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Tom Tel-Troths message,[...]
1600

STC 15190, title page

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STC 15190, title page
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

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Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: John Lane
Title: Tom Tel-Troths message, and his pens complaint. A worke not vnpleasant to be read, nor vnprofitable to be followed. Written by Io. La. gent.
Date: London : Imprinted [by Felix Kingston] for R. Howell, and are to be sold at his shop, neere the great north doore of Paules, at the signe of the white horse, 1600.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 15190, title page & sigs. F1v-F2r
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Item Creator
John Lane
Item Title
Tom Tel-Troths message, and his pens complaint. A worke not vnpleasant to be read, nor vnprofitable to be followed. Written by Io. La. gent.
Item Date
London : Imprinted [by Felix Kingston] for R. Howell, and are to be sold at his shop, neere the great north doore of Paules, at the signe of the white horse, 1600.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 15190, title page

STC 15190, signatures F1 verso and F2 recto

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STC 15190, signatures F1 verso and F2 recto
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: John Lane
Title: Tom Tel-Troths message, and his pens complaint. A worke not vnpleasant to be read, nor vnprofitable to be followed. Written by Io. La. gent.
Date: London : Imprinted [by Felix Kingston] for R. Howell, and are to be sold at his shop, neere the great north doore of Paules, at the signe of the white horse, 1600.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 15190, title page & sigs. F1v-F2r
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
John Lane
Item Title
Tom Tel-Troths message, and his pens complaint. A worke not vnpleasant to be read, nor vnprofitable to be followed. Written by Io. La. gent.
Item Date
London : Imprinted [by Felix Kingston] for R. Howell, and are to be sold at his shop, neere the great north doore of Paules, at the signe of the white horse, 1600.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 15190, sigs. F1v-F2r

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: John Lane
Title: Tom Tel-Troths message, and his pens complaint. A worke not vnpleasant to be read, nor vnprofitable to be followed. Written by Io. La. gent.
Date: London : Imprinted [by Felix Kingston] for R. Howell, and are to be sold at his shop, neere the great north doore of Paules, at the signe of the white horse, 1600.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 15190, title page & sigs. F1v-F2r
View online bibliographic record

Not all contemporary allusions to Shakespeare were positive. In the second stanza of Tom-Tel Troths Message (1600), John Lane commands his pen to “In mournfull verse lament the faults of men,” particularly in England. The last half of the poem cites examples of each of the seven deadly sins, and the speaker introduces the allusion to Shakespeare thus: “Now last of all though perhaps chiefe of all, / My pen hath hunted out lewde Lecherie.” Both Venus and Adonis (1593) and Lucrece (1594) are censured (sig. F2r):

VVhen chast Adonis came to mans estate,
Venus straight courted him with many a wile;
Lucrece once seene, straight Tarquine laid a baite,
VVith foule incest her bodie to defile:
                   Thus men by women, women wrongde by men,
                   Giue matter still vnto my plaintife pen.

Lane cites Shakespeare’s narrative poems as evidence that both men and women can be guilty of lechery.

Lane then expresses a desire to write a poem that will either eliminate sin entirely or inspire others to live more virtuously. Either option will have the salutary effect of deterring playgoers, especially women (sig. F3r):

Then light-taylde huswiues which like Syrens sing,
And like to Circes with their drugs enchant,
VVould not vnto the Banke-sides round house fling,
In open sight themselues to show and vaunt:
                     Then then I say they would not masked goe,
                     Though vnseene to see those they faine would know.

Lane’s “Banke-sides round house” may not be the Globe — it could be another theater, including the Globe’s neighbor, the Rose, or it could be a pit for cockfighting or bearbaiting— but given Lane’s interest in Shakespeare, it is certainly possible.

Similarly, the poem’s final couplet may ironically echo the first two lines of Puck’s final speech in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, also printed for the first time in 1600. Speaking on behalf of his pen, Lane writes:

And if (as he hath not) he haue offended,
He hopes (as you) so he wilbe amended” (sig. F3r)

Puck ends his speech with:

If we shadows have offended,
think but this and all is mended. (5.1.440-441)

The volume shown here is part of the Folger Shakespeare Library, and purchased by Mr. Folger as part of the original Folger collection. The British Library and the Huntington Library also own copies.

Written by Erin A. McCarthy
 
Sources

Frederick James Furnivall, ed., Tell-Trothes New-Yeares Gift And the Passionate Morrice. 1593. John Lane’s Tom Tell-Troths Message, and His Pens Complaint. 1600. Thomas Powell’s Tom of All Trades. Or the Plaine Path-way to Preferment. 1631. The Glasse of Godly Love. (By John Rogers?) 1569. (London: N. Trübner & Co., 1876).

Frederick James Furnivall, C.M. Ingleby, and L. Toulmin Smith, comps., The Shakspere Allusion-Book: A Collection of Allusions to Shakspere from 1591 to 1700. Edited by John Munro. (London: Oxford University Press, 1932): 1:17.

C.M Ingleby, Shakspere Allusion-Book: A Collection of Allusions to Shakespeare From 1591–1700. 2 vols. (New York: Duffield & Company, 1909).
 

Last updated May 25, 2017