2. The TextThere are two 'texts' of The Queen's Exchange, or rather, there is one text presented with two different title-pages. The quarto text, consulted for the purposes of this edition, was first printed in 1657 by Henry Brome (seemingly no relation to Richard Brome). However, it appears that this first printing did not bring Henry Brome the profit he was seeking,  because he reissued the unsold copies under a different title, The Royal Exchange, in 1661. G. E. Bentley, in The Jacobean and Caroline Stage: Plays and Playwrights, goes as far as to describe Brome's reissue as 'a fraudulent attempt to sell the remaining sheets of the 1657 edition'. 
3. Date and PerformanceHenry Brome's involvement in the production, and therefore the transmission, of the only text of The Queen's Exchange available to modern scholars, also makes it difficult to assign the play to a particular company of actors or theatre, which in turn, makes dating the play problematic. Despite the apparent authority of the statement on the title-page of the quarto, that it 'was acted with generall applause at the Black-Friers By His Majesties Servants',  Henry Brome's addition of a preface, entitled 'The Stationer to the Readers', places these claims in doubt. In his contribution, Henry Brome contradicts the title-page by confessing, 'when 'twas written, or where acted, I know not.' Without any solid evidence, the dating of the play becomes a matter for conjecture. One suggestion, made by F. G. Fleay in 1891, is that Jeffrey's comment, 'The King we make no doubt of, we have prayed for him these seven years' (II.ii.83), establishes the date. The theory being that references such as these are often allusions to the real monarch, and as such, the year of performance must be the seventh year of Charles' reign, 1631-2.  This is an attractive solution, but does not resolve the problem of dating The Queen's Exchange conclusively. Of the other dates tentatively offered by critics, Martin Butler's dating of the play to no 'later than 1634', although partly based on the questionable assumption that it 'belonged to the King's Men', does have merit.  As Matthew Steggle notes in adopting Butler's time frame, a date as late as 1634 is credible, especially considering the evidence of the Prologue, that 'speaks of the author as experienced, successful, and established':  'Though most that he has writ has past the rest, / And found good approbation of the best'.  Furthermore, as Steggle highlights, and as this study will also explore, the themes of The Queen's Exchange resonate with the events surrounding King Charles' Scottish coronation, in 1633.  And, although interpretative analysis of this kind cannot provide secure evidence for dating, it does support both Butler and Steggle in their conjecture. As regards assigning the play to a particular company or theatre, it is possible that the play was acted by 'His Majesties Servants', the King's Men, but, as noted above, during the likely period of performance of The Queen's Exchange Richard Brome appears to have written plays for several different acting companies: the Prince Charles company, the King's Revels Company, as well as the King's Men. The King's Men were associated with a private theatre, the Blackfriars, and a 'public' playhouse, the Globe. Brome's association with the Prince Charles company was at the 'public' Red Bull Theatre, and his tenure at the King's Revels Company produced plays for the private Salisbury Court Theatre. The 'public' playhouses of the period 'scarcely saw a new play', and '[t]he creative initiative seems to have fallen to the "private" theatres (the Blackfriars, Phoenix and Salisbury Court)'.  The private theatres, and their output, were much more in tune with the more sophisticated tastes of the Caroline court than were the public playhouses. In this environment, it has often been speculated which plays were performed at which theatres based on the sophistication, or otherwise, of the production in question. G. E. Bentley assesses The Queen's Exchange to be 'too naïve in its technique for a sophisticated Blackfriars audience.'  More generously, Martin Butler ascribes 'a serious moral' to the play, and credits Brome with writing 'a play that looks courtly but in fact is much more popular and spirited.'  This popular appeal could well have played well at the Globe, with the King's Men. Matthew Steggle describes a play in which 'political ideas may be articulated and explored', and which 'enters…into a form of intertextual dialogue with [Shakespeare's] King Lear, addressing the same concerns about the borders of the nation'.  This kind of politically sensitive theatre would not have been out of place at the Blackfriars. Clearly, given the lack of critical consensus on the matter of how The Queen's Exchange might have been received by the respective audiences at the private or public theatres, and the recent reappraisal of Brome's work made by critics such as Matthew Steggle, it is difficult to argue for assigning the play to (or excluding it from) any venue on this basis. What does seem to be evident, based on the absence of any known revival, Henry Brome's failure to sell all his sheets in 1657 and its re-emergence, in print, under a different title in 1661, is that The Queen's Exchange was not a great success wherever it was performed.
4. 'Sweepings' a) JonsonBen Jonson's dismissal of Brome's early dramatic work as 'sweepings' seemed to have been forgotten when the original source of this critique, Jonson's Horatian 'Ode to Himself', was printed in 1631: the revised version of the poem no longer referred to Brome directly. Nevertheless, there remains a sense in much historical criticism that Brome, and several other Caroline playwrights, produced plays that were nothing more than inferior copies of those produced by their more talented Elizabethan and Jacobean predecessors. Indeed, R. J. Kaufmann, writing in 1961, describes The Queen's Exchange as 'weakly constructed', and 'a virtual pastiche of borrowings from Shakespeare' and others.  This study, in accordance with other more recent assessments, will show Kaufmann's appraisal to be less than fair. Nevertheless, a brief examination of Brome's major dramatic influences is instructive, beginning with Ben Jonson. Joe Lee Davis, in his book, The Sons of Ben: Jonsonian Comedy in Caroline England, describes a 'group of poets, playwrights, and merely conversational wits who met…with the aging Jonson at various taverns of London'.  Richard Brome was part of this group, that came to be 'dubbed "The Sons of Ben"',  and the influence of Jonson can be seen in Brome's dramatic output. An extensive catalogue of the parallels between the plays of the two playwrights is given by Clarence Edward Andrews in his study of Brome. Andrews notes Brome's 'fondness for extremely complicated plots', and attributes the complexities found in The City Wit, The Sparagus Garden and The Weeding of Covent Garden to their 'resemblance…to the Alchemist.'  This favourable comparison is weakened by Andrews' acceptance of a suggestion that Brome's intricacies result in a democracy of plots, and a distinct absence of dominant story lines. It is also evident that Brome owes much to Jonson for the characterisations found in his city comedies. In The City Wit, for example, the character of Tryman, an apparent widow, echoes the central character in Jonson's Volpone when pledging several legacies to visitors to her deathbed, only to relieve them of their money.  There is also a considerable overlap between the subjects considered for satirical treatment by the two authors. A notable example being the comic treatment of the monopoly system in The Queen's Exchange. Jeffrey's decision to start 'a monopoly of fools' (III.i.150) - a satirical attack on 'the granting to certain individuals the right of manufacture of and exclusive trade in certain things, often articles of the most common utility'  - has much in common with similar treatments in Brome's The Antipodes (IV.ix.), Jonson's Volpone,  and Jonson's The Devil is an Ass.  b) ShakespeareUnderstandably, of all Brome's influences, apart from Jonson, Shakespeare is the most prominent. As will be discussed below, The Queen's Exchange is heavily influenced by the plot devices, characterisations and verbal features of a number of Shakespeare's plays. This is also the case, to a lesser degree, in a number of Brome's other plays, and two notable examples are given here. Andrews, drawing on the work of earlier critics, highlights the similarity between the beginning of Richard III (I.i.1-4) and the first lines of The Queen and Concubine:The clouds of Doubts and Fears are now dispers'd,And Joy, like the resplendent Sun, spreads forthNew life and spirit over all this Kingdom,That lately gasp'd with Sorrow. 
The similar use of metaphor is striking. Another striking resemblance is to be found in The Antipodes. Here, Hamlet's advice to the players in Shakespeare's play (III.ii.17-36) is mirrored by Letoy's instructions to his actors:Trouble not you your head with my conceit,But mind your part. Let me not see you act nowIn your scholastic way you brought to town wi' ye,With seesaw sack-a-down, like a sawyer. 
There is less verbal echoing here than in the instance from The Queen and Concubine, but in the structure of the passage as a whole, and as a device, the debt to Shakespeare is clearly apparent. c) FordFinally, in this brief account of Brome's main influences, it is worth noting the stylistic influence of John Ford on his work. Arguably, Ford's best work was printed in the 1630s, when Brome was writing plays for several different companies himself. Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore (printed in 1633) provides Brome with the theme of incest in The Queen's Exchange. Another, more minor stylistic trait of Ford's is also common in Brome's verse plays. Ford's taste for dividing a line of verse between several speakers is repeated in Brome (this edition of The Queen's Exchange providing ample evidence), and it is possible that he could have adopted this technique after observing it in Ford's work. The Broken Heart, also printed in 1633, has several examples of this device, a more extreme instance occurring in Act III:Bassanes. Chamber combats Are felt not heard.Prophilus. [within] 'A wakes.Bassanes. What's that?Ithocles. [within] Who's there? 
Ford's play, The Chronicle History of Perkin Warbeck: A Strange Truth, also appears to have a scene that has much in common with one in The Queen's Exchange. It is debatable which play was written and performed first, Ford's play being 'entered in the Stationers' Register on 24 February 1634'.  The scene in Ford is that where George Gordon, Earl of Huntly, is arguing with James IV about the marriage of his daughter, Katherine. Huntly's disposition, the mixture of deference and irreverence he employs, has a near parallel in Segebert's protestations to Bertha in the first scene of Brome's play. Considering the political climate in Caroline England in the 1630s, it would not be surprising to find two playwrights creating such scenes, quite independently, where nobles have to tread this fine line with their respective monarchs. However, it cannot be discounted that one was influenced by the other. It would be, perhaps, understandable for critics to prefer the influence to be in one direction (from Ford to Brome), especially considering the obvious disparity in talent, but the converse is not impossible.
5. The Play a) The PlotThe plot of The Queen's Exchange reflects many of the influences that Brome takes from other playwrights. The action is staged in a Saxon England of unknown date, but, in common with much early modern drama, the characters and their lives reflect the England as it would have been known to the author. Furthermore, the themes and events would have been familiar to any experienced Elizabethan, Jacobean or Caroline theatregoer. Nevertheless, Brome's treatment of the familiar, arguably, has a very particular application to the political scene of the early 1630s, in London and the nation as a whole. The first scene takes place in the court of the recently crowned Bertha, Queen of the West Saxons. She is planning a marriage to Osric, the King of Northumbria, and a group of courtiers are gathered in support of their queen's decision. However, not all are in agreement: Segebert, a wise and faithful counsellor of Bertha's late father, advises against the marriage. He wishes to protect his late master's kingdom, and fears that all will be undone by Bertha's proposed alliance: 'All your wealth, / Your state, your laws, […] Must all be altered, or quite subverted, / And all by a wilful gift unto a stranger?' (I.i.53-9)  Although there are moments of comedy in this and almost every other scene of the play (the sycophancy of Bertha's lords being the main source for humour in the West Saxon court), Segebert's subsequent banishment and his valedictory speeches to his children (I.ii) begin the play in a tragic tone. Brome's debt to Shakespeare is very much evident in the character of Segebert and his relationship with his children. Segebert is a banished lord in the image of Kent from King Lear, yet his sons resemble those of Gloucester from the same play. Offa is Segebert's favoured son, but most resembles Edmund in his Machiavellian and murderous schemes, whereas the less favoured Anthynus is loyal and pious, and thus resembles Edgar. Mildred, Segebert's daughter, provides Brome an opportunity to echo a theme from another notable playwright, more of which will be discussed below. Segebert's exile, in the company of Anthynus, leads him to Northumbria, the location for another troubled royal court. In Act I, at Bertha's court, the Northumbrian ambassador, Theodric, receives the Queen's affirmative answer to Osric's request for marriage, and, apparently, while in the West Saxon kingdom, he has fallen in love with, and acquired a portrait of, Mildred. On his return to his own land, the good news is received well by Osric, that is, until he sees Mildred's likeness, and becomes uncontrollably jealous of his courtier: 'Protest it rapt me 'bove the pitch of mortals' (II.i.102). Osric's rapture manifests itself as apparent madness, and his court is thrown into turmoil; the theme of an apparently mad king continues Brome's references to Shakespeare's King Lear. Beyond the court in Northumbria, the farming people, represented by four 'clowns' and Jeffrey, the leader of their clowning, are preparing to celebrate the King's betrothal with 'bells and bonfires' (II.ii.107). This motley collection of working people, presented as clowns, resembles the characters of Jack Cade, Dick the Butcher, Smith the Weaver et al in Shakespeare's 2 Henry VI (IV.ii). Indeed, they are similarly irreverent and anti-authority in their behaviour, and their taste for the traditional celebratory activities of ordinary English people strikes a particularly anti-puritanical note. Jeffrey's name may be an ironic allusion to the influential twelfth-century 'historian', Geoffrey of Monmouth, or perhaps even more pointedly, to Jeffrey Hudson, Queen Henrietta Maria's dwarf. The significance of this latter possibility is discussed below. Eventually, Jeffrey is recruited by a courtier to be the King's fool (and potential cure), and leaves his country comrades for the court. Meanwhile, in another, wilder part of Northumbria, Segebert and Anthynus are assailed by outlaws, accompanied and hired by a disguised Offa (II.iii). Segebert is wounded, but Anthynus manages to fight off his attackers before going in search of aid. Both Segebert and a similarly wounded outlaw are helped by a pious hermit, who as Martin Butler observes, is 'an emblem of the piety, patience and goodness of the country'.  Anthynus' journey to get help is initially fruitless, and on his return Segebert has vanished, with the aid of the hermit. Eventually Anthynus is found asleep by a group of courtiers, but not before he has 'heard' a playful 'Echo' (II.iii) - a natural or supernatural phenomenon, that could also be an auditory hallucination - and 'seen' a procession of Saxon kings who seem to predict his own succession to the West Saxon throne (III.ii). The latter vision echoing the procession of kings before Macbeth in Shakespeare's Jacobean play (Macbeth, IV.i). The courtiers mistake the sleeping Anthynus for his look-alike, Osric, and remove him to the court. On there return, Osric, whose madness is revealed to be a sham, is planning a secret journey to the West Saxon kingdom, and the appearance of a look-alike aids his deception (III.iii). Act IV sees Offa, now back in his own house, imprison his fellow outlaws to avoid paying them, and make an incestuous attempt on Mildred's virtue. With the aid of her nurse, Mildred manages to forestall him. This theme of incest between a brother and a sister is reminiscent of a play written and performed during the same period as Brome is likely to have been writing The Queen's Exchange: John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, 'printed in 1633 and probably written about three years earlier.'  Also, while Osric is away from his kingdom, Anthynus (as king), who continuously hears the voice of his own genius whispering in his ear, is eventually married to the newly arrived Queen Bertha (IV.ii). The play's complexities, with look-alikes, mistaken identities and thwarted incest are all resolved in Act V when the Northumbrian court comes to the West Saxon equivalent in celebration of the 'royal' marriage. Initially, Osric, mistaken for Anthynus, stands accused of the murder of the missing Segebert, but both he and the real Anthynus are cleared when Jeffrey appears with Segebert, the wounded outlaw and their saviour, a previously banished lord, Alberto. Alberto, although the 1657 quarto does not make this explicit, is presumed by this editor to be the hermit, not least because no other character, apart from Anthynus, has had a hand in saving Segebert from death. Offa is exposed as the origin of the plot on Segebert's life, not only by the return of the wounded outlaw, but also by the farcical release of his partners in crime from Offa's dungeon. This latter episode involves a botched but highly comic attempt at theft, including a rare instance of attempted cannibalism (V.i.161-8). Curiously, the play ends with forgiveness for everyone, including Offa. Bertha is satisfied with her marriage to Anthynus (the prophecy that he would be king fulfilled), Osric is blessed with the hand of Mildred, and the now mad Offa is free to go. Jeffrey, the promoted fool, in a final nod to Brome's main inspiration for this play, chooses to leave with Offa. This is a gesture that plays like a parody of Jacques' departure to follow Duke Frederick at the end of Shakespeare's As You Like It. Whereas Jacques, in following Frederick, declares, 'I am for other than for dancing measures' (AYLI, V.iv), Jeffrey, the dancer of the 'hobbyhorse' (II.ii.133), vows to continue his palliative fooling: 'I'll off with him, for 'tis unknown to you / What good a fool may on a madman do' (V.ii.116-7).
b) A Political PlayAs R. J. Kaufmann ungenerously observed, Brome's The Queen's Exchange does incorporate several features of Shakespeare's plays, not to mention his borrowings from Ford. However, it is possible to discover, in Brome's particular use of his influences, an acute sensitivity to the politics of the Caroline court, and its relationship with the country at large. In his groundbreaking work on the Caroline theatre of the 'pre-revolutionary period', Martin Butler banished many 'widely-held preconceptions which…distort[ed] and predetermine[d] discussion of the drama' of Brome's most creative period.  As Butler notes, during the 1620s, when Charles I came to the throne, parliaments, in England, 'were coming to be seen as an important check on the crown. The electorate seems to have been growing and…demanding greater accountability from its MPs.'  Nevertheless, as Butler emphasises, the 1630s, despite Charles' dissolution of parliament in 1629, were not a period when there was a corrosion of the king's authority that would inevitably result in civil war. Rather, 'Charles's problems were essentially ones of government rather than authority'.  Charles' personal rule foundered not on its absolutism, but on the nature of its policies. Indeed, there is a reference at the heart of The Queen's Exchange to one of Charles' unpopular policies. Jeffrey's 'monopoly of fools' (III.i.150) directs its satirical force at Charles' 'discrimination in favour of preferred businessmen and by the proliferation of monopolies.'  Brome, like other playwrights, could satirise such widely disliked inequities as the monopoly system, but even on the brink of civil war there was apparently little appetite for something more radical. As Butler puts it, 'those who felt alienated by the behaviour of the crown…still expected to find in the monarchy the centre of society and the source of all power and authority'.  It is in this atmosphere that Brome's play would have been produced, and therefore any political comment it might offer is likely to be coded and with ambiguous (maybe deliberately evasive) meaning. I propose, in the following passage, to expose several possible meanings behind the allusions and references to earlier politically interesting plays (mostly by Shakespeare) that litter The Queen's Exchange. The key to most of these readings lies in the extent to which it is possible to see parallels between the court of King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria and those depicted in the play. The other main focus for political readings of the play is the possibility that Brome's play looks back to the Elizabethan era as an age that is preferable to his own. Indeed, as Matthew Steggle points out, Bertha is described as 'The bright Cynthia in her full of lustre' (II.i.49), soon after likening herself to the goddess, in Act I: 'As ardently, but with more pure affection, / As ere did Cynthia her Endymion' (I.i.195). Cynthia, the goddess of the moon is, in John Lyly's Endymion, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene and Sir Walter Raleigh's poem 'The Ocean's Love to Cynthia', a representation of Queen Elizabeth. It is suggested by Steggle, that this parallel representation, where Bertha, as Cynthia, is a representation of Elizabeth, supports the idea that The Queen's Exchange is a separatist play. At a time when the union between England and Scotland was under scrutiny, more especially around the time of Charles' Scottish coronation in 1633, the happy failure of Bertha to marry the northern king, Osric (thus not uniting their kingdoms) would be seen as a comment on the union. The allusion to a pre-union Elizabethan England could be regarded as further evidence of this latent message. This aspect of the play's political significance is not solely based on its ability to use Elizabeth as a model to criticise Charles Stuart: the Saxon setting is important here too. As Lisa Hopkins observes, 'the very name "British" was said to derive from the legend of Brutus, supposed great-grandson of Aeneas, who fled Rome after committing parricide.'  This legend was, interestingly, propagated by what Hopkins dubs the 'pseudo-history of Geoffrey of Monmouth',  and seeks to establish the notion of 'Britain' as pre-dating that of 'England'. Hence, a Caroline separatist would look back to the time of the Saxons (and Angles), and the associated origin of England, as crucial to their political agenda. In this context, Brome's use of King Lear, that other notable play set in the England of ancient history, has a potentially greater significance. As Steggle notes, 'King Lear has increasingly come to be seen as an articulation of insecurities to do with national sovereignty and the division of the kingdoms.'  Despite the potential political significance of looking back to England's early history, the settings for both King Lear and The Queen's Exchange appear to be less than historically specific. However, an examination of the possible sources used by Brome in assembling his list of characters for his play does raise some interesting possibilities for political readings of the play. A search in Holinshed's chronicle history, so often plundered by playwrights of the Elizabethan, Jacobean and Caroline periods, does reveal it as a possible source for most of the names used by Brome. There are entries for 'Segebert', 'Osric', 'Offa' 'Alcwine' (a possible source for 'Elkwin'), and several others. The name Segebert (or 'Sigebert') occurs in several descriptions of early English history in Holinshed. There is a Sigebert, son of 'Sebert king of the Eastsaxons',  who appears to have been alive in the seventh century. Also, 'Sigebert king of the Eastangles began to erect that vniuersitie at Cambridge about the yéere of our Lord 630.'  Furthermore, one series of entries has versions of the names Osric, Offa and Sigebert in close proximity. An Offa, 'succéeded in […] […] uernment of' the kingdom of the East Saxons, before being succeeded by 'Selred the sonne of Sigbert the good'. At about the same time, in the early eighth century, the King of Northumberland is one 'Osricke…famous onelie in this, that being worthilie punished for shedding the bloud of their naturall prince and souereigne lord [an act of usurpation], they [Osricke and his predecessor] finished their lives with dishonourable deaths'.  These entries, although not necessarily indicating the precise source of Brome's characters, do suggest the period of history within which the play is set, and also that, in the case of Osric, there was a historical character of the same name in the same role as in Brome's play. By contrast, the entry for 'Alcwine' probably refers to Alcuin, an eighth-century Northumbrian deacon and author,  who does not appear to resemble the sycophantic Lord Elkwin of The Queen's Exchange.Despite the faintness of these links with England's history, the entry for Bertha has greater potential significance for readings of the play. In Holinshed's 'Fift Booke of the Historie of England', there is a reference to 'Ethelbert king of kent', who 'is maried to the French kings daughter', and 'vpon cautions of religion, the king imbraceth the gospell'.  This is the same king, King Æthelberht of Kent, described in Bede's The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, of 731, who received St Augustine - newly arrived in Kent (597 A.D.) from Rome, at the behest of Pope Gregory - and was ultimately converted to Christianity. In Bede's account,Some knowledge about the Christian religion had already reached him because he had a Christian wife of the Frankish royal family whose name was Bertha. He had received her from her parents on condition that she should be allowed to practise her faith and religion unhindered, with a bishop named Liuhard whom they had provided for her to support her faith. 
The parallels between the Frankish Bertha ('daughter of the Merovingian king Charibert I (561-7), whose short-lived realm had been centred on Paris'  ) and the French Henrietta Maria (daughter of Marie de Medici, Queen Regent in France), queen to Charles I, are striking. Henrietta Maria was not only of a similar continental origin, but her marriage to Charles was also attended by assurances that 'nothing would be put in the way of his wife continuing in her faith',  that is as a Roman Catholic.It is also worth noting at this point, in support of the idea that The Queen's Exchange contains such a direct reference to Henrietta Maria, that the figure of Jeffrey, Osric's fool, is also likely to be a representation of Jeffrey Hudson, a notable figure in Henrietta Maria's court. Hudson, often referred to as 'the Queen's dwarf', was 'given' to the Queen by George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, at a banquet, where it is said that Hudson emerged from a pie placed before the young Henrietta Maria; '[h]e was seven years old and only eighteen inches high.'  This theory is supported by Jeffrey's joke at his own expense in Act III, which could be an ironic reference to his own lack of height: 'I am advanced to high promotion, am I not? To wear long coats / again' (III.i.135-6). This joke would be more effective in the theatre, where the character of Jeffrey could be played by a boy actor or a man similarly lacking in height. Although Jeffrey is Osric's fool, this is perhaps understandable because of the inherent danger, to any playwright, of making a representation of the Queen too transparent. Nevertheless, other aspects of the play also suggest that Bertha could be a pointed image of Charles' queen.One particular line in Act I is particularly suggestive, and may even offer a more subtle reading of the meaning behind the 'exchange' of the play's title. When Celeric refers to the future prospect of Bertha acquiring 'An happy husband' (I.i.77), and Bertha responds by saying, 'I thank you, good my lord' (I.i.77), she is accepting what could have been regarded as a dubious pleasure in the minds of the seventeenth-century literati. The phrase 'an happy husband' recalls a famous poem of 1622, 'A Happy Husband' by the poetaster Patrick Hannay, which reflects contemporary attitudes to roles for husbands and wives.  Essentially, the poem espouses the maintenance of the dominance of the husband over his wife, as opposed to 'what was thought to be the absurdest of marital aberrations, the dominance of the wife'.  Charles' marriage to the Catholic Henrietta Maria, in 1625, would have aroused a degree of disquiet in an England that 'was deeply suspicious of Catholicism'.  Indeed, when Charles (then Prince Charles) returned unmarried from Catholic Spain, in October 1623, after failing to secure a marriage to the Infanta, 'the city of London went wild with joy'.  As David Cressy records, '[f]or several years the return of Prince Charles was remembered as an event of major national importance, comparable to the deliverance from the Spanish Armada and the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot.'  The mode of celebration was the ringing of bells and the lighting of bonfires; this age-old English tradition was now adopted for 'commemorating the emergence and safety of the English Protestant regime.'  Moreover, during the Caroline era, the celebration of 'Queen Elizabeth's regnal anniversary was dangerously close on the calendar to the King's birthday on 19 November and to Henrietta Maria's birthday on 16 November. […] Mid-November became a busy time for bells and bonfires in the 1630s';  the former anniversary being much more joyously celebrated than the latter two occasions. Further celebrations were added to the calendar, and more appropriate celebrations demanded, as a response. All of which adds greater resonance to the Northumbrian scene of Act II, where Jeffrey and the clowns are willing to celebrate almost any occasion, as long as they can ring their bells and burn their bonfires. David Cressy even notes that the London celebrations for Charles' return from Spain included the burning of 'valuable and useful items',  not unlike those suggested by Osric's subjects in The Queen's Exchange. It is clear that Brome's play is intended to chime with the public taste for these celebrations, which are heavily associated with English Protestantism at this time. Although 'Henrietta Maria's Catholicism', as Julie Sanders asserts, 'was in fact of a distinctly moderate nature',  there was a suspicion that she had too much influence over the King, and, as the notorious Puritan William Prynne feared, that she was seeking 'to convert the nation by seducing it through her feminine wiles'.  With this in mind, any reference in The Queen's Exchange that draws attention to the possibility that the Queen may have the upper hand in the royal marriage is of political import. The Queen's 'exchange', rather than merely being the exchange of Osric for Anthynus, could be an exchange of roles, with far more disconcerting consequences for a Caroline audience.If Bertha is a representation of Henrietta Maria, and the significance of that is a contemporary fear of Catholicism, it might be expected to find something in Bertha's behaviour that was particularly Catholic in nature. I suggest, to maintain the coded nature of his representations, Brome would be more likely to attach those attributes to Bertha indirectly. I maintain that this is achieved through the character of Anthynus. Bertha marries Anthynus, and if Anthynus were Catholic then a simple 'exchange' of genders would map this couple onto the other royal couple, Charles and Henrietta Maria. Anthynus' Catholicism, I contend, is evident in more than one scene of the play. When he returns to find the wounded Segebert gone, in Act II Scene iii, he refers to Segebert's 'poor martyred body' (II.iii.301) and goes on to remove a piece of the blood-stained earth as a relic 'in memory of the guilt, / And of my vow, never to feed or rest, / Until I find him here, or with the blessed' (II.iii.319-21). This is a clear echo of the Catholic practice of 'veneration of relics',  and especially those associated with martyrdom, that is vividly described by Richard Wilson in the chapter on Macbeth in his book Secret Shakespeare. Indeed, the references to Macbeth also proliferate in The Queen's Exchange. Anthynus is witness to a vision of Saxon kings (III.ii) similar to those that parade before Macbeth. The scene in Macbeth (IV.i) has significance for a Stuart audience, because Banquo is suggested to be the ancestor of the line of Stuart monarchs in Scotland, and by repeating Shakespeare's scene so faithfully, Brome associates Anthynus with Charles Stuart in a thinly veiled manner. More significantly for the argument that Anthynus is a Catholic is the fact that his supernatural experiences continue into Act IV. The 'genius' that whispers to Anthynus (after its entrance, which is before IV.ii.127), as well as possibly being of pagan origin, is also synonymous with the Christian concept of an angel. In post-Reformation England, angels, especially those associated with guardianship of the soul in purgatory, were associated with the Catholic religion.  Apart from his Catholicism and the parallel with Banquo in Macbeth, Anthynus is also associated with the Stuart royal couple by virtue of his links with notions of Britain (as opposed to a separate England and Scotland). Anthynus is a curious name, like the Italian-sounding Alberto, to be found in Saxon England. It is an adaptation of 'Antony', the name of the famous son of Rome, notable as a central character in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. As has already been discussed, there is a strong link between early modern ideas of Britishness and the founding of Rome. Indeed, Segebert, Anthynus' father, echoes Antony's speech from Act III Scene ii of Julius Caesar twice in Act I: 'King and country, neighbours, friends, / And sometimes enemies (I.ii.11-2); 'That it falls not upon me like a curse, / For wronging crown or country, neighbours, friends, / Or you my dearer children' (I.ii.106-7). Furthermore, associations between Anthynus and the Roman Brutus, the legendary founder of Britain, are evident in the play. Among several allusions to Greek mythology, one in particular stands out. When Anthynus is helping his father, he likens himself to Brutus' great-grandfather, Aeneas:Aeneas, that true Trojan son, whose fameFor piety ever crowns his name,Had not a will (although my means be poor)Exceeding mine to answer nature more. (II.iii.86-89)
There are other references in the play to Troy, from where Aeneas fled, and, in parallel with Brutus, Anthynus is accused, albeit falsely, of committing patricide. Anthynus is associated with both Britain and Catholicism, and he marries Bertha, who, as has been shown, has much in common with Henrietta Maria. Together the West Saxon royal couple can most certainly be seen as representing the seventeenth-century British royal couple. It is worth noting that, in this light, even though the kingdoms of Bertha and Osric do not unite, the happy ending to The Queen's Exchange does not signal joy in separatism. However, this interpretation does not mean that the play is uncritical of Charles' rule. Indeed, as Ira Clark observes, both monarchs in the play do exhibit a form of '[w]illful tyranny'.  A good deal of the critical appraisal of The Queen's Exchange focuses on the arbitrary use of authority by the rulers in the play, and it is perhaps Charles' personal rule that is Brome's target. Hence, by establishing the correspondence between the two royal couples as I have done, I have exposed something of the nature of Brome's sophistication in achieving that aim. Brome did have associations with elements in 1630s England that were critical of Charles. He dedicates The Antipodes to William Seymour, Earl of Hertford, who was a member of 'one of several noble families that found themselves at odds with Charles I's government',  in the 1630s. And, in a particularly cryptic stroke, begins The Queen's Exchange with the epigraph: 'Regia res amor est',  which is an adaptation of a line from Ovid, (Fasti, vi.595: 'Regia res scelus est'). Translated, the line from Ovid means 'Crime is a thing for kings', or more poetically, 'Crime is the mark of a king'; in the case of Brome's adaptation, it translates as 'Love is the mark of a king'.  Arranged in the form of a syllogism, the resulting third line would read 'Love is a crime'. It is possible to see this as also directed towards Charles I, whose crime is loving his Catholic queen.
6. Editorial ProceduresThis edition is a modern spelling edition. It has been edited from the text available through Literature Online (http://lion.chadwyck.co.uk), and with reference to the 1657 quarto of The Queen's Exchange, with the kind co-operation of the staff at The Special Collections Department in the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds. In rekeying the text, I have modernised spelling and punctuation, with particular exceptions where the old spelling is important to meaning, metre or the maintenance of the idiosyncrasy of a character's speech or the nature of the text as a whole. The use of capital letters has been modernised and regularised, such that direct references to the monarchs, and the other usual proper names (for example, Heaven), are the few instances that remain. Most elisions remain, except where modern convention indicates a change, the most common example being the change from '-'d' to '-ed' in the case of an unstressed ending; stressed endings are signified by '-èd'. Speech headings have been silently regularised in accordance with the policy of using the character's name rather than position. Stage directions have been silently added and modified to make the action more explicit or where slight emendation is necessary on grounds of textual error. The exceptions to this policy are noted in the commentary. Only one change of the original Act and Scene divisions has been made, in Act III, the justification for which is given in the commentary. Line numbers have been added. Several characters missing from the dramatis personae have been added and, as noted in the commentary, the names of several lords have been clarified, and so replace the original numerical speech headings. The numerical speech headings for the outlaws have been regularised to distinguish between characters with patently different roles in the play. Alberto and the hermit are thought to be the same character, but for the sake of 'maintaining the mystery', and leaving the text more open to other interpretations, their textual separation is maintained. The commentary, besides the entries already mentioned, explains the meaning of unfamiliar words and provides aids to interpretation where it has been decided the reader would find this helpful. Richard Brome's versification provides numerous difficulties for a modern editor. The text has been relineated to take account of lines of verse divided between different speakers, and occasionally to fit the supposed metre. More frequently, it has been necessary to relineate what appears to be verse, but is in fact prose. Problems arise when Brome's verse is at its most irregular, and it is difficult to decide whether this is prose or very irregular verse. Brome's metrical sense and fondness for half-lines, enjambment and, occasionally, lines consisting of a single metrical foot make for numerous hard choices. Nevertheless, the task has been approached with a consistent method, and, ultimately, has been highly instructive in the vagaries of early modern texts.
7. Works CitedWithin the commentary for the play the following abbreviations apply:Crystal David Crystal and Ben Crystal. Shakespeare's Words: A Glossary and Language Companion. London: Penguin, 2002.
OED Oxford English Dictionary Online: http://dictionary.oed.com
All references to the plays of William Shakespeare are from:William Shakespeare. Complete Works, revised edition. Edited by Richard Proudfoot, Ann Thompson and David Scott Kastan. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2001.
Works cited in Introduction and CommentaryAndrews, Clarence Edward. Richard Brome: A Study of his Life and Works. New York: Yale University Press, 1913, reprint Archon, 1972.
Bede, The Venerable, Saint. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Edited by Roger Collins and Judith McClure. 731, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, reprint, 1999.
Bentley, Gerald Eades. The Jacobean and Caroline Stage: Plays and Playwrights, volume III. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956, reprint Oxford University Press, 1967.
Brome, Richard. The Antipodes in Three Renaissance Travel Plays. Edited by Anthony Parr. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995.
—. The City Wit. Edited by Katherine Wilkinson (2004). An online edition: http://www.shu.ac.uk/schools/cs/teaching/lh/renplays/witindex.htm
—. The Queen and Concubine. Accessed via Literature Online:http://lion.chadwyck.co.uk
—. The Queen's Exchange. London: Henry Brome, 1657.
Butler, Martin. Theatre and Crisis 1632-1642. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
Clark, Ira. Professional Playwrights: Massinger, Ford, Shirley and Brome. Lexington: Kentucky University Press, 1992.
Cressy, David. Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989.
Davis, Joe Lee. The Sons of Ben: Jonsonian Comedy in Caroline England. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1967.
Donaldson, Ian. The World Upside-Down: Comedy from Jonson to Fielding. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970.
Duffy, Eamon. The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.
Ford, John. 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Other Plays. Edited by Marion Lomax. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995, reprint, 1998.
Hannay, Patrick. 'A Happy Husband'. Accessed via Literature Online:http://lion.chadwyck.co.uk
Hibbert, Christopher. Charles I. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968.
Holinshed, Raphael et al. The first and second volumes of Chronicles. London: 1587. Accessed via Early English Books Online: http://eebo.chadwyck.com
Hopkins, Lisa. 'We were the Trojans: British national identities in 1633'. Renaissance Studies 16 (2002): 36-51.
Horace, 'Ars Poetica or Epistle to the Pisos'. In Satires, Epistles, Ars Poetica. Translated by H. Rushton Fairclough, 478-9. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1926, revised, 1929, reprint, 1961.
Jonson, Ben. Ben Jonson: Five Plays. Edited by G. A. Wilkes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988, reprint 1990.
—. Ben Jonson, volume VI. Edited by C. H. Herford, P. Simpson, and E. Simpson. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1938.
Kaufmann, R. J. Richard Brome: Caroline Playwright. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961.
Marlowe, Christopher. Edward the Second. Edited by Charles R. Forker. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1994.
Ovid, Fasti, second edition. Translated by J. G. Frazer, revised by G. P. Goold. Loeb Classical Library, Volume V. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1931, revised, 1989.
Page, Nick. Lord Minimus: The Extraordinary Life of Britain's Smallest Man. London: HarperCollins, 2001, reprint, 2002.
Sanders, Julie. Caroline Drama: The Plays of Massinger, Ford, Shirley and Brome. Plymouth: Northcote House, 1999.
Steggle, Matthew. Richard Brome: Place and Politics on the Caroline Stage. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.
Webster, John. The White Devil. Edited by John Russell Brown. London: Methuen, 1960, second edition, 1966.
Wilson, Richard. Secret Shakespeare: Studies in theatre, religion and resistance. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004.
 Joe Lee Davis, The Sons of Ben: Jonsonian Comedy in Caroline England (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1967).
 Matthew Steggle, Richard Brome: Place and Politics on the Caroline Stage (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), 1.
 R. J. Kaufmann, Richard Brome: Caroline Playwright (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961).
 Ira Clark, Professional Playwrights: Massinger, Ford, Shirley and Brome (Lexington: Kentucky University Press, 1992), 155.
 The suggestion that he was educated at Eton, made in 'A List of Dramatic Authors and their Works' in Colley Cibber, An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, Comedian (London: R. & J. Dodsley, 1756), as cited in Steggle, Richard Brome, 2, is discredited by Steggle's research.
 Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair, Induction 6-7 in Ben Jonson: Five Plays, ed. G. A. Wilkes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988, reprint 1990), 489.
 Richard Brome, The Dramatic Works of Richard Brome, ed. John Pearson, 3 vols (1873, New York: AMS Press, 1966), 3.[v] cited in Steggle, Richard Brome, 15.
 Steggle, Richard Brome, 14-5.
 Ben Jonson, 'Ode to Himself', quoted from Horatius Flaccus: His Art of Poetry Englished by Ben: Jonson. With other Workes of the Author (London: J. Okes, 1640), 136 cited in Steggle, Richard Brome, 17-8.
 A detailed analysis of the known facts of Brome's career in this period is given in Steggle, Richard Brome, 43-66.
 The New Globe Theatre staged The Antipodes in 2000.
 See Henry Brome's contribution to the front matter of the play, 'The Stationer to the Readers', where he records his hope that 'by delighting' the play's readers 'to profit' himself.
 Gerald Eades Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage: Plays and Playwrights, vol. III (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956, reprint Oxford University Press, 1967), 87.
 See the original quarto: Richard Brome, The Queen's Exchange (London: Henry Brome, 1657); it is also possible to access images of the quarto via Early English Books Online: <http://eebo.chadwyck.com>
 F. G. Fleay, A Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama, 1559-1642, vol. I (London: Reeves and Turner, 1891), 37 cited in Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol. III, 87.
 Martin Butler, Theatre and Crisis 1632-1642 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 268.
 Steggle, Richard Brome, 44.
 See this edition: 'Prologue', ll. 5-6.
 Steggle, Richard Brome, 54.
 Butler, Theatre and Crisis, 3.
 Bentley, The Jacobean and Caroline Stage, vol. III, 87.
 Butler, Theatre and Crisis, 266-7.
 Steggle, Richard Brome, 56-7.
 Kaufmann, Richard Brome, 179.
 Davis, The Sons of Ben, 30.
 Clarence Edward Andrews, Richard Brome: A Study of his Life and Works (New York: Yale University Press, 1913, reprint Archon, 1972), 85.
 Richard Brome, The City Wit, III.i., ed. Katherine Wilkinson (2004), an online edition: http://www.shu.ac.uk/schools/cs/teaching/lh/renplays/witindex.htm
 Andrews, Richard Brome, 131.
 Ben Jonson, Volpone in Ben Jonson: Five Plays, ed. G. A. Wilkes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988, reprint 1990).
 Ben Jonson, The Devil is an Ass in Ben Jonson, vol. VI, ed. C. H. Herford, P. Simpson, and E. Simpson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1938).
 Richard Brome, The Queen and Concubine, I.i.1-4. Accessible via Literature Online: <http://lion.chadwyck.co.uk.>
 Richard Brome, The Antipodes, II.i.69-72 in Three Renaissance Travel Plays ed. Anthony Parr (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), 249.
 John Ford, The Broken Heart, III.ii.26-7 in John Ford, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Other Plays, ed. Marion Lomax (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995, reprint, 1998), 117.
 Marion Lomax, 'Introduction' in John Ford, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Other Plays, xxi.
 All references to The Queen's Exchange are to this edition.
 Butler, Theatre and Crisis, 265.
 Marion Lomax, 'Introduction' in John Ford, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore and Other Plays, xvi.
 Butler, Theatre and Crisis, 7.
 Ibid., 12.
 Ibid., 13.
 Ibid., 16.
 Ibid., 19.
 Lisa Hopkins, 'We were the Trojans: British national identities in 1633', Renaissance Studies 16 (2002): 37.
 Steggle, Richard Brome, 56.
 Raphael Holinshed et al, The first and second volumes of Chronicles (London: 1587), 'The Fift Booke of the Historie of England', Chapter xxiiij; accessed via Early English Books Online: <http://eebo.chadwyck.com>
 Ibid., 'The Sixt Booke', Chapter xvj.
 Ibid., 'The Sixt Booke', Chapter ii.
 Roger Collins and Judith McClure, 'Introduction' in The Venerable Saint Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, ed. Roger Collins and Judith McClure (731, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, reprint, 1999), xv.
 Holinshed, Chronicles, 'The Fift Booke of the Historie of England', Chapter xix.
 The Venerable, Saint Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, ed. Roger Collins and Judith McClure (731, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, reprint, 1999), Book I Chapter 25, 39.
 Roger Collins and Judith McClure, 'Explanatory Notes' in Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, 371.
 Christopher Hibbert, Charles I (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968), 86.
 Nick Page, Lord Minimus: The Extraordinary Life of Britain's Smallest Man (London: HarperCollins, 2001, reprint, 2002), 3.
 See Kaufmann, Richard Brome, 99n; the poem is accessible via Literature Online: <http://lion.chadwyck.co.uk.>
 Ian Donaldson, The World Upside-Down: Comedy from Jonson to Fielding (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), 40.
 Julie Sanders, Caroline Drama: The Plays of Massinger, Ford, Shirley and Brome (Plymouth: Northcote House, 1999), 32.
 David Cressy, Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989), 93.
 Ibid., xii.
 Ibid., 137.
 Ibid., 99.
 Sanders, Caroline Drama, 32-3.
 Ibid., 33.
 Robert Bellarmine, De controversiis christianae fidei (Ingolstadt: 1601), vol. 2, 826 cited in Richard Wilson, Secret Shakespeare: Studies in theatre, religion and resistance (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), 190.
 See Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992) for a detailed discussion of the practices of traditional religion in England before, during and after the Reformation.
 Ira Clark, Professional Playwrights, 162.
 Anthony Parr, 'Notes' to Richard Brome, The Antipodes in Three Renaissance Travel Plays ed. Anthony Parr (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), 217.
 See the Front Matter of this edition.
 Ovid, Fasti 2nd edition, translated by J. G. Frazer, revised by G. P. Goold, Loeb Classical Library, Volume V (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1931, revised, 1989) vi.595.