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examined either by Marlowe's editors or (what is more remarkable) by the excellent historian of the stage, Mr. Collier, they all remained ignorant how very materially it differs from the later editions. The next quarto, that of 1616 (reprinted in 1624 and in 1631), besides a text altered more or less from the commencement to the end, contains some characters and scenes which are entirely new: but, as the present volume includes both the edition of 1604 and that of 1616, a more particular account of their variations is unnecessary here.-We have seen that "additions" were made to Faustus in 1597, and again in 1602, at the first of which dates Marlowe had been several years deceased; and a question arises, is the quarto of 1604 wholly from our author's pen, or is it,-a -as the quarto of 1616 indisputably is,-an alteration of the tragedy by other hands? Malone believed that the quarto of 1604 was "Marlowe's original play;' ;"* but a passage in a speech of the Horsecourser proves him to have been mistaken. The words are these; 66 'Mass, Doctor Lopus was never such a doctor :"+ now, Marlowe died in 1593; and the said Doctor Lopez did not start into notoriety till the following year, during which he suffered death at Tyburn for his treasonable practices. I at first entertained no doubt that the (somewhat mutilated and corrupted) quarto of 1604 presented Faustus with those comparatively unimportant "additions" for which Dekker was paid twenty shillings in 1597; and that the quarto of 1616 exhibited that alteration of the play which was made by the combined ingenuity of Bird and Rowley in 1602. But I have recently felt less confident on this subject, having found that the anonymous comedy The Taming of a Shrew, which was entered in the Stationers' Books and printed in 1594, contains a seeming imitation of a line in Faustus,—a line which occurs only in the quarto of 1616 (reprinted in 1624 and 1631), and which belongs to a scene that, as the merest novice in criticism will at once perceive, was not the composition of Marlowe. If the line in question § was really imitated by the author
* MS. Note in his copy of 4to 1604.-In his copy of 4to 1631 he has written; "The reason why Rowley and Bird's additions did not appear in the edition of 1604, was, that they were retained for the use of the theatre." (Malone, it would seem, was not then aware that Dekker had made additions to Faustus in 1597.)-Mr. Collier says, "We may conclude that the additions last made [to Faustus by Bird and Rowley] were very considerable; and with them probably the piece was printed in 1604." Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poet. III. 126: but when Mr. Collier made this remark, he was unacquainted with the quarto of 1604, as is proved by his quoting, throughout his valuable work, the text of the later Faustus.
P. 96, sec. col.
He was executed in June 1594: see Stowe's Annales, p. 768, ed. 1615. § It is,
"Or hew'd this flesh and bones as small as sand."
The probable imitation of it is,
P. 126, first col.
"And hew'd thee smaller than the Libian sandes."
The resemblance between these two lines might have been considered as purely accidental, did not The
of The Taming of a Shrew, we must conclude that, earlier than 1597, Faustus had received" additions" concerning which the annals of the stage are silent; nor must we attempt to assign to their respective authors those two rifacimenti of the tragedy which are preserved in the quartos of 1604 and 1616.—A fifth quarto of Faustus was printed in 1663, With New Additions, as it is now Acted. With several New Scenes, together with the Actors Names [i. e. the names of the Dram. Pers.], the new matter* occupying much less space than the title-page would lead us to imagine, and evidently supplied by some poetaster of the lowest grade. The repeated alterations and editions of this tragedy seem to justify the assertion of Phillips, that "of all that Marlowe hath written to the stage, his Dr. Faustus hath made the greatest noise, with its devils and such like tragical sport."+
The well-known fact, that our early dramatists usually borrowed their fables from novels or "histories," to which they often servilely adhered, has not been considered any derogation from their merits. Yet the latest biographer of Marlowe dismisses Faustus as "unworthy of his reputation," chiefly because it "closely follows a popular romance of the same name."‡ Certain it is that Marlowe has "closely followed" the prose History of Doctor Faustus; but it is equally certain that he was not indebted to that History for the poetry and the passion which he has infused into his play, for those thoughts of surpassing beauty and grandeur with which it abounds, and for that fearful display of mental agony at the close, compared to which all attempts of the kind by preceding English dramatists are "poor indeed." In the opinion of Hazlitt, "Faustus, though an imperfect and unequal performance, is Marlowe's greatest work."§ Mr. Hallam remarks; "There is an awful melancholy about Marlowe's Mephistophiles, perhaps more impressive than the malignant mirth of that fiend in the renowned work of Goethe. But the fair form of Margaret is wanting." In the comic scenes of Faustus (which are nearly all derived from the prose History) we have buffoonery of the worst description; and it is difficult not to believe that Marlowe is answerable for at least a portion of them, when we recollect that he had inserted similar scenes in the original copy of his Tamburlaine.
Taming of a Shrew contain various passages almost transcribed from Tamburlaine and Faustus: see much more on this subject, p. ii. of the present essay.
* Mr. Collier is mistaken when he states that in 4to. 1663 "a scene at Rome is transferred to Constantinople, and another interpolated from The Rich Jew of Malta.” Hist. of Engl. Dram Poet. iii. 126. There is no scene at Constantinople, nor any interpolation from the Jew of Malta; but there is a scene at Babylon, during which the Sultan questions one of his Bashaws concerning the taking of Malta, and is informed how they had won the town by means of the Jew. -Perhaps it is hardly worth mentioning that Marlowe's Faustus was "made into a Farce, with the Humours of Harlequin and Scaramouch," by the celebrated actor Mountfort, who was so basely assassinated
+ Theat. Poet. (Modern Poets), p. 25, ed. 1675.
Lives of English Dramatists, i. 58 (Lardner's Cyclop.).
§ Lectures on Dram. Lit. p. 53, ed. 1840.
Introd. to the Lit. of Europe, ii. 171, ed. 1843.
In what year Marlowe produced The Jew of Malta we are unable to determine. The words in the Prologue, "now the Guise is dead," are evidence that it was composed after 23rd Dec. 1588; and Mr. Collier thinks that it was probably written about 1589 or 1590.* Barabas was originally performed by Alleyn;t and the aspect of the Jew was rendered as grotesque and hideous as possible by means of a false nose. In Rowley's Search for Money, 1609, a person is described as having "his visage (or vizard) like the artificiall Jewe of Maltae's nose ;" and a speech in the play itself, "O, brave, master! I worship your nose for this,"§ is a proof that Marlowe intended his hero to be distinguished by the magnitude of that feature. It would seem, indeed, that on our early stage Jews were always furnished with an extra quantity of nose: it was thought that a race so universally hated could hardly be made to appear too ugly. The great popularity of this tragedy is evinced by Henslowe's Diary, where we find numerous notices concerning it, the earliest dated 26th February 1591-2, the latest 21st June 1596; and again, a notice of its revival 19th May 1601.|| Though entered in the Stationers' Books 17th May 1594,¶ it remained in manuscript till 1633, when, after having been acted at court and at the Cock-pit with prologues and epilogues by Heywood, it was published under the auspices of the same dramatist.
The character of Barabas, upon which the interest of the tragedy entirely depends, is delineated with no ordinary power, and possesses a strong individuality. Unfortunately, however, it is a good deal overcharged; but I suspect that, in this instance at least, Marlowe violated the truth of nature, not so much from his love of exaggeration, as in consequence of having borrowed all the atrocities of the play from some now-unknown novel, whose author was willing to flatter the prejudices of his readers by attributing almost impossible wickedness to a son of Israel. "The first two acts of The Jew of Malta," observes Mr. Hallam, "are more vigorously conceived, both as to character and circumstance, than any other Elizabethan play, except those
Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poet. iii. 135.
See pp. 141, 142.
P. 19, ed. Percy Soc.
§ P. 157, sec. col.
Pp. 21-74, 187, ed. Shake. Soc. We also find (Ibid. p. 274) in an inventory of the stageproperties of the Lord Admiral's men, "j cauderm for the Jewe," i. e. the caldron into which Barabas falls.
On the preceding day was entered "a ballad" on the same subject, derived, we may presume, from the tragedy.—Sir John Harington has the following couplet in an epigram written perhaps as early as 1592;
"Was ever Jew of Malta or of Millain
Then [Than] this most damned Jew more Jewish villain ?”
Of a devout usurer—.
In his Cutter of Coleman-street (an alteration of his Guardian), Cowley makes one of the characters say, "But I'm the very Jew of Malta, if she did not use me since that worse than I'd use a rotten apple." Act ii. sc. 3 [sc. 1].
of Shakespeare: "* but the latter part is in every respect so inferior, that we rise from a perusal of the whole with a feeling akin to disappointment. If the dialogue has little poetry, it has often great force of expression.-That Shakespeare was well acquainted with this tragedy cannot be doubted; but that he caught from it more than a few trifling hints for The Merchant of Venice will be allowed by no one who has carefully compared the character of Barabas with that of Shylock.t-An alteration of The Jew of Malta was brought out at Drury-lane Theatre in 1818, when Kean was in the zenith of his fame, and, owing to his exertions in Barabas, it was very favourably received.
Warton incidentally mentions that Marlowe's Edward the Second was "written in the year 1590;" and, for all we know, he may have made the assertion on sufficient grounds, though he has neglected to specify them. Mr. Collier, who regards it (and, no doubt, rightly) as one of our author's latest pieces, has not attempted to fix its date. It was entered in the Stationers' Books 6th July 1593, and first printed in 1598.
From that heaviness, which prevails more or less in all "chronicle histories" anterior to those of Shakespeare, this tragedy is not quite free; its crowded incidents do not always follow each other without confusion; and it has few of those “rap tures," for which Marlowe is eulogized by one of his contemporaries. § But, taken as a whole, it is the most perfect of his plays; there is no overdoing of character, no turgidity of language. On the two scenes which give the chief interest to this drama Lamb remarks; "the reluctant pangs of abdicating royalty in Edward furnished hints which Shakespeare scarce improved in his Richard the Second; and the death-scone of Marlowe's king moves pity and terror beyond any scene ancient or modern with which I am acquainted." || The excellence of both scenes is indisputable; but a more fastidious critic than Lamb might perhaps justly object to such an exhibition of physical suffering as the latter scene affords.
The Massacre at Paris was, we are sure, composed after August 2nd, 1589, when Henry the Third, with whose death it terminates, expired in consequence of the wound he had received from Jaques Clément the preceding day. On the
* Introd. to the Lit. of Europe, ii. 170, ed. 1843.
+ See a considerable number of what have been called the "parallel passages" of these two plays in the Appendix to Waldron's edition, and very ingenious continuation, of Jonson's Sad Shepherd, p. 209.
Hist. of Engl. Poet. iii. 438, ed. 4to.
§ See the lines by Drayton quoted in p. liii of this memoir.
Spec. of Engl. Dram. Poets, p. 28, ed. 1808.
"The Jew of Malta contains, in its original prologue, spoken by Machiavel, an allusion to The Massacre at Paris, which had preceded it." Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poet. iii. 135. But when Mr. Collier made this remark, he had not yet seen Henslowe's MSS. and as to the words in question, "now the Guise is dead,"-they only shew that The Jew of Multa was written after the death of the Duke of Guise.
entry in Henslowe's Diary,-" Rd at the tragedey of the guyes [Guise] 30 [January, 1593*]. . . . . iij .... iiijs,"-Mr. Collier observes, "In all probability Marlowe's Massacre at Paris. This entry is valuable, supposing it to apply to Marlowe's tragedy, because it ascertains the day it was first acted, Henslowe having placed ne [i. e. new] in the margin. It was perhaps Marlowe's last play, as he was killed about six months afterwards." Henslowe has several later entries concerning the performance of the same piece (which he also designates The Massacre); but probably, when he notices "the Guise" under the year 1598,† he refers to a revival of the tragedy with additions and alterations.-It appears that in the play as originally written, the character of Guise was supported by Alleyn.*-The Massacre at Paris was printed without date (perhaps about 1595 or 1596), either from a copy taken down, during representation, by some unskilful and ignorant short-hand-writer, or from a very imperfect transcript which had belonged to one of the theatres.
It would be rash to decide on the merits of a play which we possess only with a text both cruelly mutilated § and abounding in corruptions; I strongly suspect, however, that The Massacre at Paris, even in its pristine state, was the very worst of Marlowe's dramas.
We must now turn from his works to the personal history of Marlowe.-It is not to be doubted that by this time he had become acquainted with most of those who, like himself, were dramatists by profession; and there can be little doubt too that beyond their circle (which, of course, included the actors) he had formed few intimacies. Though the demand for theatrical novelties was then incessant, plays were scarcely recognized as literature, and the dramatists were regarded as men who held a rather low rank in society: the authors of pieces which had delighted thousands were generally looked down upon by the grave substantial citizens, and seldom presumed to approach the mansions of the aristocracy but as clients in humble attendance on the bounty of their patrons. Unfortunately, the discredit which attached to dramatic writing as an occupation was greatly increased by the habits of those who pursued it a few excepted, they were improvident,
• It is quite manifest, both from what precedes and what follows in the Diary, that Henslowe (who was an egregious blunderer) ought to have written here "1592," i. e. 1592-3 (see Diary, p. 30, ed. Shake. Soc.); and with that date the entry has been given by Malone, Shakespeare, by Boswell, iii. 299, as well as by Mr. Collier, Hist. of Engl. Dram. Poet. iii. 132.
+ "Lent W" Birde, alias Borne, the 27 of novembr , to bye a payer of sylke stockens, to playe the Gwisse in }xx"."
"Lent unto W Borne, the 19 of novembr, 1598, upon a longe taney clocke of clothe, the some of xij', wch he sayd yt was to Imbrader his hatte for the Gwisse xijs." Diary, pp. 110, 113., ed. Shake. Soc.
At a later date Webster wrote a drama (now lost) which was called The Guise, and which is more likely to have been an original work than one founded upon Marlowe's tragedy.
In an inventory of theatrical apparel belonging to Alleyn is "hose [i. e. breeches] . . . . for the Guiscs." Collier's Mem. of Alleyn, p. 21.
§ See note*, p. 239.