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of the Contention and of The True Tragedie; and the following instances of their
“ I tell thee, Poull, when thou didst runne at tilt ·
First Part of the Cont. Sig. B 3, ed. 1594.
Edward the Sec., p. 220, first col.
First Part of the Cont. Sig. E. ,
Edward the Sec., p. 197, first col.
The True Tragedie, Sig. A 6, ed. 1595.
Edward the Sec., p. 197, first col.
The True Tragedie, Sig. E 2.
Edward the Sec., p. 195, first col.
in 'The True Tragedy' and some lines in one of Greene's acknowledged dramas, ‘Alphonsus, King of Arragon'.
In ‘Alphonsus' the hero kills Flaminius, his enemy, and thus addresses the dying man ;
* Go, pack thee hence,' &c.
Alphonsus say, who now must wear thy crown.'
'If any spark of life remain in thee,
Collier's Shakespeare, v. 225-7.--
“What, will the aspiring bloud of Lancaster
The True Tragedie, Sig. E 6.
Edward the Sec., p. 184, sec. col.
Ibid., p. 212, sec. col.
Besides The First Part of the Contention and The True Tragedie, * some other play or plays, of which Greene was either the sole or joint author, and in which Marlowe had no concern whatever, may perhaps be comprehended in the expression, “our feathers :" but an inquiry into that point would be irrelevant here.
Two old plays are yet to be mentioned, which have been ascribed to Marlowe, and which Shakespeare remodelled, The Troublesome Raigne of King John in Two Parts, and The Taming of a Shrew. Be it observed, however, that to neither of these plays, even supposing them to have been really written by Marlowe, could we refer the above-cited allusion of Greene in 1592; for at that date Shakespeare, unless his commentators are greatly mistaken, had not produced his King John and his Taming of the Shrew.
In support of Marlowe's claim to The Troublesome Raigne, it has been urged :First, that the Prologue to the earliest 4to seems to solicit the favour of the audience for a piece which had been composed by the author of Tamburlaine ;
“You, that with friendly grace of smoothed brow
Haue entertain'd the Scythian Tamburlaine,
Secondly, that the play has two passages coincident with lines in The First Part of the Contention and The True Tragedie,—to both which dramas, as already observed, there is every reason to believe that Marlowe was a very large contributor;
I may notice, that while Shakespeare was remodelling The First Part of the Contention and The True Tragedie, he had sometimes in his recollection plays which we know for certain to be by Marlowe ; “She bears a duke's revenues on her back."
Sec. Part of Henry VI., act 1. sc. 3.
Edward the Sec., p. 193, first col.
Third Part of Henry VI., act 11. sc. 5.
The Jew of Malta, p. 161, first col.
King John, farewell ! in token of thy faith,
The Troublesome Raigne, Sig. M, ed. 1622.
If thou diest assured of heauenly blisse,
First Part of the Cont., Sig. F, ed. 1594.
“Let England liue but true within itselfe.”
The Troublesome Raigne, Sig. M 2.
“Let England be true within itselfe.”
The True Tragedie, Sig. D 4, ed. 1595.
But, on the other hand, there are many things throughout The Troublesome Raigne* so materially at variance with the style of Marlowe, that, while I admit the probability of his co-operation in the play, I cannot assent to the critical dictum + which would attribute the whole of it to him.
As to The Taming of a Shrew, which was both entered in the Stationers' Books and printed in 1594,-it abounds in passages that either strongly resemble or directly correspond with passages in the undoubted plays of Marlowe. These were first pointed out by an ingenious American critic, and, together with his arguments to prove that the comedy was written by Marlowe, may be seen in the second volume of Mr. Knight's Library edition of Shakespeare. I shall, as briefly as possible, declare my reasons for believing that Marlowe was not the author of The Taming of a Shrew, - Among the less striking parallelisms just mentioned is the following one;
“And heud thee smaller then the Libian sandes.”
The Taming of a Shrew, p. 42, ed. Shake. Soc.
" Or hew'd this filesh and bones as small as sand.”
Faustus (from the quarto of 1616), p. 126, first col.
It has not been observed, that when Shakespeare opened the sec. scene of the first act of his Richard the Third with
“ Set down, set down your honourable load," he remembered a line with which a scene in the Second Part of The Troublesome Raigne begins, – “ Set downe, set downe the loade not worth your paine."
Sig. K 4, ed. 1622. + Malone once supposed it to have been written by Peele or Greene; latterly (Shakespeare, by Boswell, ii. 313) he assigned it to Marlowe.
Now, if we were sure that the resemblance between these two lines was not accidental (and it seems highly probable that the former was suggested by the latter), we might at once conclude that the author of The Taming of a Shrew and Marlowe were distinct
persons ; for the line cited from Faustus belongs to a scene which is not found in the earliest quarto, and which is evidently the composition of a poet whose style was not a little dissimilar to that of Marlowe. But, leaving this particular out of the question, I find enough besides in The Taming of a Shrew to convince me that it was the work of some one who had closely studied Marlowe's writings, and who frequently could not resist the temptation to adopt the very words of his favourite dramatist. It is quite possible that he was not always conscious of his more trifling plagiarisms from Marlowe,-recollections of whose phraseology may have mingled imperceptibly with the current of his thoughts : but the case was certainly otherwise when he transferred to his own comedy whole passages of Tamburlaine or Faustus. In some instances the borrowed matter seems to be rather out of place ; in the speech which I subjoin it is very awkwardly introduced. When the bridegroom Ferando enters “ baselie attired, and a red cap on his head,” Polidor entreats him to change his apparel before going to church, and offers him the use of his own wardrobe : upon which, Ferando replies,
“ Tush, Polidor, I haue as many sutes
P. 21, ed. Sbake. Soc.
Surely, we should have wondered at this violent and far-fetched comparison of Ferando's “sutes ” to a particular massy robe, if we had not known that the writer was, as usual, levying a contribution on Marlowe ;
“And I sat down, cloth'd with a massy robe
The Sec. Part of Tamburlaine, p. 56, first col.
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 Taming 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
SOME ACCOUNT OF MARLOWE AND HIS WRITINGS.
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 Adronicus 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,
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.
* 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. xxxi, xlii), 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, Ouid, Horace, &c. 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 tragicke 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, Doctor 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 note t, p. xli), may not improperly be quoted bere ;
“For, if I thought my judgment were of years,