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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/210

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NOTES AND QUERIES. o>* s. XL MABOH w, iws.


but in his earlier days he was a rancorous critic. In the ninth satire he directs his efforts against Marston for his 'Pygmalion and Certain Satires,' which, though not pub- lished till the following year (1598), must have been circulated in manuscript or rather the 'Pygmalion' portion of it previously. In Satire II. and Satire IV. ('Reactio') Marston attacks Hall violently enough; but in his ' Scourge of Villainy ' he fairly worries him, and his lines, though powerful at times, are disfigured by gross coarseness, unintelligi- bility, and occasional lapses into the un- couthest jargon. Both he and Hall seem to have had little care whom they attacked (outside each other), but a general desire to belittle every one and show their own extreme cleverness and superiority.

Hall's first three books of satires appeared in 1597 ; but it is in his second instalment of 1598, at the lines VI. 163 et seq., that he makes his fiercest reply to Balbus and his "dead-doing quill."

With Hall, however, we have no further concern. His satires, though powerful, were so unintelligible that others besides Marston scoffed at their want of sense. For the con- test between Marston and Hall the reader may refer to the works of the former, edited by A. H. Bullen, and the remarks in his introduction.

We now come to the quarrel between Ben Jonson and Marston, or rather to that part of it which has been invariably stated by the critics to belong to Marston's 'Scourge of Villainy.' With the later developments of that famous war this paper is happily not concerned, for it is a vast and complex sub- ject, involving the examination of a number of plays by Marston, Jonson, and Dekker. Gifford first placed the matter clearly, and Prof. Penniman has gone more exhaus- tively into the intricacies of the problem of identification of stage representations with their supposed originals. For Jonson's methods were neither libellous invective nor declamatory satire, but the more power- ful one of pillorying his antagonist in a play, or the yet more forcible way he tells us he adopted when "he had many quarrels with Marston, beat him, and took his pistol from him, wrote his ' Poetaster ou him (1601); the beginning of them were, that Marston represented him in the stage, in his youth given to venerie." 'Conversations with Drum- mond ' (Cunningham's edition of Gilford's ' Jonson vol. iii. p. 483).

Ben Jonson refers again to his having been " staged " in the ' Apologetical Dialogue appended to the 'Poetaster' in the 1616 folio, and written apparently (from an in


ternal reference to 'Sejanus') in 1603. In this ' Dialogue ' Jonson says,

Three years

They did provoke me with their petulant styles

On every stage.

And then, "at last," he tells us he replied, weary, and unwilling of so much trouble, with lis 'Poetaster/

Hence Ben Jonson had been attacked on the stage as early as 1598 or thereabouts, not only by Marston, but by others. The only 3lay we possess which meets the require- ments is ' Histrioinastix ' (edited by Simpson, School of Shakespeare,' vol. ii.). The editor roes into this question at considerable length in his introduction, which aims at much interpretation, highly improbable, and not necessary to refer to. This play has no author's name, but Marston's hand as part author or modeller is very evident. In one place (II. 1. 63; he addresses a character as ' You translating - scholler," and this

haracter (Chrisoganus) is generally identi- fied with Ben. At the same passage the speaker quotes an expression, u Ramnusia's whip," which Marston had previously used in his ' Scourge of Villainy ' : " I bear the Scourge of just Ramnusia " (Satire I. 1. 1). And Jon- son in 'Every Man out of his Humour' makes it evident, as shown by the various critics, that he took offence at this play ' His- triomastix,' which he mentions by name (Cunningham's edition, 99b), and that he objects altogether to Marston's liberties (86a), calling him the "Grand Scourge, or Second Untruss of the time." These references place the play 'Histriomastix' (1598-9) with the lower limit of Marston's ' Scourge of Villainy,' and the upper Jonson's 'Every Man out of his Humour.' But as the attack, if attack it can be called, upon Jonson is, though suit- able enough in date, hardly sufficient to justify Ben's wrath, we have to look else- where for a play meeting the requirements. And for this play we are still to seek. Pre- sumably it is lost. According to Collier a play of Marston's of this date (Henslowe, 28 Sept., 1599, 'Diary') was licensed, but un- named. We require a play which will satisfy the " venerie " allusion in the ' Conversations.' The play was written when Marston was of no repute. It was perhaps never printed. It probably belonged to the Fortune com- pany (" You have Fortune and the good year on your side, you stinkard," 'Poetaster,' III. i. 230b), and may have perished when that theatre, " by negligence of a candle, was cleane burnt to the ground " (Stowe's ' Con- tinuation ') shortly afterward. Partly in consequence of the lack of this