1690 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Marston

Anthony Wood, Athenae Oxonienses (1690-91; 1721) 1:332-33.



JOHN MARSTON, a Gentleman that wrote divers things of great Ingenuity in the latter end of the Reign of Qu. Elizabeth, and beginning of K. James I. did receive his Academical Education, as it seems, in Oxford, but in what House, unless in C. C. Coll. I cannot justly tell you. One Joh. Marston, Son of a Father of both his Names of the City of Coventry, Esq; became either a Commoner or Gent. Com. of Brasenose Coll. in 1591, and in the beginning of Feb. 1593, he was admitted Bach. of Arts, as the eldest Son of an Esq; and soon after compleating that Degree by Determination, he went his way, and improv'd his Learning in other Faculties. This Person dying on the 25th of June, an. 1634, was buried by his Father (sometimes a Counsellor of the Middle-Temple) in the Church belonging to the Temple in the Suburb of London, under the Stone which hath written on it Oblivione sacrum, as I have told you in the first Vol. of Athenae & Fasti Oxon, p. 299. Another Joh. Marston I find to have been a Student in Corp. Ch. Coll. who was admitted Bach. of Arts 23 Feb. 1592, but in what County he was born, I cannot yet find, because (1) That he was not matriculated, (2) That he was not Scholar of that House, or Fellow; in the admissions of both which, their Counties of Nativity are constantly registered. This last of C. C. Coll. who seems to be John Marston the Poet, whom we are farther to mention, (who dying before 1633, in which Year most of his Works were publish'd by Will Shakespeare, and therefore cannot be that Marston of Brasen-nose Coll. who died in 1634, as before 'tis told you) and has been taken by some of that House to be the same, was not inferior to any in writing of Comedies and Tragedies, especially if you consider the time when they were penn'd; and perhaps equal to some who lived 20 Years after his time. His Works are these [list omitted]. What other things he wrote, I cannot tell, nor any thing else of him, only that he was in great renown for his Wit and Ingenuity in sixteen hundred and six, and that he left this Character behind him, viz. "That he was free from all obscene Speeches. — That he abhorred obscene Writers and their Works, and profest himself an Enemy to all such as stuff'd their Scenes with Ribaldry, and larded their Lines with scurrilous Taunts and Jests: So that whatsoever, even in the spring of his Years, he presented upon the private and public Theatre, in his Autumn and declining age he needed not be ashamed of [Plays, 1633]."