Christopher Marlowe.

The works of Christoher Marlowe; (Volume 3) online

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So serious is his trifling company.
In all his swelling ship of vacantry ;
And so short of himself in his high thought
Was our Leander in his fortunes brought,
And in his fort of love that he thought won ;
But otherwise he scorns comparison.

1 A short arrow blunted at the end ; it killed birds without piercing

Sixth Sestiad. 97

O sweet Leander, thy large worth I hide
In a short grave ! ill-favour'd storms must chide
Thy sacred favour ; ^ I in floods of ink
Must drown thy graces, which white papers drink, 140
Even as thy beauties did the foul black seas ;
I must describe the hell of thy decease,
That heaven did merit : yet I needs must see
Our painted fools and cockhorse peasantry
Still, still usurp, with long lives, loves, and lust,
The seats of Virtue, cutting short as dust
Her dear-bought issue : ill to worse converts,
And tramples in the blood of all deserts.

Night close and silent now goes fast before
The captains and the soldiers to the shore, 150

On whom attended the appointed fleet
At Sestos' bay, that should Leander meet.
Who feigned he in another ship would pass :
Which must not be, for no one mean there was
To get his love home, but the course he took.
Forth did his beauty for his beauty look,
And saw her through her torch, as you behold
Sometimes within the sun a face of gold,
Formed in strong thoughts, by that tradition's force
That says a god sits there and guides his course. 160

His sister was with him ; to whom he show'd
His guide by sea, and said, " Oft have you view'd
In one heaven many stars, but never yet
In one star many heavens till now were met.

1 Countenance.

98 Hero and Leander.

See, lovely sister ! see, now Hero shines,

No heaven but her appears ; each star repines,

And all are clad in clouds, as if they mourned

To be by influence of earth out-burned.

Yet doth she shine, and teacheth Virtue's train

Still to be constant in hell's blackest reign, 170

Though even the gods themselves do so entreat

As they did hate, and earth as she would eat them."

Off went his silken robe, and in he leapt,
Whom the kind waves so licorously cleapt,^
Thickening for haste, one in another, so.
To kiss his skin, that he might almost go
To Hero's tower, had that kind minute lasted.
But now the cruel Fates with Ate hasted
To all the winds, and made them battle fight
Upon the Hellespont, for either's right 180

Pretended to the windy monarchy ;
And forth they brake, the seas mixed with the sky,
And tossed distressed Leander, being in hell.
As high as heaven : bliss not in height doth dwell.
The Destinies sate dancing on the waves,
To see the glorious Winds with mutual braves
Consume each other ; O, true glass, to see
How ruinous ambitious statists be
To their own glories ! Poor Leander cried
For help to sea-born Venus she denied ; 190

Clipt, embraced.

Sixth Sestiad. 99

To Boreas, that, for his Atthasa's ^ sake

He would some pity on his Hero take,

And for his own love's sake, on his desires ;

But Glory never blows cold Pity's fires.

Then call'd he Neptune, who, through all the noise,

Knew with affright his wreck'd Leander's voice.

And up he rose ; for haste his forehead hit

'Gainst heaven's hard crystal ; liis proud waves he smit

With his forked sceptre, that could not obey \

Much greater powers than Neptune's gave them sway. 200

They loved Leander so, in groans they brake

When they came near him ; and such space did take

'Twixt one another, loath to issue on.

That in their shallow furrows earth was shown.

And the poor lover took a little breath :

But the curst Fates sate spinning of his death

On every wave, and with the servile Winds .

Tumbled them on him. And now Hero finds,

By that she felt, her dear Leander's state :

She wept, and prayed for him to every Fate; 210

And every Wind that whipped her with her hair

About the face, she kissed and spake it fair,

Kneeled to it, gave it drink out of her eyes

To quench his thirst : but still their cruelties

Even her poor torch envied, and rudely beat

The baiting^ flame from that dear food it eat ;

1 From Gr. Ar^ts (a woman of Attica, i.e., Orithyia).

2 " The flame taking ^a?V (refreshment), feeding." — Dyce. (Old eds.
" bating.").

I oo He7'o and Leander.

Dear, for it nourish'd her Leander's life ;

Which with her robe she rescued from their strife ;

But silk too soft was such hard hearts to break ;

And she, dear soul, even as her silk, faint, weak, 220

Could not preserve it ; out, O, out it went !

Leander still call'd Neptune, that now rent

His brackish curls, and tore his wrinkled face,

Where tears in billows did each other chase ;

And, burst with ruth, he hurl'd his marble mace

At the stern Fates : it wounded Lachesis

That drew Leander's thread, and could not miss

The thread itself, as it her hand did hit.

But smote it full, and quite did sunder it.

The more kind Neptune raged, the more he razed 230

His love's life's fort, and kill'd as he embraced :

Anger^oth_atillJijg.awn.)iij^b^Jncigase j

If any comfort live, it is in peace.

O thievish Fates, to let blood, flesh, and sense,

Build two fair temples for their excellence,

To rob it with a poisoned influence !

Though souls' gifts starve, the bodies are held dear

In ugliest things ; sense-sport preserves a bear :

But here naught serves our turns : O heaven and earth.

How most-most wretched is our human birth ! 240

And now did all the tyrannous crew depart,

Knowing there was a storm in Hero's heart.

Greater than they could make, and scorn'd their

She bow'd herself so low out of her tower.
That wonder 'twas she fell not ere her hour,

Sixth Sestiad. loi

With searching the lamenting waves for him :

Like a poor snail, her gentle su})ple limb

Hung on her turret's top, so most downright,

As she would dive beneath the darkness quite,

To find her jewel ; — jewel ! — her Leander, 250

A name of all earth's jewels pleas'd not her

Like his dear name : " Leander, still my choice.

Come naught but my Leander ! O my voice,

Turn to Leander ! henceforth be all sounds.

Accents and phrases, that show all griefs' wounds,

Analyzed in Leander ! O black change !

Trumpets, do you, with thunder of your clange.

Drive out this change's horror ! My voice faints :

Where all joy was, now shriek out all complaints ! "

Thus cried she ; for her mixed soul could tell 260

Her love was dead : and when the Morning fell

Prostrate upon the weeping earth for woe.

Blushes, that bled out of her cheeks, did show

Leander brought by Neptune, bruis'd and torn

With cities' rums he to rocks had worn,

To filthy usuring rocks, that would have blood.

Though they could get of him no other good.

She saw him, and the sight was much-much more

Than might have serv'd to kill her : should her store

Of giant sorrows speak? — Burst, — die, — bleed, 270'

And leave poor plaints to us that shall succeed.

She fell on her love's bosom, hugged it fast,

And with Leander's name she breathed her last.

Neptune for pity in his arms did take them,
Flung them into the air, and did awake them

I02 Hero a7id Leander.

Like two sweet birds, surnam'd th' Acanthides,

Which we call Thistle-warps, that near no seas

Dare ever come, but still in couples fly,

And feed on thistle-tops, to testify

The hardness of their first life in their last ; 280

The first, in thorns of love, that sorrows past :

And so most beautiful their colours show,

As none (so little) like them ; her sad brow

A sable velvet feather covers quite,

Even like the forehead-cloth that, in the night,

Or when they sorrow, ladies use ^ to wear :

Their wings, blue, red, and yellow, mixed appear :

Colours that, as we construe colours, paint

Their states to life ; — the yellow shows their saint,

The dainty 2 Venus, left them ; blue their truth ; 290

The red and black, ensigns of death and ruth.

And this true honour from their love-death sprung, —

They were the first that ever poet sung.^

1 Old eds. " vsde."
- Isham copy " deuil."

3 In Chapman's day the work of the grammarian Musaeus was sup-
posed to be the genuine production of the fabulous son of Eumolpus.


All the old editions of Marlowe's translation of the Amores are
undated, and bear the imprint Middleburgh (in various spellings).
It is probable that the copy which Mr. Charles Edmonds discovered
at Lamport Hall, Northamptonshire (the seat of Sir Charles Isham,
Bart.), is the earliest of extant editions. The title-page of this edition
is — Epigrammes and Elegies. By I. D. and C. M. At Middleborugh
i2mo. After the title-page come the Epigrammata, which are
signed at the end "I, D." (the initials of Sir John Davies).
Following the Epigrammata is a copy of verses headed Ignoto, and
then conies a second title-page — Certaine of Ovid's Elegies. By C.
Marlowe. At Middleboron^h. In his preface to a facsimile reprint
of the little volume, Mr. Edmonds states his conviction that this
edition, notwithstanding the imprint Middleborough, was issued at
London from the press of W. Jaggard, who in 1599 printed the
Passionate Pilgrime. He grounds his opinion not only on the
character of the type and of the misprints, but on the fact that
there would be no need for the book to be printed abroad in the first
instance. It was not (he thinks) until after June 1599 — when (with
other books) it was condemned by Archbishop Whitgift to be burnt
— that recourse was had to the expedient of reprinting it at Middle-
burgh. In the notes I refer to this edition as the Isham copy.

The next edition, which has the same title-pages as the Isham copy
— Epigrammes and Elegies by I. D. and C. M. at Middleborugh^
i2mo. — was certainly, to judge from its general appearance, printed
abroad, and by foreigners. The text agrees in the main with that
of the Isham copy, but the corruptions are more numerous. I
have followed Dyce in referring to this edition as Ed. A.

The Isham copy and Ed. A contain only a portion of the Elegies.
The complete translation appeared in All Ovid'' s Elegies: 3 Bookes.
By C. M. Epigrams by I. D. At Middleborugh, i2mo. (Ed. B) ; and
in another edition with the same title-page (Ed. C). The readings of
Ed. C I have occasionally borrowed from Dyce. It is supposed
that the book "continued to be printed with Middleburgh on the
title, and without date, as late as 1640" (Hazlitt).




Elegia I.

Quemadmodum a Cupidine, pro bellis amores scribere coactas sit.

JV£ which were OviiVs five books, now are th'ee,
For these before the rest preferret/i he :
If reading five thou plainest of tediousness,
Two taen away, thy ^ labour will be less ;

With Muse prepared,- I meant to sing of arms,

Choosing a subject fit for fierce alarms :

Both verses were alike till Love (men say)

Began to smile and took one foot away.

Rash boy, who gave thee power to change a line ?

We are the Muses' prophets, none of thine.

1 So the Isham copy. Ed. A " the."

2 Isham copy and ed. A " vpreard, I meane. '

io6 Ovid's Elegies.

What, if thy mother take Diana's ^ bow,

Shall Dian fan when love begins to glow ?

In woody groves is't meet that Ceres reign.

And quiver-bearing Dian till the plain ? lo

Who'll set the fair-tressed Sun in battle-ray

While Mars doth take the Aonian harp to play ?

Great are thy kingdoms, over-strong and large,

Ambitious imp, why seek'st thou further charge ?

Are all things thine ? the Muses' Tempe thine?

Then scarce can Phoebus say, "This harp is mine."

When 2 in this work's first verse I trod aloft.

Love slaked my muse, and made my numbers soft :

I have no mistress nor no favourite,

Being fittest matter for a wanton wit. 20

Thus I complained, but Love unlocked his quiver,

Took out the shaft, ordained my heart to shiver.

And bent his sinewy bow upon his knee,

Saying, "Poet, here's a work beseeming thee."

O, woe is me ! he never shoots but hits,

I burn, love in my idle bosom sits :

Let my first verse be six, my last five feet :

Farewell stern war, for blunter poets meet !

Elegian muse, that warblest amorous lays.

Girt my shine ^ brow with seabank myrtle sprays.^ 30

1 The original has —

" Quid? si prgeripiat flavae Venus arma Minerva:
Ventilet accensas flavas Minerva comas."
- "Cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,

Attenuat nervos proximus ille meos."
■'■ Sheen.
* Dyce's correction for "praise " of the old eds.

Ovid's Elegies. 107

Elegia II.

Quod primo amore correptus, in triumphum duci se a
Cupidine patiatur.

What makes my bed seem hard seeing it is soft ?

Or why shps down the coverlet so oft ?

Although the nights be long I sleep not tho ; ^

My sides are sore with tumbling to and fro.

Were Love the cause it's like I should descry him,

Or lies he close and shoots where none can spy him ?

'Twas so ; he strook me with a slender dart ;

'Tis cruel Love turmoils my captive heart.

Yielding or striving- do we give him miglit,

Let's yield, a burden easily borne is light. 10

I saw a brandished fire increase in strength,

Which being not shak'd, I saw it die at length.

Young oxen newly yoked are beaten more,

Than oxen which have drawn the plough before :

And rough jades' mouths with stubborn bits are torn,

But managed horses' heads are lightly borne.^

Unwilling lovers, love doth more torment,

Than such as in their bondage feel content.

Lo ! I confess, I am thy captive I,

And hold my conquered hands for thee to tie. 20

1 Then.

- So the Isham copy and ed. A. Other eds. "struggling."
3 " Frena minus setitit quisquis ad arma facit. " — Marlowe's line
strongly supports the view that "bear hard" in Julius Casar means
"curb, keep a tight rein over" (hence "eye with suspicion"). Cf.
Christopher Clifford's 5c/%o

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Online LibraryChristopher MarloweThe works of Christoher Marlowe; (Volume 3) → online text (page 6 of 18)