This chapter explores the actual circumstances under which lampoons were written. Most lampoons were issued anonymously, and with good reason. Personal insult in 17th-century England was likely to provoke retaliatory violence, administered through the duel for social equals or the beating for inferior. To become an acknowledged lampoon author was to join a circle of versifiers who were largely known to each other. State lampoons, sometimes of great power and influence, might come from outside this circle, but the court and Town lampoon and probably a substantial body of state lampoons were the work of individuals who, while they cannot always be linked to particular pieces, were publicly recognized as creators of the genre.
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