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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two.

VI. Philip Massinger

§ 2. Biographical value of his Dedications

Much less pleasing are the glimpses of the poet’s private life afforded by these documents. Both the first dedication, preceding The Duke of Millaine (1623), and the last, composed for The Unnaturall Combat in 1639, about a year before his death, exhibit the poet as much dissatisfied with his vocation as a dramatic writer. He speaks of the misfortunes which cast him on this course and numbers himself among those whose “necessitous fortunes” made them choose poetry as their profession. Complaints about the neglect which his age showed to the “contemned sons of the Muses,” and about his own depressed circumstances, protestations that he could never have lived without the help of those kind patrons who endeavoured “to rebuild the ruins of demolished poesy” and declarations of his gratitude and his devotion, are intermingled in these epistles with rarer outbursts of consciousness of his poetical powers, remarks about the intrinsic value of his works and hints that there were some eminent men who “have not thought themselves disparaged, I dare not say honoured, to be celebrated the patrons of my humble studies.”