Il Cromuele

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Il Cromuele
Girolamo Graziani - Il Cromuele (1671) - attoI.jpg
Illustration form the first edition (1671). (Italian)
Author Girolamo Graziani
Original title Il Cromuele, Tragedia Del Co: Girolamo Gratiani Segretario, e Consigliere di Stato del Serenissimo signor Duca di Modana. Alla Mestà Christianissima di Luigi XIIII, Rè di Francia, e di Navarra
Country Italy
Language Italian
Genre Tragedy, Historical Drama
Publisher Manolessi (Italy)
Publication date
Pages 160
Preceded by L'Ercole Gallico. Alle Glorie della Sacratissima Maestà del re Cristianissim. Luigi XIV. Panegirico in Sesta Rima, Modena, Soliani, 1666
Followed by Applauso profetico alle Glorie del re Cristianissimo Luigi XIV. panegirico in Sesta Rima, Modena, Soliani, 1673

Il Cromuele (/ɪlkrɔːˈmwɛlæ/; The Cromwell) is a tragedy in five acts, released in 1671. It was conceived and written by Girolamo Graziani, through the sixties of the 17th century, in Modena, during the troubled reign of Laura Martinozzi.


The first information on the composition of the Il Cromuele appears in the preface to Graziani's Varie Poesie e Prose (1662).[1]

Since 1666 the writing of Il Cromuele is accompanied by an extensive correspondence with Jean Chapelain,[2] as Graziani was waged by Colbert on behalf of Louis The Great.[3]


Henrighetta, Queen of England has escaped from Cromuele, the tyrant usurper who imprisoned her husband king Carlo in the Tower of London. After useless petitions to the Government of Edinburgh and to the one of Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, she has sailed towards France in order to ask for help even her nephew Louis XIV.

She is with Delmira, a young Irish girl just known during the trip. The two women, for their security, are travelling with male clothes, as Dutch Merchants. During the voyage, their ship has been wrecked, and their lifeboat was pushed by the wind to English coast, from where they reached London under the identities of Henrico (Henry) and Edmondo (Edmund).

In this guise, they have been housed in the Palace of Odoardo (Edward) and Anna Hide, a family in pectore still loyalist despite it shows fidelity to the usurper Cromuele. The beauty and the singing qualities of Edmondo/Delmira, have meant that the two women were both introduced in Whitehall to attend a major Costume party that Cromuele has ordered, to distract Londoners from the consequences of his despotic government and a looming plague.

So far the Backstory. With the arrival at Palace Edmondo/Delmira and Henrico/Henrighetta tragedy begins.

It's the eve of King's decapitation. The death sentence has not yet been issued. Elisabetta (Elizabeth), the wife of Cromuele, wants her husband to postpone the decision because she's secretly in love with the King. Her confidant Orinda, an elder widow sensitive to love affairs, combines her clandestine meeting with Carlo within the prison, where Elisabetta will be able to offer him clemency in change of love.

To arrange such an encounter, Orinda asks for help to Edmondo/Delmira (of which, thinking she's a boy, fell in love) and to Henrico/Henrighetta, reassured by their seeming foreigner.

The two heroines take this opportunity to groped to free Carlo, with the help of Odoardo and Anna Hide, to which in the meantime have revealed their true identities. But the discovery of the conspiracy precipitates the fate of Carlo which is executed at dawn as well as Edmondo/Delmira who, dying, has time to prove her identity, and through some details of her story, Orinda supposes to recognize her daughter, sent abroad when very young, to save her from a prophecy of die at home by relatives. Overwhelmed with grief, Orinda committees suicide on what she believes to be her daughter's corpse.

After the regicide. Cromuele can finally sleep, but his sleep is interrupted by a nightmare in which Mary Stuart heralds the end of his power. Upon awakening, Cromuele receives the glad tidings of the existence of a newborn daughter believed dead, but actually still alive because exchanged with Orinda's one while in bassinet.

But his happiness is short-lived because the anagnorisis plunges him into utter turmoil, when he discovers that his beloved daughter was actually the Edmondo/Delmira he has just executed.

Il Cromuele between history and fiction[edit]

Performance history[edit]

The Preface to the second edition of Il Cromuele (1673), shows no trace of its premiere, and even there is no trace in the rich documentation in the Este's National Archives in Modena.

The cause of the probable non-representation is the dynastic marriage occurred in 1673 (then only two years after first publication) between Maria Beatrice d'Este and James Stuart, the latter newly widowed by that Anne Hyde of whom, in the Il Cromuele, appears in love. A presence unwieldy for Graziani, who as Secretary of State, was keeping the interests of Este in the marriage.

In contemporary times, Il Cromuele has been represented in Piacenza in the theatre season 1996/97 by Piacenza's Company Gli Infidi Lumi, directed by Stefano Tomassini, music by Massimo Berzolla.[4]


  • Bologna, Manolessi, 1671 in -4°
  • Modena, Soliani, 1671 in -12°
  • Bologna, Manolessi, 1673 in -4°
  • [Piacenza], Infidi Lumi Edizioni, 1997 (out of print edition, theater adaptation by Stefano Tomassini)
  • Pisa, Edizioni della Normale, 2011, in: Storie Inglesi, l'Inghilterra vista dall'Italia tra storia e romanzo (XVIII sec.) edited by Clizia Carminati e Stefano Villani, pagg. 297 - 470.


  • Emilio Bertana, L'irregolarità del teatro profano: il «Cromuele» di Girolamo Graziani, in: Storia dei generi letterari italiani, la Tragedia, Milano, Vallardi, [1916?], pages 200-10.
  • Piero Di Nepi, Girolamo Graziani e la politica come arte: «Cromuele», "F.M. Annali dell'Istituto di Filologia Moderna dell'Università di Roma, 2-1979, Roma, 1981, pages 113-24 (see Fulvio Bianchi in: "La Rassegna della Letteratura italiana" diretta da Walter Binni, sept.dec. 1982, pages 620-1).
  • Rosa Galli Pellegrini, La Tragédie Italienne à l'école du classicisme Français: le rôle de Chapelain dans la genèse du "Cromuele" de Graziani, “Quaderni del Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Straniere Moderne, Università di Genova”, 2-1987, peges 35-57.
  • Maurizio Fasce, Introduzione e note alle edizione de Il Cromuele, con la collaborazione di Carlo Alberto Girotto, Storie Inglesi, l'Inghilterra vista dall'Italia tra storia e romanzo (XVIII sec.), edited by Clizia Carminati e Stefano Villani, Edizioni della Normale, Pisa, 2011, pagg. 297 - 330.


  1. ^ Modena, Soliani, 1662
  2. ^ Lettres de Jean Chapelain de l'Académie Française par publiées Tamizey Ph. de Larroque, Paris, Impr. Nationale, 1880 - 83, 2 vols; to integrate with: Jean Chapelain, Lettere inedite a corrispondenti italiani, con introduzione e note a cura di Petre Ciureanu, Genova, Di Stefano, 1964.
  3. ^ Peter Burke, La fabricación de Luis XIV, San Sebastián, Editorial Nerea, 1995, page 154 (1st English edition: London, 1992).
  4. ^ Sheerpluck - data base of contemporary guitar music