In his address to the reader in the 1612 quarto of fThe White Devil', John Webster, responding to charges of his slowness as a writer, seems confident of his own critical heritage:
To those who report I was a long time in finishing this tragedy, I confess I do not write with a goose-quill, winged with two feathers, and if they will needs make it my fault, I must answer them with that of Euripides to Alcestides, a tragic writer: Alcestides objecting that Euripides had only in three days composed three verses, whereas himself had written three hundred: 1 Thou tells11 truth,1 (quoth he) 'but here's the difference, — thine shall only be read for three days, whereas mine shall continue three ages.'(l)
Indeed, as in his Preface to 'The Devil's Law Case', Webster never seemed to doubt that his works would be found worthy. And if 'The White Devil' failed at the Red Bull Theatre, it was due to the absence of 'a full and understanding auditory',(2) not to the absence of the writer's art.