Lamilia's Fable in Robert Greene's Groat's-Worth of Wit

Robert Greene was an anti-Martinist no longer needed after the end of Marprelate controversy. His Lamilia’s Fable tells what happened after that.

Lamilia’s Fable

[1]The Fox on a time came to visit the Gray, partly for kindred, chiefly for craft, and finding the hole empty of all other company, saving only one Badger enquiring the cause of his solitariness: he described the sudden death of his dam and sire with the rest of his consorts.

[2]The Fox made a Friday face, counterfeiting sorrow: but concluding that death’s stroke was inevitable persuaded him to seek some fit mate wherewith to match. The badger soon agreed, so forth they went, and in their way met with a wanton ewe straggling from the fold: the Fox bade the Badger play the tall stripling, and strut on his tiptoes: “for” (quoth he) “this ewe is lady of all these lands and her brother chief bell-wether of sundry flocks.”

[3]To be short, by the Fox’s persuasion there would be a perpetual league, between her harmless kindred and all other devouring beasts, for that the Badger was to them all allied: seduced she yielded: and the Fox conducted them to the Badger’s habitation. Where drawing her aside under colour of exhortation, pulled out her throat to satisfy his greedy thirst.

[4]Here I should note, a young whelp that viewed their walk, informed the shepherds of what happened. They followed, and trained the Fox and Badger to the hole: the Fox afore had craftily conveyed himself away: the shepherds found the Badger raving for the ewe’s murder: his lamentation being held for counterfeit, was by the shepherds’ dog worried. The Fox escaped: the Ewe was spoiled: and ever since, between the Badgers and the dogs hath continued a mortal enmity.

NOTES

All names are ciphered via one-way anagram. Multiple anagrams for one name are for reducing the fuzziness of one-way anagram.
fox: Earl of Oxford
badger: Robert Greene
ewe: Mary Sidney
bell-wether: Henry Herbert
whelp: Thomas Walsingham
shepherds: the authorities
dogs: censors, Catholics
badgers: Wilton poets
[1]The Fox on a time came to visit the Gray, partly for kindred, chiefly for craft, and finding the hole empty of all other company, saving only one Badger enquiring the cause of his solitariness: he described the sudden death of his dam and sire with the rest of his consorts.

*Fox, partly for kindred: this line spells Earl of Oxford. Partly hints at the word fox in Earl of Oxford, and for in Oxford. Kindred mocks at the escape of Oxford the fox at the end of this fable.
*Gray: gray is the other name of badger. Gray refers to something in between. Protestant acted in between the Puritan and Catholic.
*all other company: this term spells Martin Marprelate and anti-Martin Marprelate. The word other has the definition of anti.
*empty: Marprelate controversy ended in 1589, and ended the needs for anti-Martinists. Martin is a perfect anagram of anti-Mr as anti-clergy-masters, hinted by “my masters of the clergy” in Marprelate tracts. Perfect anagram was used by all, one-way anagram by Wilton House.
*Badger: badger has the definition of a middleman (OED n.1); it can be a wordplay of bad-edger, a poet who incites on the edge of censorship.
*chiefly for craft: this line spells Catholic. Oxford came mainly to seek poets to play craft (not so direct as Marprelate) on the Catholic chief. *craft: an art of deceiving, a fraud.
*one Badger enquiring the cause: this line spells Robert Greene.
*sudden death: disappeared at once without taking care of Greene.
*dam and sire: alluding to the Queen and Archbishop of Canterbury, for Greene was hired privately by the authorities as an anti-Martinist. Greene cursed them by playing “dam and sire” as “damned sire.”
*rest of his consorts: the other anti-Martinists, e.g., Thomas Nashe and John Lyly.

[2]The Fox made a Friday face, counterfeiting sorrow: but concluding that death’s stroke was inevitable persuaded him to seek some fit mate wherewith to match. The badger soon agreed, so forth they went, and in their way met with a wanton ewe straggling from the fold: the Fox bade the Badger play the tall stripling, and strut on his tiptoes: “for” (quoth he) “this ewe is lady of all these lands and her brother chief bell-wether of sundry flocks.”
*Friday face: abstinence on Fridays.
*counterfeiting sorrow: faking sorrow on the Friday penance, a mock on those with fake belief, e.g., Oxford who escaped at the end of this fable.
*mate, match: they are related to the next tale by Roberto about the match of a farmer’s son with Marian, and Lamilia with Lucanio, saying that a poet must check his master before matching. Lucanio should check Lamilia, and the framer’s son should check his bride.
*straggling from the fold: this line spells Mary Sidney. *fold: an enclosure.
*ewe: a sound play of you in you-clan, a perfect anagram of Lucanio who represents the Wilton Circle.
*wanton: wanton can be Wilton by replacing -an- with -il-. This is suggested by -a-lin- in straggling. Straggling has the same meaning of wanton (undisciplined, unrely) as a hint the two words are exchangeable to support this anagram of wanton and Wilton.
*straggle: to scatter, disperse letters, or letters to wander, stray from their proper positions, the working method of an anagram. Martin Marprelate was too sharp and full of hatred. Wilton poets used one-way anagram to smooth their lines. The term straggling from can spell anagram or anagrammatism. Wilton House poets straggle from the censorship via anagram.
*Ewe straggling from the fould: this line spells Mary Sidney, Wilton House; fould is an obsolete form of fold used in the First Folio.
*stripling: a hint on strip, to unclothe, reveal oneself.
*and strut on his tiptoes: this line spells Protestant. The Badger stands out to be a human being. Badger with “strut on” can spell Robert Greene. *strut: to stand out, flaunt, swagger.
*bell-wether of sundry flocks: this line spells Henry Herbert, Wilton House.
*her brother: brother can be a companion of some trade or society, and it spells Herbert. Henry Herbert passes syphilis to his wife would be one of the reasons for his support.

[3]To be short, by the Fox’s persuasion there would be a perpetual league, between her harmless kindred and all other devouring beasts, for that the Badger was to them all allied: seduced she yielded: and the Fox conducted them to the Badger’s habitation. Where drawing her aside under colour of exhortation, pulled out her throat to satisfy his greedy thirst.

*persuasion there would: this line spells Protestant, Wilton House.
*a perpetual league: a join of Wilton House and some poets.
*her harmless kindred: this line spells Mary Sidney, indicating her family members.
*all other devouring beasts: poets who write fiercely, indicating Greene’s “base minded men all three of you,” i.e., Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe, and George Peele.
*Badger’s habitation: this term spells Robert Greene.
*under colour of exhortation: this line spells Earl of Oxford.
*pulled out her throat: to let Mary Sidney speak out her mind.
*his greedy thirst: the thirst to play craft on the Catholic.

[4]Here I should note, a young whelp that viewed their walk, informed the shepherds of what happened. They followed, and trained the Fox and Badger to the hole: the Fox afore had craftily conveyed himself away: the shepherds found the Badger raving for the ewe’s murder: his lamentation being held for counterfeit, was by the shepherds’ dog worried. The Fox escaped: the Ewe was spoiled: and ever since, between the Badgers and the dogs hath continued a mortal enmity.

*a young whelp: Thomas Walsingham (1561-1630), master of Ingram Frizer who murdered Marlowe in 1593, cousin of the spymaster Francis Walsingham (1532-90). Philip Sidney married his daughter Frances in 1583. “A young whelp, informed the shepherds” spells Thomas Walsingham, who was young compared to his cousin.
Whelp may be based on an anonymous ballad after the fall of Walsingham Abbey in 1538.
Weep Weep O Walsingham,
Whose days are nights,
Blessings turned to blasphemies,
Holy deeds to despites.
The four lines fit well the failure of the Fox and Badger. Greene used whelp to weep Walsingham, who turned their holy deeds to despites.

*shepherds: the authorities; rulers of domestic animals and enemies of beasts.
*trained: disciplined, instructed.
*hole: a secured dark place.
*walk: the way to conduct or behave oneself with God.
*viewed their walk: this line spells Edward de Vere.
*Fox, craftily conveyed himself away: this line spells Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford.
*ewe’s murder: Mary’s innocence being murdered.
*shepherds’ dog: the censorship.
*worried: silenced; to worry is to kill by compressing the throat, to harass by hostile speech.
*Fox escaped: Oxford quitted this venture.
*Ewe was spoiled: stripped, deprived of sins. Mary Sidney was spared by the Queen. *Badgers: middlemen; poets with badge to identify their band (Shakespeare).
*dogs: censors.

Summary of Lamilia's Fable
Earl of Oxford (fox) came to find poets to attack the Catholic. Oxford saw Greene (badger) and persuaded him to seek a master. They met Mary Sidney (ewe) supported by Henry Herbert (wether). Wilton House then set up a perpetual league with poets, and Oxford exhorted Mary to speak out via Wilton poets. Thomas Walsingham (whelp) spied that and the authorities (shepherds) disciplined them privately. Oxford escaped. Greene was silenced. Mary Sidney was spared, and ever since a mortal enmity was between Wilton poets (badgers) and censors (dogs) on the stage.


Roberto's Tale

In the North parts there dwelt an old Squire, that had a young daughter his heir; who had (as I know Madam Lamilia you have had) many youthful Gentlemen that long time sued to obtain her love. But she knowing her own perfections (as women are by nature proud) would not to any of them vouchsafe favour: insomuch that they perceiving her relentless, showed themselves not altogether witless, but left her to her fortune, when they found her frowardness.

At last it fortuned among other strangers, a Farmer's son visited her Father's house: on whom at the first sight she was enamoured, he likewise on her. Tokens of love passed between them, either acquainted other's parents of their choice, and they kindly gave their consent. Short tale to make, married they were, and great solemnity was at the wedding feast.

A young Gentleman, that had been long a suitor to her, vexing that the Son of a Farmer should be so preferred, cast in his mind by what means (to mar their merriment) he might steal away the Bride. Hereupon he confers with an old Beldam, called Mother Gunby, dwelling thereby, whose counsel having taken, he fell to his practise, and proceeded thus.

In the afternoon, when dancers were very busy, he takes the Bride by the hand, and after a turn or two, tells her in her ear, he had a secret to impart unto her, appointing her in any wise in the evening to find a time to confer with him: she promised she would, and so they parted. Then goes he to the Bridegroom, and with protestations of entire affect, protests that the great sorrow he takes at that which he must utter, whereon depended his especial credit, if it were known the matter by him should be discovered. After the Bridegroom's promise of secrecy, the gentleman tells him, that a friend of his received that morning from the Bride a Letter, wherein she willed him with some sixteen horse to await her coming at a Park side, for that she detested him in her heart as a base country hind, with whom her father compelled her to marry.

The Bridegroom almost out of his wits, began to bite his lip. "Nay," saith the Gentleman, "if you will by me be advised, you shall salve her credit, win her by kindness, and yet prevent her wanton complot."

As how said the Bridegroom? "Marry" thus said the Gentleman: "In the evening (for till the guests be gone she intends not to gad) get you on horseback, and seem to be of the company that attends her coming: I am appointed to bring her from the house to the Park, and from thence fetch a winding compass of a mile about, but to turn unto old Mother Gunby's house, where her Lover my friend abides: when she alights, I will conduct her to a chamber far from his lodging; but when the lights are out, and she expects her adulterous copesmate, yourself (as reason is) shall prove her bedfellow, where privately you may reprove her, and in the morning early return home without trouble. As for the Gentleman my friend, I will excuse her absence to him, by saying, she mocked me with her Maid instead of herself, whom when I knew at her alighting, I disdained to bring her unto his presence." The Bridegroom gave his hand it should be so.

Now by the way you must understand, this Mother Gunby had a daughter, who all that day sat heavily at home with a willow garland, for that the Bridegroom (if he had dealt faithfully) should have wedded before any other. But men (Lamilia) are unconstant, money nowadays makes the match, or else the match is marred.

But to the matter: the Bridegroom and the Gentleman thus agreed: he took his time, conferred with the Bride, persuaded her that her husband (notwithstanding his fair show at the marriage) had sworn to his old sweetheart, their neighbour *Gunby's daughter*, to be that night her bedfellow: and if she would bring her Father, his Father, and other friends to the house at midnight, they should find it so.

At this the young Gentlewoman inwardly vexed to be by a peasant so abused, promised if she saw likelihood of his slipping away, that then she would do according as he directed.

All this thus sorting, the old woman's daughter was trickly attired ready to furnish this pageant, for her old mother provided all things necessary.

Well, Supper past, dancing ended, and the guests would home, and the Bridegroom pretending to bring some friend of his home, got his horse, and to the Park side he rode, and stayed with the horsemen that attended the Gentleman.

Anon came Marian like mistress Bride, and mounted behind the Gentleman, away they post, fetch their compass, and at last alight at an old wife's house, where suddenly she is conveyed to her chamber, and the bridegroom sent to keep her company, where he had scarce devised how to begin his exhortation: but the Father of his Bride knocked at the chamber door. At which being somewhat amazed, yet thinking to turn it to a jest, sith his Wife (as he thought) was in bed with him, he opened the door, saying: "Father, you are heartily welcome, I wonder how you found us out here; this device to remove ourselves, was with my wife's consent, that we might rest quietly without the Maids' and Bachelors' disturbing."

"But where's your wife" said the gentleman: "why here in bed" said he. "I thought" (quoth the other) "my daughter had been your wife, for sure I am to day she was given you in marriage."

"You are merrily disposed," said the Bridegroom, "what think you I have another wife:"

"I think but as you speak" quoth the Gentleman, "for my daughter is below, and you say your wife is in the bed."

"Below" (said he) "you are a merry man," and with that casting on a night gown, he went down, where when he saw his wife, the Gentleman his Father, and a number of his friends assembled, he was so confounded, that how to behave himself he knew not; only he cried out that he was deceived. At this the old woman arises, and making herself ignorant of all the whole matter, inquires the cause of that sudden tumult. When she was told the new Bridegroom was found in bed with her daughter, she exclaimed against so great an injury. Marian was called in quorum: she justified, it was by his allurement: he being condemned by all their consents, was judged unworthy to have the Gentlewoman unto his Wife, and compelled (for escaping of punishment) to marry Marian: and the young Gentleman (for his care in discovering the Farmer's son's lewdness) was recompensed with the Gentlewoman's ever during love.

Quoth Lamilia, "and what of this:"

"Nay nothing" said Roberto, "but that I have told you the effects of sudden love: yet the best is, my brother is a maidenly Bachelor; and for yourself, you have not been troubled with many suitors."

"The fewer the better," said Lucanio. "But brother, I can you little thank for this tale: hereafter I pray you use other table talk."

Only two of the six characters in the tale are named*:
- *Mother Gunby,
- *Marian ("Gunby's Daughter")
- an old Squire,
- the Squire's young daughter,
- a Farmer's Son,
- a young Gentleman.
Mother Gunby as Henry Herbert
Gunby's daughter Marian as Mary Sidney Herbert








Greene's Groat's-Worth of Wit

Making more anagrams is one way to reducing fuzziness of one-way anagram. To build them in some fixed places, like the beginning of an article, will be efficient too. The first paragraph of Greene's Groat's-Worth of Wit:

In an Island bounded with[1] the Ocean there was sometime a City situated, made rich[2] by Merchandise[3], and populous by long peace: the name is not mentioned in the Antiquary, or else worn out by time’s Antiquity, what it was greatly skills not: but therein thus it happened.
[1] This Island, an isolated poet circle, is Wilton House.
[2] Arcadia is the dreamland of Mary and Philip Sidney, the origin of one-way anagram.
[3] Wilton House is made rich by Mary Sidney (Merchandise). One word to spell her name is rare.



George Peele's advice to Christopher Marlowe

Robert Greene gave his advice to George Peele and Christopher Marlowe in his Groat's-worth of Wit. Some time later, Peele did the same to Marlowe.

Marley, the Muse's darling for thy verse,
Fit to write passions for the souls below,
If any wretched souls in passion speak?
Why go not all into the Elysian fields,
And leave this centre barren of repast, [5]

Unless in hope Augusta will restore
The wrongs that learning bears of covetousness,
And court's disdain, the enemy to art?
Leave, foolish lad, it mendeth not with words;
Nor herbs nor time such remedy affords. [10]
      -- Ad Maecenatum Prologus


[1] Marley, the Muse's darling for thy verse,
"Marley":: Christopher Marlowe.
"Muse's darling" can spell Mary Sidney, or Mary Sidney is a one-way anagram of "Muse's darling." She is the Muse here (the tenth Muse in sonnet 38).
The original spelling is "the Muses darling"; location of the apostrophe doesn't impact this anagram.
[2] Fit to write passions for the souls below,
"fit":: qualify; adjust; supply;
"fit":: to force by fits or paroxysms out of (the usual place) (OED);
"fit":: a position of hardship, danger, or intense excitement (OED);
"fit":: a mortal crisis; a bodily state that betokens death (OED).
The use of fit shows Marlowe is writing under some mortal crisis, his faked death.
"the souls below":: the common audience, target of Shakespeare's plays.
[3] If any wretched souls in passion speak?
"wretched, speak" can spell Shakespeare (who does the speaking job).
"any wretched souls" can spell Wilton House.
"souls":: Wilton House poets.
[4] Why go not all into the Elysian fields,
"Elysian fields":: fields for the departed without return, a hint of Marlowe's faked death. Elysium is a place of ideal happiness.
"all":: indicating Wilton House poets.
"Why go not all":: a rhetorical question. If Marlowe is happy after his faked death in some Elysian fields, then all Wilton poets should go.
[5] And leave this centre barren of repast,
"centre":: indicating Wilton House, the centre of poets supported by Pembroke.
"barren of repast":: Wilton House cannot afford the "Why go not all."
[6] Unless in hope Augusta will restore
Augustus (63 BC-14 AD) was a patron of literature (Virgil, Horace, Ovid).
"Augusta":: a title to the wife of Roman emperor.
"in hope Augusta":: indicating a powerful patroness in Peele's time.
"Augusta":: Mary Sidney, an august patroness, based on the "Muse's darling."
[7] The wrongs that learning bears of covetousness,
"that learning":: Mary Sidney's learning adventure in Shakespeare.
"covetousness":: she covets Marlowe's words, one of the wrongs.
[8] And court's disdain, the enemy to art?
"distaine" can spell Sidney, and "enemy to art can spell Mary.
"court's disdain":: Pembroke's disdain.
Peele sees Mary Sidney as "the enemy to art."
 to Marlowe in the next line after the wrongs.
[9] Leave, foolish lad, it mendeth not with words;
"Leave":: Peele's advice.
"lad":: a serving-man, attendant; a man of low birth and position (OED).
"foolish lad":: Kit Marlowe.
"mendeth not with words":: Marlowe's hard working in the Elysian fields for the Herberts cannot mend his sin.
[10] Nor herbs nor time such remedy affords.
This lines spells Mary Sidney Herbert and Henry Herbert.
"herbs nor time" can spell Herberts and Henry Herbert. Wilton House poets are supported by the Herberts.
"nor such remedy affords":: the Herberts cannot afford to restore Marlowe.