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Edward the Second is a proof, that, when Marlowe chose to drop the barbarities of his age, and the bombast of "King Cambyses' Vein," he could exert an influence over the heart which has not often been excelled. There is a truth, simplicity, and moral feeling in this play which irresistibly attracts, and would fain induce us to hope, that its author could not have exhibited the impious and abandoned traits of character which have usually been attributed to him. The deathscene of Edward is a master-piece of pity and terror,

5. "The Massacre of Paris, with the Death of the Duke of Guise. Svo." A subject congenial with the general cast of Marlowe's gloomy and ferocious style of colouring, nor is it deficient in his wonted accumulation of horrors. It possesses, however, a few good scenes, and may be classed midway between the author's worst and best productions.

6. The Rich Jew of Malta, 4to. The prejudice against the Jews, during the reign of Elizabeth, was excessive; none were suffered to reside in the kingdom, and every art encouraged that could stimulate the hatred of the people against this persecuted race. No engine was better calculated for this purpose than the stage, and no characters were ever more relished, or more malignantly enjoyed, than the Barabas of Marlowe, and the Shylock of Shakspeare. The distance, however, between them, as well with regard to truth of delineation, as to poetical vigour of conception, is infinite; for whilst the Jew of Marlowe can be considered in no other light than as the mere incarnation of a fiend, that of Shakspeare possesses, with all his ferocity and cruelty, such a touch of humanity as classes him distinctly with his species, and renders him, if not a very probable, yet a very possible being.

7. "The Tragical Historie of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus." 4to. This, in point of preternatural wildness, and metaphysical horror, is the chef d'œuvre of Marlowe. It unfolds not only genius of a sublimated and exotic cast, but seems to have been the product of a mind inflamed by unhallowed curiosity, and an eager irreligious desire of invading the secrets of another world, and so far gives credence to

the imputations which have stained the memory of its author; for this play breathes not a poetic preternaturalism, if we may use the expression, but looks like the creature of an atmosphere emerging from the gulph of lawless spirits, and vainly employed in pursuing the corruscations which traverse its illimitable gloom.

The catastrophe of this play makes the heart shudder, and the hair involuntarily start erect; and the agonies of Faustus on the fastapproaching expiration of his compact with the Devil, are depicted with a strength truly appalling.

Yet amidst all this diabolism, there occasionally occur passages of great moral sublimity, passages on which Milton seems to have fixed his eye. Thus, the reply of the Demon Mephostophilis to the enquiry of Faustus, concerning the locality of Hell, bears a striking analogy to the descriptions of Satan's internal and ever-present torments at the commencement of the fourth book of Paradise Lost. "Tell me," exclaims the daring necromancer, "where is the place that men call Hell?"

"Mephostophilis. Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed

In one self place; but where we are is hell,
And where hell is, there we must ever be,
And, to be short, when all the world dissolves,
And every creature shall be purified,

All places shall be hell that are not heaven."

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8. The Tragedie of Dido, Queene of Carthage. This drama was written in conjunction with Thomas Nash, and printed in 1594.

*

Marlowe has been lavishly panegyrised by Jonson, Heywood, Drayton, Peele, Meres, Nash, &c.; but by none so emphatically as by Phillips, who, at the very opening of his article on this poet, calls him "a kind of a second Shakspeare." This seems, however, to have been done rather with a reference to the similarities arising from his having, like Shakspeare, been actor, player, and author of a poem on

*This rare play was purchased, at the Roxburgh sale, for seventeen guineas!

a congenial subject with Venus and Adonis, namely, his Hero and Leander, than from any approximation in the value of their dramatic works. *

The death of Marlowe, which took place before the year 1593, was violent and premature, the melancholy termination of a life rendered still more melancholy by vice and infidelity. †

18. LODGE, THOMAS. Two dramatic pieces have issued from the pen of this elegant miscellaneous poet. Of these the first was written in conjunction with Robert Greene, and entitled A Looking-Glass for London and England, a tragi-comedy, acted in 1591, though not published until 1598. The second is called "The Wounds of Civil War. Lively set forth in the true tragedies of Marius and Scilla," and probably performed in the year following the representation of the former play. It was printed in 1594. These dramas, though not the best of Dr. Lodge's productions, were not unpopular, nor deemed unworthy of his talents; the Looking-Glass appears to have been acted four times at the Rose theatre, in about the space of fifteen months.

19. GREENE, ROBERT. This pleasing, but unfortunate poet, was the author of six plays, independent of that which he wrote as the coadjutor of Lodge. 1. "The Honorable Historie of Frier Bacon and Frier Bongay." 4to. As Greene died in September, 1592, there can

* Theatrum Poetarum, apud Brydges, p. 113.

Two accounts, varying materially, have been given by Wood and Vaughan, of this poet's untimely fate. That by Vaughan as being little known, and apparently founded on the writer's own knowledge of the fact, I shall venture to transcribe. The Golden Grove, from which it is extracted, was first published in 1600. Relating God's judgments on Atheists, he adds:

"Not inferiour to these was one Christopher Marlow, by profession a play-maker, who, as it is reported, about fourteen yeres a-goe, wrote a booke against the Trinitie: but see the effects of God's justice; it so hapned, that at Detford, a litle village, about three miles distant from London, as he meant to stab with his poynard one named Ingram, that had invited him thither to a feaste, and was then playing at tables; hee perceyuing it, so avoyded the thrust, that withall drawing out his dagger for his defence, he stab'd this Marlow into the eye, in such sort, that his braynes comming out at the dagger's point, hee shortly after dyed."

+ Vide Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iii. p. 355.

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be no doubt that all his dramas were written, if not all performed, before Shakspeare's commencement as a writer for the stage; we find, from Henslowe's List, that Frier Bacon was performed at the Rose theatre, in February, 1591, and repeated thrice in the course of the season*; it was printed in 1594, and being founded on a popular story, had considerable success. 2. "The Historie of Orlando Furioso, one of the twelve Peers of France." This piece was likewise performed at the same theatre, in February, 1591, and also printed in 1594; the fable is taken, with little or no alteration, from the Orlando of Ariosto. 3. "The Scottish Historie of James the Fourth, slaine at Flodden. Entermixed with a pleasant Comedie presented by Oboram King of the Fayeries." Greene, says Oldys, in plotting plays, was his craft's master, and it would be curious and interesting to ascertain how he has conducted a subject which has obtained so much celebrity in our own days, and more especially in what manner he has combined it with the romantic superstition attendant on Oberon and his fairies. † 4." The Comicall Historie of Alphonsus, King of Arragon." 5. "The History of Jobe." This play, which was never printed, and it is supposed never performed, although it was entered on the Stationers' books, in 1594, was unfortunately, with many others, destroyed by the carelessness of Dr. Warburton's servant. 6. "Fair Emm, the Miller's Daughter of Manchester, with the Love of William the Conqueror," a comedy which has been ascribed to Greene, by Phillips and Winstanley; the former, after enumerating some pieces which upon no good grounds

* Reed's Shakspeare, vol. iii. p. 354.

+ Berkenhout's Biographia Literaria, p. 319. note.-The only account which I have seen of this play, printed in 1598, is in a note by Mr. Malone, who tells us that Shakspeare does not appear to have been indebted to this piece. "The plan of it," he adds, "is shortly this: Bohan, a Scot, in consequence of being disgusted with the world, having retired to a tomb where he has fixed his dwelling, is met by Aster Oberon, king of the fairies, who entertains him with an antick or dance by his subjects. These two personages, after some conversation, determine to listen to a tragedy, which is acted before them, and to which they make a kind of chorus, by moralizing at the end of each act." Vol. ii. p. 250.

had been attributed to the joint pens of our author and Dr. Lodge, adds, "besides which, he wrote alone the comedies of Friar Bacon and Fair Emme." * It is the more probable that this drama was the composition of Greene, as it was represented at the same theatre and by the same company which brought forward his avowed productions.

We must, with Ritson, express our regret, that the dramatic works of Greene have not hitherto been collected and published together. †

20. LEGGE, THOMAS, twice vice-chancellor of Cambridge, and the author of two plays which, though never printed, were acted with great applause, not only in the University which gave them birth, but on the public theatres. The first of these is named The Destruction of Jerusalem, and appears from Henslowe's List to have been performed at the Rose theatre, on the 22d of March, 1591; the second is entitled, The Life of King Richard the Third, a subject which induces us to regret, that it should not have been submitted to the press, especially when the character of Legge for dramatic talent is considered; for Meres informs us in 1598, that "Doctor Leg of Cambridge" was esteemed among the "best for tragedie," adding, that "as M. Anneus Lucanus writ two excellent tragedies, one called Medea, the other de Incendio Troia cum Priami calamitate: so Doctor Leg hath penned two famous tragedies, ye one of Richard the 3, the other of the destruction of Jerusalem." The death of Dr. Legge took place in July, 1607.

To this catalogue of dramatic writers who preceded Shakspeare, it will be necessary to annex the names, at least, of those anonymous plays which, as far as any record of their performance has reached us, were the property of the stage anterior to the year 1594, under the almost certain presumption, that they must have been written before Shakspeare had acquired any celebrity as a theatrical poet.

Theatrum Poetarum apud Brydges, p. 193. + Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xxi. p. 37.

+ Vide Censura Literaria, vol. ix, p. 98.

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