Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

begin, thou famous gracer of tragedians, that Greene (who hath said with thee like the fool in his heart, there is no God) should now give glory unto his greatness, for penetrating is his power; his hand is heavy upon me Why should thy excellent wit, his gift, be so blinded that thou should give no glory to the giver. The brother (breather) of this diabolical atheism is dead, and in his lifetime had never the felicity he aimed at; but as he began in craft, lived in fear and ended in despair. And wilt thou, my friend, be his disciple? Look unto me, by him persuaded to that liberty, and thou shalt find it an eternal bondage.” He then proceeds to address Lodge and Peele :-" With thee I join young Juvenal [Lodge], that biting satyrist, that lately together with me writ a comedy. Sweet boy, might I advise thee; be advised, and get not many enemies by bitter words; inveigh against vain men, for thou canst do it, no man better, no man so well; thou hast liberty to reprove all, and name none. Stop shallow water still running it will rage; tread on a worm it will turn; then blame not scholars who are vexed with sharp and bitter lines, if they reprove too much liberty of reproof. And thou (George Peele) no less deserving than the other two, in some things rarer, in nothing inferior, driven as myself, to extreme shifts, a little have I to say to thee; and were it not an ido latrous oath, I would swear by sweet St. George thou art unworthy better hap since thou dependes on so mean a stay. Base minded men, all thre of you, if by my misery you be not warned; fo unto none of you like me sought these burs to cleave those puppets I mean that speak from our mouths those antics garnished in our colours.

Is it no strange that I to whom they have all been beholding is it not like that you to whom they all have beer beholding, shall (were ye in that case I am now) bd both of them at once forsaken? Yes, trust thein not for there is an upstait crow beautified with our feathers, that with his tigers heart wrapt in a players hide supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you; and being an absolute Johannes fac-totum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country. O that I might entreat your rare wits to be employed in more profitable courses; and let these

apes
imitate

your past excellence, and never more acquaint them with your admired inventions."

Henry Chettle, the editor of Greene's work, in the preface to a work of his own, called “ Kind Hart's Dreame, 1592,"mentions that “ the letter written to divers players is offensively by one or two of them taken ****. With neither of them that take

offence was I acquainted, and with one of them (Marlowe) I care not if I never be. The other (Shakespeare) whom at that time I did not so much spare as since I wish I had, for that as I have moderated the hate of living writers, and might have used my own discretion (especially in such a case, the author being dead) that I did not I am as sorry as if the original fault had been my fault; because myself have seen his demeanor no less civil than he is excellent in the quality he professes. Besides divers of worship have reported his uprightness of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his facetious grace in writing that approves his art. For the first whose learning I reverenced and at the perusing of Greene's book struck out what then in conscience ! thought he in some displeasure writ; or had it been true, yet to publish it was intolerable ; him I would wish to use me no better than I deserve****. In that letter I put something out, but in the whole book not a word in."

Mr. Malone, from whom we quote, supposes that Marlowe and Shakespeare were the persons alluded to by Chettle, as there was nothing in the addresses to Lodge and Peele which could possibly cause offence.

All the plays contained in the present collection hare been usually attributed to the pen of Marlowe, ex

cept the play of Dido, in the composition of which he was assisted by Nash. Both the matter and style of Tamburlaine, however, differ materially from Marlowe's other compositions and doubts have more than once been suggested as to whether the play was properly assigned to him. We think that Marlowe did not write it; and have stated the reasons which have brought us to that conclusion in the note prefixed to the first part. And although Lust's Dominion was originally printed with Marlowe's name to it, by Kirkman, a bookseller, and a great collector and publisher of plays, it seems pretty clear that it is the composition of a later writer. The editor of the new edition of Dodsley's Old Plays has pointed out a small tract, originally printed in 1599, and included in Lord Somers' collection, vol. ix. p. 113. entitled “ A brief and true declaration of the sickness and last words of Philip the Second, king of Spain," which clearly shew that the early part of the play refers to the reign and death of Philip the Second, who did not die until the 13th Sept. 1598, long after Marlowe's decease. This king left a son and daughter, Philip and Isabella, two of the characters in the play. It is true other characters unknown to history are introduced, but in two or three instances the language of the drama is so closely

copied from the tract that there can be no doubt that the latter preceded it.*

An historical event too, the banishment of the Moors from Spain, which took place in the reign of Philip the Third, is also referred to at the conclusion of the play. We were not aware of the existence of this tract until after Lust's Dominion was printed which will account for our making no mention of it in the note preceding the play.

Marlowe is also said to have joined Day in the comedy of “ The Maiden's Holiday," which has never been printed, and was one of the plays destroyed

The most remarkable are as follows:

embalm my body:
when I am embalmed
Apparel me in a rich royal robe
According to the custom of the land ;
Then place my bones within that brazen shrine."-

A. i. S. ii. Philip is described in the tract as also giving directions for his funeral in which these words occur, “Commanding that this my body so soon as ever my soul shall be separated from tho sanc be embalmed; then apparelled with a royal robe and so placed in this brazen shrine.” And, again,

“ Have care to Isabel, Her virtue was King Philip's looking glass." —A. i. S. ii.

“ I pray you have a great care and regard to your sister, because she was my looking glass." --TRACT.

VOL. I.

« ZurückWeiter »