Chute, Anthony (DNB00)

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CHUTE or CHEWT, ANTHONY (d. 1595?), poet, is stated by the satirist Nashe to have been in youth an attorney's clerk. In 1589 he served in the English expedition sent to Portugal in support of Antonio's claim to the tMone of Portugal. His friends represented that he displayed much courage there; his enemies insisted that he merely acted as a 'captaine's boye' to help in keeping a shipmaster's accounts. From an early period Chute obviously had literary ambition, and before 1592 had found a patron in Gabriel Harvey. Thomas Nashe, the satirist, and Harvey were the bitterest enemies, and Chute readily contributed to the warfare of abuse that was habitually waged by the one against the other. In 1593 John Wolfe, Harvey's friend and publisher, issued a poem by Chute entitled ‘Beawtie dishonoured, written under the title of Shore’s Wife ’ (entered in the Stationers’ Registers, 16 June 1593). It is dedicated to Sir Richard Wingfield, knight; is described by the author ‘as the tlrst invention of my beginning muse;’ consists of 197 six-line stanzas; is not without promise in spite of its author’s plagiarisms; and tells, through the mouth of ‘her wronged ghost,’ the chequered story of Edward IV's mistress, Jane Shore. Harvey wrote enthusiastically of Chute's endeavour, and henceforth spoke of him as ‘Shore’s wife.’ But Thomas Churchyard [q. v.] had written a poem on the same subject, which was first published in the 1563 edition of the ‘Mirrour for Magistrates,' and Chute imitated Churchyard here and there without making an acknowledgment. On the publication of Chute's book Churchyard in self-defence straightway republished his old poem in his ‘Challenge,' 1593. To his three friends and dependents, Chute, Barnabe Barnes [q. v.], and John Thorius, Harvey dedicate his ‘Pierces Supererogation, or a new prayse of the old Asse,’ an attack on Nashe issued by Wolfe in 1593. An appendix to the book includes two prose letters, one sonnet, and a poem entitled ‘The Asses Figg,’ all by Chute and all vigorously following up Harvey’s attack on Nashe. Soon afterwards Chute died, but Nashe took his revenge on the dead man. In 1596 appeared his ‘Have with you to Saffron Walden,’ a biting satire directed against Harvey and his friends. Nashe denounces Chute for his ignorance, his poverty, and his indulgence in ‘posset-curd’ and tobacco. He died, his enemy mentions incidentally, of the dropsy, ‘as diuers printers that were at his burial certified mee,’ within a year and a half of the penning of his scurrilous appendix to Harvey’s tract.

Nashe describes Chute in one place as the author not only of ‘Shore’s Wife,’ but of ‘Procris and Cephalus, and a number of Pamphlagonian things more;' and elsewhere Nash states that Chute ‘hath kneaded and daub’d up a commedie called the Transformation of the Kin of Trinidadoes two daughters, Madame Tanachzea and the Nymphe Tobacco.’ The Stationers’ Registers for 22 Oct. 1593 contain the entry of a piece entitled ‘Procris and Cephalus devided into foure partes 'and licensed to John Wolfe (Arber, Transcrpt, ii. 639), and Chute has been generally credited with this work, although the book was not known to be extant. A unique copy of a poem bearing this title, issued by Wolfe in 1595, was, however, found in 1882 in Peterborough Cathedral library, but Thomas Edwards, and not Chute, is distinctly stated there to be the author. Harvey and Nashe both speak of Chute's skill in heraldry and in tricking out coats of arms.

[Nashe’s Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1596, is full of sarcastic references to Chute, and supplies hints for his biograph ; Harvey‘s Pierces Supererogation is of less biographical interest. See Dr. Grosart’s collections of Nashe's Works (iii.) and Harvey’s Works (ii.), both issued in the Huth Library; Corser’s Collectanea, iv. 390-6; Ritson’s English Poets; the Roxburghe Club’s reprint of Cephalus and Procris, edited by the Rev. W. E. Buckley (1882), pref. Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L. L.