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I might call attention to other parallel passages, but they would probably not carry conviction, and I am willing to rest the case here. Dekker, I believe, was indebted to the Romeo more largely than to any other play for motifs in his two love plots, for the inspiration of many specific lines, for his conception of Master Hammon, of the Lord Mayor, and, possibly, of Margery Eyre, who in more than one scene reminds us of the Nurse in Romeo. If this debt be recognized to any extent, it is of interest to Elizabethan scholars, not merely for light it may cast on Dekker's composition, but also as one of the earliest examples 32 of the literary influence of Shakespeare's first successful tragedy.

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32 That it is earlier than Wily Beguiled, frequently named as the earliest debtor, seems to be established by Professor Baldwin Maxwell's article on that play, Studies in Philology, XIX, 206 ff.




Primarily on account of his having made a transcript of Fletcher's Humorous Lieutenant for Sir Kenelm Digby,' Ralph Crane is fairly well known to students of Elizabethan drama; but no one, I believe, has called attention to his interesting connection with the theater. On December 14, 1620, a "Poeme called The workes of Mercy, both Corporall and Spirituall, written by T. M." was entered on the Stationers' Register, and in the next year the book was published (a copy of this edition is in the Bodleian) under the same title and with Crane's name on the title page. Another edition appeared under the title of The Pilgrimes NewYeares-Gift; Or, Fourteene Steps to the Throne of Glory. By the 7. Corporeall and 7. Spirituall Arts of Charitie, and those made Parallels. Preceding the very tedious poem in both editions is an interesting autobiographical preface which deserves to be quoted at some length. I quote from the undated copy in the British Museum.

The Citie had my birth: My Father free 1
Of a much fam'd and Royall Company,
With good esteeme bore Offices of worth,
My Education past; I then went forth,
And tride the Ayre of diuers noble Counties,
There tasted some free fauors, gen'rous Bounties,
Yet could not find there (as th' euent exprest)
Sufficient grounding for my foote to rest,

1 The dedication is dated November 27, 1625. Crane titled the manuscript Demetrius and Enanthe. In 1830 Dyce rather carelessly (see A. R. Waller's edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, I, 509-518) reprinted Crane's transcript, which in 1906 was in the library of Lord Harlech at Brogyntyn, Oswestry (ibid., p. vi). It is, says Mr. Waller, "a beautiful specimen of Ralph Crane's caligraphy."

* Transcript of Stationers' Register, IV, 6.

A former owner of the British Museum copy of this edition has written on one of the fly-leaves that he thinks this is the second or third edition and dates it ca. 1625; and Sir Francis Freeling, another former owner of the volume, has written his opinion that a first edition appeared in 1606. Marginal note reads: "Marchant taylors."


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With Noah's first Doue (after much flight, much paine)
Vnto my Arke, (my Natiue home againe)

I backe return'd; but could not bring with me
The Oliue-leafe of faire Tranquilitie.

Much variation I have had since then,
With one blest gift (a ready writers pen)
The vse whereof (without vaine glory told)
Is not extinguish't yet (though I am old)
"Tis not extinct indeed: But yet (alas)

It's a cas'd Instrument, no sound it has:

Time hath worne out (with Teares I strike this straine)
Beliefe of what I can: now young ones raigne,

Whil'st I (too old to cry about the street
Worke for a Writer) no Imployment meet,
But all dismayed, and dis-ioyfull sit

As one had neither Pen, nor Hand, nor Wit:
Or as Ierusalems sad famish'd Mother,
Feed on mine owne begotten flesh; (no other)
Quite lost; vnlesse (in this) Speed meet Desire,
And hap doe answere hope. But I retire

To shew the Protean-changes, and the Chances,
My life hath touch'd at; as an Arrow glances,
And slides from ground to ground, yet neuer hits
The aymed Marke; so my vncertaine fits
Obserue with patience, 'twill not hurt at all:
(Experience is a doctrine medinall.

First was I seuen yeares-seruant, painfull Clarke,
Vnto a Clarke o' th Counsell; & did marke

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Within the copasse of those hopeful yeers

The Goodnesse, and Nobility o' th Peeres;

Those Reuerend Lords, those Councellors of State
Vpon whose Vertues I must meditate

While I haue breath: and in my soule adore

These great Succeeders of those gone before:

Heauen fix the in their Seates: long stand they thus

Like sheltring Cedars on Mount Lebanus:

Their Counsels blesse: al their decrees renown the;
Their Soueraigns honor here: There Glory crown them.
Goe on my Zeale, & praise while thou art able
Each gracious Second of that honour'd Table: "
And as a thankfull Riuer that doth send

His Tribute to the Ocean, I commend

One special sacrifice (with heart sincere)

Marginal note reads: "Sr. Anth. Ashley."

Marginal note reads: "Clerkes of the Counsel."

Vnto his worth, whom I call'd Master here:

May his In-urned Bones in quiet rest

Till the last sounding Trumpe, and then rise blest:
That (haplesse) thence I slipt (wanting firme hold)
I sadly sigh the fate; but leau't vntold:

Onely thus much (that no aspersion bide
Vpon my front) I did no talent hide.

The Signet and the Priuy Seale was next
Those deare Collegues, that giue me for my text
A field of honour, and shall be my Song
While Fame a Trumpet hath, or I a tongue:

The Gentlenesse which there I did possesse

Did make their goodnesse more, my sorrowes lesse:
But those sweet after-drops of comfort I

Sometimes receiu'd from thence, are now growne dry:

Those Conduit-pipes, that did my thirst allay

Are frozen vp: and now in the highway,
(Poore Trauellor) wounded, and rob’d I lye,
Vntill some good Samaritan come by,
And with the Wine, and Oyle of Ioy agin

Set me on Horsback, helpe me to some Inne.

To th' Tribe of Leuy, (heau'ns chiefe Miracles)

I haue done seruice; with their Oracles,

Which so Diuine Instinction doth infuse,

For their bles'd sakes Ile make my soule their Muse
And pray with the best power, my Zeale affords
All happy Gifts to crowne their sacred words;
The Holy Ghost, (in Clouen tongues, and Fire)
Descend on them, when they good things desire.
But most of all doth my laborious hand
'Mongst the renown'd and learned Lawyers stand
A Monument; each Office and each Court
Vouchsafeing me such matter of report,
That if my voice to th' vtmost world could stretch
Euen thither should their Fames, & honors reach.
And some imployment hath my vsefull Pen,
Had 'mongst those ciuill well-deservuing Men,
That grace the Stage with honour and delight,
Of whose true honesties I much could write
But will compris't (as in a Caske of Gold)
Vnder the Kingly-seruice they doe hold. . . .

After a rather vivid description of the plague, which left the author in a very impoverished condition, Crane goes on to say


Reprinted in Thomas Corser's Collectanea Anglo-Poetica, Part IV,


that if he had died during the visitation-an end which he desired

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There was not one that could (for loue) be hir'd

T' haue but en-sculpt't vpon a peece of stone

This simple Epitaph which I alone

Before-hand for my selfe, had thus compos'd,
And yet affect to haue it so dispos'd,

That some remembrance may remaine of me

By this my Swan-like, dying Elegie.

Behold a wonder (Friend) oh stay and read,
And make this spectacle thy President,

Here buried lies a Man, that is not dead,

Deaths dart was tipt with life: death then repent

And cease to vaunt: Thou hast not made him bow,
For (he thankes God) he neuer liu'd till now.

Though City, Countrie, Court, Church, law & Stage
I haue pass'd thorough in my Pilgrimage,

Yet here I stand Fortunes Anatomie,

A spectacle of Times Inconstancy.

A man who so longed to be remembered after his journey "through City, Countrie, Court, Church, law & Stage" should not be allowed to sink into oblivion until his connection with the stage has been investigated; for whereas he certainly does not deserve to be remembered on account of his moral poem, it is possible that he performed for dramatic history a more important task than transcribing Fletcher's play. Unfortunately I am too far removed from the material necessary for a serious attempt to determine whether Crane deserves to be remembered, but with the hope that some one more conveniently situated may be induced to investigate certain interesting possibilities, I shall make a few suggestions.

Crane's tribute to the actors who "grace the stage with honour and delight . . . under the Kingly Seruice they doe hold" makes it clear that the author had been connected with the King's Men, who in 1619, or later, had brought out Fletcher's drama later copied by Crane for Sir Kenelm Digby. One would like to believe that the kindly members of this company, mindful of the sore straits to which their sometime associate had been reduced, responded to his appeal by allowing him to make use of Fletcher's popular play. Again, it is surely of considerable significance that

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