatened its common health. The processes of
determining valuable and harmful residents and appropriate responsive
actions were ones in which social class played a major role.69 Revisions in
Sir Thomas More show a ˜dumbing down™ of the anti-alien crowd,
according to Hill “ an apparent attempt to defuse the thoughtful (or at
least arguably justi¬able) anger of the riotous English. The instigators of
the uprising are given crass xenophobic moments, and credibility is
withdrawn from them by passages such as the Second Addition, which
˜insinuates that Lincoln and his comrades identify with apprentices rather
than citizens and merchants™.70 Interestingly, however, as much as these
alterations or alternative versions may have been attempts to dilute the
controversial edge of the play (and I am not arguing that we can say that
with any certainty), they in fact bring in further complications of alien
confusion. A particularly interesting nexus in Sir Thomas More is the
trope of food and eating, for it is one that attaches several aspects of
English fear and resolution in relation to the alien. It is also a trope we
have seen hinted at before in the drama, and one to which the later drama
will return. The sermon Lincoln reads out to the disgruntled English
worries that ˜aliens and strangers eat the bread from the fatherless children™
(1.2.111“12) and echoes the Dutch church libel™s accusation that ˜like the
Jewes, you eate us up as bread™ (line 8); in both texts this notion is
immediately preceded or followed by lines relating the concomitant effect
on craftsmen and merchants (Sir Thomas More lines 114 and 115; libel lines
5, 7, and 9).
Soon the play takes on the trope of eating with gusto. Early in 2.3
appears the following passage:
Our country is a great eating country, argo they eat more in our
li nco ln .
country than they do in their own.
By a halfpenny loaf a day troy weight.
clown .
They bring in strange roots, which is merely to the undoing of
li nco ln .
poor prentices, for what™s a sorry parsnip to a good heart?
Trash, trash! They breed sore eyes, and ™tis enough to infect the
city with the palsy.
Nay, it has infected it with the palsy, for these bastards of dung “
li nco ln .
as you know they grow in dung “ have infected us, and it is our
infection will make the city shake, which partly comes through the
eating of parsnips. (lines 7“18)

These exchanges begin with the notion that the aliens will ˜acclimatize™
(in geohumoral terms) and eat more not because they are greedy in
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
themselves but because they are in England, where eating is a healthily
pursued pastime. What is dif¬cult to avoid is that these new great eaters
bring alien food into the body of London. They bring ˜strange roots™,
glossed in the next line as ˜parsnip™, but suggesting ˜stranger stock™, alien
genealogy. The con¬‚ation of representative foodstuff and national iden-
tity takes on comical proportions in the scene in Henry V in which Pistol
has the ˜Welsh correction™ of a leek forced down his throat by Fluellen.
The trope of eating (and refusing to eat) as a marker of national identity
in Sir Thomas More is more extensive and has been studied recently by
Joan Fitzpatrick, who discusses the need for the Londoners to purge
themselves of the alien ˜infection™ and protect their gendered identities
against rape and emasculation.71
Most references to eating, to the body, or to the city have their
counterpart connotations in each other; thus the question ˜what™s a sorry
parsnip to a good heart?™ at once asserts the insuf¬ciency of parsnips to the
English ˜hearty™ constitution, but ˜heart™ also parallels parsnip as if Lincoln
is suggesting an alternative vegetable (˜heart™ in the period and today could
refer to the good, centre section of a food (OED ˜heart™ entry 18)).72 The
good heart in the line™s context refers back to the ˜poor prentices™, and thus
suggests the malnutrition of the city, and that in turn adds to the Clown™s
previous reference to ˜troy weight™, a standard measure from French fairs,
but suggesting a city standard, that of Troy the great city that was a
mythical precursor to London. The unnamed ˜Another™ who speaks next
also brings these elements together in just a few words. The word ˜trash™
can refer derogatively to an object or a person, and when the speaker
follows the exclamation with ˜They breed sore eyes™, the subject of the
sentence con¬‚ates the aliens with their food “ strangers spawn an inferior
˜race™ and parsnips cause disease in the eater. This con¬‚ation of alien and
food leads to the confusion of alien with native: the parsnips and the
strangers have infected the city of London. The ˜bastards of dung™ are again
primarily the root-plant parsnips but also the aliens. They constitute the
illegitimate ¬lth that has already led to the urban disease that the Lon-
doners want to purge out in Moor¬elds. This contrasts with the play™s
insistence that Doll represents a ˜true breeder™ (2.1.6), a phrase Gabrieli and
Melchiori gloss nicely as ˜a faithful wife, not the mother of bastards™.73 The
medicinal message of ˜¬‚aming letters™ (2.1.38) that Doll imagines in
burning the strangers™ houses might compromise the English body of
London too by burning down their own houses, thus the determination
to take the aliens out of town to ˜bombast them till they stink again™, i.e. to
beat the shit out of them. The excremental joke is con¬rmed by the Clown
Accommodating the alien in mid-Elizabethan London plays 83
who remarks that ˜they smell for fear already™ (line 45), and it echoes the
punning scatology of Wealth and Health™s Wit, who remarked of Hance
the Dutchman™s eviction from the country, ˜The horson ¬‚eming was
beshitten for feare / Because he should voyde so soone™ (D2v).
Lincoln™s last sentence in the quoted passage above insists that ˜it is our
infection will make the city shake™. In other words, the alien alone is not
the vital element to native destruction; it is the ¬nding of the alien within
that will make the city shake. Now, however, instead of shaking with a
disease that allegedly hurts Londoners, the rioters will make the city shake
with civil disturbance. This action “ as More con¬rms in his pacifying
speech “ undermines the realm™s health, the ˜majesty of England™ (2.3.79),
and its direction toward visitors perverts English hospitality, which, as we
have seen, is a practice that de¬nes Englishness itself. In the end, the
rioters™ excessive insistence on an external, alien poisoning of London
turns out to be their self-scrutiny that reveals the ˜shaky™ foundation of
the concept of an Englishness that is de¬nitively antithetical to, or a
clearly contrasted identity to, that of the aliens.
Sir Thomas More is a wide-ranging and evocative generic animal: it
moralizes on the role of English hospitality, it revamps history to prompt
late-Elizabethan re-evaluation of socio-economic status, and it prompts
satirical and harsh urban comedy and anti-alien action that rely on
London topography and the meaning of urban space to an understanding
of Englishness. The next two chapters deal with two sets of plays being
performed in the late 1590s that attempt to locate Englishness in the wake
of this English“alien tension. Shakespeare™s second tetralogy at once
extracts Englishness from ethnic, linguistic, and geopolitical British (i.e.
alien) identity, and ¬nds Britishness within Englishness (a tricky concept
because Britishness would seem to be a larger and external body rather
than an internal presence). The late-Elizabethan London comedies, by
comparison, extract Englishness from religious, linguistic, and geopolitical
European identity, while ¬nding familiarity in all these ˜other™ elements. In
both cases, the movement of bodies is important, as the physical, real
presence of alien bodies I have generally insisted on continues to be central,
even as the plays highlight the alien within Englishness more importantly
than the alien as obvious ˜other™. Alien“English contact at local, urban,
regional, and national boundaries (from front doors of houses, workshops,
and London landmarks, to the Anglo-Welsh border and Anglo-Continental
divide) forces negotiation, reassessment, and assertion of the English
self through continuing development of the second stage of alien
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
All the drama under study here is to some extent moulded by and
interested in contributing to a critique of the status of London as a place
of pre-eminent Englishness. That the leader of the crowds in Sir Thomas
More is called John Lincoln is not an empty coincidence. The name in
some way represents an alternative to London, and his speedy execution
and intended (but too-late) pardon provide an appropriate equivocality to
the man who paradoxically wants to recover London by destroying what
London stands for. Wilson™s The Three Lords foregrounds the battle
between the old Roman capital city and the modern metropolis by having
the three Lords of Lincoln compete for the London ladies (and lose).
London will remain an oddly de-centred centre of power for the northern
and British rebels in the Henry IV plays. And the tension between
London™s Mayor Oatley and the senior Earl of Lincoln in Dekker™s The
Shoemaker™ s Holiday continues to play on this sense of London as a
˜character™ in need of justifying, defending, and de¬ning in terms of
chapter 4

Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s
second tetralogy

This chapter returns to the much-discussed second tetralogy of
Shakespeare™s history plays to read them in the context of the process of
alien confusion that concerns this book. I begin with Richard II to show
the importance of the notion of an excursion into alien territory, a
journey of some sort by characters “ in this case Bolingbroke and
Mowbray “ invested in proving (invariably competitively) their Eng-
lishness. The journey entails questioning and crossing speci¬c borders
and pulling back identity from across those zones of difference. This trope
of the excursion expands on earlier versions of it that we saw in the
moralities. I then argue for the importance of Welshness to a study of
Englishness before going on in a longer section to examine Welshness as a
continually contested presence in the tetralogy. Welshness is a prime
example of the alien that is inevitably confused, revealed, and requires
excursion, negotiation across borders, and even alteration of the previously
conceived self to achieve a conception and display of a powerful concept of
˜Englishness™. Welshness cannot be reduced to ˜Great™ British royal lineage,
nor can it be eliminated as provincial or foreign uncouthness (in both the
early modern and modern senses of the term). It must be represented in all
its contiguity and closeness to England and Englishness (thus the
importance of geography and topography), while it maintains its alien
status as the other that Englishness incorporates, without destroying, to
enlarge itself. A 1589 translation of a French tract thinks of ˜the ancient
Britains . . . in the countrie of Wales™ as people who ˜agree in manners,
fashions, customes, usages: yet in language they differ from the other
inhabitantes of Englande™.1 The second tetralogy very deliberately shows
that the hurdle of ˜manners, fashions, customs, usages™ between Welsh and
English looks far higher from the closer perspective of England, and this
chapter looks at how Shakespeare™s history plays negotiate that apparent
obstacle to identity. I end with a brief coda on Henry V as Welshman and
archetypal English king, and Shakespeare™s return to Wales in Cymbeline.
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
All the plays studied in this book have involved journeys taken by
protagonists or vices that have proved necessary to the making of the self.
Bodily, spiritual, actual, and imaginary, these excursions prepare char-
acters to assert and display the accumulation of identity into new ¬gures
of power. The moralities have vices who come to England ready to infect
the population after journeys to familiarize themselves with other evil-
doers (Satan himself in the case of Like Will to Like); Lady Lucre™s men in
The Three Ladies of London have travelled to England with garnered
knowledge, and Mercadorus is required to trade abroad to bring in the
alien tri¬‚es that will corrupt English women; the city comedies discussed
in Chapter 5 use urban and international journeys to illustrate change and
English fortitude; and the histories perhaps do this work of self-discovery
through an alien excursion most forthrightly. That the journey to ¬nd the
English self is fraught with the accumulation of alien identity is dem-
onstrated in Sir Thomas More™s speeches to the crowd in Sir Thomas
More, the play with which I ended the previous chapter:
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs, with their poor luggage,
Plodding to th™ ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silenced by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed. (2.3.80“5)

Now put yourself in the alien position, says More, and he goes on to tell
the ˜rioters™ that if the king proves so lenient as simply to banish them for
their capital crime, they would wander in Europe where ˜you must needs
be strangers™ (line 141). Jane Kingsley-Smith reads in More™s lines a kind
of geographical-ideological alien confusion, the ˜mingling of nationalist
sentiment, expressed through the chauvinism it encourages about being
anywhere other than England, with a kind of cultural empathy which
works to dissolve those distinctions™.2 More asks the English to ¬nd their
own humanity by seeing the ˜mountainish™ (or ˜momtanish™) ˜inhumanity™
(line 151) in equivalent behaviour by aliens.
Of additional interest here is More™s call for the English to ˜imagine™
themselves alien, which makes the later assertion that they ˜must needs be
strangers™ a description of their state as well as a call to understand the
alien. History plays emphasize the empathetic journey, one that moves
beyond touching up against and thereby contrasting the self with the alien
and instead has the English subject put himself or herself in the place of
the alien to assess similarity and difference. To be the alien through a
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 87
projection of the mind or exertion of the body is, for the characters in
history plays, to comprehend being English “ not simply by contrast, but
by confusion and incorporation. As we revisit the plays of the second
tetralogy, I want to keep in mind the fact that such an emphasis on
imagination and invention demonstrates the history genre™s self-awareness.
Adam Hansen points out that 2 Henry IV uses the word ˜history™ as a
verb, suggesting its understanding of the manipulable narrative that
recovers the past, and Rumour has already told us as much at the
beginning of the play, giving out a ˜false history™ of the rebels™ victory.
Thus the need, argues Hansen, to move beyond the sometimes in¬‚exible
political readings of the new historicism that must read characters as
either authoritative or subversive and permit the ˜disguised and confused™
identities and relationships within the ˜Atlantic archipelago™ as presented
in the plays to show themselves in their multiplicity.3 The present study
is concerned to show that multiplicity itself is part of the ideology of
singular Englishness in the early modern period; these English plays take
Anglo-centric medieval history and use boundary-crossing (whether
geographical, ˜racial™, religious, or conceptual) to incorporate, or confuse,
otherness into the characters who must promote a British Englishness “ an
˜imperial™ Englishness that claims speci¬city and purity by accumulating
British identity and recasting it as ˜English™.
Part of the penchant for producing history plays in the 1580s and 1590s
may have been the need for writing a kind of settlement of Englishness
that the English could never quite believe in reality. The Queen™s Men, as
a prime example, set about establishing ways of seeing history as solidi-
fying present problems and glories of England; and they did so touring
the provinces, where the ˜broken English™ of domestic ˜foreigners™ indi-
cated their separateness and the need for uni¬cation.4 If, as John Morrill
argues, the Scottish and the Welsh have to accept that in the early modern
period they were always ˜Scots and Britons or Welsh and Britons™, then
the English conception of a totalizing English state expanding over a new
˜Britain™ must itself come with a severe anxiety.5 This Britishness is itself
so caught up in alien territories of the north and west that it must be
complicated and perhaps deliberately obfuscated (confused) as it is re-
incorporated (con-fused) into a singular idea of south-eastern English-
ness. This chapter moves slightly away from the others in this book in so
far as it discusses the English moving outward. Such expansion into
British territory and the London“provincial con¬‚ict, however, is “ like
the outgoing provincial and international excursions of vices, merchants,
soldiers, artisans, nobility, and monarchs in all the plays “ a continuing
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
response to foreigners and aliens coming into London and the southern
towns of England.

richard ii: the trope of the alien excursion
Beginning with Richard II, the second tetralogy examines the excursion as
an essential process for ˜Englishing™ the self. Bolingbroke will gather his
strength to claim titles both due him and above his rightful station via the
enforced Continental sojourn, and Mowbray, banished from his position
next to the king “ a position by which he seems to know himself and be
known, and without which he seems nothing “ will ¬nd a new life (and
everlasting life) in exactly the journey of Anglo-Christian crusading that
his wily adversary will never achieve. Bolingbroke misrepresents his own
foreign excursion as extensive and useless labour:
Must I not serve a long apprenticehood
To foreign passages, and in the end,
Having my freedom, boast of nothing else
But that I was a journeyman to grief? (“7)

And this is how David Read, for example, takes it, noting that
Bolingbroke™s ˜use of metaphor here is telling: exile is a form of servitude
which does not culminate in a ¬rmer sense of identity or purpose™;6 Aaron
Landau has recently emphasized the disdain with which Bolingbroke
represents his exile as a loss of social status, from potential prince to the
pauperdom of apprenticeship.7 But neither of these views is entirely
accurate. Apprenticeship with the premier companies could be a route of
achievement for sons of the gentle class, and if Bolingbroke is playing
the class card, it is a hand he lays down knowingly. This is the man who
will stoop low to the commoners (1.4.30), and this is the man whose
educative journey through the margins of his personal world not only
culminates in a ¬rmer identity or purpose (since he returns a journey-
man to greatness), but also paves a proleptic pathway for his errant son,
Hal. Moreover, it is a trade apparently fraudulently practised, as we ¬nd
out later when Hotspur complains that his father supported Bolingbroke
because he promised that his return from banishment was only for the
title of Lancaster and not for the crown (1 HIV 4.3.62“7).
The cunning Englishman understands that he must withdraw from his
native or proper circle to gather a re¬‚ective sense of the self, and to gain a
knowledge of home from peripheral perspectives. The personal wealth
gained from the alien experience fuses with common wealth won by a
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 89
rede¬nition of Englishness. The process of alien confusion can remain
close to home but requires some real foreign presence, in the shapes of
geographical, human, magical, or imaginatively formed bodies. It is
remarkable, then, that Bolingbroke as Henry IV, having taken his own
journey of alien confusion and amelioration, does not himself comprehend
the comparable activity in his son™s excursion out of courtly life and
language, for it is a process that seems inevitable “ if variously approached
and represented “ on the road to stable Englishness. Lisa Hopkins is right
to say that Henry™s angry tirade against his son™s crown-taking in 4.3 is ˜a
¬nal ironic testimony to Henry IV™s failure ever to understand his son . . .
for it is what Hal has been doing all along™. But she sees what Hal has been
doing as ˜veering . . . erratically™, whereas I argue that his incorporating of
the various ¬gures and experiences through his princely and into his kingly
life draws a map of alien confusion, coherent if complicated identity-
making on its way toward a profession of Englishness.8 My own use of
metaphors of mapping is not accidental, for we shall continue to see the
importance of local chorography and larger mappings to the de¬nition,
creation, and imposition of identity throughout this chapter. Moreover, as
Bernhard Klein™s analysis has it, there are three ˜conceptual stages™ of
mapping: measuring, visualization, and narration.9 Shakespeare™s histories
play out this tripartite scheme of empirical observation and delineation,
imagination and comprehension, and ¬nally explication and (always
biased) history-telling.
While it is true, as I have outlined above and other commentators note,
that ˜Bolingbroke cleverly makes his very exile an opportunity to proclaim
his Englishness™ and that ˜Bolingbroke™s usurpation is facilitated by
banishment™,10 Bolingbroke™s conceit of himself as the icon of Englishness
and ruler over Englishness does not begin with the fact of exile. In these
plays of alien incorporation imposed or voluntary excursions come into
(the) play as inevitable consequences of the desire to determine one™s own
identity and the identity of a community over which one rules. Whether
forced or voluntary exile, educational travel, merchandising journey, or
ambassadorial trip, the alien excursion supports and con¬rms rather than
instigates self-scrutiny, self-discovery, and the subsequent assertion of
Englishness. However, this doesn™t preclude the possibility of ¬nding
alien elements behind or prior to the Englishness the characters assume
they are investigating. Moreover, even the ˜involuntary™ journeys of exile
are given volition by the representations of the characters, who imagine
them as life-altering or realm-changing experiences. ˜Throughout this
scene™, observes Jane Kingsley-Smith, ˜Bolingbroke has denied the ef¬cacy
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
of imagination™ to temper physical suffering.11 But if this is what
Bolingbroke says, he is mistaken. Projections of imagined locations and
lives quintessentially comprise historical drama and understandings of
Englishness. We have just seen that More™s insistence on the English
imagining the self as alien alleviates the suffering of the immigrants and of
the city of London itself; very similar are the calls to imagination by
Henry V ™s Chorus.
The experience of theatre is in many ways one of non-experience, of
being presented with what is not there, what is lost and can only be retold
in metaphor, with ¬gures out of their time, and in language that is often
insuf¬cient. As a multimedia experience, however, the dramatic pro-
duction goes some way toward being what it represents “ a stage space for
a location, a few armed men for an army. But Henry V ™s Chorus still feels
the need to draw us into this realm of the ˜not-there™ with his consistent
calls for ˜imagination™. In the Chorus™ ¬ve speeches, he uses ˜imagine™,
˜imagined™, or ˜imaginary™ four times, and he calls for the playgoers to
˜see™ things in their ˜minds™ and ˜thoughts™ an additional eleven times.12
He makes further requests for imagination using different terms. The
words ˜imagin/e/ed/ary/ation™ appear nowhere else in the whole of the
play, indicating the determination of the main text to deny its own falsity.
The play proper insists on remaining within the ˜wooden O™, while the
Chorus raises the very problem of containment to tell us that we can only
˜[s]uppose™ (1 Pro. 19) such parameters, and that the theatre requires its
audience to imagine and invent the play outside of the theatre walls.13 To
emphasize this imagination is far from rehearsing a Romantic desire for a
˜pure™ Shakespeare that avoids the material contingency of the stage “ the
opposite in fact.14 It is to instate the very presence of the stage as a place of
wood and plaster, within the theatre, within London. But such English
embeddedness makes the call to imagination and the alien excursion all
the more alien and profound. Part of the dramatic weight of Bolingbroke
and Mowbray™s professions of losing status, language, and life lies in the
strikingly modern absurdist fact of them being banished from the stage-as-
life; they are in danger of entering the impossible ˜alternative world™ of Tom
Stoppard™s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and therefore of being ˜dead™.
The Chorus™ request a few lines later to ˜Into a thousand parts divide
one man™ (1 Pro. 24) asks the audience to imagine an army when they see
one soldier, and in doing so it calls for imagining another representation,
one that cannot be portrayed within the history or play currently being
presented. This kaleidoscopic division of ˜one thing entire to many
objects™ (RII 2.2.17) recalls the debate surrounding Queen Isabel™s
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 91
disturbed ˜soul™ and the insistence that true visions of alien presence come
from looking ˜awry™ and effectively writing another imagined plot outside
of the present story. King Henry V does similar rewriting by imagining
the Act 2 conspiracy metatheatrically, so that he can dismiss its problems
from the story of Henry V. Because the conspirators Scrope, Cambridge,
and Grey cannot be incorporated into Henry V ™s present notion of
honest, noble Englishness, Henry reimagines the situation as a morality
play in which ˜Treason and murder ever kept together, / As two yoke-devils
sworn to either™s purpose, / . . . / But thou, ™gainst all proportion, didst
bring in / Wonder to wait on treason and murder™ (2.2.102“3, 106“7). The
lords are already corrupted in the manner of the earlier drama™s unre-
formable characters. They are ˜English monsters™ fed with foreign money,
corrupted by the devilish and unknown, uncouth congruence of Wonder
with Treason and Murder. This imagined scene recasts the deformity of
Scrope and his accomplices in the mode of corrupted English vices such as
Nichol Newfangle in Like Will to Like and Courage in The Tide Tarrieth
No Man. It dismisses them to an earlier time, to another genre, and ¬nally
through execution to another world. But that very process of rejecting the
alien-corrupted individual characters is done to incorporate their story of
rejection “ and thus confuse their alien excursion “ into Henry V ™s central
story of the making of the English King.
My brief ˜excursion™ here through Henry V has been simply to dem-
onstrate the inevitability of the power of the imagination in drama to
work in two con¬‚icting ways. On the one hand the character who
imagines or re-tells a narrative displaces essentialist notions of characters
as existing in a ˜real™, immanent world; on the other hand the same
process of imaginative invention, of believing in the self and in the
existence of a storyline into the future, aligns characters™ activity with that
of the audience members. Thus ˜in the end™, Bolingbroke™s ˜freedom™ does
not at all deal with ten, or even six, years of physical exile. The journey is
real, but offstage, and his imagined return from imagined exile shortens
his banishment and brings him back to power to consolidate and con¬rm
an Englishness he has been accumulating all along. This accumulation is
all the more bound for success since it is aimed against a king who is
already failing: as Kingsley-Smith points out, banishment should be a tool
with which the monarch keeps the commonwealth healthy and
˜common™, but in the case of Richard ˜banishment becomes an expression
of ruthless solipsism™, making him ˜a kind of anathema to Englishness™.15
On the other side of the tilt stands Mowbray, and in direct contrast to
Bolingbroke, he has no labour to perform “ or at least it seems so. But his
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
present situation (the duel) has arrived at the point of silence when no
more can be uttered. When the language of argument or negotiation
reaches stalemate, action (usually military) begins. Hence the duel and
hence Mowbray™s end. If Mowbray™s tongue is unstrung, then he must
continue as a man of arms, silently cutting down the heathen, unheard of
at home until his own breath really does leave him. The Bishop of
Carlisle ¬nally speaks for him:
Many a time hath banished Norfolk fought
For Jesu Christ in glorious Christian ¬eld,
Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross
Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens;
And, toiled with the works of war, retired himself
To Italy, and there at Venice gave
His body to that pleasant country™s earth,
And his pure soul unto his captain, Christ,
Under whose colours he had fought so long. (4.1.83“91)

By this point in the play, the mislabelled ˜isle™ of England is God™s
equivocally generous and ¬ckle gift, in danger of mistaking its king and
favouring rebellion. Banished Mowbray has enacted Bolingbroke™s politic
and calculated ideological desire of con¬‚ating Englishness and godliness
in a version of an anachronistic desire to make exile ˜an abandoning of
worldly pleasure for the sake of eternal life™.16 If banishment from the
presence of the monarch is effectively banishment from the world,17 then
Mowbray shifts into spirituality with abandon; he has, after all, been
rejected by the god-instituted power for whom he has sinned, and he
seems to have no option but to ¬ght for the eventual saving of his own
soul. The new Henry IV™s gestures toward spirituality and pilgrimage will
appropriately evade him. His determination (imagination) that
˜Forthwith a power of English we shall levy, / Whose arms were moulded
in their mothers™ womb / To chase these pagans in those holy ¬elds™
(1.1.22“4), never happens, but Mowbray (whom the Bishop still refers to
by his title of Norfolk) ex-patriotically ¬ghts just like ˜a power of English™
with mother-moulded arms would be expected to.

˜god for harry! england and saint david!™:
essential welshness
Having set up the trope of the alien excursion and the related role of
imagination as representative of present and possible ˜reality™ in historical
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 93
drama, this chapter moves on to discuss the place of Wales and Welshness
in the ˜making™ of Englishness; in doing so, I am concerned to emphasize
that this road into Wales is not simply the one to Ireland half-travelled.
Christopher Highley™s important and rewarding 1997 book, Shakespeare,
Spenser, and the Crisis in Ireland, contains seminal readings of Ireland
through Wales (and France), against which I want to set up the place of
Wales in the current study. His argument is compelling in so far as the
alleged blood connection between Welsh Glyndwr and Irish Tyrone and
the presence of Welsh soldiers in reports of Tyrone™s armies set up a chain
reaction for recognizing the latter in the former™s behaviour.18 Indeed,
The Calendar of State Papers, Ireland reveals a belief in the Earl of
Tyrone™s descendancy from Owen Glyndwr, which, in addition to simi-
larities between the rebellions of Glyndwr and Tyrone, argues Highley,
˜prompts an interpretation of Glendower and his part in the Percy rebel-
lion as a displaced representation of Tyrone™s contemporaneous rebellion
in Ireland™.19 This, coupled with the rebellion™s organization and ideology,
he continues, ˜must have appeared uncannily similar to those of his
precursor Glendower some two centuries earlier™. Mortimer™s ˜going
native™ is also an echo of the same fear for Irish settlers.20 But for all its
historical pertinence, Highley™s methodology obliterates Wales, which
ends up merely as ˜a screen for obliquely registering and imaginatively
negotiating the current crisis in Ireland™; Wales provides a ˜veiled dispute
about Ireland™, because Shakespeare™s texts ˜invariably point through Wales
to Ireland™, thus Wales ˜offer[ed] writers an expedient means of obliquely
engaging the subject of Ireland™. Moreover, Shakespeare and Peele ˜both
use past Anglo-Welsh con¬‚ict as a screen onto which misgivings, anxieties,
and fantasies about the English presence in Ireland are projected and
interrogated™, thus the Welsh con¬‚ict is a ˜displaced representation™ of
contemporary events in Ireland.21
While the connection by supposed descent between Glyndwr in
fourteenth-century Wales and Tyrone in sixteenth-century Ireland is one
example of reading Ireland in Wales that seems essential and useful both
for a reading of Ireland and for a reading of Wales, Highley reads all
elements “ historical and dramatic “ of the character of Glyndwr as not
really about the Welshman, but about Tyrone. Thus the ambivalent
introductions to him before we see him are like the competing reports of
Tyrone (but it is also, of course, just good dramatic suspense for the
Welsh warrior-magician ¬gure); Glyndwr™s English court training means
that an audience ˜could have recalled™ the contemporary (and arguable)
belief that Tyrone spent time cultivating himself in England (but it is
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
also, as we shall see below, an essential part of Glyndwr™s verbal battle “ as
Welshman “ with Hotspur). Highley™s sequence of positive comparisons is
then complemented by contrasts between Glyndwr and Tyrone that are
there ˜to disarm the threat of the rebellious Celtic chieftain and of the
Earl of Tyrone in particular™; for example, the representation of effem-
inacy in Glyndwr ˜helps to manage the pervasive English recognition of
Tyrone™s enviable toughness and virility™. Thus in Highley™s analysis,
similarities and differences both point through to Tyrone in equal
measure. And in a third relational position between Glyndwr and
Tyrone, the former does not simply remind the audience of the latter, but
creates a future for him, thus Glyndwr™s absence from the battle at
Shrewsbury as a result of his prophecies ˜predict[s] the failure™ of the cause
of the allegedly equally superstitious Irish.22 In such a critical environ-
ment, Wales as Wales is lost.
Philip Jenkins similarly positions Wales not as the closest British
neighbour to England in its own right, but as a half-way region between
the catastrophe that was the Irish colonization and the success of limited
independence and identity that was the Scottish experience.23 It does not
seem politically appropriate, and it does not seem from a literary-his-
torical standpoint fully possible, to recover Ireland at the expense of
Wales, or to use Wales as the palimpsest upon which a new under-
standing of Ireland gets written. To do so further entails the danger of
concretizing the 1536 Act of ˜Anglicization™ of Wales. While it might be
dif¬cult or impossible to recover an authentic and wholly unironic Welsh
voice through the play of an early modern English writer, the history of
Welsh national pride (to which I will return in a moment) suggests that
we can read Welsh resistances in English texts. Sensitivity to this possi-
bility will at least make sure that we do not read Wales practically and
politically as solely a region of England without independent character
(and independent characters).
The second tetralogy™s texts talk more about English working-out and
manipulation of their own identity through Wales and the north than
they do about Ireland, especially after Richard II. Ireland is a powerful
buzz-word that hints at the play™s future, and of course that future is the
resonant present for late-Elizabethan playgoers. However, the plays
themselves work at the level of a combined British fusion with English-
ness, which insists that we balance the prioritization of the Irish experi-
ence in the drama with the fact that ˜Welshness and its concerns throb
with no less powerful, if occluded pulse in the vasty deep of these plays™.24
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 95
We might pause to compare this powerful presence of Wales as the
important alien with what we saw working in the morality plays: that the
obvious aliens marked as either dangerous or uncivilized ˜others™ were
touchstones for understanding the confused, embodied alien ˜closer to
home™. Closer in geographical and ethno-cultural terms, the alienated
˜English™ characters of the moralities parallel the Welsh (and idea of
Welshness) in the histories. To illustrate the tetralogy™s determination to
have Wales itself in¬‚uence and even enact the creation and loss of English
identity, we need to read closely in these plays, and in the process redress
the critical balance in favour of a Welshness that the plays foreground. All
the readings that ˜use™ Wales to read Ireland are useful to an examination
of the British question, but they are seeing some corrective measures in
the recent work of Lisa Hopkins, Terence Hawkes, Philip Schwyzer, and
others; these latter scholars are shifting the focus back to Wales as a place
for consideration in more depth and on its own terms.
None of this is to deny the appropriate primacy of Ireland as the
prevailing ˜British™ and ˜colonial™ touchstone, especially in the 1590s and
early Jacobean period, and especially with re-readings of Spenser and the
casting of Ireland as itself a staging ground and dramatic perspective glass
for visions of New World expansion. Bringing Scotland and Wales back
into the mix, however, is useful to a study of the overarching manner of
colonial geographical incorporation, as England attempts to woo the
lowland Scots and makes ˜internal colonies™ out of the western reaches of
Britain. The ˜Welsh problem™ within the ˜British question™ necessarily
involves Mark Netzloff™s concerns in discussing ˜internal colonialism™, the
deliberate separation and oppression of a segment of the domestic
population for the purpose of perpetuating a hegemony. The of¬cial
status of Wales as part of England ˜undermines the typical association of
colonialism with geographic and cultural distance™ and ˜blurs the
boundaries imposed between seemingly domestic interests and foreign
relations™.25 Thus Glyndwr is introduced ˜as an external menace to the
nation . . . But when he appears in person, it is as a kind of troublesome
insider™.26 Similarly, ˜justi¬cation of the conquest [of Ireland] meant that
Ireland had also to be rede¬ned as a recalcitrant part of the nation, an
errant province to be “subdued” rather than a foreign land to be sub-
jugated™, and to that end, Michael Neill reminds us, 33 Henry VIII
nominated Henry ˜King™ of Ireland, instead of ˜Lord™.27 This is a
necessary process for the confusion of the racially different British aliens
into the ruling identity of a supposedly singular Englishness. We can see
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
how this process works as a kind of (semi-understood) training ground
for later global imperialism and, even at this stage in English history, it is
hard to dismiss the idea of empire. As Willy Maley puts it:
The subordination of the non-English nations of the emerging British state is
posited as an essential prerequisite of Empire rather than an act of Empire in
itself. The British Empire is ¬rst and foremost the British state . . . England is
substituted for the British state, and the Empire is exoticised, oriented elsewhere,
made foreign, represented as being otherwise occupied than with, say, Ireland, or
Scotland, or Wales. The use of ˜Empire™ to mean extra-British activity overlooks
the imperialism implicit in Britishness itself.28

The reason for the success of this process of the English cooption of
Britishness without giving it its name lies in the convenience of being
unable to locate originary Englishness. Philip Schwyzer reminds us that
˜Of the three virtues which Tudor writers cherished most highly in their
nation “ insularity, antiquity, imperiality “ not one was properly English.
For the sense of national belonging that found expression in Tudor
England, there is no term readily available but Britishness™ (original italics).29

welshness in richard ii: english and/or alien
From the start of 2.4, Richard II ™s ¬rst scene in Wales, communal identity “
and in particular the understanding of the relation of English and Welsh
identity “ is made equivocal by the language of self-representation. The
Welsh Captain uses the ¬rst-person plural pronoun three times and the
¬rst-person plural possessive once in the scene™s opening four lines:
My lord of Salisbury, we have stayed ten days,
And hardly kept our countrymen together,
And yet we hear no tidings from the King.
Therefore we will disperse ourselves. Farewell. (2.4.1“4, my emphasis)

Perhaps because we as readers imagine a ˜coalition force™ of two armies
¬ghting side-by-side rather than integrated (a notion that has altered by
Henry V ), our immediate reading of the ¬rst two lines™ ˜we™ and ˜our™ is
probably limited to the Welshmen (the ˜our™ referring to several Welsh
of¬cers). But this perception is instantly overwritten by the simple fact
that the Welshman is addressing an Englishman, using the ¬rst-person
plural to him, and describing their mutual experience: they have both
waited ten days and they have had trouble keeping the English and the
Welsh together “ ˜our [respective] countrymen™. By the third line, ˜we™
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 97
hear no tidings seems to refer to the Welsh, as the line is setting up their
reasons for withdrawal, but once again it must include Salisbury, who has
not heard anything either. Only by the fourth line is there a de¬nitive
split as the Welsh Captain follows the determination to disperse with
˜Farewell™. But this is not the end of the confusion of national identity or
numbers of soldiers present and absent. ˜We will not stay™, says the Welsh
Captain at line 7, and, after listing the evil omens in ˜our country™,
con¬rms that ˜Our countrymen are gone and ¬‚ed, / As well assured
Richard their king is dead™ (16“17). If the Welsh Captain is not talking to
Salisbury about a joint Welsh“English force of ˜our countrymen™, then he
must be referring to the Welsh leaders when he says ˜We will not stay™, for
the rank and ¬le soldiers have apparently already deserted. How we read
the appeal from Salisbury, then, ˜Stay yet another day, thou trusty
Welshman™ (line 5), depends on whether he knows that the larger part of
the Welsh army have already left; if so, he is asking for the Welsh leaders
to show solidarity even without a signi¬cant Welsh force; either way, the
Welsh Captain™s speech is not a negotiation or reasoning for his own
order to withdraw but rather a bush-beating approach to telling Salisbury
what has already happened. Welshness is draining out of the ˜British™
vessel that Richard thinks he holds, but it is impossible to comprehend
this Welsh diminution without the concomitant English reduction.
The story of the retreating Welsh troops con¬rms the dependence of
Englishness upon Welshness within its identity of power.
This fusion, confusion, and breaching of Welsh and English identity
dwells on the frustration of an idea of Englishness that is still trying to
incorporate a British whole on the mainland, one that wants to explain
(away) Gaunt™s claim that England is an island, but one that constantly
¬nds itself up against the ˜walls™ of the marches (as Canterbury calls them
in Henry V ), the barriers of belief, language, historical loyalty, power, and
˜race™. The historical drama is working through residual resistance to alien
incorporation into English identity by emphasizing the effects of border
de¬nition and transgression. From the defensive English point of view,
the marches should provide a safety buffer between England and its
restless neighbours, but such ˜walls™ also raise an obstacle to effective
incorporation. Indeed, these ˜walls™ are everywhere, which stand between
imagined national incorporation or painless comprehension of identity
and the achievement of those mythical histories and dif¬cult or impos-
sible prophecies. We perhaps should not make too much of the fact that
˜Wales™ was frequently spelt ˜Wallia™ or ˜Walles™ in early modern texts
(and probably pronounced as a soft two-syllable word), but we might just
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
use it as a step to recall the fact that walls were commonly imagined in
Shakespeare and elsewhere as physical, psychological, and magical
markers, enclosures, and protectors of personal, racial, and national
identity as much as they were constructions of mud, brick, or stone. For
Gaunt, ˜the silver sea, / . . . serves [˜England™] in the of¬ce of a wall™
(2.1.46“7) before he corrects himself, ˜Or as a moat defensive™ (48); for
Richard, in 3.2, ¬‚esh ˜walls about our life™ (163) and unlike ˜brass
impregnable™ (166), the necromantic fantasy of Robert Greene™s Friar
Bacon (and Dr Faustus in Germany), it cannot withstand the ˜little pin™
that ˜Bores through his castle wall™ (165“6); and Canterbury™s assurance is
that ˜They of the marches, gracious sovereign, / Shall be a wall suf¬cient
to defend / Our inland from the pilfering borderers™ (HV 1.2.140“2). This
latter notion of a human wall against attack is reprised in the one instance
we have in the second tetralogy of the word ˜wall™ actually used to mean a
literal wall (HV 3.1.2), but even here Henry imagines the wall of the castle
of Har¬‚eur as a gap plugged with corpses, and, as Andrew Gurr points
out, the ˜Once more™ tells us that previous attacks have failed, and the
breach is presumably already at least partially ¬lled with the English
dead.30 Walls in the second tetralogy do not just enclose local spaces; they
delimit lived experience, hold one in servitude to one™s own subject
identity and the fate that follows from that social positioning; they
highlight the inside from the outside, the blessed from the cursed, the
˜here™ from the ˜there™, the cultured from the barbarian. And they do so
by the insistence that ˜walls™ to Wales, to France, and to any enlargement
of English ˜imperial™ identity must be looked at, encountered, crossed
over, and even embodied like the wall at Har¬‚eur, like the Anglo-Welsh
fusion of Mortimer and Glyndwr™s daughter, like the fraught negotiations
over the rebels™ map in 1 Henry IV, or like the union of Henry V and
Katherine. Such breaching of boundaries does not necessarily take us
toward Ireland or expansion into newer worlds, for the plays insist on the
notion of returning to England time and again. Characters in Richard II,
Henry IV, and Henry V stretch or cross the boundaries of their country to
enable a physical, psychological, and political re-placement in England as
a process to locate a foundational meaning for Britain-based Englishness.
When Richard lands on the coast of Wales in 3.2, he enforces its
difference from ˜antipode[an]™ Ireland, the distant place of potential
death, by calling it home. This may be his wishful thinking “ as Maley
argues all claims of uni¬ed Britishness are in this period31 “ but it is
designed to emphasize the fantasy of a peculiarly Welsh-based Britishness,
one that the English would like to assume is somehow obvious, unstated,
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 99
at least since Henry VIII™s annexation of Wales and English law extension
Acts of 1536 and 1543. Richard™s sense of alienation by asking for con-
¬rmation that he is at Harlech Castle is balanced by his insistence that
this odd place is ˜my kingdom™ (3.2.5), and he lays claim to a pathetic
recognition by, and reciprocal relationship with, this land upon which he
Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords.
This earth shall have a feeling, and these stones
Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king
Shall falter under foul rebellion™s arms. (3.2.23“6)

Titus™ comparable intercourse with the stones of Rome (Tit 3.1) has him
unequivocally within the walls of his native city, but things are not so
clear for Richard, in spite of his claim to be the Welsh/British earth™s
˜native king™. In order for the land he is touching to be ˜mother™ earth
with a ˜feeling™ for Richard, he must have come from that land in the ¬rst
place.32 But birthright is a sticky point in each Henry play of the second
tetralogy, and it is exactly the question raised by Gaunt about Richard in
the play Thomas of Woodstock:
His native country, why that is France my lords;
At Bordeaux was he born, which place allures
And ties his deep affections still to France.
Richard is English blood, not English born.33

Whether Richard is native English or not, his language is still at odds with
Welsh. The text™s pun on ˜senselessness™ (the nonsensical appeal and the
inanimate ground) is enriched, therefore, by the suggestion that he
cannot be heard in the west of Wales. Richard™s scrambling for authority
is undermined by the connections between the rule of language, the rule
of law, and the matter of ˜race™ that Paula Blank articulates in her study,
Broken English;34 his statements should be unequivocal, performative, and
universally ˜felt™, but as a man doubly alienated (by birth and language)
from the land he is currently standing or kneeling on, he wields very little
English state power.
Moreover, if Richard at this moment is kneeling to his kingdom, such
a gesture enacts Jacqueline Vanhoutte™s note that Gaunt™s ˜sceptered isle™
speech ˜imparts sovereignty to the land™ rather than the king himself.35
The lands of Britain have a power to rule over and determine those who
are trying to contain them. From Richard™s claim of nativity to the 1
Henry IV rebels™ battle over river borders, knowledgeable mapping and
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
coverage of the land are essential elements for successful advancement. So
Wales is an unfamiliar, adopted place for Richard, whether we consider
him a Frenchman or an Englishman. In spite of the strangeness of this
land, the king persists with Welsh“English con¬‚ation, for he laments that
˜rebels wound thee with their horses™ hoofs™ when the rebels have not yet
entered Wales. In one sense, however, Richard is unwittingly close to the
truth in his unionizing of a British England, for if the Welsh have
evacuated Wales and gone to the rebels, then what is Wales but his own
empty, surrounded retreat? A confused alien“English balance is struck
again, for what is the difference between the state of ˜Britishness™ of a
group of monarchists (with a French-born king) in Wales and a group of
Welshmen and provincial rebels in England?
The confusion of Welsh and English, Wales and England, king and
rebels continues with a paradoxical representation here of the rebellion
not as fracturing, but as a uniting force. When Richard complains later in
the scene that the rebels are ˜measur[ing] our con¬nes with such peaceful
steps™ (3.2.121), we are faced with an utterance that has multiple meanings
bearing upon a consideration of identity and place. The enemy™s meas-
urement is chorographic work, mapping in particular the borderlands,
their distances and topographical nature; to measure is to moderate,
regulate, limit, restrict, assess, and weigh “ all tasks of the crown™s
administration, and parts of a royal progress™ work of national security. To
measure the con¬nes, then “ con¬nes meaning not just ˜Boundaries . . .
frontiers, [and] borders™ but also ˜the inhabitants of adjacent regions,
neighbours™, be they friends or ˜Walha™ (strangers, foreigners “ the source
word for ˜Wales™) “ is already in some way to usurp the authority and the
privileged knowledge of the king, to beat the bounds and claim precedence
over the area covered.
The rebels™ geographical usurpation or ˜ur-offensive™ (a real threat
empowered even more by Richard™s rhetorical exposition and legitim-
ation of its danger) is highlighted, moreover, by Richard™s sense that they
are measuring ˜our™ con¬nes, at once the con¬nes of the realm of
˜England™, the con¬nes speci¬cally of Wales, and “ with the royal ˜we™ “
the con¬nes of Richard™s personal world. Richard is clearly penned in
with overdetermination. His own belief in and reliance on the divine
protection of kings keeps him held within himself, the rebels in the
marches and major English border towns keep him in Wales, his own
lamentable resignation takes him from Harlech to Flint Castle, and from
that point forth the king experiences physical and psychological con-
¬nement into smaller and smaller spaces of his kingdom of ˜Britain™. Even
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 101
the ˜peaceful steps™ of the line are ominously ambivalent. This peace is the
calm before the storm, a peace that seems to ¬‚ow one way, toward the
rebels who are given peace to travel but are preparing for war. At the same
time “ like that British King Lear in his hovel and his touchingly ˜British/
Welsh™ transference from ˜peace™ to ˜piece of toasted cheese™ (4.6.88“9) “
we hear the word ˜piece-ful™. Thus the play radically has Richard
describing the rebels™ steps as (1) preparing to put the tyrannous rule to
peaceful rest, and (2) ˜piecing™ the nation back together. Before the
Richard“Bolingbroke face-off in 3.3, the abdication in 4.1, or the murder
in 5.5, the play sets up the paradox of internal strife as mender of
England™s identity, and arbitrator of negotiation among its neighbour
countries. Bolingbroke is consistently identi¬ed as an alien body at once
attacking the host but also pushing it toward a singular, fused, stable
Englishness that Henry V will endeavour to con¬rm as he ¬gures Anglo-
Welsh identity.
Power, then, relates closely to the command of land and space, areas
available for enclosure, breaching, excursion, and returning to; and the
map becomes a centrally important, but in the end contestatory and
impotent, tool for representing that human power of possession. In its
widespread metaphorical uses, such as to ˜map™ the face of Richard II or
visages in the sonnets, ˜mapping™ is represented as failing to provide
satisfactory delineation of present states of affairs.36 The ˜real™ map does
not work much better: for all the mapping and heated negotiation of the
rebels, we should remind ourselves that the Trent is never turned, for the
map delineates what might be after all, not what is. The map shows what
the rebels lack. It is the frustrating nature of maps, like any text (and, as
I mentioned before, like the theatre itself ), to ¬gure the absent. As the
performatives of banishment uttered by King Richard prompted
Bolingbroke and Mowbray™s imagined future lives, so the map indicates
the existence of a reorganized space brought into being only by a desire for
it from speci¬c perspectives. Such a problem had already been dramatically
presented by Marlowe. In Tamburlaine, Part 1, Tamburlaine wants to
redraw the tripartite T in O maps of the world to install a new, missing,
fourth region with places called ˜Tamburlaine™ and ˜Zenocrate™; and in Part 2
he strives toward alien territory, pursuing the (arguable, hollow) identity-
building journey of cunning, material power, and ideology until death.37
Mowbray ¬ghts to the death in these foreign ¬elds, which are both
better charted and less known by the Elizabethan period “ more inscribed
into textual and political history and less acknowledged as the direction
for religious concentration. Henry IV sketches the path to Jerusalem with
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
the aim of simultaneously erasing the problematic lines of his own claims
to the Western region of Christendom, England, and Britain, and he too
pursues an idea of this mapped relation to take up the place of his English
˜Jerusalem™ at death. And Richard, in between these ¬gures, attempts to
exaggerate and de¬ne distances between outlying Britain (Ireland, ˜the
Antipodes™) and the western mainland (Wales, ˜my kingdom™, with the
Welsh who consider him ˜their king™) so that he can claim ownership of
something Anglo-British and reject alien (albeit English) rebellion.
However, the present facts ˜on the ground™ resist his delineations and
reveal the absences, lack, spaces in the grand argument of spatial pos-
session. His nationalistic isolation, perpetrated under the name of
divinity, is always invaded by the alien, from the returning usurper to the
˜little pin™ of Death. And that alien “ divided as it is in Richard II into an
anti-English king and anti-monarchic Englishman “ is not a new ¬gure,
but a pervasive domestic one, a parasite like an antithetical mirror to a
¬gure like Death, who has always been sitting there, some neglected and
forgotten shadow of otherness within the self, waiting to be discovered
and to react. It is brought into the light (as we see in the case of Queen
Isabel in 2.2) through the ˜perspectives™ gained by looking awry, to one
side as one moves through the world, as one travels out of one™s immediate
and familiar circle.

henry iv: absorbing the british alien
By 1 Henry IV the inter- and intra-national Anglo-Welsh ˜conversation™ is
staged so much more overtly as a ˜British question™ pertaining to the late
sixteenth century. David Armitage reminds us that the ¬rst phase of
empire “ the expansion of ˜England™ into Celtic borderlands “ remains an
Anglo-British phenomenon. Armitage points out that concepts of and
language for ˜Britishness™ and ˜empire™ were available to sixteenth-century
writers, thinkers, and policy-makers, but their combination “ a ˜British
empire™ conceived as a consolidated force with the means to conquer
outside of the Atlantic archipelago “ would only be realized by the late
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.38 This placement of English
understanding of Britishness and empire in a position of grasping the
elements but not the larger (global) implications of their fusion articulates
other scholars™ senses of the history plays as historical documents of
political awareness; thus Matthew Green¬eld writes ˜Shakespeare wrote
the second play of the tetralogy, I suggest, at a moment when it was still
possible to imagine a history that did not move teleologically toward the
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 103
development of the modern nation state “ or toward his own Henry V ™.39
I would say that even Henry V, caught as it is in the dramatically
imaginative limbo between the early-¬fteenth and late-sixteenth centuries
of setting and staging, can only gesture towards British unity and in the
end still relentlessly Anglicizes the expansion of England into the larger
˜empire™ that includes British lands and northern France.
In line with Armitage™s sense of English priority, I want to suggest at
the same time that there is in fact no other point of view available to the
Elizabethan English writer. Andrew Had¬eld and Willy Maley write that
˜an expanding territorial “Englishness” went hand in hand with a con-
tracting cultural notion of “Englishness”™, and I am suggesting that the
contracting cultural notion of Englishness is the catalyst for the
Elizabethan English idea of Britishness.40 The cooption of alien space
involves con¬rming but con¬ning the English subject™s distinct identity.
As Englishness ventures further and further a¬eld into ˜Britain™, alien
confusion binds and restricts it, revealing how little foundation the concept
of ˜Englishness™ really has. At the same time, such delimitation of English
identity necessitates opening it up to a cosmopolitan comprehension of
others. This incorporation of the alien into Englishness to expand its
asserted legitimacy in non-English territory creates the English sense of
Britishness. Looked at another way, Britishness is always placed within
Englishness in the Anglo-centric legacy. The process of alien confusion in
the expression of ˜Englishness™ across geographical and conceptual space,
then, is at once English-isolationist and British-expansionist.
Englishness in Tudor England requires a route into and through Wales “
geographically, in the case of Henry Tudor, who arrived through
Milford Haven and marched toward Bosworth Field in 1485; concep-
tually, through ideological narratives of British origins, or in the case of
Fluellen™s half-baked claim for Henry™s blood-line and their discussion of
leek-wearing. So, when Henry V calls to his many-˜nationed™ soldiers in
terminology that according to Janette Dillon relentlessly ˜erase[s] this
difference under the banner of a uniting Englishness™,41 while there is no
doubt that the marginal British are being pulled toward the English
centre, that Englishness is already suffused with the margin that is Wales.
And an Englishness that is suffused with Welshness, guided by Roman
culture, stocked by Norman bastardy, and populated by northern
households and Continental spouses cannot help but be careful and
con¬‚icted when it comes face to face with non-Englishness with which it
has to negotiate difference, continuity, and superiority. ˜Englishness™
needs to pull away from Britishness in its rhetoric even as it incorporates
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
Britishness in practice; thus, in contrast to Dillon, Claire McEachern
argues that ˜Henry punctiliously insists on differences among his “dear
friends”™ in his speeches to the soldiers (3.1) and listing of the dead. ˜The
play is as vigilant in limiting the scope of common feeling as it is in
encouraging it.™42 These two views are not entirely contradictory in the
context of the plays. MacMorris objects to the distinction of his ˜nation™,
suggesting a desire for communality, while the friction between the
British captains arguably demonstrates that ˜the notion that the Welsh,
the English, and the Scots were racially homogenous found almost no
supporters at the time™.43 Similarly, Henry V™s rallying cries at 3.1 and 4.3
purport to recognize common identity only to insist at the same time on
residual difference through the Anglicizing of the British army.
For the rest of this study of Englishness in 1 Henry IV, I want to set this
bifurcated Englishness on the edge of ˜England™. Englishness is an
ideology in Louis Althusser™s de¬nition, a fact of life with material reality
not because it has a good foundation in existential ˜truth™, but because it
is socially and politically effective. This ideology of Englishness hovers
simultaneously over the far west of a medieval ˜Britain™ and over the new
borders of a sixteenth-century Welsh province. So how is the English“
Welsh border “ whether physically present or imagined by the antag-
onistic allies of the rebellion “ ˜played out™ in this English Britain of the
second tetralogy? Wales can be read as a fairy or dream land of effem-
inacy, and Glyndwr as its feminized representative: he is, after all, the sole
parent, magus-like father (and mother) who pre¬gures Prospero in sug-
gestive ways, as he brings up a female child into education but also into a
certain ˜silence™ and (pre)determination. There is, however, a residual
resistance in Welshness. The Welsh language of Glyndwr™s daughter
keeps the English audience at bay, and Glyndwr™s military history against
the English is hardly an ˜effeminate™ one.44 Highley notes, moreover, that
there was a concomitant fear of the wild and manly Celt, and ˜if the
“uncivilized” connoted vitality and “hardness”, the “civilized” could
suggest an undesirable passivity and “softness”, the very qualities that
Hotspur rails against in the foppish messenger sent by the king to
demand his prisoners™.45 But Hotspur™s own loss of manly control is an
ironic response to such a fear. By disturbing Glyndwr™s delicate temper,
˜Hotspur urges Glendower to play the role of the Welshman.™46 The
hyperbole of the Welsh ¬gure, though, seems to be at least partly self-
conscious acting, for Glyndwr is the one who acquiesces to the turning of
the Trent, compromising his apparent steadfastness for the sake of the
rebel coalition. Glyndwr here takes on the role of the typical angry
Incorporating the alien in Shakespeare™ s second tetralogy 105
patriarch, and Hotspur is the petulant, daughter-like railer whose own
father, Worcester, has to calm him/her down. Mortimer is effeminized by
Welsh Kate and Hotspur is effeminized by his passions. If Hotspur
should be manly, we see the breakdown of such identity as he displays
an uncommon affection for his brother-in-law, Mortimer, and his
Coriolanus-like ˜mouthed wounds™ (1.3.96); neither, as we have seen, can
he hold his tongue, revealing his ˜woman™s mood™ (1.3.235), which leads
Worcester to cast him in a mould that recalls Richard II™s queen™s
feminine instinct: ˜He apprehends a world of ¬gures here, / But not the
form of what he should attend™ (1.3.207“8). Hotspur is at once feminized
and confused with the Welshman whose imaginations he has been
This joint gendering and international aligning of the scene is set up
earlier in the play when, in declaiming Mortimer, the king refers to ˜that
great magician, damned Glyndwr™ (1 HIV 1.3.82). The king™s suggested
belief in the Welshman™s magic is in contrast to Hotspur™s disdainful
dismissal, and it allows Henry to elaborate on the revolting seduction of
Mortimer at the hands of Glyndwr™s daughter. Glanmor Williams ¬nds
that ˜[T]here remained a vast area of Welsh life, not con¬ned by any
means to the illiterate, in which older beliefs in superstition, magic,
witchcraft, and supernatural forces of every kind continued to ¬‚ourish,
with scarcely diminished currency, well into the eighteenth and nine-
teenth centuries.™47 It seems that the playgoers would have easily believed
in the Welsh wizard™s power to seduce English victims, a power fre-
quently associated with feminine seduction of nationally de¬ned males:
Spenser™s Acrasia in the Bower of Bliss, the ¬gure of Circe, or the mer-
maids calling for Odysseus. When Henry rejects the idea of ransoming
Mortimer with the cry, ˜No, on the barren mountains let him starve™
(1.3.88), he unwittingly prophesies the death of Glyndwr himself, thus
aligning the ˜revolted Mortimer™ who has ˜turned Welsh™ with the wild
Welshman his father-in-law. While that line seems fairly clearly to refer to
Mortimer, the grammar of the following lines makes the pleader of
ransom (i.e. Hotspur) the subject of the speech: ˜For I shall never hold
that man my friend / Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost / To
ransom home revolted Mortimer “™ (1.3.89“91). According to Henry™s
logic, all these rebels are drawn into Glyndwr™s magical circle, which lies
on the other side of a line ˜between “law” and “lore”™ that Terence
Hawkes claims we see in this English“Welsh face-off.48
With all the confusion and overlapping of identities suggested here, we
might expect the signi¬cance of any border between England and Wales
Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
to fade in 3.1 “ especially since we have a British coalition regionally
de¬ned against the south-east. But instead the border is maintained: we
get the comic sense that Glyndwr and Hotspur are arguing with each
other across an invisible but palpable Welsh“English line, Mortimer and
Kate are draped together and lying across it, and Worcester jumps back
and forth in a sort of arbitrating, peace-keeping jig. In fact, the com-
bination of ¬ery male blood; pouting, female passion; and ¬‚apping
tongues forces us to have suspended in front of us the double notion of a
border that cannot be erased and a pressing desire to violate that line of
difference. As Hawkes points out, the ˜Act of Union™ to incorporate
Wales as a principality into ˜England™ is at once a metaphor and a
statement of national and sexual signi¬cance.49 And we are not off the
mark in reminding ourselves of the ¬‚uidity of the joining of the two
bodies of England and Wales, from the Severn River to the tears of
Glyndwr™s daughter. Patricia Parker, for one, provides an extended
reading of the uncontainability, incontinence, and dangerous openings of
Wales and the world of Henry V that would threaten male Englishness,
and Lisa Hopkins™ essay ˜Fluellen™s Name™ examines in some detail
the inescapable sexual incontinence and hereditary untrustworthiness of
the historical women represented throughout the tetralogy.50 This is a
coupling that brings together men at the border in war continually


. 3
( 6)