Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Christening, Kit!

Kit Marlowe
We don't know what day Christopher Marlowe was born - but he was christened on this day in 1564, in Canterbury, England. A poet, dramatist, and spy, Marlowe is well-known today, eclipsed by that other author born that year, that William Shakespeare fellow. He died at 29, stabbed through the eye in what might have been a bar-room brawl or might have been a hired killing...

Izaak Walton, in The Compleat Angler mentioned "that smooth song which was made by Kit Marlow, now at least fifty years ago" and Shakespeare quoted it in "The Merry Wives of Windsor":

Come live with me, and be my love;
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales 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 the 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 shepherd-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.

Find all Marlowe on line at the Perseus Project.

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