3.1.3. Lyly, Pappe with an hatchet


3.1.3.  Pappe with an hatchet [John Lyly], Alias A Figge for my God son, [Oct.] 1589


Nine and a half years after Harvey's caustic verses about the Earl of Oxford. When “Monsieur” is long dead and buried, a new quarrel ignites and arouses tempers throughout England. Once again the bone of contention is politics and the entanglement of politics and religion. During the period of time between Oktober 1588 and September 1589, a puritanical author (possibly John Penry) attacks the power monopoly of the Anglican bishops most vehemently in a series of articles (The Epistle, Hay Any Work For Cooper, Just Censure, The Protestatyon), published under the pseudonym: “Martin Marprelate”. One of Mar-prelate's main targets is the censorship practised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift (1530-1604). Whitgift commissions a “company” of authors to counter the arguments put forward by Marpelate hoping to make him and his followers look like a foolish troupe of blown up trouble makers. Among the authors in this group we find John Lyly (1554-1606), Anthony Munday (1560-1633), Robert Greene (c.1559-1592) and Thomas Nashe (1567-1601). John Lyly joined the hostilities under the nomme de guerre “Pap Hatchet”, a name implying a vehemence, unusual for the mild-mannered man of letters. Anthony Munday contributed the derisive poem A Whip for an Ape - Robert Greene, whom Thomas Nashe calls ‘the chief agent of the company’ (“for he writ more than four other”) uses the names Pasquil, Cavaliero of England, and Marforius. The satirist Thomas Nashe appears under the name of Cutbert Curryknave. One aspect of the matter cannot possibly escape our attention: all of the members of this literary group are either in the employ of, or they are personal friends of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the “superintendent of the press” (as Gabriel Harvey called him). - The “company of good fellows” also made it their business to heap sarcasm on the head of the Earl of Oxford's “enemy”, Gabriel Harvey. Hostilities were opened by John Lyly alias Pap Hatchet, who had served the Earl of Oxford as his private secretary for a number of years.


Room for a roister [a a riotous or noisy fellow]; so, that's well said, itch [hitch] a little further for a good-fellow[1]. Now have at you all my gaffers [old fellows, masters] of the railing religion, 'tis I that must take you a peg lower[2]. I am sure you look for more work[3], you shall have wood enough to cleave; make your tongue the wedge, and your head the beetle, I'll make such a splinter run into your wits, as shall make them rankle till you become fools…

Yours at an hour's warning,

Double V.


Good morrow, goodman Martin, good-morrow: will ye any music this morning? What, fast asleep? Nay faith, I'll cramp thee till I wake thee. O, whose tat? Nay, guess, old knave and odd knave: for I'll never leave pulling, till I have thee out of thy bed into the street, and then all shall see who thou art, and thou know what I am.

Your knaveship brake your fast on the Bishops, by breaking your jests on them: but take heed you break not your own neck. Bastard Iunior [4] dined upon them, and crammed his maw as full of malice as his head was full of malapertness [presumptuousness]. Bastard Senior was with them at supper. and I think took a surfeit of cold and raw quips…

But soft, Martins, did your father die at the Groyne?[5] It was well groped at, for I knew him sick of a pain in the groin. A pox of that religion, quoth Iulian Grimes to her Father when all his hairs fell off on the sudden. Well, let the old knave be dead. Why are not the spawns of such a dog-fish hanged? Hang a spawn? Drown it. All's one; damn it…

When wilt thou come to a style? Martin hath many good words. Many? Now you put me in mind of the matter, there is a book coming out of a hundred merry tales and the pedigree of Martin[6], fetched from the burning of Sodom. His arms shall be set on his hearse, for we are providing his funeral[7], and for the winter nights the tales shall be told secundum usum Sarum [after the use of Sarum; by authentic precedents]; the Dean of Salisbury can tell twenty.

If this will not make Martin mad, malicious and melancholy (ô brave letter, followed with a full cry), then will we be desperate, & hire one that shall so translate you out of French into English that you will blush and lie by it. And one will we conjure up that, writing a familiar Epistle about the natural causes of an Earthquake[8], fell into the bowels of libelling[9], which made his ears quake for fear of clipping; he shall tickle you with taunts. All his works bound close are at least six sheets in quarto, & he calls them the first tome of his familiar Epistle. He is full of Latin ends, and worth ten of those that cry in London, Ha' ye any gold ends to sell?[10] If he gives you a bob [a ‘rap’ with the tongue, a sharp rebuke; often a taunt, bitter jest or jibe], though he draw no blood, yet are you sure of a rap with a bauble[11]. If he join with us, periisti [miserable] Martin, thy wit will be massacred; if the toy take him to close with thee, then have I my wish, for this ten years have I looked to lamback [beat, thrash] him[12]. Nay, he is a mad lad[13], and such a one as cares as little for writing without wit as Martin doth for writing without honesty; a notable coach companion for Martin, to draw divinity from the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge to Shoemakers' Hall in Saint Martin's. But we neither fear Martin, nor the foot-cloth, nor the beast that wears it, be he horse or ass, nor whose son he is, be he Martin's son, Iohn's son, or Richard's son, nor of what occupation he be, be a shipwright, cartwright, or Tyburn-wright.

Sed heus tu, dic sodes [Say what you mean, if you dare], will they [the Martinists] not be discouraged for the common players? Would those Comedies might be allowed to be played that are penned[14], and then I am sure he [Martin] would be deciphered, and so perhaps discouraged. He shall not be brought in as whilom he was (and yet very well) with a coxcomb, an ape's face[15], a wolf's belly, cats' claws, &c., but in a caped cloak, and all the best apparel[16] he ware the highest day in the year. That's neither on Christmas day, Good Friday, Easter day, Ascension, nor Trinity Sunday (for that were popish), but on some rainy weekday, when the brothers and sisters had appointed a match for particular prayers, a thing as bad at the least as Auricular confession.

A stage-player, though he be but a cobbler by occupation, yet his chance may be to play the king's part. Martin, of what calling soever he be, can play nothing but the knave's part ...

I'll make thee to forget Bishops' English, and weep Irish; next hanging, there is no better revenge on Martin than to make him cry for anger, for there is no more sullen beast than a he-drab. I'll make him pull his pouting cross-cloth over his beetle brows for melancholy, and then my next book shall be Martin in his mubble-fubbles [mumble-jumbles].

Here I was writing Finis and Funis[17], and determined to lay it by till I might see more knavery filled in.

Pasquil is coming out with the Lives of the Saints[18]. Beware my Comment; 'tis odds the margent shall be as full as the text.


Gabriel Harvey's angry response to the above was to write an endless pamphlet which he, at first, withheld. In his “advertisement” which was published four years later in Pierces Supererogation, he calls John Lyly “a mad lad as ever twanged, never troubled with any substance of wit or circumstance of honesty, sometime the fiddlestick of Oxford, now the very bauble of London”.

Furthermore, Harvey was not prepared to watch himself be presented as a buffoon in the character of Sir Tophas in Lyly’s Endymion. “All you that tender the preservation of your good names were best to please Pap-hatchet, and fee Euphues betimes, for fear lest he be moved, or some one of his Apes hired, to make a Play of you.”


Gabriel Harvy, An Advertisement for Pap-Hatchet and Martin Marprelate  (Nov. 1589) 

Pap-hatchet (for the name of thy good nature is pitifully grown out of request), thy old acquaintance in the Savoy when young Euphues hatched the eggs that his elder friends laid[19] (surely Euphues was someway a pretty fellow; would God Lyly had always been Euphues, and never Pap-hatchet), that old acquaintance, now somewhat strangely saluted with a new remembrance, is neither lubbabied with thy sweet pap, nor scarecrowed with thy sour hatchet. … What scholar or gentleman can read such ale-house and tinkerly stuff without blushing? They were much deceived in him at Oxford and in the Savoy, when Master Absolon lived, that took him only for a dapper & deft companion, or a pert-conceited youth, that had gathered together a few pretty sentences, and could handsomely help young Euphues to an old simile, & never thought him any such mighty doer at the sharp. But I'll, I'll, I'll is a parlous fellow at a hatchet[20]; he's like death; he'll spare none; he'll show them an Irish trick; he'll make them weep Irish; he's good at the sticking blow; his posy, What care I? …

He were a very simple orator, a more simple politician, and a most simple divine, that should favour Martinizing, but had I been Martin (as for a time I was vainly suspected by such mad copesmates that can surmise anything for their purpose, howsoever unlikely or monstrous), I would have been so far from being moved by such a fantastical confuter, that it should have been one of my May-games or August triumphs to have driven officials, commissaries, archdeacons, deans, chancellors, suffragans, bishops and archbishops (so Martin would have flourished at the least) to entertain such an odd, light-headed fellow for their defence: a professed jester, a hickscorner, a scoff-master, a play-monger, an interluder, once the foil of Oxford, now the stale of London, and ever the Ape's-clog of the press, cum privilegio perennitatis. … It is not the first time that I have preferred a gentleman of deeds before a lord of words, and what if I once by way of familiar discourse said I was a protestant in the antecedent, but a papist in the consequent, for I liked faith in the premises, but wished works in the conclusion…

Out upon thee for a cowardly lambacker, that stealest in at the backdoor, and thinkest to filch advantage on the back wing. Knaves are backbiters; whores, belly-biters; and both, sheep-biters. Pedomancy fitter for such conjurers than either chiromancy, necromancy, or any familiar spirit but contempt. It is somebody's fortune to be haunted with backfriends, and I could report a strange dialogue between the clerk of Backchurch and the chanter of Pancras that would make the better vizard of the two to blush, but I favour modest ears, and a thousand honest tongues will justify it to thy face. Thou art, as it were, a gross idiot, and a very Asse in presenti, to imagine that thou couldst go scot-free in this saucy reckoning, although the party conjured should say nothing but mum. Honesty goeth never unbacked, and truth is a sufficient patron to itself, and I know one that hath written a pamphlet entitled Cock-a-Lilly, or The White Son of the Black Art.[21] But he that can massacre Martin's wit (thou remembrest thine own phrase), can rot Paphatchet's brain, and he that can tickle Marprelate with taunts can twitch Double V [22] to the quick, albeit he threaten no less than the siege of Troy in his note-book, and his pen resound like the harnessed womb of the Trojan horse.

Some men are not so prodigal of their ears, how lavish soever Martin may seem of his neck, & albeit every man cannot compile such grand volumes as Euphues, or rear such mighty tomes as Pap-hatchet, yet he might have thought other poor men have tongues and pens to speak something yet, when they are provoked unreasonably. But losers may have their words, and comedians their acts; such dry-bobbers can lustily strike at other, and cunningly rap themselves. He hath not played the vice-master of Paul's, and the fool-master of the Theater, for naughts. Himself a mad lad as ever twanged, never troubled with any substance of wit or circumstance of honesty, sometime the fiddlestick of Oxford, now the very bauble of London[23], would fain, forsooth, have some other esteemed as all men value him. A workman is easily descried by his terms; every man speaketh according to his art. I am threatened with a bauble, and Martin menaced with a comedy, a fit motion for a jester and a player, to try what may be done by employment of his faculty; baubles & comedies are parlous fellows to decipher, and discourage men (that is the point), with their witty flouts and learned jerks, enough to lash any man out of countenance. Nay, if you shake the painted scabbard at me, I have done, and all you that tender the preservation of your good names were best to please Pap-hatchet, and fee Euphues betimes, for fear lest he be moved, or some one of his Apes hired, to make a Play of you, and then is your credit quite undone forever and ever, such is the public reputation of their plays.[24] He must needs be discouraged who they decipher. Better anger an hundred other, than two such, that have the stage at commandment,[25] and can furnish out vices and devils at their pleasure. Gentlemen, beware of a chafing pen, that sweateth out whole reams of paper, and whole Theaters of jests; tis aventure if he die not of the papersweat, should he chance to be never so little over-chafed. For the jest-dropsy is not so peremptory. …

Faith, quoth himself, thou wilt be caught by the style; indeed, what more easy than to find the man by his humour, the Midas by his ears[26], the calf by his tongue, the Goose by his quill, the play-maker by his style, the hatchet by the Pap? Albertus' secrets, Poggius' fables, Bebelius' jests, Scogan's tales, Wakefield's lies, Parson Darcy's knaveries, Tarleton's tricks, Elderton's ballads, Greene's pamphlets, Euphues' similes, Double V's phrases, are too well known to go unknown. Where the vein Braggadocio is famous, the artery of Pappadocio cannot be obscure. Gentlemen, I have given you a taste of his sugar-loaf, that weeneth Sidney's dainties, Ascham's comfits, Cheke's succates, Smith's conserves, and More's junkets, nothing comparable to his pap. …

He that penned the above-mentioned Cock-a-Lilly saw reason to display the black artist in his collier colours,[27] and thought it most unreasonable to suffer such light and empty vessels to make such a loud and proud rumbling in the air.

The muses shame to remember some fresh quaffers of Helicon, and which of the graces or virtues blusheth not to name some lusty tosspots of rhetoric? The stately tragedy scorneth the trifling comedy, and the trifling comedy flouteth the new ruffianism. Wantonness was never such a swillbowl of ribaldry, nor idleness ever such a carouser of knavery. … Who smileth not at those and those trim-trams of gaudy wits, how flourishing wits, how fading wits? Who laugheth not at I'll, I'll, I'll, or gibeth not at some hundred piebald fooleries in that hare-brained declamation? They whom it nearliest pincheth cannot silence their just disdain, and I am forcibly urged to intimate my whole censure, though without hatred to the person, or derogation from any of his commendable gifts, yet not without special dislike of the bad matter, and general condemnation of the vile form. The whole work a bald toy, full of stale and wooden jests, and one of the most paltry things that ever was published by graduate of either university, good for nothing but to stop mustard-pots, or rub gridirons, or feather rats' nests, or suchlike homely use…

When he useth himself with more discretion, I may alter my style (let him change, and I am changed), or if already he be ashamed of that conjuring lease, foisted in like a bombard, I have said nothing. Till he disclaimeth his injury in print, or confesseth his oversight in writing, or signifieth his penitence in speech, the abused party, that had reason to set down the premises without favour, hath cause to justify his own hand without fear, and as well in equity to avow truth, as in charity to disavow malice.

At Trinity Hall, this fifth of November, 1589.[28]


Gabriel Harvey, Pierces Supererogation (1593)

Pap-Hatchet, desirous for his benefit to carry favour with a noble Earl[29], and, in defect of other means of commendation, labouring to insinuate himself by smooth glozing & counterfeit suggestions (it is a courtly feat to snatch the least occasionet of advantage with a nimble dexterity), some years since provoked me, to make the best of it, inconsiderately; to speak like a friend, unfriendly; to say, as it was, intolerably; without private cause of any reason in the world.

With that, the enmity between Gabriel Harvey and the core of the anti -Marpelate authors (Lyly, Greene and Nashe) came to a head. Prior to Lyly’s pamphlet, Harvey had never committed himself to Marprelate's cause.

The first reaction to John Lyly's attack, that was actually published, came from the vicar Richard Harvey, Gabriel's brother, in The Lamb of God (1590).

“Yet let not Martin, or Nashe, or any such famous obscure man, or any other piperly make-play or makebate, presume overmuch of my patience as of simplicity, but of choice. As I am easily ruled by reason, so no fierce or proud passion can overrule me; no carping censor, or vain Pap-Hatchet, or madbrain Scogan [Robert Greene], or gay companion, anything move me; no man readier to yield to a good argument even against myself, but light words and toys I can as lightly contemn.”

Richard Harvey went one step further and upbraided the young satirist Thomas Nashe for his vehement criticism of contemporary authors and the literature of the time, in his introduction to Greene's Menaphon (1589).

“I provoke not any but Martin, who provoketh all men. I was desired to give like judgment of certain other, but it becometh me not to play that part in divinity that one Thomas Nashe hath lately done in humanity, who taketh upon him in civil learning as Martin doth in religion, peremptorily censuring his betters at pleasure, poets, orators, polyhistors, lawyers, and whom not, and making as much and as little of every man as himself listeth. Many a man talketh of Robin Hood that never shot in his bow, and that is the rash presumption of this age, that every man of whatsoever quality and perfection is with every man of whatsoever mediocrity but as every man pleaseth in the abundance of his own swelling sense. Iwis this Thomas Nashe, one whom I never heard of before (for I cannot imagine him to be Thomas Nashe, our butler of Pembroke Hall, albeit peradventure not much better learned) showeth himself none of the meetest men to censure Sir Thomas More, Sir John Cheke, Doctor Watson, Doctor Haddon, Master Ascham, Doctor Carr, my brother Doctor Harvey, and suchlike, yet the jolly man will needs be playing the doughty Martin in his kind, and limit every man's commendation according to his fancy, profound no doubt, and exceeding learned, as the world now goeth in such worthy works.”

The first answer from the “company of good fellows” came from Robert Greene in A Quip for an Upstart Courtier or a Quaint Dispute between Velvet-Breeches and Cloth-Breeches (July 1592). The father of the three Harvey brothers, a rope maker in Saffron-Walden, is talking to a travel companion about his sons:

“And whither are you going, quod I ? Marry sir, quod the Ropemaker, I am going to Cambridge to three sons that I keep there at school, such apt children, sir, as few women have groaned for, and yet they have ill luck. The one [Richard Harvey], sir, is a divine to comfort my soul, and he indeed, though he be a vainglorious ass, as divers youths of his age be, is well given to the show of the world, and writ a-late The Lamb Of God, and yet his parishioners say he is the limb of the devil, and kisseth their wives with holy kisses, but they had rather he should keep his lips for Madge, his mare. The second [John Harvey], sir, is a physician or a fool, but indeed a physician, and had proved a proper man if he had not spoiled himself with his Astrological Discourse of the terrible conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. For the eldest [Gabriel Harvey], he is a civilian, a wondrous witted fellow, sir-reverence sir, he is a Doctor, and as Tubalcain was the first inventor of music, so he, God's benison light upon him, was the first that invented English hexameter. But see how in these days learning is littlee steemed; for that and other Familiar Letters and proper treatises he was orderly clapped in the Fleet, but sir a hawk and a kite may bring forth a kestrel, and honest parents may have bad children.”

The remark “famous obscure men” (which was directed at Thomas Nashe) did not go unpunished either. In his novel Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Devil (published 9th September 1592) Nashe gives the vociferous theologian a verbal lashing:

“To show how I can rail, thus would I begin to rail on him. Thou that hadst thy hood turned over thy ears when thou wert a bachelor, for abusing of Aristotle, & setting him upon the school gates, painted with asses' ears on his head, is it any discredit for me, thou great baboon, thou Pygmy braggart, thou pamphleter of nothing but paeans, to be censured by thee, that hast scorned the prince of philosophers, thou, that in thy dialogues sold’st honey for a halfpenny, and the choicest writers extant for cues apiece, that camest to the logic schoolswhen thou wert a freshman, and writ’st phrases?”



John Lyly, Complete Works, ed. by Richard Warwick Bond (vol. III). Oxford 1902 https://archive.org/details/completeworksjo06lylygoog

Sir Egerton Brydges, Old English Prose Tracts, vol.II, London 1815 http://www.archive.org/stream/piercessupererog00harvrich/piercessupererog00harvrich_djvu.txt



[1] “good fellow”:Lyly uses this phrase figuratively. He is referring to the critics of the upstart Martin Marprelate. In his Foure Letters (1592) Gabriel Harvey gave this name back to John Lyly and his associates. Since then it was synonymous for the anti Marpelate company.

[2] “I that must take you a peg lower”: To 'take down a peg (or two)' is to lower someone's high opinion of themselves.

[3] “you look for more work”:  This is a play on Martin Marprelate’s pamphlet More worke for the Cooper (August 1589), and its sequel Hay any worke for Cooper (March 1589) .

[4] “Bastard Iunior”: The cantankerous puritan published his works under the names “Martin Marprelate” and “Martin Junior”.

[5] “did your father die at the Groyne?“: Marpelate was silent from March until august of 1589 causing the rumour to circulate that he had been killed in the Drake-Norris campaign against La Coruña (The Groyne) and Lissabon (April to July 1589). ‘Martin junior’ reacted to these rumours using the words: “...If my father should be hurt, either at the Groyne or at the suburbs of Lisbon...”  This unintentional comedy triggered off tremendous hilarity. Shakespeare couldn't resist the joke either: Hostess Quickly asks (not knowing top from bottom) : “Are you not hurt i' th' groin? Methought 'a made a shrewd thrust at your belly.”

[6] “there is a book coming out of a hundred merry tales and the pedigree of Martin“:  This is a reference to The Lives of the Saints, a book that was announced in Countercuffe given to Martin Junior (1589) yet never actually published (see note 18). - To identify “Pasquil of England” and “Marforius” see 3.1.5 Nashe, Strange Newes, Note 61.)

[7] “His arms shall be set on his hearse, for we are providing his funeral”: This Plan will be carried out in Marforius’ Schrift Martin’s Month’s Mind (Dec. 1589).

[8] “And one will we conjure up that, writing a familiar Epistle about the natural causes of an Earthquake”: Gabriel Harvey, whose Three proper & wittie familiar Letters (1580) included an obscure explanation for the earthquake of 1580.

[9] “the bowels of libelling”: The depths of polemic. This is a reference to Gabriel Harvey's attacks on the Earl of Oxford in his Speculum Tuscanismi (see: 3.1.2 Three proper & wittie familiar Letters).

[10]Ha' ye any gold ends to sell?”: Dr. W[illem] Schrickx explains: “The reference to ‘ends’ is related to the expression respice finem [look to the end, consider the outcome] with which Nashe familiarized the Elizabethans in the pun respice funem [look to the rope], of course with the intention of referring to ropemaking, the trade of Harvey’s father.” (W. Schrickx, Shakespeare’s Early Contemporaries, Antwerpen 1956.)

[11] “a rap with a bauble”: a stroke with a baton or stick, surmounted by a fantastically carved head with asses' ears, carried by the Court Fool. When making his response to this jab, Gabriel Harvey adopts the same terminology.

[12] “for this ten years have I looked to lamback him”: Since the summer of 1580, when Harvey insults Lyly's patron and employer Edward de Vere in his Speculum Tuscanismi.

[13] “he is a mad lad”: In An Advertisement for Pap-Hatchet and Martin Marprelate (written Nov. 1589) Gabriel Harvey struck back: “Himself a mad lad as ever twanged, never troubled with any substance of wit or circumstance of honesty, sometime the fiddlestick of Oxford, now the very bauble of London, would fain, forsooth, have some other esteemed as all men value him.”

[14] “Would those Comedies might be allowed to be played that are penned”: The “Curtain“ and the “Theatre” featured a caricature of Martin Marpelate as a morris dancer in a May pageant. The puritans had an intense disliking for the May celebrations with their pagan roots, particularly the sexual connotations associated with the crowning of “Maid Marian”. Lyly refers to other, new comedies whose staging has been forbidden.

[15] “an ape's face”: See: Anthony Munday, A Whip for an Ape, Or Martin displaied (May 1589) –“Leave apes to dogs to bait, their skins to crows”.

[16] “but in a caped cloak, and all the best apparel (he ware on some rainy weekday)”: ‘Pasqill of England’ (=Robert Greene) announces a similar piece in The Return of the renowned Cavaliero Pasquill  (Oct. 1589):

How whorishly scriptures are alleged by them [the Martinists], I will discover (by God's help) in another new work which I have in hand, and entitled it The May-game of Martinism, very deftly set out, with pomps, pageants, motions, masks, scutcheons, emblems, impresas, strange tricks and devises between the ape and the owl, the like was never yet seen in Paris garden. Penry the Welshman is the fore-gallant of the morris, with the treble bells, shot through the wit with a woodcock's bill. I would not for the fairest horn-beast in all his country that the church of England were a cup of metheglin, and came in his way when he is overheated; every bishopric would prove but a draught when the mazer is at his nose. Martin himself is the Maid Marian, trimly dressed up in a cast gown and a kercher [kerchief] of Dame Lawson's, his face handsomely muffled with a diaper napkin to cover his beard, and a great nosegay in his hand of the principallest flowers I could gather out of all his works. Wigginton dances round about him in his cotton coat, to court him with a leathern pudding and a wooden ladle. Paget marshaleth the way with a couple of great clubs, one in his foot, another in his head, & he cries to the people with a loud voice, Beware of the man whom God hath marked. I cannot yet find any so fit to come lagging behind, with a budget on his neck to gather the devotion of the lookers-on, as the stock-keeper of the Bridewell house of Canterbury; he must carry the purse to defray their charges, and then he may be sure to serve himself. 

We find a similar  May-game of Martinism in Shakespeares The Merry Wives of Windsor (V/5). Falstaff, disguised as Herne, the hunter, at Herne's Oak is taunted by the fairies.

Fairies use flowers for their charactery.
Away; disperse: but till 'tis one o'clock,
Our dance of custom round about the oak
Of Herne the hunter, let us not forget.

The figure of Falstaff, dressed as “the fat woman of Brainford” (after Robert Copland's Gyl of Brainford's Testament, 1560), fitted the description of Martin Marprelate to a tee.

See, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Quarto 1602, Sc.18):

SIR HUGH. I trust me boyes Sir Iohn: and I was
Also a Fairie that did helpe to pinch you.
FALSTAFF. I, tis well I am your May-pole,
  You have the start of mee,
  Am I ridden too with a welch goate?

(See, Kristen Poole, Saints Alive! Falstaff, Martin Marprelate, and the Staging of Puritanism, in: Shakespeare Quarterly 46, No. 1,1995, pp. 47-75.)

[17] “Here I was writing Finis and Funis”: Lyly responds to his joke:“Ha' ye any gold ends to sell?” (see note 10). – We encounter the same humorous device in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors:

ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Come, go along; my wife is coming yonder.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS. Mistress, 'respice finem,' respect your end; or rather, to prophesy like the parrot, 'Beware the rope's-end.'
ANTIPHOLUS OF EPHESUS. Wilt thou still talk? [Beating him]

[18] “Pasquil is coming out with the Lives of the Saints”: In spite of its being announced by both John Lyly and Robert Greene this book was never published. Its place was taken by Robert Greene's book about card sharks and confidence tricksters : A Notable Discovery of Coosnage, Now daily practised by sundry lewd persons, called Connie-catchers, and Crosse-biters (1591), The Defence of Cony-Catching,Or The confutation of those two injurious pamphlets published by R.G. against the practitioners of many nimble-witted and mystical sciences (1592) and A Disputation betweene a Hee Conny-catcher and a Shee Conny-catcher (1592).

[19] thy old acquaintance in the Savoy when young Euphues hatched the eggs that his elder friends laid. Harvey is addressing himself when he uses the possessive pronoun “thy”. The meaning of the term “young Euphues hatched the eggs that his elder friends laid” becomes clear in the context of the professional relationship between Oxford and Lyly. Therefore it is clear that Lyly’s Endymion (written 1584) could not have preceded the first version of Oxford’s (= Shake-speare’s) comedy Loves labors lost (1583). 

[20] But I'll, I'll, I'll is a parlous fellow at a hatchet. A reference to the cockalorum which Lyly directed at Martin Marprelate: “Nay faith, I'll cramp thee till I wake thee. O, whose tat? Nay, guess, old knave and odd knave: for I'll never leave pulling … I'll make him pull his pouting cross-cloth over his beetle brows for melancholy” etcetera.

[21] a pamphlet entitled ‘Cock-a-Lilly’, or ‘The White Son of the Black Art’. With the terminology “The White Son of the black Art” Harvey is apparently referring to an episode in the relationship between Oxford and Lyly which may otherwise have quickly been forgotten.  In 1582 Lyly was denounced as a “witch”. (Possibly in connection with the figure of “Sybil” in Lyly’s  Sappho and Phao.) He defended himself in a letter to Lord Burghley, asking for his help.  

It hath pleased my Lord [Oxford] upon what choler I cannot tell, certain I am upon no cause, to be displeased with me, the grief wherof is more then the loss can be. But seeing I am to live in the world, I must also be judged by the world, for that an honest servant must be such as Caesar wold have his wife, not only free from sin, but from suspicion. ... My most humble suit therefore unto your Lord is that my accusations are not smothered, an I choked in the smoke, but they may be tried in the fire, and I will stand to the heat. ... Loath I am to be a prophet, and to be a witch I loathe.

[22] Double V.  Lyly’s pseudonym in the anti-Marprelate tract.

[23]sometime the fiddlestick of Oxford, now the very bauble of London. With this deliberate and refined ambiguity, Harvey had said everything without giving his opponent the opportunity to take him to task for doing so.

[24] In his „Ironical letter“ (March-April 1585) Jack Roberts warns ‚I pray you take heed and beware of my Lord of Oxenford’s man called Lyllie, for if he sees this letter, he will put it in print, or make the boys in Paul‘s play it upon a stage'. (See 3.5.1 John Lyly, Endymion.)

[25] Better anger an hundred other, than two such, that have the stage at commandment. By presenting Lyly as both Euphues und Pap-hatchet Harvey is implying that the man has a dual nature. This choice of words could also be a reference to the piece which preceaded and inspired Endymion; i.e. Shake-speare’s first version of Loves labors lost, written in 1583, in which Harvey is called a “Braggart”. (See 3.1.9 Shakespeare, Loves labors lost.)

[26] what more easy than to find the man by his humour, the Midas by his ears. Eine Bemerkung, die darauf schließen lässt, dass Harvey Lyly’s Komödie Midas, die bei Hof erstmals on Twelfth Night (probably on 6 January) 1590 aufgeführt wurde, bereits vorher in einer öffentlichen Aufführung gesehen hat.

[27] the black artist in his collier colours. See note 21.

[28] At Trinity Hall, this fifth of November, 1589. Harvey published “An Advertisement for Pap-Hatchet and Martin Marprelate” for the first time in his pamphlet Pierces Supererogation (1593). 

[29] Pap-Hatchet, desirous for his benefit to carry favour with a noble Earl. Gabriel Harvey published this remark as a preamble to his “Advertisement for Pap-Hatchet”. In doing so he touches on an embarrassing episode in his life when he showed disloyalty to Oxford by mocking him in his “Speculum Tuscanism” (1580). (See 3.1.2 Harvey, Three proper and familiar letters.) – In Harvey’s Foure Letters (1592)  the story appears as follows –

And that was all the Fleeting that ever I felt, saving that another company of special good-fellows (whereof he was none of the meanest that bravely threatened to conjure up one which should massacre Martin's wit, or should be lambacked himself with ten years' provision), would needs forsooth very courtly persuade the Earl of Oxford that something in those Letters, and namely the Mirror of Tuscanismo, was palpably intended against him; whose noble Lordship I protest I never meant to dishonour with the least prejudicial word of my Tongue or pen, but ever kept a mindful reckoning of many bounden duties toward the-same.