Page images

the man who goes into print must 'indure to see his lines torne pittifully on the rack: suffer his Muse to take the Bastoone, yea the very stab

5. 3. 626. Gent. This early use of the now vulgar or derisive form gent., for gentlemen, is interesting. N.E.D. gives as its first occurrence: ‘1564 in Heath Grocers' Comp. (1869) 12 To make a supper to divers gentlemen of Gray's Inne, for the great amitie betweene them and the Middle Temple gents.'

5. 3. 628. Vntrussers. This allusion is primarily to Marston, whose first book, the Scourge of Villanie (1598), Proemium, begins:

I bear the scourge of just Rhamnusia,
Lashing the lewdness of Britannia.

Jonson alludes to the Scourge in Every Man Out 2. I, where he makes Puntarvolo call Carlo Buffone 'thou Grand Scourge, or Second Untruss of the time. The first Untruss was Marston, and Carlo deserved the title of Second Untruss because of his biting tongue. Rumpatur,

inuidia. Cf. Martial, Sat. 9. 97. II-12:

Rumpitur invidia, quod amamur quodque probamur :
Rumpatur, quisquis rumpitur invidia.

This may be translated:

He is bursting with envy because I am loved and praised;

Whoever is bursting with envy, let him burst. R. 3-4. Apologeticall Dialogue. This dialogue must have been written soon after the first production of Poetaster, which raised the storm of protest from the partisans of players, citizens, and captains that the Dialogue was intended to deprecate. By December 21, 1601, when Poetaster was entered on the Stationers' Register, the Dialogue had been composed, but not yet suffered to be spoken or to be set up in type. It was evidently designed to admit of Jonson's addressing his audience in his own person, and upon the one occasion when it was spoken on the stage, it may well have been shared in by our author. As an apology it is a remarkable indication of just how humble Ben Jonson could be when he set his mind to it. R. 13. Non

To paraphrase: 'Not greyness in years, but wisdom in manners, deserves to be praised.'

A. D. 1. Ward observes (Eng. Dram. Lit. 2. 360): 'In this [Apologetical Dialogue] he sought to furnish a plain exposition of his motives in adopting the method of self vindication which the play exemplifies; and after the fashion of an Aristophanic parabasis, addresses himself directly to the aud ce, before which he probably appeared in propria persona.'


Both the Apologetical dialogue and the Dedication of Poetaster have much in common with Discoveries, De bonis et malis; de innocentia.

A. D. 5. Is he guilty of 'hem? A vague reference to the charges of arrogance, filching by translation, censure of good citizens, satirizing of soldiers and lawyers, made against Jonson after the appearance of Poetaster.

A. D. 32. Beares-Colledge. i. e. Bear-garden, on the Bank-side. Cf. Hentzner, Acct. of Eng. p. 42: “There is still another place, built in the form of a Theatre, which serves for the baiting of Bulls and Bears, they are fastened behind, and then worried by great English bull-dogs; but not without great risque to the dogs, from the horns of the one, and the teeth of the other; and it sometimes happens they are killed upon the spot; fresh ones are immediately supplied in the place of those that are wounded, or tired.' A. D. 54. Improbior ... cinaedo. Juvenal, Sat. 4.

106: ‘More shameless than a profligate writing satire.'

A. D. 63. Salt. Gifford comments: 'From Horace (Sat. 1. 10. 4), At idem, quod sale multo Urbem defricuit.' Cf. Volpone, Prol. :

‘All gall and copperas from his ink he draineth,

Only a little salt remaineth,
Wherewith he'll rub your cheeks, till red with laughter,

They shall look fresh a week after. A. D. 69. Lawyers. Cf. Satiromastix p. 244: 'Tuc. Ile tell thee why, because th' ast entred Actions of assault and battery, against a companie of honurable and worshipfull Fathers of the law: you wrangling rascall, law is one of the pillers ath land, and if thou beest bound too't (as I hope thou shalt bee) thou't prooue a skip-Jacke, thou't be whipt.'

A. D. 72. Whalley cites Martial 10. 33. 10: Parcere personis, dicere de vitiis. Cf. the Trebatius dialogue, 3. 5. 133-4, where Jonson rejects Horace, Sat. 2. 1. 84-5, and writes :

Sharp, yet modest rimes,
That spare men's persons, and but taxe their crimes.

A. D. 100. Grasse-hoppers. Cf. Volpone 3. 2: 'Ah me, I have ta'en a grasshopper by the wing.' Upon which Gifford has noted: ““This,” says Upton, who merely copies Erasmus (in Adag.) “was a proverb of the poet Archilochus, as Lucian tells us in the beginning of his Pseudologista."' It is the locust, or cicada, that is referred to here, not our common grasshopper.

A. D. 107. Tentas? Ovid, Trist. 4. 10. 21, ed. Merkel, has temptas.


A. D. 117. Vnto true Souldiers. This was afterward printed as 108 of the Epigrams, which, writes Whalley, 'seems to have been written as a kind of compensation for the character of Captain Tucca, in that play.' But Gifford demurs: 'This was written before the Poetaster. Could not Whalley see that it alluded to the captain in the preceding epigram ['To captain Hungry'] ? If there was any soldier stupid enough to take the character of Tucca as a reflection on the army, he was not to be reclaimed to sense by the power of verse. Jonson produced the epigram in his Apology to shew that he entertained no disrespectful opinion of the profession of a soldier.'

Yet Whalley may be right, for Jonson speaks of ‘an Epigram I here have made,' which might mean that he had written Epigram 108 after Poetaster, and especially for the Apologetical Dialogue.

A. D. 124. Actions. Cf. 4. 7. 20, and note.

A. D. 141. Nor the vntrussers? Referring, of course, to Dekker and Marston. A. D. 148-9. Arm'd

themselues. Archilochus was Greek poet who flourished about 700 B. C. and was celebrated for his powerful lampoons. Pliny (Nat. Hist. 36 ch. 4) records the following anecdote of the sculptors Bupalis and Athenis: 'These last were contemporaries of the poet Hipponax, who, it is well known, lived in the sixtieth Olympiad.

Hipponax being a man notorious for his ugliness, the two artists, by way of joke, exhibited a statue of him for the ridicule of the public. Indignant at this, the poet emptied upon them all the bitterness of his verses; to such an extent indeed, that, as some believe, they were driven to hang themselves in despair.' Pliny goes on to disprove this story, but his version of it may well have been the source of this allusion in Jonson.

A. D. 150. Irish rats. It was formerly believed that Irish rats could be extirpated by rimed charms or by anathemas in verse. Cf. Staple of News, end of act 4; As You Like It 3. 2. 188; S. BaringGould, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, 1869, Piper of Hameln and Bishop Hatto.

A. D. 151. Stampe. 'This sentiment, which Jonson repeats in his dedication of the Fox, is from Martial. (G.)

A..D. 153. Barber-Surgeons. Cf. Wheatley and Cunningham, London 1. 102-4: 'The barbers of London and the surgeons of London were formerly distinct companies, and were first united when Holbein's picture was painted, in the 32d of Henry VIII. This union of corporate interests was dissolved in 1745, but barbers continued for many years to let blood; though it would be difficult now, even in a remote country town, to find the two misteries united in any other shape than a barbe pole.'

A. D. 159. Tabacco. Jonson has much to say of tobacco in Every Man In 3. 2; Every Man Out 3. 1; Alchemist 1. 1. See also Hentz



ner's Journey into England p. 43; and A Counterblaste to Tobacco, by James I., 1604. A. D. 161-6. When

man. From Juvenal, Sat. 13. 193–5, as noted by Gifford, who says Sat. 14 by mistake. Cf. also lines 191-2 of the Satire. A. D. 168–70. Let

best. The passage is ambiguous, but the sequence of ideas is made clear by the following arrangement:

Let 'hem goe,
And vse their tongues, the treasure of the foole,

Who makes his gayne, by speaking worst, of best. The original obscurity is so great, and yet the solution so obvious, that I incline to believe the text was here muddled by the printer and not corrected by Jonson. Cf. Discoveries: Acutius cernuntur vita quam virtutes.

A. D. 172. Rayling. In the prologue to Volpone Jonson returns to this charge. A. D. 181. Scarse

Cf. speech of Envy 14-15, and note; Volpone, prologue; also Satiromastix p. 259: 'You and your Itchy Poetry breake out like Christmas, but once a yeare.'

A. D. 186. Colts-foote. Coltsfoot-so called from the shape of its leaves—is the Tussilago farfara, formerly used as an expectorant. A. D. 188-9. Then

made. Gifford notes the allusion to Persius, Prol. 1o.

A. D. 206. Ibides. Cf. Pliny (Nat. Hist. bk. 8, ch. 41): 'The bird also, which is called the ibis, a native of the same country of Egypt, has shewn us some things of a similar nature si. e. methods of medical treatment). By means of its hooked beak, it laves the body through that part, by which it is especially necessary for health that the residuous food should be discharged.'

A. D. 211. Tragedie. Jonson's next play was Sejanus, which was acted in 1603 by Shakespeare's company at the Globe. But neither did tragedy seem to have a 'kind aspect': 'Though much applauded by the fashionable part of the au ce,' says Gifford, 'it proved “caviare to the general,” and experienced considerable opposition.

Subsequently it seems to have acquired some degree of popularity. Jonson says that it had outlived the malice of its enemies, when he republished it in folio, in 1616; and it was one of the first plays revived after the Restoration.' Cf. Jonson's dedication to Lord Aubigne; also Conversations p. 22: ‘Northampton was his mortall enimie for beating, on a St. George's day, one of his attenders: He was called before the Councell for his Sejanus, and accused both of poperie and treason by him.' A. D. 213-5. Where

Cf. Par. Lost 7. 31: ‘Fit audience find, tho' few. See further notes on this passage in the Introduction, 'Literary Sources.'


A. D. 215. Once. Once is used here in a sense in which it frequently occurs with our old writers—that is, emphatically, Once for all. (G.)

A. D. 220. Halfe my nights. Cf. C. Revels 3. 2, where Anaides says of Crites-Jonson: 'Fough! he smells all lamp-oil with studying by candle-light.'

A. D. 221–3. These impressive lines are an imitation of Juvenal, Sat. 7. 28-9.

Concerning the darke pale face, Cunningham says (GC. 2. 582): 'This exactly corresponds with the appearance of Jonson in the Hardwicke portrait, and [is] as unlike as may be to the “parboiled face full of pocky holes and pimples," "the face punched full of oylet holes like the cover of a warming pan,” and “the most ungodly face, like a rotten russet apple when 'tis bruised,” of the Satiromastix. Aubrey also says that “he was (or rather had been) of a clear and faire skin.” ?

As for bayes, the following pasage from Lingua (cf. Hazlitt's Dodsley 9. 416) is cited by Small (Stage-Quarrel 2) as an allusion to Jonson: 'Phantastes. That fellow in the bays, methinks I should have known him; 0, 'tis Comedus, 'tis so; but he has become nowadays something humorous, and too—too-satirical up and down, like his great grandfather, Aristophanes.'—Lingua was published anonymously in 1607, but is thought to have been written in Elizabeth's time.

A. D. 224-6. Cf. Underwoods 41, the Ode to Himself, which Gifford thinks was written about the time of the production of Poetaster:

And since our dainty age,

Cannot endure reproof,
Make not thyself a page,

To that strumpet the stage,
But sing high and aloof,
Safe from the wolf's black jaw, and the dull ass's hoof.

The principali Comedians. For Cynthia's Revels, acted in 1600, we have given in folio 1616 the names of N. Field. S. Pavy, T. Day, J. Underwood, R. Baxter, J. Frost.

Nat. Field. Cf. Conversations p. II: ‘Nid Field was his schollar, and he had read him the Satyres of Horace, and some Epigrames of Martiall.'

Field was the only one of these actors to become famous. He was born in 1587, in which year also his father died. The Rev. John Field had been an opponent of the theatre, but in 1600 the son was acting in Cynthia's Revels. His first recorded part is that of Bussy d'Ambois, in Chapman's play. In 1609 he played in Epicoene. Collier (Stage 1. 415-7) shows Field and Underwood to have become

« PreviousContinue »