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and—printed in company with Sir John Davies' Epigrams . —it passed through several editions, which are all undated, and bear the imprint “Middleborugh" or “Middlebourgh” (in Holland). In June 1599, by order of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Marlowe's translation (together with Marston's Pygmalion, Hall's Satires, and Cutwode's Caltha Poetarum) was committed to the flames; but it continued to be published abroad, and some editions, with the imprint Middleborough on the title-page, were surreptitiously printed at London." The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus was probably composed soon after Tamburlaine. In February 1588–9 a “ballad of the life and death of Doctor Faustus the great Cungerer” was entered in the Stationers' Registers. It is probable that this ballad (which is perhaps identical with the Ballad of Faustus” preserved in the Roxburghe Collection) was founded on the play. No mention of the play occurs in Henslowe's Diary earlier than September 30, 1594, although the entries go back to February 1591–2. As the profits from the performance were unusually high” on that occasion, we may conjecture that the play had been revived after a considerable interval. A German critic, Dr. J. H. Albers, suggests that the reference to the Prince of Parma as
* For full bibliograpical particulars, see Vol. III. p. 104.
* See Vol. I. p. 325.
* “Rd. at Docter Fostose . . . iij xij-.” (Henslowe's Diary, ed. J. P. Collier, p. 42.) Between September 1594 and October 1597 the Diary contains notices of twenty-three performances of Faustus. At the last performance, interest in the play having evaporated, the receipts were nil.
persecutor of the Netherlands, points to events that took place before 1590; for in that year the Prince, who died in December 1592, was chiefly occupied with the affairs of France. When he seeks in the lines (i. 80–83),
an allusion to the banquet given to the Queen on board ship by Cavendish after his return in the autumn of 1588 from a voyage round the world, Dr. Albers’ argument seems somewhat strained. But internal evidence amply warrants us in assigning a later date to Faustus than to Zamburlaine. There is more of passion in Faustus, and less of declamation; the early exuberance has been pruned; the pathos is more searching and subtle; the versification, too, is freer, more dramatic. T Faustus was entered in the Stationers' Books on January 7th, 16oo-1, but the earliest extant edition is the quarto of 1604, which was republished with very slight alterations in 1609." An edition with very numerous additions and alterations appeared in 1616. Even the first edition gives us the play in an interpolated state; for no sane critic would maintain that the comic scenes belong entirely to Marlowe. One instance of a certain interpolation was pointed out by Dyce. In scene xi there is an allusion to Dr. Lopez —“Mass, Dr. Lopus was never such a doctor.” Now
* Hazlitt mentions an edition of 1611. Mr. Frederick Locker has an unique edition of 1619. (I owe my knowledge of these editions to the exhaustive “Bibliography of Marlowe's Faustus,” by Mr. Heinemann in the Bibliographer.)
the doctor was hanged for treasonable practices in June 1594. He did not come into notoriety until after Marlowe's death, and any allusion to him before 1594 would have been unintelligible to the audience. From this one passage it is plain that the first quarto does not represent the play exactly as it came from Marlowe's hand. But on the strength of internal evidence we might go further, and say that the comic scenes are in no instance by Marlowe. As far as possible, it is well to avoid theorising, but I must state my conviction that JMarlowe never attempted to write a comic scene. The Muses had dowered him with many rare qualities— nobility and tenderness and pity—but the gift of humour, the most grateful of all gifts, was withheld. To excite “tears and laughter for all time” was given to Shakespeare alone; but all the Elizabethan dramatists, if we except Ford and Cyril Tourneur, combined to some extent humour with tragic power. The Elizabethan stage rarely tolerated any tragedy that was unrelieved by scenes of mirth. It was in vain to plead the example of classical usage, to point out that the Attic tragedians never jested. Fortunately the “understanding” pittites were not learned in the classical tongues; they applauded when they were satisfied, and they “mewed” when the play dragged. As the populace in Horace's time clamoured “media inter carmina,” for a bear or a boxer, so an Elizabethan audience, when it felt bored or scared, insisted on being enlivened by a fool or a clown. After a little fuming and fretting the poets accepted the conditions; they soon found that the demand of the audience was no outrage upon nature, and that there need be no abruptness in the passage from tears to laughter. And so was realised for the first and last time in the world's history the dream of Socrates; the theory he propounded to Agathon, who was too drunk and drowsy for argument or contradiction, as the dawn broke over that memorable symposium. But Marlowe could not don alternately the buskin and the sock. His fiery spirit walked always on the heights; no ripple of laughter reached him as he scaled the “high pyramides” of tragic art. But while the poet was pursuing his airy path the actors at the Curtain had to look after their own interests. They knew that though they should speak with the tongues of angels yet the audience would turn a deaf ear unless some comic business were provided. Accordingly they employed some hack-writer, or perhaps a member of their own company, to furnish what was required. How execrably he performed his task is only too plain. But it is strange that Marlowe's editors should have held so distinguished a dramatist as Dekker responsible for these wretched interpolations. They were misled by the entry in Henslowe's Diary concerning Dekker’s “addycions” to Faustus, an entry which has been shown (vid. p. xv.) to be a gross forgery. There is not the slightest tittle of evidence to convict Dekker of having perpetrated the comic scenes found in the quarto of 1604. Let us now consider the relationship between the quartos of 1604 and 1616. From an undoubtedly genuine entry in Henslowe's Diary (ed. J. P. Collier, p. 228), we learn that on November 22, 1602, William
Birde and Samuel Rowley were paid the sum of four pounds for “adicyones” to Faustus. As the sum was comparatively large the additions must have been considerable. Dyce at first thought that the quarto of 1616 represented the play in the shape it had assumed at the hands of Birde and Samuel Rowley. This view he afterwards modified on finding that the anonymous Zaming of a Shrew, 1594, contained an obvious imitation of a line” first printed in ed. 1616. But the editors are agreed that the additions found in ed. 1616 are in no instance to be ascribed to Marlowe. My own opinion is, that the new comic scenes and the bulk of the additional matter are certainly not his; but I hold at the same time that ed. 1616 gives us occasionally the author's revised text, or restores passages that had been omitted in the first edition. . As this theory has not been put forward before, I may be excused for dwelling on it at some length. If the reader will turn to the speech of the chorus preceding scene vii., and compare the texts of eds. 1604 and 1616, he will readily perceive that the additional lines preserved in the later edition render the passage much
* The line in Faustus is— “Or hewed this flesh and bones as small as sand,” scene x". I. 308, and the imitation is"And hewed thee smaller than the Lybian sands." There is an allusion to an incident of the interpolated scene x*. in a passage of Merry Wives, iv. 5:—"So soon as I came beyond Eton they threw me off from behind one of them in a slough of mire, and set spurs and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses." Here the reference may be to the prose tract, but it is equally likely that Shakespeare was glancing at the play; for there is nothing to show that the additional scene was not interpolated at an early date.