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ARLOWE stands in the shadow of

Shakespeare: this is surely sufficient reason for his enrolment with our glorious few. For his gifts we value

him-for what he possessed rather than for what he achieved. Too often he is held up to us as merely an impulse-giver, a pathfinder, a sort of poetic engineer, who wildly, vehemently broke up ground which finer spirits should hereafter make rich and fair. We are taught to remember him as the real inventor of our noblest poetic instrument, blank verse, as the creator of English tragedy, as a master whose manner Shakespeare strove to copy and surpass. These are in truth splendid titles, splendid claims to the honour of a people's memory. Yet, if we have gratitude for Marlowe, the worker, we have en. thusiasm for Marlowe, the poct. All that he did was done unconsciously ; it was done by virtue of the tremendous poetic force within him. We cannot too highly rate such poetic force : in this worn-out, languid age of ours it is rare. Marlowe's freshness, energy, passion, are qualities that our dramatic literature will never again possess in an equal degree. It may be pessimistic to affirm it, yet, as there can never be another Shakespeare, so there can never be another Marlowe-never another dramatist of ours just so brimful of poetic strength and promise. For his rich possessions let us prize him-for his stupendous force and fire, for having in him germs such as those that gave us a Shakespeare, for having in him, as Drayton has grandly said

“ Those brave translunary things
That the first poets had ; his raptures were
All air and fire, which made his verses clear;
For that fine madness still he did retain
Which rightly should possess a poet's brain.”

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