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Throughout the play there is little vigour of thought or expression; the style, when elevated, is laboriously ornate rather than poetical; the many high-flown descriptions of female beauty (which are admired by the American critic) have only an artificial glow; and the versification is monotonous in the extreme. Yet The Tuming of a Shrew is by no means a contemptible drama, possessing, as it certainly does, some portion of genuine comic humour; a circumstance which alone would tend to prove that it was not the production of Marlowe, to whom, we have good reason to believe, nature had denied even a moderate talent for the humorous.--I may add, that, as The Taming of a Shrew is printed anonymously, its author probably had no intention that his name should transpire, and therefore resorted to plagiarism with the greater boldness.
Another word on the subject of plays attributed to Marlowe. It has been conjectured that both Locrine and Titus Andronicus are by him: but, if every old tragedy of more than usual merit, whose author is either doubtful or unknown, must be fathered upon Marlowe, the catalogue of his dramas will presently be swollen to a size not easily reconcilable with the shortness of his life.
I have now brought to a close this very imperfect essay concerning one whom Drayton has characterised in the following fervid lines;
" Neat [Next] Marlow, bathed in the Thespian springs,
To Henry Reynolds, of Poets and Poesie,- The Battaile of Agincourt, &c. 1627, ed. fol.-Besides the notices of Marlowe which have been already cited from Meres's Palladis Tamia, &c, 1598, (see pp. xxxiv, li), the following passages occur in that work. " As the Greeke tongue is made famous and eloquent by Homer, Hesiod, Euripides, &c.; and the Latine tongue by Virgill, Though immeasurably superior to the other dramatists of his time, he is, like them, a very unequal writer; it is in detached passages and single scenes, rather than in any of his pieces taken as a whole, that he displays the vast richness and vigour of his genius. But we can hardly doubt that if death had not so suddenly arrested his career, he would have produced tragedies of more uniform excellence; nor is it too much to suppose that he would also have given still grander manifestations of dramatic power;-indeed, for my own part, I feel a strong persuasion, that, with added years and well-directed efforts, he would have made a much nearer approach in tragedy to Shakespeare * than has yet been made by any of his countrymen.
Ouid, Horace, &c.; so the English tongue is mightily enriched, and gorgeouslie inuested in rare ornaments and resplendent abiliments by Sir Philip Sidney, Spencer, Daniel, Drayton, Warner, Shakespeare, Marlow, and Chapman.” fol. 280. • As these tra. gicke poets flourished in Greece, Æschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, &c.; and these among the Latines, Accius, M. Attilius, Pomponius Secundus, and Seneca; so these are our best for tragedie, the Lorde Buckhurst, Doctor Leg of Cambridge, Doc. tor Edes of Oxforde, Maister Edward Ferris, the authour of the Mirrour for Magistrates, Marlow, Peele, Watson, Kid, Shakespeare, Drayton, Chapman, Decker, and Beniamin Johnson." fol. 283.-The passage in Jonson's verses to the memory of Shakespeare, which has been before alluded to (see p. xlviii), may not improperly be quoted here ;
“ For, if I thought my judgment were of years,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.”
Thinking, as I do, that Shakespeare is unlike the other dramatists of Elizabeth and James's age, — that his method of conceiving and working out character (to say nothing of his diction) is peculiarly his own, I deny the truth of the follow. ing passage in Hazlitt's Lectures on the Dram. Lit. of the age of Elizabeth. “He (Shakespeare) towered above his fellows, in shape and gesture proudly eminent,' but he was one of a race of giants, the tallest, the strongest, the most graceful and beautiful of them: but it was a common and a noble brood.”p. 12, ed. 1840.
ADDENDA AND CORRIGENDA.
FIRST PART OF TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT.
P. 17, First Note. For “ Cenerus” read “ Conerus."
P. 72. “ Awake, ye men of Memphis !” These words are put into the mouth of Judas in Fletcher's Bonduca, at the conclusion of act ii. (as I have noticed in the Addenda and Corrigenda to my ed. of Beaumont and Fletcher's Works, i. xcvI ); and in Fletcher's Wit without Money, act v. sc. 2, we find " thou man of Memphis."
P. 83, First Note. “ Compare the old play of The Taming of a Shrew (which there are grounds for believing to be the work of Marlowe).” See, p. lxv (Account of Marlowe and his Writings).
SECOND PART OF TAMBURLAINE. P. 127. For “ Whose holy alcoran," &c, read “ Whose holy Alcaron,” &c.
THE JEW OF MALTA. P. 231, Third Note. For “ Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poet. iii. 14,"
- - iii. 114." P. 262, Second Note. Skialetheia, as Mr. Collier afterwards discovered, was written by E. Guilpin.
P. 270. “ We turn unto the air to purge ourselves." See note, vol. ii. 416.
P. 298. “ thou sbalt have broth by the eye.” To the note on these words add :--Compare The Creed of Piers Ploughman;
“ Grey grete-heded quenes
With gold by the eighen.” v. 167, ed. Wright (who has no note on the expression).
P. 336. For " When as thy life,” &c, read “ Whenas thy life," &c.