Somebody on Twitter is trying to decipher this handwriting:

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Emma Secker Whose book is It?
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Richard Malim I am not sure the writing is contemporary c. 1616. If it is any later than 1640 it is probably of little value
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Richard Waugaman It's a chance for us to note the Poet-Ape double capitalization, which Ben Jonson also used in this 1616 Folio for Shake-Speare.
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Ron Song Destro There seems to be a Shakespeare written under it...Manage
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Darin Stelting Is it German?
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Monika Steiner I read Playwrite and poetaster...it isn't german.
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Heidi Jeanne Jannsch I think the middle of the second line to the middle of the third line may read "in another epigram Playwright; (and in) Poetaster (... ) Crispinus" I'd guess the epigram #100 (one of three "on" or "to" a Playwright) which talks about stolen works and h...See MoreManage
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Herbie Taylor This is clearly not from the 1616 issue of Jonson's Works (page layout, title font, font on first line "Poet-Ape" differes from First edition -- which probably makes it closer to mid century or later.
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James McGrath Who are we thinking the "Poet-Ape" is?
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Ed Boswell King James or King Kong, take your pick
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Richard Malim Herbie: it is not from the 1640/1 edition [google wikipedia Jonson folios Vol 1] ? from 1690 edn -were there any others?
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Richard Malim Alexander Waugh thinks Poet Apew is WS I think he is Fletcher
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James McGrath My own opinion is that "Poet-Ape," considering the matter of the epigram, very well could refer to Oxford.
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Roger Stritmatter Shakspere and Dekker are the two obvious picks.
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Stephen Moorer It certainly fits Shaksper. Right down to the wool reference.
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James McGrath To me it seems that IF the author believed he was addressing William, he would also have to believe that William was writing.
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Stephen Moorer Clearly identified as, first and foremost, a play broker.
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Richard Malim Stephen M. Wool reference not reconcilable with the last two lines - not shown - in picture, which make it clear that the mocked must be a writer
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James McGrath Or, according to the poem, believes himself to be one.
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Richard Malim which WS never claimed
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Stephen Moorer Respectfully disagree. ?
I feel entire poem makes sense and is in agreement with at least *one theory of authorship.
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James McGrath Recall that Harington said Ignoto had a higher opinion of his own versification than his talents warranted. Also, in Teyurn to Parnassus, the "big Italian who melts his heart in sugared sonneting" is also admonished to use his own wit more and to stop filching from others.
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James McGrath If Oxford were the subject of the poem, the activity in which he was involved that would allow one to call him a broker would have been advocating for and helping develop other writers.
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James McGrath You really couldn't say William was a broker of plays unless he was actually involved in handling manuscripts between Oxford and the Theatre, which I don't believe there is any evidence for. And how would "become so bold a thief" come from that? The ...See More
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Stephen Moorer Sorry, we have different theories of authorship, so responding further about the theory you follow is not really something I want to jump into.

As an exit line, I can only say that I have long thought this poem is evidence that S of Stratford was (initially) a play broker.
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James McGrath What exactly is a play broker, and what did/do they do?
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Herbie Taylor James McGrath Simply an agent who evaluated and acquired scripts for the company, or for personal investment. Edward Allen acquired many titles for the Lord Admirals Men such as "Vaywode" authored by Henry Chettle:

pd vnto my son Edward alleyn the 21
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James McGrath Herbie Taylor I agree that some of the payments you quote seem to be for the plays themselves; however, others seem to actually be payments for performances. Considering your own statement:

...Although there are no surviving records of similar transa
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Herbie Taylor James McGrath If you pick up a copy of Foakes edition of Henslowe's accounts it becomes clear which entries are for performance receipts and which are payments to authors. I am away from my copy but will enter a few examples when I am home.

All the examples from the Pipe Roll are for performances - so perhaps I wasn't clear about that.
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James McGrath Herbie Taylor I was referencing only the quotes you included in your comment. For instance...

To John Hemynge and George Bryan, servants to the late Lord Chamberlain… For five Interludes or playes, viz., on St. Stephen's daie at night last, the Sonda
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Herbie Taylor James McGrath You are correct - those are all performance related. I mentioned Shakespeare's appearance with Burbage and Kempe as LCM in the Pipe Rolls only to illustrate that he was involved in the early business of the company. I am personally agnost...See More
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Stephen Moorer Herbie Taylor Did you mean that some Oxfordians see that (WS as broker) as a possibility?
I, for one, do, and I’m an Oxfordian.
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Herbie Taylor Stephen Moorer Certainly, as do many other non-Stratforidans. I see Poet-Ape as more likely an outgrowth of Poetomachia - perhaps Marston or Dekker.
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James McGrath We still have no real contemporary evidence here as to what, exactly, play brokering was.
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Stephen Moorer Well, we have Ben Jonson saying that the practice existed.
And we have the fact that “broker” and “brokage” were well known and understood terms. With those as givens, I’m not sure where the confusion lies.
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KA Pope James McGrath Here's how I read it. The opening letters in POor Poet-Ape are odd because only the initial one should be capitalized. So which letter stands out as an oddity? O.

O is like a second capital or "initial" letter where there should not be
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Darin Stelting There's nothing special about that O; the whole book is typeset that way.
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KA Pope Darin Stelting Thanks, you're right. I was looking at Jonson's Upon an Hourglass, an original handwritten scan and what I thought was an original print version.It didn't have the second letter capitalized and also wasn't the same print version as this. Apart from the O, the rest remains long held suspicion.
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KA Pope The anamorphism angle is too much to explain here but it was one of the most distinctive hallmarks of Shakespeare's style and Jonson invoked it multiple times when referencing him. That leaves me open to considering possible dual meanings he may have intended.
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James McGrath I'm looking at what is said in the poem. For the most part, everything has to fit sensibly when seeking a subject as candidate. There are a some problematic statements in the poem when considering Will Shaksper as the subject.
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Stephen Moorer You mean “everything has to fit sensibly...” (according to your particular theory of authorship) “when seeking a subject as candidate.”

Same with me. From my standpoint (and my theory of authorship) every line of the poem fits perfectly.
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Gilbert Wesley Purdy The yellow highlighting of "to" shows that it is a Google Book. The note on Crispinus is copied from the Gifford edition of the *Works of Ben Jonson*. The double columns strongly suggest that it is the 1853 edition of the Gifford *Works*.
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James McGrath So, if you're correct, the most interesting thing here is the poem itself, and not the marginalia.
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Gilbert Wesley Purdy The writer's guess (Decker) is wrong. So is the traditional assignment to Shakespeare (which the writer rejects). Still, he's read his Gifford and Chalmers (note in upper right corner). He also has learned to form certain of his letters in a manner similar to the secretary hand. I'd say whoever jotted the notes was quite knowledgeable.
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James McGrath Gilbert Wesley Purdy I'll reiterate my thinking that the subject of this poem is Oxford himself.
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Gilbert Wesley Purdy I'll write an essay soon revealing who was the Poet-Ape. Perhaps next week.
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James McGrath Give us a teaser.
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Gilbert Wesley Purdy Not Oxford. Not Shaksper. The traditional identification of Crispinus with Marston is almost certainly correct. It was not Marston. I think my explanation of *The Poetaster* in my *Edward de Vere was Shakespeare* (https://www.amazon.com/dp/1543136257/) makes very clear which character was Shakespeare and why Jonson clearly knew that Oxford was Shakespeare.Manage
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James McGrath thanks for the obscure teaser. if i didn't have time right now to read a book, who do you think is the subject of the poem?
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Gilbert Wesley Purdy I do not reveal the identity of the Poet-Ape in *Edward de Vere was Shakeseare*. I do, however, reveal which character represents Shakespeare/Oxford in *The Poetaster*.
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Richard Malim My book p.205: Fletcher as loathed by Jonson after The Tamer Tamed
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Gilbert Wesley Purdy Can't say I'm up on that, Richard.
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