1592 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Peele

Robert Greene, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1592; Censura Literaria 4 (1807) 44.



And thou no lesse deserving than the other two [Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Lodge]: in some things rarer, in nothing inferiour; driven (as my selfe) to extreme shifts, a little have I to say to thee: and were it not an idolatrous oath, I would swear by sweet St. George, that art unworthy better hap, sith thou dependest on so meane a stay. Base-minded men, all three of you, if by my misery yee bee not warned: for none of you (like me) sought those burs to cleave; those puppets (I mean) that speak from our mouths; those anticks, garnisht in our colours. Is it not strange that I, to whom they all have been beholding; is it not that you, to whom they all have been beholding, shall (were ye in that case that I am now) be both of them at once forsaken? Yes, trust them not: for there is an upstart Crow beautiful with our feathers, that with his tyger's heart, wrapt in a player's hyde, supposes he is as wel able to bombast out a blank verse, as the best of you; and being an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a country.