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founded the second and third parts of Henry VI. If we take
Marlowe's Edward II. in preference to his other plays, and, as
Marlowe died in 1593, and the two parts of the “Contention”
were probably not written much earlier, it is clearly right to do
so, there will be less difficulty in believing him to be the author
of many parts, I will not say all, of the last mentioned dramas.
At all events, I believe I have materially assisted my previous
theory concerning these plays, even against those who will
allow no arguments but those which result from comparison,
and no similarities of language that militate from their own

Malone pursued the plan of placing asterisks to all the lines
which he considered Shakespeare's own additions in the two
parts of Henry VI. When he so distinguished the following
one in 2 Henry VI., act i., sc. 3-

lat there plavs, ! that still hens the

groundlar be to of themi. he hand wilarities ight. 1 es after

“She bears a duke's revenues on her back,"

he had probably forgotten that Marlowe, in the above men-
tioned play, has

" He wears a lord's revenue on his back."

And other similarities of language may be traced. This last
coincidence is not found in the original play, and if we place
reliance upon it, it considerably mystifies the argument.

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Art III.—Letter from Ben Jonson to the Earl of Newcastle,

and other matters relating to the Poet's family.

The following letter from Ben Jonson to his “noble patron by excellence,” as he calls him, is now printed for the first time. Mr. Gifford refers to it (p. clxii) as “a petitionary letter written with some humour as well as spirit.” It is the best begging letter I remember to have read.

A Letter to the Earl of Newcastle.

[Harl. MSS. No. 4955, fol. 204.]

“My Noble and most honor'd Lord,
I myself being no substance, am fain to trouble


with shadows, or (what is less) an Apologue or Fable in a dream. I being strucken with the Palsy in the year 1628, had by Sir Thomas Badger some few months since a Fox sent me for a present, which creature by handling I endeavoured to make tame, as well for the abating of my disease as the delight I took in speculation of his nature. It happened this present year, 1631, and this very week, being the week ushering Christmas, and this Tuesday morning in a dream, (and morning dreams are truest) to have one of my servants come up to my bedside, and tell me— Master, Master, the Fox speaks! Whereat (me thought) I started, and troubled went down into the yard, to witness the wonder. There I found my Reynard, in his tenement—the Tub I had hired for him-cynically expressing his own lot to be condemned to the house of a Poet, where nothing was to be seen but the bare walls, and not any thing heard but the noise of a saw, dividing billets all the week long, more to keep the family in exercise than to comfort any person there with fire, save the paralytick master; and went on in this way as the Fox seemed the better Fabler of the two. I, his master, began to give him good words and stroke him, but Reynard,

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atron by

st time.

w letter the best

barking, told me those would not do, I must give him meat.
I angry called him stinking vermin. He replied, Look into
your cellar, which is your larder too, you'll find a worse vermin
there. When presently calling for a light, methought I went
down and found all the floor turned up, as if a colony of moles
had been there, or an army of Salt-petre men. Whereupon I
sent presently into Tuttle Street for the King's most excellent
Mole-catcher to relieve me, and hunt them. But he, when he
came, and viewed the place, and had well marked the earth
turned up, took a handfull, smelt it, and said : Master, it is
not in my power to destroy this vermin ; the King, or some
good man of a Noble Nature, must help you. This kind of
Mole is called a WANT, which will destroy you and your
family, if you prevent not the working of it in time. And
therefore God keep you and send you

“ The interpretation both of the Fable and dream is, that I
waking do find want the worst and most working vermin in
a house, and therefore my noble Lord, and next the King my
best Patron, I am necessitated to tell it you. I am not so
impudent to borrow any sum of your lordship, for I have no
faculty to pay ;

needs are such, and so urging, as I do beg what

your bounty can give me, in the name of Good Letters, and the bond of an ever grateful and acknowledging servant

“ To your honour, ,

- BEN JONSON. “ Westminster, 20mo Decbris, 1631.

ou with


by Sir

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e tame, ook in 1631,

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Yesterday the barbarous Court of Aldermen have withdrawn their Chandlerly Pension for Verjuice and Mustard, 331i 6 8."


1 but

re to


way ster, art.

The maiden name of Ben Jonson's wife has not transpired, and we know nothing more about her than the information preserved by Drummond : “ He married a wyfe who was a shrew yet honest : 5 yeers he had not bedded with her, but

remayned with my Lord Aulbanie." (Concersations, p. 19.) Epigram 22 is entitled “On my first daughter.”

“Here lies, to each her parents ruth,
Mary, the daughter of their youth.”

(Gifford, viii., 163.)

She was only six months old when she died :

" At six months end she parted hence.”

Epigram 45 is entitled “On my first son :”

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy." He died at the early age of seven : “ Seven years thou wert lent to me.”

(Gifford, viii., 175.)

The poet's “ eldest sone, then a child and at London,” (Cono., p. 20) died of the plague in 1603, when the father was in the country, at Sir Robert Cotton's. This, therefore, is the son the father has celebrated in enduring poetry.

In the parish register of St. Martin's in the Fields I discovered the baptism of Benjamin Jonson, the son of Ben, and what I believe to be the burial of the poet's daughter Mary. That the poet had a son named Benjamin was the belief of Whalley. I transcribe the entries as I found them :

“ 1593. Nocember 17. Seplta fuit Maria Johnson peste.“ 1610. Aprilis 6. Bapt fuit Beniamin Johnson fil Ben :"

Fuller's researches found the far-famed father "a little child, in Hartshorn Lane, near Charing Cross ;” and Gifford tells us (p. v.) that he was sent, “when of a proper age, to a private school in the church of St. Martin in the Fields."

The plague of 1603 committed fearful havoc in the then thinly populated parish of St. Martin's. Eight of the name of Jonson were buried in that year in the church or churchyard of St. Martin's. The christian name of the poet's eldest son

p. 19.


has not been ascertained ; it is believed to have been Benjamin,
but on very insufficient grounds.

“ Jonson's wife,” says Gifford, p. xxiii, “was dead when
he visited Scotland in 1618.” The following entry from the
same Register may just possibly record her burial.

8 December, 1617. Sepult fuit Elizab. Johnson.


This is brief enough ; but the same Register records the burial
of Farquhar with still greater obscurity :

“ 23 May, 1707. George Falkuere."

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The entry would have defied recognition, but for the previous
knowledge we possess of Farquhar's dying in that month and
year, and of his burial in the churchyard of St. Martin's.

There cannot be a doubt, I conceive, that Ben Jonson had a
son named Benjamin baptized at St. Martin's on the 6th April,
1610. I may be wrong in my other conjectures, and could
hazard more, but fear that I have already hazarded enough.
Conjectures provoke inquiry, and occasionally elicit the truth.

The supposition of Malone and Gifford, that Ben Jonson's
mother was married at St. Martin's on the 17th November,
1575, to Mr. Thomas Fowler, is completely overthrown by a
note in Mr. Collier's recent Life of Shakespeare, p. clxvi. It
is a pity to disturb received opinions, and give the lie to a fact
of fifty years' standing. I almost regret the circumstance, and
that I was the innocent author of so barren a discovery. To
the information contained in that note I have now to add that
the supposed mother of Ben Jonson was buried in St. Martin's
on the 2nd of April, 1590.

I have to tender my best thanks to the Rev. Sir Henry
Dukinfield, Bart., the present Vicar of St. Martin's in the
Fields, for the free access allowed me to the valuable registers of

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that parish.


le then lame of

+ June, 1814.


est son

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