Page images
PDF
EPUB

SECTION LIX.

Kendal's Martial. Marlowe's versions of Coluthus and Museus. General character of his Tragedies. Testimonies of his cotemporaries. Specimens and estimate of his poetry. His death. First Translation of the Iliad by Arthur Hall. Chapman's Homer. His other works. Version of Clitophon and Leucippe. Origin of the Greek erotic romance. Palingenius translated by Googe. Criticism on the original. Specimen and merits of the translation. Googe's other works. Incidental stricture on the philosophy of the Greeks.

THE EPIGRAMS of Martial were translated in part by Timothy Kendall, born at North Aston in Oxfordshire, successively educated at Eton and at Oxford, and afterwards a student of the law at Staple'sinn. This performance, which cannot properly or strictly be called a translation of Martial, has the following title, "FLOWRES OF EPIGRAMMES out of sundrie the most singular authors selected, etc. By Timothie Kendall late of the vniuersitie of Oxford, now student of Staple Inn. London, 1577a." It is dedicated to Robert earl of Leicester. The epigrams translated are from Martial, Pictorius, Borbonius, Politian, Bruno, Textor, Ausonius, the Greek anthology, Beza, sir Thomas More, Henry Stephens, Haddon, Parkhurst, and others. But by much the greater part is from Martiald. It is charitable to hope, that our translator Timothy Kendall wasted no more of his time at Staplesinn in culling these fugitive blossoms. Yet he has annexed to these versions his TRIFLES or juvenile epigrams, which are dated the same yeare.

Meres, in his WITS TREASURY, mentions doctor Johnson, as the

[blocks in formation]

translator of Homer's BATRACHOMUOMACHY, and Watson of Sophocles's ANTIGONE, but with such ambiguity, that it is difficult to determine from his words whether these versions are in Latin or English. That no reader may be misled, I observe here, that Christopher Johnson, a celebrated head-master of Winchester school, afterwards a physician, translated Homer's FROGS AND MICE into Latin hexameters, which appeared in quarto, at London, in 15805. Thomas Watson, author of a HUNDRED SONNETS, or the passionate century of Love, published a Latin ANTIGONE in 1581. The latter publication, however, shows at this time an attention to the Greek tragedies.

Christopher Marlowe, or Marloe, educated in elegant letters at Cambridge, Shakspeare's cotemporary on the stage, often applauded both by queen Elizabeth and king James the First as a judicious player, esteemed for his poetry by Jonson and Drayton, and one of the most distinguished tragic poets of his age, translated Coluthus's RAPE OF HELEN into English rhyme, in the year 1587. I have never seen it; and I owe this information to the manuscript papers of a diligent collector of these fugacious anecdotes. But there is entered to Jones, in 1595, "A booke entituled RAPTUS HELENE, Helens Rape, by the Athenian duke Theseusk." Coluthus's poem was probably brought into vogue, and suggested to Marlowe's notice, by being paraphrased in Latin verse the preceding year by Thomas Watson, the writer of sonnets just mentioned'. Before the year 1598, appeared Marlowe's translation of the LOVES OF HERO AND LEANDER, the elegant prolusion of an unknown sophist of Alexandria, but commonly ascribed to the ancient Musæus. It was left unfinished by Marlowe's death*; but what was called a second part, which is nothing more than a continuation from the Italian, appeared by one Henry Petowe, in 1598m. Another

f Fol. 289. P. 2.

Entered to T. Purfoote, Jan. 4, 1579. With "certen orations of Isocrates." Registr. Station. B. fol. 165 a.

In quarto. Licensed to R. Jones. Jul. 31, 1581. Ibid. fol. 182 b.

i MSS. Coxeter.

April 12. Registr. Station. B. fol.

131 b.

1 Printed at Lond. 1586. 4to.

* [Nashe in his "Lenten Stuffe" 1599, asks whether any body in Yarmouth hath heard of Leander and Hero, of whom divine Musæus sung, and a diviner Muse than him Kit Marlow? p. 42. It is the suggestion of Mr. Malone, that if Marlowe had lived to finished his "Hero and Leander," he might perhaps have contested the palm with Shakspeare in his Venus and Adonis, and Rape of Lucrece, Shaksp. x. p. 72. edit. 1791. Marlowe's translation of Ovid's Elegies is noticed at p. 339, supr. -PARK.]

m For Purfoot, 4to. See Petowe's

Preface, which has a high panegyric on Marlowe. He says he begun where Marlowe left off. In 1593, Sept. 28, there is an entry to John Wolfe of "A book entitled Hero and Leander, beinge an amorous poem devised by Christopher Marlowe." Registr. Station. B. fol. 300 b. The translation, as the entire work of Marlowe, is mentioned twice in Nashe's Lenten Stuff, printed in 1599. It occurs again in the registers of the Stationers, in 1597, 1598, and 1600. Registr. C. fol. 31 a. 34 a. I learn from Mr. Malone, that Marlowe finished only the two first Sestiads, and about one hundred lines of the third. Chapman did the remainder. Petowe published the Whipping of Runawaies, for Burbie, in 1603.

There is an old ballad on Jephtha judge of Israel, by William Petowe. In the year 1567, there is an entry to Alexander Lacy, of "A ballett intituled the Songe of Jesphas dowghter at his death." Registr. Station. A. fol. 162 a. Perhaps this

edition was published, with the first book of Lucan, translated also by Marlowe, and in blank verse, in 1600". At length, George Chapman, the translator of Homer, completed, but with a striking inequality*, Marlowe's unfinished version, and printed it at London in quarto, 1606°. Tanner takes this piece to be one of Marlowe's plays. It probably suggested to Shakspeare the allusion to Hero and Leander, in the MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, under the player's blunder of Limander and Helen, where the interlude of Thisbe is presented P. It has many nervous and polished verses. His tragedies manifest traces of a just dramatic conception, but they abound with tedious and uninteresting scenes, or with such extravagances as proceeded from a want of judgment, and those barbarous ideas of the times, over which it was the peculiar gift of Shakspeare's genius alone to triumph and to predominate. His TRAGEDY OF DIDO QUEEN OF CARTHAGE was completed and published by his friend Thomas Nashe, in 15941.

is the old song of which Hamlet in joke throws out some scraps to Polonius, and which has been recovered by Mr. Steevens. Hamlet, act ii. sc. 7. [See also Jeffa judge of Israel, in Registr. D. fol. 93. Dec. 14, 1624.] This is one of the pieces which Hamlet calls pious chansons, and which taking their rise from the Reformation, abounded in the reign of Elizabeth. Hence, by the way, we see the propriety of reading pious chansons, and not pons chansons, or ballads sung on bridges, with Pope. Rowe arbitrarily substituted Rubric, not that the titles of old ballads were ever printed in red. Rubric came at length simply to signify title, because, in the old manuscripts, it was the custom to write the titles or heads of chapters in red ink. In the Statutes of Winchester and New college, every statute is therefore called a Rubrica.

[blocks in formation]

that the work is worthy of republication. British Poets.-PARK.]

• There is another edition in 1616, and 1629. 4to. The edition of 1616, with Chapman's name, and dedicated to Inigo Jones, not two inches long and scarcely one broad, is the most diminutive product of English typography. But it appears a different work from the edition of 1606. The "Ballad of Hero and Leander" is entered to J. White, Jul. 2, 1614. Registr. Station. C. fol. 252 a. Burton, an excellent Grecian, having occasion to quote Musæus, cites Marlowe's version, Melancholy, p. 372. seq. fol. edit. 1624. P Act v. sc. ult.

Nashe in his Elegy prefixed to Marlowe's Dido, mentions five of his plays. Mr. Malone is of opinion, from a similarity of style, that the Tragedy of Locrine, published in 1595, attributed to Shakspeare, was written by Marlowe, Suppl. Shaksp. ii. 190. He conjectures also Marlowe to be the author of the old King John. Ibid. i. 163. and of Titus Andronicus, and of the lines spoken by the players in the interlude in Hamlet. Ibid. i. 371.

In quarto. At London, by the widow Orwin, for Thomas Woodcocke. Played by the children of the chapel. It begins,

"Come gentle Ganimed!"

It has been frequently confounded with John Rightwise's play on the same subject performed at saint Paul's school before Cardinal Wolsey, and afterwards before queen Elizabeth at Cambridge, in 1564.

[I doubt whether any play that had been acted before Cardinal Wolsey, could be performed again before queen Elizabeth, as on such occasions I believe they

Although Jonson mentions Marlowe's MIGHTY MUSE, yet the highest testimony Marlowe has received, is from his cotemporary Drayton; who from his own feelings was well qualified to decide on the merits of a poet. It is in Drayton's Elegy, To my dearly loved friend Henry Reynolds of Poets and Poesie.

S

Next Marlowe, bathed in the Thespian springes,
Had in him those braue translunary thinges,
That the first poets had: his raptvres were
All air, and fire, which made his verses clear:
For that fine madness still he did retaine

Which rightly should possesse a poet's braine1.

In the RETURN FROM PARNASSUS, a sort of critical play, acted at Cambridge in 1606, Marlowe's buskined MUSE is celebrated". His cotemporary Decker, Jonson's antagonist, having allotted to Chaucer and graue Spenser, the highest seat in the Elysian grove of Bayes, has thus arranged Marlowe. "In another companie sat learned Atchlow* and, (tho he had ben a player molded out of their pennes, yet because he had been their louer and register to the Muse) inimitable Bentley†:

never exhibited stale or second-hand goods, but fresh for the nonce.-ASHBY.]

I have before mentioned the Latin tragedy of Dido and Eneas, performed at Oxford, in 1583, before the prince Alasco. [See supr. vol. ii. p. 527.] See what Hamlet says to the first Player on this favorite story. In 1564, was entered a "ballet of a lover blamynge his fortune by Dido and Eneas for thayre vntruthe." Registr. Station. A. fol. 116 a. In the Tempest, Gonzalo mentions the "widow Dido." Act iii. sc. 1. On old ballads we read the Tune of queen Dido. Perhaps from some ballad on the subject, Shakspeare took his idea of Dido standing with a willow in her hand on the sea-shore, and beckoning Eneas back to Carthage. Merch. Ven. act v. sc. 1. Shakspeare has also strangely falsified Dido's story, in the S. P. of K. Henry the Sixth, act iii. sc. 2. I have before mentioned the interlude of Dido and Eneas at Chester.

8

Langbaine, who cites these lines without seeming to know their author, by a pleasant mistake has printed this word sublunary. Dram. Poets, p. 342.

Lond. edit. 1753. iv. p. 1256. That Marlowe was a favorite with Jonson, appears from the Preface to one Bosworth's poems; who says, that Jonson used to call the mighty lines of Marlowe's Musæus fitter for admiration than parallel. Thomas Heywood, who published Marlowe's Jew of Malta, in 1633, wrote the Prologue, spoken at the Cock-pit, in which Marlowe is highly commended both as a player and a poet. It was in this play that Allen,

the founder of Dulwich college, acted the Jew with so much applause.

u

Hawkins's Old Pl. iii. p. 215. Lond. 1607. 4to. But it is entered in 1605, Oct. 16, to J. Wright, where it is said to have been acted at saint John's. Registr. Station. C. fol. 130 b. See other cotemporary testimonies of this author, in Old Plays, (in 12 vol.) Lond. 1780. 12mo. vol. ii. 308.

[Another edition of this tract, without date, introduces at this place "learned Watson, industrious Kyd, and ingenious Atchlow." Watson has been mentioned as a sonneteer, and Kyd was a writer of tragedy.-PARK.]

[Nash thus speaks of Bentley, in his "Prince Pennilesse," after noticing Ned Allen and the principal actors :—“ If I write any thing in Latine (as I hope one day I shall), not a man of any desert here amongst us, but I will have up:-Tarlton, Knell, Bentley, shall be made known to Fraunce, Spayne, and Italie," &c. Heywood, in his Apologie, celebrates "Knell, Bentley, Mills, Wilson, and Lanam, as players who by the report of many judicial auditors, performed many parts so absolute, that it were a sin to drowne their works in Lethe." John Bentley is introduced by Ritson in Bibl. Poetica, as the author of a few short poems in an ancient MS. belonging to Samuel Lysons, Esq. Robert Mills, a schoolmaster of Stamford, has various verses in one of Rawlinson's MSS. in the Bodleian library, entitled "Miscellanea Poetica," temp. Eliz.-PARK.]

these were likewise carowsing out of the holy well, &c. Whilst Marlowe, Greene, and Peele, had gott under the shadow of a large vyne, laughing to see Nashe, that was but newly come to their colledge, still haunted with the same satyricall spirit that followed him here vpon earth "."

Marlowe's wit and sprightliness of conversation had often the unhappy effect of tempting him to sport with sacred subjects; more perhaps from the preposterous ambition of courting the casual applause of profligate and unprincipled companions, than 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 serving-man, one rather fitter to be a pimp, than an ingenious amoretto, as Marlowe conceived himself to be." The con

quence was, that an affray ensued; in which the antagonist having by superior agility gained an opportunity of strongly grasping Marlowe's wrist, plunged his dagger with his own hand into his own head. 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 Faustusa. 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

A Knight's Conjuring, Signat. L. 1607. 4to. To this company Henry Chettle is admitted, [See supr. p. 243.] and is saluted in bumpers of Helicon on his arrival.

["In comes Chettle, sweating and blowing, by reason of his fatnes: to welcome whom, because he was of olde acquaintance, all rose up and fell presentlie on their knees, to drink a health to all lovers of Helicon."-PARK.]

I See Beard's Theatre of God's Judgments, lib. i. ch. xxiii. And "Account of the blasphemous and damnable opinions of Christ. Marley and 3 others, who came to a sudden and fearfull end of this life." MSS. Harl. 6853. 80. fol. 320.

[For the sake of exposing Mr. Warton's urbane though injudicious apology for the atheism of Marlowe, this paper was printed in Ritson's Observations, and it too glaringly exhibits the diabolical tenets and debauched morals of unhappy Christopher Marlowe.-PARK.]

y Ath. Oxon. i. 338. See Meres, Wit's Tr. fol. 287.

2 Marston seems to allude to this caVOL. III.

tastrophe, Certaine Satyres, Lond. for
Edmond Matts, 1598, 12mo. Sat. ii.
'Tis loose-leg'd Lais, that same common
drab,

For whom good Tubro tooke the mortall
stab.

By the way, Marlowe, in his Edward the Second, seems to have ridiculed the puritans under the character of the scholar Spencer, who "says a long grace at a table's end, wears a little band, buttons like pins heads, and

-is curate-like in his attire, Though inwardly licentious enough," &c.

[It is at least probable, that Marlowe dressed his scholar from what he saw wore in or before the year 1593. Small conical buttons &c. were then the prevailing fashion. See the pictures of Lord Southampton, Sir Philip Sydney, and Sir Walter Raleigh, who was "curate-like" in his attire.-ASHBY.]

a Entered, I think for the first time, to T. Bushell, Jan. 7, 1600. Registr. Station. C. fol. 67 b. Or rather 1610, Sept. 13, to J. Wright. Ibid. fol. 199 b.

2 A

« PreviousContinue »