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THE ATHEIST'S TRAGEDIE.
[SEE Account of Marlowe and his Writings.-This ballad is printed from a manuscript copy in the possession of Mr. J. P. Collier.]
ALL you that have got eares to heare,
Now listen unto mee;
Whilst I do tell a tale of feare;
A truer storie nere was told,
As some alive can showe; "Tis of a man in crime grown olde, Though age he did not know.
This man did his owne God denie
So he his course might run.
Both day and night would he blaspheme,
A poet was he of repute,
And wrote full many a playe, Now strutting in a silken sute, Then begging by the way.
He had alsoe a player beene
But brake his leg in one lewd scene,
He was a fellow to all those
That did God's laws reject,
Ruffians and cutpurses hee
And led a life most foule and free,
He now is gone to his account,
Did not his wicked deedes surmount
All precedent of crime.
But he no warning ever tooke
And never gave his life a looke
He had a friend, once gay and greene,*
The wofull'st wretch was ever seene,
Unlesse this Wormall+ did exceede
a friend, once gay and greene] i. e. Robert Greene: 800 Account of Marlowe and his Writings,
↑ Wormall] The anagram of Marlow.
CONTAYNINGE THE OPINION OF ONE CHRISTOFER MARLYE, CONCERNYNGE HIS DAMNA-
FROM MS. HARL. 6853, FOL. 320.
[SEE Account of Marlowe and his Writings.-This paper was first printed by Ritson in his Observations on Warton's Hist. of E. P., p. 40.
I have elsewhere expressed my conviction that the charge of irreligion, which we find so repeatedly brought against Marlowe, was not without foundation; and it seems but too certain that his habits of life were licentious. Still, I am far from thinking that this paper is to be received as a document of much authority. The accuser appears to have had a strong feeling of enmity towards Marlowe; and his veracity is rendered the more questionable by the fact, that he afterwards suffered the extreme penalty of the law at Tyburn.
In a volume of Marlowe's collected pieces (now in the Bodleian Library) Malone has written what follows:"This Richard Bame or Banes was hanged at Tyburn on the 6th of Dec. 1594. See the Stationers' Register, Book B, p. 316.
"It is obvious to remark upon this testimony, that it is not upon oath; that it contains some declarations which it is utterly incredible that Marlowe should have made (as that concerning his intention to coin, which he must have known to be penal); that Bame does not appear to have been confronted with the person accused, or crossexamined by him or any other person; and that the whole rests upon his single assertion. This paper, however, may derive some support from the verses quoted at the other side [of the page in Malone's book] from The Returne from Parnassus, which was written about 10 years after Marlowe's death." [It was written somewhat earlier: see my Account of Marlowe and his Writings.]]
THAT the Indians and many Authors of Antiquitei
He affirmeth That Moyses was but a Juggler, and that one Heriots can do more then hee.
That Moyses made the Jewes to travell fortie
A note, &c.] This, the original title, is partly drawn
He affirmeth] All the portions now printed in Italics,
That it was an easye matter for Moyses, beinge brought vp in all the artes of the Egiptians, to abvse the Jewes, beinge a rvde and grosse people.
That he [Christ] was the sonne of a carpenter, and that, yf the Jewes amonge whome he was borne did crvcifye him, thei best knew him and whence he came.
That Christ deserved better to dye then Barabas, and that the Jewes made a good choyce, though Barrabas were both a theife and a mur
That yf ther be any God or good Religion, then it is in the Papistes, becavse the service of God is performed with more ceremonyes, as elevacion of the masse, organs, singinge men, shaven crownes, &c. That all protestantes ar hipocriticall Asses.
That, yf he wer put to write a new religion, he wolde vndertake both a more excellent and more admirable methode, and that all the new testament is filthely written.
Wherever asteriscs occur, they indicate clauses of such an abominable nature, that I did not choose to print them.