1815 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Christopher Marlowe

Samuel Egerton Brydges, in Restituta or ... English Literature Revived 2 (1815) 320.



Are the Readers of Restituta tired of this Love-Tale [Hero and Leander]? The Editor presumes to think that it possesses, and especially Marlow's part, very extraordinary poetical merit. It exhibits in almost every line proofs of that high character ascribed to Marlow both by Phillips (or rather his uncle Milton) and by Drayton; of that glowing sentiment, that fervency of language, that copiousness of natural and beautiful imagery, which breathe the soul of the genuine child of the Muse, bathed in the living waters of the Pierian spring, and animated with a fancy that throws more vivid colours on all the charms of creation.

It is impossible for any one who has taste and feeling, to confound this with those cotemporary productions, that are only valuable as curiosities, to which time has given an adventitious interest. Here are all the marks of the real bard! "Thoughts that breathe and words that burn." And after all the multitudinous criticisms and discussions of what is true poetical genius, does not this short line comprehend the whole secret?