Page images
PDF
EPUB

On Jan. 30, 1598 we have recorded (214) Dekker's indebtedness to Henslowe for 3£ ios; and on May 5, 1602 is noted (235) the receipt of £5 by Dekker and Monday, the same to be repaid on the 10 of June following.

After Jonson's example, we cannot censure Dekker for his gibes at Horace's suit of perpetuana or everlasting (cf. Satiromastix 232). And even the many bitter attacks upon Horace's personal appearance have some excuse. That Jonson's sneers struck home is evident from Dekker's return to them, Satiromastix 201, 245; and that Dekker was sensible that his replies might be censured appears from his address ‘To the World.' 'I meete one, and he runnes full Butt at me with his Satires hornes, for that in vntrussing Horace I did onely whip his fortunes, and condition of life, where the more noble Reprehension had bin of his mindes Deformitie, whose greatnes if his Criticall Lynx had with as narrow eyes, obseru'd in himselfe, as it did little spots vpon others, without all disputation: Horace would not haue left Horace out of Every man's in Humour. His fortunes ? why does not he taxe that onely in others? Read his Arraignement and see.'

3. 4. 338. Demetrivs, a dresser of plaies. This slur seems no more deserved by Dekker than by Jonson himself, who in September 1601 and in June 1602 received payments from Henslowe (Diary 201, 223) for additions to the very Spanish Tragedy that he ridicules here, in Cynthia's Revels, and later in other plays. It is well known that Shakespeare also was a 'dresser of plaies'; cf. the famous allusion to the upstart crow in Greene's Groat's Worth of Wit, 1592. Moreover, at the time of the appearance of Poetaster, Dekker was already known for his excellent comedy, The Shoemaker's Holiday (400 1600); while in 1599 he had produced, in collaboration with Chettle and with Jonson, four new plays, to say nothing of pamphlets. (Cf. Thomas Dekker, Mermaid ed., Introd. xv, xvi.)

3. 4. 339–342. We ... rest. 'It seems, from what follows, that our poet's enemies made no secret of their determination to untruss him; he appears here well informed of their design, and of the names of the chief agents who had already volunteered their services against him. It is certain, therefore, that the quarrel between him and Decker did not break out for the first time in the Postaster, as is generally asserted: and it is no less clear that Jonson gives his opponents credit for more good sense than they actually possessed; since, instead of bringing him in with Mecaenas, Tibullus, &c., they introduced him with Wat. Terill, Sir Adam Prickshaft, and Sir Rice ap Vaughan, a sputtering Welsh knight, of the meanest order. These, with William Rufus, form a plot that can scarcely be equalled in absurdity by the worst of the plays which Decker was ever employed to "dress." ' (G.)

It is rather hard for Gifford to see anything evil in Jonson, and harder for him to see much good in the men whom Jonson happens to be attacking: it should be said, in justice to Dekker's dramatic power, that Satiromastix came forth with its fantastic combination of incongruous plots undoubtedly because when Poetaster appeared Dekker was at work upon a tragedy centering about William Rufus, and to this he attached his rough and ready replies to Jonson's attacks in Cynthia's Revels and in Poetaster.

Cunningham remarks: 'Gifford seems to miss the joke which Jonson loves to dwell upon in the synonyms Decker and Dresser.'

3. 4. 345. This winter. Cynthia's Revels was completed early in 1601, and Poetaster begun probably soon after. This reference is therefore to the winter of 1600-1601. Poetaster was entered S.R. Dec. 21, 1601.

3. 4. 347. No bodie comes at vs. At this period the adult companies were suffering loss of patronage because of the popularity of the private theatres, Paul's and the Blackfriars, where the children's companies performed. Jonson was fortunate in having the Revels in 1600 and Poetaster in 1601 produced by these children, now become the fad. Cf. Shakespeare's reference to the little eyasses,' Hamlet 2. 2. 355 ff.

3. 4. 352. My Parnassvs. i. e. Crispinus.
3. 4. 365-371. From the Battle of Alcazar 2. 3. I-11:

The Moor. Where art thou, boy? Where is Calipolis?

O deadly wound that passeth by mine eye,
The fatal poison of my swelling heart!
O fortune constant in unconstancy!
Fight earthquakes in the intrails of the earth,
And eastern whirlwinds in the hellish shades!
Some foul contagion of th’infected heaven
Blast all the trees, and in their cursed tops
The dismal night-raven and tragic owl
Breed, and become foretellers of my fall,

The fatal ruin of my name and me! Jonson omits lines 2, 3, 4, II, and changes 'foretellers' to 'forerunners.' Two other passages in Peele's play should be cited, since they were ridiculed again and again :

The Moor. Hold thee, Calipolis, feed, and faint no more;

This flesh I forced from a lioness,
Meat of a princess, for a princess meet. (2. 3.)

The Moor. Into the shades, then, fair Calipolis,

And make thy son and negroes here good cheer:
Feed and be fat, that we may meet the foe
With strength and terror, to revenge our wrong.

(2. 3, end.)

.

Gifford remarks: "This second introduction of the Moor offended Decker, who seems to advert to it with some ill humour, but in a way which I do not clearly understand. “As for Crispinus, and Demetrius his play-dresser, who, to make the Muses believe that there was a dearth of poesy, cut an innocent Moor in the middle, to serve him in twice; and when he had done, made Paul's work of it": (Here Decker retorts on Jonson's actors): "as for these twins,

These poet-apes, their mimic tricks shall serve

With mirth to feast our Muse, while their own starve.”' The above passage from Satiromastix is obscure enough, as Gifford hints, but that Dekker is offended by the serving in of the Moor twice, does not appear: indeed, Dekker also has a fling (230) at the Battle of Alcazar: 'Feede and be fat my faire Calipolis, stir not my beauteous wriggle-tailes.' The writer of this parody can hardly have objected to Jonson's treatment of the Moor. Fleay (Chr. I. 127-8) has the following conjecture, concerning the Life and Death of Captain Thomas Stukeley, S.R. Aug. II, 1600, ascribed to Dekker: 'This play is evidently by three authors. Act 5 I think by Peele: the Alcazar part.

The altered play, dating probably 1600, was not made for the Admiral's men—their name would have appeared in the title—but more likely for the Paul's boys.

‘All this is explained in Satiromastir, Sc. 4, where Horace (Jonson) says Fannius (Dekker, Crispinus,' i. e. Marston's play-dresser), "to make the muses believe subjects' ears were starved, and that there was a dearth of poesy, cut an innocent Moor i' th' middle to serve him in twice, and when he had done made Paul's work of it." Dekker had patched up the play with half of one by Peele on the Moor Mahomet, and then published it. Satiromastix must, then, date after Aug. 11. Cf. also Fleay, Chr. 2. 154, and Ward, Eng. Dram. Lit. I. 370-1 note.-To the present editor, the Satiromastix passage seems not yet fully accounted for.

Marston, too, has his gibe at Peele, in What You Will 5. 1. I, the party being at dinner: 'Quadratus. Feed, and be fat, my fair Calipolis.' And Shakespeare: 'Then feed, and be fat, my fair Calipolis.' 2 Henry IV. 2. 4. 193. Also Thos. Heywood, Royal King and Loyal Subject 2. 2: Captain Bonville. Here do I mean to cranch, to munch, to eat,

To feed, and be fat, my fine Calipolis. 3. 4. 373. Seuen-shares and a halfe. Probably the manager of Histrio's company, as it is unlikely that any actor (other than Alleyn and Burbage, who were managers also) would hold anything like seven and a half shares in a playhouse. This makes against the theory held by several critics that Histrio is Henslowe, since it is unlikely that any one with whom Henslowe was associated would hold a share so large as is here implied. And of course, Histrio is an actor, which Henslowe never was.

On the size of individual holdings, cf. Collier (Stage 3. 429): "Gamaliel Ratsey, in that rare tract, called Ratseis Ghost (printed about 1606), knights the principal performer of a company by the title of “Sir Three-shares and a half." ;

3. 4. 374-6. If ... countenance. Players not in the service of a noble or a royal personage were classed as rogues and vagabonds. Cf. 14 Eliz. c. 5. v. (1572); and 39 Eliz. c. 4. (1597). See note on 1. 2. 56.

Malone remarks (Eng. Stage 48): ‘Like the other servants of the household, the performers enrolled in this company [his majesty's servants) were sworn into office, and each of them was allowed four yards of bastard scarlet for a cloak, and a quarter of a yard of velvet for the cape, every second year.'

3. 4. 387–8. Hang .. slaue. ‘The poet is truly classical here,' comments Whalley, citing Catullus 69. 5-6: Fertur Valle sub alarum trux habitare caper. 'And truly coarse and disgusting,' adds Gifford. Cf. also Hor., Sat. 1. 4. 91–3.

3. 4. 390. Twentie drachmes. Cf. the 'twentie sesterces of 3. 4. 196. These are discrepant amounts: twenty drachmas would be equivalent to about $3.90; but Tucca had asked for only twenty sesterces, about one dollar. As Minos cannot be supposed to have given more than was asked for, Jonson must have made a slip.

3. 4. 400. They say. 'Here the third act ends in the 4to. In the folio, Jonson, as if this play had not a sufficient number of transla-, tions in it, had added a literal version of Horace, Lib. ii. Sat. i.; which, as the reader knows, is an exculpatory dialogue between the poet and Trebatius. As it is awkwardly introduced, tends to no particular object, interrupts the progress of the story, and spins out an act already too long, I have ventured to avail myself of the authority of the 4to. so far, as to remove it to the end of the piece.' (G.)

3. 5. 'This Dialogue, which is not in the quarto, bears no appearance of having been spoken on the stage; though it stands in the folio as the concluding scene of the third act.' Thus Gifford, who removes this scene to the end of the play.

3. 5. 23. Burst. "Used instead of “broke,” as in Spenser, F.Q., IV., 4, 41.' (N.)

3. 5. 28. As Lvcilivs, honor'd Scipio. Honored is here a verb -which is not quite clear with the folio punctuation.

3. 5. 38. Sad. Sad translates tristi,-better rendered in this case by sour, bitter.

3. 5. 41-2. “In ... straines. This paraphrases Horace, line 23: Cum sibi quisque timet, quamquam est intactus, et odit! Jonson quotes the Latin in his dedication of Volpone.

3. 5. 43. Milonivs. Milonius is unknown to the scholiasts.-We shall not enter into the conjectures and disputes of the commentators regarding these obscure allusions in Horace.

3. 5. 46. And ... apprehend. Horace has: Accessit numerusque lucernis. We might say: ‘When he begins to see double.' 3. 5. 47. Castor

fights. Castor gaudet equis: ovo prognatus eodem, Pugnis (26–7). This alludes, of course, to the hatching of Castor and Pollux by Leda, pregnant of Jove in the form of

.

a swan.

Cf. Persius, Sat. 5. 52-62, for a conception similar to that of Horace.

3. 5. 50. Both our better. Cf. Epigram 22, On my first Daughter:

Here lies, to each her parent's ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth.

Cf. also Catiline, 4. 3. Catiline says to the assembled conspirators: 'I am all your creature,' where all appears from the context to be not an adverb meaning wholly, but a pronoun: 'I am the creature of you all,' or ‘of all of you.'

3. 5. 52. See note on mistranslation, in our Introduction. 3. 5. 57. Lucanian

whether. Horace was born at Venusia, whose colonists, being borderers, cultivated both Lucanian and Apulian fields.

On the expression I not whether Dr. Nicholson comments: Gifford, unnecessarily making an alexandrine, inserts "know," a word understood by the tone and gesture [sic] of the speaker.' Both editors have quite missed the point here, owing to their misunderstanding of the word not, which, instead of being a negative adverb, is a verb. OE. nytan, from ne witan, ‘not to know, to be ignorant,' gives not, 'I know not, he knows not.' This appears in ME. as not or noot; it is common in Chaucer. The 1716 edition was the first to go wrong here, with an interpolated know, later adopted by Whalley and Gifford.

3. 5. 65. But ... touch. This is clear enough in the Latin, but not in the English: understand, ‘But this my stile shall touch no living man.' There seems to be a play on 'stile' in both Horace and Jonson.

3. 5. 68. Contend. Quem cur 'distringere coner (41).

3. 5. 70. Robs my good name. Nicholson cites Othello 3. 3. 156 ff.

thello

« PreviousContinue »