1764 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Marlowe

David Erskine Baker, in Companion to the Play-House (1764) 2:Sig X2v.



This Character [given by Wood], if just, is such a one, as should induce us to look back with Contempt and Pity on the Memory of a the Person who possessed it, and recall to our Mind that inimitable Sentiment of the great and good Dr. Young, in his Complaint,

When I behold a Genius bright and base,
Of tow'ring Talents, and terrestrial Aims;
Methinks I see, as thrown from her high Sphere,
The glorious Fragments of a Soul immortal,
With Rubbish mix'd, and glitt'ring in the Dust.

We would, however, rather wish to take this Character with some Degree of Abatement, and, allowing that Mr. Marloe might be inclinable to Free-thinking, yet that he could not run to the unhappy Lengths he is reported to have done, especially as the Time he lived in was a period of Bigotry; and that, even in these calmer Times of Controversy, we find a great Aptness in Persons, who differ in Opinion with regard to the speculative Points of Religion, either wilfully or from the mistaking of Terms, to tax each other with Deism, Heresy, or even Atheism, on even the most trivial Tenets, which have the least Appearance of being unorthodox.