1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Dekker

David Erskine Baker, in Companion to the Play-House (1764) 2:Sig. I5.



Altho', as I have before observed, Decker was but a middling Poet, yet he did not want his Admirers, even among the Poets of his time; some of whom thought themselves not disgraced by writing in Conjunction with him; Webster having a Hand in three of his Plays, and Rowley and Ford joining with him in another. — Richard Brome in particular used always to call him Father, which is somewhat the more extraordinary, considering the Opposition subsisting between him and Jonson, as Brome had been Servant to, and was a particular Favorite with, the Laureat. — Mr. The. Cibber observes, on this Occasion, that it is the Misfortune of little Wits, that their Admirers are as inconsiderable as themselves, and that Brome's Applauses confer no great Honour on those who enjoy them. — Yet I think in this Censure he has been somewhat too severe on both, for Brome's Merit was certainly not inconsiderable, since it could force Admiration and even public Praise from the envious Ben himself. — And altho' Langbaine, who writes with Partiality to Ben Jonson, has given the Preference in so superlative a Degree to those plays in which our Author was united with others, against those which were entirely his own, yet we cannot help thinking that in his Honest Whore, and the Comedy of Old Fortunatus, both which are allow'd to be solely his, there are Beauties, both as to Character, Plot, and Language, equal to the Abilities of any of those Authors that he was ever assisted by, and indeed in the latter equal to any dramatic Writer (Shakspeare excepted) that this Island has produced.