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NATHAN FIELD (1587—1633)

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Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 322 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NATHAN FIELD (1587—1633), English dramatist and actor, was baptized on the 17th of October 1587. His father, the rector of Cripplegate, was a Puritan divine, author of a Godly Exhortation directed against play-acting, and his brother Theophilus became bishop of Hereford. Nat. Field early became one of the children of Queen Elizabeth's chapel, and in that capacity he played leading parts in Ben Jonson's Cynthia's Revels (in 1600), in the Poetaster (in 16o1), and in Epicoene (ip 16o8), and the title role in Chapman's Bussy d'Ambois (in 16o6). Ben Jonson was his dramatic model, and may have helped his career. The two plays of which he was author were probably both written before 1611. They are boisterous, but well-constructed comedies of contemporary London life ; the earlier one, A Woman is a Weathercock (printed 1612), dealing with the inconstancy of woman, while the second, Amends for Ladies (printed 1618), was written with the intention, as the title indicates, of retracting the charge. From Henslowe's papers it appears that Field collaborated with Robert Daborne and with Philip Massinger, one letter from all three authors being a joint appeal for money to free them from prison. In 1614 Field received £ro for playing before the king in Bartholomew Fair, a play in which Jonson records his reputation as an actor in the words " which is your Burbadge now? . . . Your best actor, your Field?" He joined the King's Players some time before 1619, and his name comes seventeenth on the list prefixed to the Shakespeare folio of 1623 of the " principal actors in all these plays." He retired from the stage before 1625, and died on the loth of February 1633. Field was part author with Massinger in the Fatal Dowry (printed 1632), and he prefixed commendatory verses to Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess. annotated text of Chrysostom's Homiliae in Matthaeum (Cam-bridge, 1839), and some years later he contributed to Pusey's Bibliotheca Patrum (Oxford, 1838-187o), a similarly treated text of Chrysostom's homilies on Paul's epistles. The scholarship displayed in both of these critical editions is of a very high order. In 1839 he had accepted the living of Great Saxham, in Suffolk, and in 1842 he was presented by his college to the rectory of Reepham in Norfolk. He resigned in 1863, and settled at Norwich, in order to devote his whole time to study. Twelve years later he completed the Origenis Hexaplorum quae supersunt (Oxford, 1867—1875), now well known as Field's Hexapla, a text reconstructed from the extant fragments of Origen's work of that name, together with materials drawn from the Syro-hexaplar version and the Septuagint of Holmes and Parsons (Oxford, 1798-1827). Field was appointed a member of the Old Testament revision company in 187o.
End of Article: NATHAN FIELD (1587—1633)
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