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but till his work-master hath sold them, he desireth not they should last a week longer; for by that means a book of a crown is marred in one month which would last a hundred years if it had twopence more workmanship, and so their gain and employment is increased to the subject's loss. If he be a seller of books, he makes no conscience what trash he puts off, nor how much he takes for that which is worth nothing....He makes no scruple to put out the right author's name and insert another in the second edition of a book. And when the impression of some pamphlet lies upon his hands, to imprint new titles for it (and so take men's moneys twice or thrice for the same matter under diverse names) is no injury in his opinion. If he get any written copy into his power likely to be vendible, whether the author be willing or no, he will publish it. And it shall be contrived and named also according to his own pleasure, which is the reason so many good books come forth imperfect and with foolish titles.
George WithER, The Schollers Purgatory, c. 1625
A bookseller at his stall in Paul's Churchyard
If I were to paint Sloth...by Saint John the Evangelist I swear, I would draw it like a stationer that I know, with his thumb under his girdle, who if a man come to his stall and ask him for a book, never stirs his head, or looks upon him, but stands stone still, and speaks not a word: only with his little finger points backwards to his boy, who must be his interpreter, and so all the day, gaping like a dumb image, he sits without motion, except at such times as he goes to dinner or supper: for then he is as quick as other three, eating six times every day.
THOMAS NASHE, Pierce Penilesse 1592
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woful pageants than the scene
All the world's a stage,
As You Like It, 11. vii. 137-143
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. Macbeth, v. v. 24-26
Alas! 'tis true I have gone here and there,
And made myself a motley to the view,
Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
O! for my sake do you with Fortune chide,
Than public means which public manners breeds.
Theatrical and dramatic conditions in 1580 [About 1580 Elizabethan drama began its course. probably came to London in 1586.]
And so our scene must to the battle fly;
The name of Agincourt. Yet, sit and see;
Henry V., IV. chorus 48-53
Polonius. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited : Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light.
Hamlet, II. ii. 424—429
[Sir Philip Sidney criticizes the theatre of his day by classical standards, but his remarks throw considerable light upon the state of the drama.]
Our tragedies and comedies (not without cause cried out against), observing rules neither of honest civility nor of skilful poetry, excepting Gorboduc (again, I say, of those that I have seen), which, notwithstanding as it is full of stately speeches and well-sounding phrases, climbing to the height of Seneca his style, and as full of notable morality, which it doth most delightfully teach, and so obtain the very end of poesy, yet in troth it is very defectious in the circumstances; which grieveth me, because it might not remain as an exact model of all tragedies. For it is faulty both in place and time, the two necessary companions of all corporal actions. For where the stage should always represent but one place, and the uttermost time presupposed in it should be, both by Aristotle's precept and common reason, but one day, there is both many days and many places, inartificially imagined. But if it be so in Gorboduc, how much more in all the rest? where you shall have Asia of the one side, and Afric of the other, and so many other under-kingdoms, that the player, when he cometh in, must ever begin with telling where he is: or else, the tale will not be conceived. Now ye shall have three ladies walk to gather flowers, and then we must believe the stage to be a garden. By and by, we hear news of shipwreck in the same place, and then we are to blame, if we accept it not for a rock.