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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/334

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master' of the St. Paul's and the Savoy companies of child actors. Some vague promise was also made him that he might possibly be promoted to the mastership of the revels. 'I was entertained,' he told the queen ten years later, 'your Majesty's servant by your own gracious favour, strengthened with conditions that I should aim all my courses at the Revels (I dare not say with a promise but a hopeful item to the reversion).' Eight pieces are positively known to have been composed by him for the 'children.' Sir. Fleay thinks 'Campaspe' was the earliest, and was performed on New Year's eve 1581. But Lyly's description of 'The Woman in the Moone' as 'a poet's dreame,'

The first he had in Phoebus's holy bowre,
But not the last unlesse the first displease,

has been interpreted with some justice as proof that that piece was the poet's first dramatic effort, and not merely his first essay in blank verse. 'Campaspe' and 'Sapho and Phao' were the first to be published, and they appeared in 1584.

Before the children's companies of St. Paul's were inhibited in 1690, Lyly sought new occupation by flinging himself, like other men of letters, into the Martin Mar-Prelate controversy. He vigorously championed the cause of the bishops. His only known contribution was a tract entitled 'Pappe with an Hatchet. Alias, A Figge for my God sonne. Or Cracke me this Nut. Or a Countrie Cuffe, that is a sound boxe of the eare, for the idiot Martin to hold his peace, seeing the patch will take no warning.' The terms of the title represent the rough energy with which the author assaults his puritan foe. It was probably privately printed in September 1589. The author conceals his identity under the pseudonym of 'Double V,' but Lyly was declared without contradiction by Gabriel Harvey in 1590 to be the writer, when Harvey replied to the tract in his scurrilous 'Advertisement for Papp-Hatohett and Martin Mar-Prelate,' which he appended to his 'Pierce's Supererogation.' Harvey and Lyly had been friends, but Harvey had been prosecuted by Lyly's patron, the Earl of Oxford, for libelling him in his 'Speculum Tuscanismi,' and Harvey credited Lyly with first rousing the earl's suspicions of that book (cf. Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. iv. 332). Euphues, Harvey now wrote, 'was some way a pretty fellow: would God Lilly had always been Euphues and never Papp-Hatchett' (Harvey, Works, ed. Grosart,ii. 124). 'Euphues,' Harvey proceeds, 'it is good to be merry, and Lyly it is good to be wise, and Papp-Hatchett it is better to lose a new jest than an old friend' (ib. p. 125). In Harvey's opinion Lyly's tract consisted of 'ale-house and tinkerly stuff,' hut he added Lyly 'hath not played the vice-master of Poules and the foolmaster of the theatre for naught: himself a mad lad, as ever twanged, never troubled with any substance of wit or circumstance of honesty, sometime the fiddlestick of Oxford, now the very babble of London.' Lyly's responsibility for the 'Pappe with an Hatchet' has been disputed, but Harvey's evidence seems incontrovertible. William Masked, in his 'History of the Martin Marprelale controversy' (1845), while expressing doubt as to the authorship of the 'Pappe,' credits Lyly, on general grounds of style, with another pamphlet issued in the same interest, 'An Almond for a Parrott,' but the argument is not at all conclusive (p. 214). Collier asigns the 'Pappe' to Nashe. It was reissued in Petheram's 'Puritan Discipline Tracts' in 1844. Nashe, in his 'Have with you to Saffron Walden,' when replying to Harvey's personal abuse of himsell, denied that Lyly (as Harvey hinted) first procured him and Greene to attack Harvey, and announced that Lyly intended to retaliate on Harvey, but Lyly in a further tract seems to have wisely withdrawn from the contest.

Lyly entered parliament as member for Hindon in 1589, and was subsequently elected for Aylesbury in 1593, for Appleby in 1597, and again for Aylesbury in 1601. But he waa still ambitious of court office. About 1691 he reminded the queen, in a piteously worded petition, that he nod waited ten years, 'with unwearied patience,' for some substantial recognition of her favour. 'If your sacred majesty think me unworthy,and that after ten years' tempest I must at the court suffer shipwreck of my time, my wits, my hopes, vouchsafe, in your never-erring judgment, some plank or rafter to waft me into a country where in my sad and settled devotion I may in every corner of a thatched cottage write prayers instead of plays, prayer for your long and prosperous life, and a repentance that I have played the fool so long.' Three years later he renewed his complaints. He had abandoned all hope of the mastership of the revels, but 'the just fall of these most false traitors' — apparently a reference to Roderigo Lopez [q. v.] and his associates — gave him hope of receiving a share of their forfeited property. 'Thirteen years,' he cried, your highness's servant, but yet nothing. Twenty friends that though they say they will be sure, I find them sure to be slow. A thousand hopes, but all nothing; a hundred promises, but yet nothing.' Finally he asks permission to dedicate to the queen 'Lillie