1589
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To the Gentlemen Students of both Universities.

Menaphon Camillas Alarum to slumbering Euphues, in his Melancholie Cell at Silexedra. Wherein are deciphered the variable Effects of Fortune, the Wonders of Love, the Triumphes of Inconstant Time. Displaying in Sundrie Conceipted Passions (figured in a continuate Historie) the Trophees that Vertue carrieth triumphant, maugre the Wrath of Envie, or the Resolution of Fortune. A Worke worthie the youngest Eares for Pleasure, or the gravest Censures for Principles. Robertus Greene in Artibus Magister.

Thomas Nashe


Edmund Spenser, "the miracle of wit," is mentioned as England's poet in "a curious address to Gentlemen Students, from the pen of THOMAS NASH, the pottle-pot companion and contemporary writer with the unfortunate Green" Censura Literaria 7 (1808) 152. The essay gives a useful general survey of the state of poetry in Elizabethan England shortly before the appearance of Sidney's and Spenser's romances and Shakespeare's dramas; there was not, as yet, much to crow about.

Spenser is given pride of place among English poets, presumably on the basis of the Shepheardes Calender, though the Faerie Queene was beginning to circulate in manuscript: "should the challenge of deepe conceit be intruded by any forreiner, to bring our english wits to the tutchstone of Arte, I would preferre divine Master Spencer, the miracle of wit to bandie line for line for my life, in the honor of England, gainst Spaine, France, Italie, and all the worlde. Neither is he," Nashe continues, "the only swallow of our summer, (although Apollo, if his Tripos were up again, would pronounce him his Socrates)" Sig. A2-A2v.

The passage follows a discussion of national literatures in which Nashe upholds the English tradition while allowing the need for improvement: "Tut saies our English Italians, the finest witts our Climate sends foorth, are but drie braind doltes, in comparison of other countries: whome if you interrupt with 'redde rationem,' they will tell you of Petrarche, Tasso, Celiano, with an infinite number of others; to whome if I should oppose Chaucer, Lidgate, Gower, with such like, that lived under the tirranie of ignorance, I do think their best lovers, would bee much discontented with the collation of contraries, if I should write over al their heads, Haile fellow well met. One thing I am sure of, that each of these three, have vaunted their meeters with as much admiration in English as ever the proudest Ariosto, did his verse in Italian" Sig. A2.

Samuel Egerton Brydges: "Malone's censure of Nash is too severe, and the opinion seems to have been formed upon a misconception of Nash's aim in his Have with you to Saffron-Waldon, which was intended to ridicule the inflated and turgid language of Harvey, in his Astrological Tracts. The style of Pierce Peniless, is very dissimilar, and his Address to the two Universities, 1589, is written in a vein of spirited and judicious criticism, of which the English language has no cotemporary example" Censura Literaria 2 (1806) 237.

Joseph Haslewood: "Prefixed to this article is a curious address to Gentlemen Students, from the pen of Thomas Nash, the pottle-pot companion and contemporary writer with the unfortunate Green. In the research for notices of early writers, the satiric criticisms of Nash become valuable, and, where not overstrained by personal invective, may be considered good authority" Censura Literaria 7 (1808) 152.

William Beloe: Menaphon "is introduced by a long Prefatory Address from Thomas Nash To the Gentlemen Students of both Universities, in which mention is made of various writers, well known at that time, as Gascoigne, Arthur Golding, Watson, Gabriel Harvey, and others, without any notice whatever of Robert Greene" Anecdotes of Literature 2 (1807) 170-71n.

John Payne Collier: "Nash was one of the earliest admirers of Spenser, in his Epistle before Greene's Menaphon, 1589, where he says that he would match 'divine master Spenser, the miracle of wit' against all English and foreign poets" Poetical Works of Spenser (1862; 1875) 1:xcvi n.

Herbert E. Cory: "Thomas Nashe in his preface to Greene's Menaphon (1589), in which he heartily championed the glory of English poetry, held forth in praise of Spenser with his customary exuberance. 'And should the challenge of deepe conceit be intended by any forreiner to bring our English wits to the tutchstone of Arte, I would preferre divine Master Spenser, the miracle of wit to bandie line for line for my life in the honor of England, gainst Spaine, France, Italie, and all the worlde.' When he dedicated his Christs Tears over Jerusalem to Lady Elizabeth Carey, the highest compliment he could pay was that 'Fames eldest favourite, Maister Spencer, in all his writings hie prizeth you'" "Critics of Edmund Spenser" UCPMP (1911) 93.




Curteous and wise, whose judgements (not entangled with envie) enlarge the deserts of the Learned by your liberall censures, vouchsafe to welcome your scholler-like Shepheard with such Universitie entertainement as either the nature of your bountie or the custome of your common civilitie may affoord. To you he appeales that knew him "ab extretna pueritia," whose "placet" he accounts the "plaudite" of his paines; thinking his daie labour was not altogether lavisht "sine linea," if there be anie thing of all in it that doth "olere atticum" in your estimate. I am not ignorant how eloquent our gowned age is growen of late, so that everie moechanicall mate abhorres the english he was borne too, and plucks with a solemne periphrasis, his "ut vales" from the inkhorne: which I impute not so much to the perfection of arts as to the servile imitation of vainglorious tragoedians, who contend not so seriouslie to excell in action as to embowell the clowdes in a speach of comparison; thinking themselves more than initiated in poets immortalitie, if they but once get Boreas by the beard, and the heavenlie bull by the deaw-lap. But herein I cannot so fully bequeath them to follie, as their idiote art-masters, that intrude themselves to our eares as the alcumists of eloquence, who (mounted on the stage of arrogance) think to outbrave better pens with the swelling bumbast of a bragging blanke verse. Indeed it may be the ingrafted overflow of some kilcow conceipt, that overcloieth their imagination with a more than drunken resolution, beeing not extemporall in the invention of anie other meanes to vent their manhood, commits the digestion of their cholerick incumbrances to the spacious volubilitie of a drumming decasillabon. Mongst this kinde of men that repose eternitie in the mouth of a player, I can but ingrosse some deepe read Grammarians, who, having no more learning in their scull than will serve to take up a commoditie, nor Arte in their brain than was nourished in a serving mans idlenesse, will take upon them to be the ironicall censors of all, when God and Poetrie doth know they are the simplest of all. To leave these to the mercie of their mother tongue, that feed on nought but the crummes that fal from the translators trencher, I come (sweet friend) to thy Arcadian Menaphon, whose attire, though not so statelie, yet comelie, dooth entitle thee above all other to that "temperatum dicendi genus," which Tullie in his Orator tearmeth true eloquence. Let other men (as they please) praise the mountaine that in seaven yeares brings foorth a mouse, or the Italianate pen that of a packet of pilfries, affoordeth the presse a pamphlet or two in an age, and then in disguised arraie vaunts Ovids and Plutarchs plumes as their owne; but give me the man, whose extemporall vaine in anie humor will excell our greatest Art-masters deliberate thoughts; whose invention quicker than his eye, will challenge the proudest Rethoritian, to the contention of like perfection, with like expedition. What is he amongst Students so simple that cannot bring forth ("tandem aliquando") some or other thing singular, sleeping betwixt everie sentence? Was it not Maros xij. years toyle that so famed his xij. Aeneidos? Or Peter Ramus xvj. yeares paines that so praised his pettie Logique? Howe is it, then, our drowping wits should so wonder at an exquisite line that was his masters day labour? Indeede I must needes say, the descending yeares from the Philosophers Athens, have not been supplied with such present Orators as were able in anie English vaine to be eloquent of their owne, but either they must borrow invention of Ariosto, and his Countreymen, take up choyce of words by exchange in Tullies Tusculane, and the Latine Historiographers store-houses; similitudes, nay whole sheetes and tractacts "verbatim," from the plentie of Plutarch and Plinie; and to conclude, their whole methode of writing from the libertie of Comical fictions that have succeeded to our Rethoritians by a second imitation: so that well may the Adage, "Nil dictum quod non prius," bee the most judiciall estimate of our latter Writers. But the hunger of our unsatiate humorists, beeing such as it is, readie to swallowe all draffe without indifference, that insinuates it selfe to their senses under the name of delight, imployes oft times manie thred bare witts, to emptie their invention of their Apish devices, and talke most superficiallie of Pollicie, as those that never ware gowne in the Universitie; wherein they revive the olde saide Adage, "Sus Minervam," and cause the wiser to quippe them with "Asinus ad Lyram." Would Gentlemen and riper judgements admit my motion of moderation in a matter of follie, I wold perswade them to phisicke their faculties of seeing and hearing, as the Sabaeans doo their dulled senses with smelling; who (as Strabo reporteth) over-cloyed with such odoriferous savours as the naturall encrease of their Countrey, (Balsamum, Amomum, with Myrrhe and Frankencense) sends foorth, refresh their nosthrills with the unsavorie sent, of the pitchie slime, that Euphrates casts up, and the contagious fumes of Goates beardes burnt; so woulde I have them, beeing surfetted unawares with the sweete satietie of eloquence, which the lavish of our copious Language maie procure, to use the remedie of contraries; and recreate their rebated witts, not as they did, with the senting of slyme or Goates beardes burnt, but with the over-seeing of that "sublime dicendi genus," which walkes abroad for wast paper in each serving mans pocket, and the otherwhile perusing of our Gothamists barbarisme; so shoulde the opposite comparison of Puritie, expell the infection of absurditie; and their over-rackte Rhethorique, bee the Ironicall recreation of the Reader. But so farre discrepant is the idle usage of our unexperienst punies from this prescription, that a tale of Jhon a Brainfords will, and the unluckie furmentie wilbe as soon interteined into their libraries as the best poeme that ever Tasso eternisht: which being the effect of an undescerning judgement, makes drosse as valuable as gold, and losse as welcome as gaine, the Glow-worme mentioned in Aesops fables, namelie the apes follie, to be mistaken for fire, when as God wot poore soules, they have nought but their toyle for their heate, their paines for their sweate, and (to bring it to our english proverbe) their labour for their travaile. Wherin I can but resemble them to the Panther, who is so greedie of mens excrements; that if they be hangd up in a vessell higher than his reach, he sooner killeth himselfe with the over-stretching of his windlesse bodie, than he wil cease from his intended enterprise. Oft have I observed what I now set downe; a secular wit that hath lived all daies of his life by what doo you lacke, to bee more judiciall in matters of conceit, than our quadrant crepundios that spit "ergo" in the mouth of everie one they meete: yet those and these are so affectionate to dogged detracting, as the most poysonous Pasquil, anie durtie mouthed Martin or Momus ever composed, is gathered up with greedinesse before it fall to the ground, and bought at the deerest though they smell of the friplers lavander halfe a yeere after: for I know not how the minde of the meanest is fedde with this follie, that they impute singularitie to him that slanders privelie, and count it a great peece of arte in an inkhorne man, in anie tapsterlie tearmes whatsoever, to oppose his superiours to envie. I will not denie but in scholler-like matters of controversie, a quicker stile may passe as commendable, and that a quippe to an asse is as good as a goad to an oxe: but when an irregular idiot, that was up to the eares in divinitie, before ever he met with "probabile" in the Universitie, shall leave "pro and contra" before he can scarcely pronounce it, and come to correct Common weales, that never heard of the name of Magistrate before he came to Cambridge, it is no mervaile if every alehouse vaunt the table of the world turned upside down; since the childe beats his father, and the asse whippes his master. But least I might seeme with these night crowes "Nimis curiosus in aliena republica," I'le turne backe to my first text, of studies of delight, and talke a little in friendship with a few of our triviall translators. It is a common practise now a daies amongst a sort of shifting companions, that runne through every arte and thrive by none, to leave the trade of "Noverint," whereto they were borne, and busie themselves with the indevors of Art, that could scarcelie latinize their necke-verse if they should have neede; yet English Seneca read by candle light yeeldes manie good sentences, as "Bloud is a begger," and so foorth: and, if you intreate him faire in a frostie morning, he will affoord you whole Hamlets, I should say handfulls of tragical speaches. But O griefe! "tempus edax rerum," what's that will last alwaies? The sea exhaled by droppes will in continuance be drie, and Seneca let bloud line by line and page by page, at length must needes die to our stage: which makes his famisht followers to imitate the Kidde in Aesop, who, enamored with the Foxes newfangles, forsooke all hopes of life to leape into a new occupation; and these men renowncing all possibilities of credit or estimation, to intermeddle with Italian translations: wherein how poorelie they have plodded (as those that are neither provenzall men nor are able to distinguish of Articles,) let all indifferent Gentlemen that have travailed in that tongue discerne by their twopenie pamphlets: and no mervaile though their home-born mediocritie be such in this matter; for what can be hoped of those, that thrust Elisium into hell, and have not learned so long as they have hued in the spheares, the just measure of the Horizon without an hexameter. Sufficeth them to bodge up a blanke verse with ifs and ands, and other while for recreation after their candle stuffe, having starched their beardes most curiouslie, to make a peripateticall path into the inner parts of the Citie, and spend two or three howers in turning over French Doudie, where they attract more infection in one minute, than they can do eloquence all dayes of their life, by conversing with anie Authors of like argument. But least in this declamatorie vaine, I should condemne all and commend none, I will propound to your learned imitation, those men of import, that have laboured with credit in this laudable kinde of Translation. In the forefront of whom I cannot but place that aged Father Erasmus, that inuested most of our Greeke Writers, in the roabes of the auncient Romaines; in whose traces, Philp Melancthon, Sadolet, Plantine, and manie other reverent Germaines insisting, have reedified the ruines of our decayed Libraries, and merveilouslie inriched the Latine tongue with the expence of their toyle. Not long after, their emulation beeing transported into England, everie private Scholler, William Turner and who not, beganne to vaunt their smattering of Latine in English Impressions. But amongst others in that Age, Sir Thomas Eliots elegance did sever it selfe from all equalls, although Sir Thomas Moore with his Comicall wit, at that instant was not altogether idle: yet was not Knowledge fullie confirmed in hir Monarchie amongst us, till that most famous and fortunate Nurse of all learning, Saint Johns in Cambridge, that at that time was as an Universitie within it selfe-shining so farre above all other Houses, Halls, and Hospitalls whatsoever, that no Colledge in the Towne was able to compare with the tythe of her Students; having (as I have hearde grave men of credite report) more candles light in it everie Winter Morning before fowre of the clocke than the fowre of clocke bell gave stroakes; till Shee (I saie) as a pittying Mother, put too her helping hande, and sent from her fruitefull wombe, sufficient Schollers, both to support her owne weale as also to supplie all other inferiour foundations defects, and namelie that royall erection of Trinitie Colledge, which the Universitie Orator, in an Epistle to the Duke of Somerset, aptlie tearmed "Colona diducta," from the Suburbes of Saint Johns: In which extraordinarie conception, "uno partu in rempublicam prodiere," the Exchequer of eloquence Sir John Cheeke, a man of men, supernaturally traded in al tongues, Sir John Mason, Doctor Walson, Redman, Aschame, Grindall, Lever, Pilkington: all which, have either by their private readings, or publique workes, repurged the errors of Arts expelde from their puritie, and set before our eyes, a more perfect Methode of Studie. But howe ill their preceptes have prospered with our idle Age, that leave the fountaines of sciences, to follow the rivers of Knowledge, their over-fraught Studies with trifling Compendiaries maie testifie: for I knowe not howe it comes to passe by the doating practise of our Divinitie dunces, that strive to make their Pupills pulpet men, before they are reconciled to Priscian, but those yeares which shoulde bee employed in Aristotle are expired in Epitomes; and well too, they maye have so much Catechisme vacation, to rake up a little refuse Philosophie. And heere could I enter into a large fielde of invective, against our abject abbreviations of Artes, were it not growen to a newe fashion amongst our Nation, to vaunt the pride of contraction in everie manuarie action: in so much, that the "Pater noster," which was woont to fill a sheete of paper, is written in the compasse of a pennie; whereupon one merelie affirmed, that proverb to be derived, "No pennie, no pater noster"; which their nice curtailing puts me in mind of the custome of the Scythians, who, if they be at any time distressed with famin, take in their girdles shorter and swaddle themselves streighter, to the intent no "vacuum" beeing left in their intrayles, hunger should not so much tirannize over their stomacks; even so these men opprest with agreater penurie of Art, do pound their capacitie in barren Compendiums, and bound their base humors in the beggerly straites of a hungry Analysis, least longing after that "infinitum" which the povertie of their conceit cannot compasse, they sooner yeeld up their youth to destinie, than their heart to understanding. How is it then, such bungling practitioners in principles shuld ever profite the Common wealth by their negligent paines, who have no more cunning in Logique or Dialogue Latine, than appertains to the literall construction of either; neverthelesse it is daily apparant to our domesticall eyes, that there is none so forward to publish their imperfections, either in the trade of glose or translations, as those that are more unlearned than ignorance and lesse conceiving than infants. Yet dare I not impute absurditie to all of that societie, though some of them have set their names to their simplicitie. Who ever my private opinion condemneth as faultie, Master Gascoigne is not to bee abridged of his deserved esteeme, who first beate the path to that perfection which our best Poets have aspired too since his departure; whereto he did ascend by comparing the Italian with the English, as Tullie did "Graeca cum Latinis." Neither was Master Turbervile the worst of his time, although in translating he attributed too much to the necessitie of rime. And in this page of praise, I cannot omit aged Arthur Golding, for his industrious toile in Englishing Ovids Metamorphosis, besides manie other exquisite editions of Divinitie, turned by him out of the French tongue into our own. Master Phaer likewise is not to be forgot in regard of his famous Virgil, whose heavenly verse had it not bin blemisht by his hautie thoghts England might have long insulted in his wit, and "corrigat qui potest" have been subscribed to his workes. But fortune the Mistres of change with a pitying compassion respecting Master Stanihursts praise, would that Phaer shoulde fall that hee might rise, whose heroicall Poetrie infired, I should say inspired, with an hexameter furie, recalled to life whatever hissed barbarisme hath bin buried this hundred yeare; and revived by his ragged quill such carterlie varietie, as no hodge plowman in a countrie but would have held as the extremitie of clownerie; a patterne whereof, I will propounde to your judgements, as neere as I can, being parte of one of his descriptions of a tempest, which is thus:

Then did he make heavens vault to rebounde, with rounce robble hobble

Of ruffle raffe roaring, with thwick thwack thurlery bouncing.

Which strange language of the firmament never subject before to our common phrase, makes us that are not used to terminate heavens moveings, in the accents of any voice, esteeme of their triobulare interpreter, as of some Thrasonical huffe snuffe, for so terrible was his stile, to all milde eares, as would have affrighted our peaceable Poets, from intermedling hereafter with that quarrelling kinde of verse; had not sweete Master France, by his excellent translation of Master Thomas Watsons sugred Amintas, animated their dulled spirits to such high witted endevors. But I knowe not how, their over timerous cowardise, hath stoode in awe of envie, that no man since him durst imitate any of the worste, of those Romane wonders in english, which makes me thinke that either the lovers of medocritie are verie many, or that the number of good Poets, are very small: and in trueth, (Master Watson except, whom I mentioned before) I knowe not almost any of late dayes that hath shewed himselfe singular in any speciall Latin Poem, whose Amintas, and translated Antigone may march in equipage of honour with any of our ancient Poets. I will not say but wee had a Haddon whose pen would have challenged the Lawrell from Homer, together with Carre, that came as nere him as Virgil to Theocritus. But Tho. Newton with his Leyland, and Gabriell Harvey, with two or three other, is almost all the store, that is left us at this hower. Epitaphers, and position Poets have wee more than a good many, that swarme like Crowes to a dead carcas, but flie like Swallows in the Winter, from any continuate subject of witte. The efficient whereof, I imagine to issue from the upstart discipline of our reformatorie Churchmen, who account wit vanitie, and poetrie impietie; whose error, although the necessitie of Philosophie might confute, which lies couched most closely under darke fables profounditie, yet I had rather referre it as a disputative plea to divines than set it downe as a determinate position, in my unexperienst opinion. But how ever their dissentious judgements, should decree in their afternoone sessions of "an sit," the privat trueth, of my discovered Creede in this controversie is this, that as that beast, was thought scarce worthie to bee sacrifised, to the Aegiptian Epaphus, who had not some or other blacke spotte on his skinine, so I deeme him farre unworthie of the name of scholler, and so consequentlie, to sacrifice his endevors to art, that is not a Poet, either in whole or in a parte and here peradventure, some desperate quipper, will canuaze my proposed comparison "plus ultra," reconciling the allusion of the blacke spot to the blacke pot; which makes our Poets undermeale Muses so mutinous, as everie stanzo they pen after dinner, is full poynted with a stabbe. Which their dagger drunkennesse, although it might be excused with "Tam Marti quam Mercurio," yet will I cover it as well as I may, with that proverbial "foecundi calices," that might wel have been doore keeper, to the kanne of Silenus, when nodding on his Asse trapt with ivie, hee made his moist nosecloth, the pausing intermedium, twixt everie nappe. Let frugale scholares, and fine fingerd novices, take their drinke by the ownce and their wine by the halpe-worthes, but it is for a Poet to examine the pottle pottes, and gage the bottome of whole gallons; "qui bene vult [Greek characters]," "debet ante [Greek characters]." A pot of blew burning ale, with a fierie flaming tost, is as good as Pallas with the nine Muses on Parnassus top: without the which, in vaine may they crie; O thou my muse inspire mee with some pen, when they want certaine liquid sacrifice to rouze her foorth her denne. Pardon me Gentlemen, though somewhat merely I glaunce, at their imoderate follie, who affirme that no man can write with conceit, except he takes counsell of the cup: nor would I have you thinke, that "Theonino dente," I arme my stile against all, since I doo knowe the moderation of many Gentlemen of that studie, to be so farre from infamie, as their verse from equalitie: whose sufficiencie, were it as well seene into, by those of higher place, as it wanders abroade unrewarded in the mouthes of ungratefull monsters, no doubte but the remembrance of Maecenas liberalitie, extended to Maro, and men of like qualitie, would have lefte no memorie to that proverb of povertie, "Si nihil attuleris, ibis Homere foras." Tut saies our English Italians, the finest witts our Climate sends foorth, are but drie braind doltes, in comparison of other countries: whome if you interrupt with "redde rationem," they will tell you of Petrarche, Tasso, Celiano, with an infinite number of others; to whome if I should oppose Chaucer, Lidgate, Gower, with such like, that lived under the tirranie of ignorance, I do think their best lovers, would bee much discontented with the collation of contraries, if I should write over al their heads, Haile fellow well met. One thing I am sure of, that each of these three, have vaunted their meeters with as much admiration in English as ever the proudest Ariosto, did his verse in Italian. What should I come to our court, where the otherwhile vacations of our graver Nobilitie are prodigall of more pompous wit and choyce of words than ever tragick Tasso could attaine too: but as for pastorall Poemes, I will not make the comparison, least our countrimens credit should bee discountenanst by the contention, who although they cannot fare with such inferior facilitie, yet I knowe would carrie the bucklers full easilie, from all forreine bravers, if their "subjectum circa quod," should savor of any thing haughtie: and, should the challenge of deepe conceit be intruded by any forreiner, to bring our english wits to the tutchstone of Arte, I would preferre divine Master Spencer, the miracle of wit to bandie line for line for my life, in the honor of England, gainst Spaine, France, Italie, and all the worlde. Neither is he the only swallow of our summer, (although Apollo, if his Tripos were up again, would pronounce him his Socrates) but he being forborne, there are extant about London many most able men to revive Poetrie, though it were executed ten thousand times, as in Platos, so in Puritanes common wealth; as for example Mathew Roydon, Thomas Atchelow, and George Peele, the first of whome, as hee hath shewed himselfe singular in the immortall Epitaph of his beloved Astrophel, besides many other most absolute comicke inventions (made more publique by everie mans praise than they can bee by my speache), so the second hath more than once or twise manifested, his deepe witted schollership in places of credit; and for the last, thogh not the least of them all, I dare commend him to all that know him as the chiefe supporter of pleasance nowe huing, the Atlas of Poetrie and "primus verborum Artifex," whose first encrease, the Arraignement of Paris, might plead to your opinions his pregnant dexteritie of wit, and manifold varietie of invention, wherein ("me iudice") hee goeth a step beyond all that write. Sundrie other sweete Gentlemen I know, that have vaunted their pens in private devices, and trickt up a companie of taffata fooles with their feathers, whose beautie if our Poets had not peecte with the supply of their periwigs, they might have antickt it untill this time up and downe the countrey with the King of Fairies, and dined everie daie at the pease porredge ordinarie with Delphrigus. But Tolossa hath forgot that it was sometime sackt, and beggers that ever they caried their fardles on footback: and in truth no mervaile, when as the deserved reputation of one Roscius is of force to inrich a rabble of counterfets; yet let subjects for all their insolence dedicate a "De profundis" everie morning to the preservation of their Caesar, least their encreasing indignities returne them ere long to their juggling to mediocrity, and they bewaile in weeping blankes, the wane of their Monarchie.

As Poetrie hath beene honoured in those her forenamed professors, so it hath not beene any whit disparaged by William Warners absolute Albions. And heere Authoritie hath made a full point: in whose reverence insisting I cease to expose to your sport the picture of those Pamphleters, and Poets, that make a patrimonie of In speech, and more than a younger brothers inheritance of their Abcie. Reade favourably, to incourage me in the firstlings of my folly, and perswade your selves I will persecute those Idiots and their heires unto the third generation, that have made Art bankerout of her ornaments, and sent Poetry a begging up and downe the Countrey. It may be my Anatomie of Absurdities may acquaint you ere long with my skill in surgery, wherein the diseases of Arte more merrily discovered may make our maimed Poets put together their blankes unto the building of an Hospitall.

If you chance to meete it in Paules, shaped in a new sute of similitudes, as if like the eloquent apprentice of Plutarch, it were propped at seven yeeres end in double apparell, thinke his master hath fulfilled covenants, and onely cancelled the Indentures of dutie. If I please, I will thinke my ignorance indebted unto you that applaud it: if not, what rests, but that I be excluded from your curtesie, like Apocrypha from your Bibles?

How ever, yours ever,

Thomas Nash.


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