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To come forth worth the iuy, or the bayes,
And in this age can hope no other grace-
227 [The scene closes. G, N
Marton] Maston W With . . . Revells.] om. W The
Marton.] Transferred to title-page, 1692. The remainder of this page is omitted. This page is omitted: 1640, 1716, G, N
These Notes have been designed to include whatever appeared of value in the notes and preceding editions of Poetaster. Where the exact words of other editors have seemed important for present purposes, they have been given; facts and suggestions originating elsewhere and referred to or developed here have uniformly been acknowledged. Notes signed W. are from Whalley, G., from Gifford, N., from Nicholson; statements credited to Cunningham are to be found in the Gifford-Cunningham edition of 1875, at the ends of the various volumes. Many expressions requiring elucidation have been dealt with in the Glossary, which should therefore be used in connection with the Notes. Abbreviated titles of books can be understood by reference to the Bibliography.
References to Poetaster are by act, scene, and line of the present text; other plays of Jonson are cited from the Gifford-Cunningham edition of 1875. References for Satiromastix are to pages in Vol. I of Dekker's Dramatic Works, published by Pearson, 1873; where not otherwise specified, references in Shakespeare are to the Globe edition.
POËTASTER. Thus in quarto 1602 and in the folios. Gifford and Nicholson use the incorrect title THE POETASTER.
Specifically, the name Poetaster is applied by Jonson in this play exclusively to Crispinus, who represents the satirist and dramatist John Marston. It should be noted that although he ridicules Crispinus for gallantry, affectation, poverty, and envy, Jonson delivers his most elaborate attack upon his rival's uncouth vocabulary: see act 5, scene 3, in particular.
Cf. C. Revels 2. I.: 'She is like one of your ignorant poetasters of the time, who, when they have got acquainted with a strange word, never rest till they have wrung it in, though it loosen the whole fabric of their sense.'
By the then Children of Queene Elizabeths Chappell. Quarto 1602 has 'by the children of her Maiesties Chappell’. In January 1603-4, however, the Chapel Children were taken under the Queen's protection and became known as the 'Children of the Queen's Revels' (cf. W. C. Hazlitt, English Drama and Stage, 1869, p. 40); the 1616 folio therefore implies the change of name in company and sovereign.
Licensed boy actors, gathered chiefly from the choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral and from the Chapel Royal and Westminster school, are heard of from 1587 on. In 1597 a regular children's company was established at the Blackfriars Theatre, and their performances soon became more popular than those of the adult companies. As appears from Hamlet 2. 2. 349–364, the regular men's companies had to tour the country in order to avoid serious losses.
The Children of the Chapel were originally eight in number, with a Master of Song to teach them (see the Old Cheque-Book of the Chapel Royal, Camden Soc. 1872, iii-iv). They were boarded and lodged in the royal palace, and were allowed food and drink, and one servant. At the age of eighteen, if not preferred in the Chapel service, they might be sent to college at the king's charge. Instances of the practise of pressing men and boys into the service of the chapel choir are recorded as early as the reign of Richard III (ibid. p. vii.). Hazlitt (Eng. Dram. and Stage 33-4) prints a warrant of Queen Elizabeth to Thomas Gyles, master of the Children of Paul's, authorizing him to take up and train boys to be performers in the Revels at Court, April 26, 1585. Fleay (Stage 14 ff.) records the performance of a play by the Paul's Children Aug. 7, 1559, and of one by the Children of the Chapel at Christmas 1563-4. The right of the master of the Chapel Children to take up boys with good voices found in the choirs of cathedrals, and of collegiate and parish churches, and train them for singing and acting at Court, frequently led to abuses. In December 1600 a flagrant case was made public. Thomas Clifton, aged 13, son of a Suffolk gentleman, was kidnapped on his way to school in London by the emissaries of Nathaniel Gyles above-mentioned, and delivered over to the Blackfriars Company to be made a player. The boy had noe manner of sighte in songe, nor skill in musique’; and when the father vainly demanded the release of his son, no pretense was made of intention to train the latter as a chorister. Through some acquaintance in the Privy Council, Clifton secured the boy's freedom, and then formally complained to her majesty. The father's bill of complaint (printed by Jas. Greenstreet in the Athenaeum, Aug. 10, 1889, vol. 2. 203-4) is interesting for its mention of names of other children taken against the will of themselves and their parents or guardians. Among these names is that of 'Nathan ffield, a scholler of a grammer schole in London, kepte by one Mr. Monkaster; .
Salmon Pavey, apprentice to one Peerce; being children noe way able or fitt for singing, nor by anie the sayd confederates endevoured to be taught to singe, but by them the sayd confederates abusively employed, as aforesayd, only in playes & enterludes.' This information is of especial interest to us, because
the lists of principal comedians for Cynthia's Revels and Poetaster contain the names Field and Pavey. The former grew to be famous as actor and dramatist; but the latter died soon after his appearance in Poetaster, at the age of thirteen. 'He was celebrated as a personator of old men,' remarks Greenstreet.
Et mihi de nullo fama rubore placet. From Martial, Epigr. 7. 12. 4. This may be paraphrased: 'No reputation gained at the cost of another's blush is pleasing to me.'
VVilliam Stansby. The following entry appears in Arber's Transcript of the Stationers' Registers, 1554-1640, 2. 173:
12 Januarij (1591) master windet william Stansby son of Richard Stansby of Exon
(Exeter) cutler hath put him self Apprentice to John wyndet citizen and Stacioner of London for vij yeres begynnynge at Christmas Anno XXXI Įdo Regin [a]e Elizabeth [ae]
ijs vjd William Stansby was admitted to the Stationers' Company 7 Jan. 1597 (2. 717), and printed and published 1597–1639. Matthew Lownes. Again from the Stationers' Register (2. 115):
Vto Die Novembris (1582) Nicholas Linge Mathewe Lownes sonne of Hughe lownes of the
parishe of Astburie in the countie of Chester Aletcher. Hathe putt him self apprentes to nicholas Linge Staconer for Tenne yeres from the feast of Sainct Michaell th[e] archangell Last
paste (29 September 1582] . ijs vja Matthew Lownes was admitted to the Stationers' Company II Oct. 1591, and published from 1595 to 1627. (2. 710.)
Mr. Richard Martin. This Dedication did not appear in quarto 1602. Martin flourished 1570-1618.
Gifford notes: 'It appears from the Apologetical Dialogue subjoined to this Drama, that Jonson was accused of having reflected in it, on the professions of law, and arms. By one of these he was probably threatened with a prosecution either in the Star-chamber, or the King's Bench, from which the friendly offices of Mr. Martin with the Lord Chief Justice seem to have delivered him. So, at least, I understand the passage.'
The following note is supplied by Anthony Wood (Athenae Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, 1815, 2. 250–I): 'R. M., son of Will. Martin (by Anne his wife, daughter of Rich. Parker of Sussex,) was born at Otterton in Devonshire, became a commoner of Broadgate's hall (now Pembroke coll.) in Michaelmas term 1585, aged 15,
where by natural parts, and some industry, he proved in short time a noted disputant. But he leaving the said house before he was honoured with a degree, went to the M. Temple, where, after