G. Gregory Smith, ed. Elizabethan Critical Essays. 1904.
Gabriel Harvey (c. 15451630)
I. From Pierces Supererogation 1593
[The text of I, including the Aduertisement for Pap-hatchet, is taken from Pierces Supererogation | or | A New Prayse of the | Old Asse. || A Preparatiue to certaine Discourses, intituled | Nashes S. Fame, printed at London by John Wolfe in 1593 (British Museum C. 40. d. 9). Gabriel Harveys preface to the book is dated July 16, 1593. The text of II will be found in Harveys New Letter of | notable contents | with a straunge Sonet, intituled | Gorgon, | Or the wonderfull years, also printed by Wolfe in 1593. The passage is part of the Letter To my loving friend, John Wolfe, Printer to the Cittie (British Museum C. 40. d. 10).]
THERE was a time when I floted in a sea of encountring waues, and deuoured many famous confutations with an eager and insatiable appetite; especially Aristotle against Plato and the old Philosophers, diuers excellent Platonistes, indued with rare & diuine wittes (of whome elsewhere at large); Iustinus Martyr, Philoponus, Valla, Viues, Ramus, against Aristotle; oh, but the great maister of the schooles and high Chauncellour of Vniuersities could not want pregnant defence, Perionius, Gallandius, Carpentarius, Sceggius, Lieblerus, against Ramus; what? hath the royall Professour of Eloquence and Philosophy no fauourites? Talaeus, Ossatus, Freigius, Minos, Rodingus, Scribonius, for Ramus against them; and so foorth, in that hott contradictory course of Logique and Philosophy. But alas, silly men, simple Aristotle, more simple Ramus, most simple the rest, either ye neuer knew what a sharpe-edged & cutting Confutation meant, or the date of your stale oppositions is expired, and a new-found land of confuting commodities discouered by this braue Columbus of tearmes and this onely marchant venturer of quarrels, that detecteth new Indies of Inuention & hath the winds of Æolus at commaundement. Happy you flourishinge youthes that follow his incomparable learned steps, and vnhappy we old Dunses that wanted such a worthy President of all nimble and liuely dexterities! What should I appeale infinite other to their perpetuall shame, or summon such and such to their foule disgrace? Erasmus in Latine and Sir Thomas More in English were supposed fine and pleasant Confuters in their time, and were accordingly embraced of the forwardest and trimmest wittes; but alacke how vnlike this dainty minion! Agrippa was reputed a gyant in confutation, a demi-god in omni-sufficiency of knowledge, a diuell in the practise of horrible Artes: oh, but Agrippa was an vrcheon, Copernicus a shrimpe, Cardan a puppy, Scaliger a baby, Paracelsus a scab, Erastus a patch, Sigonius a toy, Cuiacius a bable to this Termagant, that fighteth not with simple wordes, but with dubble swordes; not with the trickling water of Helicon, but with piercing Aqua fortis; not with the sorry powder of Experience, but with terrible gunpowder; not with the small shott of contention, but with the maine ordinaunce of fury.
For breuity I ouerskip many notable men and valorous Confuters in their seuerall vaines, had not affection otherwhiles swinged their reason, where reason should haue swayed their affection. But Partiality was euer the busiest Actour, and Passion the whottest Confuter, whatsoeuer plausible cause otherwise pretended: and hee is rather to bee esteemed an Angell then a man, or a man of Heauen, not of Earth, that tendereth integrity in his hart, equity in his tongue, and reason in his penne. Flesh and bloud are fraile Creatures, and partiall discoursers; but he approacheth neerest vnto God, & yeeldeth sweetest fruite of a diuine disposition, that is not transported with wrath or any blinde passion, but guided with cleere and pure Reason, the soueraigne principle of sound proceeding. It is not the Affirmatiue or Negatiue of the writer, but the trueth of the matter written, that carryeth meat in the mouth and victory in the hande. There is nothing so exceeding foolish but hath beene defended by some wise man; nor any thinge so passinge wise but hath bene confuted by some foole. Mans will no safe rule, as Aristotle sayth; good Homer sometime sleepeth; S. Augustine was not ashamed of his retractations; S. Barnard saw not all thinges; and the best chart may eftsoones ouerthrow. He that taketh a Confutation in hand must bringe the standard of Iudgement with him, & make Wisedome the moderatour of Wit.
But I might aswell haue ouerpassed the censure as the persons: & I haue to do with a party that valueth both alike, and can phansy no Autor but his owne phansy. It is neyther reason, nor rime, nor witt, nor arte, nor any imitation, that hee regardeth; hee hath builded towers of Supererrogation in his owne head; and they must stand, whosoeuer fall. Howbeit, I cannot ouerslipp some without manifest iniury, that deserue to haue their names enrolled in the first rancke of valiant Confuters; worthy men, but subiect to imperfections, to errour, to mutuall reproofe, some more, some lesse, as the manner is. Harding and Iewell were our Eschines and Demosthenes; and scarsely any language in the Christian world hath affoorded a payre of aduersaries equiualent to Harding and Iewell, two thundring and lightning Oratours in diuinity; but now at last infinitely ouermatched by this hideous thunderbolt in humanity, that hath the onely right tearmes inuectiue, and triumpheth ouer all the spirites of Contradiction. You that haue read Luther against the Pope; Sadolet, Longolius, Omphalius, Osorius against Luther; Caluin against Sadolet; Melanchthon against Longolius; Sturmius against Omphalius; Haddon against Osorius; Baldwin againste Caluin; Beza againste Baldwin; Erastus against Beza; Trauers against Erastus; Sutcliff against Trauers; and so foorth (for there is no ende of endlesse controuersies: nor Bellarmine shall euer satisfye the Protestantes; nor Whittaker contente the Papistes; nor Bancroft appease the Precisians; nor any reason pacify affection; nor any authority resolue obstinacy); you that haue most diligently read these, and these, and sundry other reputed excellente in their kindes, cast them all away, and read him alone that can schoole them all in their tearmes inuectiue, and teacheth a new-found Arte of confuting, his all-onely Arte. Martin himselfe but a meacocke, and Papp-hatchet himselfe but a milkesop to him, that inditeth with a penne of fury and the incke of vengeance, and hath cartloades of papershot and chainshot at commaundement. Tush, no man can blason his Armes but himselfe. Behold the mighty Champion, the dubble swordbearer, the redowtable fighter with both handes, that hath robbed William Conquerour of his surname, and in the very first page of his Straunge Newes choppeth off the head of foure Letters at a blow. Hee it is that hath it rightly in him indeede, and can roundly doe the feate with a witnesse. Why, man, he is worth a thousand of these pidlinge and driblinge Confuters that sitt all day buzzing vpon a blunt point or two, and with much adoe drisle out as many sentences in a weeke as he will powre downe in an howre. It is not long since the goodlyest graces of the most noble Common-wealthes vpon Earth, Eloquence in speech and Ciuility in manners, arriued in these remote parts of the world: it was a happy resolution of the heauens, and worthy to be chronicled in an English Liuy, when Tiberis flowed into the Thames, Athens remoued to London, pure Italy and fine Greece planted themselues in rich England, Apollo with his delicate troupe of Muses forsooke his old mountaines and riuers and frequented a new Parnassus and an other Helicon nothinge inferiour to the olde, when they were most solemnely haunted of diuine wittes that taught Rhetorique to speake with applause, and Poetry to sing with admiration. But euen since that flourishing transplantation of the daintiest and sweetest lerning that humanitie euer tasted, Arte did but springe in such as Sir Iohn Cheeke and M. Ascham, & witt budd in such as Sir Phillip Sidney & M. Spencer, which were but the violetes of March or the Primeroses of May, till the one began to sprowte in M. Robart Greene, as in a sweating Impe of the euer-greene Laurell, the other to blossome in M. Pierce Pennilesse, as in the riche garden of pore Adonis, both to growe to perfection in M. Thomas Nashe, whose prime is a haruest, whose Arte a misterie, whose witt a miracle, whose stile the onely life of the presse and the very hart-blood of the Grape. There was a kind of smooth, and clenly, and neate, and fine elegancy before (proper men, handsome giftes), but alacke nothing liuelie and mightie like the braue vino de monte, till his frisking penne began to playe the Sprite of the buttry, and to teache his mother tongue such lusty gambolds as may make the gallantest French, Italian, or Spanish gagliards to blushe for extreame shame of their ideot simplicitie.
The difference of wittes is exceeding straung and almost incredible. Good lord, how may one man passe a thousand, and a thousande not compare with one? Arte may giue out precepts and directoryes in communi forma; but it is superexcellent witt that is the mother pearle of precious Inuention, and the goulden mine of gorgeous Elocution. Na, it is a certaine pregnant and liuely thing without name, but a queint mistery of mounting conceit, as it were a knacke of dexterity, or the nippitaty of the nappiest grape, that infinitly surpasseth all the Inuention and Elocution in the world, and will bunge Demosthenes owne mouth with new-fangled figures of the right stampe, maugre all the thundering and lightninge Periodes of his eloquentest orations, forlorne creatures. I haue had some prettie triall of the finest Tuscanisme in graine, and haue curiously obserued the cunningest experiments and brauest complements of aspiring emulation, but must geeue the bell of singularity to the humorous witt, and the garland of victory to the dominiering Eloquence. I come not yet to the Praise of the olde Asse: it is young Apuleius that feedeth vpon this glory: and hauing enclosed these rancke commons to the proper vse of himselfe & the capricious flocke, adopteth whom he listeth without exception; as Alexander the great had a huge intention to haue all men his subiectes, and all his subiectes called Alexanders. It was strange newes for some to be so assefied; and a worke of Supererogation for him so bountifully to vouchsafe his golden name the appropriate cognisance of his noble stile. God-night, poore Rhetorique of sorry bookes! adieu, good old Humanity! gentle Artes and Liberall Sciences, content your selues! Farewell my deere moothers, sometime floorishing Vniuersities! Some that haue long continued your sonnes in Nature, your apprentises in Arte, your seruauntes in Exercise, your louers in affection, and your vassalles in duety, must either take their leaues of their sweetest freendes, or become the slaues of that dominiering eloquence that knoweth no Art but the cutting Arte, nor acknowledgeth any schoole but the Curtisan schoole. The rest is pure naturall, or wondrous supernaturall. Would it were not an infectious bane or an incroching pocke! Let me not bee mistaken by sinister construction, that wreasteth and wrigleth euery sillable to the worst. I haue no reference to my selfe, but to my superiours by incomparable degrees. To be a Ciceronian is a flowting stocke: poore Homer, a wofull wight, may put his finger in a hole, or in his blind eye: the excellentest histories and woorthiest Chronicles (inestimable monumentes of wisdome and valour) what but stale Antickes? the flowers and fruites of delicate humanity, that were wont to be dainetily and tenderly conserued, now preserued with dust, as it were with sugar, and with hoare, as it were with hoony! That frisking wine, & that liuely knacke in the right capricious veine, the onely booke that holdeth out with a countenance, and will be heard, when woorme-toungued Oratours, dust-footed Poets, and weather-wise historians shall not bee allowed a woord to cast at a dogg! There is a fatall Period of whatsoeuer wee terme flourishinge: the worlde runneth on wheeles, and there must be a vent for all thinges. The Ciceronian may sleepe til the Scogginist hath plaid his part; one sure Conny-catcher woorth twenty Philosophers; a phantasticall rimester more vendible then the notablest Mathematician; no profession to the faculty of rayling; all harsh or obscure that tickleth not idle phantasies with wanton dalliance or ruffianly iestes. Robin Good-fellow the meetest Autor for Robin Hoodes Library; the lesse of Cambridge or Oxforde the fitter to compile woorkes of Supererogation; and wee that were simply trayned after the Athenian and Romane guise must bee contente to make roome for roisters that know their place and will take it. Titles and tearmes are but woordes of course; the right fellow that beareth a braine can knocke twenty titles on the head at a stroke, and with a iugling shift of that same inuincible knacke defende himselfe manfully at the Paper-barre. Though I be not greatly employed, yet my leisure will scarsely serue to moralize Fables of Beares, Apes, and Foxes (some men can giue a shrewd gesse at a courtly allegory), but where Lordes in expresse tearmes are magnifically contemned, Doctours in the same stile may be courageously confuted. Liberty of Tongue and Pen is no Bondman; nippitaty will not be tied to a post; there is a cap of maintenaunce called Impudency; and what say to him that in a superabundaunce of that same odd capricious humour findeth no such want in England as of an Aretine, that might stripp these golden Asses out of their gay trappinges, and, after he had ridden them to death with rayling, leaue them on the dunghill for carrion? A frolicke mind and a braue spirit to be employed with his stripping instrument, in supply of that onely want of a diuine Aretine, the great rider of golden Asses! Were his penne as supererogatory a woorkeman as his harte, or his liues such transcendentes as his thoughtes, Lord, what an egregious Aretine should we shortly haue, how excessiuely exceeding Aretine himselfe, that bestowed the surmountingest amplifications at his pleasure, and was a meere Hyperbole incarnate! Time may worke an accomplishment of woonders, and his graund intentions seeme to prognosticate no lesse then the vttermost possibilities of capacity or fury extended. Would God, or could the Diuell, giue him that vnmeasurable allowance of witt and Arte that he extreamely affecteth, and infinitely wanteth, there were no encounter but of admiration and honour .
But when againe I lift vp mine eyes, and behold the glorious picture of that most-threatning Slassher, is it possible so couragious a Confuter should bee less terrible then the Basiliske of Orus Apollo, that with his onely hissing killed the poore snakes, his neighbours? Can any Letters liue, that hee will slay? Were not Patience, or Submission, or any course better then farther discourse? What fonder businesse then to troble the Printe with Pamphlets, that cannot possibly liue whiles the Basiliske hisseth death? Was I woont to iest at Eldertons ballatinge, Gascoignes sonnettinge, Greenes pamphletting, Martins libelling, Holinsheads engrosing, some-bodies abridging, and whatchicaltes translating, & shall I now become a scribling Creature with fragmentes of shame, that might long sethence haue beene a fresh writer with discourses of applause? The very whole matter, what but a thinge of nothinge? the Methode, what but a hotch-pott for a gallymafry? by the one or other, what hope of publike vse or priuate credite? Socrates minde could as lightly digest poison as Mithridates boddy; and how easely haue the greatest stomackes of all ages, or rather the valiantest courages of the worlde, concocted the harshest and rankest iniuries? Politique Philip, victorious Alexander, inuincible Scipio, triumphant Cæsar, happy Augustus, magnificent Titus, and the flower of the noblest mindes that Immortality honoureth, with a sweete facility gaue many bitter reprehensions the slip, and finely ridd their handes of roughest obloquies. Philosophy professeth more, and the Philosopher of Emperours, or rather the Emperour of Philosophers, Marcus Antoninus, when he deserued best could with felicity heare the woorst .
But without more circumlocution, pryde hath a fall: and as of a Catt, so of Pierce himselfe, howsoeuer inspired or enraged, you can haue but his skinne, puffed vp with winde and bumbasted with vanitye. Euen when he stryueth for life to shewe himselfe brauest in the flaunt-aflaunt of his courage, and when a man would verily beleeue he should nowe behold the stately personage of heroicall Eloquence face to face, or see such an vnseene Frame of the miracles of Arte as might amaze the heauenly eye of Astronomy: holla sir, the sweete Spheres are not too-prodigall of their soueraine influences. Pardon mee, S. Fame. What the first pang of his diuine Furie but notable Vanitie? what the seconde fitte but woorthy vanitye? what the thirde career but egregious vanity? what the glory of his ruffian Rhetorique and curtisan Philosophy but excellent villany? That, that is Pierces Supererogation: and were Penniles a person of any reckoning, as he is a man of notorious fame, that, that perhaps, in regarde of the outragious singularity, might be supposed a Tragicall or Heroicall villany, if euer any villany were so intituled. The present consideration of which singularity occasioneth me to bethinke me of One that this other day very soberlie commended some extraordinary giftes in Nashe; and when he had grauelie maintayned that in the resolution of his conscience he was such a fellowe as some wayes had few fellowes, at last concluded somewhat more roundly:
Well, my maisters, you may talke your pleasures of Tom Nash, who yet sleepeth secure, not without preiudice to some that might be more ielous of their name; but assure your selues if M. Penniles had not bene deepely plunged in a profound extasie of knauery, M. Pierce had neuer written that famous worke of Supererogation, that now stayneth all the bookes in Paules churchyard and setteth both the vniuersites to schoole. Till I see your finest humanitie bestow such a liberall exhibition of conceit and courage vpon your neatest wittes, pardon me though I prefer one smart Pamflet of knauery before ten blundring volumes of the nine Muses. Dreaming and smoke amount alike: Life is a gaming, a iugling, a scoulding, a lawing, a skirmishing, a warre, a Comedie, a Tragedy; the sturring witt, a quintessence of quicksiluer; and there is noe deade fleshe in affection or courage. You may discourse of Hermes ascending spirit, of Orpheus enchanting harpe, of Homers diuine furie, of Tyrtæus enraging trumpet, of Pericles bounsinge thunderclaps, of Platos enthusiasticall rauishment, and I wott not what maruelous egges in mooneshine, but a flye for all your flying speculations when one good fellow with his odd iestes, or one madd knaue with his awke hibber-gibber, is able to putt downe twentye of your smuggest artificiall men that simper it so nicely and coylie in their curious pointes. Try, when you meane to be disgraced; & neuer giue me credit if Sanguine witt putt not Melancholy Arte to bedd. I had almost said all the figures of Rhetorique must abate me an ace of Pierces Supererogation; and Penniles hath a certayne nimble and climbinge reach of Inuention, as good as a long pole and a hooke that neuer fayleth at a pinch. It were vnnaturall, as the sweete Emperour Marcus Antoninus said, that the fig-tree should euer want iuice. You that purpose with great summes of studdy & candles to purchase the worshipfull names of Dunses & Dodipoles may closely sitt or sokingly ly at your bookes; but you that intende to be fine companionable gentlemen, smirking wittes, and whipsters in the world, betake yee timely to the liuely practis of the minion profession, and enure your Mercuriall fingers to frame semblable workes of Supererogation. Certes, other rules are fopperies; and they that will seeke out the Archmistery of the busiest Modernistes shall find it nether more nor lesse then a certayne pragmaticall secret, called Villany, the verie science of sciences, and the Familiar Spirit of Pierces Supererogation. Coosen not yourselues with the gay nothings of children & schollers: no priuitie of learning, or inspiration of witt, or reuelation of misteryes, or Arte Notory, counteruayleable with Pierces Supererogation; which, hauing none of them, hath them all, and can make them all Asses at his pleasure. The Book-worme was neuer but a pickgoose: it is the Multiplying spirit, not of the Alchimist but of the villanist, that knocketh the naile one the head, and spurreth outt farther in a day then the quickest Artist in a weeke. Whiles other are reading, wryting, conferring, arguing, discoursing, experimenting, platforminge, musing, buzzing, or I know not what, that is the spirrit that with a woondrous dexterity shapeth exquisite workes, and atchieueth puissant exploites of Supererogation. O my good frends, as ye loue the sweete world, or tender your deare selues, be not vnmindfull what is good for the aduauncement of your commendable partes. All is nothing without aduancement. Though my experience be a Cipher in these causes, yet hauing studiously perused the newe Arte-notory, that is, the foresaid Supererogation, and hauing shaken so manie learned asses by the eares, as it were by the hands, I could say no lesse, and might think more.
Something else was vttered the same time by the same Gentleman, aswell concerning the present state of France, which he termed the most vnchristian kingdome of the most christian kinge, as touching certaine other newes of I wott not what dependence; but my minde was running on my halfpeny, and my head so full of the foresaid round discourse, that my hand was neuer quyet vntill I had altered the tytle of this Pamphlet, and newlie christened it Pierces Supererogation: aswell in remembrance of the saide discourse as in honour of the appropriate vertues of Pierce himselfe; who aboue all the writers that euer I knew shall go for my money where the currantest forgery, impudency, arrogancy, phantasticalitie, vanity, and great store of little discretion may go for payment, and the filthiest corruption of abhominable villany passe vnlaunced. His other miraculous perfections are still in abeyance; and his monstrous excellencyes in the predicament of Chimera. The birde of Arabia is longe in hatchinge; and mightye workes of Supererogation are not plotted & accomplished att once. It is pittie so hyperbolicall a conceite, ouerhawty for the surmounting rage of Tasso in his furious agony, should be humbled with so diminitiue a witt, base enough for Elderton and the riffe-raffe of the scribling rascality. I haue heard of many disparagementes in felowship, but neuer saw so great Impudency married to so little witt, or so huge presumption allyed to so petty performance. I must not paint, though hee dawbe. Pontan, decipher thy vauntinge Alopantius Ausimarchides a new; and Terence, display thy boastinge Thraso a new; and Plautus, addresse thy vain-glorious Pyrgopolinices anew: heere is a bratt of Arrogancy, a gosling of the Printing-house that can teach your braggardes to play their partes in the Printe of woonder, & to exploit redowtable workes of Supererogation, such as neuer were atchieued in Latin or Greeke. Which deserue to bee looked for with such a longing expectation as the Iewes looke for their kingly Messias, or as I looke for Agrippas dreadfull Pyromachy; for Cardans multiplied matter that shall delude the force of the Canon; for Ancontius perfect Arte of fortifieng little townes against the greatest Battery; for the Iliades of all Courtly Stratagems that Antony Riccobonus magnifically promiseth; for his vniuersall Repertory of all Histories, contayning the memorable actes of all ages, all places, and all persons; for the new Calepine of all learned and vulgar languages, written or spoken, whereof a loud rumour was lately published at Basill; for a generall Pandectes of the Lawes and statutes of all nations and commonwealthes in the worlde, largely promised by Doctor Peter Gregorius, but compendiously perfourmed in his Syntagma Iuris vniuersi; for sundry such famous volumes of hugy miracles in the cloudes. Do not such Arch-woondermentes of supernaturall furniture deserue arch-expectation? What should the Sonnes of Arte dreame of the Philosophers Stone, that, like Midas, turneth into golde whatsoeuer it toucheth: or of the soueraine and diuine Quintessence, that, like Esculapius, restoreth health to sicknesse; like Medea, youth to Olde-age; like Apollonius, life to Death? No Philosophers Stone or soueraine Quintessence, howsoeuer preciously precious, equiualent to such diuine woorkes of supererogation! O high-minded Pierce, hadd the traine of your woordes and sentences bene aunswearable to the retinue of your bragges and threates, or the robes of your apparaunce in person suteable to the weedes of your ostentation in tearmes, I would surely haue beene the first that should haue proclaimed you the most singuler Secretary of this language, & the heauenliest creature vnder the Spheres. Sweete M. Ascham, that was a flowing spring of humanity, and worthy Sir Phillip Sidney, that was a florishing spring of nobility, must haue pardoned me: I would directly haue charged my conscience. But you must giue plaine men leaue to vtter their opinion without courtinge: I honor high heads that stand vpon low feet; & haue no great affection to the gay fellows that build vp with their clambring hartes, and pull downe with their vntoward hands. Giue me the man that is meeke in spirit, lofty in zeale, simple in presumption, gallant in endeuor, poore in profession, riche in performance. Some such I knowe; and all such I value highly. They glory not of the golden stone, or the youthfull Quintessence: but Industrie is their goulden Stone; Action their youthfull Quintessence; and Valour their diuine worke of Supererogation .
I will not heere decipher thy vnprinted packet of bawdye and filthy Rymes in the nastiest kind: there is a fitter place for that discouery of thy foulest shame, & the whole ruffianisme of thy brothell Muse, if she still prostitute her obscene ballatts, and will needes be a younge Curtisan of ould knauery. Yet better a Confuter of Letters then a confounder of manners; and better the dogges-meate of Agrippa or Cattes-meate of Poggius then the swines-meate of Martial or goates-meate of Arretine. Cannot an Italian ribald vomit out the infectious poyson of the world but an Inglishe horrel-lorrel must lick it vp for a restoratiue, and attempt to putrify gentle mindes with the vilest impostumes of lewde corruption?
Euen amorous Sonnets, in the gallantest and sweetest ciuil veine, are but daintyes of a pleasurable witt, or iunkets of a wanton liuer, or buddes of an idle head; whatsoeuer sprowteth farther would be lopped. Petrarckes Inuention is pure Loue it selfe, and Petrarckes Elocution pure Bewty it selfe: his Laura was the Daphne of Apollo, not the Thisbe of Pyramus; a delitious Sappho, not a lasciuious Lais; a sauing Hester, not a destroying Helena; a nimph of Diana, not a Curtisan of Venus. Aretines muse was an egregious bawd, & a haggishe witch of Thessalia; but Petrarcks verse, a fine loouer, that learneth of Mercury to exercise his fayrest giftes in a faire subiect, & teacheth Wit to be inamored vpon Beautye, as Quicksiluer embraseth gold, or as vertue affecteth honour, or as Astronomy gazeth vpon heauen, to make Arte more excellent by contemplation of excellentest Nature. Petrarck was a delicate man, and with an elegant iudgement gratiously confined Loue within the limits of Honour, Witt within the boundes of Discretion, Eloquence within the termes of Ciuility; as not many yeares sithence an Inglishe Petrarck did, a singular Gentleman, and a sweete Poet, whose verse singeth as valour might speake, and whose ditty is an Image of the Sun voutsafing to represent his glorious face in a clowde. All posterity honour Petrarck, that was the harmony of heauen, the lyfe of Poetry, the grace of Arte, a precious tablet of rare conceits, & a curious frame of exquisite workemanship; nothing but neate Witt, and refined Eloquence. Were the amorous muse of my enemy such a liuely Spring of sweetest flowres & such a liuing Haruest of ripest fruits, I would abandon other loues, to dote vpon that most louely muse, and would debase the Dyamant in comparison of that most Dyamant muse. But out vpon ranke & lothsome ribaldry that putrifieth where it should purify, and presumeth to deflowre the most florishinge wittes with whom it consorteth, eyther in familiarity or by fauour! One Ouid was too much for Roome, and one Greene too much for London, but one Nashe more intollerable then both, not bicause his witt is anye thinge comparable, but bicause his will is more outragious. Ferraria could scarcely brooke Manardus, a poysonous Phisitian; Mantua hardly beare Pomponatius, a poysonous Philosopher; Florence more hardly tollerate Macchiauel, a poysonous politician; Venice most hardly endure Arretine, a poysonous ribald: had they liued in absolute Monarchies, they would haue seemed vtterly insupportable. Germany, Denmarke, Sweden, Polony, Boemia, Hungary, Moscouy, are noe soiles of any such wittes; but neither Fraunce, nor Spaine, nor Turky, nor any puissant kingdom in one or other Monarchy of the old or new world could euer abide any such pernicious writers, deprauers of common discipline.
Ingland, since it was Ingland, neuer bred more honorable mindes, more aduenturous hartes, more valorous handes, or more excellent wittes then of late: it is enough for Filly-folly to intoxicate it selfe, though it be not suffered to defyle the lande, which the water enuironeth, the Earth enritcheth, the aier ensweeteneth, and the Heauen blesseth. The bounteous graces of God are sowen thicke, but come vp thin; corruption hath little need to be fostred; wantonnesse wilbe a nurse, a bawde, a Poet, a Legend to itselfe; vertue hath much-a-doe to hold out inuiolably her purposed course; Resolution is a forward fellow, and Valour a braue man; but affections are infectious, and appetite must sometime haue his swinge. Were Appetite a loyall subiect to Reason, and Will an affectionate seruant to Wisdom, as Labour is a dutifull vassal to Commodity, and Trauail a flying post to Honour, O heauens, what exploites of worth, or rather what miracles of excellency might be atcheeued in an age of Pollicy & a world of Industry! The date of idle vanityes is expired: awaye with these scribling paltryes. There is an other Sparta in hande that indeede requireth Spartan Temperance, Spartan Frugality, Spartan exercise, Spartan valiancye, Spartan perseuerance, Spartan inuincibility, and hath no wanton leasure for the Comedyes of Athens, nor anye bawdy howers for the songes of Priapus or the rymes of Nashe. Had he begun to Aretinize when Elderton began to ballat, Gascoine to sonnet, Turberuile to madrigal, Drant to versify, or Tarleton to extemporise, some parte of his phantasticall bibble-bables and capricious panges might haue bene tollerated in a greene and wild youth; but the winde is chaunged, & there is a busier pageant vpon the stage. M. Aschams Toxophilus long sithence shot at a fairer marke; and M. Gascoigne himselfe, after some riper experience, was glad to trye other conclusions in the Lowe Countryes, and bestowed an honorable commendation vpon Sir Humfrye Gilbertes gallant discourse of a discouery for a newe passage to the East Indyes. But read the report of the worthy Westerne discoueries, by the said Sir Humfry Gilbert; the report of the braue West-Indian voyage by the conduction of Sir Frauncis Drake; the report of the horrible Septentrionall discoueryes by the trauail of Sir Martin Forbisher; the report of the politique discouery of Virginia by the Colony of Sir Walter Raleigh; the report of sundry other famous discoueryes & aduentures, published by M. Rychard Hackluit in one volume, a worke of importance; the report of the hoatt wellcom of the terrible Spanishe Armada to the coast of Inglande, that came in glory and went in dishonour; the; report of the redoubted voyage into Spaine and Portugall, whence the braue Earle of Essex and the twoo valorous Generals, Sir Iohn Norris and Sir Frauncis Drake, returned with honour; the report of the resolute encounter about the Iles Azores, betwixt the Reuenge of Ingland and an Armada of Spaine, in which encounter braue Sir Richard Grinuile most vigorously & impetuously attempted the extreamest possibilities of valour and fury. For breuity I ouerskipp many excellent Traicts of the same or the like nature: but reade these, and M. William Borrowghes notable discourse of the variation of the compas or magneticall needle, annexed to the new Attractiue of Robert Norman, Hydrographer; vnto which two Ingland in some respectes is as much beholding as Spayne vnto Martin Cortes & Peter de Medina for the Arte of Nauigation: and when you haue obserued the course of Industry, examined the antecedents and consequents of Trauail, compared Inglish and Spanish valour, measured the Forces of both parties, weighed euery circumstance of Aduantage, considered the Meanes of our assurance, and finally found proffit to be our pleasure, prouision our security, labour our honour, warfare our welfarewho of reckoning can spare anye lewde or vaine tyme for corrupt pamphlets, or who of iudgment will not cry away with these paultringe fidle-faddles?
Were some demaunded whether Greenes or Nashes Pamflets were better penned, I beleeue they would aunsweare: Sir Roger Williams Discourse of War for Militare Doctrine in Esse, and M. Thomas Digges Stratioticos for Militare Discipline in Esse. And whiles I remember the Princely care of Gelo, a famous Tyrant of Sicill (many tyrants of Sicill were very politique) that commaunded his great horse to be brought into the banquetting house, where other Lordes called for the Harpe, other Knightes for the Waites, I cannot forget the gallant discourse of Horsemanship penned by a rare gentleman, M. Iohn Asteley of the Court, whome I dare intitle our Inglish Xenophon, and maruell not that Pietro Bizzaro, a learned Italian, proposeth him for a perfect Patterne of Castilios Courtier. And, thinking vpon worthy M. Asteley, I cannot ouerpasse the like labour of good M. Thomas Blundeuil without due commendation, whose painefull and skillfull bookes of Horsemanship deserue also to be registred in the Catalogue of Xenophontian woorkes. What should I speake of the two braue Knightes, Musidorus and Pyrocles, combined in one excellent knight, Sir Philip Sidney, at the remembrance of whose woorthy and sweete Vertues my hart melteth? Will you needes haue a written Pallace of Pleasure, or rather a printed Court of Honour? Read the Countesse of Pembrookes Arcadia, a gallant Legendary, full of pleasurable accidents and proffitable discourses; for three thinges especially very notablefor amorous Courting (he was young in yeeres), for sage counselling (he was ripe in iudgement), and for valorous fighting (his soueraine profession was Armes); and delightfull pastime by way of Pastorall exercises may passe for the fourth. He that will Looue, let him learne to looue of him that will teach him to Liue, & furnish him with many pithy and effectuall instructions, delectably interlaced by way of proper descriptions of excellent Personages and common narrations of other notable occurrences, in the veine of Salust, Liuy, Cornelius Tacitus, Iustine, Eutropius, Philip de Comines, Guicciardine, and the most sententious Historians that haue powdred their stile with the salt of discretion, and seasoned their iudgement with the leauen of experience. There want not some suttle Stratagems of importance, and some politique Secretes of pruitie; and he that would skilfully and brauely manage his weapon with a cunning Fury may finde liuely Precepts in the gallant Examples of his valiantest Duellists; especially of Palladius and Daiphantus, Zelmane and Amphialus, Phalantus and Amphialus, but chiefly of Argalus and Amphialus, Pyrocles and Anaxius, Musidorus and Amphialus, whose lusty combats may seeme Heroicall Monomachies. And that the valor of such redoubted men may appeere the more conspicuous and admirable by comparison and interview of their contraries, smile at the ridiculous encounters of Dametas & Dorus, of Dametas and Clinias; and euer when you thinke vpon Dametas remember the Confuting Champion, more surquidrous then Anaxius, and more absurd then Dametas; and if I should alwayes hereafter call him Dametas, I should fitt him with a name as naturally proper vnto him as his owne. Gallant Gentlemen, you that honor Vertue and would enkindle a noble courage in your mindes to euery excellent purpose, if Homer be not at hand (whome I haue often tearmed the Prince of Poets and the Poet of Princes), you may read his furious Iliads & cunning Odysses in the braue aduentures of Pyrocles and Musidorus; where Pyrocles playeth the dowty fighter, like Hector or Achilles, Musidorus the valiant Captaine, like Pandarus or Diomedes, both the famous errant Knightes, like Æneas or Vlysses. Lord, what would him selfe haue prooued in fine, that was the gentleman of Curtesy, the Esquier of Industry, and the Knight of Valour at those yeeres? Liue euer sweete Booke, the siluer Image of his gentle witt, and the golden Pillar of his noble courage, and euer notify vnto the worlde, that thy Writer was the Secretary of Eloquence, the breath of the Muses, the hoony-bee of the dayntiest flowers of Witt and Arte, the Pith of morall & intellectuall Vertues, the arme of Bellona in the field, the toung of Suada in the chamber, the spirite of Practise in esse, and the Paragon of Excellency in Print.
And now whiles I consider what a Trompet of Honour Homer hath bene to sturre vp many woorthy Princes, I cannot forget the woorthy Prince that is a Homer to himselfe, a Golden spurre to Nobility, a Scepter to Vertue, a Verdure to the Spring, a Sunne to the day, and hath not onely translated the two diuine Poems of Salustius du Bartas, his heauenly Vrany, and his hellish Furies, but hath readd a most valorous Martial Lecture vnto himselfe in his owne victorious Lepanto, a short, but heroicall, worke, in meeter, but royal meeter, fitt for a Dauids harpeLepanto, first the glory of Christendome against the Turke, and now the garland of a soueraine crowne. When young Kings haue such a care of their flourishing Prime, and, like Cato, are ready to render an accompt of their vacant howers, as if Aprill were their Iuly, and May their August, how should gentlemen of yeeres employ the golden talent of their Industry and trauaile? with what feruency, with what vigour, with what zeale, with what incessant and indefatigable endeuour? Phy vpon fooleries: there be honourable woorkes to doe, and notable workes to read. The afore-named Bartas (whome elsewhere I haue stiled the Treasurer of Humanity and the Ieweller of Diuinity), for the highnesse of his subiect and the maiesty of his verse nothing inferiour vnto Dante (whome some Italians preferre before Virgil or Homer), a right inspired and enrauished Poet, full of chosen, graue, profound, venerable, and stately matter, euen in the next Degree to the sacred and reuerend stile of heauenly Diuinity it selfe; in a manner the onely Poet whome Vrany hath voutsafed to Laureate with her owne heauenly hand, and worthy to bee alleadged of Diuines and Counsellours, as Homer is quoted of Philosophers & Oratours. Many of his solemne verses are oracles; & one Bartas, that is, one French Salomon, more weighty in stern and mighty counsell then the Seauen Sages of Greece. Neuer more beauty in vulgar Languages; but his stile addeth fauour and grace to beauty, and in a goodly Boddy representeth a puissant Soule. How few verses carry such a personage of state? or how few argumentes such a spirite of maiesty? Or where is the diuine instincte that can sufficiently commend such a volume of celestiall inspiration? What a iudgement hath the noble youth, the haruest of the Spring, the sapp of Apollos tree, the diademe of the Muses, that leaueth the enticingest flowers of delite, to reape the fruites of wisdome?
He can raile (what mad Bedlam cannot rail?), but the sauour of his railing is grosely fell, and smelleth noysomly of the pumpe, or a nastier thing. His gayest floorishes are but Gascoignes weedes, or Tarletons trickes, or Greenes crankes, or Marlowes brauados; his iestes but the dregges of common scurrilitie, or the shreds of the theater, or the of-scouring of new Pamflets; his freshest nippitatie but the froth of stale inuentions, long since lothsome to quick tastes; his shrouing ware but lenten stuff, like the old pickle herring; his lustiest verdure but ranke ordure, not to be named in Ciuilitie or Rhetorique; his only Art, & the vengeable drift of his whole cunning, to mangle my sentences, hack my arguments, chopp and change my phrases, wrinch my wordes, and hale euery sillable most extremely, euen to the disioynting and maiming of my whole meaning. O times, O pastimes, O monstrous knauerie! The residue whatsoeuer hath nothing more in it then is vsuallie in euery ruffianly Copesmate that hath bene a Grammar schollar, readeth riotous bookes, hanteth roisterly companie, delighteth in rude scoffing, & karrieth a desperate minde. Let him be thorowly perused by any indifferent reader whomsoeuer that can iudiciously discerne what is what, and will vprightly censure him according to his skill, without partialitie pro or contra, and I dare vndertake he will affirme no lesse, vpon the credit of his iudgement, but will definitiuely pronounce him the very Baggage of new writers. I could nominate the person that vnder his hand-writing hath stiled him the cockish challenger, the lewd scribler, the offal of corruptest mouthes, the draff of filthiest pennes, the bag-pudding of fooles, & the very pudding-pittes of the wise or honest. He might haue read of foure notable thinges which many a iollie man weeneth he hath at will, when he hath nothing lessemuch knowledge, sound wisedome, great power, & many frends .
You haue heard some worthie Premisses: behold a braue conclusion.
Awaite the world, the Tragedy of Wrath:
What next I paint shall tread no common Path:
with an other doubble Aut, for a gallant Embleme or a glorious Farewell, Aut nunquam tentes aut perfice: Subscribed with his owne hand, Thomas Nash. Not expect or attend, but a wait: not some few, or the Citty, or the Vniuersity, or this Land, or Europe, but the World: not a Comedy, or a Declamation, or an Inuectiue, or a Satire, or any like Elencticall discourse, but a Tragedy, and the very Tragedy of Wrath, that shall dash the direfullest Tragedies of Seneca, Euripides, or Sophocles out of Conceit. The next peece, not of his Rhetorique, or Poetry, but of his Painture shall not treade the way to Poules, or Westminster, or the Royall Exchange, but at least shall perfect the Venus face of Apelles, or sett the world an euerlasting Sample of inimitable artificiality. Other mens writing in prose or verse may plodd on as before, but his Painting will now tread a rare Path, and, by the way, bestow a new Lesson vppon Rhetorique, how to continue a metaphor or vphold an Allegory with aduauntage. The treading of that rare Path by that exquisite Painting (his woorkes are miracles, and his Painting can treade, like his dauncing, or frisking, no common, but a proper Path), who expecteth not with an attentiue, a seruiceable, a coouetous, a longing expectation? Await world, and Apelles tender thy most affectionate deuotion, to learne a wonderfull peece of curious workemanship, when it shall please his next Painting to tread the path of his most singular singularity.
An Aduertisement for Pap-Hatchet, and Martin Mar-Prelate
Pap-hatchet (for the name of thy good nature is pittyfully growen out of request) thy olde acquaintance in the Sauoy, when young Euphues hatched the egges that his elder freendes laide (surely Euphues was someway a pretty fellow: would God, Lilly had alwaies bene Euphues, and neuer Pap-hatchet), that old acquaintance, now somewhat straungely saluted with a new remembrance, is neither lullabied with thy sweete Papp nor scarre-crowed with thy sower hatchet. And although in selfe-conceit thou knowest not thy selfe, yet in experience thou mightest haue knowen him that can vnbutton thy vanity and vnlase thy folly, but in pitty spareth thy childish simplicity, that in iudgement scorneth thy roisterly brauery, and neuer thought so basely of thee, as since thou beganst to disguise thy witt and disgrace thy arte with ruffianly foolery. He winneth not most abroad that weeneth most at home: and, in my poore fancy, it were not greatly amisse euen for the pertest and gayest companions (notwithstanding whatsoeuer courtly holly-water, or plausible hopes of preferment) to deigne their olde familiars the continuance of their former courtesies, without contempt of the barrainest giftes or empeachment of the meanest persons. The simplest man in a parish is a shrewd foole, and Humanity an Image of Diuinity, that pulleth downe the hawty and setteth vp the meeke. Euphues, it is good to bee merry: and, Lilly, it is good to bee wise: and, Papp-hatchet, it is better to loose a new iest then an olde frend that can cramme the capon with his owne Papp, and hewe downe the woodcocke with his owne hatchet. Bolde men and marchant Venturers haue sometime good lucke; but happhazard hath oftentimes good leaue to beshrow his owne pate, and to imbarke the hardy foole in the famous Shipp of wisemen. I cannot stand nosing of Candlesticks, or euphuing of Similes, alla Sauoica: it might happly be done with a trice; but euery man hath not the guift of Albertus Magnus; rare birdes are dainty; and they are queint creatures that are priuiledged to create new creatures. When I haue a mint of precious stones, & straunge Foules, beastes, and fishes of mine owne coyning (I could name the party, that in comparison of his owne naturall Inuentions tearmed Pliny a barraine woombe), I may peraduenture blesse you with your owne crosses, & pay you with the vsury of your owne coyne. In the meane while beare with a plaine man, as plaine as olde Accursius, or Barthol. de Saxoferrato, that wil make his Censure good vpon the carrion of thy vnsauory and stincking Pamflett, a fitt booke to be ioyned with Scoggins woorkes, or the French Mirrour of Madnesse. The very Title discouereth the wisedome of the young man; as an olde Fox not long since bewrayed himselfe by a flap of his taile; and a Lion, they say, is soon descried by his pawe, a Cocke by his combe, a Goat by his bearde, an Asse by his eare, a wiseman by his tale, an artist by his tearmes.
What deuise of Martin, or what inuention of any other, could haue sett a fairer Orientall Starre vpon the forhead of that foule libell? Now you see the brande and know the Blackamore by his face, turne ouer the leafe, and, by the wittinesse of his first sentence, aime at the rest. Milke is like milke, hoony is like hoony, Papp like Papp, and hee like himselfe; in the whole a notable ruffler, and in euery part a dowty braggard. Roome for a roister: so thats well said: itch a little further for a good fellow: now haue at you all, my gaffers of the rayling religion: tis I that must take you a pegg lower: Ile make such a splinter runne into your wittes,and so foorth in the same lusty tenour. A very artificiall beginning to mooue attention or to procure good liking in the reader, vnlesse he wrote onely to roister-doisters & hacksters, or atleast to iesters and vices. Oh, but in his Preamble to the indifferent reader he approueth himselfe a maruellous, discreet, and modest man of the soberest sort, were he not prouoked in conscience to aunsweare contrary to his nature and manner. You may see how graue men may be made light to defend the Church. I perceiue they were wise that at riotous times, when youth was wantonnest and knauery lustiest, as in Christmas, at Shrofetide, in May, at the ende of Haruest, and by such wilde fittes, created a certaine extraordinary Officer, called a Lord of Misrule, as a needefull gouernour or Dictatour, to set thinges in order and to rule vnruly people; with whome otherwise there were no Ho So, when Reuell-rout beginneth to be a current Autour or Hurly-burly a busy Promotour. Roome for a roister, that will bore them thorough the noses with a cushion, that will bung vp their mouthes with a Collyrium of all the stale iestes in a country, that will suffer none to play the Rex but himselfe! For that is the very depth of his plot; and who euer began with more roisterly tearmes, or proceeded with more ruffianly scoffes, or concluded with more haire-braind trickes, or wearied his reader with more threadbare iestes, or tired himselfe with more weather-beaten cranckes? What scholler or gentleman can reade such alehouse and tinkerly stuffe without blushing? They were much deceiued in him at Oxford, and in the Sauoy, when Master Absolon liued, that tooke him onely for a dapper & deft companion, or a pert conceited youth that had gathered together a fewe prettie sentences and could handsomly helpe young Euphues to an old Simile, & neuer thought him any such mighty doer at the sharpe .
When I first tooke a glancing vewe of Ile, Ile, Ile, & durst scarsely be so hardy to looke the hatchet in the face, methought his Imagination was hedded like a Saracen, his stomack bellyed like the great Globe of Orontius, & his breath like the blast of Boreas in the great Mapp of Mercator. But when we began to renue our old acquaintance, and to shake the handes of discontinued familiaritie, alas, good Gentleman, his mandillion was ouercropped, his witt paunched like his wiues spindle, his art shanked like a lath, his conceit as lank as a shotten herring, and that same blustering eloquence as bleake and wan as the Picture of a forlorne Loouer. Nothing but pure Mammaday and a fewe morsels of fly-blowne Euphuisme, somewhat nicely minced for puling stomackes! But there be Painters enough, though I goe roundly to worke; and it is my onely purpose to speake to the purpose. I long sithence founde by experience how Dranting of Verses, and Euphuing of sentences, did edifie. But had I consulted with the Prognostication of Iohn Securis, I might peraduenture haue saued some loose endes for afterclapps. Now his nephew Hatchet must be content to accept of such spare intertainment as he findeth .
So he may soone make vp the autenticall Legendary of his Hundred merrie Tales, as true, peraduenture, as Lucians true narrations, or the heroicall historyes of Rabelais, or the braue Legendes of Errant Knights, or the egregious prankes of Howleglasse, Frier Rush, Frier Tuck, and such like, or the renowned Bugiale of Poggius, Racellus, Luscus, Cincius, and that whole Italian crew of merry Secretaryes in the time of Pope Martin the fift, of whom our worshipfull Clarkes of the whetstone, Doctour Clare, Doctour Bourne, M. Scoggin, M. Skelton, M. Wakefield, diuers late Historiologers, and haply this new Talefounder himselfe, learned their most wonderfull facultie. Committing of matrimonie, carousing the sapp of the Church, cutting at the bumme Carde of conscience, besmearing of conscience, spelling of Our Father in a horne booke, the railing Religion, and a whole sinke of such arrant phrases, sauour whotly of the same Lucianicall breath, & discoouer the minion Secretarie aloofe. Faith, quoth himselfe, thou wilt be caught by thy stile. Indeede, what more easie then to finde the man by his humour, the Midas by his eares, the Calfe by his tongue, the goose by his quill, the Play-maker by his stile, the hatchet by the Pap? Albertus Secrets, Poggius Fables, Bebelius iestes, Scoggins tales, Wakefields lyes, Parson Darcyes knaueries, Tarletons trickes, Eldertons Ballats, Greenes Pamflets, Euphues Similes, double Vs phrases, are too well knowen to go vnknowen. Where the veine of Braggadocio is famous, the arterie of Pappadocio cannot be obscure. Gentlemen, I haue giuen you a tast of his Sugerloafe, that weeneth Sidneyes daintyes, Aschams comfites, Cheekes succats, Smithes conserues, and Mores iunkets, nothing comparable to his pap. Some of you dreamed of Electuaryes of Gemmes, and other precious restoratiues, of the quintessence of Amber and Pearle dissolued, of I wott not what incredible delicacies, but his Gemmemint is not alwayes current, and, as busie men, so painted boxes and gallipots must haue a Vacation .
Would fayre Names were spelles and charmes against fowle Affections! and in some respectes I could wish that Diuinitie would giue Humanitie leaue to conclude otherwise then I must. I could in curtesie be content, and in hope of Reconciliation desirous, to mitigate the harshest sentences and mollifie the hardest termes. But can Truth lye, or Discretion approoue follie, or Iudgement allowe Vanitie, or Modestie abide Impudencie, or good manners sooth bad speaches? He that penned the abooue-mentioned Cock-alilly saw reason to display the Black Artist in his collier coolours, and thought it most vnreasonable to suffer such light and emptie vessels to make such a lowde and prowde rumbling in the ayre. Other had rather heare the learned Nightingale then the Vnlearned Parrat, or tast the wing of a Larke then the legge of a Rauen. The finest wittes preferre the loosest period in M. Ascham or Sir Philip Sidney before the tricksiest page in Euphues or Pap-hatchet. The Muses shame to remember some fresh quaffers of Helicon: and which of the Graces or Vertues blusheth not to name some lustie tospots of Rhetorique? The stately Tragedie scorneth the trifling Comedie; and the trifling Comedie flowteth the new Ruffianisme. Wantonnesse was neuer such a swill-bowle of ribaldry, nor Idlenesse euer such a carowser of knauerie. What honest mynde or Ciuill disposition is not accloied with these noisome & nasty gargarismes? Where is the polished & refined Eloquence that was wont to bedeck and embellish Humanity? Why should learning be a niggard of his excellent gifts, when Impudencie is so prodigall of his rascall trish-trash? What daintie or neat Iudgement beginneth not to hate his old looue, and loath his auncient delight, the Presse, the most honorable Presse, the most villanous Presse? Who smileth not at those, and those trim-trammes of gawdie wittes, how floorishing Wittes, how fading witts? Who laugheth not at Ile, Ile, Ile, or gibeth not at some hundred Pibalde fooleryes in that harebrained Declamation? They whom it neerelyest pincheth cannot silence their iust disdaine: and I am forcibly vrged to intimate my whole Censure, though without hatred to the person, or derogation from any his commendable gift, yet not without speciall dislike of the bad matter, and generall condemnation of the vile forme: the whole Worke, a bald Toy, full of stale and wooden Iestes, and one of the most paltry thinges that euer was published by graduate of either Vniuersitie; good for nothing but to stop mustard pottes, or rub gridirons, or feather rattes neastes, or such like homely vse. For Stationers are already too full of such Realmes and Commonwealthes of Wast-paper, and finde more gaine in the lillypot blanke then in the lillypot Euphueda day or two fine for sheetes, and afterward good for grosers .
He is of no reading in comparison, that doth not acknowledge euery terme in those Letters to be autenticall English, and allow a thousand other ordinary Pragmaticall termes, more straunge then the straungest in those Letters, yet current at occasion. The ignorant Idiot (for so I will prooue him in very truth) confuteth the artificiall wordes which he neuer read; but the vayne fellow (for so he prooueth himselfe in word and deede) in a phantasticall emulation presumeth to forge a mishapen rablement of absurde and ridiculous wordes, the proper bodges of his new fangled figure, called Foolerisme: such as Inkhornisme, Absonisme, the most copious Carminist, thy Carminicall art, a Prouiditore of young Schollars, a Corrigidore of incongruitie, a quest of Caualieros, Inamoratos on their workes, a Theologicall Gimpanado, a Dromidote Ergonist, sacrilegiously contaminated, decrepite capacitie, fictionate person, humour vnconuersable, merriments vnexilable, the horrisonant pipe of inueterate antiquitie, and a number of such Inkhornish phrases, as it were a pan of outlandish collops, the very bowels of his profoundest Schollerisme. For his Eloquence passeth my intelligence, that cleapeth himselfe a Calimunco, for pleading his Companions cause in his owne Apology, and me a Pistlepragmos, for defending my frendes in my Letters; and very artificially interfuseth Finicallitie, sillogistrie, disputatiue right, hermaphrodite phrases, declamatorie stiles, censoriall moralizers, vnlineall vsurpers of iudgement, infamizers of vice, new infringement to destitute the inditement, deriding dunstically, banging abominationly, vnhandsoming of diuinityship, absurdifying of phrases, ratifying of truthable and eligible English, a calme dilatement of forward harmefulnesse and backward irefulnesse, and how many sundry dishes of such dainty fritters? rare iunkets and a delicate seruice for him that compiled the most delitious Commentaries De optimitate triparum. And what say you Boyes, the flatteringest hope of your moothers, to a Porch of Panim Pilfryes, Pestred with Prayses. Dare the pertest or deftest of you hunt the letter, or hauke a metaphor, with such a Tite-tute-tate? He weeneth himselfe a speciall penman, as he were the headman of the Pamfletting crew, next, and immediately after Greene: and although he be a harsh Oratour with his toungue (euen the filed Suada of Isocrates wanted the voyce of a Siren or the sound of an Eccho), yet would he seeme as fine a Secretary with his penne as euer was Bembus in Latin, or Macchiauell in Italian, or Gueuara in Spanish, or Amiot in French; and with a confidence preasseth into the rowte of that humorous ranke that affected the reputation of supreme Singularity. But he must craue a little more acquaintance at the hand of Arte, and serue an apprentishood of some nine or ten yeares in the shop of curious Imitation (for his wild Phantasie will not be allowed to maintaine comparison with curious Imitation) before he will be hable to performe the twentith or fortith part of that sufficiency, whereunto the cranknesse of his Imagination already aspireth, as more exquisite then the Atticisme of Isocrates, or more puissant then the fury of Tasso.
But how insolently soeuer grose Ignorance presumeth of itselfe (none so hawty as the basest Bussard), or how desperatly soeuer foole-hardy Ambition aduaunceth his owne colours (none so foole-hardy as the blindest Hobb), I haue seldome read a more garish and pibald stile in any scribling Inkhornist, or tasted a more vnsauory slaum-paump of wordes and sentences in any sluttish Pamfletter that denounceth not defiance against the rules of Oratory and the directions of the English Secretary: which may here and there stumble vpon some tolerable sentence, neighbourly borrowed, or featly picked out of some fresh Pamflet, but shall neuer finde three sentences togither worth any allowance; and as for a fine or neat period, in the dainty and pithy Veyne of Isocrates or Xenophon, marry, that were a periwig of a Siren, or a wing of the very bird of Arabia, an inestimable relique. Tush, a point: neither curious Hermogenes, nor trim Isocrates, nor stately Demosthenes, are for his tooth, nor painting Tully, nor caruing Cæsar, nor purple-dying Liuy for his humour. It is for Cheeke or Ascham to stand leuelling of Colons, or squaring of Periods, by measure and number: his penne is like a spigot, and the Wine presse a dullard to his Ink-presse. There is a certaine liuely and frisking thing of a queint and capricious nature, as peerlesse as namelesse, and as admirable as singular, that scorneth to be a booke-woorme, or to imitate the excellentest artificiality of the most renowned worke-masters that antiquity affourdeth. The witt of this & that odd Modernist is their owne; & no such minerall of richest Art as prægnant Nature, the plentifullest woombe of rare Inuention, and exquisite Elocution. Whuist Art! and Nature aduaunce thy precious Selfe in thy most gorgeous and magnificent robes! and if thy new descant be so many notes aboue old Æla, Good-now be no niggard of thy sweet accents & heauenly harmony, but teach the antike muses their right Leripup! Desolate Eloquence and forlorne Poetry, thy most humble Suppliants in forma pauperum, cladd in mournefull and dreery weedes, as becommeth their lamentable case, lye prostrate at thy dainty foote, and adore the Idoll-excellency of thy monstrous Singularity! O stately Homer, and lofty Pindarus, whose witt mounteth like Pegasus, whose verse streameth like Nilus, whose Inuention flameth like Ætna, whose Elocution rageth like Sirius, whose passion blustereth like Boreas, whose reason breatheth like Zephirus, whose nature sauoreth like Tempe, and whose Art perfumeth like Paradise: O the mightiest Spirites of couragious Vigour, of whom the delicate Grecian, worthy Roman, and gallant Vulgar Muses learned their shrillest tunes and hyperbolicall notes: O the fiercest Trompets of heroicall Valour, that with the straunge Sympathy of your diuine Fury, and with thossame piercing motions of heauenly inspiration were woont to rauish the affections, and euen to mealt the bowels of brauest mindes; see, see what a woondrous quaime!
But peace, milkemaide, you will still be shaming yourselfe and your bringing-vpp! Hadst thou learned to discerne the fairest face of Eloquence from the fowlest visage of Barbarisme, or the goodlyest frame of Method from the ill-fauoredest shape of Confusion, as thou canst descry the finest flower from the coursest branne, or the sweetest creame from the sowrest whey, peraduenture thou wouldest dote vpon the bewtifull and dainty feature of that naturall stile, that appropriate stile, vpon which himselfe is so deepely inamored. I would it were out of peraduenture: no man more greedy to behold that miraculous Art of emprooued Nature. He may malapertly bragge in the vaine ostentation of his owne naturall conceit, and, if it please him, make a Golden Calfe of his woodden stuffe, but shewe me any halfe page without piperly phrases and tinkerly composition, and say I am the simplest Artist that euer looked fayre Rhetorique or sweet Poetry in the face. It is the destiny of our language to be pestred with a rablement of botchers in Print; but what a shamefull shame is it for him that maketh an Idoll of his owne penne, and raiseth vpp an huge expectation of paper-miracles (as if Hermes Trismegist were newly risen from the dead, and personally mounted vpon Danters Presse), to emprooue himselfe as ranke a bungler in his mightiest worke of Supererogation as the starkest Patch-pannell of them all, or the grosest hammer-drudge in a country. He disdaineth Thomas Delone, Philip Stubs, Robert Armin, and the common Pamfletters of London, euen the painfullest Chroniclers tooe, bicause they stand in his way, hinder his scribling traffique, obscure his resplendishing Fame, or haue not Chronicled him in their Catalogues of the renowned moderne Autors, as he meritoriously meriteth, and may peraduenture be remembred hereafter. But may not Thomas Delone, Philip Stubs, Robert Armin, and the rest of those misused persons more disdainfully disdaine him, bicause he is so much vayner, so little learneder, so nothing eleganter then they; and they so much honester, so little obscurer, so nothing contemptibler then he? Surely, Thomas, it were pollicy to boast lesse with Thomas Delone, or to atchieue more with Thomas More .
He that remembreth Humfrey Cole, a Mathematicall Mechanician, Matthew Baker, a ship wright, Iohn Shute, an Architect, Robert Norman, a Nauigatour, William Bourne, a Gunner, Iohn Hester, a Chimist, or any like cunning and subtile Empirique (Cole, Baker, Shute, Norman, Bourne, Hester will be remembred when greater Clarkes shalbe forgotten) is a prowd man if he contemne expert artisans or any sensible industrious Practitioner, howsoeuer Vnlectured in Schooles or Vnlettered in bookes. Euen the Lord Vulcan himselfe, the supposed God of the forge and thunder-smith of the great king Iupiter, tooke the repulse at the handes of the Lady Minerua, whom he would in ardent looue haue taken to wife. Yet what witt or Pollicy honoreth not Vulcan? and what profounde Mathematician, like Digges, Hariot, or Dee, esteemeth not the pregnant Mechanician? Let euery man in his degree enioy his due; and let the braue enginer, fine Dædalist, skilfull Neptunist, maruelous Vulcanist, and euery Mercuriall occupationer, that is, euery Master of his craft and euery Doctour of his mystery, be respected according to the vttermost extent of his publique seruice or priuate industry. I cannot stand to specific particularities. Our late writers are as they are; and albeit they will not suffer me to ballance them with the honorable Autors of the Romanes, Grecians, and Hebrues, yet I will craue no pardon of the highest to do the simplest no wrong. In Grafton, Holinshed, and Stowe; in Heywood, Tusser, and Gowge; in Gascoigne, Churchyarde, and Floide; in Ritch, Whetstone, and Munday; in Stanyhurst, Fraunce, and Watson; in Kiffin, Warner, and Daniell; in an hundred such vulgar writers many things are commendable, diuers things notable, somethings excellent. Fraunce, Kiffin, Warner, and Daniell, of whom I haue elsewhere more especiall occasion to entreate, may haply finde a thankefull remembraunce of their laudable trauailes. For a polished and garnished stile, fewe go beyonde Cartwright, and the chiefest of his Confuters, furnished writers: and how few may wage comparison with Reinolds, Stubbes, Mulcaster, Norton, Lambert, and the Lord Henry Howarde, whose seuerall writings the siluer file of the workeman recommendeth to the plausible interteinement of the daintiest Censure? Who can deny but the Resolution and Mary Magdalens funerall teares are penned elegantly and pathetically? Scottes discouery of Witchcraft dismasketh sundry egregious impostures, and in certaine principall Chapters & speciall passages hitteth the nayle on the head with a witnesse: howsoeuer I could haue wished he had either dealt somewhat more curteously with Monsieur Bodine, or confuted him somwhat more effectually. Let me not forget the Apology of sundry proceedings by Iurisdiction Ecclesiasticall, or the Aunswere to an Abstract of certaine Actes of Parliament, Iniunctions, Canons, constitutions, and Synodals Prouinciall: vnlesse I will skip two of the most materiall and most formall Treatises that any English Print hath lately yeelded. Might I respectiuely presume to intimate my slender opinion without flattery or other vndecency, methought euer Doctour Whitgift (whom I name with honour) in his Sermons was pithy, Doctour Hutton profound, Doctour Young piercing to the quick, Doctour Chaderton copious, M. Curtes elegant, M. Wickam sententious, M. Drant curious, M. Deering sweet, Doctor Still sound, Doctor Vnderhill sharpe, Doctor Matthew fine, M. Lawherne gallant, M. Dooue eloquent, M. Andrewes learned, M. Chaderton methodicall, M. Smith patheticall, sundry other in their proper veyne notable, some exquisite, a few singular. Yet which of the best hath all perfections (nihil omni ex parte beatum), or which of the meanest hath not some excellency? I cannot read ouer all: I haue seldome heard some (it was neuer my happ to heare Doctour Cooper, Doctour Humfry, or Doctor Fletcher, but in Latin): and I would be loth to iniury or preiudice any that deserueth well, viua voce, or by pen. I deeme him wise that maketh choice of the best, auoideth the worst, reapeth fruite by both, despiseth nothing that is not to be abhorred, accepteth of any thing that may be tollerated, interteineth euery thing with commendation, fauour, contentment, or amendment. Lucians asse, Apuleius asse, Agrippas asse, Macchiauels asse, miself since I was dubbed an asse by the only Monarch of asses, haue found sauory herbes amongst nettles, roses amongst prickles, berryes amongst bushes, marrow amongst bones, graine amongst stubble, a little corne amongst a great deal of chaff. The abiectest naturalls haue their specificall properties and some wondrous vertues; and Philosophy will not flatter the noblest or worthiest naturals in their venoms or impurities. True Alchimy can alledge much for her Extractions and quintessences; & true Phisique more for her corrections and purgations. In the best I cannot commende the badd, and in the baddest I reiect not the good, but precisely play the Alchimist in seeking pure and sweet balmes in the rankest poisons. A pithy or filed sentence is to be embraced, whosoeuer is the Autor; and for the lest benefit receiued, a good minde will render dutifull thankes, euen to his greatest enemy .