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Clarendon Press Series
OLD ENGLISH DRAMA
EDWARD THE SECOND
OSBORNE WILLIAM TANCOCK, M.A.
Assistant Master of Sherborne School
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
[All rights reserved]
§ 1. CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE", the son of John Marlowe who is described as "a shoemaker' and clarke of St. Maries' in the city of Canterbury, was baptized on February 26, 1564, according to the register of the church of St. George the Martyr, at Canterbury. He received his education at the King's School in that city, where he was a pupil, certainly between Michaelmas 1578 and Michaelmas 1579, and perhaps for some time before and after those dates. He matriculated on March 17, 1581, as a Pensioner of Benet (i. e. Corpus Christi) College, Cambridge ; and took the degrees of B.A. in 1583, and M.A. in 1587.
It appears that on leaving Cambridge, Marlowe, like Robert Greene and Thomas Nash and George Peele, came to London. There he was one of a group of university men who for a livelihood wrote poetry, especially plays and translations of classical authors. It is not unlikely that he was at times an actor as well as a writer of plays.
If we may believe the traditions of him, he was somewhat wild and unsteady, known as a man of small religious belief and of a scoffing tongue. This is borne out by the manner
The poet's name, like almost all other names at that time, is spelt in many ways. We find Marlo, Marloe, Marlow, Marlen, Marlin, Marlyn, Marly, Marley, Marlye, besides the usual form Marlowe. As Dr. Ingleby says of Shakespeare, there was no such thing as the orthography, or correct spelling, of a man's name.' Shakespeare, The Man and the Book, part i, ch. 1.