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The apparent attacks on Shakespeare are just such as Ben, if angry and envious, would direct against him; while we know of no other poet-player of the period to whom they could apply. For example, in The Poetaster, Histrio, the actor, is advised to ingratiate himself with Pantalabus, "gent'man parcel-poet, his father was a man of worship, I tell thee."

'Poetaster' , by Ben Jonson. 2. 'Satiromastix' , by Thomas Dekker. 3. 'Malcontent' , by John Marston. 4. 'Volpone' , by Ben Jonson. 5. 'Eastward Hoe' , by Ben Jonson, Chapman, and Marston. In 'The Poetaster' Ben Jonson makes his chief attack upon Dekker and Shakspere. In 'Satiromastix, Dekker defends himself against that attack.

Who the author was it is impossible to say, but though he had little genius he was a man of feeling and taste, and the six elegies are a pleasing relic of this active and yet melancholy time. The fourth book begins with a short epic on Messala, the work of a poetaster, extending over 200 lines.

"Thinkest to don thy master's wit with his livery?" snapped the poetaster. "'Tis a chain for a man, too heavy for thy wearing." The boy stretched his arms again. "'Master' no more than in reason," quoth he. "I also am a gentleman. Heigho! The sun shineth hotter here than in the doldrums!" "Well, go thy ways for a sprightly crack!" said the citizen, preparing to go his.

29: Shakspere was already then the proprietor of a house New Place, in Stratford. In this scene Horace also asks Crispinus: 'You have much of the mother in you, sir? Your father is dead? John Shakspere, the father, died in the year when The Poetaster was first performed in September, 1601. 30: Twelfth Night, act iii. sc. 2.

Jasmin said of the last description of verse: "One can only pay a poetical debt by means of impromptus, and though they may be good money of the heart, they are almost always bad money of the head." It was composed in 1825, when he was twenty-seven years old; and dedicated to M. Duprount, the Advocate, who was himself a poetaster.

"Every cottage there shall be a bonfire, because it has cast off allegiance to me. The whole race of Darling will be at my mercy the pompous old Admiral, who refused to call on me till his idiot of a son persuaded him that wretched poetaster, who reduced me to the ignominy of reading his own rubbish to him and the haughty young woman that worships a savage who has treated me with insult.

Another poetaster, of the name of Brouet, in a long, dull, disgusting poem, after comparing Bonaparte with all great men of antiquity, and proving that he surpasses them all, tells his countrymen that their Emperor is the deputy Divinity upon earth the mirror of wisdom, a demi-god to whom future ages will erect statues, build temples, burn incense, fall down and adore.

He was first an actor, and probably only a strolling one; for Decker in his Satyromastix, a play published in 1602, and designed as a reply to Johnson's Poetaster, 'reproaches him with having left the occupation of a mortar trader to turn actor, and with having put up a supplication to be a poor journeyman player, in which he would have continued, but that he could not set a good face upon it, and so was cashiered.

Go out into that if you want sonnets. Of course, he never takes his friends' advice; he has long known that they know nothing whatever about it. 'Impromptus' are the quackery of the poetaster. One may take it for granted, as a general rule, that anything written 'on the spot' is worthless.