John Bale's King Johan (King John), considered to be important as the first English history play, albeit with an improbable premise: that Bad King John was a proto-protestant and hero of the struggle against the Whore of Babylon. Bale, a Carmelite friar turned married protestant priest had all of the classic zeal of the convert, which he exercised energetically when translated by King Edward VI to the see of Ossory, based at Kilkenny. The DIB doesn't mention King Johan (which it should) but it does touch on his autobiographical The vocacyon of Iohan Bale to the bishoprick of Ossorie in Irelande his persecucions in ye same, &; finall delyueraunce (1553), which is unsparing of the local religious scene when he reached Kilkenny:
In beholding the face and order of that city, I saw many abominable idolatries maintained by the priests for their worldly interests. The communion of the supper of the Lord was there altogether used like a popish mass with the old apish toys of antichrist, in bowings and beckonings, kneelings and knockings ...Unsurprisingly, Bale didn't have a great time in Ireland, although it provoked much lively writing of this sort. When the news came that Edward VI has died, to be replaced by the Catholic Queen Mary, Bale describes how the priests of Kilkenny went on a pub crawl round the town, drinking "Rob Davie and Aqua Vitae" (I don't know what Rob Davie is) and toasting Bale's imminent departure.
Kobbé's Complete Opera Book edited by the impresario the Earl of Harewood, apparently a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. It really annoyed me that the section on 19th-century "English" opera included the Dubliner Michael William Balfe and the Wexford man William Vincent Wallace. (We'll give them Arthur "Gilbert and" Sullivan, since he was only the son of an Irishman. Julius Benedict, composer of the hit opera Lily of Killarney, based on Dion Boucicault's play The Colleen Bawn, was from Stuttgart but also co-opted by Kobbé/Harewood into the "English" section.) Balfe was a huge figure in his day, a very successful violinist and singer who went on to compose a string of big operas. The biggest of them all was The Bohemian Girl, from which the came the hit I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls. He also set the Tennyson lines Come Into the Garden, Maud for voice and piano - another key Victorian musical work. I've been nitpicking about odd omissions in DIB lives, but it's really inexplicable that the long Balfe life mentions neither song, although The Bohemian Girl is given its due.