James Shirley


10 January 1632

a synoptic, alphabetical character list


One of Goldsworth's two daughters, Aurelia loves Gerard, as does her sister. Aurelia was born but one minute after her sister Chrysolina; consequently, the girls are close and do not want to fight about Gerard. Having told Gerard he must choose between the sisters, Aurelia meanwhile informs Sir Gervase Simple that she doesn't love him and will not wed him, though she temporarily pretends to favor Simple because he is the suitor preferred by her mother, Mistress Goldsworth. Courted also by Caperwit, Aurelia rejects that poetaster because she sees how poorly he has treated Lady Bird, who is really Caperwit's page in disguise. By the end of the masque that concludes the play, Aurelia has wed Gerard.


A Fictitious character, conjured up and discussed briefly by the disguised page acting as Lady Bird; Bulfinch is supposedly Lady Bird's steward.


Caperwit is an opportunistic poetaster who courts Goldsworth's daughters with what he thinks is excellent poetry. He is very vain about his verse and quite the trickster; he has disguised his own page as a woman in hopes that Goldsworth's daughters, seeing how fascinated Lady Bird is with Caperwit, will therefore themselves become more interested in Caperwit. He succeeds with neither lady and ends up playing the role of Conjuror in the play's ending masque.


One of Goldsworth's two daughters, Chrysolina loves Gerard, as does her sister Aurelia. Chrysolina was born but one minute before her sister; the girls are close and do not want to fight about Gerard. Having told Gerard that he must choose between the sisters, Chrysolina rejects the suit of Caperwit when she sees how he has treated Lady Bird. Because Gerard seems to have chosen Aurelia, Chrysolina vows to pretend a love for Thornay, but when she learns from Yongrave that Thornay has received a letter from another woman, Chrysolina also rejects Thornay as a suitor. The solution to the merry maze of relationships comes at the play's ending masque, when Chrysolina weds Yongrave, Aurelia weds Gerard, and Eugenia weds Thornay.


The role of Conjuror is adopted by Caperwit (q.v.) during the play's ending masque.


This unnamed Dancer is employed by Caperwit to design dances for the masque that Caperwit has written.


Eugenia is Sir John Woodhamore's niece. She supposedly hasn't smiled in the ten months since she turned aside Yongrave's courtship. Using Yongrave as her messenger, Eugenia sends a desperate love letter to Thornay, and she urges Yongrave to learn to love Chrysolina. By the play's ending masque, Eugenia has wed Thornay.


Gerard begins the play as the beloved of the sisters Chrysolina and Aurelia. The ladies tell him he must choose between them; trying to relieve himself of that responsibility, he asks Thornay to select one lady so that Gerard may take the remaining sister. Though his machinations at one point lose him the trust of both sisters, Gerard has wed Aurelia by the end of the play.


With the eager blessing of Mistress Goldsworth, Simple courts her two daughters, Chrysolina and Aurelia. This foolish knight is extremely backward, however, and initially has not even met the women he sets out to woo. Because he has little luck with Goldsworth's daughters, Simple is quick to wait upon Lady Bird at Caperwit's urging, exchanging jewels for kisses and discovering only at the play's end that Lady Bird is really a man.


Goldsworth is the father of Aurelia and Chrysolina. Though he desires his daughters to make good matches, he nonetheless does not favor Sir Gervase Simple as a suitor, for Goldsworth sees Simple as a fool.


Yongrave is a gentleman who in the past has courted Eugenia. Used by this lady as a messenger to carry a letter to her true love Thornay, Yongrave finally overcomes his desire to duel with Thornay, discovers a great affection for Chrysolina, and wed that lady by the end of the play.


Sir John is the uncle of Eugenia. He would like to marry Eugenia to Jack Yongrave but manages approval when Eugenia arrives already married to Thornay at the end of the play.


Actually Caperwit's page (q.v.) in disguise, Lady Bird comes calling for Caperwit while he courts the sisters Chrysolina and Aurelia. She is supposedly an alderman's widow who loves Caperwit. Caperwit manages to foist her upon Simple, who is surprised after the wedding masque to have "married" a male page.


A fictitious character made up by Lady Bird and Caperwit; he supposedly owes Lady Bird one hundred pounds.


Wife of Goldsworth and mother of Chrysolina and Aurelia, Mistress Goldsworth is extremely anxious for one of her daughters to wed Sir Gervase Simple.


This unnamed Page works for Caperwit. He and his master concoct a gambit designed to make Chrysolina and Aurelia see Caperwit as sought-after and popular. The Page dresses as a woman and pretends to be Caperwit's admirer, Lady Bird.


Phantasma is a nickname used by Thornay to refer to Caperwit as the latter plans the production of a masque.


This unnamed Servant of Sir Gervase Simple offers a song as backdrop to Gervase's sorrow over the loss of Aurelia.


Thornay, as a friend of Gerard, agrees to select one of Goldsworth's daughters as wife, leaving the other for Gerard, who cannot choose between the two women. Originally offering love to Chrysolina, Thornay quickly switches his allegiance to Eugenia, who has long loved him and whom he weds at the end of the play.


Thump is a seldom-seen servant to Sir Simple.


A fictitious character. Sir Walter Cormorant is the made up uncle of Lady Bird, who is really Caperwit's Page posing as a woman.