Marlowe, Raleigh, & Bacon


Christopher Marlowe's Biography

156493, English dramatist and poet, b. Canterbury. Probably the greatest English dramatist before Shakespeare, Marlowe was educated at Cambridge and he went to London in 1587, where he became an actor and dramatist for the Lord Admiral's Company. His most important plays are the two parts of Tamburlaine the Great (c.1587), Dr. Faustus (c.1588), The Jew of Malta (c.1589), and Edward II (c.1592). Marlowe's dramas have heroic themes, usually centering on a great personality who is destroyed by his own passion and ambition. Although filled with violence, brutality, passion, and bloodshed, Marlowe's plays are never merely sensational. The poetic beauty and dignity of his language raise them to the level of high art. He is best known for his masterful usage of blank verse. Most authorities detect influences of his work in the Shakespeare canon, notably in Titus Andronicus and King Henry VI. Of his nondramatic pieces, the best-known are the long poem Hero and Leander (1598), which was finished by George Chapman, and the beautiful lyric that begins "Come live with me and be my love." In 1593, Marlowe was stabbed in a barroom brawl by a drinking companion. Although a coroner's jury certified that the assailant acted in self-defense, the murder may have resulted from a definite plot, due, as some scholars believe, to Marlowe's activities as a government agent

Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

from "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" Discussion Questions

Recall and Interpret
1. What does the shepherd ask of his beloved in the first stanza? What does he tell her theywill do if she agrees to his request?
2. What things does the shepherd promise to give his beloved? What do these promises tell you about the shepherd and his love for the woman?
3. Describe the kind of life the couple would have according to the shepherd. In your opinion, is this a realistic possibility? Why or why not?

Evaluate and Connect
4. How do the promises in this poem fit in with the tradition of pastoral poetry? (See Literary Terms Handbook, p. Rll.) Explain your answer.
5. Do you find the shepherd's words persuasive? Why or why not?

Sir Walter Raleigh's Biography

1554?1618, English soldier, explorer, courtier, and man of letters. As a youth Raleigh served (1569) as a volunteer in the Huguenot army in France. In 1572 he was listed as an undergraduate at Oxford, where he may have studied before going to France In 1580, Raleigh served in Ireland, suppressing the rebels in Munster.
When he returned to England in 1581, Raleigh immediately went to court and soon became a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. Raleigh exhibited a genuine talent for administration, but he had already alienated too many important people to achieve real political power. He was appointed captain of the queen's guard in 1587, an office significant because it required constant attendance on Elizabeth.
After the queen's quarrel with Essex over the earl's marriage, Raleigh returned to prominence at court and was granted (1592) an estate at Sherborne. Later that year he set out on a privateering expedition, but he was recalled by Elizabeth and imprisoned in the Tower of London when she learned of his secret marriage to Elizabeth Throckmorton, a maid of honor at court. Late in 1592, Raleigh's expedition returned to England with a richly loaded Portuguese carrack.
In 1595, Raleigh embarked on an expedition with the adventurer-scholar Laurence Kemys to find the fabled city of El Dorado. Raleigh was made governor of Jersey in 1600, but his fortunes ebbed when he drifted apart from his former ally Robert Cecil (later earl of Salisbury) in the political tempest over Essex's treason and death. He met his downfall upon the accession (1603) of James I, who had been convinced by Raleigh's enemies that Raleigh was opposed to his succession. Saved from the block by a reprieve, Raleigh settled down in the Tower and devoted himself to literature and science. There he began his incomplete History of the World.
Raleigh was released in 1616 to make another voyage to the Orinoco in search of gold, but he was warned not to molest Spanish possessions or ships on pain of his life. The expedition failed, but Laurence Kemys captured a Spanish town. Raleigh returned to England, where the Spanish ambassador demanded his punishment. Failing in an attempt to escape to France, he was executed under the original sentence of treason passed many years before.

Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd"

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,--
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
The coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

from "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" Discussion Questions

Recall and Interpret
1. What does the nymph imply about the shepherd in the first stanza? 2. How does the nymph characterize all the treasures the shepherd offers? What does her response tell you about her view of life?
3. What does she say might convince her love the shepherd? In your opinion, is it likely that she will ever do as the shepherd as ? Why or why not?

Evaluate and Connect
4. How does reading these two poems together and comparing their messages increase the impact of each poem? Use details from the poems to support your response.
5. In your opinion, how effective is the nymph's reply to the shepherd's invitation? If you were the nymph, how might you have responded to him?

Francis Bacon's Biography

15611626, English philosopher, essayist, and statesman, b. London, educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at Gray's Inn. He was knighted in 1603, became attorney general in 1613, lord keeper in 1617, and lord chancellor in 1618; he was created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St. Albans in 1621. He spent the rest of his life writing in retirement. Bacon belongs to both philosophy and literature. He projected a large philosophical work, the Instauratio Magna, but completed only two parts, The Advancement of Learning (1605), later expanded in Latin as De Augmentis Scientiarum (1623), and the Novum Organum (1620).
Bacon's contribution to philosophy was his application of the inductive method of modern science. He urged full investigation in all cases, avoiding theories based on insufficient data. He has been widely censured for being too mechanical, failing to carry his investigations to their logical ends, and not staying abreast of the scientific knowledge of his own day. In the 19th cent., Macaulay initiated a movement to restore Bacon's prestige as a scientist.
Today his contributions are regarded with considerable respect. In The New Atlantis (1627) he describes a scientific utopia that found partial realization with the organization of the Royal Society in 1660. His Essays (15971625), largely aphoristic, are his best-known writings. They are noted for their style and for their striking observations about life.

Bacon's "Of Studies"

Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight, is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment, and disposition of business. For expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best, from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experience: for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need proyning, by study; and studies themselves, do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books, else distilled books are like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit: and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know, that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtile; natural philosophy deep; moral grave; logic and rhetoric able to contend. Abeunt studia in mores. Nay, there is no stond or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought out by fit studies; like as diseases of the body, may have appropriate exercises. Bowling is good for the stone and reins; shooting for the lungs and breast; gentle walking for the stomach; riding for the head; and the like. So if a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics; for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again. If his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen; for they are cymini sectores: if he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call up one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases. So every defect of the mind, may have a special receipt.

"Of Studies" Discussion Questions

Recall and Interpret
1. According to Bacon, what are the three main benefits of study? In Bacon's opinion, what danger can result from each benefit?
2. What is the proper attitude and purpose Bacon advises readers to take toward their books? What does this advice tell you about Bacon's attitude toward learning?
3. In your own words, summarize the benefits Bacon lists of studying history, poetry, mathematics, philosophy, logic, and rhetoric.
4. What analogy, or comparison, does Bacon make between different kinds of study and different kinds of physical exercise? Restate his argument in your own words.

Evaluate and Connect
5. In your opinion, how valid is Bacon's statement that books should be either tasted, swallowed, or chewed and digested? Explain your response. Look back at your journal writing for the Reading Focus on page 273 to find ideas to support your view.
6. Bacon believes that spending "too much time in studies is sloth." What might be his reasons for that belief? Do you agree with him? Give reasons for your answer.
7. Choose one idea from Bacon's essay that you find persuasive or interesting. Explain why it appeals to you.
8. Are Bacon's ideas still relevant in the contemporary world? Explain your reasoning.