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Elear. At thee.
Queen. At me ?
O, why at me ? for each contracted frown,
A crooked wrinkle interlines my brow :
Spend but one hour in frowns, and I shall look
Like to a Beldam of one hundred years.
I prithee, speak to me, and chide me not.
I prithee, chide, if I have done amiss ;
But let my punishment be this, and this.
I prithee, smile on me, if but a while ;
Then frown on me, I'll die. I prithee, smile.
Smile on me; and these two wanton boys,
These pretty lads that do attend on me,
Shall call thee Jove, shall wait upon thy cup
And fill thee nectar: their enticing eyes
Shall serve as crystal, wherein thou may'st see
To dress thyself; if thou wilt smile on me.
Smile on me; and with coronets of pearl
And bells of gold, circling their pretty arms,
In a round ivory fount these two shall swim,
And dive to make thee sport :
Bestow one smile, one little little smile,
And in a net of twisted silk and gold
In my all-naked arms thyself shalt lie.
(Act i., Sc. 1.']
Kit Marlowe, as old Isaac Walton assures us, made that smooth song which
begins “Come live with me and be my love." The same romantic invitations “in
folly ripe in reason rotten," are given by the queen in the play, and the lover in the
ditty. He talks of “beds of roses, buckles of gold :
Thy silver dishes for thy meat,
As precious as the Gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.
The lines in the extract have a luscious smoothness in them, and they were the
most temperate which I could pick out of this Play. The rest is in King Cambyses'
vein; rape, and murder, and superlatives ; "huffing braggart puft” lines ? such as
1(Dodsley, Old English Plays, ed. Hazlitt, 1874, vol. xiv.]
? Take a specimen from a speech of the Moor's (Eleazar):-
Now Tragedy, thou minion of the night,
Rhamnusia's pue-fellow, to thee I'll sing
Upon a harp made of dead Spanish bones,
The proudest instrument the world affords ;
When thou in crimson jollity shalt bathe
Thy limbs, as black as mine, in springs of blood
Still gushing from the conduit head of Spain.
To thee that never blush'st, though thy cheeks
Are full of blood, O Saint Revenge, to thee
I consecrate my murders, all my stabs,
My bloody labours, tortures, stratagems,
The volume of all wounds that wound from me ;
Mine is the Stage, thine is the Tragedy.
(Act v., Sc. 6.]
the play-writers anterior to Shakspeare are full of, and Pistol " but coldly imitates." Blood is made as light of in some of these old dramas as money in a modern sentimental comedy; and as this is given away till it reminds us that it is nothing but counters, so that is spilt till it affects us no more than its representative, the paint of the property-man in the theatre.
TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT; OR THE SCYTHIAN
SHEPHERD. IN TWO PARTS PUBLISHED 1590).
BY CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE.--PART THE FIRST
Tamburlaine's person described.
Of stature tall, and straightly fashioned ;
Like his desire, lift? upwards, and divine.
So large of limbs, his joints so strongly knit,
Such breadth of shoulders, as might mainly bear
Old Atlas' burthen. Twixt his manly pitch
A pearl more worth than all the world is placed :
Wherein, by curious soverainty of art,
Are fixed his piercing instruments of sight;
Whose fiery circles bear encompassed
A heaven of heavenly bodies in their spheres :
That guides his steps and actions to the throne
Where Honour sits invested royally.
Pale of complexion, wrought in him with passion
Thirsting with soverainty
and love of arms.
His lofty brows in folds do figure death;
And in their smoothness amity and life.
About them hangs a knot of amber hair,
Wrapped in curls, as fierce Achilles' was ;
On which the breath of heaven delights to play,
Making it dance with wanton majesty.
His armes long, his fingers snowy-white,
Betokening valour and excess of strength;
In every part proportion'd like the man
Should make the world subdue to Tamburlaine.
[Act ii., Sc. 1.]
His custom in war.
The first day when he pitcheth down his tents,
White is their hue; and on his silver crest
A snowy feather spangled white he bears;
To signify the mildness of his mind,
?[Marlowe's Works, ed. Bullen, vol. i.]
That, satiate with spoil, refuseth blood :
But when Aurora mounts the second time,
As red as scarlet is his furniture;
Then must his kindled wrath be quench'd with blood,
Not sparing any that can manage arms :
But if these threats move not submission,
Black are his colours, black pavilion,
His spear, his shield, his horse, his armour, plumes,
And jetty feathers, menace death and hell;
Without respect of sex, degree or age,
He raseth all his foes with fire and sword.
[Act iv., Sc. i.]
I had the same difficulty (or rather much more) in culling a few sane lines from this as from the preceding Play. The lunes of Tamburlaine are perfect “midsummer madness." Nebuchadnezzar's are mere modest pretensions compared with the thundering vaunts of this Scythian Shepherd. He comes in (in the Second Part) drawn by conquered kings, and reproaches these pampered jades of Asia that they can draw but twenty miles a day. Till I saw this passage with my own eyes, I never believed that it was anything more than a pleasant burlesque of Mine Ancient's. But I assure my readers that it is soberly set down in a Play which their Ancestors took to be serious. I have subjoined the genuine speech for their amusement. Enter Tamburlaine, drawn in his chariot by Trebizon and Soria, with bits in their mouths, reins in his left hand, in his right hand a whip, with which he scourgeth them.
Tamb. Holla ye pamper'd jades of Asia :
What can ye draw but twenty miles a day,
And have so proud a chariot at your heels,
And such a coachman as great Tamburlaine ?
But from Asphaltis, where I conquer'd you,
To Byron here, where thus I honour you ?
The horse that guide the golden eye of heaven,
And blow the morning from their nostrils,
Making their fiery gate above the glades,
Are not so honour'd in their governor
As you, ye slaves, in mighty Tamburlaine.
The headstrong jades of Thrace Alcides tamed,
That King Egeus fed with human flesh,
And made so wanton that they knew their strengths,
Were not subdued with valour more divine,
Than you by this unconquer'd arm of mine.
To make you fierce and fit my appetite,
You shall be fed with flesh as raw as blood,
And drink in pails the strongest muscadel.
If you can live with it, then live and draw
My chariot swifter than the racking clouds :
If not, then die like beasts, and fit for nought
But perches for the black and fatal ravens.
Thus am I right the scourge of highest Jove. etc.
[Part ii. Act iv., Sc. 4.]
EDWARD THE SECOND. A TRAGEDY (REGISTERED 1593: EARLIEST EDITION KNOWN
1594). BY CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE Gaveston shows what pleasures those are which the King chiefly
Gav. I must have wanton poets, pleasant wits,
Musicians, that with touching of a string
May draw the pliant King which way I please.
Music and poetry are his delight;
Therefore I'll have Italian masks by night,
Sweet speeches, comedies, and pleasing shows;
And in the day, when he shall walk abroad,
Like Sylvan nymphs my pages shall be clad;
My men, like satyrs grazing on the lawns,
Shall with their goat-feet dance the antick hay.
Sometimes a lovely boy in Dian's shape,
With hair that gilds the water as it glides,
Crownets of pearl about his naked arms,
And in his sportful hands an olive tree
To hide those parts which men delight to see,
Shall bathe him in a spring, and there hard by,
One like Acteon, peeping through the grove,
Shall by the angry goddess be transform’d,
And running in the likeness of a hart,
By yelping hounds pulld down, shall seem to die;
Such things as these best please his majesty.
[Act i., Sc. 1.'] The younger Mortimer repines at the insolence of Gaveston.
Mort. sen. Nephew, I must to Scotland, thou stay’st here.
Leave now to oppose thyself against the King
Thou seest by nature he is mild and calm,
And seeing his mind so doats on Gaveston,
Let him without controulment have his will.
The mightiest kings have had their minions :
Great Alexander loved Hephestion ;
The conquering Hercules for his Hilas wept,
And for Patroclus stern Achilles droop'd.
And not kings only, but the wisest men ;
The Roman Tully lov'd Octavius ;
Grave Socrates wild Alcibiades.
Then let his grace, whose youth is flexible,
[Edited Tancock, Clarendon Press, 3rd edition, 1899.]
And promiseth as much as we can wish,
Freely enjoy that vain light-headed earl,
For riper years will wean him from such toys.
Mort. jun. Uncle, his wanton humour grieves not me;
But this I scorn, that one so basely born,
Should by his sovereign's favour grow so pert,
And riot with the treasure of the realm.
While soldiers mutiny for want of pay, ,
He wears a lord's revenue on his back,
And Midas-like, he jets it in the court,
With base outlandish cullions at his heels,
Whose proud fantastic liveries make such show,
As if that Proteus, god of shapes, appear’d.
I have not seen a dapper jack so brisk ;
He wears a short Italian hooded cloak,
Larded with pearl, and in his Tuscan cap
A jewel of more value than the crown.
While others walk below, the king and he,
From out of window, laugh at such as we,
And flout our train, and jest at our attire.
Uncle, 'tis this that makes me impatient.
(Act i., Sc. 4.]
The barons reproach the King with the calamities which the
realm endures from the ascendency of his wicked favourite,
Gaveston. King EDWARD, LANCASTER, WARWICK. The MORTIMERS, and
Mort. jun. Nay, stay, my lord, I come to bring you news.
Mine uncle is taken prisoner by the Scots.
Edw. Then ransom him.
Lan. 'Twas in your wars, you should ransom him.
Mort. jun. And you shall ransom him, or else-
Kent. What, Mortimer, you will not threaten him?
Edw. Quiet yourself, you shall have the broad seal,
To gather for him throughout the realm.
Lan. Your minion Gaveston hath taught you this.
Mort. jun. My lord, the family of the Mortimers
Are not so poor, but would they sell their land,
Could levy men enough to anger you.
We never beg, but use such prayers as these.
Edw. Shall I still be haunted thus ?
Mort. jun. Nay, now you are here alone, I'll speak my mind.
Lan. And so will I, and then, my lord, farewell.