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, I here offer to the publick, is of so great rarity, that not above twenty copies of it are thought to exist throughout the kingdom, perhaps not so many; yet it is well worthy of general notice; for it familiarizes us more with the habits and customs of ordinary life, at the time it was written, than any other work of the kind I am acquainted with. Respecting its author scanty is the information afforded us.
Thomas Decker, Deckar, Dekker, or Dekkar, as the name is differently spelt in his different publications, flourished in the reign of K. James 1st. The exact periods of his birth, and decease are not ascertained ; but he could not have died young, as his earliest play bears date 1600, and his latest 1637. Mr. Oldys thinks, that he certainly was living in 1638, and that he was in the King's-bench prison from 1613 to 1616, or longer. A late writer, who gives some notices respecting him, observes that he was probably more advanced in years than Mr. Oldys imagined ; from a passage in the dedication to his Match me in London, 1631, where he says:
“ I have been a priest in Apollo's temple many years, my voice 56 is decaying with my age.” It is supposed he had acquired reputation even in the time of Q. Elizabeth, whose decease and funeral he commemorates in his Wonderful Year, 1603. He was cotemporary with Ben Jonson, and his quarrel