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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.
Hero and Leander sprang at once into popularity. Shakespeare, as everybody knows, quoted in As You Like It the line, "Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?" apostrophising the ill-fated poet, not without a touch of pity, as " dead shepherd;" Ben Jonson introduced passages of the poem into Every Man in his Humour; 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 Lenten 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 1600 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 tmiiandus." 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
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
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 ;1 while in Edward II. and the Jew of Malta (which are each about thrice the length of the translation), the double-endings are 107 and 70 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.
1 These figures are given by Mr. Fleay.
The delightful song "Come live with me, and be my love" was first printed, without the fourth and sixth stanzas, in the Passionate Pilgrim, 1599. It is well known that, though Shakespeare's name is on the titlepage, the pieces in this collection are by various hands. The complete song first appeared, with the author's name, C. Marlowe, subscribed, in that most charming of Elizabethan anthologies, England's Helicon, 1600. Of all pastoral ditties, "Come live with me" is the best and most popular. Sir Hugh Evans trolled snatches from it in the Merry Wives of Windsor; and all lovers of the Complete Angler remember how Maudlin sang to Piscator and his pupil the "smooth song made by Kit Marlowe," her mother following with the reply of Sir Walter Raleigh (if his it be): "They were old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good." Donne and Herrick tried—but all in vain—to recapture the fresh dainty notes. An exquisite fragment of Marlowe's, beginning, "I walked along a stream for pureness rare," is preserved in England's Parnassus, 1600. Dyce thought that the lines were extracted from some printed composition now unknown; but I do not share Dyce's confidence that the editor of the anthology, Robert Allot, never resorted to manuscript sources.
It is now time to set down what is known of Marlowe's personal history. One thing it is pleasant to record,— that he was under the patronage of Sir Thomas Walsingham. To this worthy patron Hero and Leander was dedicated in 1598 by Edward Blunt, the publisher, in language which showed a genuine regard for the deceased