Green, who had in both Academies ta’en
Degree of Master, yet could never gain
To be call’d more than Robin; who, had he
Profest aught save the Muse, serv’d and been free
After a seven-years prenticeship, might have
(With credit too) gone Robert to his grave.
Marlowe, renowned for his rare art and wit,
Could ne’er attain beyond the name of Kit,
Although his Hero and Leander did
Merit attention rather. Famous Kyd
Was called but Tom. Tom Watson, though he wrote
Able to make Apollo’s self to dote
Upon his Muse, for all that he could strive,
Yet never could to his full name arrive.
Tom Nash (in his time of not small esteem)
Could not a second syllable redeem.
Excellent Beaumont, in the foremost rank
Of rar’st wits, was never more than Frank.
Mellifluous Shakespeare, whose enchanting quill
Commanded mirth or passion, was but Will;
And famous Jonson, though his learned pen
Be dipt in Castaly is still but Ben.
Fletcher add Webster, of that learned pack
None of the mean’st, yet neither was but Jack.
Dekker’s but Tom; nor May nor Middleton;
And he’s now but Jack Ford that once was John.
Excerpt from Heywood, Thomas (Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels)