In both his libels Willobie his Avisa and The affectionate Shepherd Barnfield consistently refers to Shakespeare as being old and immoral. This was the way Barnfield insulted Shakespeare. Shakespeare was about thirty in 1594 but may have already been losing his hair at this stage .
Barnfield we must remember was much younger both physically and emotionally . Barnfield had many reasons not to like and be jealous of Shakespeare. 1 He was university educated and Shakespeare was not. 2 Shakespeare was in good favour with Henry Wriothesley a person who Barnfield was in love with. 3 Shakespeare was already a best selling author in 1594. 4 Shakespeare was the superior writer .
In calling Shakespeare old and age enfeebled Barnfield may also have been employing a technique used by poets whereby which a rejected suitor became prematurely aged and deformed due to the pain of rejection. Willobie His Avisa tells us W.S. was rejected many times by Avisa. Premature aging was a technique personally used by Barnfield . In the Affectionate Shepherd he describes himself as becoming old and feeble after being rejected by Ganymede.