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the line, “And drunk to me half this Musaean story,” implies that Marlowe had shown his unfinished poem to Chapman. It would not be rash to assert that Chapman had encouraged Marlowe to proceed with the poem, or that it had been originally undertaken at Chapman's request. The words “his late desires” refer to some conversation that had passed between the two poets. Marlowe must have expressed a desire that in the event of his death Chapman should edit and complete the poem, a duty which Chapman solemnly pledged himself to perform. In my judgment the passage shows that Chapman not only had a profound admiration for Marlowe, but had been on terms of intimate friendship with him. Dyce remarks that “as to the conclusion of the passage, ‘and to light surrender,’ &c., I must confess that I am far from understanding it clearly.” But the meaning seems intelligible: his “soul's dark offspring” is the continuation of the poem, the four last sestiads as yet undisclosed to public view ; and “to light surrender” merely means to set forth in print to the gaze of the world. Among all the Elizabethan poets there was none whose genius fitted him to complete the poem of Hero and Leander. The music of Marlowe's rhymed heroics was all his own; he was a master without pupils. In Michael Drayton's Heroical Epistles, which need fear no comparison with Ovid's Heroides, we find fluency and freedom and sweetness; but the clear, rich, servent notes of Hero and Leander were heard but once. No less truly than finely does Mr. Swinburne say that the
poem “stands out alone amid all the wild and poetic wealth of its teeming and turbulent age, as might a small shrine of Parian sculpture amid the rank splendour of a tropic jungle.” In Chapman's continuation, as in everything that Chapman wrote, there are fine passages in abundance; but the reader is wearied by tedious digressions, dull moralising, and violent conceits. There are couplets in the Tale of Teras (Fifth Sestiad) that for purity of colour and perfection of form are hardly excelled by anything in the first two sestiads; such passages, however, are few. Malone stated that Marlowe left in addition to the two first sestiads “a hundred lines of the third,” but he afterwards retracted the Statement. JHero and Leander sprang at once into popularity. Shakespeare, as everybody knows, quoted in As You Zike It the line, “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?” apostrophising the ill-fated poet, not without a ouch of pity, as “dead shepherd;” Ben Jonson introduced passages of the poem into Every Man in his JHumour; Henry Petowe, a feeble versifier but a sincere admirer of Marlowe's genius, had the audacity to write and in 1598 to publish The Second part of Hero and Leander; Nashe in Zenten Stuffe speaks of “divine Musaeus and a diviner Muse than him, Kit Marlowe;" Taylor the water-poet tells how he used to sing couplets of Hero and Leander as he plied his sculls on the Thames. Sometimes the poem is mentioned in company with Venus and Adonis. “I have conveyed away,” says Harebrain in Middleton's A mad World my Masters, “all her wanton pamphlets; as Hero and Leander, Venus and Adonis. O two luscious marrow-bone pies for a young married wife.” Marlowe's translation of the First Book of Lucan was entered in the Stationers' Books on 28th September 1593, but no earlier edition than the quarto of 16oo is now known to exist. Lucan's name stood much higher in Elizabethan times than in our own day. His grandiloquence, his artificiality, his frigid rhetoric have blinded modern readers to the genuine power which the author of the Pharsalia undoubtedly possessed. Quintilian's judgment was well expressed—“Lucanus ardens et concitatus et sententiis clarissimus et, ut dicam quod sentio, magis oratoribus quam poetis imitandus.” Lucan was not a born poet; there was no spontaneity in his verse, and even in his best passages he merely keeps on the border-land between poetry and rhetorical prose. But he could rap out telling lines, and he had an imposing vocabulary. Marlowe's version of the first book of the Pharsalia is a piece of close translation, more poetical in some passages than the original, but not doing justice to Lucan in single lines. In the description of the prodigies observed at Rome after Caesar's passage of the Rubicon the advantage is undoubtedly Marlowe's, but on the other hand Lucan's pregnant antitheses and telling phrases are often insufficiently rendered, as where the famous line
“Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Catoni,"
is Englished by “Caesar's cause The gods abetted, Cato liked the other.”
Dyce was so struck with the want of “variety of pause in the versification, that he was inclined on first thoughts to consider the translation an early essay. But I venture to think that the lines are not wanting in variety of pause to any very noticeable extent. In judging of epic blank verse, it is difficult to avoid a reference to Milton; and of course if we compare the rhythm of Marlowe's translation with the rhythm of Paradise Lost—cadit quaestio. But let us dismiss Milton from our minds, and let us select some of the strongest lines from the translation:—
"Strange sights appeared; the angry threatening gods
And whelmed the world in darkness, making men
Coal-black Charybdis whirled a sea of blood.
That passage can be read throughout with pleasure. Though not wholly free from monotony, the lines are not stiff; the pause at the end of the line occurs somewhat too frequently to thoroughly satisfy the ear, but as a whole, the passage is at once massive and flexible. I suspect that the translation was intended chiefly as a metrical experiment. As the rhymed heroics of the translation of the Amores were the prelude to Hero and Leander, so the blank verse of the First Book of Lucan may have been a preparatory exercise for a projected epic. The reader will note with some surprise the unusual number of double-endings in the translation of Lucan. In less than 700 lines the double-endings are no fewer than 109;” while in Edward II. and the Jew of Malta (which are each about thrice the length of the translation), the double-endings are IoT and 7o respectively. We should naturally expect to find the proportion higher in dramatic than epic blank verse. In the former we look for greater freedom and a less accentuated rhythm; in the latter for a fuller and more sonorous volume of sound. Milton uses double-endings very sparingly.
* These figures are given by Mr. Fleay.