2



Ben smiled loftily, and went on. 'But I'm glad I lashed him in my Poetaster, for all I've worked with him since. How comes it that I've never fought with thee, Will?'

First, Behemoth, the other drawled, 'it needs two to engender any sort of iniquity. Second, the betterment of this present age - and the next, maybe - lies, in chief, on our four shoulders. If the Pillars of the Temple fall out, Nature, Art, and Learning come to a stand. Last, I am not yet ass enough to hawk up my private spites before the groundlings. What do the Court, citizens, or 'prentices give for thy fallings-out or fallings-in with Dekker - or the Grand Devil?'

'They should be taught, then - taught.'

'Always that? What's your commission to enlighten us?'

'My own learning which I have heaped up, lifelong, at my own pains. My assured knowledge, also, of my craft and art. I'll suffer no man's mock or malice on it.'

'The one sure road to mockery.'

'I deny nothing of my brain-store to my lines. I - I build up my own works throughout.'

'Yet when Dekker cries "hodman" y'are not content.'

Ben half heaved in his chair. 'I'll owe you a beating for that when I'm thinner. Meantime here's on account. I say I build upon my own foundations; devising and perfecting my own plots; adorning 'em justly as fits time, place, and action. In all of which you sin damnably. I set no landward principalities on sea-beaches.'

'They pay their penny for pleasure - not learning,' Will answered above the apple-core.





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