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And, having gilt the ocean with his beams,
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 :
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?
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 11. The opening lines are :
• Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night !
That have consented unto Henry's death!”
“Weep, heavens, and vanish into liquid tears !
Muffle your beauties with eternal clouds !”
“Margaret shall now be queen and rule the king,
But I will rule both her, the king and realm.” Very similar are Mortimer's words in Edward V.,
“The queen and Mortimer Shall rule the realm, the queen; and none rules us.” To Shakespeare we can assign with certainty only the scene in the Temple Garden and Talbot's last battle, to which may be perhaps added Suffolk's courtship of Margaret. In my judgment the rest of the play is chiefly Marlowe's. I would fain shift from Marlowe's shoulders to Peele's the scene in which the memory of Joan of Arc is so shamefully slandered; but I am convinced that the composition of that scene was beyond Peele's powers.
It is well known that the Second and Third Parts of Henry VI. represent a revision of two older Plays-The First Part of the Contention betwixt the two famous houses of York and Lancaster (1594) and the True Tragedy of Richard Duke of York (1595); but it is not, perhaps, so generally known that the revised editions preserve passages by Marlowe which are not found in the earlier editions. The subject is one of the highest possible interest, but for adequate discussion a lengthy essay would be needed. It is important to note that the 1619 edition of the Whole Contention preserves in some passages a text partially revised. The fact would seem to be that there existed several copies of the plays in various stages of revision. There is no possibility of discovering the early unrevised text in its integrity. The first editions (1594 and 1595) present a text that had undergone a certain amount of revision. It is more than probable that in many passages of the earliest editions we have a garbled text; for even Peele or Greene might have reasonably considered themselves aggrieved at being held responsible for such lines as these :
“So lie thou there and breathe thy last.
These jerky disjointed lines must have been hashed up from short-hand notes. I will now state my own views very briefly. I hold that Shakespeare worked on a full and accurate MS. copy of the early plays, and that these early plays were in large part by Marlowe. Unless we suppose that Shakespeare had the full text of the early plays before I do not know how we are to account for the introduction into the revised plays of passages by Marlowe not found in the earlier copies. Critics have pointed out that the opening lines of act iv. of 2 Henry VI. ("The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day,” &c.) are unmistakably Marlowe's; and these lines are not found in the Contention. It is plain that Shakespeare's copy of these plays was more complete than the early printed copy. The difficulty lies in determining how much of the additional matter found in the later copies belongs to Shakespeare and how much to Marlowe. This is a question which I cannot here discuss. It may be true, as Mr. Swinburne says, that there is not in the later plays "a single passage of tragic or poetic interest," beyond Marlowe's power ; but there can be no doubt that Shakespeare corrected, curtailed, and amplified Marlowe's work to a very large extent. Marlowe appears to have worked early and late at the Contention ; in one scene we find passages that recall the diction and rhythm of Tamburlaine, in another we are reminded of Edward II.1 Here are some lines that belong to the early period :
“Dark Night, dread Night, the silence of the Night,
And hither come in twinkling of an eye.” The verb "mask occurs several times in Tamburlaine ; not in the later plays. In i Tamburlaine, iv. 4, we find :
“Ye Furies, that can mask invisible,
Another passage of the Contention in Marlowe's earliest style is to be found in the scene where the king is presented by Iden with Cade's head :
“ O let me see that head that in this life
i Dyce and Mr. Fleay have collected several instances of verbal resemblance between the Contention and Edward II,