And thence retire me to my Milan, where,
Every third thought shall be my grave.
The "Every third thought" line has puzzled the Stratters, and with reason. Of course, once you focus on Marlowe, it becomes easy to “translate." The Tempest is full of numerical clues and this is one of them. Here is what I wrote about it in my essay on The Tempest (Marlowe Research Journal nº 4):
Even accepting the obvious meaning that Prospero is getting old and is thinking about death, this is a curious way of putting it. Why every third thought? Is this a manner of speaking, or is it one more example of his excessive use of the number three? Is the author positively linking his grave to the number three? When I focused on this strange line, it occurred to me that Marlowe would be the only one, among the authorship candidates, who could actually know the date of his burial: 1st June 1593. And here it seems I may have struck gold:
As Marlowe had been killed on May 30th, the 1st of June was the third day from his death (in the same way that Christ is supposed to have resurrected on the third day, Easter Sunday, from his death on Good Friday). Also, June is the third month in the Julian Calendar Year, which starts on March 25th. Finally, 1593, as well as 1+5+9+3=18, and 1+8 =9 (= 3+3+3) are numbers divisible by three. So, Marlowe’s grave, though unmarked, would have received his corpse on the third day after his death, on the third month of the Julian Year 1593, a year divisible by three whichever way one adds its digits. I wonder what are the odds that all this may be a coincidence.
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