Eastward Ho!



  • A citizen comedy by George Chapman, JohnMarston, and Ben Jonson, first performed by theChildren of the Revels at Blackfriars Theatre in 1605. Charactersinclude the apprentices Golding and Quicksilver and the adventurerSir Petronel Flash.

    The play is now mainly remembered for the trouble it causedto its authors. Unluckily for them, a brief diatribe against the Scotsin Act III was not well received at the court of the new king, theScottish-born James I. Chapman and Marston were flung into the OldMarshalsea prison to await sentence; to show solidarity Jonson (whodid not work on the passage in question) voluntarily joined them there.Rumours then circulated that the three authors would have their earsand noses split as punishment; only representations by influentialfriends secured their pardon and release.

    Jonson was so relieved to escape this punishment that he threwa banquet for his friends and family to celebrate. In the middle ofthe party his old mother allegedly showed him some poison she had acquired;if the punishment was to have been carried out, she had planned tomix the potion in her son's drink and, being "no churl",to drink the remainder herself.