title

Title page of Greenes Groats-worth of Witte, STC 12245.

 

 

 

Internal evidence in the tracts, as well as the identity of Greene's dedicatees, suggests that ‘Robert Greene’ was a pen-name of Oxford’s from 1580 to 1592. In 1592, Oxford abandoned the pen-name, partly as a result of the Harvey/Nashe quarrel. In Greene's Groatsworth Of Wit, Robert Greene's imminent demise was announced, and Oxford's new pen-name, William Shakespeare, was introduced in the well known passage:

Yes, trust them not for there is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his tiger’s heart wrapped in a player’s hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you, and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country.

Disbelief that an embittered Robert Greene was the real author of Groatsworth has been expressed from the moment the tract was printed, as evidenced by the fact that Nashe defended himself against rumours that he was the author in an epistle to the second edition of Pierce Penilesse (1592):

Other news I am advertised of, that a scald trivial lying pamphlet called Greene's Groatsworth of Wit is given out to be of my doing. God never have care of my soul, but utterly renounce me, if the least word or syllable in it proceeded from my pen, or if I were any way privy to the writing or printing of it.

The next person to defend himself against the imputation that he was the author of Groatsworth was none other than Nashe’s ‘old compositor’ (as he calls himself in Have With You To Saffron Walden), Henry Chettle, who, in Kind-Heart’s Dream (1592) wrote:

About three months since died M. Robert Greene, leaving many papers in sundry booksellers' hands, among other his Groatsworth of Wit, in which a letter written to divers play-makers is offensively by one or two of them taken, and because on the dead they cannot be avenged, they wilfully forge in their conceits a living author, and after tossing it to and fro, no remedy but it must light on me.

Doubts about Robert Greene’s authorship of Groatsworth have persisted to the present day.

 

WORKS WRITTEN BY OXFORD UNDER THE PEN-NAME 'ROBERT GREENE' AND WILLS OF DEDICATEES

1583

MAMILLIA; A MIRROR OR LOOKING-GLASS FOR THE LADIES OF ENGLAND

Last will and testament of Sir Arthur Darcy,uncle of Dorothy Neville, first wife of Oxford's father; uncle of Oxford's friend, Sir Arthur Throckmorton; uncle of 'Lord Darcy of the North', the dedicatee of Mamillia; and uncle of Sir Nicholas Saunders, the dedicatee of Greene's Vision

1584

Gwydonius

Debate Between Folly and Love

THE MIRROR OF MODESTY

Last will and testament of Margaret, Countess of Derby, dedicatee of The Mirror of Modesty

ARBASTO

1585

An Oration or Funeral Sermon

Planetomachia

1587

Euphues His Censure to Philautus

Penelope's Web

Morando; The Tritameron of Love

The Second Part of the Tritameron of Love

1588

PANDOSTO

Last will and testament of George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, dedicatee of Pandosto

PERIMEDES THE BLACKSMITH

1589

MENAPHON

Last will and testament of Sir James Hales (d.1589), whose widow, Alice (nee Kempe) Hales, is the dedicatee of Menaphon

Last will and testament of Humphrey Hales (d.1571), whose daughter-in-law, Alice (nee Kempe) Hales is the dedicatee of Menaphon

Last will and testament of Sir William Kempe (d.1539), grandfather of Alice (nee Kempe) Hales, the dedicatee of Menaphon

Last will and testament of Dame Eleanor Kempe (d.1559), grandmother of Alice (nee Kempe) Hales, the dedicatee of Menaphon

Last will and testament of George Kempe (d.1588), uncle of Alice (nee Kempe) Hales, the dedicatee of Menaphon

Last will and testament of Anthony Kempe (d.1598), uncle of Alice (nee Kempe) Hales, the dedicatee of Menaphon

Last will and testament of Anne (nee Kempe) Shirley (c.1542-1623), sister of Alice (nee Kempe) Hales, the dedicatee of Menaphon, and grandmother of the playwright, Henry Shirley

CICERONIS AMOR

Last will and testament of Ferdinando Stanley, dedicatee of Ciceronis Amor

THE SPANISH MASQUERADO

1590

The Royal Exchange

GREENE'S MOURNING GARMENT

Will of George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, dedicatee of Greene's Mourning Garment

GREENE'S NEVER TOO LATE

FRANCESCO'S FORTUNES

Last will and testament, dated 11 October 1590, of Richard Burnaby, father of Thomas Burnaby, esquire, dedicatee of Greene's Never Too Late, Francesco's Fortunes, and A Quip for an Upstart Courtier, contributor of commendatory verses to Greene's Ciceronis Amor (1589), and at one time lessee of the Bear Garden in Southwark

Last will and testament, dated 10 July 1578, of Edward Sapcote, father-in-law of Thomas Burnaby, esquire, dedicatee of Greene's Never Too Late, Francesco's Fortunes, and A Quip for an Upstart Courtier, contributor of commendatory verses to Greene's Ciceronis Amor (1589), and at one time lessee of the Bear Garden in Southwark

1591

A Maiden's Dream

Greene's Farewell to Folly

A Notable Discovery of Cozenage

The Second Part of Cony-catching

1592

The Defence of Cony-catching

The Third and Last Part of Cony-catching

GREENE'S VISION

Last will and testament, dated 2 October 1570 of William Saunders of Ewell, grandfather of Sir Nicholas Saunders of Ewell, the dedicatee of Greene's Vision

Undated last will and testament of Nicholas Saunders (d. 17 December 1587) of Ewell, father of Sir Nicholas Saunders (d. 9 February 1649) of Ewell, the dedicatee of Greene's Vision

PHILOMELA

Last will and testament of Sir Charles Morison, whose daughter Bridget Morison, was the dedicatee of Philomela

Last will and testament of Jane Sibilla (nee Morison), whose niece, Bridget Morison, was the dedicatee of Philomela

A Disputation Between a He Cony-catcher and a She Cony-catcher The Black Book's Messenger

A Quip for an Upstart Courtier

Greene's Groatsworth of Wit

The Repentance of Robert Greene

EUPHUES' SHADOW

Last will and testament, dated 15 August 1629, of Robert Radcliffe, 5th Earl of Sussex, to whom Greene dedicated Thomas Lodge's Euphues' Shadow

1593

Greene's News Both From Heaven and Hell

Mamillia; The Second Part of the Triumph of Pallas

The Anatomy of Lovers' Flatteries

1594

Greene's Funerals

1599

Greene's Orpharion

1617

Alcida; Greene's Metamorphosis