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from any systematic disbelief of religion. His scepticism, whatever it might be, was construed by the prejudiced and peevish puritans into absolute atheism : and they took pains to represent the unfortunate catastrophe of his untimely death, as an immediate judgment from heaven upon his execrable impiety'. He was in love, and had for his rival, to use the significant words of Wood, “ A bawdy servingman, one rather fitter to be a pimp, “ than an ingenious amoretto, as Marlowe conceived himself to “ bey.” The consequence was, that an affray ensued; in which the antagonist having by superior agility gained an opportunity of strongly grasping Marlow's wrist, plunged his dagger with his own hand into his own bosom. Of this wound he died rather before the year 1593". One of Marlowe's tragedies is, The tragical history of the life and death of doctor John Fauftus“. A proof of the credulous ignorance which still prevailed, and a specimen of the subjects which then were thought not improper for tragedy. A tale which at the close of the sixteenth century had the possession of the public theatres of our metropolis, now only frightens children at a puppet-Show in a country-town. But that the learned John Faust continued to maintain the character of a conjuror in the sixteenth century even by authority, appears from a “ Ballad of the life and death of doctor Faustus . “ the great congerer,” which in 1588 was licenced to be printed by the learned Aylmer bishop of London 6.
By the way, Marlowe in his EDWARD JUDGMENTS, lib. i. ch. xxiii, And“ Ac.
THE SECOND, seems to have ridiculed the count of the blafphemous and damnable puritans, under the character of the scholar “ opinions of Christ. Marley and 3 others Spencer, who “ says a long grace at a ta“ who came to a sudden and fearfull end “bles end, wears a little band, buttons like “ of this life." MSS. HARL. 6853. 80. pins heads, and
* See Beard's THEATRE
“ is curate-like in his attire, “ Though inwardly licentious enough,&c."
Y ATH. Oxon, i. 338. See Meres, Wits Tr. fol. 287.
2 Marston seems to allude to this catar. trophe, CERTAINE SATYRES. Lond. for Edmond Matts, 1598, 12mo. Sar. ii. Tis loose-leg'd Lais, that same common
drab, For whom good Tubro tooke the mortall
a Entered, I think for the fir# time, to T. Bushell, Jan. 7, 1600. RegistR. STA. Tion. C. fol. 67. b. Or racher 1610, Sept. 13, to J. Wright. Ibid. fol. 199. b.
REGISTR. STATION. B. fol. 241. b.
As Marlowe, being now considered as a translator, and otherwise being generally ranked only as a dramatic poet, will not occur again, I take this opportunity of remarking here, that the delicate sonnet called the PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO Love, falsely attributed to Shakespeare, and which occurs in the third act of The Merry Wives of WINDSOR, followed by the nymph's Reply, was written by Marlowe. Isaac Walton in his COMPLEAT ANGLER, a book perhaps composed about the year 1640, although not published till 1653, has inserted this fonnet, with the reply, under the character of “ that smooth
song which was made by Kit Marlowe, now at least fifty
years ago : and—an Answer to it which was made by fir “ Walter Raleigh in his younger days : old fashioned poetry, “ but choicely good.” In ENGLAND's Helicon, a miscellany of the year 1600, it is printed with Christopher Marlowe's name, and followed by the Reply, subscribed IGNOTO, Raleigh's constant fignature". A page or two afterwards, it is imitated by Raleigh. That Marlowe was admirably qualified for what Mr. Mason, with a happy and judicious propriety, calls PURE POETRY, will appear from the following passage of his forgotten tragedy of EDWARD THE SECOND, written in the year 1590, and first printed in 1598. The highest entertainments, then in falhion, are contrived for the gratification of the infatuated Edward, by his profligate minion Piers Gaveston.
I must haue wanton poets, pleasant wits,
< See Steevens's Shakesp. vol. i. p. 297. edit. 1778. • Signat. P. 4. edit. 1614.
Like fylvan Nymphs my pages shall be clad,
Shall bathe him in a spring: and there hard by,
It must be allowed that these linds are in Marlowe's best manner. His chief fault in description is an indulgence of the florid style, and an accumulation of conceits, yet resulting from a warm and brilliant fancy. As in the following description of a river.
I walkt along a streame, for purenesse rare,
No molten chryftall, but a richer mine;
• That is, a&ting the part of Diana.
fun was a favorite passage in Golding's
Vpon this brim, the eglantine, and rose,
Their leaues that differed both in shape and showe,
Philips, Milton's nephew, in a work which I think discovers many touches of Milton's hand, calls Marlowe, “A second
Shakespeare, not only because he rose like him from an actor “ to be a maker of plays, though inferiour both in fame and “ merit, but also, because in his begun poem of Hero and “ Leander, he seems to have a resemblance of that CLEAR UN
SOPHISTICATED wit, which is natural to that incomparable “ poet k.' Criticisms of this kind were not common, after the national taste had been just corrupted by the false and capricious refinements of the court of Charles the second.
Ten books of Homer's ILIAD were translated from a metrical French version into English by A. H. or Arthur Hall esquire, of Grantham, and a member of parliament', and printed at London by Ralph Newberie, in 1581". This translation has no other merit than that of being the first appearance of a part of the Iliad in an English dress. I do not find that he used any
h Canopy. Shakespeare means a rich bed-canopy in Sec. P. Henr. iv. Act iii. Sc. i.
Under the canopies of costly state.
i See ENGLAND'S PARNASSUS, Lond. 1600. 12mo. fol. 465.
k Theatr, POETAR, MOD, P. p. 24.
See a process against Hall, in 1580, for writing a pamphlet printed by Binneman, related by Ames, p. 325.
m In quarto. Bl. Lett. Novemb. 25, 1580, H. Binneman is licenced to print " tenne bookes of the Iliades of Homer." Registr. Station. B. fol. 175. a.
known French version. He sometimes consulted the Latin interpretation, where his French copy failed. It is done in the Alexandrine of Sternhold. In the Dedication to fir Thomas Cecil, he compliments the distinguished translators of his age, Phaier, Golding, Jasper Heywood, and Googe; together with the worthy workes of lord Buckhurst, “ and the pretie pythie, “ Conceits of M. George Gascoygne.” He adds, that he began this work about 1563, under the advice and encouragement of, “ Mr. Robert Alkame “, a familiar acquaintance of Homer.”
But a complete and regular version of Homer was reserved for George Chapman. He began with printing the Shield of Achilles, in 1596. This was followed by seven books of the ILIAD the same year o. Fifteen books were printed in 1600 ?.
At length appeared without date, an entire translation of the ILIAD' under the following title, “ The ILIADS OF Homer Prince of Poets. “ Neuer before in any language truely translated. With a com
ment uppon some of his chief places : Done according to “ the Greeke by George Chapman. At London, printed for “ Nathaniell Butter'.”. It is dedicated in English heroics to Prince Henry. This circumstance proves that the book was printed at least after the year 1603, in which James the first acceded to the throne'. Then follows an anagram on the name of his gracious Mecenas prince Henry, and a sonnet to the fole empresë of beautie queen Anne. In a metrical address to the reader he remarks, but with little truth, that the English language, abounding in consonant monosyllables, is eminently adapted
* He means the learned Roger Ascham. It begins, " I thee beseech, 0 goddess milde, the
hatefull hate to plaine.” • Lond. 4to. p Lond. 4to. 9 In a thin folio.
" He says in his COMMENTARY on the first book, that he had wholly translated again his first and second books : but that he did not even correct the seventh, eighth,
ninth, and tenth. And that he believed his version of the twelve last to be the best. Butter's edit. ut infr. fol. 14. Meres, who wrote in 1598, mentions" Chapman's in“ choate Homer.” fol. 285. p. 2. Ubi supr.
It is an engraved title-page by Wil. liam Hole, with figures of Achilles and Hector, &c. In folio.
I suppose, by an entry in the register of the Stationers, in 1611, April 8. ReGISTR. C. fol. 207. a.