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Crispinus is given a ‘physic’ to vomit up ‘inkhorn terms’ in an excerpt from the last scene of Ben

Jonson’s “Poetaster”.

Crispinus: O—!

Tibullus: How now, Crispinus? C

Crispinus: O, I am sick—!

Horace: A bason, a bason, quickly; our physic works. Faint not, man.

Crispinus: O———retrograde———reciprocal———incubus.

Caesar: What's that, Horace?

Horace: Retrograde, reciprocal, and incubus, are come up.

Gallus: Thanks be to Jupiter!

Crispinus: O———glibbery———lubrical———defunct———O———!

Horace: Well said; here's some store.

Virgil: What are they?

Horace: Glibbery, lubrical, and defunct.

Gallus: O, they came up easy.

Crispinus: O———O———!

Tibullus: What's that?

Horace: Nothing yet.

Crispinus: Magnificate———

Mecaenus: Magnificate! That came up somewhat hard.

Horace: Ay. What cheer, Crispinus?


Crispinus: O! I shall cast up my———spurious———snotteries———

Horace: Good. Again.

Crispinus: Chilblain'd———O———O———clumsie———

Horace: That clumsie stuck terribly.

Macaenus: What's all that, Horace?

Horace: Spurious, snotteries, chilblain'd, clumsie.

Tibullus: O Jupiter!

Gallus: Who would have thought there should have been such a deal of filth in a
poet?

Crispinus: O———balmy froth———

Caesar: What's that?

Crispinus: ———Puffie———inflate———turgidious———-ventosity.

Horace: Balmy, froth, puffie, inflate, turgidous, and ventosity are come up.

Tibullus: O terrible windy words.

Gallus: A sign of a windy brain.

Crispinus: O———oblatrant———furibund———fatuate———strenuous—-

Horace: Here's a deal; oblatrant, furibund, fatuate, strenuous.

Caesar: Now all's come up, I trow. What a tumult he had in his belly?

Horace: No, there's the often conscious damp behind still.

Crispinus: O———conscious———damp.
Horace: It is come up, thanks to Apollo and AEsculapius: another; you were best
take a pill more.

Crispinus: O, no; O———O———O———O———O!

Horace: Force yourself then a little with your finger.

Crispinus: O———O———prorumped.

Tibullus: Prorumped I What a noise it made! as if his spirit would have prorumpt
with it.

Crispinus: O———O———O !

Virgil: Help him, it sticks strangely, whatever it is.

Crispinus: O———clutcht

Horace: Now it is come; clutcht.

Caesar: Clutcht! it is well that's come up; it had but a narrow passage.

Crispinus: O———!

Virgil: Again! hold him, hold his head there.

Crispinus: Snarling gusts———quaking custard.

Horace: How now, Crispinus?

Crispinus: O———obstupefact.

Tibullus: Nay, that are all we, I assure you.

Horace: How do you feel yourself?

Crispinus: Pretty and well, I thank you.


Virgil:
These pills can but restore him for a time,
Not cure him quite of such a malady,
Caught by so many surfeits, which have fill'd
His blood and brain thus full of crudities:
'Tis necessary therefore he observe
A strict and wholesome diet. Look you take
Each morning of old Cato's principles
A good draught next your heart; that walk upon,
Till it be well digested: then come home,
And taste a piece of Terence, suck his phrase
Instead of liquorice; and, at any hand,
Shun Plautus and old Ennius: they are meats
Too harsh for a weak stomach.
Use to read (But not without a tutor) the best Greeks,
As Orpheus, Musaeus, Pindarus,
Hesiod, Callimachus, and Theocrite,
High Homer; but beware of Lycophron,
He is too dark and dangerous a dish.
You must not hunt for wild outlandish terms,
To stuff out a peculiar dialect;
But let your matter run before your words.
And if at any time you chance to meet
Some Gallo-Belgic phrase; you shall not straight.
Rack your poor verse to give it entertainment,
But let it pass; and do not think yourself
Much damnified, if you do leave it out,
When nor your understanding, nor the sense
Could well receive it. This fair abstinence,
In time, will render you more sound and clear:
And this have I prescribed to you, in place
Of a strict sentence; which till he perform,
Attire him in that robe. And henceforth learn
To bear yourself more humbly; not to swell,
Or breathe your insolent and idle spite
On him whose laughter can your worst affright....

And for a week or two see him lock'd up


In some dark place, removed from company;
He will talk idly else after his physic....
More about the play “Poetaster” by Ben Jonson

Despite his many real virtues, if there is one feature more than any other that
distinguishes Jonson, it is his arrogance; and to this may be added his self-
righteousness, especially under criticism or satire.

[Jonson wrote] three "comical satires" [in] the 'poetomachia' or war of the theatres as
recent critics have named it. [The three satires contain] two kinds of attack, the critical
or generally satiric, levelled at abuses and corruptions in the abstract; and the personal,
in which specific application is made of all this in the lampooning of poets and others,
Jonson's contemporaries. The method of personal attack by actual caricature of a
person on the stage is almost as old as the drama.... What Jonson really did, was to raise
the dramatic lampoon to an art, and make out of a casual burlesque and bit of mimicry
a dramatic satire of literary pretensions and permanency. With the arrogant attitude
mentioned above and his uncommon eloquence in scorn, vituperation, and invective, it
is no wonder that Jonson soon involved himself in literary and even personal quarrels
with his fellow-authors.

The third and last of the "comical satires" is "Poetaster", and [is] Jonson's only avowed
contribution to the fray. According to the author's own account, this play was written in
fifteen weeks on a report that his enemies had entrusted to [rival playwright] Dekker
the preparation of "Satiromastix, the Untrussing of the Humorous Poet," a dramatic
attack upon himself. In this attempt to forestall his enemies Jonson succeeded, and
"Poetaster" was an immediate and deserved success.

"Poetaster" is planned to lead up to the ludicrous final scene in which, after a device
borrowed from the "Lexiphanes" of Lucian, the offending poetaster, Crispinus [modeled
on rival playwright Marston], is made to throw up the difficult words with which he
had overburdened his stomach as well as overlarded his vocabulary [Inkhorn Terms]. In
the end Crispinus with his fellow, Demetrius [modeled on rival playwright Dekker], is
bound over to keep the peace and never thenceforward "malign, traduce, or detract the
person or writings of Quintus Horatius Flaccus [Jonson himself] or any other eminent
man transcending you in merit."

The whole play is online (where I stole this text) at:


http://www.blackmask.com/books78c/1_5_1.