|Below is the dedication to Humphrey King, from Nashes Lenten Stuffe. Clearly King was an eccentric, a very little man, a country squire perhaps with just enough wealth to enjoy himself in London hanging about and drinking with writers. Nashe contrasts him favourably with those who cut more of a dash in society and appear to be likelier patrons of literature, but who really fritter their money away on idle self-indulgence. King was already writing his Hermit's Tale which according to the DNB eventually saw the light of day. He was not a man who could solve Nashe's chronic poverty, but like the William Beeston to whom Nashe dedicated Strange Newes seven years before, he was at least always good for a drink.|
stie Humfrey, according as the towns-
men doo christen him, little Numps, as the
Nobilitie and Courtiers do name him, and Honest
Humfrey, as all his friendes and acquaintance esteeme
him, King of the Tobacconists hic & ubique, and a singu-
lar Mecaenas to to Pipe and the Tabour (as his patient
liuery attendant can witnesse) his bounden Orator
T.N. most prostrately offers vp this tribute
of inke and paper.
Most courteous, unlearned lover of Poetry,- and yet a Poet thyself, of no less price then H. S., that in honour of Maid-Marian gives sweet marjoram for his empressa, and puts the sow most saucily upon some great personage, whatever she be, bidding her (as it runs in the old song) Go from my Garden go, for there no flowers for thee doth grow, - these be to notify to your diminutive excelsitude, and compendiate greatness, what my zeal is towards you, that in no straighter bonds would be pounded and enlisted, than in an Epistle Dedicatory. To many more lusty-blood 'Bravamente segniors', with Cales beards as broad as scullers' maples that they make clean their boates with, could I have turned it ouer, and had nothing for my labour, some faire words except, of 'Good sir, will it please you to come near and drink a cup of wine? after my returne from Ireland I doubt not but my fortunes will be of some growth to requite you. In the mean time my sword is at your command ; and, before God, money so scatteringly runs here and there upon vtensilia, furnitures, ancients, and other necessary preparations, (and which is a double charge, look how much tobacco we carry with us to expel cold, the like quantity of stavesacre we must provide us of, to kill lice in that rugged country of rebels,) that I say unto you, in the word of a martialist, we cannot do as we would.' I am no incredulous Didimus, but have more faith to believe they have no coin, then they have means to supply themselves with it ; and so leave them.
To any other carpetmunger or primrose knight of Primero bring I a dedication, and the dice over night have not befriended him, he sleeps five days and five nights to new skin his beauty, and will not be known he is awaked till his men upon their own bonds (a dismal world for trenchermen, when their master's bond shall not be so good as theirs) have took up commodities or fresh droppings of the mint for him: and then - what then? He pays for the ten dozen of balls he left upon the score at the tennis court ; he sends for his barber to depure, decurtate, and sponge him, whom having not paid a twelvemonth before, he now rains down eight quarter-angels into his hand, to make his liberality seem greater, and gives him a cast riding jerkin and an old Spanish hat into the bargain, and God's peace be with him. The chamber is not rid of the smell of his feet, but the greasy shoemaker with his squirrel's skin and a whole stall of ware upon his arm enters, and wrencheth his legs for an hour together, and after shows his tally. By S. Loy, that draws deep, and by that time his tobacco merchant is made even with, and he hath dined at a tavern, and slept his undermeal at a bawdy house, his purse is on the heild and only forty shillings he hath behind, to try his fortune with at the cards in the presence ; which if it prosper, the court cannot contain him, but to London again he will, to revel it, and have two plays in one night, invite all the poets and musicians to his chamber the next morning ; where, against their coming, a whole heap of money shall be bespread upon the board, and all his trunks opened to show his rich suits ; but the devil a whit he bestows on them, save bottle ale and tobacco: and desires a general meeting.
The particular of it is that bounty is bankrupt, and Lady Sensuality licks all the fat from the seven Liberal Sciences; that Poetry, if it were not a trick to please my Lady, would be excluded out of Christian burial, and instead of wreaths of laurel to crown it with, have a bell with a cockscomb clapped on the crown of it by old Johannes de Indagines and his quire of dorbellists. Wherefore the premises considered (I pray you consider of that word Premises, for somewhere I have borrowed it) neither to rich, noble, right worshipfull, or worshipfull, o(r) spiritual or temporal, will I consecrate this work, but to thee and thy capering humour alone, that, if thy stars had done thee right, they should have made thee one of the mightiest princes of Germany ; not for thou canst drive a coach or kill an ox so well as they, but that thou art never well but when thou art amongst the retinue of the Muses, and there spendest more in the twinkling of an eye than in a whole year thou gettest by some grasierly gentility thou followest. A King thou art by name, and a King of good fellowship by nature, whereby I ominate this Encomion of the king of fishes was predestinate to thee from thy swaddling clothes. Hug it, ingle it, kiss it, and cull it, now thou hast it, and renounce eating of green beef and garlic till Martlemas, if it be not the next style to The Strife of Love in a Dream, or The Lamentable Burning of Tiverton. Give me good words I beseech thee, though thou givest me nothing else, and thy words shall stand for thy deeds ; which I will take as well in worth, as if they were the deeds and evidences of all the land thou hast. Here I bring you a red herring ; if you will find drink to it, there an end, no other detriments will I put you to. Let the can of strong ale, your constable, with the toast, his brown bill, and sugar and nutmegs, his watchmen, stand in a readiness, to entertain me every time I come by your lodging. In Russia there are no presents but of meat or drink ; I present you with meat, and you, in honourable courtesy to requite me, can do no less than present me with the best morning's draught of merry-go-down in your quarters: and so I kiss the shadow of your feet's shadow, amiable Donsell, expecting your sacred poem of the Hermit's
us, and upon my soul's knees
I take my leave.
|Yours for a whole last of red|