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that an answer to the " School of Abuse" had been' written by some person in London. This answer was in fact written by Thomas Lodge, and is the tract which is called, in Beauclerc's Catalogue, "Maister Tho. Lodge his reply to Steph. Gosson touching playes." That copy was without a title, and the tract is perhaps the very rarest of the rare pieces relating to the stage: Mr. Malone could never obtain a sight of it. You will presently learn the reason why it is so: a more perfect copy, however, does, they say, exist, and it is called "The Play of Playes," but the date has not been hitherto ascertained.
Morton. And it contains the "honest excuses," spoken of by Gosson in his " Ephemerides of Phialo?"
Bourne. It does, and that mention of it seems to fix the date, supported as it is by the most curious and important tract I now hold in my hand. You will not forget that Gosson's "Plays confuted in five actions," came out probably in 1581, dedicated to Sir F. Walsingham, and that it contained a severe and abusive attack upon Lodge.
Elliot. You excite one's curiosity: what is the tract in your hand J
Bourne. I owe the use of it to the same liberal professor to whom I was indebted for Micro-cynicon, and I do not over-rate it when I say that it is, on every account, one of the most valuable tracts existing. One peculiar source of its curiosity does not appear on the title-page, which is thus worded: "An Alarum against Vsurers. Containing tryed experiences against worldly abuses. Wherein gentlemen may finde good counsells to confirme them, and pleasant Histories to delight them: and euery thing interlaced with varietie, as the curious may be satisfied with the rarenesse, and the curteous with the pleasure. Hereunto are annexed the delectable historie of Forbonius and Prisceria: with the lamentable Complaint of Truth ouer England. Written by Thomas Lodge, of Lincolnes Inne, Gentleman. 0 vita! misero longa, Jielici breuis. Imprinted at London by T. Este, for Sampson Clarke," &c. 1584.
Morton. The title is sufficiently particular. I dare say the work is very rare, but now let us into the secret of the extraordinary emphasis you laid upon its especial value.
Bourne. Its especial value, as connected with the immediate subject of our inquiry, is confined to the preliminary matter; but the nature and variety of the body of this hitherto unseen pamphlet, consisting of prose and poetry (the latter I think of great merit), form most important recommendations. The dedication is to Sir Philip Sidney, "indued with all perfections of learning and titles of Nobilitie," who refused to accept the dedication of Gosson, and whom Lodge solicits to protect him "in these Primordia of my studies," so that perhaps this "Alarum against Usurers" was only the second time Lodge had appeared in print, his answer to Gosson being his first essay.
Elliot. At all events, it was one of his very early productions. Does the dedication comprize any thing else remarkable?
Bourne. No, excepting that in the conclusion he again speaks of the hoped for " successe of this my firstlings." What I particularly call your attention to is an address, following the dedication, "To The Right worshipfull, my curteous friends, the Gentlemen of the Innes of Court, Thomas Lodge of Lincolnes Inne Gentleman, wisheth prosperous successe in their studies, and happie euent in their trauailes." I will omit a preliminary sentence or two, and you will soon see why this epistle is important: he says, "Led then by these perswasions, I doubt not but as I haue alwayes found you fauourable, so now you will not cease to be friendly, both in protecting of this iust cause from uniust slander, and my person from that reproch which, about two yeares since, an iniurious cauiller obiected against me. You that know me, Gentlemen, can testifie that neyther my life hath bene so lewd as y' my companie was odious, nor my behauiour so light as that it shuld passe the limits of modestie: this notwithstanding, a licentious Hipponax, neither regarding the asperitie of the lawes touching slaunderous Libellers, nor the offspring from whence I came, which is not contemptible, attempted not only in publike and reprochfull terms to condemn me in his writings, but also so to slander me as neither iustice shuld wink at so hainous an offece, nor I pretermit a commodious reply.".
Elliot. You infer then that Lodge there alludes to Gosson? It is certainly curious.
Bourne. I do not infer it, because the very next sentence states it most distinctly. "About three yeres ago (continues Lodge) one Stephen Gosson published a booke, intituled The Schoole of Abuse, in which hauing escaped in many and sundry exclusions, I, as the occasion the fitted me, shapt him such an answere as beseemed his discourse, which by reason of the slendernes of ye subiect (because it was in defece of plaies and play makers) yc godly and reuerent, y'. had to deale in the cause, misliking it forbad the publishing: notwithstanding he comming by a priuate vnperfect coppye, about two yeres since, made a reply, diuiding it into fiue sectios."
Morton. That is very clear indeed, and satisfactorily accounts for the extreme scarcity of Lodge's "Play of Plays;" he says it was not published, but it must have been printed, or a copy would not have come down to us, or got into Gosson's hands: after it had gone through the press, I suppose it was called in by order of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of London?
Elliot. They had jurisdiction in these matters, Vol. 11. a
and ordered the burning of Marston's satires, and that no others should be printed.
Bourne. They exercised the same power in several other well known cases. Gosson's reply, divided "into fiue sections," is indisputably his "Plays confuted in fiue actions," dedicated to Sir F. Walsingham; indeed Lodge goes on himself to particularise it, for he says immediately after what I last read; "and in his Epistle dedicatory, to ye right honorable sir Frances Walsingham, he impugneth me with these reproches, y' I am become a vagarat person, visited by ye heuy hand of God, lighter then libertie, and looser the vanitie. At such time as I first came to ye sight heerof (iudge you, gentlemen, how hardly I could disgest it) I bethought my selfe to frame an answere, but considering y'. the labour was but lost, I gaue way to my misfortune, contenting my selfe to wait ye opportunitie wherein I might, not according to the impertinacie of the iniurye, but as equitye might countenance mee, cast a raine ouer the vntamed curtailes chaps, and wiping out the suspition of this slander from the remebrance of those y' knew me, not counsell this iniurious Asinius to become more conformable in his reportes." After adding that such an opportunity now offers itself, he goes on thus pleasantly and easily: "And now, Stephen Gosson, let me but familiarly reason with thee thus. Thinkest thou y' in handling a good cause it is re