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THE POETASTER.] This "Comical Satire," as the folio terms it, was produced in 1601, and acted, like Cynthia's Revels, by the children of the queen's chapel. It was printed in quarto the following year, with this motto from Martial,
Et mihi de nullo fama rubore placet.
and again, in folio, in 1616. The Poetaster was frequently performed at the private theatre in Black Friars, where it seems to have been a favourite. The actors were the same that appeared in the preceding drama, with the exception of Wil. Ostler and Tho. Marton. Of the last I can give the reader no information; but Wil. Ostler, who probably played the part of Julia, rose to considerable eminence in his profession, and was subsequently addressed by Davies as the Roscius of his times,” in a prosing epigram which concludes in this singular manner:
"But if thou plaist thy dying part as well
As thy stage part, thou hast no part in hell."
VIRTUOUS, AND MY WORTHY FRIEND,
MR. RICHARD MARTIN.
THANKFUL man owes a courtesy ever; the unthankful but when he needs it. To make mine own mark appear, and shew by which of these seals I am known, I send you this piece of what may live of mine; for whose innocence, as for the author's, you were once a noble and timely undertaker to the greatest justice of this kingdom.
To the virtuous, and my worthy friend, Mr. Richard Martin.] This gentleman, who was bred a lawyer, and who was recorder of the city of London, was himself a man of parts, and a poet, and much respected by the learned and ingenious of his own age. See a more particular account of him in Wood's Athena Oxon. vol. i. col. 441. WHAL.
Whalley has not said too much of Richard Martin. He was a man of great eloquence, and possessed of many virtues. He was besides pleasant and facetious in a high degree; and it is therefore more to be regretted than wondered at, that these sociable but dangerous qualities should sometimes lead him into excesses. Aubrey says in one of his MS. notes, that he finally fell a sacrifice to the glass; in which he indulged with the wits of the age, not improbably with Shakspeare, Beaumont and Fletcher, and his admired Jonson. He died in 1618, two years after the appearance of this dedication, and was buried in the Temple Church.
2 For whose innocence, as for the author's, you were once a noble and timely undertaker, &c.] It appears from the Apologetical Dialogue subjoined to this Drama, that Jonson was accused of having reflected in it, on the professions of law, and arms. By one of these he was probably threatened with a prosecution either in the Star-chamber, or the King's Bench, from which the friendly offices
Enjoy now the delight of your goodness, which is to see that prosper you preserved, and posterity to owe the reading of that, without offence, to your name, which so much ignorance and malice of the times then conspired to have supprest.
Your true Lover,
of Mr. Martin with the Lord Chief Justice seem to have delivered him. So, at least, I understand the passage. There was, indeed, another occasion on which the friendship of this generous man might have stood Jonson in great stead. I speak of his imprisonment, together with Chapman and Marston, for the satire against the Scots in Eastward Hoe! but as this was a most serious affair, and really implicated the poet's safety, he would, perhaps, have been more explicit had the allusion been to this circumstance.
3 The quarto has no dedication, but merely the following address to the reader :