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driven to "the horrible consideration of the diversity of Religions" reflects whether Christians may "challenge that universality of God" as they do. Shall the unhappy Indian, ignorant of Christ, be damned for ever, or "these honest Worthies and Philosophers," says Sir Thomas Browne, "which died before this Incarnation ? How strange to them will sound the history of Adam, when they will suffer for him they never heard of!"

The discovery of the New World had, then, a great influènce upon the Elizabethans, turning their minds towards the consideration of new problems, and stimulating their imaginations to a prodigious degree.

This great mass of external influences, which I have tried to depict, however faintly I may have succeeded, converging upon thế England of the Renaissance, and finding there congenial soil for growth, developed an age of extraordinary quality. The Elizabethan age was marked by a profound freedom and individualism of thought and action, by an immense intellectual curiosity, by a powerful, wild imagination, and an intense energy. It was intolerant of all form and moderation, and put no restraint upon passion and the appetites, a pagan age of extravagance and excess in all domains, intellectual, moral and aesthetic, yet deeply tonched to a universal and kindly humanism.

Such was the stirring age in which Shakespeare and his fellows lived and moved, and such was the spirit that their works mirror more or less faithfully and completely, in the measure of the power that their genius, burning brightly or dimly, gave them for literary creation.


The Elizabethan drama was founded, and first raised to a constant height of literary value, by a school of young writers who, having all drunk more or less deeply at the founts of classical learning, Oxford and Cambridge, are known in the history of literature as the University Wits. In the lives and works of such men as Marlowe, Greene, Lodge, Lyly, Peele, Mashe and Kyd, we see the varied influences of the time in direct operation, and in most cases we see the man carried off his feet by the irresistible tide of the Renaissance with which he had come, perhaps, into to close contact. Their lives present those characteristics of Bohemian license and irregularity which we have long since resigned ourselves to regard as the lamentable right of the artist. There was hot young blood in their veins, and there was heady wine on broach at the universities which set them further afire. If they were touched finely to fine issues, often, alas, they were touched otherwise to other issues, It was inevitable. Still they thought bravely, felt greatly, imagined gallantly; and into the mould of poem, pamphlet and play they cast white-hot the thoughts, emotions and imaginations of their hearts. Fair images of the commotion of their being, they produced wild, unmeasured works, formless, yet not void; plays full of lyric intensity, rendered great by the hazard of inspiration, by the magic power of poetry.

P Their works faithfully mirror their lives. It will be of interest therefore to describe the lives of two such men as Lodge and Greene, so diversely characteristic of the time, which help us to understand the manner and quality of their works; and then to consider the works of one man, Marlowe. which crystallize the the whole spirit of the Renaissance, in dramatic representation.

The Age reflected in

the individ



The call of

The life of Thomas Lodge runs through an extraordinary kaleidoscope of varied activities. Born possibly in 1558, he was the son of a Lord Mayor of London, obviously of good family and of a certain wealth. At Trinity College, Oxford, he made the acquaintance of a number of great dead man in their books, and imbibed their thoughts, now living and working strenuously in mens' brains. He would draw no less profit from the eager life of the university into which he was thrown, from warm, generous fellowship with young men like himself, notable persons like George Peele, the humorous jester, or Lyly, the quaint and fantastic. From Oxford in 1578 (he must have entered at a very early age,) he proceeded to Lincoln's Inn to study law. There is some reason for believing that he was none too good a student there, though it would be an injustice to assert that he ever "broke Scogan's head", spent merry nights "in the windmill in St. George's field", or paid too much attention to the Jane Nightworks who peopled those visions of the mad days at Clement's and Gray's Inns which lusty Shallow recalled in his old age with such regretful gusto. At any rate, Lodge soon abandoned the pursuit of law, and in 1580 answered the call of literature, pouring out pamphlets and satires, and venturing higher flights in the drama; by all of which he raised up against himself the wrath of excellent Stephen Gosson, who indignantly brands him as a "playmaker, an Epicure and an Atheist." From these polemics and from the snares of London life he escaped in 1584, falling "from books to arms", as he says himself, aud we find him on ship-board with Captain Clarke, obeying in turn the call of romantic patriotism, on a pirating expedition to the Canaries. In the intervals of tedium, unrelieved by skirmishes with Spanish enemies, Lodge occupied himself in his cabin with a romance of love, and beguiled the time with the penning of Rosalynde, Euphues' Golden Legacy, a "delectable lovehistory," and of other poetical efforts, all of which he published with great applause in 1589-90. He announced at the same time that he would now definitely break off his transitory connection with

the stage and

"Write no more of that whence shame doth grow, Or tie my pen to penny-knaves delight; But live with fame and so for fame to write."

This determination was inspired by the desire to do the genteel thing, Lodge did not wish to be counted among the actor-playwrights who wrote and acted for a living, for to win bread by literature has never been a fashionable pursuit, and the stage was then looked upon as positively degrading. It is credible enough that Shakespeare was sincere in his lamentations:

"Alas, 'tis true I have gone here and there

And made myself a motley to the view."

The drama was decidedly not looked upon as literature. Rarely indeed, in the history of the stage, has one who trod the boards himself been able to reconcile this vocation with a claim to literary glory among his contemporaries. The popular stage smacked of the commercial, and catering for it was largely a matter of knowledge of the palate of its patrons. One might almost draw a parallel between the attitude of Theseus and his court towards those "base mechanical patches" who presented the tedious brief scene of their own invention, and that of the spectators, nobles and groundlings, applauding or damning an "excellent new play," written and acted for their delectation by the company of a London theatre. Such companies of actors and dramatists, often wandering in the provinces, acting in inn-yards or barns, were classed almost with rogues and vagabonds; and even the most successful and respected of them received a licence to play only under the protecting patronage of some nobleman, whose titular servants they became.

"Writing for fame," then, meant for Shakespeare the production of Venus and Adonis, Lucrece and the Sonnets; for Marlowe, of Hero and Leander; and the literary glory they enjoyed among their contemporaries was founded upon these poems almost exclusively.

The drama

no "genteel" pursuit

In the year 1592 we find Greene, with whom Lodge was on terms of great intimacy, looking after the publication of a prose work by his absent friend, a further effort in Euphuistic romance. The unfortunate Greene died shortly afterwards, while Lodge was still at sea, once more exploring, pirating, freebooting, on a luckless expedition headed by the famous Cavendish, who went far and fared extremely ill. In 1593, on his return, Lodge challenged fame with a fine collection of sonnets to Phillis besides other poetical efforts, and finally, in 1596, a last romance, A Margarite of America, inspired by his voyages to the New World.

Thereafter he was converted to the Church of Rome, married a second wife of the same confession, and further showed the changed, sober cast of his life, falling from arms and literature alike, and settled down in London to the pursuit of the law. Restless still, he soon left this, and went to Avignon in France to study medecine. There he graduated and, returning to England, attained great success as a physician. After religious or other personal difficulties, which forced him to continue his medical career in Holland, he returned again home. Certain works of a learned nature closed his literary career, and he died in London in 1615, at the age of 67, the only University Wit who died at such a reverend age and in such odour of respectability,

The career of Lodge is extremely interesting in its extraordinary variety. Lawyer, dramatist, poet, satirist, freebooting sailor and explorer, doctor and savant, throughout all his vicissitudes, whether he pulled "his oar in every paper boat" or in Cavendish's gallion, he seems nevertheless to have kept his head. A manly fellow, fairly virtuous, undeniably courageous, he did not fall into the vice or debauchery which clogged the feet of such a man as Greene, whose career offers no romantic interest of adventurous incident or of eager curiosity of knowledge, such as characterized the life of Lodge, buf a different, more poignant interest of human frailty running the gamut of all the emotions.

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