Then there went such a great concourse of people by water, that the small number of watermen remaining at home [the majority being employed in the Spanish war] were not able to carry them, by reason of the court, the tearms, the players, and other employments. So that we were inforccd and encouraged, hoping that this golden stirring world would have lasted ever, to take and entertaine men and boyes, which boyes are grown men, and keepers of houses; so that the number of watermen, and those that live and are maintained by them, and by the only labour of the oare and scull, betwixt the bridge of Windsor and Gravesend, cannot be fewer than forty thousand; the cause of the greater halfe of which multitude hath bene the players playing on the Bankside; for I have known three companies, besides the bear-baiting, at once there; to wit, the Globe, the Rose, and the Swan.
John Taylor , The Water Poet, 1613-14
Part II to follow very soon. Meanwhile a taster:
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