William Haughton

In 1662 Grim the Collier of Croydon; or, The Devil and his Dame: with The Devil and Saint Dunston was published as by "J.T." The play's latest editor, William M. Baillie, argues that the initials are spurious and were supplied by a publisher ignorant of the true author (A Choice Ternary of English Plays, Binghamton, NY (1984), pp. 10-11, 173-80).

Grim has been identified with the play for which Philip Henlsowe on 6 May 1600 paid "wm harton" (i.e. Haughton), "which he would call The Devil and his Dame" (Henlsowe's Diary, f.69). This form of the title is confirmed by St. Dunston's invitation at V.ii.125-26 to the audience to "judge if we deserve to name/ This play of ours, The Devil and his Dame."

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


Only mentioned. Castiliano, who is being cuckolded, has a picture in his gallery of horned Actaeon with Diana.


A "ghost character." Adelstane (i.e. Athelstan, king of England c. 924-40) was the first of "Seven great Kings" under whom Saint Dunston "flourished." Dunston says "malicious tongues" reported that he (Dunston) defiled Adelstane's niece Elfleda. But Haughton seems to have confused Holinshed's mention of Dunston's youthful lust with the story of King Edgar's niece, the nun Elfleda.


Aeacus is in classical mythology one of the judges of the Greek underworld. Here he is a devil, one of the judges of Hell, and with Pluto, Minos and Rhadamantus sits in judgement on the ghost of Malbecco.


Akercock is Belphagor's servant-devil in Hell, so when Belphagor is sent to earth as the Spanish doctor Castiliano, he takes Akercock with him as his manservant, Robin. As Robin, Akercock provides humorous asides on the action, and has several run-ins with Castiliano's shrewish wife Mariana. After Robin almost discovers Mariana hosting an adulterous tryst, she beats him so hard he decides to run away. He assumes the traditional attributes of Robin Goodfellow–a leather jerkin, a russet face, and a flail–and decides to intervene in the rivalry between Clack the Miller and Grim the Collier for the love of the virtuous country maid Joan. He invisibly beats Clack and the devious Parson Short-hose so that Grim (with whom he feels a kinship) wins the maid. After sharing a "mess of cream" with Grim and Joan, he follows his master back to Hell, becoming Akercock once again.


Only mentioned. Honorea is compared in beauty to Alcmena, whom Jupiter loved.


Only mentioned. Amphytrio was the husband of Alcmena, who was beloved of Jupiter; so Jupiter came to Alcmena's bed in Amphytrio's shape. Honorea is compared in beauty to Alcmena; and although no specific connection is made, Jupiter's shape-shifting is reminiscent of Belphagor's guise as Castiliano, and the "extra" devil's disguise as Musgrave.


Only mentioned. When Castiliano comes upon his wife Mariana trysting with her lover Captain Clinton, he sarcastically suggests that she too has become a soldier, and compares her to Bellona, the Roman goddess of war.


Belphagor is the Devil of the play's title. Because he is "patient, mild, and pitiful," is chosen by Pluto, King of Hell, to go to earth for a year and a day and marry, in order to verify Malbecco's claim that human women can be so wicked as to drive one to suicide. He assumes the person of one Castiliano, a Spanish doctor and, taking his devilish servant Akercock as his human manservant Robin, arrives in England where, in a contest with St. Dunston, he cures the muteness of Honorea, daughter of Morgan Earl of London. Belphagor chooses Honorea as his wife, but Morgan has promised her to Lacy Earl of Kent, and she herself is in love with Musgrave, a young gentleman. After a "bed-trick" Belphagor finds himself married to Mariana, Honorea's waiting-maid. He decides to make the best of it, but his wife is shrewish, devious and adulterous. After urging Castiliano to poison Earl Lacy (he substitutes a sleeping potion), Mariana plots to murder her husband both by poison and by inciting her lover, Captain Clinton, to ambush him. As Castiliano is dying from the poison, the year and a day expire, and to the amazement of the onlookers, the earth opens and he disappears, returning to hell. Belphagor reports to the judges of Hell that, although not all women are wicked, his own wife was horrible enough to lend credence to Malbecco's story. As a result of Mariana's adultery, Belphagor now sports a pair of cuckold's horns, and to ease his embarrassment Pluto decrees that hereafter all devils must wear horns.


A disguise. Castiliano, a Spanish doctor, is the devil Belphagor's human persona. Except for his appearances at the sessions of Hell, Belphagor spends all of his time in this shape. See BELPHAGOR.


A "ghost character." Cinifred was the mother of Saint Dunston.


Clack the Miller is the rival of Grim the Collier for the love of Joan the virtuous country maid. Clack conspires with the shifty Parson Short-hose to win Joan, unaware that the Parson covets her for himself. The Parson takes advantage of a fight between Clack and Grim to try to steal Joan away, but Akercock as Robin Goodfellow intervenes, invisibly beating both Clack and the Parson so that Grim wins Joan and his rivals run away.


Captain Clinton is the friend of the gentlemen Musgrave and Miles Forrest, and the beloved of Mariana, waiting-maid to Honorea, daughter of Morgan Earl of London. Clinton, the first man Belphagor (disguised as Castiliano) meets on earth, introduces him to Earl Morgan but then conspires with Forrest to help Musgrave win Honorea from her other suitors. When the "bed-trick" frustrates their plans, Clinton finds that not only is Honorea married to Earl Lacy after all, but that his own lover, Mariana has been wed to Castiliano. Clinton and Forrest plot with their apothecary friend Ralph Harvey to gain access to the doctor's house and gardens. They intend to use it as a trysting spot for Musgrave and Honorea as well as for Clinton and Mariana. When Castiliano surprises Clinton and Mariana together, they outface him, but later decide that for their love to continue they must do away with him. Mariana sends Clinton off to ambush the doctor and pretends to reconcile with her husband while really plotting to rob and poison him. As Clinton prepares to attack him, Castiliano, already dying of poison and his allowed time on earth expired, is swallowed up by the earth and returns to the safety of Hell.


Only mentioned. When Mariana is chiding her lover Captain Clinton she jests that the Captain is made a Captive by love, that "Cupid's bow should blemish Mars his name."


In III.ii, a "Devil like Musgrave" enters with Musgrave's lover Honorea, and claims to repent their illicit relationship, telling her to bestow her "hot love" on her husband. She pleads with him to stay but he leaves her, and after reflection she decides that he is right and in later scenes she is faithful to her husband Earl Lacy. This devil in Musgrave's shape is a puzzle–its appearance is not prepared for; and it does not seem to be either Belphagor or Akercock, nor do they seem to be aware of another devil or even of this incident. There is no indication that it has been sent by the judges of Hell to intervene in the plot. As the play's most recent editor says, "it is hard to guess how the theater audience would perceive that Honorea is not being jilted by the real Musgrave." He suggests that the incident may have been inspired by a similar one in A Knack to Know a Knave where St. Dunstan summons the devil Astoroth to impersonate a faithful husband in order to bring the lustful King Edgar to his senses. It seems possible that a brief scene, or even a dumb show, where St. Dunston brings a devil in the shape of Musgrave, has been omitted. A similar incident also occurs in the succubus scene of A Mad World, My Masters where a devil in the shape of Mistress Harebrain causes Sir Penitent Brothel to repent. In each case, the same actor would presumably play both the mortal character and the demonic doppelganger.


Only mentioned. Castiliano, who is being cuckolded, has a picture in his gallery of horned Actaeon spying on the naked goddess Diana.


A "ghost character." Edgar (king of England 959-75) was the fifth of "Seven great Kings" under whom St. Dunstan "flourished." According to Dunston, Edgar was a "great Prince, but full of many crimes," which Dunston restrained. It was in Edgar's reign that Saint Dunston had his dream of hell.


A "ghost character." Edmond (i.e. Edmund, king of England 939-46) was the second of "Seven great Kings" under whom Saint Dunstan "flourished."


A "ghost character." Edred (i.e. Eadred, king of England 946-55) was the third of "Seven great Kings" under whom Saint Dunstan "flourished."


A "ghost character." Edward ("the Martyr," king of England 975-78) was the sixth of "Seven great Kings" under whom Saint Dunstan "flourished."


A "ghost character." Edwin (i.e. Eadwig, king of England 955-59) was the fourth of the "Seven great Kings" under whom Saint Dunstan "flourished."


A "ghost character." Egelred (i.e. Aethelred "the Unready," king of England 978-1016) was the last of "Seven Great Kings" under whom Saint Dunstan "flourished."


A "ghost character." According to St. Dunston's introductory speech, he was falsely reported to have "defiled" Elfleda, niece to King Adelstane; but there is some confusion here since the nun Elfleda was actually the niece of King Edgar. Dunstan's "restraint" of Edgar's crimes is mentioned at I.i.15-16 and probably again at I.ii.42-4 where an unnamed king's "privy dealing with the nun" is specified.


Mute characters. The Furies, also known as the Eumenides, were in classical mythology minor female deities who punished crimes at the instigation of the victims. In Haughton's conflation of the classical underworld with the Christian Hell, they are apparently minor devils. They are mutes, but in the Induction not only do they guard Malbecco's ghost, but one is sent to fetch Belphagor. In the final scene they again mutely accompany Malbecco's ghost, and are invited by Pluto to "make holiday" at Belphagor's safe return to Hell.


Grim, the Collier of Croydon, is a recurring stage character who appears in at least two earlier plays: Richard Edwardes' Damon and Pithias (c1565) and Ulpian Fulwell's Like Will to Like (offered for acting, c. 1562-68). In the present play, he is the eponymous hero of the subplot, a friendly simpleton of direct emotions who humorously mistakes words. This subplot, which consists of just four scenes, mirrors the main action in several respects
  1. Belphagor is a "devil who is like a man" while Grim is a "man who is like a devil" (in that he is "black," that is, sooty);
  2. in both there is competition, complicated by deception, for the hand of a woman;
  3. the question of female virtue is raised–but the only direct connection the Grim plot has with The Devil and his Dame plot is the appearance of Akercock/Robin Goodfellow in each.
When we first meet Grim he confides to his local clergyman, Parson Short-hose, that he is so in love with Joan, a country maid, that he cannot do his job properly–he distractedly drove his cart into a ditch, and he neglected to completely fill his coal sacks, which got him into trouble with his customers. Parson Short-hose promises to help Grim woo Joan and frustrate his rival, Clack the Miller, but in an aside confesses that he really plans to win Joan for himself. Later Grim and the Parson encounter Clack wooing Joan. Grim reiterates his distress while the Parson repeats his promise, but Joan in an aside reveals that is it really Grim that she loves. Still later Grim, Clack, Joan and the Parson all go nut-gathering, and when Grim and Clack fall to fighting, the Parson tries to steal Joan away, but he is foiled by Akercock (as the invisible Robin Goodfellow) who beats both Clack and the Parson and chases them away so that Grim may successfully woo Joan. Akercock the russet-faced devil feels a kinship with the sooty-faced Grim, as enshrined in the proverb, "Like unto like, quoth the devil to the collier." In the final scene of the subplot, Grim and Joan, now betrothed, invite the repentant Parson Short-hose to have a meal, a "mess of cream" with them, and they are startled to find Robin Goodfellow, a "merry devil" sharing it with them. However, Grim and Robin become friends, and so part.


A "ghost character." Hellena (so spelled, perhaps punningly, on its only appearance} was the wife, when he lived, of Malbecco's ghost. Malbecco claims that Hellena drove him to suicide, with the result that the devil Belphagor is sent into the world to find out the truth about women.


A "ghost character." Heorston was the father of Saint Dunstan.


Honorea, the daughter of Morgan Earl of London, has been mute all her life. Her father arranges for her marriage to the older Lacy, Earl of Kent, and sends for the miracle-working St. Dunston to cure her. Just as Dunston is beginning his cure, Belphagor the devil, in the guise of the Spanish doctor Castiliano, appears and effects the cure himself, claiming Honorea's hand as a reward. Everyone is stunned when the now vocal Honorea (who is really in love with the young gentleman Musgrave) unlooses a torrent of abuse and storms off. Her father then proposes to let her marry Musgrave, while substituting her waiting-maid Mariana in a "bed-trick" to fool Castiliano–but he then pulls a double "bed-trick" and substitutes Earl Lacy for Musgrave as well. When Honorea wakes to find she is married to Earl Lacy after all, she is furious. She rejects her husband and determines on a life of adultery, abetted by Mariana. But when she meets Musgrave for a tryst she finds instead a devil disguised as Musgrave who refuses her advances and advises her to live a life of virtue with her husband. At first she is angry, but on reflection, decides that he is right. When the real Musgrave arranges another tryst (with Dunstan and the ailing Earl Lacy watching from cover) she jilts him instead, which leads in turn to Musgrave's own reformation. In the end she swoons with joy to find that her husband, who she thought had been poisoned by the Spanish doctor, is alive after all.


Joan (also spelled Jone or Joane; and also known as Jug) is a virtuous "country maid" beloved of Grim the Collier. She is also subject to the attentions of Clack the Miller and Parson Short-hose, but, as she confesses in an aside, it is really Grim she loves. When Grim catches Clack wooing Joan, Parson Short-hose promises to work to bring Joan and Grim together; but when they all go nut-gathering and Grim and Clack fall to fighting, the Parson himself tries to run away with Joan. The devil Akercock, as the invisible Robin Goodfellow, drives off Clack and the Parson, and Joan becomes betrothed to Grim. Finally, Joan and Grim share a merry "mess of cream" with Robin Goodfellow and the Parson.


A nickname for Joan.


Only mentioned. Jupiter assumed Amphytrio's shape to gain access to his wife Alcmena. Honorea is compared to Alcmena.


Lacy, Earl of Kent, apparently a man of mature years, is the close friend of Morgan, Earl of London, and has been chosen by Morgan to marry his daughter Honorea. But when the devil Belphagor as the Spanish doctor Castiliano cures her muteness, Honorea vehemently rejects Earl Lacy (and Castiliano as well)–she is in love with Musgrave, a young gentleman. Morgan pretends to relent and marry her to Musgrave but pulls a so-called "bed-trick," substituting Earl Lacy in Honorea's bed and so ensuring their marriage. Honorea rejects Earl Lacy again, but is later converted to virtue and returns to him. She is dismayed to find that he is very sick and arranges for the Spanish doctor to treat him. Mariana, not knowing of Honorea's change, tries to get Castiliano to poison Earl Lacy, but he substitutes a sleeping potion. After St. Dunston and Earl Lacy watch from cover as Honorea rejects Musgrave a last time, news is brought that Earl Lacy is dead, seemingly poisoned by the doctor. After Honorea witnesses Castiliano/Belphagor vanish into the bowels of the earth, she swoons to find Earl Lacy, whom she now loves, awake and alive.


In the Induction of the framing story, Malbecco's Ghost brings before the court of Hell a complaint against his wife Hellena. While alive he was a wealthy Lord, but his wife drove him to distraction with her difficult behavior, and after she ran off with a band of thieves, Malbecco lost his mind altogether and committed suicide by throwing himself down "head-long on a rock." He appeals to Pluto and the judges of Hell to rule that his death was his wife's fault. In the very last scene Pluto finds for Malbecco and decrees that he shall have his revenge by being transformed into a spirit of Jealousy who will plague both women and men forever.


Mariana (also Marian), is called "waiting-maid" to Honorea, but she seems to be of gentle stock (she is Musgrave's cousin), as opposed to the lower-class maid-of-work, Nan. When Morgan Earl of London wants to work a "bed-trick" and needs a substitute maiden for Castiliano the Spanish Doctor to bed so that Honorea can be married to someone else, he asks Mariana's help. Thinking that Honorea will marry Musgrave she consents, for the sake of her mistress becoming the Devil's Dame of the title; but she really hates Castiliano and is interested only in his status and his money. She shrewishly drives away Castiliano's manservant, Robin (the devil Akercock in disguise), and arranges adulterous trysts between her cousin Musgrave and his love Honorea, as well as with her own lover, Captain Clinton. She is so lustful that at one point she tries to seduce Clinton's friend Miles Forrest. She tries to get Castiliano to poison Earl Lacy, but he substitutes a sleeping potion. At the same time Mariana and Clinton decide they must kill the doctor, so she sends him off to set an ambush, while she herself poisons the doctor's food. When she sees the earth swallow Castiliano/Belphagor, she rejoices in her widowhood, and in inheriting the doctor's estate. Belphagor reports to the court of Hell that his wife Mariana was "born for a scourge to man"–of "loose demanour, and dishonest life," with a sharp tongue, and a murderous way with poison.


Only mentioned. Castiliano, who is being cuckolded, has a picture in his gallery of Vulcan taking the adulterous Mars and Venus is his net. In a later scene when Mariana is chiding her lover Captain Clinton, she jests that Cupid's bow has overcome Mars, god of war.


Minos is in classical mythology one of the judges of the Greek underworld. Here he is a devil, one of the judges of Hell, and with Pluto, Aeacus and Rhadamantus sits in judgement on the ghost of Malbecco. His reference to his "daughter, who procured [his] fall" is apparently the result of Haughton confusing him with several other classical figures. See Baillie's edition, p. 314.


Miles Forrest is a gentleman apparently in the service of Honorea, daughter of Morgan Earl of London. He is also a friend of Honorea's lover Musgrave and Mariana's lover Captain Clinton. It is Forrest who suggests to Earl Morgan that he send for St. Dunston to cure Honorea's muteness. When Honorea and Mariana are tricked into marrying men they don't love, Forrest conspires with his friends to help them meet with their lovers in secret. Mariana is so lustful that she begins to seduce Forrest as well, but they are interrupted. In the penultimate scene, Forrest witnesses the "reawakening" of Earl Lacy and the disappearance into the bowels of the earth of Castiliano the Spanish doctor [actually the devil Belphagor).


Morgan, Earl of London is the father of the beautiful but mute Honorea, whom he wants to marry off to his friend, Lacy, Earl of Kent. Morgan sends for St. Dunston to cure her but she is cured instead by Castiliano the Spanish doctor (the disguised devil Belphagor), who claims her hand from Morgan. Morgan pretends to agree that Honorea can marry her lover Musgrave, but then arranges a "bed-trick" whereby she is married to Lacy after all, and Castiliano is married to Mariana, Honorea's shrewish waiting-maid. In the final London scene, Morgan watches in amazement as Castiliano/Belphagor, his allowed time having expired, is swallowed by the earth.


Musgrave, Mariana's cousin, is a young gentleman beloved of Honorea. Honorea rejects her other suitors and is told she can marry Musgrave, but then is tricked into marrying the elderly Lacy, Earl of Kent. She rejects Lacy again and with the help of their friends plans an adulterous meeting with Musgrave. But a devil, possibly summoned by St. Dunston, assumes Musgrave's form and meets with Honorea, urging her to a virtuous life and eventually converting her. When the real Musgrave attempts another tryst with Honorea, she converts him to honesty in turn, with St. Dunston and Earl Lacy watching from cover. In the end, he witnesses the miraculous "reawakening" of Earl Lacy and the disappearance of Castiliano/Belphagor back to Hell.


Nan, Mariana's maid, appears in only one scene, where she prepares the banquet for the adulterous meetings between Musgrave and Honorea and between Mariana and her various lovers. When Mariana's husband, Castiliano (the devil Belphagor) turns up unexpectedly, Nan tries to warn the couple but is forced by her master's threats to reveal the identity of Mariana's visitor.


A "ghost character." Paridell is the lover of Hellena, Malbecco's wife. The ghost of Malbecco calls him a thief and describes how they ran off together.


Parson Short-hose is Grim the Collier's local clergyman, so Grim confesses to him his love for the country maid Joan, and his resultant state of distraction. The Parson agrees to help Grim win Joan from Clack the Miller, but admits in an aside his own longing for her. He secretly plots to run away with Joan while, at his instigation, Grim and Clack are busy fighting each other. He is foiled by the devil Akercock in the form of the invisible sprite Robin Goodfellow, who beats the Parson and chases him away. In the end Parson Short-hose is reconciled to the betrothal of Grim and Joan, and nervously shares a meal with Robin Goodfellow and the couple.


In classical mythology Pluto is the god of the underworld. Here he is a devil, the lord or king of Hell. With his judges, Aeacus, Minos and Rhadamantus he sits in judgement on the ghost of Malbecco. He sends the devil Belphagor in human form to earth to determine whether women are as iniquitous as Malbecco and other reports would have them. In the final scene he declares Malbecco vindicated and decrees a holiday in Hell to celebrate Belphagor's return.


Only mentioned. Grim the Collier says that he'll hire Pounceby (Ponsonby?) to make him a painted cloth to hang in his house that will depict their nut-gathering party and Grim's triumph over Clack the Miller. Editors have been unable to identify Pounceby or to ascertain whether he was a real person.


A "ghost character." St. Dunstan in his opening speech refers to his eventual canonization by the Pope.


The prologue is not apparently spoken in character, and the editor argues that it was provided by the publisher and is not an integral part of the play.


A comically fictitious character. Grim the Collier quotes one "Pueriles" whose writings he claims to have found in the bottom of his coal-sack. Pueriles Confabulatiunculae, or Children's Talke was a collection of Latin dialogues by Evaldus Gallus.


Ralph Harvey, an apothecary, is a friend of Musgrave, Miles Forrest and Captain Clinton. He conspires with Clinton and Forrest to gain access to the house of Castiliano the Spanish doctor (actually the devil Belphagor in human shape), under color of supplying him with drugs and medicines. There they can turn the doctor's garden into a trysting spot for the various secret lovers. After his introduction to Castiliano in II.v, Harvey hints that he too will have a go at the lustful Mariana, but he never appears again. However, Mariana later credits him with making the poison she feeds to Castiliano.


Rhadamantus (also Rhadamant) is in classical mythology one of the judges of the Greek underworld. Here he is a devil, one of the judges of Hell, and with Pluto, Aeacus and Minos sits in judgement on the Ghost of Malbecco. It is Rhadamantus who suggests to Pluto that someone be sent into the world to find out the truth about women.


Robin is the servant-devil Akercock in disguise as the manservant of the Spanish doctor Castiliano (who is himself the devil Belphagor in disguise). After he leaves Castiliano's service Robin further transforms himself into the English folk-devil or "sprite" Robin Goodfellow.


Robin Goodfellow is a guise that the servant-devil Akercock assumes. In this form, with the traditional leather jerkin, russet face and flail, he intervenes in the rivalry between Grim the Collier, Clack the Miller and Parson Short-hose for the love of the country maid Joan. After invisibly beating Clack and the Parson, and securing Joan for Grim, he visibly shares a meal with them before saying farewell not only to them, but to the audience. Later, as Akercock, he returns to Hell.


Saint Dunston (also Dunstan, c. 924-88) was Abbot of Glastonbury and later Archbishop of Canterbury, reputed something of a necromancer during his life. In this play, a dream of St. Dunston's provides the frame within which the rest of the action takes place. In the opening soliloquy St. Dunstan recounts his origins and story. Then "he layeth him down to sleep" and dreams of an arraignment in the court of Hell where Pluto king of the devils and his judges have decided to send a devil into the world to marry a human woman. Dunston awakens suddenly and issues a warning to women everywhere that the devil is come to earth. When the devil Belphagor, in the guise of Castiliano the Spanish doctor, first arrives in the world he finds St. Dunston about to attempt the cure of Honorea, the mute daughter of Morgan Earl of London. The devil silences St. Dunston's magic harp and performs the cure himself. In III.ii St. Dunston may be responsible for summoning another devil, who impersonates Musgrave and jilts Honorea. Then St. Dunstan brings the elderly Earl Lacy to where he can see his wife Honorea importuned by her former lover Musgrave, and see her rebuff him. Later St. Dunston brings the news of Earl Lacy's seeming death, watches as the earth swallows Belphagor when his allowed term on earth expires, and welcomes the reawakened Earl Lacy. Finally, he gives a summing speech to the audience in which he declares Earl Lacy's house to be full of joy, and "jars all ended." He invites the audience to watch the "infernal synod" in the next scene, and asks them to "judge if we deserve to name/ this play of ours The Devil and his Dame."


Only mentioned. Castiliano, who is being cuckolded, has a picture in his gallery of Vulcan taking Mars and Venus is his net.


Only mentioned. Castiliano, who is being cuckolded, has a picture in his gallery of Vulcan taking Mars and Venus is his net.