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strong and weak alike with passionate feeling, and expressed with a turbulent magnificence of words and images, the fault of which is a very great want of temperance. It reflects his life and the lives of those with whom he lived.

Marlowe lived and died an irreligious, imaginative, tenderhearted, licentious poet.

Peele and Greene lived an even more riotous life and died as miserably, and they are examples of a crowd of other dramatists who passed their lives between the theatre, the wine-shop, and the prison. Their drama, in which we see the better side of the men, had all the marks of a wild youth. It was daring, full of strong but unequal life, romantic, sometimes savage, often tender, always exaggerated in its treatment and expression of the human passions. If it had no moderation, it had no tame dulness. If it was coarse, it was powerful, and it was above all national. It was a time full of strange contrasts, a time of fiery action and of sentimental contemplation; a time of fancy and chivalry, indelicacy and buffoonery; of great national adventure and private brawls; of literary quiet and polemic thought; of faith and infidelity-and the whole of it is painted with truth, but with too glaring colors, in the drama of these men."

From Marlowe's Edward II.*

Enter Matrevis, Gurney, and soldiers with King Edward.

K. Edv. Friends, whither must unhappy Edward go?
Will hateful Mortimer appoint no rest?
Must I be vexèd like the nightly bird,
Whose sight is loathsome to all wingèd fowls ?
When will the fury of his mind assuage?
When will his heart be satisfied with blood?
If mine will serve, unbowel straight this breast,
And give my heart to Isabel and him:

It is the chiefest mark they level at. * Ed. II., son of Ed. I. and father of Ed. III., was King of England, 1307-27. His character was weak, and his reign disastrous. He was deposed by his nobles. This extract from the play treats of his imprisonment in the dungeon of Kenilworth, his execution, and the feelings and doings of Ed. III. concerning his father's treatment.

Gur. Not so, my liege, the queen hath given this charge-
To keep your grace in safety:
Your passions make your dolours to increase.

K. Edw. This usage makes my misery increase.
But can my air of life continue long,
When all my senses are annoyed with stench?
Within a dungeon England's king is kept,
Where I am stary'd for want of sustenance.
My daily diet is heart-breaking sobs,
That almost rend the closet of my heart:
Thus lives old Edward not reliev'd by any,
And so must die, though pitièd by many.
Oh, water, gentle friends, to cool my thirst,
And clear my body from foul excrements!

Mat. Why strive you thus? your labor is in vain.

K. Edw. The wren may strive against the lion's strength, But all in vain: so vainly do I strive To seek for mercy at a tyrant's hand. Immortal powers, that know the painful cares That wait upon my poor, distressèd soul, Oh, level all your looks upon these daring men That wrong their liege and sovereign, England's king! O Gaveston, it is for thee that I am wrong'd! For me both thou and both the Spensers died; And for your sakes a thousand wrongs I'll take. The Spensers' ghosts, wherever they remain, Wish well to mine; then, tush, for them I'll die.

Mat. 'Twixt theirs and yours shall be no enmity. Come, come, away! Now put the torches out, We'll enter in by darkness to Killingworth.

Enter the younger Mortimer and Lightborn.

Y. Mort. Art thou so resolute as thou wast?
Light. What else, my lord? and far more resolute.
Y. Mort. And hast thou cast how to accomplish it?
Light. Ay, ay; and none shall know which way he died.
Y. Mort. But at his looks, Lightborn, thou wilt relent.
Light. Relent! ha, ha! I use much to relent.
Y. Mort. Well, do it bravely, and be secret.

Light. You shall not need to give instructions; 'Tis not the first time I have kill'd a man:

I learn’d in Naples how to poison flowers;
To strangle with a lawn thrust thro’ the throat;
To pierce the wind-pipe with a needle's point;
Or, whilst one is asleep, to take a quill
And blow a little powder in his ears;
Or

open his mouth, and pour quick-silver down. But yet I have a braver way than these.

[Exit. [Enters Killingworth prison.

K. Edw. Who's there? what light is that? Wherefore com'st thou?

Light. To comfort you, and bring you joyful news.

K. Edw. Small comfort finds poor Edward in thy looks.
Villain, I know thou com’st to murder me.

Light. To murder you, my most gracious lord!
Far is it from my heart to do you harm.
The queen sent me to see how you were us’d,
For she relents at this your misery:
And what eyes can refrain from shedding tears,
To see a king in this most piteous state?

K. Edu. Weep’st thou already? list awhile to me,
And then thy heart, were it as Gurney's is,
Or as Matrevis', hewn from the Caucasus,
Yet will it melt ere I have done my tale.
This dungeon where they keep me is the sink
Wherein the filth of all the castle falls.

Light. O villains!

K. Edw. And there, in mire and puddle, have I stood
This ten days' space; and, lest that I should sleep,
One plays continually upon a drum.
They give me bread and water, being a king;
So that, for want of sleep and sustenance,
My mind's distemper’d, and my body's numb’d,
And whether I have limbs or no I know not.
Oh, would my blood dropp'd out from every vein,
As doth this water from my tatter'd robes !
Tell Isabel, the queen, I look'd not thus,
When for her sake I ran at tilt in France,
And there unhors'd the Duke of Cleremont.

Light. Oh, speak no more, my lord! this breaks my heart. Lie on this bed, and rest yourself awhile.

a

K. Edw. These looks of thine can harbor naught but death;
I see my tragedy written in thy brows.
Yet stay awhile; forbear thy bloody hand,
And let me see the stroke before it comes,
That even then when I sball lose my life,
My mind may be more steadfast on my God.

Light. What means your highness to mistrust me thus?
K. Edw. What mean'st thou to dissemble with me thus?

Light. These hands were never stain’d with innocent blood, Nor shall they now be tainted with a king's.

K. Edw. Forgive my thought for having such a thought. One jewel have I left; receive thou this.

[Giving jewel. Still fear I, and I know not what's the cause, But every joint shakes as I give it thee. Oh, if thou harborist murder in thy heart, Let this gift change thy mind, and save thy soul! Know that I am a king: Oh, at that name I feel a hell of grief! Where is my crown? Gone, gone! and do I still remain alive?

Light. You're overwatch’d, my lord; lie down and rest.

K. Edu. But that grief keeps me waking, I should sleep; For not these ten days have these eye-lids clos’d. Now, as I speak, they fall; and yet with fear Open again. Oh, wherefore sitt'st thou here?

Light. If you mistrust me, I'll be gone, my lord.

K. Edw. No, no; for, if thou mean'st to murder me, Thou wilt return again; and therefore stay.

[Sleeps.
Light. He sleeps.
K. Edv. [Waking] Oh, let me not die yet! Oh, stay awhile!
Light. How now, my lord!

K. Edw. Something still buzzeth in mine ears,
And tells me, if I sleep, I never wake:
This fear is that which makes me tremble thus;
And therefore tell me, wherefore art thou come?
Light. To rid thee of thy life.—Matrevis, come!

Enter Matrevis and Gurney.
K. Edw. I am too weak and feeble to resist. -
Assist me, sweet God, and receive my soul!

Light. Run for the table,

a

K. Edw. Oh, spare me, or despatch me in a trice!

Light. So, lay the table down, and stamp on it, But not too hard, lest that you bruise his body.

Mat. I fear me that this cry will raise the town,
And therefore let us take horse and away.

Light. Tell me, sirs, was it pot bravely done?
Gur. Excellent well, take this for thy reward.

[Stabs Lightborn, who dies.
Enter King Edw. III., Q. Isab., lords, and attendants.
First Lord. Fear not, my lord, know that you are a king.
K. Edw. III. Villain!
Y. Mort. How now, my lord!

K. Edw. III. Think not that I am frighted with thy words! My father's murdered through thy treachery; And thou shal: die, and on his mournful hearse Thy hateful and accursèd head shall lie, To witness to the world that by thy means His kingly body was too soon interr'd.

Q. Isab. Weep not, sweet son!

K. Edw. III. Forbid not me to weep, he was my father;
And had you lov'd him half so well as I,
You could not bear his death thus patiently:
But you, I fear, conspir'd with Mortimer.
Ay, Mortimer, thou know'st that he is slain;
And so shalt thou be too. Why stays he here?
Bring him unto a hurdle, drag him forth,
Hang him, I say, and set his quarters up;
But bring his head back presently to me.

Q. Isab. For my sake, sweet son, pity Mortimer!

Y. Mort. Madam, entreat not, I will rather die Than sue for life unto a paltry boy.

K. Edw. III Hence with the traitor! with the murderer!

Y. Mort. Base Fortune, now I see that in thy wheel
There is a point, to which when men aspire,
They tumble headlong down: that point I touch'd,
And, seeing there was no place to mount up higher,
Why should I grieve at my declining fall?-
Farewell, fair queen; weep not for Mortimer,
That scorns the world, and, as a traveller,
Goes to discover countries yet unknown.

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