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fifty years of life was granted to Shakespeare ; Marlowe went to his grave before he had reached his thirtieth year.1

It remains to discuss briefly certain plays in which critics have alleged that Marlowe was concerned. These are the Taming of a Shrew, 1594; Titus Andronicus ; the old King John; and the 3 Parts of Henry VI. The wretched Larum for London,2 and still more wretched Locrine may be at once dismissed as unworthy of the slightest notice.

The Taming of a Shrew contains a number of passages that closely resemble, or are identical with, passages in Marlowe's undoubted plays— particularly Tamburlaine. This fact alone would make us suspect that Marlowe was not the author; for poets of Marlowe's class do not repeat themselves in this wholesale manner. But when we see how maladroitly, without the slightest regard to the context, these passages are introduced, then we may indeed wonder that any critic could have

i Some critics have seen an allusion to Marlowe in Midsummer Night's Dream, v. I:

“The thrice three Muses mourning for the death

Of Learning, late deceased in beggary.” Others suppose that he was the rival to whom Shakespeare refers in the 85th and 86th Sonnets.—There is no evidence to support these theories.

2 Mr. Collier had a copy of this piece with the following doggerel rhymes written on the title-page:

“Our famous Marloe had in this a hand,

As from his fellowes I doe vnderstand.
The printed copie doth his Muse much wrong;
But natheles manie lines ar good and strong;
Of Paris Massaker such was the fate;

A perfitt coppie came to hand to late,"
A very ridiculous piece of forgery!

been so insensate as to attribute the authorship to Marlowe. Here is a fair sample of the writing :

“Father, I swear by Ibis' golden beak
More fair and radiant is my bonny Kate
Than silver Xanthus when he doth embrace
The ruddy Simois at Ida's feet.
And care not thou, sweet Kate, how I be clad;
Thou shalt have garments wrought of Median silk
Enchased with precious jewels fetched from far
By Italian merchants that with Russian stems

Plough up huge furrows in the Terrene main." This passage is patched up from the First Part of Tamburlaine : cf. I. 2 ll. 95-6, 191-2. The reference to “Ibis' golden beak" (in imitation of 1 Tamb. iv. 3, 1. 37) is delightfully ludicrous. In another passage we have a mention of


massy robe that late adorned The stately legate of the Persian king,” where (as Dyce remarked) the allusion would be quite unintelligible unless we remembered the lines in 2 Tamb.

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Occasionally lines are filched from Faustus :

“And should my love, as erst did Hercules,
Attempt to pass the burning vaults of Hell,
I would with piteous looks and pleasing words,
As once did Orpheus with his harmony
And ravishing sound of his melodious harp,

Entreat grim Pluto," &c.
The italicised words are from scene vi. (1. 29) of Faustus.

In my judgment the anonymous writer was sometimes engaged in imitating Marlowe and sometimes in burlesquing him. But be this as it may, the absurdity of attributing the piece to Marlowe is flagrant. The author of the Taming of a Shrew was a genuine humourist; and Mr. Swinburne is speaking within bounds when he calls him “Of all the pre-Shakespeareans incomparably the truest, the richest, the most powerful and original humourist." Marlowe had little or no humour.

We may therefore safely dismiss the Taming of a Shrew; but with Titus Andronicus the case is different. As I re-read this play after coming straight from the study of Marlowe, I find again and again passages that, as it seems to me, no hand but his could have written. It is not easy in a question of this kind to set down in detail reasons for our belief. Marlowe's influence permeated so thoroughly the dramatic literature of his day, that it is hard sometimes to distinguish between master and pupil. When the master is writing at his best there is no difficulty, but when his work is hasty and illdigested, or has been left incomplete and has received additions from other hands, then our perplexity is great. In our disgust at the brutal horrors that crowd the pages of Titus Andronicus, we must beware of blinding ourselves to the imaginative power that marks much of the writing. In Aaron's soliloquy at the opening of act ii., it is hard to believe that we are not listening to the young Marlowe. There is the ring of Tamburlaine in such lines as these :

"As when the golden sun salutes the morn,

And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,
Gallops the zodiac in his glistering coach,

And overlooks the highest-peering hills.” Both rhythm and diction in the following lines remind us of Marlowe's earliest style :

“Madam, though Venus govern your desires,
Saturn is dominator over mine :
What signifies my deadly-standing eye,
My silence and my cloudy melancholy,
My fleece of woolly hair that now uncurls
Even as an adder when she doth unroll
To do some fatal execution ?
No, madam, these are no venereal signs :
Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand,

Blood and revenge are hammering in my head." Aaron's confession of his villainies (in v. 1) will recall to every reader the conversation between Barabas and Ithamore in the third scene of the second act of the Jew of Malta. The character of Aaron was either drawn by Marlowe or in close imitation of him; and it seems to me more reasonable to suppose that Titus Andronicus is in the main a crude early work of Marlowe's than that any imitator could have written with such marked power. But the great difficulty lies in determining to whom we should assign the frantic ravings of old Andronicus. They appear to be by another hand than Marlowe's ; and they cannot, with any degree of plausibility, be assigned to Shakespeare. Lamb suggested that they recall the writer who contributed the marvellous “additions” to the Spanish Tragedy,-a suggestion that deserves more attention than it has received. What

share Shakespeare had in the play I must confess myself at a loss to divine. I have sometimes thought that there are traces of his hand in the very first scene,--and not beyond it; that he began to revise the play, and gave up the task in disgust. It is of Shakespeare rather than of Marlowe that we are reminded in such lines as

“ Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods?
Draw near them then in being merciful :

Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.” But however closely we may look for them, we shall find very few Shakespearean passages. Of Marlowe's earliest style we are constantly and inevitably reminded.

That Marlowe had a share in all three parts of Henry VI. is, I think, certain. The opening lines of the First Part at once recall the language and rhythm of Tamburlaine, and the closing lines are suggestive of a passage of Edward II. The opening lines are :

“Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky,
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars

That have consented unto Henry's death !”
Compare II. Tamburlaine, v. 33

"Weep, heavens, and vanish into liquid tears !
Fall, stars that governs his nativity,
And summon all the shining lamps of heaven
To cast their bootless fires to the earth,
And shed their feeble influence in the air ;

Muffle your beauties with eternal clouds !”
A closer parallel, whether as regards rhythm or expression,
could hardly be found. The two lines with which the
First Part closes are :

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