For those who have seen _Shakespeare in Love_, all will remember how Marlowe’s sensational death was dramatically and breathlessly reported back in the Mermaid Tavern, London, to William Shakspere and his astonished friends. "Will! A great light has gone out, Marlowe is dead, stabbed in Deptford!"
For Elizabethans, who lacked radio, television and newspapers, news traveled by messenger, if it traveled at all.
In any case ,period reports of Marlowe’s sensational end are quite varied, even contradictory. They and the extant public record give us ample evidence to suppose that Marlowe, like many men, faked his death to avoid pending capital charges. Nothing like the rack and the stake to give a fellow an little extra motivation. The charges against Marlowe were delusory, but not the consequences. His classmate John Greenwood had been hanged a few weeks earlier for lessor charges and John Penry would die on 29 May, just the day before Marlowe supposedly died, for "thought crimes."
For those who consider the authorship question with neutrality, Marlowe’s case seems the most passable.
He, and he alone, commanded the qualifications to have written the works later attributed to Shakespeare. This solves the problem of the Author’s educational and intelligence levels: Marlowe, dubbed "the gargantuan mind," by those who knew these matters, was peerless.
Moreover Marlowe stands as the undisputed genius behind Shakespeare and upon which Shakespeare so often and so frequently depended, at least according to Swinburne and Bloom.
His _Aenaeus and Dido_ can be easily see to grow, organically, as the poet matured, into _Romeo and Juliet_ and later into _Anthony and Cleopatra_. His _Doctor. Faustus_ seems to flower, easily, into _Prospero’s Enchanted Island_ or _The Tempest_, Prospero being Italian for Faustus.
Indeed the early version of Romeo and Juliet was published anonymously and quotes
on its title page a phrase from Ovid that Marlowe translated in the Eligies.
His _Edward II_ easily, given a few years of maturity, becomes _Richard II_ and few later the still more mature _Henry IV_.
Indeed the entire Henriad is said to base on Marlowe’s juvenile play, _The Famous Victories of Henry V_, which contains roles for his cobbler father and his mother, Katherine Arthur of Dover, Kent. Henry IV alludes to his sister by her place of occupation, Canterbury’s the Windmill Tavern or ale house.
His father, John Marlowe, was born in Osprey, Kent a fishing village now part of Faversham, the scene of Arden of Faversham, about which William Urry observed, "if it had appeared with Marlowe’s name on its title page none would have doubted it." _Arden, Famous Victories_ and the _Woodstock ms._, often called _Part One of Richard II_, all share interlocking characters, Kentish locales and appear to have been written by a Kentish lad, as was the Timon, ms., which is the source of the mature Shakespearian drama of similar name. Indeed this juvenile play is not only set in Dover and the "Cinque ports," but lays claim to the Elegies, which Marlowe is known to have translated and identifies the author as a cobbler’s son at university in 1580...only Marlowe fits the bill.
His _Jew of Malta_ easily becomes _The Jew of Venice_ or the _Merchant of Venice_, as it has come to be called.
His matchless powers of translation, his sublime poetry, his broad readings, his travels, his work in English covert diplomacy are all easily traced in his works, as are many of his friendships and his Kentish background, for Kent servers as the scene, either explicitly or implicitly, for many of his and Shakespeare’s works.
His _Hero and Leander_ , for example, is easily perceived to have been set in Dover, Kent with an eye on nearby France...now the locale of the Chunnel and the closest point to centennial Europe., as observed by Bakeless, Urry and many others. Oddly _Hero and Leander_ bills itself as a sequel to _Venus and Adonis_ another ostensively Kentish poem, dealing with the Pembroke family, Marlowe’s friends and patrons and the backers of the First Folio of Shakespeare. Oddly because _Venus and Adonis_ had not been published until after Marlowe’s "death," making its sequential nature inexplicable. Unless, of course, Marlowe was ghostwriting from among the shades.
Registered anonymously, while Marlowe was officially alive, on 18 April 1593, it seems to mark William Herbert’s 13th birthday, which fell on 8/18 April 1593 and appears to allude to him in line as the poet’s future patron. The _Sonnets_ which bear his initials allude to him as the poet’s illicit son. VA appeared in print just weeks after Marlowe’s calamities, with "William Shakespeare"’s name added to its dedication page, a dedication addressed to Pembroke’s friend and Marlowe’s fellow Cambridge alumnus, Southampton.
The anonymous source of Shakespeare’s _Taming of The Shrew_ is the play _Taming of A Shrew_ which like HL can easily be seen to have been set, not in Athens, but in Dover, Kent. It, like Leer, deal with a family ruled by daughter, as was Marlowe’s home.
The anonymous and unified version of _Henry IV_ , also in manuscript, may be easily be assigned to the young Christopher Marlowe, if, for no other reason, than the fact it surfaced in the small village where Marlowe’s friend and major professor, Thomas Harris lived, Pluckley, Kent. Allusions in Part Two definitively date to 1592/3 and
precede Marlowe’s official date of death.
Harris wife was mentioned in the Benchkin will, which Marlowe may have drafted and confidently, witnessed, in November 1585, when he and Bruno seem to have been
leaving England for Francis.
Marlowe’s name resurfaces in the post 1593 records, indicating that he did, indeed, survive 1593, as we can see from Vaughan’s letter to the Privy Council dated 4 July 1602, sent from far away Pisa, the Author of TTS being well versed on the relative merits of its university.
A registration trail linking Marlowe’s works to events in his life and connecting them to the works of Shakespeare has been identified and spans 60 years, until the last work said to have been Marlowe’s was registered on 8/18 April 1654, or the same day as William Herbert’s birthday (1580) and the appearance of _Venus and Adonis_ (1593). The last work said Shakespeare’s, Two Noble Kinsmen, appeared on that date in 1534, someone was obviously keeping close track of these days over an astonishingly long period of time. Within the same period of time spanned by the lives of two of Marlowe’s sisters.
Three works said Shakespeare, including the _Sonnets_ appeared on 20/30 May in consecutive years, entered by different publishers, commemorating either his final appearance before the Privy Council when he was unexpectedly released on capital charges and/or his "death."
_Rape of Lucrece_ appeared one year to the day from the date of the London pogrom against writers that netted and tortured Thomas Kyd and arrested and, some believe, slew Marlowe to avoid a public hearing.
Marlovians believe it unlikely that the Queen would have troubled to have had Marlowe slain, when the Crown already had him in custody and could have simply tortured him to death, as they nearly did Kyd. Kyd is presumed to have died from the ordeal without ever recovering.
Marlowe’s _The Jew of Malta_ appeared on 17 May 1594, just two weeks after RL, or on the same day that Marlowe was charged on in 1593.
Several of Marlowe’s diplomatic assignments have been established. Including his service as Arbella Stuart’s "reader and attendant," an assignment, parts of which, are incorporated into _1 Henry VI_, which was suppressed from publication for over thirty years, evidently to avoid making this connection obvious.
Marlowe’s diplomatic knowledge of both Ivan the Terrible and King James VI os incorporated into _Tamburlaine_ and _Edward II_, respectively. Just as it will reappear, unexpectedly, in _Hamlet, Macbeth_ and _Cymbeline._
In addition to this, new light has been shed on the location of Marlowe’s alleged death. The home of Eleanor Bull was anything other than a house of ill-repute or a tavern, as has been often supposed. Not only was Eleanor Bull a cousin of Lord Burghley and a member in good standing of a Kentish armorial family, her home served as the principle office for the Muscovy Trading Company, one of England’s joint venture companies with ties to Ivan the Terrible.
Its principle agent proves none other than Anthony Marlowe, long supposed a cousin of Christopher Marlowe, and mentioned by Philip Henslowe as a producer of plays in London. Eleanor Bull’s son Nathan Bull, and Marlowe were schoolmates in the prestigious King’s School in Canterbury.
Marlowe was thus, indisputably, with friends when he was supposedly slain. He was in a "safe-house" controlled by Lord Burghley, his master, and surrounded by Kentish friends and relatives. Moreover Marlowe was apparently there awaiting tides or winds for yet another covert diplomatic mission to have been undertaken at the command of the Cecils, father and son. (Sir Robert Cecil and Marlowe, one should remember, overlapped at Cambridge.)
Indeed Marlowe’s townsman and friend, Nicholas Faunt, who both attended the King’s School and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Marlowe school and university, and who shared with Marlowe the coveted Parker Scholarship, has been traced to Dover, Kent, just a few hours of coastal sailing from Deptford, Kent, on the same day, i.e., 30 May 1593.
Faunt, a few years older than Marlowe and armed with the same university training and silk in foreign languages and customs, was no stranger to covert diplomatic operations. He had worked closely with Sir Francis Walsingham and was with Walsingham in Paris during the St. Bartholomew Massacre, while still a lad.
Indeed it was Faunt who carried Walsingham’s dispatch about the Massacre back to Elizabeth "in his head." Marlowe, it will be remembered, wrote about the Massacre as if he too had witnessed it, in _Massacre at Paris_, one of the first contemporary diplomatic docudramas of the period and thus the model for many of Shakespeare’s similar diplomatic docudramas.
MP appeared on Marlowe’s birthday in 1592, as did Henry IV in 1598, and, much later, the literary copy used for the First Folio was paid for on that same day in 1622/3, a clear pattern.
After Sir Francis’ death in 1590, Faunt found service for Lord Burghley and, after that, for the Bacon brothers. Fount was, thus, working for Anthony Bacon, who was himself, Essex’s Cecil’s spymaster. Faunt’s connections to Walsingham, Burghley and Marlowe places him under suspicion as Marlowe’s primary benefactor.
In any event, Faunt’s location proves to have been perfect for aiding Marlowe in his alleged escape on the night of 30 May 1593.
Indeed the record is quite clear Faunt not only sent English agents from Dover to France, on 1 June, but they arrived there safely, according to coded return dispatches dated 12 June 1593.
Faunt then returned home to London through Canterbury, the long and tedious way.
No mention of Marlowe’s sensational death appears in these dispatches, which seems rather curious, given the obvious closeness between the two men. An eery coincidence marks the post mark, Faunt signed and dated the letter at 9 p.m., or almost the same moment Marlowe was supposedly being slain in Deptford.
We know the mission Lord Burghley and Sir Robert Cecil had in mind for Marlowe from a personal letter between them dated 21 May 1593, or the same day Marlowe jumped bail. Anyone can easily see from the plays of Shakespeare that the Author seems to have completed this important diplomatic mission, to Scotland, knew King James VI and appears to have been involved in dynastic (or successional) affairs, as first suggested by the Cambridge historian Lillian Winstanly in the early 1920s.
As mentioned Marlowe has reappeared alive and well in diplomatic, state and university records after 1593, so a prima facile case for his post 1593 can be made.
None of this means he was the Author "William Shakespeare," but it certainly makes his candidacy the most plausible of all the rival contenders. Indeed Marlowe’s play _The Jew of Malta_ appeared out of the blue in 1633, dedicated to Thomas Hammon, the dedicator speaking of a life long friendship between himself and Hammon. Hammon, like Nathan Bull and Nicholas Faunt, attended the King’s School. Indeed Marlowe and Hammon were classmates as the King’s School and later at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The dedication is ostensively signed "Thomas Heywood", however such attributions have proven notoriously uncertain and it seems quite unlikely that Heywood could have known Hammon through out the "long compas" of his years since the two men weren’t from the same communities.
Marlowe reappeared at Valladolid on 20/30 May 1599, or six years from the date of his alleged death at Deptford. As it turns out Cervantes was at Valladolid during that same period and the matchless English translation of _Don Quixote_ , which appeared shortly after its publication, bears the initials "T.S.", said to have been Thomas Shelton, supposedly the brother-in-law of Sir Thomas Walsingham, with whom Marlowe was staying in May 1593 and whose servant supposed slew Marlowe in self-defense. However recent scholarship has proven "Thomas Shelton" a nom de plume for a yet unidentified writer.
No one doubts Marlowe, had he lived in Spain, would have possessed the command of Spanish and English to have been the translator of _Don Quixote_,
Here’s what Marlovians suppose happened on this day in 1593.
Right wing religious reactionaries, the same cartel or junta or gang, that had been after Marlowe at Cambridge, was after him in May 1593. Taking advantage of Burghley’s absence from Chambers on 18 May, they issued an arrest order for Marlowe, having in hand incriminating evidence obtained from the torture of Thomas Kyd. Evidence of a capital nature.
Burghley, however, stepped in, just as he had done to obtain Marlowe’s MA and, again, when Marlowe was returned home from Flanders, by Sir Robert Sidney, for capital crimes. Capital crimes notwithstanding, Burghley promptly and summarily released Marlowe on his own recognizance.
Marlowe, unable to return, wisely jumped bail, never to be seen alive again, at least before the Privy Council.
However Burghley and Cecil had great need for Marlowe in Scotland on issues of national merit and touching on dynastic succession. So they opted to aid Marlowe, indisputably their most brilliant geopolitical diplomat and strategic planner, in his escape, trusting him with their safely, as a quid pro quo.
Marlowe did undertake the mission to Scotland, knew King James VI and for his continued "faithful dealings" was rewarded by James and the Cecil with continued high level employment in what is today called the British Secret Service.
Where he worked, under what names and with whom is not known with any degree of certainty. Nor is it known for a fact that he survived 1593, but the case, though unproven, has merit.
What is known for certain that Marlowe’s death or alleged death was handled at the highest levels. Investigated by the Queen coroner, Sir William Danby, the Queen herself pardoned Marlowe’s alleged slayer and did so in a writ which invoked the equivalency of the English Secrets Act, expressly forbidding any further local inquiry into Marlowe’s "death." It remains a royal proclamation that has foiled 4 centuries of scholarly effort.
One must note that Marlowe "died" before forensic identification was possible. Only
Marlowe’s friends, who were with him this fateful day at Bull’s manor and company offices, were able to testify to the identify of the cadaver said his, but now supposed to have been John Penry’s, who was hanged, on short notice, just a few hours earlier and only a few moments ride from Deptford.
A similar switch is dramatized in _Measure for Measure_, for no apparent dramatic reason, unless to say that the use of a cadaver for the avoidance of unjust crimes is morally correct. Indeed this entire chapter is clearly alluded to in 2 Henry IV, which appeared in 1600 as pointed out by Professor Art Neuendorffer, on hlas, on 30 May 2001.
So mark this day well, it is the day Marlowe, with the help of high friends, became the Author William Shakespeare.
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