Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/58

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Books Condemned to be Burnt.

who were destined to attain celebrity in very different directions of life.

Marlowe, like Shakespeare, from an actor became a writer of plays; but though Ben Jonson extolled his "mighty muse," I doubt whether his Edward II., Dr. Faustus, or Jew of Malta, are now widely popular. Anthony Wood has left a very disagreeable picture of Marlowe's character, which one would fain hope is overdrawn; but the dramatist's early death in a low quarrel prevented him from ever redeeming his early offences, as a kinder fortune permitted to his companions in the Stationers' bonfire.

Marston came to be more distinguished for his Satires than for his plays, his Scourge of Villainie being his chief title to fame. Of his Pigmalion all that can be said is, that it is not quite so bad as Marlowe's Elegies, Warton justly says, with pompous euphemism: "His stream of poetry, if sometimes bright and unpolluted, almost always betrays a muddy bottom." But this muddy bottom is discernible, not in Marston alone, but also in Hall's Virgidemiarum or Satires, of which Warton did all he could to revive the popularity. Hall was Marston's rival at Cambridge, but Hall claims to be the first English satirist. He took Juvenal for