Internet Shakespeare Editions


And Dekker continues. . .

Reduced from the image on the site, The History of Costume.

Dekker explains why sitting on the stage brings prestige:

By sitting on the stage you may with small cost purchase the dear acquaintance of the boys [child actors]; have a good stool for sixpence; at any time know what particular part any of the infants present; get your match* lighted; examine the play-suits' lace, and perhaps win wagers upon laying 'tis copper*, etc...

Dekker advises the would-be gallant to behave in a way that must have infuriated him as an author:

It shall crown you with rich commendation to laugh aloud in the midst of the most serious and saddest scene of the terriblest tragedy and to let that clapper*, your tongue, be tossed so high that all the house may ring of it. . .

First, all the eyes in the galleries will leave walking after the players and only follow you... Secondly, you publish your temperance to the world, in that you seem not to resort thither to taste vain pleasures with a hungry appetite but only as a gentleman to spend a foolish hour or two because you can do nothing else. Thirdly, you mightily disrelish the audience and disgrace the author.

Even if only a fraction of Dekker's ironical comments are accurate, it seems that today's actors and authors have a relatively easy time of it.


  1. A glossary

    For lighting a pipe. Tobacco had recently been introduced from North America.
    Rather than real gold.
    As in the clapper of a bell.