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contemporaries, are now universally regarded with admira- may be sure; and when it is remembered that those who tion as the first springings forth of that rill of dramatic lit- traduced him hated him most of all on religious grounds, erature which afterwards gathered strength and became a we should be doubly cautious in the reception of statements broad and mighty river.
which, if believed, would make him a Faust and a MephisHallam has left us an opinion of “Tamburlaine the topheles combined. Great,” the tragedy which called forth the animadversions Perhaps the most striking quality observable in Marlowe of Nash, which may fitly be referred to here. Considering is his breadth. Whatever defects may be alleged against the calm balance of mind usually preserved by that careful his execution, and however faulty may be his style, his conand discriminating writer, the praise accorded to Marlowe's ceptions are gigantic. He revels in his strength like a early work is indeed lofty, though, as we hope presently to giant. He reminds us in his wildness and grandeur of those see, not too lofty when the merits of the tragedy are fully heights of the Brocken, where Faust is supposed to have considered. He says: “ This play has more spirit and sealed his compact with the Evil One. Tempestuous to a poetry than any which, upon clear grounds, can be shown degree, he is, as compared with the other writers of his age, to have preceded it. We find also more action on the what the surging and ever restless ocean is to the still pool. stage, a shorter and more dramatic dialogue, a more figu- Take up any of his works, and they will be found disrative style, with a far more varied and skilful versification. tinguished by a uniform greatness of conception. The If Marlowe did not reëstablish blank verse, which is diffi- imagination from which they proceeded is lofty, strong, and cult to prove, he gave it at least a variety of cadence and impassioned. Excrescences cannot hide his greatness; the an easy adaptation of the rhythm to the sense, by which it mountain summit is not always obscured by black, absorbeasily became in his hands the finest instrument that the ing clouds. A free and daring spirit is stamped upon all tragic poet has ever employed for his purpose, less re- that he has done : a spirit that knew no fear of man, and, stricted than that of the Italians, and falling occasionally it is to be assumed, felt little awe of God. His works are almost into prose; lines of fourteen syllables being very the most unrestrained exhibition of power of which we common in all our old dramatists, but regular and harmo- have any knowledge. Other dramatists may have exhibnious at other times, as the most accurate ear could re- ited the same recklessness, but then they have not posquire.” The "Tragical History of Dr. Faustus," which sessed the same strength. As regards Shakespeare, note was Marlowe's next play, avoided some of the faults ob. here one of those points in which he is king of the poets. servable in its predecessor, partly owing to the fact that There was the same power as in Marlowe, but he also posthe author himself had doubtless become conscious that his sessed a quietude which gives us an idea of what we style must not be allowed to degenerate into rant, and should call the unexpended forces of his nature. To draw partly because the nature of the subject itself forbade the an analogy from the physical world around us, and apply use of so extravagant a diction. It is said — and tbere is
it to Shakespeare, we should say he was equally at home no reason, judging from internal evidence, for thinking the in painting the flower as in wielding the earthquake. He supposition is incorrect — that a number of interpolations was, at pleasure, self-infused with the spirit of a child, or have been made in the text of "Faustus " for which Mar- the iron will of a Julius Cæsar. It is just this capacity of lowe is not responsible, and which are in no wise germane instituting a close relation between himself and any unit of to his genius. Of his other dramatic works more remains humanity whatsoever, that separates him from the rest of still to be said, as they are dealt with in their proper or- his kind. Marlowe was great and sublime, but not from der; but a passing reference may be made to the effect this all-enfolding point of view. His greatness was a plain produced upon the writers of his own day by the beautiful and palpable one, and not a suggestive greatness. He has poem on the old but never wearisome legend of the loves given us royal spirits, royally conceived; but we ask in of Hero and Leander." So popular was this composition vain for his Falstaffs, his Bardolphs, bis Juliets, and his that the Water Poet and his brother scullers upon the Portias. What types he has drawn are as true and accuThames used to sweeten their toil by singing or reciting rate (not all, but most of them) as those of his great sucfavorite passages from it. And we have few richer treas- cessor; and perhaps we are a little unjust in demanding ures of its kind to linger lovingly over now.
from him more, when we consider the brief span of his exBut the thread of our biographical narrative is in danger istence. It is possible that had his life been prolonged we of being interrupted. What had become of the dramatist should have received from him work worthy of being comduring the construction of these plays which we have men- pared with much of Shakespeare's own. There was in him tioned, and others which we must yet enumerate ? The the outline of a transcendent genius, but the opportunity only facts of a definite nature in his personal history to be failed bim of filling up its wonderful proportions. relied upon are, first, that he tried his fortune upon the Another distinguishing peculiarity of this dramatist is stage, where he had no long run; and, secondly, that his his power over the passions. “Dr. Faustus” is sufficient reputation was of a most objectionable description : then, evidence of the gift he possessed in this respect. Mark finally, the violent end of a violent life, of which we have the alternations of feeling in the mind of the leading charspoken, must not be forgotten. Being in a tavern at Dept- acter, and see how boldly they are drawn; whilst at the ford, carousing with individuals of the lowest strata of soci. end the absorbing sentiment of the reader is one of admiety, he received an insult which his choleric temper could ration, not unmingled with sorrow, for Faustus, even in the ill brook. In endeavoring to avenge it, by some chance his great climax of his fate. The same power is carried into own weapon was turned against himself in the scuffle, and several of the scenes in “Edward the Second,” one espehe received a mortal wound. Whether the facts be exactly cially being as pathetic a passage as can be discovered as stated or no, he undoubtedly perished in this same almost anywhere. And the passion is not the simulated brawl; but those who profess to apportion the blame, and passion of the writer of books, but of the reader of men. fix a stigma on Marlowe, only do so upon posthumous evi- The counterfeit is not perceptible here. It is genuine pasdence said to have been based upon contemporary state- sion genuinely depicted. The whole vocabulary of grief ments — which statements, nevertheless, were made, as seems to have been in Marlowe's possession. The hell of already seen, by persons inimical to the dramati So a miserable mind has been penetrated with deep and much for the tragedy of Marlowe's own life. Short as it searching vision. Beneath the demoniacal fury which apwas, it seems to have been passed amidst a great deal of pears to utterly envelop many of his characters, is to be physical excitement, not unmingled with excess. But that
seen a more complicated series of passions than would at the last few years of his life were a prolonged orgy, is an first sight strike the beholder. The demon has but one assertion which may be at once dismmissed as base and un- element, but one feeling, but one plan of action ; but the founded. Periods of calm and leisure were essential to bis humanity which Marlowe bas drawn has the real strife of genius; and these periods must have been obtained, since elements. He shows the secret workings of good against the monuments which were the result of them are still ex- evil, and vice versâ; and he has chosen for treatment men isting. The eulogy passed upon Marlowe by his illustrious in whom the volcano of passion is forever surging and contemporary dramatist was not earned without effort, we emitting its mixed products of stones and lava. Marlowe is a superb Byron. Upon the nineteenth century poet has
Tamburlaine! A Scythian shepherd so embellished been superadded, to the violence and the darkness of pro
With nature's pride and richest furniture! found passion, its true dignity. Marlowe is greater, more
His looks do menace heaven, and dare the gods; splendid in his rage and his denunciation, probably from
His fiery eyes are fixed upon the earth, the fact that his soul, though more unbelieving, had yet a
As if he now devised some stratagem, larger sincerity than Byron's. Manfred appears a fearful
Or meant to pierce Avernus' darksome vaults, individuality; but if we come to look at him very closely,
To pull the triple-headed dog from hell. we shall find that he is a gentleman of whom we have very
Equally successful in love and war, the daring adventoften heard before – the man who defies God and makes a urer and warrior pursues his destiny. Resolution to obgreat deal of noise about it, but who has not the true ele- tain possession with him means instant fruition ; and his ments of a mighty personal being within himself. Very hot and boundless ambition, which nothing mortal could different is the Faustus of Marlowe. Many a man could satisfy, is graphically traced by the plastic pen of the narbecome a Manfred; but Faustus is as rare a creation as rator. The aspiring shepherd holds that a god is not half lago, while of a totally different type. So great is Marlowe's so glorious as a king ;^ and in words which have been alconception of this character, that he has not been able tered by Milton only to the extent of taking the nether to do justice to it. He has had glimpses of the veritable regions instead of paradise for his fine declaration, Tambeing himself, with all bis enormous thoughts and desires,
burlaine proceeds to say, but has failed to reduce him altogether into shape. But,
I think the pleasure they enjoy in heaven indistinct as he sometimes appears, the glimpses we do get
Cannot compare with kingly joys in earth. of him fully attest what a magnificent being he is. And
It is more than probable that these, and the immediately herein, we think, lies the difference between Marlowe's
succeeding lines in the drama, rang in the later bard's ears tragedy and Goethe's. The latter work is the bistory of a when he wrote that it was soul and something more. We are attracted partly by the paraphernalia of the drama, and not overwhelmed by the
Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. individual creation. In Marlowe's tragedy we see little but The insatiable lust of power, and its gradual absorption Faustus ; but he is enough. He covers the canvas with his of the entire being, were never better depicted than in great and sombre presence, awful in the vastness of his Marlowe's delineation of Tamburlaine. He is in every wishes and the daring of his imagination. And this is but sense a great warrior, whose conceptions of campaigns and one of the characters which the dramatist has left us. Little conquests are equalled by his prodigious executive ability. inferior in vividness of drawing is the Jew of Malta, the He declares that he bas no room to entertain the thought predecessor of a still more notorious Jew, and therefore the of defeat; if he is moved to obtain the Persian crown, he more original. In all his conceptions Marlowe was never attains his object with ease. What is in the grasp of man afraid of carrying the passions to their utmost height and to accomplish shall be achieved by him, for he is penefulness. It is the mark of the strong writer when he trated with the sense of his superiority over mankind, and reaches this perfection. Irresolution and weakness bave of his equality with the gods. His ideas, plans, swift no place in characters which they mean to be the embodi- and whirlwindlike movements, and indomitable courage ments of human feeling : they know their ends and pursue fully attest that he is no mere boaster, but one who will them. It may be objected to Marlowe that the range of ride the age as its master and its monarch. The play is his vision is somewhat limited, looking to the number of admirable for the manner in which this apotheosis is his individual creations; but it is apparent to any one, worked out, and Tamburlaine lifted out of the vulgar catenevertheless, that his capacity of representation of what he gory of ordinary humanity. His secret passions are dishas set himself to depict knows little if any limitation. sected with that psychological insight for which the dramThat he has not left a larger gallery of portraits behind atist is remarkable, and the mind, as well as the deeds, him is not a reproach to his genius, but the result of the of the great scourge of Asia is laid bare to our gaze. With interference of the ill-fated hand of Death; the painting all its inflation and bombast, the play is very forcible, and of such of those as he has drawn is more distinct than in certain parts very beautiful. This passage, put into the Vandyke's and bolder than Rembrandt's.
mouth of the warrior himself, is large in thought, daring, * Tamburlaine the Great " is a drama in two parts, in and instinct with rugged and striking oratory : which the writing is very unequal in strength. Charged
Now clear the triple region of the air, occasionally with all the commanding eloquence which the
And let the majesty of heaven behold dramatist well knew how to use, many of the scenes, taken
Their scourge and terror tread on emperors. in the bulk, are not worthy of his genius, but are disfigured
Smile, stars, that reigned at my nativity, by faults which we can only too clearly see it was but nat
And dim the brightness of your neighbor lamps ! ural should lay him open to censure. The first part is in
Disdain to borrow light of Cynthia ! troduced to the reader by a prologue in which Marlowe
For I, the chiefest lamp of all the earth,
First rising in the East with mild aspect, displays bis contempt for the "jigging veins of rhyming
But fixèd now in the meridian line, mother wits, and such conceits as clownage keeps in pay,'
Will send up fire to your turning spheres, and he goes on to promise a very different class of enter
And cause the sun to borrow light of you. tainment from that which these same poor wits generally
My sword struck fire from his coat of steel, provided. We are inclined to be somewhat doubtful
Even in Bithynia, when I took this Turk; whether the promise will be redeemed when we find the
As when a fiery exhalation, King of Persia — from whom we should certainly have ex
Wrapt in the bowels of a freezing cloud, pected more exalted language addressing his brother in
Fighting for passage, makes the welkin crack, these exceedingly commonplace terms in the very first
And casts a flash of lightning to the earth : lines of the play:
But ere I march to wealthy Persia,
Or leave Damascus and the Egyptian fields,
As was the fame of Clymene's brain-sick son,
That almost bent the axle-tree of heaven,
So shall our swords, our lances, and our shot tant matter, and in the second scene we are presented with
Fill all the air with fiery meteors : a very effective interview between Tamburlaine and his
Then when the sky shall wax as red as blood, beautiful captive Zenocrate, the daughter of the Soldan of
It shall be said I made it red myself, Egypt, in which the former unfolds his prophecies of the
To make me think of naught but blood and war. career which shall end by filling the earth with his dreaded This is befitting declamation, loud and trumpet-tongued, name. The Persian Theridamas, who was afterwards per- to assign to the man who, on another occasion, uttered the suaded to forsake his sovereign through the persuasiveness following vigorous description of himself : of Tamburlaine, well describes the terror of the world in
The god of war resigns his room to me,
Jove, viewing me in arms, looks pale and wan,
first really serious attempt to revolutionize contemporary Fearing my power should pull him from his throne. blank verse. The character foreshadowed in these lines is well sus
Confessedly, however, “ The Tragical History of Dr. tained; the gigantic figure is never dwarfed, nor do his Faustus” must be regarded, in accordance with the general enormous passions ever exhibit the least inclination to verdict, as the chef-d'ouvre of Marlowe. It has a strength satiety. He feasts his eyes upon the woes of Bajazet, who
and directness of purpose most distinctly traced in every is borne about with him in a cage, and who has the double scene, whilst the individuality of the leading character (a misfortune of seeing his conqueror march forth to victory quality to which we have previously made some reference) after victory, kings falling before him as the tall blades of is most striking and complete. It is a drama in which the corn before the hurricane. The woes of the Emperor of
most intense interest is evoked and sustained. The conthe Turks and his faithful empress are related with much ception is so vivid, that the whole thing gives us the impathos, and their self-destruction completed in a scene of pression that it might have been written at one sitting. strong and natural emotion. At the opening of the second We know, of course, that this is impossible, but the illusion portion of the drama we find Tamburlaine in the zenith of is only a so much stronger tribute to the powers of the his power and fame. The ever-victorious sovereign has
writer. Faustus, whose personality has already come bediscomfited the great Christian bost under Sigismund, and
fore us, may not appear altogether a desirable character, there is nothing more left for him to do, except to enjoy in the matter of detailed drawing and elaboration, but we the fruits of his victories. Yet, in the very next scene to
should search well-nigh in vain to discover a worthy rival that in which his greatest triumph is celebrated, we be- to him in the gigantic force of his ruling ideas, and for the hold Tamburlaine miserable and dejected. Disease has
admirable manner in which his unappeasable craving for seized upon the form of Zenocrate, his illustrious consort, enjoyment has been delineated. In truth, he is almost and he who had boasted of his invincible might is power- appalling from his defiance of all the canons of humanity, less to arrest its progress. Graphically is the lesson in
and for those flights of an uncontrolled and unbridled imdicated of the rapid succession of joy and despair for all agination in which he indulges. Hazlitt well says of him, humanity. The conqueror is at last conquered. The cap- translating into excellent language what will be the tor of one hundred kings watches the gradual advance of thought of all readers of the tragedy, “ Faustus, in his an insidious disease in helplessness and anguish. He sees impatience to fulfil at once and for a moment, for a few that form, which, had it lived before the siege of Troy, short years, all the desires and conceptions of his soul, is “ Helen had not been named in Homer's Iliades,” wither willing to give in exchange his soul and body to the great and expire, and from that moment his sun of prosperity enemy of mankind. . Whatever he fancies becomes by this begins to set. He can, however, wreak bis revenge for means present to his sense ; whatever he commands is the loss of Zenocrate in one method, eminently suggestive done. He calls back time past, and anticipates the future; of his imperious and cruel spirit, and he accordingly con- the visions of antiquity pass before him. Babylon in all sumes with fire the city in which she died. The play its glory, Paris, and Enone; all the projects of philosomoves on with real dramatic interest and energy. The phers, or creations of the poet, pay tribute at bis feet; all enraged monarch teaches his sons the art of war, in which the delights of fortune, of ambition, of pleasure, and of he would see them become like masters with himself
, and learning, are centred in his person; and from a short-lived because one of them, Calyphas by name, does not take dream of supreme felicity and drunken power, he sinks kindly to the occupation of blood, the furious father stabs into an abyss of darkness and perdition. This is the alhim to the heart. He makes his son's death the occasion ternative to which he submits ; the bond which he signs for an outburst of wrath, in which he threatens unheard-of with his blood! As the outline of the character is grand horrors for the world. Being remonstrated with by the and daring, the execution is abrupt and fearful. The kings of Jerusalem, Syria, and Trebizond, for his cruelty, thoughts are vast and irregular, and the style halts and Tamburlaine replies in the following strain, which is one staggers under them. With uneasy steps, such footing of the most powerful pieces of rhetoric to be found in our
found the sole of unblest feet.' There is a little fustian author :
and incongruity of metaphor now and then, which is not Villains ! these terrors and these tyrannies
very injurious to the subject.” I execute, enjoined me from above,
It is a curious fact with regard to this drama, that To scourge the pride of such as heaven abhors;
though written several years before his death, no edition Nor am I made arch-monarch of the world,
of it was published during the lifetime of its author, while Crowned and invested by the hand of Jove,
many of the editions now current present Marlowe's text For deeds of.bounty and nobility :
very much mutilated. It may have been the fancied imBut since I exercise a greater name,
provements of other hands which resulted in the introducThe scourge of God and terror of the world,
tion of those passages that are open to the charge of bufI must apply myself to fit those terms,
foonery. It is pointed out that there are three editions of In war, in blood, in death, in cruelty,
the tragedy which were not known to Dyce, and Hazlitt And plague such peasants as resist in me The power of heaven's eternal majesty.
deemed it highly probable that there might have been an earlier impression than any yet discovered. Under these
circumstances it would not be safe to assume that the I will, with engines never exercised,
drama as we have received it stands as Marlowe left it; Conquer, sack, and utterly consume Your cities and your golden palaces,
possessing as we do some knowledge of the quality of his And, with the flames that beat against the clouds,
powers, we ought not to bind ourselves to more than adIncense the heavens, and make the stars to melt,
miring as his work the grand and majestic conception in its As if they were the tears of Mahomet,
bold and simple outline, and those passages of the play For hot consumption of his country's pride ;
which bear upon them the impress of his perfervid and And, till by vision or by speech I hear
tremendous genius. The hammer of Vulcan has certainly Immortal Jove say, “ Čease, my Tamburlaine," been employed to weld the joints of the armor in which I will persist a terror to the world,
Faustus is encased. The drama is no child's play, but one Making the meteors (that, like armed men
of terrible and engrossing import to all men.
The lesson Are seen to march upon the towers of heaven)
of the whole is current in lurid flames upon the surface as Run tilting round about the firmament, And break their burning lances in the air
we proceed. The dramatist has drunk deep of ecstasies For honor of my wondrous victories.
and visions, and made his work living with emotion. He
rises to the character of Faustus more perfectly than does The fact that these speeches of Tamburlaine's are dis- the modern artist. His passions and desires are more drafigured occasionally by outrageous exaggerations and matically if not more poetically treated. The introduction ranting eccentricities does not by any means destroy their
of the Margaret of the later work into the earlier drama effect, whilst they enjoy that great distinction of being the I would have completely spoilt it. Given the Faust of Goe
the, and Margaret does not seem inadequate as the height And all is dross that is not Helena. of earthly bliss for him; but Marlowe's Faustus is made of I will be Paris, and for love of thee, sterner stuff. He is cast in a larger mould, and when he
Instead of Troy shall Wittenburg be sacked ; demands beauty he must bave presented to him Helen of
And I will combat with weak Menelaus, Troy. Charles Lamb even, that gentle being, felt that there
And wear thy colors on my plumèd crest:
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel, would have been an incompatibility between the real Faust
And then return to Helen for a kiss. and Margaret. Marlowe's hero experienced not the depth
Oh! thou art fairer than the evening air of the intellectual difficulties which beset Hamlet, or Goe
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars; the's Faust, but he had a more insatiable thirst of heart. Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter Let us look a little at this oldest dramatic form in which When he appeared to hapless Semele. the well-known story of Faust and his compact is presented. But the season of voluptuous delights is now fast wanMarlowe, in the first act, depicts the learned Dr. Faustus
ing. The hour draws nigh when the final condition of the in his study, and after mucho cogitation we find him deliv
contract sealed with his blood must be completed, and as ering the sum of his thoughts in the opinion that “ a sound
it approaches the dramatist makes Faustus already suffer magician is a demi-god," with a greater sovereignty than
the mental tortures of the lost. A vision of the terrible that of emperors and kings. But how to get this deity nature of his fate passes before him, and he comprehends embodied in his own person? The daring idea is pursued with the aid of evil spirits who arrive opportunely upon the something of its horrors. Nor is this all; the being to
whom he gave the indelible writing laughs at his tears and scene. Intoxicated with his conceptions he heeds not the
bids him despair, for such is his fate, since “ fools that warnings of the scholars who remonstrate with him; but
will laugh on earth must weep in hell.” And then comes in the third scene, by the charm of a Latin invocation, calls
the rejoicing (which is always depicted as keener than up Mephistophilis. 'An argument takes place between the paradisal bliss), that one irremediably doomed and godless two, in which the magnate of hell declares that the conjur- soul feels over another whom it has dragged into the same ing of Faust was only the accidental cause of his appear- dark and everlasting abyss. All this we behold faithfully
and powerfully drawn in the concluding pages of this enFor when we hear one rack the name of God,
thralling drama. Then arrives the final anguish of Faustus Abjure the Scriptures and his Saviour Christ,
before his destruction, when he emits the agonizing cry as We fiy in hope to get his glorious soul :
he nears that awful midnight, – Nor will we come unless he use such means
Oh, I'll leap up to heaven! Who pulls me down? Whereby he is in danger to be damned.
See where Christ's blood streams in the firmament:
One drop of blood will save me. Oh, my Christ,
Rend not my heart for naming of my Christ;
Yet will I call on him. Oh, spare me, Lucifer !
Where is it now? 't is gone ! Another idea, however, is prevalent at the present day as to the raising of spirits, though whether it is yet suffi
And see, a threatening arm, an angry brow !
Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall on me, ciently successful to have caused Mephistophilis to revise
And hide me from the heavy wrath of heaven. his opinions we are unable to say. Returning to Marlowe, No! in this third scene occurs a passage which the commenta- Then will I headlong run into the earth; tors have pointed out as having suggested a striking figure Gape, earth! Oh no, it will not harbor me. to Milton, though the discovery is one which would be You stars that reigned at my nativity, made by any reader of the two poets. After Mephis- Whose influence hath allotted death and hell, tophilis has informed Faustus that he is forever damned in
Now draw up Faustus, like a foggy mist, hell with Lucifer, the following dialogue occurs :
Into the entrails of yon laboring cloud;
That, when ye vomit forth into the air, Faust. How comes it, then, that thou art out of hell ?
My linbs may issue from your smoky mouths ;
But let my soul mount and ascend to heaven.
[The clock strikes the half-hour. And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Oh, half the hour is past; 'twill all be past anon.
Oh, if my soul must suffer for my sin,
Impose some end to my incessant pain.
Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years This passage immediately brings to mind familiar lines
A hundred thousand — and at last be saved ; in “ Paradise Lost,” but especially the one
No end is limited to damned souls.
Why wert thou not a creature wanting soul ?
Or why is this immortal that thou hast ? The idea is thus incontrovertibly supported that Milton,
[The clock strikes twelve. as we have already surmised, was thoroughly versed in
It strikes ! it strikes ! Now, body, turn to air, Marlowe's works; but, if necessary, other extracts could
Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell be given which would make the tale of proof irrefragable.
[Thunder and rain. There is one scene in the second act of the drama of
O soul, be changed into small water-drops, "Faustus” – that in which is beheld a procession before And fall into the ocean : ne'er be found! the Doctor of the Seven Deadly Sins - which must have
(Enter the devils. been one of the interpolations in the text complained of, Oh! mercy, heaven, look not so fierce on me! and not Marlowe's work. The humor is somewhat com
Adders and serpents, let me breathe a while. mon and coarse, and various lines, as is the case with other Ugly hell, gape not! Come not, Lucifer ! passages which could be cited, are weak and halting. In
I'll burn my books! Oh, Mephistophilis ! the third act, we return again to the real author, where The crushing eloquence of this stupendous burst of feelFaustus and his infernal tutor play their mad pranks upon ing falters a little in the last four lines, but taken altothe Pope, to the scandal of the cardinals, friars, and bish- gether it is a prodigious effort. One is rather curious in ops. The drama proceeds, very unevenly in merit, it must speculating upon what Shakespeare would have made of be confessed, till in the fifth scene Helen of Troy is intro- this catastrophe, which is, perhaps, the finest single inciduced to Faustus, who thus addresses her:
dent in the world for the writer of tragedy ; but it is Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,
questionable whether even he could have accomplished a And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
more impassioned strain, or one so suitable to the dread Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
conception. Her lips suck forth my soul! See where it flies; The “ Jew of Malta" inevitably challenges comparison Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
with “ The Merchant of Venice as regards its leading Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
character. Marlowe's play is worth little except for the
strong individuality with which his Jew is put upon the can- “ Edward the Second " is worthy of high commendation,
The avarice of the race to which Barabas belongs is though we scarcely think it warrants the lavish praise beforcibly exemplified, but the exaggerations of the populace stowed upon it by some critics. The author is again witrespecting the excesses of the Jews which were prevalent in nessed in his real strength, master of his theme, and his his day have been adopted by the dramatist in order to verse marches with all the stateliness that should attach to heighten the effect of his work. The passions of the Jew the subject. As an historical play it may be at once conare greatly distorted, and before Marlowe has arrived at ceded that it has had few equals, while it was the first of such the end of his drama he has lost control over its leading plays of any moment ever produced. The weakness of Edcharacter. From a startling realism with which he is con- ward's character is preserved, and he is not unduly allowed ceived and elaborated in the earlier acts, we pass on to a to excite our pity, misfortunes rapidly accumulating upon grotesque exh bition of fiendish traits without truthfulness his head through his mad partiality for the favorite Gavesio nature, till we arrive at a conclusion which, instead of ton. The speeches scattered through the drama attain to evoking the sense of the sublime, rather excites the sense a noble expression; witness that of the King to his friend of the ludicrous. Very different is Shakespeare's method Leicester after he has been placed in captivity, which is with Shylock, a character whose unity is preserved from full of exalted thoughts and imagery. In his lament Edhis first appearance in the play till the very last. There ward says very finely, – is some degree of interest created in the daughter of Ba
The griefs of private men are soon allayed, rabas, but she is too slightly sketched, a fault observable in
But not of kings. The forest deer, being struck, many of the characters. Occasionally, however, we meet
Runs to an herb that closeth up the wounds; with isolated passages in the play which have a strong
But when the imperial lion's flesh is gored, touch of the writer's best quality in them. This, for in
He rends and tears it with his wrathful paw, stance, is a striking simile, and one such as the author's
And highly scorning that the lowly earth genius is very felicitous in producing; it occurs in a solilo
Should drink his blood, mounts upward to the air. quy by the Jew:
And so it fares with me, whose dauntless mind
Th'ambitious Mortimer would seek to curb.
The pathos of the concluding portions of this play has been
rarely surpassed for its unstrained force and depih, and the Doth shake contagion from her sable wings ;
drama, taken as a whole, shows what a field might have Vexed and tormented runs poor Barabas
been open to Marlowe's successful cultivation, had but the With fatal curses towards these Christians.
Fates been propitious. He assuredly demonstrates the The miser is most thoroughly devoted to his consuming capacity for imagining the splendors of courts and the regal passion, so much so that he affects the daring of appealing
bearing of kings. to the God of Abraham, “ who with the fiery pillar led the
Although the next dramatic effort in order of considerasons of Israel through the dismal shades," to lead him safely complete, disjointed, and unsatisfactory, it contains one of
tion — “ The Massacre of Paris". is but a fragment, inin the quest of wealth. It is difficult to say, nevertheless, whether this passion, or the hatred of the Christians, is
the most spirited speeches to be found within the range of stronger in his breast. His denunciations of the latter are
the author's works ; namely, that of the plotting Duc de most fierce and acrid, and an idea of their bitterness may
Guise, the principal instigator of the infamous Bartholomew be gained from the following lines, in which he vents his slaughter. The lines breathe of the cruel and ambitious feelings towards this “heretical" division of humanity :
spirit of this man, who was resolved to rise, although his
downfall should possibly be the deepest hell, and who We Jews can fawn like spaniels when we please, burned to become the great centre of interest with his And when we grin we bite, yet are our looks
countrymen, a mark which should be so conspicuous as to As innocent and harmless as a lamb's. I learned in Florence how to kiss my hand,
cause the world to wonder“ as men that stand and gaze Heave up my shoulders when they called me dog,
against the sun." In every other respect except that of the And duck as low as any barefoot friar,
remarkable individuality of several of the characters, and Hoping to see them starve upon a stall,
two or three outbursts of passion, the fragment is almost Or else be gathered for in our Synagogue ;
worthless. Dido, Queen of Carthage," presents a checkThat, when the offering basin comes to me,
ered appearance in the workmanship, as though it had been Even for charity I may spit into it.
collaborated by a master mind and a poetic buffoon. Much This exceedingly pleasant individual is made to over
of it is unquestionably Marlowe's, but other passages, which reach himself at the end of the drama in an absurd manner,
savor of doggerel extraordinary, are as unquestionably not.
It is affirmed that the dramatist's old assailant, Nash, bad and such as we should not have predicted upon our first in
a finger in the completion of this drama, and if so, it is by troduction to him. the fury begotten of his losses be almost loses his reason, and certainly all that cunning and
no means the worst kind of revenge he could have taken that coolness which are supposed to distinguish his tribe in pliment. The student, however, will very easily divide the
upon the great writer, while pretending to make it a commoments of supremest danger. It is here, we think, that Chaff from the wheat, for Marlowe attains to a high excelthe dramatist has failed. Barabas holds that “it's no
lence here, which only serves to place his assistant's work sin to deceive a Christian," a doctrine which enables him to become a robber upon principle ; but having been de
in a more contemptible light. The illustrious Æneas loses ceived in turn he is so beside himself with rage that he is
much of the dignity generally associated with his character
when we find him addressing Ascanius in these absurdly incapable of doing justice to his own principle and of reducing it to practice . So, after a good deal of plotting and colloquial terms, which could not fail to arrest the attention
of even the most casual reader: counterplotting - in which it must be admitted the Jew very neatly arranges that two of his enemies should kill
Alas! sweet boy, thou must be still awhile, each other we arrive at the final stage of the play. Ba
Till we have fire to dress the meat we killed ; rabas, who had prepared a very clumsy trap for certain of
Gentle Achates, reach the tinder-box, his enemies, falls into a much simpler one himself, and his
That we may make a fire to warm us with,
And roast our new-found victuals on this shore. last words to his fellow-mortals are oaths and execrations. Amidst these he expires, and the Christians feel that they This is not the "mighty line” along which the English are relieved of a bugbear. The second part of the drama drama advanced to perfection. But there are other pasdoes not display the careful workmanship to be found in sages, notably in Act II., where Æneas relates his heroic the preceding acts; it is as if the artificer had become tired story to Dido, which could only have proceeded from of his work, and having conceived his character, lacked the Marlowe bimself: they are full of strength and nervous patience to follow out its proportions.
energy. The passion of Dido, with its tragical ending, is In every respect a contrast to this tragedy, the drama of traced with gathering feeling; and the Queen of Carthage