Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

lying pamphlet, cald Green's Groats-worth of Wit, is given out to be of my doing. God never have care of my soule, but utterly renounce me, if the least word or sillible in it proceeded from my pen, or if I were any way privie to the writing or printing of it.” At this time Nashe was a friend of Marlowe's. In Pierce's Supererogation (which is dated 27th April, 1593), Gabriel Harvey accuses Nashe of disloyalty to his friends, among whom he particularly mentions Marlowe. Doubtless there was not a word of truth in the charge that Nashe "shamefully and odiously misuseth every friend or acquaintance (as he hath served some of his favorablest Patrons, whom, for certain respects, I am not to name), M. Apis Lapis, Greene, Marlow, Chettle, and whom not?" In Have with you to Saffron Walden, Nashe exclaims indignantly, “I never abusd Marloe, Greene, Chettle, in my life, or anie of my friends that usde me like a friend; which both Marloe and Greene (if they were alive) under their hands would testifie, even as Harry Chettle hath in a short note here ;” and then follows a note in which Chettle declares that he never suffered any injury at Nashe's hands. “Poore deceased Kit Marlowe !” are Nashe's words in the Epistle to the Reader prefixed to the second edition (1594) of Christ's Tears over Jerusalem.

The burial-register of the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, Deptford, contains the following entry 1 :-"Christopher

1 First printed in January 1821, by a writer in a periodical called The British Stage.

[ocr errors]

Marlow, slain by ffrancis Archer, the i of June 1593." Thomas Beard the Puritan, Oliver Cromwell's tutor, relates the manner of the poet's death as follows:

“Not inferior to any of the former in atheisme and impietie, and equal to al in maner of punishment, was one of our own nation, of fresh and late memorie, called Marlin [in the margin Marlow], by profession a scholler, brought vp from his youth in the Vniuersitie of Cambridge, but by practise a playmaker and a poet of scurrilitie, who by giuing too large a swing to his owne wit, and suffering his lust to haue the full reines, fell (not without just desert) to that outrage and extremitie, that hee denied God and his sonne Christ, and not onely in word blasphemed the Trinitie, but also (as it is credibly reported) wrote bookes against it, affirming our Sauiour to be but a deceiver, and Moses to be but a coniurer and seducer of the people, and the holy Bible to bee but vaine and idle stories, and all religion but a deuice of policie. But see what a hooke the Lord put in the nostrils of this barking dogge! So it fell out, that as he purposed to stab one, whom he ought a grudge vnto, with his dagger, the other party perceiuing so auoyded the stroke, that, withall catching hold of his wrest, hee stabbed his owne dagger into his owne head, in such sort that, notwithstanding all the meanes of surgerie that could bee wrought, hee shortly after died thereof; the manner of his death being so terrible (for hee euen cursed and blasphemed to his last gaspe, and together with his breath an oath flew out of his mouth), that it was not only a manifest signe of Gods judgement, but

also an horrible and fearefull terror to all that beheld him. But herein did the justice of God most notably appeare, in that hee compelled his owne hand, which had written those blasphemies, to bee the instrument to punish him, and that in his braine which had deuised the same.” So the passage stands in the later editions. It is not unimportant to notice that in the first edition, 1597, for “So it fell out,” &c. we find, “It so fell out that in London Streets as he purposed to stab,” &c. The vague mention of “London Streets” shows that Beard had no exact information when he put together his highlycoloured description of the poet's last moments. Francis Meres in Palladis Tamia, 1598, writes :—As the poet Lycophron was shot to death by a certain rival of his, so Christopher Marlowe was stabd to death by a bawdy serving-man, a riual of his in his lewde love” (fol. 286). From Vaughan's Golden Grove, 1600, Dyce quotes a somewhat different account: .“ Not inferiour to these was one Christopher Marlow, by profession a play-maker, who, as it is reported, about 14 yeres agoe wrote a booke against the Trinitie. But see the effects of God's justice ! It so happened that at Detford, a little village about three miles distant from London, as he meant to stab with his ponyard one named Ingram that had inuited him thither to a feast and was then playing at tables, hee quickly perceyving it, so avoyded the thrust, that withall drawing out his dagger for his defence, hee stabd this Marlow into the eye, in such sort that, his braynes comming out at the daggers point, hee shortly after dyed. Thus did God, the true executioner of diuine iustice,

worke the end of impious atheists” (sig. C. 4, ed. 1608). I must now direct the reader's attention to a strange “Sonet” and stranger “Postcript” and “Glosse," printed at the end of Gabriel Harvey's Newe Letter of Notable Contents, 1593 Dyce (following Collier) quoted the last line of the “Sonet,” but none of Marlowe's editors has referred to the "Postcript” and “Glosse;" so I make no apology for giving the pieces in full.

“SONET.

GORGON OR THE WONDERFULL YEARE.

St. Fame dispos’d to cunnycatch the world
Upreard a wonderment of Eighty Eight;
The Earth, addreading to be overhurld,
What now auailes, quoth She, my ballance weight :
The Circle smyld to see the Center feare :
The wonder was no wonder fell that yeare.
Wonders enhaunse their powre in numbers odd :
The fatall yeare of yeares is Ninety Three :
Parma hath kist, Demaine entreats the rodd ;
Warre wondreth Peace and Spaine in Fraunce to see,
Brave Eckenberg the dowty Bassa shames,
The Christian Neptune Turkish Vulcane tames.

Navarre wooes Roome, Charlmaine giues Guise the Phy:
Weepe Powles, thy Tamberlaine voutsafes to dye.

L'ENUOY.

The hugest miracle remains behinde,
The second Shakerley Rash-Swash to binde.

The Writers Postcript, or a friendly Caueat to the second Shakerley of Powles.

SONET. Slumbring I lay in melancholy bed Before the dawning of the sanguin light ; When Eccho shrill or some Familiar Spright Buzzed an Epitaph into my hed. Magnifique Mindes bred of Gargantuas race In grisly weedes His Obsequies waiment [sic] Whose Corps on Powles, whose mind triõph'd on Kent, Scorning to bate Sir Rodomont an ace. I mus'd awhile, and, having mus'd awhile, Jesu (quoth 7) is that Gargantua minde Conquered and left no Scanderbeg behinde ? Vowed he not to Powles a Second bile ? What bile or kibe? (quoth that same early spright) Have you forgot the Scanderbegging wight.

GLOSSE.

Is it a Dreame? or is the Highest minde
That ever haunted Powles or hunted winde
Bereft of that same sky-surmounting breath,
That breath that taught the Timpany to swell?
He and the Plague contended for the game :
The hawty man extolles his hideous thoughtes,
And gloriously insultes upon poore soules
That plague themselves : for faint harts plague themselves.
The tyrant Sickness of base minded slaues
Oh how it dominer's in Coward Lane !
So Surquidy rang out his larum knell
When he had girn'd [grin'd ?] at many a dolefull bell.
The graund Disease disdain'd his Toade Conceit
And smiling at his Tamberlaine contempt
Sternly struck home the peremptory stroke.
He that nor feared God nor dreaded Diu'll,
Nor ought admired but his wondrous selfe
Like Junos gawdy Bird that proudly stares
On glittring fan of his triumphant taile,
Or like the ugly Bugg that scorn'd to dy,

« ZurückWeiter »