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Donna N. Murphy
Nashe-Dekker Similarities
In The Mysterious Connection Between Thomas Nashe, Thomas Dekker, and T. M., I present a multitude of connections between the canons of Nashe and Dekker. Below are a dozen similarities between twelve works by Nashe and twelve by Dekker. While any given similarity could be the result of influence or imitation, the nature, scope and breadth of parallels between the “two” over the course of Dekker's career evidences one mind at work instead of two.

The word juxtapositions in bold are highly uncommon, as determined by searching for them in the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership database, composed of over 32,000 works written between 1472-1700 at the time of my research.
1. “To be put to baser offices, than the stopping of mustard pots”  Dekker, The Wonderful Year
 “In their absence this be delivered to Meg Curtis in Shoreditch to stop mustard pots with”  Nashe, Strange News
 “Rather turn them to stop mustard pots, than the grocers should have one patch of them to wrap Mace in”  Nashe,  The Unfortunate Traveler
“I leave them to stop mustard pots with my leaves”  Nashe, Terrors of the Night

2. “He comes upon her with rounce, robble-hobble, and thwick thwack thirlery bouncing”  Dekker, The Virgin Martyr
 “With rounce robble hobble of ruff raff roaring, with thwick thwack thirlery bouncing”  Nashe, Preface to Menaphon
Both pieces parody Richard Stanyhurst’s onomatopoeia appended to his translation of the Aeneid.
3. “The second part of Erra Pater’s Almanac”  Dekker, News from Hell
“Would last longer than one of Erra Pater’s Almanacs”  Nashe, Lenten Stuff
Erra Pater is the pseudonym of the author of a 1535 almanac.
4.  “And if I stay, I pray God I may be turned to a Turk, and set in Finsbury for boys to shoot at”   Dekker, The Shoemaker’s Holiday
“They set up their faces (like Turks) of gray paper to be spet at for silver games in Finsbury Fields” Nashe, Pierce Penniless
 “A Turk can be hit at twelvescore pricks in Finsbury Field”  Nashe, Two Dangerous Comets  [1]
Representations of Turks were used as targets for archery practice.
5. “Death’s iron fist should wrestle with thy son”, and “He might smite life down with his Iron fist”  Dekker, Old Fortunatus
 “And haste to the iron fist, that holds out nought but a knife to enthrill us”  Nashe, Christ’s Tears Over Jerusalem
“No such iron-fisted Cyclops to hew it out”   Nashe, Lenten Stuff
6. “Anatomize the ulcerous body of this Anthropophagized plague”  Dekker, The Wonderful Year
 “This Homo-Damon (Man-Devil) when he is once Anthropophagized, and longs for human flesh” Dekker, Villainies Discovered by Lantern and Candlelight
“I’ll anatomize…thou must be Anthropophagiz’d by thine own mother”  Nashe, Christ’s Tears Over Jerusalem
The Anthropophagi were a mythical race of cannibals.
7. “It is acted (like the old morals at Maningtree) by Tradesmen”  Dekker, Seven Deadly Sins
 “Or see a play of strange morality shown by bachelry of Maningtree”  Nashe, Choice of Valentines, manuscript
8. “To make an oration in praise of beggary”  Dekker, The Bellman of London
“We hear a filthy beggarly oration, in the praise of beggary”  Nashe, Summer’s Last Will and Testament
9. “Desires to take the Bacchanalian degrees, and to wait himself in Arte bibendi magister [Master in the art of drinking]”   Dekker, The Gull’s Hornbook
 “One of their breed it was that writ the book De Arte Bibendi”  Nashe, Pierce Penniless
 “The pleasant work De Arte Bibendi, a drunken Dutchman spewed out few years since” Nashe, Summer’s Last Will and Testament
 The reference is to a book in Latin verse about drinking by Vicentius Obsopeus, 1536.

10. “And suffered us to beg up and down the country”  Dekker portion, The Roaring Girl
“And sent poetry a begging up and down the country”  Nashe, Preface to Menaphon
Shall go a begging up and down the Low Countries”  Nashe, An Almond for a Parrot
11. “Tie up my lining in the knots of winding sheets”  Dekker, Old Fortunatus
 “A thousand corpses, some standing bolt upright in their knotted winding sheets” Dekker, The Wonderful Year
My winding sheet was taken out of Lavender, to be stuck with Rosemary, I lacked but the knot here” Dekker, The Honest Whore, Part II
“Not so much as a knot to his winding sheet”  Nashe, Have With You to Saffron Walden
12.  “But either they had no hearts to strike, or no hands, for (like so many Saint Georges on horseback) they threatened, but gave not a blow”  Dekker, Work for Armorers
“Have long been on horseback to come riding to your Devilship: but I know not how like Saint George they are always mounted, but never move”  Nashe, Pierce Penniless
Images of St. George, England’s patron saint, usually potrayed him riding a horse.


[1]  I attribute the anonymous almanac parody Fearful and
Lamentable Effects of Two Dangerous Comets, 1591, to Thomas Nashe, in Donna N. Murphy, “Two Dangerous Comets and Thomas Nashe,” Notes & Queries 58 (2011): 219-223.

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Copyright 2017 by Donna N. Murphy