« PreviousContinue »
With the above, cf. the speech in which Crites (Criticus in quarto), characterizes Hedon and Anaides in Cynthia's Revels 3. 2.
After the speeches we have cited in Satiromastix, Crispinus and Demetrius, whom Dekker uses to represent Marston and himself as Jonson has done, enter and upbraid Horace for his calumnious exposure of the weaknesses of his friends and for his attacks on Court, City, Soldiers, Lawyers, and Players—the allusions being directly to Poetaster. Warning him that his bitter riddling may draw down retaliation in kind, they still profess a willingness to forgive the past, and end by shaking hands with Horace in token of renewed friendship.
It should be noted that neither in this scene nor in any other does Dekker allude to Fastidious Brisk, of Every Man out of his Humour, and his reference to Carlo Buffone (p. 263, Sir Vaughan loq.) of the same play cannot be taken as a sinister stroke at his friend Marston, or at his devoted self. Yet Fleay (Chr. 1. 368-9, 360) identifies DemetriusDekker with Buffone and Anaides, although elsewhere (Chr. 2. 75) he says, 'Now Anaides is acknowledged to be Marston'; and again (Chr. 1. 97), 'I thought that, if anything was settled in criticism, it was the identity of Crispinus and Carlo Buffone with Marston. As to Fleay's contradictory assertions about the characters supposed to represent Marston and Dekker, see the footnote to p. 46 of Penniman's War of the Theatres. The identification Carlo-AnaidesMarston, which represents the last opinion of Fleay and the main contention of Penniman, has been proved untenable by Small (Stage-Quarrel 30 ff.), and no further examination of the question is requisite here. The necessary conclusion seems to be that Hedon and Crispinus are Marston ; Anaides and Demetrius, Dekker; while the various identifications of Fastidious Brisk and Carlo Buffone are not proved.
The resemblances between Hedon of Cynthia's Revels and Crispinus of Poetaster are most readily seen in the former play, 2. I, where Mercury characterizes Hedon as a fop, an exquisite, who lives by appearances. Hedon is in debt to the mercer, the tailor, and the stocking seller, whom he recompenses with blows. His wardrobe frequently goes into pawn; occasionally he hires a stock of apparel, together with forty or fifty pounds in gold, to make a temporary display. He is a courtier, overloaded with perfume, and a rhymer, which is thought better than a poet; he affects to be a musician and a scholar. In Fastidious Brisk of Every Man Out (see the Character of the Persons) Jonson had already presented the courtier of the period, fashionable but needy, always self-seeking and unscrupulous. Brisk was a type, and Jonson loved types. When Cynthia's Revels was written the courtier was again included, but now Jonson added finer lines that produced a Hedon both individual enough to resemble Marston, lately become an object of Jonsonian spleen, and typical enough to warrant the disavowal of personal allusion. With Crispinus, who is designed to be a biting and unmistakable satire of Marston, Hedon has these points in common: he is rimester, musician, and ‘scholar'; in debt for his fashionable clothes; acquainted with pawnbrokers; a gallant, whose presence is merely tolerated by the society he forces himself upon. In short, Fastidious Brisk is a study, slipped off-hand into a full portfolio; Hedon is the same study turned to account by the addition of a few clever strokes, yet still retaining generic characters, as it were; Crispinus is the deliberate and relentless caricature, telling in its generality and its individuality, in its fidelity and its exaggeration.
It remains to discuss some of the details of the portrait given us of Crispinus. 'His father was a man of worship,' says Tucca (3. 4. 172–3), and Crispinus is continually reverting to his gentle birth. This points to Marston, and not to Dekker. With one Robertus de Marston, who held a manor in Salop in the thirty-fifth year of Edward I., Grosart (Poems of John Marston p. vi) begins his genealogy of our 'poetaster.' He concludes the paragraph: ‘These, again, had a son, who is thus described : “Johannes Marston de Coventry, in co. Warr., et de Templo iurisconsultus in ecclesiae interiore Templi sepultus.” He married Maria or Mary, daughter of Andrew Guarsi or GuersieItalian—by Elizabeth Gray, daughter of Gray, Merchant, London. These last were the father and mother of our John Marston; and these other children are named along with him: (a) Thomas, whose wife was a Lucy of Charlecote; (b) Alice; (c) Elizabeth; (d) Margaret.' It is probable that Marston was notoriously vain of his lineage, else the point of making him refer so often to it would ave been lost upon the audience.
'He pens high, loftie, in a new stalking straine,' says Tucca of his poetaster again (3. 4. 173-4). On Marston's thought and style, his editor, Bullen (Works 1. xxvi-xxvii) remarks: 'He could conceive a fine situation, and he had at his command abundance of striking imagery. But we are never sure of him: from tragic solemnity he passes to noisy rhodomontade; at one moment he gives us a passage Aeschylean in its subtle picturesqueness, at another he feebly reproduces the flaccid verbosity of Seneca's tragedies.' This can be better appreciated after a comparison of the speeches of Andrugio, i Antonio and Mellida 4. I, with Antonio's description of his shipwreck, I. I.
'I'le write nothing in it but innocence,' avers Crispinus (4. 7. 32–3), “because I may sweare I am innocent.' It was evidently known that Dekker was writing the attacking play (Satiromastix) alone, with Marston as no more than counsellor or retoucher. Dekker's rapidity of production was doubtless the qualification influencing Jonson's opponents in their choice, but the writer's bitterness of invective must have resulted from the provocation given him by the Anaides of Cynthia's Revels, produced in the preceding year. 'Satiromastix shows no trace of Marston's style,' writes Small (Stage-Quarrel 122), “and was published in
the name of Dekker alone. That Marston was at Dekker's elbow during the composition, however, is indicated by the Marstonian vigour and dash of the Horace-plot, by the close correspondence of the characters of Horace and Asinius to those of Lampatho and Faber in What You Will, by Tucca's words "I and my Poetasters will untruss him again," and by Jonson's expressions about "the Untrussers" in the Apologetical Dialogue at the end of the Poetaster.'
Commenting on the verses assigned to Crispinus in Poetaster 5. 3, Gifford censures Marston's literary licentiousness: 'But, indeed, Marston deserved some reprehension. He boasts, and his boasts have been repeated by the commentators who generally take all upon trust, that he is "free from licentiousness of language. The fact is not so; he is extremely gross and impure. This is what Jonson means, when he makes him "boldly nominate a spade a spade:” and this too is the just object of the attack upon him, in the old play of the Return from Parnassus (itself far from immaculate, be it said] :
"Tut! what cares he for modest, close-mouthed terms,
It is but fair to remark that this grossness is characteristic of Marston in Pygmalion, the Satires, and the Scourge of Villainie, all early works, but not in his dramas. And, by the way, he gave up even play-writing about 1607, and subsequently entered the Church.
Gifford next describes Marston's style, concluding thus: 'It is but fair to add, that whatever Marston might think of the present castigation, he had the good sense to profit by it, since his latter works exhibit but few of the terms here ridiculed.' The credit for working a reformation in Marston's diction is here given too exclusively to Poetaster. 'In 1607,' writes Bullen (Marston's Works 1. xlv-xlvi) 'was published the comedy of What You Will (written, I
suspect, shortly after the appearance of Cynthia's Revels), which is largely indebted for its plot to Plautus's Amphitruo.' The expression important for us is that in parenthesis. For of the words which Crispinus vomits in Poetaster, What You Will contains only conscious (cf. 1. I. 114), which would indicate that Marston had chastened his style after the attack upon him as Hedon in Cynthia's Revels. Fleay (Chr. 2. 76) dates What You Will in ‘1601, after Jonson's Poetaster,' but without demonstration; Small (StageQuarrel 101 ff.) concludes from a study of its style and allusions that this play must have been produced in 1601 in reply to Cynthia's Revels and before the appearance of Poetaster.
In conclusion, there cannot be the slightest doubt that Rufus Laberius Crispinus represents John Marston.
Cytheris. Cytheris was a celebrated Roman courtesan, probably Volumnia Cytheris, a freedwoman and mistress of Volumnius Eutrapelus. Later she became the mistress of Marcus Antonius, and then of Gallus. Gallus writes of her as Lycoris, and by this name Virgil also refers to her in connection with Gallus in the tenth eclogue. Cicero writes of her to Paetus (Fam. 9. 26), as being present with V. Eutrapelus at a dinner party, in B. C. 46, probably in August. In his correspondence with Atticus (Att. 10. 10) May 3, B. C. 49, he had remarked that Antony was carrying Cytheris about with him in an open sedan, as if she were a second wife. Pliny (Hist. Nat. 8. ch. 21) speaks of Antony's having caused himself to be drawn in a chariot by lions, cum mima Cytheride. It seems probable that these references are all to the Cytheris who figures in our play as the mistress of Gallus.
Demetrius Fannius. Demetrius and Fannius are objects of Horace's satire; Jonson has combined the two names in order to make one sufficiently opprobrious for his former collaborator and present enemy, Thomas Dekker. In Sat. 1. 10. 87-88, Horace mentions ineptus Fannius conviva Tigelli. Cf. Sat. 1. 10. 78–80, 90-1; 1. 4. 21. Cicero