Christopher Marlowe.

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the great Glow-worm and Will-o'-the-wisp — the life, the
fortune, and the favourite of the brightest among ye !

Away !

Whither ?


Anywhere, so it be distant.


What mean'st by discarding me, and why is it ? 'Slud !
is this the right sort of return for all my skilful activities,
my adroit fascinations of young lords in drink, my tricks
at dice, cards, and dagger-play, not to speak too loudly
of bets on bear-baits, soap-bubbles, and Shrovetide cocks;
or my hes about your beauty and temper ? Have I not
brought dukes and earls and reverend seniors, on tip-toe,
and softly whispering for fear of " the world," right
under the balcony of your window ? — O, don't beat the
dust with your fine foot ! These be good services, I
think !

332 The Death of Marlowe.

Cecilia [half aside).

Alas ! alas ! the world sees us only as bright, though
baleful stars, little knowing our painful punishments in
the dark — our anguish in secret.

Are you thinking of me ?



Go ! — a death's-head crown your pillow ! May you
dream of love, and wake and see that !

I had rather see't than you.


What's i' the wind, — nobleman, or gentleman, or a
brain fancy — am not I at hand ? Are you mad ?

Cecilia {overcome).
I'd gladly believe I have been so.


Good. I'm content you see me aright once more, and
acknowledge yourself wrong.

The Death of Marlowe. "^-^-^

Cecilia (half aside, and fearfully).

O, wrong indeed — very wrong — to my better nature —
my better nature.


And to me, too ! Bethink thee, I say, when last year,
after the dance at Hampton, thou wert enraged against
the noble that slighted thee ; and, flushed with wine,
thou took'st me by the ear, and mad'st me hand thee
into thy coach, and get in beside thee, with a drawn sword
in my hand and a dripping trencher on my head, singing
such songs, until

Earthworms and stone walls !

Hey ! what of them ?


I would that as the corporal Past they cover,
They would, at earnest bidding of the will,
Entomb in walls of darkness and devour
The hated retrospections of the mind.

Jacconot {aside).

Oho ! — the lamps and saw-dust ! — Here's foul play

And mischief in the market. Preaching varlet !

I'll find him out — I'll dog him ! Exit.

334 The Death of Marlowe.


Gnaws at the root of being, and doth hang
A heavy sickness on the beams of day,
Making the atmosphere, which should exalt
Our contemplations, press us down to earth,
As though our breath had made it thick with plague.
Cursed ! accursed be the freaks of Nature,
That mar us from ourselves, and make our acts
The scorn and loathing of our afterthoughts —
The finger mark of Conscience,*' who, most treacherous.
Wakes to accuse, but slumber'd o'er the sin.



A room in the Triple Tun, Blackfriars.

Marlowe, Middleton, Heywood, and Gentlemen.


I do rejoice to find myself among
The choicest spirits of the age : health, sirs !
I would commend your fame to future years,
But that I know ere this ye must be old
In the conviction, and that ye full oft
With sure posterity have shaken hands
Over the unstable bridge of present time.

The Death of Mm'lowe.



Not so : we write from the full heart within,

And leave posterity to find her own.

Health, sir ! — your good deeds laurel you in heaven.


'Twere best men left their fame to chance and fashion,
As birds bequeath their eggs to the sun's hatching,
Since Genius can make no will.


Trotli, can it !
But for the consequences of the deed,
What fires of blind fatality may catch them !
Say, you do love a woman — do adore her —
You may embalm the memory of her worth
And chronicle her beauty to all time.
In words whereat great Jove himself might flush,
And feel Olympus tremble at his thoughts ;
Yet where is your security ? Some clerk
Wanting a foolscap, or some boy a kite,
Some housewife fuel, or some sportsman wadding
To wrap a ball (which hits the poet's brain
By merest accident) seizes your record.
And to the wind thus scatters all your will,
Or, rather, your will's object. Thus, our pride
Swings like a planet by a single hair.
Obedient to God's breath. More wine ! more wine !
I preach — and I grow melancholy — wine !

336 The Death of Marlowe.

Enter Drawer with a tankard.
A Gentleman (rising).
We're wending homeward — gentlemen, good night !


Not yet — not yet — the night has scarce begun —
Nay, Master Heywood — Middleton, you'll stay !
Bright skies to those who go — high thoughts go with ye,
And constant youth !

We thank you, sir — good night ! Exeunt Gentlemen.

Let's follow — 'tis near morning.


Do not go.
I'm ill at ease, touching a certain matter
I've taken to heart — don't speak oft — and besides
I have a sort of horror of my bed.
Last night a squadron charged me in a dream.
With Isis and Osiris at the flanks,
Towering and waving their colossal arms.
While in a van a fiery chariot roU'd,
Wherein a woman stood— I knew her well —
Who seem'd but newly risen from the grave !

The Death of Marlowe. 337

She whirl'd a javelin at me, and methought

I woke ; when, slowly at the foot o' the bed

The mist-like curtains parted, and upon me

Did learned Faustus look ! He shook his head

With grave reproof, but more of sympathy,

As though his past humanity came o'er him —

Then went away with a low, gushing sigh,

That startled his own death-cold breast, and seem'd

As from a marble urn where passion's ashes

Their sleepless vigil keep. Well — perhaps they do.

{after a pause)
Lived he not greatly ? Think what was his power !
All knowledge at his beck — the very Devil
His common slave. And, O, brought he not back,
Through the thick-million'd catacombs of ages,
Helen's unsullied loveliness to his arms ?


So — let us have more wine, then !


Spirit enough
Springs from thee, Master Marlowe — what need more.


Drawer ! lift up thy leaden poppy-head !

Up man ! — where art ? The night seems wondrous hot !

(Marlowe throws open a side wifidow that readies-
down to the floor y and stands there, looking out.)


^2,^ The Death of Marlowe.

Heywood {to Middleton).

The air flows in upon his heated face,

And he grows pale with looking at the stars ;

Thinking the while of many things in heaven.

And some one on the earth — as fair to him —
For, lo you ! — is't not she ?

{Pointing towards the open window.)


The lady, folded
In the long mantle, coming down the street ?

Let be ; we cannot help him.

(Heywood a?id Middleton retire apart — Cecilia
is passing by the open window.)


Stay awhile ! —
One moment stay !

Cecilia {pausing).

That is not much to ask.

{She steps in through the window^


Nor much for you to grant ; but O, to me
That moment is a circle without bounds, —
Because I see no end to my delight !

The Death of Marlowe.


O, sir, you make me very sad at heart \

Let's speak no more of this. I am on my way

To walk beside tlie river.


May I come ?

Ah, no ; I'll go alone.


'Tis dark and dismal ;
Nor do I deem it safe !


What can harm me ?
If not above, at least I am beyond
All common dangers. No, you shall not come.
I have some questions I would ask myself;
And in the sullen, melancholy flow
O' the unromantic Thames, that has been witness
Of many tragical realities,
Bare of adornment as its cold stone stairs,
I may find sympathy, if not response.


You find both here. I know thy real life ;
We do not see the truth — or, O, how little !

340 The Death of Marlowe.

Pure light sometimes through painted windows streams ;

And, when all's dark around thee, thou art fair !

Thou bear'st within an ever-burning lamp,

To me more sacred than a vestal's shrine ;

For she may be of heartless chastity,

False in all else, and proud of her poor ice,

As though 'twere fire suppress'd ; but thou art good

For goodness' sake ; — true-hearted, lovable,

For truth and honour's sake ; and such a woman,

That man who wins, the gods themselves may envy.

Cecilia {going).

Considering all things, this is bitter sweet.


And I may come ? {following her).

Cecilia {finnly).

You shall not.


I obey you.

Cecilia {tenderly).

Ah ! Kit Marlowe, —

You think too much of me — and of yourself

Too little !


Then I may {advancing).

The Death of Marlowe. 34 1

Cecilia {firmly).

No — no !


Wilt promise
To see me for one " good night " ere you sleep ?


On my way home I will.

{$he turns to look at him — then steps through tlie
window — Exit. )

Be sure — be sure !
(Heywood and Middleton approach.

Now, Marlowe ! — you desert us !


Say not so ; —
Or, saying so, add — that I have lost myself !
Nay, but I have ; yonder I go in the dark !

{pointing after Cecilia).

342 The Death of Marlowe.

Street Music. — Jacconot, singing outside.

Ram out the link, boys ; ho, boys ! ^

There's daylight in the sky !
"While the trenchers strew the floor,
And the worn-out grey beards snore,
Jolly throats continue dry !

Ram out the link, boys, &c.


What voice is that ?

Marlowe {through his teeth).

From one of the hells.
The roystering singer approaches.

Enter Jacconot, with a full tankard.


Ever awake and shining, my masters ! and here am I,
your twin lustre, always ready to herald and anoint your
pleasures, like a true Master of the Revels. I ha' just
stepped over the drawer's body, laid nose and heels
together on the door-mat, asleep, and here's wherewith to
continue the glory !

1 The inverted iron horns or tubes, a few of which still remain on
lamp-posts and gates, were formerly used as extinguishers to the torches
which were thrust into them.

The Death of Jllarlowe. 343


We need not your help.

We thank you, Jack-o'-night : we would be alone.


What say yon, Master Marlowe ? you look as grim as
a sign-painter's first sketch on a tavern bill, after his
ninth tankard.


Cease your death-rattle, night-hawk !

That's well said.


Is it? So 'tis my gallants — a night-bird like your-
selves, am I.


Beast ! — we know you,


Your merry health, Master Kit Marlowe ! I'll bring
a loud pair of palms to cheer your soul the next time you
strut in red paint with a wooden weapon at your thigh.

344 "^^^ Death of Marlowe.

Who sent for yoti, dorr-hawk ? — go !


Go ! Aha ! — I remember the word — same tone, same
gesture — or as Uke as the two profiles of a monkey, or as
two squeaks for one pinch. Go ! — not I — here's to all
your healths ! One pull more ! There, I've done — take
it, Master Marlowe ; and pledge me as the true knight of
London's rarest beauties !

I will ! {Dashes the tankard at his head.)

Jacconot {stooping qtiickly).

A miss, 'fore-gad ! — the wall has got it ! See where it
trickles down like the long robe of some dainty fair one !
And look you here — and there again, look you ! — what
make you of the picture he hath presented ?

Marlowe (staggers as he stares at the wall).

O subtle Nature ! who hath so compounded
Our senses, playing into each other's wheels.
That feeling oft acts substitute for sight,
As sight becomes obedient to the thought —
How canst thou place such wonders at the mercy
Of every wretch that crawls ? I feel — I see !

{Street Music as before, but farther off.)

The Death of Marlowe. 345

Jacconot {singing).

Ram out the link, boys ; ho, boys !
The blear-eyed morning's here ;
Let us wander through the streets,
And kiss whoe'er one meets ;
St. Cecil is my dear !

Ram out the link, boys, &c.

Marlowe {drawing).
Lightning come up from hell and strangle thee !

MiDDLETON and Heywood.
Nay, Marlowe ! Marlowe ! {thfy hold him back).


Away, thou bestial villain !

Jacconot {singing at Marlowe).
St. Cecil is my dear !

Marlowe {furiously).

Blast ! blast and scatter
Thy body to ashes ! Off! I'll have his ghost !

{rushes at Jacconot — theyfiglit — IMarlowe disarms
him ; ^z^/ Jacconot wrests Marlowe's oiati sword
from his hand, and stabs hitn — MARL0WE_/a//j).


See ! see !

34^ The Death of Marlowe.

Marlowe {clasping his forehead).

Who's down ? — answer me, friends — is't I ? —
Or in the maze of some delirious trance,
Some realm unknown, or passion newly born —
Ne'er felt before — am I transported thus ?
My fingers paddle, too, in blood — is't mine ?


O, content you. Master Marplot — it's you that's down,
drunk or sober; and that's your own blood on your
fingers, running from a three-inch groove in your ribs for
the devil's imps to slide into you. Ugh ! cry gramercy !
for it's all over with your rhyming !

O, heartless mischief !


Hence, thou rabid cur !


What demon in the air with unseen arm

Hath turn'd my unchain'd fury against myself?

Recoiling dragon ! thy resistless force

Scatters thy mortal master in his pride.

To teach him, with self-knowledge, to fear thee.

Forgetful of all corporal conditions.

My passion hath destroy'd me !

The Death of Marlowe. 347


No such matter ; it was my doing. You shouldn't ha*
ran at me in that fashion with a real sword — I thought
it had been one o' your sham ones.




See ! his face changes — lift him up !
{they raise and support htm)
Here — place your hand upon his side — here, here —
Close over mine, and staunch the flowing wound !

Marlowe {delirious).

Bright is the day — the air with glory teems —

And eagles wanton in the smile of Jove :

Can these things be, and Marlowe live no more !

Heywood ! Heywood ! I had a world of hopes
About that woman — now in my heart they rise
Confused, as flames from my life's coloured map,
That burns until with wrinkling agony

Its ashes flatten, separate, and drift

Through gusty darkness. Hold me fast by the arm !

A little aid will save me : — See ! she's here !

1 clasp thy form — I feel thy breath, my love —
And know thee for a sweet saint come to save me !
Save ! — is it death I feel — it cannot be death ?

348 1^^^^ Death of Marlowe.

Jacconot {half aside).

Marry, but it can ! — or else your sword's a foolish dog
that dar'n't bite his owner.


O friends — dear friends — this is a sorry end —

A most unworthy end ! To think — O God ! —

To think that I should fall by the hand of one

Whose office, like his nature, is all baseness.

Gives Death ten thousand stings, and to the Grave

A damning victory ! Fame sinks with life !

A galling — shameful — ignominious end ! {sinks down).

mighty heart ! O full and orbed heart,
Flee to thy kindred sun, rolling on high !
Or let the hoary and eternal sea

Sweep me away, and swallow body and soul !


There'll be no " encore " to either, I wot ; for thou'st
led an ill life. Master Marlowe ; and so the sweet Saint
thou spok'st of will remain my fair game — behind the


Liar ! slave ! sla Kind Master Heywood,

You will not see me die thus ! — thus by the hand
And maddening tongue of such a beast as that !
Haste, if you love me — fetch a leech to help me —
Here — Middleton — sweet friend — a bandage here —

1 cannot die by such a hand — I will not —

The Death of Marlowe. 349

I say I will not die by that vile hand !

Go bring Cecilia to me — bring the leech —

Close — close this wound — you know I did it myself —

Bring sweet Cecilia — haste — haste — instantly —

Bring life and time — bring heaven ! — Oh, I am dying ! —

Some water — stay beside me — maddening death,

By such a hand ! O villain ! from the grave

I constantly will rise — to curse ! curse ! curse thee !

{liises — and falls dead.)

Terrible end !


O God ! — he is quite gone !

Jacconot {aghast).

'Twas dreadful — 'twas ! Christ help us ! and lull him
to sleep in's grave. I stand up for mine own nature
none the less. ( Voices tvithojit.) What noise is that ?

Enter Officers.

Chief Officer.

This is our man — ha ! murder has been here ! You are
our prisoner — the gallows waits you !


What have I done to be hung up like a miracle ? The
hemp's not sown nor the ladder-wood grown, that shall

350 The Death of Marlowe.

help fools to finish me ! He did it himself ! He said so
with his last words ! — there stands his friends and brother
players — put them to their Testament if he said not he
did it himself?

Chief Officer.

Who is it lies here ? — methinks that I should know him,
But for the fierce distortion of his face !


He who ere while wrote with a brand of fire,

Now, in his passionate blood, floats tow'rds the grave !

The present time is ever ignorant —

We lack clear vision in our self-love's maze ;

But Marlowe in the future will stand great,

Whom this — the lowest caitiff in the world —

A nothing, save in grossness, hath destroy 'd.


"Caitiff" back again in your throat ! and "gross nothing"
to boot — may you have it to live upon for a month, and
die mad and starving ! Would'st swear my life away so
lightly ? Tut ! who was he ? I could always find the
soundings of a quart tankard, or empty a pasty in half
his time, and swear as rare oaths between whiles — who
was he ? I too ha' writ my odes and Pindar jigs with the
twinkUng of a bedpost, to the sound of the harp and
hurdygurdy, while Capricornus wagged his fiery beard ;
I ha' sung songs to the faint moon's echoes at daybreak
and danced here away and there away, like the lightning
through a forest ! As to your sword and dagger play,

The Death of Marlowe. 351

I've got the trick o' the eye and wrist — who was he?
What's all his gods — his goddesses and hes ? — the first
a'nt worth a word ; and for the two last, I was always
a prince of both! "Caitiff!" and "beast!" and "no-
thing ! " — who was he ?

Chief Officer.

You're ours, for sundry villanies committed,
Sufficient each to bring your vice to an end ;
The law hath got you safely in its grasp !

J ACCONOT {after a pause) .

Then may Vice and I sit crown'd in heaven, while
Law and Honesty stalk damned through hell ! Now do
I see the thing very plain ! — treachery — treachery, my
masters ! I know the jade that hath betrayed me — I
know her. 'Slud ! who cares? She was a fine woman,
too — a rare person — and a good spirit ; but there's an
end of all now — she's turned foolish and virtuous, and a
tell-tale, and I am to be turned to dust through it — long,
long before my time : and these princely limbs must go
make a dirt-pie — build up a mud hut — or fatten an
alderman's garden ! There ! calf-heads — there's a lemon
for your mouths ! Heard'st ever such a last dying
speech and confession ! Write it in red ochre on a sheet
of Irish, and send it to Mistress Cecily for a death-
winder. I know what you've got against me — and I
know you all deserve just the same yourselves — but lead
on, my masters !

Exeunt Jacconot and Officers.

352 The Death of Marlowe.


Marlowe ! canst thou rise with power no more ?
Can greatness die thus ?

Heywood (pending over the body).

Miserable sight !

(^ shriek outside the house.)


That cry ! — what may that mean ?

Heywood {as if awaking).

I hear no cry.


What is't comes hither, like a gust of wind ?

Cecilia rushes in.


Where — where ? O, then, 'tis true — and he is dead !
All's over now — there's nothing in the world —
For he who raised my heart up from the dust,
And show'd me noble lights in mine own soul,
Has fled my gratitude and growing love —

1 never knew how deep it was till now !

Through me, too ! — do not curse me ! — I was the cause-
Yet do not curse me — No ! no ! not the cause,

The Death of Marlowe. 353

But that it happen'd so. This is the reward

Of Marlowe's love ! — why, why did I delay ?

O, gentlemen, pray for me ! I have been

Lifted in heavenly air — and suddenly

The arm that placed me, and with strength sustain'd me,

Is snatch'd up, starward : I can neither follow,

Nor can I touch the gross earth any more !

Pray for me, gentlemen ! — but breathe no blessings —

Let not a blessing sweeten your dread prayers —

I wish no blessings— nor could bear their weight ;

For I am left, I know not where or how :

But, pray for me — my soul is buried here.

{Sifiks down upon the body. )


" Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,
And burned is Apollo's laurel bough ! "

{Solemn music.)

H)arf? Curtain.



affects, iii. 60

again, ii. 161

a-good, ii. .49

air of life, ii. 217

Albertus, i. 220

Alcides' post, i. 105

a-life, iii. 175

AUeyn, Edward, ii. 6

Almain rutters, i. 112

amorous, i. 121

Antwerp, blockade of, i. 217

aphorisms, i. 213

appointed, ii. 190

approve, iii. 263

Aquarius, iii. 279

Arden of Feversham, quoted, ii.

argins, i. 149
Ariosto, incident taken from, i.

artier, i. 45
axes, iii. 255
azur'd, i. 276

bable, iii. 299
Badgeth, i. 1x5
baiting, iii. 99
ballace, ii. 335
bandy, ii. 125
Banks' horse, iii. 232
Barabas' nose, ii. 47
basilisks, i. 67
bassoes, i. 48
bastones, i. 57
bevers, i. 246

bezzling, iii. 247

bid a base, ii. 191

bill, i. 213

bird-bolt, iii. 96

blazing star, iii. 225

block, iii. 226

blubbered, i. 85

bombards, ii. 105

border, iii. 129

boss, i. 62

Boulogne, taking of, iii. 224

Bourne, Vincent, his Cantatrices,

iii. 238
bousing-glass, iii. 247
brave, i. 21
braves, ii. 175

Brest, expedition against, iii. 239
Britainy, ii. 10
bugs, i. 164

bullets wrapt in fire, ii. 40
burn, iii. 234
by, ii. 14

Cadiz, expedition against, iii. 48

carbonadoes, i. 79

case, i. 246

cast, ii. 105

Catullus imitated, iii. 89

catzery, ii. 89

cavaliero, i. 141

cazzo, ii. 75

centronel, ii. 328

champion, i. 32

channel (collar-bone), i. 125

channel (gutter), ii, 127


Index to the Notes.

cleapt, iii. 98

cleys, iii. 279

clift, i. 206

clout, i. 37

coated, iii. 314

coll, ii. 354

colts, i. 180

competitor, i. 25

confits, iii. 85

convertite, ii. 22

counterfeit, i. 51

counterscarfs, iii. 228

covent, ii. 78

covered way, i. 149

Creusa's crown, allusion to, ii.

cross, ii. 52
cross-biting, ii. 89
cullions, ii. 148
curst, iii. 225
custom, ii. 13
cypress, iii. 51

Damasco, i. 84

Damascus walls, i. 87

damned, i. 204

dang'd, iii. 37

Daniel, Samuel, allusions to, iii.

232, 242
debasement of coinage, iii. 225
defend, ii. 272
deserved, ii. 190

Devil (he that eats with the Devil
had need ofa long spoon), ii. 67
die, ii. 119
Dis, iii. 36
discoloured, iii. 10
dittany, ii. 205
double cannons, i. 252
Drayton, Michael, allusion to, iii.


earns, ii. 202
ecues, ii. 244
elephant, object of wonder, iii.

Elze, Dr. Karl, emendation by, ii.

eiiginous, iii. 52

entrance, ii. 252
erring, i. 223
exercise, ii. 84
exhibition, ii. 280
exocoetus, ii. 154
eyas, iii. 62
eye, by the, ii. 68
eyelids of the day, ii. 38

falc'nets, i. 152
false-brays, iii. 228
fancy, ii. 339
far-fet, ii. 344
favour, iii. 97
fawns, iii. 92
fet, iii. 268
few, in, ii. 68
fleering, ii. i6i
fleet, i. 61
flour, iii. 11
flying-fish, ii. 154
foil (check), i. 64
foil (stain), i. 170
foreslow, ii. 167
frost of 1564. iii. 224

gabions, i. 154

garboils, iii. 255

Gascoigne, George, iii. 226

gaunt, iii. 236

gear, i. 31

give arms. i. 164

glorious, i. 70

gobbets, iii. m

grate, iii. 215

guess, i. 313

Guilpin's Skialetheia quoted, iii.

214, 238
Guise, the, ii. 9

had I wist, ii. 172
halcyon's bill, ii. 12
Hammon, Master Thomas, ii. 4
Harington, Sir John, his Ajax,
iii. 231 ; his dog Bungey, iii.


harness, ii. 324

Hatton, Sir Christopher, his monu-
ment, iii. 2t7

Index to the Notes.



haught, ii. 176

Havre, expedition against, iii

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