The Marlowe Studies Entry: May 28, 2011

bird

The Must Have Been Shakespeare

 

When it comes to the Stratford Shakespeare biographers must assume information because there is no evidence he was a learned man who wrote plays. Opening Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World at random, we find on page 97 an example of the ifsmust haves, and would haves that are strung throughout all the Stratford Shakespeare's biographies. This example is attempting to fill in the lack of evidence that he had an education: 

 

Thomas Jenkins taught in Stratford for four years, from 1575 to 1579, and hence must have been, together with Simon Junt, a significant schoolteacher in Will's life. Then, at about the time Will would have left the King's New School, Jenkins resigned his post and was succeeded by another Oxford graduate, John Cottam. Like Simon Hunt a native of Lancashire, Cottam, who presumably taught Shakespeare's younger brother and whom Will certainly came to know, had strong Catholic connections.

 

Another fact compatible with Shakespeare as a pseudonym is that neither Ben Jonson nor any other man in England wrote the usual elegies to the Stratford Shakespeare after he died in 1616. Yet a full seven years later, Ben Jonson praised Shakespeare in the Preface of the 1623 First Folio as “the soul of the age”. For those who believe Marlowe was using the name William Shakespeare as a pseudonym in exile, Jonson’s role in the First Folio was merely part of the cover up.  Daryl Pinksen’s Marlowe’s Ghost: The Blacklisting Of The Man Who Was Shakespeare contains a chapter, “Jonson, Shakespeare, and Marlowe” that explores Jonson's play Every Man out of His Humour and Shakespeare's play As You Like It, finding contradictions to the sentiments Jonson expressed in the First Folio and allusions that point to Marlowe as the true author of the works. 

In 1596 the Stratford Shakespeare purchased a coat of arms which would give him the title Gentleman. The motto he had inscribed on this coat of arms was “Non Sanz Droict”, which means “Not Without Right”. The following year, he bought the second largest home in Stratford. As Pinksen points out, although we have no evidence of a life for this Shakespeare in the form of literary friendships, letters, and recorded interest in his own work, we have a great deal of evidence he was an astute businessman. Sixteenth century documents attest to his land ownership, profiting off grain tithes paid him by the men who farmed his land, profiting off money lending and quickly taking legal action over money matters. Pinksen says, “He avoids taxes and is accused of hoarding grain in order to drive up the price. These activities all speak of a man determined to get rich by whatever means necessary.”

 

Pinksen goes on to say that the character of Sogliardo in Jonson’s play sounds a lot like the Stratford Shakespeare in his rise from countryman to gentleman, and most Shakespeare scholars agree with this. The Marlowe Studies suggests that in Every Man out of His Humour Jonson targeted the Stratford Shakespeare not only through the character of Sogliardo, but also Sordido who was the grain hoarder in the play, and that this double-barreled shot cinches the identification.

 

pinksen

Daryl Pinksen with Mike Rubbo

 

SOGLIARDO: THE STRATFORD SHAKESPEARE

 

The general agreement among Shakespeare biographers is that Jonson was targeting the Stratford Shakespeare in Every Man out of His Humor. In Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Maurice Hunt says, "The combination of the bright yellow coloring of Shakespeare’s coat of arms along with the similarity of the phrasing of its motto ‘Not Without Right’ increases the likelihood that Jonson in the motto 'Not without mustard’ is mocking his fellow dramatist’s coat of arms as well as his motives in spending money to acquire one.” Hunt goes on to say, “Ralph Brooke, York Herald from 1593, mentions Shakespeare’s name fourth in a list of twenty-three in his complaint that Sir William Dethick had abused his office as Garter King-of-Arms in improperly conferring armigerous status.”

 

       Pinksen gives us Jonson’s description of Sogliardo found in the introduction to the play:

 

An essential clown, brother to Sordido, yet so enamoured of the name of a gentleman, that he will have it, though he buys it. He comes up every term to learn to take tobacco, and see new motions. He is in his kingdom when in company where he may be well laughed at.

 

Then he gives us the following lines that reveal Sogliardo’s similarities to the Stratford Shakespeare’s purchase of a coat of arms:

 

Sogliardo: By this parchment, gentlemen, I have been so toild among the harrots [heralds] yonder, you will not believe! They do speak in the strangest language, and give a man the

Hardest terms for his money that ever you knew.

 

Carlo Buffone: But have you arms, have you arms?

 

Sogliardo: I’faith, I thank them; I can write myself gentleman now; here’s my patent, it cost me thirty pound, by this breath.

 

Puntarvolo: A very fair coat, well charged, and full of armory.

 

Sogliardo: Nay, it has as much variety of colours in it, as you have seen a coat have; how like you the crest, sir?

 

Puntarvolo: I understand it not well, what is’t?

 

Sogliardo: Marry, sir, it is your boar without a head, rampant. A boar without a head, that’s very rare!

 

Carlo Buffone: Ay, and rampant too! Troth, I commend the herald’s wit, he has deciphered him well: a swine without a head, without brain, wit, anything indeed, ramping to gentility. You can blazon the rest, signior, can you not?

 

Sogliardo: O, ay, I have it in writing here of purpose; it cost me two shilling the tricking.

 . . .  

Puntarvolo: It is the most vile, foolish, absurd, palbable, and ridiculous escutcheon that ever this eye survised. 

. . .  

Sogliardo: How like you them, ‘signoir?

 

Puntarvolo: Let the word [motto] be, “Not without mustard”: your crest is very rare, sir.

 

Pinksen says, “Sogliardo’s motto appears to be a parody of the Shakespeare motto ‘Not Without Right.’ And Jonson’s description of Sogliardo as ‘a swine without a head, without brain, with, anything indeed, ramping toward gentility’ is clearly an insulting portrayal of a nouveau-riche businessman of low birth and education whose greatest natural gift is the drive to make money."

           

In 1576 John Shakspere attempted to get a coat-of-arms for the Shakspere family, but was rejected. This draft for a coat-of-arms still exists.  In the upper left corner, above the drawing of the bird, are the words in archaic French “Non, sanz Droict”, which means “No, without Right.”  Just below this are the same words, including the comma, but they have a line drawn through them. Next to these two lines, but in capital letters and with no comma, is written: “NON SANZ DROICT”, i.e., “NOT WITHOUT RIGHT”.

 

The original text “No, without right,” was a rejection of John Shakspere’s request for a coat-of-arms in 1576. In 1596 this original rejection was converted into “a motto” by simply eliminating the comma, adding a “T” to the “No” and writing it in large capitals, as the herald required, “NOT WITHOUT RIGHT”. This double-negative motto is unlike any other. Could it possibly be that the Stratford Shakespeare for whom we have only six signatures, each spelled a different way, couldn’t think of a motto, and so it was the herald who created this motto simply by striking out the comma and adding the “T”?

 

SORDIDO: THE  STRATFORD SHAKESPEARE

 

Shakespeare from Stratford purchased and stored grain, malt and barley for fifteen years so he could sell them at inflated prices to his neighbors and local tradesmen, especially in times of famine as in 1598. He used the profits from these staples for his money-lending, and those who could or would not pay him in full, he pursued in court. In 1598 he was prosecuted for hoarding grain during a time of famine.

 

After Macilente’s first meeting with Sogliardo, Macilente hears Sordido, the miserly farmer, consulting his almanac and hoping for rainy weather so his hoarded grain will soar in value. A farmhand delivers to Sordido a note, an official order for him to bring his grain to market. Sordido scorns the order and swears that he will hide his surplus harvest. Jonson described the Sordido character as, “a wretched hob-nailed chuff, whose recreation is reading of almanacks; and felicity, foul weather. One that never pray’d but for a lean death, and ever wept in a fat harvest.” The “Hind” character, below, is a farm laborer.

Sordido: Who brought this same, sirrah?

Hind. Marry, sir, one of the justice's men; he says 'tis a precept, and
all their hands be at it.

Sordido. Ay, and the prints of them stick in my flesh,
Deeper than in their letters: they have sent me
Pills wrapt in paper here, that, should I take them,
Would poison all the sweetness of my book,
And turn my honey into hemlock juice.
But I am wiser than to serve their precepts,
Or follow their prescriptions. Here's a device,
To charge me bring my grain unto the markets:
Ay, much! when I have neither barn nor garner,
Nor earth to hid it in, I'll bring 't; till then,
Each corn I send shall be as big as Paul's.
O, but (say some) the poor are like to starve.
Why, let 'em starve, what's that to me? are bees
Bound to keep life in drones and idle moths? no:
Why such are these that term themselves the poor,
Only because they would be pitied,
But are indeed a sort of lazy beggars,
Licentious rogues, and sturdy vagabonds,
Bred by the sloth of a fat plenteous year,
Like snakes in heat of summer, out of dung;
And this is all that these cheap times are good for:
Whereas a wholesome and penurious dearth
Purges the soil of such vile excrements,
And kills the vipers up.

 

MACILENTE: MARLOWE

 

Noting that Every Man out of His Humour begins and ends with the disgraced scholar Macilente, Pinksen says:

 

Macilente is an embodiment of persecuted poets, just as Sogliardo is an embodiment of pretentious businessmen. But Jonson seems to have gone further than this. He used Sogliardo to allude directly to Shakespeare and, I believe, he used Macilente to allude directly to Christopher Marlowe. It was 1599, and Jonson was portraying a Marlowe now at the mercy of the man whose name was on his work, William Shakespeare.

 

Macilente is walking in the countryside, reading a book. He happens to be in a field owned by Sogliardo. When he sees Sogliardo and his friend Carlo Buffone coming toward him, he lies down to conceal himself. While Macilente listens to Sogliardo brag to Carlo Buffone about his quantity of land and money, Macilente, as Pinksen says, "becomes increasingly bitter over the fact that while he hides in disgrace, Sogliardo is blessed with good fortune.

 

Macilente: S'blood, why should such a prick-ear's hind as this

Be rich, ha? a fool! such a transparent full

That may be seen through! wherefore should he have land,

Houses, and lordships? O, I could eat my entrails,

And sink my soul into the earth with sorrow!

 

When Sogliardo discovers Macilente hiding in his field, he questions the poet-scholar:

 

Sogliardo: Sirrah, who gave you a commission to lie in my lordship?

Macilente: Your lordship!

 

Pinksen says, "'Your Lordship!' is more of a challenge of Sogliardo's possession than a confirmation, but Sogliardo cannot see this. He thinks Macilente is acknowledging his ownership."

      

Macilente's challenge to Sogliardo's possession of the field he is caught hiding is aimed at who has true possession of the Shakespeare Works. The challenge is what leads Carlo Buffone to announce that Macilente answers Sogliardo "like an echo".

 

Sogliardo: How! my lordship? do you know me, sir?

Macilente: I do know you, sir.

Carlo Buffone: [Aside] He answers him like an echo.

 

 In Greek Mythology Echo was a nymph who pined away until nothing but her voice remained. The simile “echo” serves a double purpose. Now that he is dead to all the world, nothing but Marlowe’s voice remains, and when the character Carlo Buffone says that Macilente answers Sogliardo "like an echo" he is telling us the two men have the same voice. Jonson is telling us that the Stratford Shakespeare and Marlowe's voices are one. What other purpose would the character Carl Buffone have for making the aside, “He answers him like an echo?” The line would seem to have no other purpose in the context it has been placed.

      

Macilente the poor poet helps the clownish Sogliardo court a lady by showing him how to talk and act like a gentleman. But Sogliardo is incapable of even pretensions to gentility. So Macilente convinces the lady Saviolina that Sogliardo is such a fine actor he can pretend to be clownish so well that no one would know he is in reality a fine gentleman. During his attempt to sprinkle his uneducated language with those a gentleman might use, Sogliardo speaks some mangled French. Even so, the lady now thinks she hears, as Pinksen says, "a true facility with language beneath the clownish facade."

 

Saviolina: . . . why, if you had any true court-judgment in the carriage of his eye,

and that inward power that forms his countenance, you might perceive his

counterfeiting as clear as the noon-day; 

 

Pinksen says, "No matter what he does, no matter how much his behavior denies this, she only sees what Macilente has told her about Sogliardo's fine qualities." He points out that it is the same with the Shakespeare authorship. No matter how much the evidence suggests the Stratford Shakespeare was an astute businessman and nothing more, the universities see only what they have been told by the First Folio, that the man from Stratford wrote the Shakespeare works.

      

Sogliardo has been exposed as a man who cannot act like an educated gentleman, even though he purchased the coat of arms that gave him the title. Pinksen says this scene is similar to the one in As You Like It where the character William is exposed as a clown to Audrey by Touchstone. As Pinksen says, the identification of both William and Sogliardo with Shakespeare is widely accepted in scholarship, but, “These references have been interpreted by scholars as an exchange between Jonson and Shakespeare as part of the 'Poets' War' . . . involving the two writers as adversaries.” He goes on to say, "There was no 'Poets' War' between Jonson and the author of As You Like It. This is simply another fiction dreamed up by Shakespearean scholarship."

      

Pinksen says, "The widespread perception that Shakespeare was a playwright was a new phenomenon, precipitated by the 1598 printing of quartos with Shakespeare's name on the title page." He then gives us an epigram Ben Jonson wrote that seems to match his theory about Every Man out of His Humour. In this epigram Jonson refers to an actor who apes the poets, and identifies him as one who "would be thought our chief.":

                                      

                                    On Poet-Ape

Poor Poet Ape, that would be thought our chief,
Whose works are e’en the frippery of wit,
From Brokage is become so bold a thief
As we, the robbed, leave rage and pity it.
At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
Buy the reversion of old plays, now grown
To a little wealth, and credit on the scene,
He takes up all, makes each man’s wit his own,
And told of this, he slights it. Tut, such crimes
The sluggish, gaping auditor devours;
He marks not whose ‘twas first, and aftertimes
May judge it to be his, as well as ours.
Fool! as if half-eyes will not know a fleece
From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece.

Ben Jonson, Epigrams (1616) No 56.

  

LINKS TO AS YOU LIKE IT

 

As You Like It was written shortly after Jonson's play. Pinksen theorizes that in these plays Jonson and Marlowe were attempting to expose the deception, that they were, "engaging in similar veiled attacks in print on the same person: William Shakespeare." Those who believe Marlowe used William Shakespeare as a pseudonym find him directly telling this truth in As You Like It.

 

It is the character Touchstone who represents Marlowe in this play. Like Marlowe, he finds himself exiled and disgraced. Where is he in his exile? The Forest of Arden, that stretched from Stratford in Warwickshire to Tamworth in Staffordshire.

 

arden

The part of Warwickshire North-West of the Avon was the old Forest of Arden. You can see by the map below that William Shakespeare's Stratford merges with Arden.

 

In Touchstone's first scene he announces he is representing the actual writer of As You Like It, when he says:

 

Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat;

though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.

 

Scrip = the paper this play was written on, scrippage = the script, the dialogue. Touchstone is lifting the veil of character for this brief moment, telling us he needs no bags on this trip into exile because he is really the writer behind the scene, the one who puts the lines of dialogue onto the page. Twentieth century metafiction is a type of postmodern fiction that self-consciously addresses the devices of fiction, exposing the fictional illusion. As we can see, Touchstone predates metafiction by almost four hundred years.

     

It is Touchstone (representing Marlowe) who reveals the Stratford Shakespeare is a pretender in As You Like It, just as Macilente (representing Marlowe) reveals the Stratford Shakespeare is a pretender in Every Man out of His Humour. A touchstone is a small tablet of dark stone such as fieldstone, slate, or lydite, used to test the truth of metals. Soft metals such as gold will leave a visible trace. As a metaphor, a touchstone refers to any physical or intellectual measure by which the validity of a concept can be tested. Hence, the appropriateness of the dramatist using a clown called Touchstone to test William's metal.

      

Elizabethan writers often gave their characters names symbolic of the traits or purpose they served in a play. Pinksen points out that while Touchstone represents "truth teller", the name Sogliardo in Jonson's play is a variant of the Latin soliardo, meaning "parched soil":

 

From Every Man out of His Humour:

Macilente: Who can endure to see blind Fortune dote thus?
To be enamoured on this dusty turf? This clod . . . 

 

Pinksen says the symbol of "parched soil" for the Stratford Shakespeare is taken a step further in As You Like It when Touchstone compares William to an empty glass, i.e. parched soil. He says Touchstone backs up Jonson's intention of this meaning for the clownish Stratford Shakespeare who hasn't got the juice to pen the plays attributed to him, when he curses William:

 

Touchstone: Give me your hand. Art thou learned?

William: No, sir.

Touchstone: Then learn this of me: to have, is to have; for it
is a figure in rhetoric that drink, being poured out
of a cup into a glass, by filling the one doth empty
the other; for all your writers do consent that ipse
is he: now, you are not ipse, for I am he.

       

For almost 400 years people have been watching this play without knowing the meaning of the Latin "ipse", which is “himself/herself/itself; the actual one”. Touchstone (Marlowe) is telling William (the Stratford Shakespeare) that himself is the actual William Shakespeare who has written this play, "now, you are not ipse [himself], for I am he." Translating this in the Marlowe context, we get "all your writers agree that himself, William Shakespeare, is he. You are not himself, for I am he." Notice that Touchstone doesn't use the singular "your writer", meaning the man who penned the character William for the play, instead he uses the plural "all", which implies more than two writers. Keeping in context with Pinksen's analyses, we might speculate that William's writers are Jonson who had just portrayed William in Every Man out of His Humour, Marlowe, who is writing this play, and Touchstone who has gone into exile not with bag and baggage, but with scrip and scrippage, which lets the audience know he is representing the writer of this play.

      

Pinksen says, "Touchstone discredited William by exposing him as an unlearned fool and country rustic in front of Audrey, just as Macilente discredited Sogliardo as an unlearned country rustic in front of Saviolina. Both Audrey and Saviolina each representing the audience needed significant help in seeing through the deception." It should be noted that the root of the name “Audrey” comes from the Latin “audentia” meaning “a hearing, listening”, an "assembly of listeners" is from early 15 century.

 

Touchstone: Audrey, there is a youth here in the
forest lays claim to you. [The Stratford William "lays claim" to the audience.]

Audrey: Ay, I know who 'tis; he hath no interest in me in
the world: here comes the man you mean. [The Stratford William has no right to claim the play(s)]

Touchstone: It is meat and drink to me to see a clown: by my
troth, we that have good wits have much to answer
for; we shall be flouting; we cannot hold.

Enter William

 

 

Now Touchstone confirms for us that William's character represents the Stratford Shakespeare:

 

Touchstone: Is thy name William?

William: William, sir.

Touchstone: A fair name. Wast born i' the forest here?

William: Ay, sir, I thank God.

 

Pinksen says, "In Every Man out of His Humour, Saviolina could only see through Sogliardo's deception when she was shown his calloused hand. In As You Like It, Touchstone must take William's hand to reveal his true nature." Setting his hand on the touchstone, we now discover the truth about the Stratford Shakespeare's relation to the Shakespeare works, and to the real author of this work:

 

Touchstone: Give me your hand. Art thou learned?

William: No, sir.

Touchstone: Then learn this of me: to have, is to have; for it
is a figure in rhetoric that drink, being poured out
of a cup into a glass, by filling the one doth empty
the other; for all your writers do consent that ipse
is he: now, you are not ipse, for I am he.

William: Which he, sir?

Touchstone: He, sir, that must marry this woman [the audience]. Therefore, you
clown, abandon,--which is in the vulgar leave,--the
society,--which in the boorish is company,--of this
female,--which in the common is woman; which
together is, abandon the society of this female, or,
clown, thou perishest; or, to thy better
understanding, diest; or, to wit I kill thee, make
thee away, translate thy life into death, thy
liberty into bondage: I will deal in poison with
thee, or in bastinado, or in steel; I will bandy
with thee in faction; I will o'errun thee with
policy; I will kill thee a hundred and fifty ways:
therefore tremble and depart.

 

In Daryl Pinksen's Marlowe's Ghost we have been shown the analogies between Macilente hiding in Sogliardo's field and the exiled Touchstone hiding in the Forest of Arden, which is the character William’s domain, the same domain where Shakespeare from Stratford was born and raised.

The Marlowe Studies Entry: June 11, 2011

 foot

 

THE RECKONING

 

According to the Coroner's Report, it was an argument over "the reckoning" of the dinner bill that caused Marlowe's "death". Here is a bit of the Report, condensed:

 

after supper Ingram & Christopher Morley

uttered one to the other malicious words

they could not agree about the payment, that is, le recknynge,[the reckoning]

Christopher Morley maliciously

drew the dagger of Ingram at his back,

and with the same dagger Christopher Morley maliciously

gave Ingram two wounds on his head

Ingram, in fear of being slain,

then & there struggled with Christopher Morley

to get back from him his dagger

Ingram could not get away from Christopher Morley;

and so it befell in that affray 

Ingram, in defence of his life,

with the dagger

gave Christopher a mortal wound over his right eye

Christopher Morley instantly died.

 

Only those involved in the cover-up at Deptford or those closest to Marlowe would have known the argument was over the reckoning of the supper bill. Rumors circulated Marlowe had died of the plague, that Ben Jonson had shot him, and that he died in an argument over a woman.   

 

Touchstone tells Audrey he is in exile, just as Marlowe's favorite poet was in exile:

 

Touchstone: I am heere with thee, and thy Goats, as the most

capricious Poet honest Ouid was among the Gothes.

 

Just in case we do not get the hidden meaning, the author has the character Jaques not get the full meaning, and so he says: 

 

Jaques: O knowledge ill inhabited, worse then Ioue [Jove] in 
a thatch'd house. [Knowledge put to such bad use is worse than a god cooped up in a hut.]

 

Jaques statement allows Touchstone (representing the author) to point out that the true meaning of these lines is hidden in ambiguity, and this is where he unveils the true meaning:

 

Touchstone: When a mans verses cannot be vnderstood, nor 
a mans good wit seconded with the forward childe, vn-derstanding:
it strikes a man more dead then a great rec-koning
in a little room.

 

And it was in a little room at Eleanor Bull's home that

 

after supper Ingram & Christopher Morley

uttered one to the other malicious words

they could not agree about the payment, that is, le recknynge [the reckoning]

 

There are two allusions to the reckoning at Deptford, one in each play. Pinksen points out the strong allusion to Marlowe's supposed death over the payment of a dinner bill (the reckoning) is in a subplot near the end of Jonson's Every Man out of His Humour. He says, "There has been a disturbance at an inn. Someone needs to pay the outstanding bill. The men present conveniently find a pawn who will be responsible for the reckoning. That pawn is mistaken for Macilente."

 

Macilente. [Pointing to Fungoso who is under the table]

Sirrah, George, do you see that concelament there, that napkin under the table?

 

George. [Seeing Fungoso under the table]
'Ods so, signoir Fungoso! 

 

Macilente. He's good pawn for the reckoning; be sure you keep him here, and let him not go away till I come again, though he offer to discharge all. I'll return presently.

 

George. [To the other drawer]
Sirrah, we have a pawn for the reckoning.

 

Drawer. What? Of Macilente?

 

George. No. Look under the table.

                            95.3.295-304

 

The faking of Marlowe's death at Deptford would have likely required a pawn in the form of a dead body for the Coroner's Inquest, one that would be thought to be Marlowe's. Pinksen has observed that in this play the pawn for the reckoning, "is first thought to be Macilente." We find no dramatic reason for the mistaken identity, but we do find a parallel in the Deptford faked death theory. The Deptford parallel is backed up by Macilente's explanation of the reason a pawn is needed for the reckoning. Pinksen says that Macilente tells the tale of an argument between gallants at a tavern and that someone was left behind as a “pawn for the reckoning.”

 

Macilente: Faith, sir, 'tist hus. Your wife's brother, signior Fungoso, being at supper to-night at a tavern, with a sort of gallants, there happened some division amongst them, and he is left in pawn for the reckoning.      (5.3.353-6) 

 

Pinksen concludes this chapter of Marlowe's Ghost saying that the many similarities between Every Man out of His Humor and As You Like It indicates a close relationship between the plays and their respective authors:

 

They suffered similar downfalls. They both lampooned William Shakespeare. They both use a female character to represent the audience in similar allegorical scenes. They both refer to the coroner's report of Marlowe's death . . . It seems a distinct possibility that the "Author" Ben Jonson loved "this side of idolatry" was not the man from Stratford, but the condemned, exiled, and disgraced Christopher Marlowe. Jonson's ambiguous testimony in the 1623 First Folio must be read in the context of the relationship between these two plays.

 

 In light of all this, one might ask, was Jonson’s poem “Inviting a Friend to Supper” written to the exiled Marlowe? And was the last part of the poem an allusion to the reckoning at Deptford?

 

Inviting a Friend to Supper

 

Tonight, grave sir, both my poor house, and I 

Do equally desire your company; 

Not that we think us worthy such a guest, 

But that your worth will dignify our feast 

With those that come, whose grace may make that seem 

Something, which else could hope for no esteem. 

It is the fair acceptance, sir, creates 

The entertainment perfect, not the cates. 

Yet shall you have, to rectify your palate, 

An olive, capers, or some better salad 

Ushering the mutton; with a short-legged hen, 

If we can get her, full of eggs, and then 

Lemons, and wine for sauce; to these a cony 

Is not to be despaired of, for our money; 

And, though fowl now be scarce, yet there are clerks, 

The sky not falling, think we may have larks. 

I’ll tell you of more, and lie, so you will come: 

Of partridge, pheasant, woodcock, of which some 

May yet be there, and godwit, if we can; 

Knat, rail, and ruff too. Howsoe’er, my man 

Shall read a piece of Virgil, Tacitus, 

Livy, or of some better book to us, 

Of which we’ll speak our minds, amidst our meat; 

And I’ll profess no verses to repeat. 

To this, if ought appear which I not know of, 

That will the pastry, not my paper, show of.

Digestive cheese and fruit there sure will be; 

But that which most doth take my Muse and me, 

Is a pure cup of rich Canary wine, 

Which is the Mermaid’s now, but shall be mine; 

Of which had Horace, or Anacreon tasted, 

Their lives, as so their lines, till now had lasted. 

Tobacco, nectar, or the Thespian spring, 

Are all but Luther's beer to this I sing. 

Of this we will sup free, but moderately, 

And we will have no Pooley, or Parrot by, (Robert Poley, witness at Deptford)

Nor shall our cups make any guilty men; 

But, at our parting we will be as when 

We innocently met. No simple word 

That shall be uttered at our mirthful board, 

Shall make us sad next morning or affright 

The liberty that we’ll enjoy tonight. (Bold mine)

 

 

Marlowe's Ghost: The Blacklisting Of The Man Who Was Shakespeare

 

Editorial Page 8

 

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