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The Preface to First Book of Lucan (1600)--Like the First Folio publisher Edward Blount, Thomas Thorpe was another publisher who printed works of (the concealed author) Shakespeare, and also helped Christopher Marlowe stay in print after his (death or) banishment. In this dedicatory epistle to Blount (prounounced "blunt, who two years earlier had published Marlowe's Hero & Leander), Thorpe teases his colleague about some astounding news he has to tell him. (A few years later, in 1609, Thorpe will publish the Sonnets of Shakespeare, with another cryptic dedication to "Mr. W.H."). Thorpe's dedicatory letter to Blount in its original spelling, as well as the entire text of Marlowe's translation of Lucan is available at Perseus at Tufts University. You can read more about Thorpe in an original essay by Charles Michaels, Jr.
To his Kind, and True Friend:
Blount: I purpose to be blunt with you, and out of my dullness to encounter you with a Dedication in the memory of that pure elemental wit, Chris Marlow; whose ghost or Genius is to be seen walk the Churchyard in (at the least) three or four sheets. Me thinks you should presently look wild now, and grow humorously frantic upon the taste of it. Well, lest you should, let me tell you.
This spirit [Marlowe] was sometimes a familiar of your own, Lucans first book translated; which (in regard of your old right in it) I have raised in the circle of your Patronage. But stay now, Edward (If I mistake not) you are to accommodate your self with some few instructions, touching the property of a Patron, that you are not yet possessed of; and to study them for your better grace as our Gallants do fashions.
First, you must be proud and think you have merit enough in you, though you are never so empty; then when I bring you the book, take physick [a sedative], and keep state, assign me a time by your man to come again, and afore the day, be sure to have changed your lodging; in the mean time, sleep little, and sweat with the invention of some pitiful dry jest or two which you may happen to utter, with some little (or not at all) marking of your friends when you have found a place for them to come in at; or if by chance something from you has dropped worth the taking up , weary all that come to you with the often repetition of it; censure scornfully enough , and somewhat like a travailer; commend nothing [lest] you discredit your (that which you would seem to have) judgment.
These things, if you mould your self to them Ned, I make no question but they will not become you. One special virtue of our Patrons of these days I have promised myself you shall fit excellently, which is to give nothing; Yes, thy love I will challenge as my peculiar Object both in this, and (I hope) many more succeeding offices : Farewell, I affect not the world should measure my thoughts to thee by a scale of this Nature: Leave to think good of me when I fall from thee.
- Thine in all rites of perfect friendship,
- THOM. THORPE