Terminus et Non Terminus

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Thomas Nashe and Robert Mills, (c.1587)

Historical Records

Richard Lichfield, The Trimming of Thomas Nashe (1597)

According to his mock-biographer Richard Lichfield, Thomas Nashe, while a student,

florished in all impudencie toward Schollers, and abuse to the Townsmen; insomuch, that to this daye the Townes-men call euerie vntoward Scholler of whome there is great hope, a verie Nashe. Then being Bachelor of Arte, which by great labour he got, to shew afterward that he was not vnworthie of it, had a hand in a Show called Terminus & non terminus, for which his partener in it was expelled the Colledge: but this foresaid Nashe played in it (as I suppose) the Varlet of Clubs; which he acted with such naturall affection, that all the spectators tooke him to be the verie same... (Lichfield, Trimming, G3r).

Bodleian Library: MS Rawlinson Poet. 85

Former St. John's undergraduate Robert Mills, now a schoolmaster in Stamford, Lincolnshire, remembers his undergraduate career in a poem addressed to fellow St John's alumnus John Finet:

O what playes merimentes, conceytes, and pleasure abounded?
O what Musicale arte? and how manye plausible Antik Antiques?
Neuer a day did pass but good recreatione vsed.
Neuer a nyghte did pass but we good company haunted
Neuer an howre did pass but some toy still we deuysed
  [Marginal note:] certayne shewes / of his owne mak / ynge wherin hi[m] / selfe was princi / pall actor:
See how I sitt in royall Chayre enthronissed emprer:
Se how I frowne lyke a prince agaynste Lord Terminus Ireful:
Se how I smyll to see the Iestes of merye Doleta:
Goulden dayes, when Lord Non Terminus hyghly tryvmphed
Now for a scepter I wott I sway a twygg to my subiects
[Marginal note:] being school / maister at St< > / forde:
A Ferula for a sworde from for a crowne a bald grey [interlined] (nightcapp:
[Marginal note:] A / night / capp:
Like to Dionisius throwne downe from throane to a threshould.

(RP85, fol. 000: the poem has never been published in full).