1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Dekker

Giles Jacob, in Poetical Register: or the Lives and Characters of the English Dramatick Poets (1719) 64-66.



A Contemporary Poet with Ben. Johnson, in the Reign of King James I. and a great Contender for the Bays. He writ Eight entire Plays himself, and four others with the Assistance of Webster, Rowley and Ford; but the latter, vastly exceed the former, there being no Dramatick Piece writ by him alone of much esteem, but The untrussing of the Humourous Poet; and this is chiefly on account of the Subject, which was the witty Ben. The Plays which he has compos'd, and had a hand in, are as follow.

I. FORTUNATUS; a Comedy, 1600. This Play is not divided into Acts.

II. SATYROMASTIX, or The untrussing the Humorous Poet; a Comedy, acted by the Lord Chamberlain's Servants, 1602. This Play was occasion'd by Ben. Johnson's Poetaster; where, under the Title of Crispinus, Ben lash'd this Author; which he endeavour'd to retaliate by untrussing Ben, under the Title of Horace Junior.

III. Northward Hoe; a Comedy, 1607. Webster join'd in this Play. The Plot is founded on a Novel in the Ducento Novelle del Signior Celio Malespini, Part 1. Nov. 2.

IV. Westward Hoe; a Comedy, 1607. Mr. Webster was likewise concern'd in this Performance.

V. The Whore of Babylon; an Historical Play, acted by the Prince's Servants, 1607. This Play was design'd to illustrate the Virtues of Queen Elizabeth, to expose the Roman Catholicks at that Time, and set forth the Danger which that good Queen escaped.

VI. The Honest Whore. With the Humours of the Patient Man and the Longing Wife; a Comedy, 1630. acted by her Majesty's Servants with Applause.

VII. Match me in London; a Comedy, 1631. This Play is Dedicated to Lodowick Carlel, Esq; and was accounted a good Play.

VIII. The Honest Whore. Part the Second. With the Humours of the Patient Man, and the Impatient Wife; also the Comical Passage of an Italian Bridewell; a Comedy, 1635. This Play is not divided into Acts; and Mr. Langbain tells us it was never acted. See Harrington's Epig. at the end of his Orlando Furioso.

IX. The Wonder of a Kingdom; a Comedy, 1636.

X. The Witch of Edmonton; a Tragedy, 1638. Mr. Rowley and Mr. Ford join'd in this Play.

XI. If this ben't a good Play the Devil's in't; a Comedy, acted with great Applause; Dedicated to his beloved Friends the Players. Part of this Play seems to be taken from Machiavel's Belphegor, a Novel.

XII. WYAT'S History; a Play, writ by Mr. Decker and Mr. Webster. See the English Chronicle in the Reign of Queen Mary.