A Post Stratfordian Shake-speare Blog
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practiceth more the Pennie than the Penne


The last post examined the first sixteen lines of The Italian Taylor and His Boy. Armin sets off the last sixteen lines of the work as a message to a specific person. Prior to that message, he tells us who he is addressing.


The perfumed Politician” we quickly recognize as Shaksper. The muske-cod perfume of both Osric in Hamlet and Asinius in Satiromastix is discussed here. Shaksper as an agent of government is seen in The New Inn’s Fly, and Poeteaster’s Æsop as well as Osric. Armin tells us this Politician, “practiceth more the Pennie than the Penne.”  Is there ever a more concise description of the argument why Shaksper cannot be the author than that given by Robert Armin in 1609? He sounds like a modern-day Oxfordian! The sixteen final lines are Armin’s words to Shaksper “I answere thus.” 



“Cammelion-like” equates Shaksper with the boy, practiced in the art of transformation in the tale. He has a “greene goose wit” That’s a curious phrase, isn’t it?  He’s a politicke presaging Asse, again the connection with  Æsop from Jonson’s Poetaster. His wit’s “not worthie’s any Schoole.”

These sixteen lines are a scathing indictment of William Shaksper of Stratford by the clown who originated the role of Touchstone in As You Like It. Armin very much got on the public record about what happened and what he thought of the man who usurped his master at Hackney’s legacy.

edit – please see Richard Malim’s comment below on the latin. I didn’t trust the Google translation.


1 Richard Malim { 03.15.15 at 7:22 pm }

And what about the Latin:
“You may enjoy praise from a much despised man and not from one should be praised / Thus may your praise may have been, because the task of praise is mine”
Get it corrected – my Latin is nearly 60 years old!

2 Anka { 03.16.15 at 11:56 am }

Re: green goose wit
Do you have an idea as to what this means? Could it refer to the specific shade of green called (Fr.) couleur caca d’oie or merde d’oie? In other words, a dirty, smutty or base wit? Just musing here…

3 Marlowe Kit { 04.25.15 at 4:40 pm }

I must check this one out. If you like this one, I think you will love Breton’ Will’s wit, where he talks about Uno who attending the school of little learning.

4 Bastian Conrad { 06.16.15 at 8:44 am }

Isn’t there a concise description of the argument in Armins “Quips upon Questions—Where is Tarlton?”(1600) that behind the clown Tarlton the true “Shakespeare” [alias dead/alive Marlowe] hides himself?

Wher’s Tarleton?
One askes where Tarleton is, yet knowes hee’s dead.
Foole, sayes the other, who can tell thee that?
Asse, quoth the first, I can: bow downe thy head,
Lend but an eare and listen. Sir, to what?
Ist come to Sir, quoth he, euen now twas Foole,
One Asse can with an other beare much rule.

Well, Asse or Foole, the second sayes, go on:
I say hee’s dead: I true, and so say I.
And yet a liue’s too, though some say hee’s gon.
Till you approue this, I must say you lie.
Lie, quoth the first, the stab with that must go,
I do not say you lie, I say I must say so.

A Collier after Tarletons death did talke,
And sayd, he heard some say that he was dead:
A simple man that knew not Cheese from Chaulke,
Yet simple men must toyle in wise mens stead.
Vnto the Play he came to see him there,
When all was done, still was he not the nere.

He calles a loude, and sayd that he would see him,
For well he knew it was but rumourd prate:
The people laught a good, and wisht to free him,
Because of further mirth from this debate.
The Collier sayd, the squint of Tarletons eie,
Was a sure marke that he should neuer die.

Within the Play past, was his picture vsd,
Which when the fellow saw, he laught aloud:
A ha, quoth he, I knew we were abusde,
That he was kept away from all this croude.
The simple man was quiet, and departed,
And hauing seene his Picture, was glad harted.

So with thy selfe it seemes, that knowes he’s dead,
And yet desires to know where Tarleton is:
I say he liues, yet you say no: your head
Will neuer thinke, ne yet beleeue halfe this.
Go too, hee’s gone, and in his bodyes stead,
His name will liue long after he is dead.

So, with the Collier I must thinke he liues,
When but his name remaines in memorie:
What credite can I yeelde to such repreeues,
When at the most, tis but vncertaintie.
Now am I a foole in deed? so let that passe,
Before I goe, Ile quit thee with the asse.

What, is his name Letters, and no more?
Can Letters liue, that breathe not, nor haue life?
No, no, his Fame liues, who hath layde in store
His actes and deedes: therefore conclude this strife,
Else all that lie are vs, striue and breed this mutenie,
Will bid vs keepe the Colliar foole for company.

Well, to resolue this question, yet say I,
That Tarletons name is heare, though he be gone.
You say not, Whers his Body that did die?
But, Where is Tarleton? Whers his name alone?
His Name is heere: tis true, I credite it.
His Body’s dead, few Clownes will haue his wit.

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