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called a Fault in Friendship, written by young Johnson and Broome.' This was Benjamin Jonson, Jr. of whom we know nothing except that his father obtained the post of Master of the Revels for him in 1635, and that he died in November of the same year. The comedy is lost, but the record of its authorship shows that Jonson was training Brome and his own son together in the art of playmaking. Six years later (Feb. 9, 1629), another play was licensed, this time by Brome alone, called the Love-sick Maid, or the Honour of Young Ladies. This pleased the court so well that the actors of the King's Company on March 10 presented Herbert with 2 £ ‘on its good success.'
By the date of this play Brome seems to have become a professional playwright, and to have severed his intimate connection with his former master. In fact, the relations between the two seem, at least for a time, to have been somewhat strained. The evidence for this is found in Jonson's Ode to Himself written after what he considered the failure of the New Inn (1629). At the end of the octavo edition of the New Inn (1631) is the ode, which is headed, The just indignation the author tooke at the vulgar censure of his Play, by some malicious spectators, begat the following Ode to himself. This edition appeared two years after the production of the play. Another copy of the ode appeared after Jonson's death, bound up with his translation of the Art of Poetry, in 1640. Another copy, almost identical with this second, was discovered by Dr. G. B. Tennants in Bodleian MS. Ashmole 38, pp. 80, 81. The third stanza of the edition of 1631 reads :
1 Dict. Nat. Biog. 30. 182.
Fleay, Chronicle Hist. p. 334.
3 Tennant's ed. New Inn (Yale Studies in English, No. 34), Introduction, pp. xxi ff.
No doubt some mouldy tale
Like Pericles ; and stale
scraps, out of every dish,
May keepe up the Play-club :
As the best order'd meale.
The other two copies have for lines 7 and 8:
Broomes sweeping(s) doe as well
Gifford's explanation of the difference in the versions is : "There seems to have existed a wish among the poet's friends to embroil him with his old servant, Richard Brome : it was, however, without effect, for the envious Ben continued to esteem him to the close of his life.' Gifford then brings in evidence the fact that Jonson wrote prefatory verses for the Northern Lass in 1632, which I shall quote presently. He says, further, in his note on these verses printed in Underwoods, No. 281: I have already noticed the attempts of Randolph and others to create a feeling of hostility in our poet towards Brome. That they met with no success is evident ; for Jonson always remained warmly attached to his old and meritorious servant, and Brome continued no less grateful,' etc. Warda follows Gifford in this point, but Fleay 3 declares ‘Broomes sweepings' to be undoubtedly the original reading, which was altered in the published edition. He says Jonson' was jealous of his dead master, Shakespeare, and his living faithful servant, Brome.'
i Works 8. 342. 2 Ward, Hist. Eng. Dram. Lit. 3. 126, and Dict. Nat. Biog. 3 Biog. Chron. 1. 352.
Dr. Tennant, I think, has proved Fleay's statement correct without much doubt. His reasons for believing in the priority of the version of MS. Ashmole 38 and 1640 over that of 1631 are, first, that the last stanza in the latter is unquestionably improved in structure. Secondly, the use of the word 'sweepings ’ is utterly flat without a reference to Brome. Thirdly, there is a very good reason for Jonson's anger to be found in the fact that Brome's Love-sick Maid, which was such a great success, was produced only three weeks after the failure of the New Inn. And, finally, most of the replies to the ode seem to indicate that the authors saw in MS. the copy that contained the reading, ‘Broomes sweepings.' Dr. Tenannt sums up the whole question as follows : ‘With such facts before one, how easy it is to understand the mention of ' Broomes sweepings' in Jonson's Ode, on the supposition that it was written while illness and the sting of failure combined to make him express resentment at the success of one he knew was his inferior ; and how natural it was that when two years had worn off the bitterness of such an experience, he should be unwilling to perpetuate the abuse of his old servant.'
It is undoubtedly to this temporary estrangement of Jonson and Brome that Alexander Brome alludes in his verses prefatory to the Jovial Crew 2 (1652):
I love thee for
Randolph's reply to Jonson's Ode, alluded to above, contains the following reference to Brome 3 :
1 Ed. New Inn, Introduction. 2 R. Brome, Works (1873) 3. 349. 8 Randolph, Poems (1875) 2. 582.
And let those things in plush,
Till they be taught to blush,
With that Broome swept from thee.
And Carew's reply, though not so direct, may have intended Brome by the person 1
Who hath his flock of cackling geese compared
Carew says further :
Thy labour'd works shall live, when time devours
Two more recollections of this ill-feeling appeared in Jonsonus Virbius 2 (1638). One of these, signed I. C.,3 says:
Let him who daily steales
From thy most precious meales (Since thy strange plenty finds no loss by it) Feed himself with the fragments of thy wit.
This I suppose to be Brome. At any rate the 'grosse base stuffe' in the next stanza is doubtless intended to include his work. The other, by R. Brideoake, I shall quote more at length :
And though thy fancies were too high for those
1 Carew, Poems (Muses' Lib.), pp. 90, 91. 2 Works 9. 449.
8 Berdan (Cleveland's Poems, 1903, p. 177) thinks it is not by Cleveland.
The not unnatural resentment and jealousy of Jonson, which had given rise to all these bitter comments in verse, seems to have completely disappeared by 1632. In that year Brome's first publication, the very successful Northern Lass, came out with six copies of prefatory verses, headed by the following from Jonsono:
To my old Faithful Servant, and (by his continued Vertue) my
loving Friend, the Author of this Work, Mr. Richard Brome.
I Had you for a Servant, once, Dick Brome;
And you performed a Servants faithful parts. Now, you are got into a nearer room,
Of Fellowship, professing my old Arts. And you do doe them well with good applause,
Which you have justly gained from the Stage, By observation of those Comick Lawes
Which I, your Master, first did teach the Age. You learn'd it well, and for it serv'd your time
A Prentice-ship: which few doe now adays. Now each Court-Hobby-horse will wince in rime ;
Both learned and unlearned all write Playes. It was not so of old : Men took up trades
That knew the Crafts they had bin bred in right :
And the Physician teach men spue or shite ;
The latter part of these verses is doubtfully complimentary, but what would be an insult from an ordinary individual might be intended as a mark of extreme graciousness from Ben. At any rate they seem to have been so construed by Brome, who, whenever he refers to his master, is ever grateful and loyal. How close the relations between the two were from this time on till Jonson's death it is impossible to say. Brome is never alluded to
1 Brome, Works 3. ix ; also Ben Jonson, Works 8. 342.