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The passionate Sheepheard to his loue. 551


Title The passionate Sheepheard to his loue E.H.: om. P.P., MS.: The Milk maids Song C.A. I Come om. P.P. 3 Vallies, groues] hilles and vallies P.P.: hills and E.H.: dales and P.P.: or hils, or C.A.: and woodes or MS. 4 Woods, or steepie E.H. And all the craggy P.P.: and craggie Rockes or MS.: mountains P.P., C.A., MS. yeeld P.P. 5 And E.H.: There P.P.: Where C.A., MS. 6 Seeing] And see P.P., C.A., MS. theyr] our C.A. 7 to] by P.P. 8 sing P.P., C.A. And I will] There will I P.P.: Where wee MS. beds] a bed P.P., MS. 10 And E.H.: With P.P.: And then C.A. thousand] thowsande other MS. 13-16 om. P.P.: follows 1. 20 MS. 14 pretty] little MS. 15 Fayre lined slippers E.H.: Slippers lin'd choicely C.A. 17 and] with MS. And.. thee] if theise delightes thy mynde may MS. 20 Come] Then P.P., MS. Before 1. 21 MS. add. the stanza: Thy dyshes shal be filde with meate | such as the gods doe use to eate | shall one and everye table bee | preparde eache daye for thee and mee 21-24 om. P.P. 21 shepparde MS.

faire MS.

Finis and signature om.

P.P., C.A., MS.



22 May]

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Version of the poem in England's Helicon, 1600. Version of the poem in The Passionate Pilgrim, 1599. Version of the poem in Walton's Compleat Angler, 1653. Version of the poem in Thornborough Commonplace Book, quoted by Ingram, Christopher Marlowe and his Associates, 1904, p. 222, 225.)

Description of Seas, Waters,

Riuers, &c.

I walkt along a streame for purenesse rare,
Brighter then sun-shine, for it did acquaint
The dullest sight with all the glorious pray,
That in the pibble paued chanell lay.
No molten Christall, but a richer mine,
Euen natures rarest alchumie ran there,
Diamonds resolud, and substance more diuine,
Through whose bright gliding current might appeare
A thousand naked Nymphes, whose yuorie shine,
Enameling the bankes, made them more deare
Then euer was that glorious Pallas gate,
Where the day-shining sunne in triumph sate.
Vpon this brim the Eglantine and Rose,
The Tamoriscke, Oliue, and the Almond tree,
As kind companions in one vnion growes,
Folding their twindring armes as oft we see
Turtle-taught louers either other close,
Lending to dulnesse feeling Sympathie.
And as a costly vallance ore a bed,

So did their garland tops the brooke orespred :
Their leaues that differed both in shape and showe,
(Though all were greene) yet difference such in greene,
Like to the checkered bent of Iris bowe,

Prided the running maine as it had beene

Ch. Marlowe.






Early editions. Marlowe's translation of the Elegies of Ovid survives in at least six early editions. All are undated and all claim-with probable untruth-to have been printed at Middleburgh in Holland. There is no mention of the work in the Stationers' Register, and, indeed, none could be expected, for everything indicates that it was published surreptitiously and with the express disapprobation of the authorities. Copies of one edition were publicly burned at Stationers' Hall on June 4, 1599, by order of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London.1

In the absence of all the usual criteria for date and provenance, it is a matter of some difficulty to distinguish the various editions from one another and to decide the

question of their sequence. The six which I have been able to identify fall into three groups. Two (Ish. and Bind.) are incomplete; they represent a mere selection from the elegies. Two others (Mal. 368 and Mal. 133) are shown by their typography, in such matters, for example, as the use of 'u' and 'v', to be half a century later than Marlowe's time; these editions, which can hardly have been printed earlier than 1640, are practically of no value whatever. Two other versions (Mas. and Douce) give a complete text and appear to date from the close of the sixteenth century.

It has generally been assumed that the abridged editions (Ish., Bind.), containing only ten of the most licentious elegies, are more ancient than the others, but we have no proof of this. As far as the evidence at hand goes, they may equally well be cheap pirated reprints of such portions of the work as would find readiest acceptance among the vulgar. All the texts are marred by the numerous blunders which one would expect to find in hasty and surreptitious

1 Cf. Arber, Transcript Stationers' Register, iii. 677-8. The wrath of the authorities appears to have been directed rather against Davies's Epigrams than against the Elegies themselves.

productions. None can be received as the editio princeps, but that on which I have in general based my text (Mas.) appears to be certainly the best and not improbably the oldest.

Date of composition and general character. Whatever may be the date of the extant editions, there would seem to be little doubt as to the period of composition of the poems. No difference in style or method is observable between the elegies included in the abridged editions and the rest. All are characterized alike by boyish stiffness of expression, by metrical inexperience, and defective scholarship. The one example of mature versification to be found in the collection is the second rendering of Elegy I. 15 on pp. 581, 582, where Ben Jonson seems to have filed and polished Marlowe's crude version (pp. 579, 580) before inserting it as his own into the Poetaster.1 The translation of the elegies is almost certainly the work of Marlowe's Cambridge period, and is very probably the earliest of his extant writings. Laughable mistranslations of the original, which a mature poet, however bad a Latinist, could never have admitted into his verse, are here quite common. Two famous ones have been noted by nearly all the editors: the rendering of Carmine dissiliunt, abruptis faucibus, angues' by 'Snakes leape by verse from caues of broken mountaines' (II. 1, 25), and the translation of 'cānēbat frugibus' as 'did sing with corne' (III. 9, 39). Very often also the young poet, though understanding the sense of the original, is unable to find an idiomatic equivalent, and in excess of piety produces an English paraphrase which until compared with the Latin is wholly unintelligible. A third fault of the work cannot be justly charged to the account of the translator. It is evident that Marlowe's text of Ovid was in many points inferior to that of modern editions, and its bad readings have naturally found their way into the translation. A single line will illustrate at once all three of the defects just referred to. In I. 7, ll. 39, 40 (p. 568), we read :

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Let the sad captiue formost with lockes spred On her white necke but for hurt cheekes be led. Here the second line, which in itself is utterly meaningless, receives no elucidation from the Latin of modern texts of

1 There is no apparent ground for the assumption of Gifford, Dyce, and others, that both versions are by Jonson.

Ovid, 'Si sinerent laesae, candida tota, genae,' but the occurrence of the nonsense is at least rendered explicable when we find that a 1568 edition of the Amores substitutes colla for tota.

Judged by absolute standards, Marlowe's Elegies must be agreed to be a failure both as poetry and as a rendering of the Latin. When considered, however, as a very early metrical exercise, the translation shows decided promise. The most striking merit is probably the enthusiasm with which the dull work is performed; though many lines are flat and pointless to the reader, there is none which seems to have been tame in the writing. Through all his rather disastrous struggles with an unmastered art and a very imperfectly mastered language, the translator has manifestly been supported by a real poetic fervour. Occasionally the lines have a very melodious cadence, and there is prevailingly a richness of vocabulary and epithet which promise much. Finally, these poems display a facility in riming which in a young poet is extraordinary, and which more perhaps than anything else in the work presages the incomparable melody of the first and second books of Hero and Leander.

The text of Sir John Davies's Epigrams is affixed to that of the Elegies in all known editions, and is here reprinted from Mas. In accordance with my rule for the treatment of 'Spuria', variant readings are recorded only where the text of Mas. appears to be corrupt. The twenty-ninth epigram is twice referred to by Th. Bastard in his Chrestoleros, 1598.1 Malone regards this as establishing a posterior limit for the publication of the Elegies and Epigrams, but the evidence is of little value, since Bastard may well have known the epigram in question before it appeared in a printed book.

1 Bk. II, Epigram 15; Bk. III, Epigram 3. Bastard's work has been reprinted, Publications Spenser Society, 47, 1888.

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