Terminus et Non Terminus
Thomas Nashe and Robert Mills, (c.1587)
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
- 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
fromfor 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).