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)


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