chapter  13
Plotting, ambiguity, and community in the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher
ByBeaumont and Fletcher LUCY MUNRO
Pages 20

I Introduction The long afterlife of the theatrical collaboration of Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher includes a joke featured in a 1667 jest-book, Poor Robin’s Jests:

MR. Beaumont and Mr. Fletcher those Gemini of Wit and Learning, being about to make the Play called, The Maids Tragedy: whiles it was yet in the Embryo, they being walking in the fields contriving their design, of which one part was concerning murdering a King, one saying he would have him stabb’d, the other poysoned; A Country fellow who undiscerned heard their discourse, concluding it no less then high Treason that they were about, followed them to the next Town, and observing the Tavern whither they went to drink, hyed him to the Constable, who taking a strong Guard along with him, apprehended the two Gentlemen; but being had before a Justice of the Peace, they making the truth of the matter appear, were soon dismist; when returning to the Tavern, they had great store of mirth to see their Tragedy to have such a Comical beginning.1