1691 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Greene

Gerard Langbaine, in Account of the English Dramatick Poets (1691) 241-43.



The Author lived in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, and was a Master of Arts of Cambridge: As to any further Account of him, I can meet with none, except what I am forc'd to borrow from Mr. Winstanley. But the truth is I dare not trust too much to him, knowing how subject he is to take things upon Report, as I find, particularly in the Innumeration he makes of this Author's Plays: However, for once I will venture to transcribe the following passage from his Authority; who tells us, that the Person we here treat of was married to a Deserving Gentlewoman, whom he ungratefully forsook, living above himself; and therefore was forc'd to make his Pen a slave to his Purse, to supply his Extravagancies: notwithstanding which he was reduc'd to extreme poverty towards the latter end of his Life; which through God's Mercy, led him to a sight of his former Follies, and to a Repentance of his evil Course of Life: especially his Unkindness and Disloyalty to his Virtuous Partner: which occasion'd a Letter, (published by Mr. Winstanley) which was directed to her by our Penitent, and found after his Death; which Epistle in my Opinion very much resembles the Stile of Dr. Reynolds in his God's Revenge against Murther. As to that Distich said by Mr. Winstanley to be writ on our Author, I have shew'd his mistake in the Account.

This Author has writ several Pieces, but especially one Play, (the occasion of his mention in this place) whose Title is,

The Honourable History of Fryar Bacon, and Fryar Bungy; play'd by the Prince Palatine's Servants, and printed Lond. — I know not whence the Author borrow'd his Plot; but this Famous Fryar Minor, liv'd in the Reign of King Henry the Third, and died in the Reign of Edward the First, in the year 1284. Consult Bale, Script. Illust. Majoris Britannae Catalogus Pitseus. Relationes Historicae. Wood. Antiq. Oxon. Dr. Plot Hist. Oxford, &c.

Mr. Philips, and Mr. Winstanley say, That he was an Associate with Dr. Lodge in writing several Comedies; namely, The Laws of Nature; Lady Alimony; Liberality and Prodigality; and a Masque called Lumenalia. Besides which he wrote alone, the Comedies of Fryar Bacon, and Fair Emme. But in this Assertion they are extremely out; for he joyn'd with Dr. Lodge but in one Play, call'd A Looking-glass for London; of which hereafter: and as to the others (most of which I have by me) they are all Anonymous Plays.

As to his other Pieces, I have never seen but two; viz. Quip for an Upstart Courtier; and Dorastus and Fawnia; tho' Mr. Winstanley reckons up several others, as Euphues his Censure to Philautus; Tullies Love; Philomela, The Lady Fitzwaters Nightingale; Green's never too late, first and second part; Green's Arcadia; Green's Farwell to Folly; Green's Groat's-worth of Wit, &c.