The Weeding of Covent Garden

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or, The Middlesex Justice of Peace

a comedy by Richard Brome

written c. 1632; first published 1659

About the Play

Richard Brome was one of the masters of the "City comedy," a genre of seventeenthy-century play usually set among the alleys and taverns of London. The Weeding of Covent Garden, in that tradition, depicts the then new and controversial planned neighborhood of Covent Garden as the haunt of dissipated students, dangerous gangs, swordfighting prostitutes, drunken puritans, false Venetian courtesans, and other assorted undesirables. In the play, Mr. Cockbrain attempts to rid the garden of its weeds, with bizarre and hilarious results.

Known Editions

  • The Weeding of the Covent-Garden. Or the Middlesex-Justice of Peace. A Facetious Comedy. A Posthume of Richard Brome, an Ingenious Servant, and Imitator of his Master, that famously Renowned Poet Ben. Johnson. Aut prodesse solent, aut delectare Poetae, Dramatis Personae. London, Printed for Andrew Crook, and are to be sold at the Green Dragon in St. Paul's Church-yard: And Henry Broom at the Gun in Ivy-Lane. 1658

    The Weeding of Covent Garden was first published posthumously, in the second volume of Five New Plays. The title-page to the collection is dated 1659 and lists the play's title as Covent Garden Weeded. The cover page for the individual play is dated 1658 and gives the title as The Weeding of the Covent-Garden. The running title at the top of each page is The Weeding of Covent-Garden.

References from Secondary Sources

  • Walter Wilson Gregg, A List of English Plays (1900)

    Five new Playes, viz...Covent Garden Weeded.... By Richard Brome. for A. Crook and H. Brome. 1659. 8vo. Each play has a separate titlepage and imprint as follows...Covent Garden. for Andrew Crook. 1658. The collection was edited by Alexander Brome. B.M. (E. 1782 date altered by Thomason to Jan. 1658, i.e. O.S.). Bodl. Dyce.

    [Another edition.] 8vo. B.M. (G. 18,536).

  • James O. Halliwell, A Dictionary of Old English Plays (1860)

    THE WEEDING OF THE COVENT GARDEN; or, the Middlesex Justice of Peace. A comedy by Richard Brome. 8vo 1658. The running-title of this play is, The Covent Garden weeded. It is called on the title-page, “a facetious comedy, a posthume of Richard Brome, an ingenious servant, and imitator of his master, that famously renowned poet, Ben Johnson.”