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semblance which renders a caricature most as reading “Greene's works over and over.” effective: “I was altogether unacquainted Some of these tales are full of genius, illwith the man, and never once saluted him regulated no doubt, but so pregnant with inby name: but who in London hath not heard vention, that Shakspere in the height of his of his dissolute and licentious living; his fame did not disdain to avail himself of the fond disguising of a Master of Art with stories of his early contemporary. The draruffianly hair, unseemly apparel, and more matic works of Greene were probably much unseemly company; his vainglorious and more numerous than the few which have Thrasonical braving ; his fripperly extem- come down to us; and the personal character porizing and Tarletonizing ; his apish coun- of the man is not unaptly represented in terfeiting of every ridiculous and absurd toy; these productions. They exhibit great pomp his fine cozening of jugglers, and finer jug- and force of language ; passages which degling with cozeners ; his villainous cogging generate into pure bombast from their amand: foisting ; his monstrous swearing and bitious attempts to display the power of horrible forswearing ; his impious profaning words ; slight discrimination of character ; of sacred texts ; his other scandalous and incoherence of incident; and an entire abblasphemous raving; his riotous and out- sence of that judgment which results in harrageous surfeiting ; his continual shifting of mony and proportion. His extravagant lodgings; his plausible mustering and ban- pomp of language was the characteristic queting of roysterly acquaintance at his first of all the writers of the early stage except coming; his beggarly departing in every Shakspere ; and equally so were those athostess's debt ; his infamous resorting to the tempts to be humorous which sank into the Bankside, Shoreditch, Southwark, and other lowest buffoonery. In the lyrical pieces filthy haunts; his obscure lurking in basest which are scattered up and down Greene's corners; his pawning of his sword, cloak, and novels, there is occasionally a quiet beauty what not, when money came short ; his im- which exhibits the real depths of the man's pudent pamphleting, fantastical interluding, genius. Amidst all his imperfections of chaand desperate libelling, when other cozening racter, that genius is fully acknowledged by shifts failed ?”* This is the bitterness of the best of his contemporaries. revenge, not softened even by the penalty Thomas LODGE was Greene's senior in age, which the wretched man had paid for his and greatly his superior in conduct. He offence, dying prematurely in misery and had been a graduate of Oxford ; next a solitariness, and writing from his lodging at player, though probably for a short time; a poor shoemaker's these last touching lines was a member of Lincoln's Inn; and, finally, to the wife whom he had abandoned : “Doll, a successful physician of the name of Thomas I charge thee by the love of our youth, and Lodge is held to be identical with Lodge by my soul's rest, that thou wilt see this man the poet. He was the author of a tragedy, paid : for if he and his wife had not succoured The Wounds of Civil War: lively set forth me, I had died in the streets.” As a writer in the true Tragedies of Marius and Sylla.' he was one amongst the most popular of his He had become a writer for the stage before day. His little romances of some fifty pages the real power of dramatic blank verse had each were the delight of readers for amuse- been adequately conceived. His lines posment, for half a century. They were the sess not the slightest approach to flexibility; companions of the courtly and the humble, they invariably consist of ten syllables, with -eagerly perused by the scholar of the Uni
a pause at the end of every line-—"each alley versity and the apprentice of the City. They like its brother ;" the occasional use of the reached the extreme range of popularity. triplet is the only variety. Lodge's tragedy In Anthony Wood's time they were “mostly has the appearance of a most correct and lasold on ballad-monger’s stalls ;” and Sir boured performance; and the result is that Thomas Overbury describes his Chambermaid of insufferable tediousness. In conjunction * Four Letters, &c., 1592.'
with Greene he wrote 'A Looking Glass for London, one of the most extraordinary pro- | the heavenly Bull by the dewlap.". It is ductions of that period of the stage, the cha- he who despises the “idiot art-masters that racter of which is evidently derived not from intrude themselves to our ears as the alchyany desire of the writers to accommodate mists of eloquence, who, mounted on the themselves to the taste of an unrefined au- stage of arrogance, think to outbrave better dience, but from an utter deficiency of that pens with the swelling bombast of bragging common sense which could alone recommend blank verse.”+ In a year or two Nash was their learning and their satire to the popular the foremost of controversialists. There are apprehension. For pedantry and absurdity few things in our language written in a "The Looking Glass for London’ is unsur- bitterer spirit than his pamphlets in the passed. Lodge, as well as Greene, was a Marprelate” controversy, and his letters to writer of little romances ; and here he does Gabriel Harvey. Greene, as it appears to us, not disdain the powers of nature and simpli- upon his deathbed warned Nash of the dancity. The early writers for the stage, indeed, ger of his course : - With chee [Marlowe] seem one and all to have considered that I join young Juvenal, that biting satirist, the language of the drama was conventional; that lastly with me together writ a comedy. that the expressions of real passion ought Sweet boy, might I advise thee, be advised, never there to find a place; that grief should and get not many enemies by bitter words : discharge itself in long soliloquies, and anger inveigh against vain men, for thou canst do explode in orations set forth upon the most it, no man better, no man so well: thou hast approved forms of logic and rhetoric. There a liberty to reprove all, and name none : for is some of this certainly in the prose ro- one being spoken to, all are offended ; none mances of Greene and Lodge. Lovers make being blamed, no man is injured. Stop shalvery long protestations, which are far more low water still running, it will rage; tread calculated to display their learning than on a worm, and it will turn: then blame not their affection. This is the sin of most pas- scholars who are vexed with sharp and bitter torals. But nature sometimes prevails, and lines, if they reprove thy too much liberty of we meet with a touching simplicity, which reproof.” It is usual to state that Thomas is the best evidence of real power. Lodge, Lodge is the person thus addressed. So as well as Greene, gave a fable to Shak- say Malone and Mr. Dyce. The expression, spere.
“that lastly with me together writ a comedy," Another of the chosen companions of is supposed to point to the union of Greene Robert Greene was Thomas Nash, who in his and Lodge in the composition of 'The Look“ beardless years” had thrown himself upon ing-Glass for London.' But it is much easier the town, having forfeited the honours which to believe that Greene and Nash wrote a his talents would have commanded in the comedy which is un own to us, than that due course of his University studies. In an Greene should address Lodge, some years his age before that of newspapers and reviews, elder, as “young Juvenal,” and “sweet boy.” this young man was a panıphleteering critic; Neither have we any evidence that Lodge and very sharp, and to a great extent very was a “biting satirist,” and used “bitter just, is his criticism. The drama, even at words " and personalities never to be forthis early period, is the bow of Apollo for given. We hold that the warning was meant all ambitious poets. It is Nash who, in the for Nash. It was given in vain; for he spent days of Locrine, and Tamburlaine, and per- his high talents in calling others rogue and haps Andronicus, is the first to laugh at fool, and having the words returned upon him “ the servile imitation of vainglorious tra- with interest ; bespattering, and bespattered. gedians, who contend not so seriously to ex- That impatient spirit, with the flashing eye cel in action, as to embowel the clouds in a and the lofty brow, is CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE. speech of comparison ; thinking themselves It is he who addressed his first audience in more than initiated in poets' immortality if
* Epistle prefixed to Greene's Menaphon.' they but once get Boreas by the beard, and
words which told them that one of high pre- | petual trumpet, perpetual scarlet. One of tensions was come to rescue the stage from the courtiers of Tamburlaine says, the dominion of feebleness and buffoonery:- “You see, my lord, what working words he
hath." “From jiggling veins of rhyming mother wits,
As such conceits as clownage keeps in pay, Hear a few of these “working words :"
“The god of war resigns his room to me, Where you shall hear the Scythian Tambur
Meaning to make me general of the world: laine,
Jove, viewing me in arms, looks pale and wan, Threat'ning the world with high astounding
Fearing my power should pull him from his
throne. His daring was successful. It is he who is
Where'er I come the fatal sisters sweat, accounted the "famous gracer of tragedians.”+
And grisly death, by running to and fro, It is he who has “gorgeously invested with
To do their ceaseless homage to my sword;
And here, in Afric, where it seldom rains, rare ornaments and splendid habiliments the
Since I arriv'd with my triumphant host, English tongue.” I It is he who. after his
Have swelling clouds, drawn from wide-gasptragical end, was held
ing wounds, "Fit to write passions for the souls below."S
Been oft resolv'd in bloody, purple showers,
A meteor that might terrify the carth, It is he of the “mighty line."|| The name And make it quake at every drop it drinks." of Tamburlaine was applied to Marlowe him- Through five thousand lines have we the self by his contemporaries. It is easy to
same pompous monotony, the same splendid imagine that he might be such a man as
exaggeration, the same want of truthful he has delighted to describe in his Scythian simplicity. But the man was in earnest. Shepherd:
His poetical power had nothing in it of af“Of stature tall, and straightly fashioned,
fectation and pretence. There is one speech Like his desire lift upward and divine;
of Tamburlaine which unveils the inmost So large of limbs, his joints so strongly knit, mind of Tamburlaine's author. It is by far Such breadth of shoulders as might mainly the highest passage in the play, revealing to bear
us something nobler than the verses which Old Atlas' burthen.
"jet on the stage in tragical buskins, every Pale of complexion, wrought in him with word filling the mouth like the faburden of passion,
Bow-Bell.”Thirsting with sovereignty and love of arms.
“Nature that form'd us of four elements, His lofty brows in folds do figure death,
Warring within our breasts for regiment, And in their smoothness amity and life;
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds, About them hangs a knot of amber hair,
Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend Wrapped in curls, as fierce Achilles' was,
The wondrous architecture the world, On which the breath of heaven delights to
And measure every wandering planet's course, play,
Still climbing after knowledge infinite, Making it dance with wanton majesty.
And always moving as the restless spheres, Ilis arms and fingers, long and snowy-white,
Will us to wear ourselves, and never rest, Betokening valour and excess of strength.” I
Until we reach the ripest fruit of all.”++ The essential character of his mind was that The “ripest fruit of all," with Tamburlaine, of a lofty extravagance, shaping itself into was an “earthly crown ;” but with Marlowe, words that may be likened to the trumpet there can be little doubt, the “ climbing after in music, and the scarlet in painting-per- knowledge infinite was to be rewarded with
wisdom, and peace, the fruit of wisdom. But * Prologue to 'Tamburlaine the Great.'
he sought for the "fruit" in dark and fors Peele. • Tamburlaine,' Part I., Act 11.
*** Tamburlaine,' Part I., Act v tt Ibid. Part I., Act 11.
| Greene. I Jonson.
bidden paths. He plunged into the haunts to. Nash," he is but a little fellow, but he of wild and profligate men, lighting up their hath one of the best wits in England." I murky caves with his poetical torch, and The little man knew gaining nothing from them but the renewed
“What hell it is in suing long to bide." power of scorning the unspiritual things of our being, without the resolution to seek for He had been a dreary time waiting and pewisdom in the daylight track which every titioning for the place of Master of the man may tread. If his life had not been Revels. In his own peculiar phraseology he fatally cut short, the fiery spirit might have tells the Queen, in one of his petitions, learnt the value of meekness, and the daring
“For these ten years I have attended with sceptic have cast away the bitter “fruit”
an unwearied patience, and now I know not of half-knowledge. He did not long survive what crab took me for an oyster, that in the the fearful exhortation of his dying com
middest of your sunshine, of your most grapanion, the unhappy Greene:"Wonder not,
cious aspect, hath thrust a stone between the thou famous gracer of tragedians, that Greene, shells to rate me alive that only live on dead who hath said with thee, like the fool in his hopes.” S Drayton described him truly, at a heart, there is no God, should now give glory later period, when poetry had asserted her unto His greatness: for penetrating is His proper rights, as power, His hand lies heavy upon me, He hath “ Talking of stones, stars, plants, of fishes, flies, spoken unto me with a voice of thunder, and Playing with words, and idle similies.” I have felt He is a God that can punish ene- Lyly was undoubtedly the predecessor of mies. Why should thy excellent wit, His gift, Shakspere. His “ Alexander and Campaspe,' be so blinded that thou shouldest give no glory acted not only at Court but at the Blackto the giver?” Marlowe resented the accu- friars, was printed as early as 1584. It is sation which Greene's words conveyed. We not easy to understand how a popular aumay hope that he did more ; that he felt, dience could ever have sat it out; but the to use other words of the same memorable incomprehensible and the excellent are someexhortation, that the “liberty ” which he times confounded. What should we think sought was an "infernal bondage.”
of a prologue, addressed to a gaping pit, and “ Eloquent and witty Jonn LYLY": was hushing the cracking of nuts into silence, called, by a bookseller who collected his which commences thus ?—“ They that fear plays some forty years or more after their the stinging of wasps make fans of peacocks? appearance
, “ the only rare poet of that tails, whose spots are like eyes : and Lepidus, time, the witty, comical, facetiously quick, which could not sleep for the chattering of and unparalleled John Lyly, Master of Arts." birds, set up a beast whose head was like a Such is the puff-direct of a title-page
dragon: and we, which stand in awe of re1632. The title-pages and the puffs have port, are compelled to set before our owl parted company in our day, to carry on their Pallas's shield, thinking by her virtue to partnership in separate fields, and sometimes
cover the other's deformity." Shakspere looking loftily on each other, as if they were
was a naturalist, and a true one ; but Lyly not twin-brothers. He it was that took hold
was the more inventive, for he made his own of the somewhat battered and clipped but natural history. The epilogue to the same sterling coịn of our old language, and, mint play informs the confiding audience that ing it afresh, with a very sufficient quantity “Where the rainbow toucheth the tree no of alloy, produced a sparkling currency, the caterpillars will hang on the leaves ; where very counters of court compliment. It was
the glow-worm creepeth in the night no truly said, and it was meant for praise, that adder will go in the day.” “Alexander and he “ hath stepped one step further than any Campaspe’ is in prose. The action is little, either before or since he first began the witty discourse of his “Euphues.'”+ According
'Apology of Pierce Pennilesse.'
§ Petition to the Queen in the Harleian MSS.: Dods* Meres. + Webbe's . Discourse of English Poetry, '1586. ley's Old Plays, 1825, vol. ii.
the talk is everything. Hephæstion exhorts | hard one. Without the vices of men of Alexander against the danger of love, in a higher talent, he had to endure poverty and speech that with very slight elaboration disappointment, doomed to spin his “pithy would be long enough for a sermon. Apelles sentences and gallant tropes” for a thanksoliloquizes upon his own love for Campaspe less Court and a neglectful multitude ; and, in a style so insufferably tedious, that we with a tearful merriment, writing to his could wish to thrust the picture that he Queen, “ In all humility I intreat that I sighs over down his rhetorical throat (even may dedicate to your Sacred Majesty Lyly as Pistol was made to swallow the leek), if de Tristibus, wherein shall be seen patience, he did not close his oration with one of the labours, and misfortunes.” prettiest songs of our old poetry :
THOMAS Kyd was the author of 'Jero
nimo,' which men long held as the only best "Cupid and my Campaspe play'd At cards for kisses, Cupid paid;
and judiciously penned play in Europe." He stakes his quiver, bow, and arrows,
Wherever performed originally, the prinHis mother's doves and team of sparrows;
cipal character was adapted to an actor of Loses them, too; then down he throws very small stature. It is not impossible that The coral of his lip, the rose
a precocious boy, one of the children of Growing on 's cheek (but none knows how), Paul's, might have filled the character. With these the crystal of his brow,
Jeronimo the Spanish marshal, and BalAnd then the dimple of his chin;
thazar the Prince of Portugal, thus exchange All these did my Campaspe win.
compliments :At last he set her both his eyes,
“ Balthazar. Thou inch of Spain, She won, and Cupid blind did rise. O Love! has she done this to thee?
Thou man, from thy hose downward scarce so What shall, alas! become of me?"
Thou very little longer than thy beard, The dramatic system of Lyly is a thing
Speak not such big words; they 'll throw thee unique in its kind. He never attempts to down, deal with realities. He revels in pastoral Little Jeronimo: words greater than thyself ! and mythological subjects. He makes his
It must be. gods and goddesses, his nymphs and shep- Jeronimo. And thou, long thing of Porherds, all speak a language which common tugal, why not? mortals would disdain to use. In prose or in
Thou that art full as tall verse, they are all the cleverest of the clever. As an English gallows, upper beam and all, They are, one and all, passionless beings,
Devourer of apparel, thou huge swallower, with no voice but that of their showman. My hose will scarce make thee a standing
collar: But it is easy to see how a man of considerable talent would hold such things to be
What! have I almost quited you?" the proper refinements to banish for ever
There can be no doubt that 'Jeronimo,' the vulgarities of the old comedy. He had whatever remodelling it may have received, not the genius to discover that the highest belongs essentially to the early stage. There drama was essentially for the people; and is killing beyond all reasonable measure. that its foundations must rest upon the ele- Lorenzo kills Pedro, and Alexandro kills mental properties of mankind, whether to Rogero : Andrea is also killed, but he does produce tears or laughter that should com
not so readily quit the scene. After a decent mand a lasting and universal sympathy. interval, occupied by talk and fighting, the Lyly came too early, or too late, to gather
man comes again in the shape of his own any enduring fame ; and he lived to see a
ghost, according to the following stagenew race of writers, and one towering above direction :-“ Enter two, dragging of enthe rest, who cleared the stage of his tin- signs; then the funeral of Andrea : next selled puppets, and filled the scene with noble copies of humanity. His fate was a * Jonson's Induction to 'Cynthia's Revels.'