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nificant: 3. 4. 212-7, 335-358; 4. 3. 100-135; 4. 7. 30-4; 5. 3. 177 to the close. Moreover, in the Conversations (P. 20) we read: 'He had many quarrells with Marston, beat him, and took his pistol from him, wrote his Poetaster on him.' Finally, we have the address ‘To the World,' prefixed to the 1602 edition of Dekker's Satiromastix, which contains the following:
J care not much if I make description (before thy Universality) of that terrible Poetomachia, lately commenced betweene Horace the second, and a band of leane-witted Poetasters. They haue bin at high wordes, and so high, that the ground could not serue them, but (for want of Chopins) haue stalk't vpon Stages.
Horace hal'd his Poetasters to the Barre; the Poetasters vntruss'd Horace: how worthily eyther, or how wrongfully, (World) leaue it to the Jurie: Horace (questionles) made himselfe belleue, that his Burgonian wit might desperately challenge all commers, and that none durst take vp the foyles against him: It's likely, if he had no so beleiu'd, he had not bin so deceiu'd, for hee was answer'd at his owne weapon: And if before Apollo himselfe (who is Coronator Poetarum) an Inquisition should be taken touching this lamentable merry murdering of Innocent Poetry: all mount Helicon to Bun-hill, it would be found on the Poetasters side Se defendendo.
The dramatic quarrels centering in Poetaster have been dealt with by many students of the Elizabethan drama; two monographs have been devoted to them: the War of the Theaters, by J. H. Penniman, and the Stage-Quarrel between Ben Jonson and the So-called Poetasters, by R. A. Small. Dr. Small's work, in particular, is at once ingenious, fearless, painstaking, and accurate. A brief inquiry with especial reference to Poetaster is therefore all that is neces
Excepting Samuel Daniel, who, according to Small's investigations, (Stage-Quarrel 181-197), probably had no share, we may accept Fleay's list (Stage 119; cf. also Chr. 1. 369-370; Shakespeare 220) of the chief participators in the stage-quarrel: Jonson, and against him more or less actively, Monday, Shakespeare, Marston, Dekker.
But our concern is primarily with Jonson's quarrel with Marston and
Dekker, since Shakespeare and Monday are apparently not alluded to in Poetaster. When did this quarrel with the Poetaster and his Journeyman begin? Are we to accept literally the three yeeres' of the Apologetical Dialogue 83, thus, since Poetaster was composed in the summer of 1601, referring the beginning of the Marston attacks to the summer of 1598? The critics have agreed that in act i sc. I of the Case is Altered, first acted about December 1598, Anthony Monday is satirized in the person of Antonio Balladino; but we have no references in that play to Marston or Dekker. Antonio and Mellida, which Marston wrote, and Histriomastix, which he revised, did not appear until the latter part of 1599. Fleay asserts (Chr. 1. 97-8): 'It is clear that the beginning (on the stage] of the turmoil among the three theatrical houses arose from Marston's abuse of Jonson and praise of Daniel and Drayton in his Satires (entered S. R. 27th May 1598). Cf. also Fleay, Chr. 2. 69. Now this view that the beginning on the stage of the Jonson-Marston quarrel was something in Marston's early satires, is contravened by Jonson's own report (Conversations p. 20): 'He had many quarrells with Marston, beat him, and took his pistol from him, wrote his Poetaster on him; the beginning of them were, that Marston represented him in the stage, in his youth given to venerie. He thought the use of a maide nothing in comparison to the wantoness of a wyfe, and would never have ane other mistress. I quote those two sentences because, though the second has nothing to do with our subject, I incline to change the punctuation as suggested by Small (StageQuarrel 3-4), placing a period after 'stage' as well as after 'venerie.' Since we do not find Marston representing Jonson on the stage as 'given to venerie,' but do find him representing Jonson as the poet-scholar Chrysogonus in Histriomastix, 1599, the importance of this slight change in punctuation is obvious. It seems clear, in conclusion, that the 'three yeeres' mentioned by Jonson take us back to his own attack (however caused) upon Anthony Monday in 1598, but cannot refer to any quarrel with Marston or with Dekker at that time. Jonson's earliest satire of the last two dramatists seems to have been in Hedon and Anaides of Cynthia's Revels, produced probably in the winter of 1600-1.
The character Chrysogonus in Histriomastix, a play revised by Marston in 1599, is regarded by Fleay (Chr. 2. 71) as having been designed for a complimentary representation of Jonson. Translator, dramatist, writer of epigrams and satires, Chrysogonus appears much what Jonson was. 'Nevertheless,' writes Fleay, Jonson took offence; he could not tolerate being made to talk fustian, and his scholarly service to all the sciences implied in i. I did not compensate for that. Hence his abuse of Marston.' Evidently Fleay has here hit upon the real beginning of Jonson's quarrel with Marston. Small, who has made the only complete analysis of Histriomasti.r (cf. Stage-Quarrel 67-90), concludes that Marston, then a friend of Jonson, ridiculed Monday, Jonson's enemy, as Posthaste, at the same time drawing a wellintended portrait of Jonson as Chrysogonus. The portrait, however, did not please its original, and the seeds of a quarrel were sown. This conclusion seems warranted by an undoubted attack upon Jonson made in Jack Drum's Entertainment (dating in the spring of 1600), a play which all the critics have agreed in assigning to Marston. Jonson's spleen becoming evident, it is not surprising that in Jack Drum Marston should undertake to give Jonson something to cry for. Simpson (School of Shakespeare 2. 129) was the first to identify Old Brabant of Jack Drum: 'Old Brabant, who was first of all intended for a witless patron of wit, a rich gull who spends his wealth in giving suppers to poets, insensibly becomes transformed to the great critic and scourge of the times.
This phase of Brabant senior is clearly meant for Jonson; in his character of a rich gull, and in the punishment which overtakes him in
the end of the play, he could hardly be meant for Jonson, even in those days of reckless misstatement.' Small (StageQuarrel 99-100) goes further, arguing that both as gull and as satirist Brabant senior represents Jonson. In any case, the essential fact is indisputable: with the entrance of Old Brabant upon the stage, the Marston-Jonson quarrel was setting toward high-tide.
As our object here is not a new investigation of all the dramas and characters concerned in the Stage-Quarrel, but only a brief statement of the part played in it by the Horace, the Crispinus, and the Demetrius of Poetaster, we shall simply state categorically that Fastidious Brisk and Carlo Buffone in Every Man out of his Humour, acted early 1599, were not directed at Marston and Dekker; but that in Cynthia's Revels, produced nearly a year later, Hedon is intended for Marston and Anaides for Dekker. As for Poetaster, it was probably undertaken, as it was certainly hurried to completion, in order to forestall a counterattack which Jonson had heard was to be made by the dramatists whom he had been satirizing. The popularity of the performances by the Chapel Children, who had produced Cynthia's Revels, and the consequent losses of the adult companies, were doubtless the chief cause of the readiness of the Chamberlain's men to take advantage of the known hostility of Dekker and Marston toward Jonson, and to retain Dekker for a dramatic attack. We can hardly accept Jonson's sneering assertion (Poetaster 3. 4. 337 ff.) that Dekker's natural malevolence and present poverty were his sole reasons for undertaking the 'untrussing.' That Dekker was usually in straitened circumstances seems clear; but that he was also envious and vengeful is to be doubted. The representation of him as Anaides, moreover, even without the added insults in Poètaster, was sufficient reason for all the vituperation of Satiromastix. Finally, there is clear evidence in Satiromastix itself that when he was invited to join Marston and the Globe company in a public attack upon Jonson, Dekker had already been at work upon what would have proved at least a bread-and-butter play. Upon this William Rufus tragedy was grafted the satire of Jonson. Incidentally, I would suggest that Dekker may have drawn from Jonson himself the idea of tossing Horace-Jonson in a blanket: cf. Cynthia's Revels 3. 2, Anaides and Hedon loq.
As to the ending of the Stage-Quarrel, I can do no better than refer again to Small (op. cit. 127-8). “We have no means of knowing exactly when the quarrel ended. Fleay has several times asserted (so also Symonds, Ben Jonson, p. 43) that it ended before the publication of Chester's Love's Martyr, 1601: for to that book Jonson, Chapman, Marston, and Shakspere contributed. This idea is unfounded; for the contributions of the four men are wholly independent. No doubt the compiler of the book asked these four poets for verses for the simple reason that they were at the moment the most prominent literary figures of the time; this prominence came in no small measure from this very quarrel. From ii Return from Parnassus we may be fairly sure that Shakspere and Jonson, at least, were still on ill terms at Christmas, 1601. When Dekker published Satiromastix in 1602, he was as bitter as ever toward Jonson. Late in 1603, however, we find Marston highly complimenting Jonson in the Epilogue to the Malcontent; and the most friendly relations lasted until 1606. We cannot tell whether the coolness that ensued was permanent; for after that year Marston wrote no more, and completely dropped out of the literary world.'
C. THE DATE OF POETASTER
Poetaster was entered on the Stationers' Register Dec. 21, 1601, and published in quarto in 1602. The title-page of the first folio, 1616, tells us that the play had been acted in 1601. What, then, can we gather as to the date of composition and of first stage production ? Poetaster itself, Cynthid's Revels, and Dekker's Satiromastix, are our sources of information.