Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oxfordians and the 1604 Question by Peter Farey

The Earl of Oxford is known to have died in 1604, when according to virtually all Shakespearean scholars at least a quarter of Shakespeare's plays were yet to be written. Oxfordians - who unlike Marlovians generally accept the date upon which their candidate is supposed to have died - imagine that they can overcome this problem by claiming that these plays must have all been written before then, and that the scholars have simply shifted them into the period c.1592-1613 because that corresponds with what would have been the writing career of their author, William Shakespeare of Stratford. Oxfordian chronologies would have him writing everything some ten or more years earlier.

Unfortunately for them, however, it is not quite as simple as that. How much the blank verse used in English drama changed over the years cannot simply be ignored in this way. Let us look at one such change - the gradual but steady move away from a procession of end-stopped lines in regular iambic pentameter.

The opposite of an end-stopped line, an open line - or a run-on line, or enjambment - is one in which the meaning flows on to the next line without punctuation. For example, see Prospero's famous lines in Act IV scene 1 of The Tempest:
Our revels now are ended: these our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air.
It would simply not be possible to put any sort of punctuation at the end of the second line without wrecking the sense. That's an open line. And a feminine ending? The rhythm of Shakespeare's blank verse is the iambic (di-dum) pentameter (repeated 5 times). This is how lines two and three scan, but not line one, which has acquired an extra "di" syllable at the end. That's a feminine ending.

In a post to SHAKSPER ("The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference") on March 2, 1996, David Kathman wrote: "The use of feminine endings in blank verse increased steadily among English poets in general between the 1580s and the 1620s, just as the use of enjambment increased steadily in the same period; Shakespeare followed both of these trends"; and as Ward Elliott and Robert Valenza tell us: "The percentages of both indicators tripled over Shakespeare's lifetime."1

Here, using Elliott and Valenza's figures, are details of plays by Beaumont, Chapman, Daniel, Dekker, Fletcher, Greene, Heywood, Jonson, Kyd, Herbert (Mary), Lyly (that lone one at the bottom), Marlowe, Middleton, Munday, Nashe, Peele and Porter.2As we can see, even though the data come from many different playwrights, there is a clearly discernable trend, as indicated by the computer-generated trendline. Note in particular that before 1600 only two plays exceeded a usage rate of 35, whereas after 1600 only two plays did not exceed that level. By "usage rate," we mean the number of open lines plus feminine endings there are on average per hundred lines of verse.

Although there is no generally agreed chronology for the works of Shakespeare, the differences between the dates suggested by various scholars are relatively minor. Given that the figures being used in these graphs are those of Elliott and Valenza, it seems appropriate to use their dates too.

Here is a graph in which the usage rate for each Shakespeare play according to Elliott and Valenza is plotted against the date they suggest for it. It is worth bearing in mind that their intention in assembling this information had nothing to do with our reason for using it here. Even without the trendline, one can see how Shakespeare's figures increase over the years as David Kathman reported - in fact at a quite extraordinarily constant rate. What should be pointed out is that every one of the plays usually given a date after the death of the Earl of Oxford in 1604 has a usage rate greater than 45. Every other Shakespeare play (i.e. 1604 or earlier) except Measure for Measure (50) and All's Well That Ends Well (51) has a rate of less than that.

Although these dates are the ones given by Elliott and Valenza, the trend would have been no less evident if we had used the dates published by any other Shakespearean scholar. No matter which of the various orthodox chronologies one chooses, there is a highly significant trend by which these figures increase over the years. In other words we can be very confident that most if not all of those plays given a date after the death of the Earl of Oxford were indeed written after those given a date before it.

Some Oxfordians argue that the whole timetable could be moved back ten years or so, which would result in precisely the same trend in Shakespeare's works, and simply mean that the other writers took longer than we thought to catch on to the changing approach. Unfortunately for this argument, however, it would mean them bumping straight into the buffer which is Francis Meres.

In 1598 Francis Meres published his Palladis Tamia which, had it not been for its relevance to Shakespeare, might have been largely forgotten long before now. In this he gave a list of plays by Shakespeare, which clearly indicated that they must have been performed by that year. He said that Shakespeare was the "most excellent" English dramatist for both comedy and tragedy, and gave as examples of the former The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors, Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice and the now untraceable Love's Labour's Won. For tragedy he cited Richard II, Richard III, Henry IV, King John, Titus Andronicus, and Romeo and Juliet.

As Oxfordians are quick to point out, however, it's not a complete list of the plays Shakespeare had written by then, since it is fairly clear that the three parts of Henry VI and The Taming of the Shrew - although not necessarily with the same titles - had also been performed before 1598. So is there a specific reason for those plays to have been omitted which would not apply to any other? Yes, there certainly is.

This is what Edward Burns says in his Arden (3rd series) edition of 1 Henry VI (p.8), describing the first page of the theatre owner Philip Henslowe's accounts: "What follows is a day-to-day calendar of the plays performed that year at the Rose theatre by a company under the patronage of Lord Strange - hence 'my lord stranges mene'. About a third of the way down the page a line reads 'ne - Rd at harey the vj the 3 of marche 1591...iijli xvjs 8d'." "Harey the vj" is generally accepted as being 1 Henry VI, and there is no record of it ever being performed by any company other than Lord Strange's Men.

In his Arden 3 edition of 2 Henry VI (p.121), Ronald Knowles says: " seems probable that, by 1591, 2 and 3 Henry VI had been performed successfully, presumably by Lord Strange's company, since 'Pembroke's Men' appears on the title page of The True Tragedy [the 1595 quarto of 3 Henry VI] and this company is generally considered an offshoot of Strange's." 2 Henry VI had been called "The First Part of the Contention between the two great houses of York and Lancaster." That it was the "first part" may be taken to indicate that both plays were owned and performed by the same company.

All three of the Henry VI plays therefore seem to have been the property of the Strange/Pembroke companies and there is no record of their being associated in any way with the Lord Chamberlain's company. The reason for their omission from Meres's list is therefore fairly clear - he didn't know that they were by Shakespeare, resident playwright for the Lord Chamberlain's Men.

Similarly, The Taming of the Shrew had a quarto version called The Taming of A Shrew and, as Brian Morris (Arden 2, p.45) says, its title-page states, "As it was sundry times acted by the Right honorable, the Earle of Pembroke his servants." The next time we hear of it is in the First Folio of 1623.

Titus Andronicus was similar to this, although Meres did include it in his list. What we find in this case, however - despite evidence of it having passed through the hands of Strange's, Pembroke's and even Sussex's Men - is that when Q2 appeared in 1600 (only two years after Meres's list) it had added the Lord Chamberlain to the noblemen whose servants had played it, most probably before 1598.

There is no evidence of any of the rest of the plays on Meres's list having been played by companies other than the Lord Chamberlain's. It's been suggested that Richard III might have originated with the Strange/Pembroke group, but the fact that the 1598 quarto is ascribed to Shakespeare - and that there was a bawdy 1602 joke about Burbage playing Richard - makes it fairly certain that it was in the Lord Chamberlain's Men's repertoire by the time Meres mentioned it.

So Meres's list seems to consist only of those plays said to have been by Shakespeare which were in the Lord Chamberlain's Men's repertory by 1598. Most scholars therefore quite reasonably claim that the first plays written by Shakespeare were those Meres listed, plus the other four, and that any other plays of his made their first appearance after this date.

In considering whether this claim is justified it is interesting to see how much the two techniques are used in those first 15 plays of Shakespeare - the 11 on Meres's list for which we have data plus the four missing ones - when compared with the rest of his plays. If we do so we find that (with the exception of 1 Henry IV and The Merchant of Venice) every one of them has a usage rate lower than 35. In contrast, every other play of his (with the exception of The Merry Wives of Windsor which has hardly any verse to speak of) has a rate exceeding 35. This offers massive support for the Shakespearean scholars' claim.

That this matches the trend observed among Shakespeare's contemporaries is reinforced by the fact that in the first graph the contemporaries' trendline is only two points away from his level in 1598. By 1604, however, he is ahead by some ten points on average, and by 1613 that difference between them has grown to twenty per hundred lines of verse. Part of what made Shakespeare's verse so much greater than the rest was this appreciation of just how much freedom the two techniques offered.

To sum up:

1) Whether we are talking about Elizabethan or Jacobean playwrights in general or about Shakespeare in particular, there is a very clear trend in which the use of open lines and feminine endings tended to increase throughout Shakespeare's lifetime.

2) All of the orthodox Shakespearean chronologies show ten or eleven plays written after Oxford's death.

3) Every one of the eleven plays considered here has a frequency of open lines plus feminine endings which is more than that of any other play ascribed to Shakespeare bar two. The median (midpoint) value of the figures for these plays is 64 per hundred lines of verse.

4) Of the plays listed by Francis Meres as having been written by 1598 - plus those missing from his list for which there is evidence of earlier performance by the Strange/Pembroke companies - every one of them other than The Merchant of Venice and 1 Henry IV has a frequency of open lines plus feminine endings which is less than any of the rest of the plays attributed to him other than The Merry Wives of Windsor. The median value for all of them is only 26 per hundred lines of verse.

5) No matter which of the various orthodox chronologies one chooses, there is a highly significant trend by which these figures increase over the years. However, as the reasoning explained in Gary Taylor's chronology shows,3 the high correlation of the figures with the dates is not due to the latter being based upon the former, which plays little or no part in how the dates are arrived at. So the clear trend adds considerable support to the orthodox datings being substantially correct.

6) This leaves Oxfordians with the following options.

• Find reasons for shifting every one of those ten or eleven plays back before 1604, and pretend that the resulting demolition of the trend doesn't matter.

• Shift the whole canon back the requisite amount in time, which would retain the trend, but then explain why Meres had inexplicably omitted most of Shakespeare's finest plays from his list.

• Create an entirely new chronology for the post-1598 plays which retains the trend, but squeezes all 23 of them into the six-year period between 1598 and 1604. Without any justification for the "new" dates being based either upon internal or external evidence, however, this would of course be cheating.

• Hope that nobody notices and that it will all just go away, or

• Think it possible that they just might be backing the wrong candidate?

Peter Farey

© Peter Farey, September 2009
  Emmerich Anonymous Shakespeare
Peter Farey, a founding member of the International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society, is the 2007 recipient of the Calvin & Rose G. Hoffman Prize, administered annually by The King's School in Canterbury for a "distinguished publication on Christopher Marlowe." He was also a founding member (with Derek Jacobi) of the UK's National Youth Theatre. Click here to reach Peter's website.

Are Oxfordians backing the wrong candidate? Click here for Peter's fascinating analysis of how Marlowe compares with de Vere on Shakespeare authorship criteria.

1Elliott, Ward and Robert Valenza. "And Then There Were None: Winnowing the Shakespeare Claimants." Computers and the Humanities 30, 1996. p.198.
2Ibid. pp.211-211. All of their counting was done by computer, and the authors acknowledge (p.215) that it is not as accurate as manual counting for feminine endings. For the present exercise, however, this is of less importance than having the same method used throughout.
3Taylor, Gary. "The Canon and Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays," in Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor et. al., William Shakespeare, A Textual Companion (1987, 1997). pp.81-2.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Wrong Candidate? by Peter Farey

Are Oxfordians backing the wrong candidate? Click here for a fascinating analysis of how Marlowe compares with de Vere on Shakespeare authorship criteria.

Click here for the blog's home page and recent content. Ian McKellen, Edward II, Godot

Saturday, September 26, 2009

On Venus and Adonis by Samuel Blumenfeld

While I agree with Daryl Pinksen that Marlowe wrote Venus and Adonis, I don’t think it was written to try to convince the Earl of Southampton to marry. The first 17 of the famous Sonnets were, as Daryl and I believe, written by Marlowe at the behest of Lord Burghley to persuade Southampton to marry his granddaughter Elizabeth. Apparently the poems failed to do the job.

But I think Venus and Adonis tells a different story, one of seduction by an aggressive female of a reluctant handsome young man. And it is only when Venus becomes totally passive that Adonis becomes sufficiently aroused to make love to her.

If the thesis I put forth in my book is correct, Marlowe is telling us exactly what took place between him and Mary Sidney, the Countess of Pembroke. Of course, my thesis is pure speculation, but I believe that Marlowe was Philip Sidney’s page, engaged at the age of eight when in 1572 Sidney was embarking on his two-year tour of the Continent with a contingent of servants. I also believe that young Christopher stayed with Sidney until the age of fourteen when he entered the King’s School on Archbishop Parker’s scholarship.

During those six years in Sidney's employ, Marlowe traveled with the young nobleman and his servants all across Europe, was in Paris during the horrible St. Bartholomew massacre of the Huguenots, and on return to England remained with Sidney until 1578.

Apparently, Sidney’s sister Mary, two years older than Marlowe, became acquainted with her brother’s precocious page and recognized in him a highly intelligent, good looking, and personable young man with a talent for writing poetry.

At the age of fifteen, Mary Sidney married the elderly Second Earl of Pembroke, Henry Herbert, who had had two wives, neither of whom bore him an heir. After two years of marriage, it became clear to Mary and the Earl that he was infertile. But the Earl wanted an heir to carry forth the Pembroke earldom. The great problem that many noble titled families had was the lack of a male heir to carry forth the title.

The Earl no doubt told Mary that she had to get him an heir, and he didn’t care how she went about doing it. But she had to be discreet, careful, and secretive about the whole affair. Who was available to impregnate her? The most convenient candidate was her brother’s former page, now fifteen and attending the King’s School. He was perfect: a social nobody, and therefore no threat, but physically healthy, highly intelligent, virginal, and full of teenage testosterone. And he greatly admired Mary. How Mary arranged for them to meet and what took place at that meeting we can never know. What we do know is that the Third Earl of Pembroke, William Herbert, or W.H., was born on April 8, 1580.

Which means that it was in the summer of 1579 that Mary found a convenient time and place to seduce young Christopher. And there is every likelihood that, as a result of this highly charged first sexual experience, Marlowe not only considered it a privilege to contribute his blood to the Sidney-Pembroke line, but also fell in love with the Countess.

It is my contention that Venus and Adonis tells the story of that seduction by the aggressive Countess, the resistance of Adonis, and how he discovered that women aroused him when they became completely passive. Some men enjoy aggressive women, but apparently Marlowe did not. Thus in Hero and Leander, Leander is the aggressor.

The Countess went on to have three more children: Katherine, Anne, and Philip Herbert, the future Earl of Montgomery. Who were their fathers? The best candidate is the poet Samuel Daniel, the rival poet, who lived with the Countess, and served as a tutor to young William.

We do know that throughout her life Mary Sidney bore a terrible burden of sin because of her aroused sexual desires. In other words, it was the Second Earl of Pembroke who forced his young wife to become a latent nymphomaniac.

As for the dedication of Venus and Adonis to Southampton by the unknown Shakespeare, I believe it was done to give this highly erotic poem respectable and prestigious patronage. Marlowe undoubtedly knew Southampton, Burghley’s ward, and may have even tutored him at Cambridge, and it is quite likely that Southampton knew who the true author was.

G. K. Chesterton once wrote about political secrecy: “It is the thing most common to humanity that is most veiled by humanity. It is exactly because we all know that it is there that we need not say that it is there.” Perhaps this insight explains why secrets were so well kept during Elizabethan times. Chesterton says further: “We are asked to be silent about these things, but we are not asked to be ignorant about them.” (All Things Considered, New York, John Lane Co., 1910)

Samuel Blumenfeld

© Samuel Blumenfeld, September 2009

Samuel Blumenfeld, a regular contibutor to MSC, has authored more than ten books. His latest, The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection: A New Study of the Authorship Question, was published by McFarland. He is a former editor in the New York book publishing industry, and he has lectured in all 50 U.S. states. His writings have appeared in such diverse publications as Esquire, Reason, Education Digest, Vital Speeches of the Day, Boston, and many others.

A recent anecdote Sam related to me from his fascinating life experiences: "I did meet Ayn Rand when I was editor at Grosset & Dunlap. Took her to lunch. I then attended the Objectivist lectures given by her protege Nathaniel Branden. Rand would come at the end of each lecture and answer questions. After the lecture, a group of us would retire to the bar in the hotel for further dicussion. Alan Greenspan was part of that group. Of course, Rand later broke off with Branden because he was in love with a younger woman."

See Sam on YouTube addressing the Shakespeare authorship controversy.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Christopher Marlowe in Boston Globe

"If Marlovians seem more jovial than de Vere’s promoters, that is because 'Kit' Marlowe was cool," writes Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam. Click here for the fun September 25 article "The Shakespeare Truthers."

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nicholas Skeres & the Earl of Essex by Peter Farey

At one point in Michael Rubbo's 2002 documentary Much Ado About Something, Rubbo is in Jonathan Bate's garden discussing with him the Marlowe "faked death" scenario at Deptford. Energetically "digging in" some compost, Bate protests, "But what it presupposes is that the three men in the room were all in on the plot to save him." "But of course they were," says Rubbo. "They were all employees of..." With some frustration Bate interrupts him: "But they weren't - they were with rival factions!" "That's what Nicholl says," Rubbo replies, "but that's very disputed." And that's pretty much where the discussion is left.

Yet Bate was making an important point, and it is one which Marlovians ignore at their peril. The Queen's favourite Essex had only recently been appointed to the Privy Council, and was viewed with the greatest mistrust and suspicion by the Cecils - Lord Burghley and his son Sir Robert Cecil - both of them also on the Council. As for Essex, he was waiting for the old man to die so that he could take over as the Queen's chief minister. A fierce, but civil, rivalry might best describe their relationship at this time.

Robert Poley was quite clearly working on the Cecil side of that divide, and Nicholas Skeres, having certainly served Essex in the past, had described him as his "Lord and Master" only a month earlier. Ingram Frizer wasn't really connected with either, although he was very closely associated with Thomas Walsingham, formerly employed by his father's cousin, the late spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham, and it would be generally agreed that he was on the Cecil side of the Cecil/Essex split. Thomas Walsingham and Sir Robert Cecil are known to have been good friends later.

All three of them being there in the first place really makes no sense unless we assume that they were in some way representing their masters' interests. Marlovians believe that the most logical reason for their presence was to fake Marlowe's death on their masters' behalf, but this assumes Skeres to have been there in his capacity as a confidence trickster working for Frizer (and Walsingham?) rather than as a servant of Essex. That he so obviously was Essex's man does weaken the argument quite a lot - the point Jonathan Bate was making.

Fortunately for the Marlovian argument, however, an undated letter from Skeres to Essex's confidant Gelly Meyrick discovered by Paul Hammer1 among the Devereux Papers at Longleat (MS.1, fol.306) casts considerable doubt upon his having still been with Essex at the end of May 1593, when Marlowe's apparent death occurred.

In this letter - "to my most esteemed friend Gelly Meyrick" - Skeres writes (the spelling modernized):
Sir, it is long since I made choice of your friendship, and that I have found you no more readier to do me good, hath (I think) rather proceded of my own negligence than your fault. Of which negligences I have in the wrong done to myself paid the price. But now I return to my self that have been long a stranger to my self, and do lay upon the love it hath pleased you to bear me, with this request to avoke your thoughts to help me in my present suit to my Lord [of Essex] which is for some employment and charge in these affairs that are now in hand which suit (being the only stay of my fortune and the readiest means for me to recover my umbered blemish) I present to you in his Lordship's favour to make me happy, and I shall be ready to do any service to the authors of my benefit. And though I have heretofore forsaken the ways of my good, I am so tired with those walks, as all my labour shall be spent to redress my life. Good Mr Meyrick respect my long service and travail the which I hope will not be so cast off and be now as ready to pleasure me as you have been willing before to show desire. I hope of your good will, I doubt not of your power, vowing if in this you make me happy to acknowledge you the only original and means of my good during life. Thus bending all my good in your goodness towards me, I wish you the happiness of your desires.
From this, we learn the following:

1. He has done long and arduous service for Essex in the past. In 1589 Skeres had carried messages between Essex, who was in Exeter, and Sir Francis Walsingham in London after Essex's return from Portugal. Whether he was actually working for Essex at the time is not certain, however, given that it was Walsingham who paid him, and that he had apparently been one of Walsingham's men involved in the discovery of the Babington Plot three years earlier. "He quietly drops from the story, almost certainly because he was Walsingham's man all along" as Charles Nicholl puts it.2 The "long service and travail" he is referring to here, however, clearly means Essex's failed expedition to Normandy in 1591/2 when, having started with 4000 men in August 1591, the force lost about three quarters of them either from sickness or enemy action. Skeres managed to survive nevertheless, and returned some months after Essex in August the following year.

2. He regrets the way he has spent his life in the past, and is determined to put it right from now on. In 1593 he was thirty. He had been employed at the dishonest end of the money lending-business from his early teens and was still involved in it. So it seems very likely that it is this practice he means by having "forsaken the ways of his good," and that it is this life which he now intends to "redress," meaning that the letter was most probably written after May/June 1593.

3. He has become estranged from Essex because of something he did which damaged his image in Essex's eyes. Nicholl (p.438) and Hammer (p.228) come up with only two suggestions as to what this might have been: the Deptford incident of May 30,1593, or Skeres's appearance before the Star Chamber Court a month earlier. In the first of these he was apparently only a witness to what went on, and it is difficult to see what might have offended Essex unless what happened was the very opposite of what he had wanted - but there is little if any reason to suspect that Essex had any interest in Marlowe at that time, whether alive or dead! In the latter, Skeres had been summoned before the Star Chamber Court because of his having worked for ten years or more as an "instrument" to draw victims into the clutches of the loan shark John Wolfall. Nicholl plays this down as a possible cause of the disfavour, but unsurprisingly fails to mention that if this were the event in question his whole Essex-based thesis as to what happened (both the 1992 and 2002 versions) would be in ruins. What neither he nor Hammer mentions either is that the Earl of Essex himself was a member of the Star Chamber Court, and may of course have taken exception to someone "before the Star Chamber for extortion" as Hammer put it, drawing attention to the fact that Essex was his "Lord and Master." As a new member, his image mattered.

4. He is asking for support from Meyrick in his suit to Essex for employment in the "affairs that are now in hand." Both Nicholl and Hammer suggest that the affairs in question might be Essex's preparations for his Cadiz expedition of 1596. Nicholl has some reservations about this, however, saying that the word "affairs" does not seem quite right for a military expedition. He has obviously forgotten Richard II, in which the King uses the word twice with precisely that meaning, one even saying "affairs in hand."3 He floats the possibility of it being the so-called Lopez affair Skeres had in mind, but gives no indication of how Skeres would have known about it, nor how Meyrick would have known it was this he was talking about. The "affairs that are now in hand" are probably military ones, but the reference seems to be more general than just the Cadiz campaign, and Essex's entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) may give us a clue.
Essex therefore threw himself into military administration, the appointment of army officers, intelligence-gathering, and an ever-growing number of foreign correspondences - areas of often frenetic activity which reflected his conviction that confronting Spain was England's most urgent task and which provided him with a steady supply of the political ammunition which he needed to impress this view upon a reluctant queen...Although Essex took over correspondence with Florence (through James Guicciardini) in 1593 and invested much time and money in intelligence-gathering from 1592, the full extent of his ambition to become a statesman of truly international significance emerged only in 1595.
It was these preparations that must have been fairly widely known and which Skeres most probably had in mind rather than any specific project, about which public knowledge would have been very limited indeed.

5. Since it is addressed to "Gellie Mericke" and he refers to "Mr Mireke" in the text, it must have been written before Meyrick was knighted in the summer of 1596. Skeres was also arrested and released in March 1595 when the record describes him as a "servant" of Essex, which suggests a date before this too, although this is something he may well have claimed on the basis of his long service even if he was still out of favour and being given no work to do. One is reminded of the imprisoned Christopher Marlowe claiming in Flushing to be well known to Lord Strange and the Earl of Northumberland, whilst almost certainly actually working for Lord Burghley at the time.

Given that Skeres had apparently done long service for Essex up until April 1593, and that the estrangement occurred "long since" some time before 1596, it seems highly likely that as a result of Skeres's Star Chamber appearance, Essex let it be known that he was displeased at having his name associated with that of a usurer's tout, and would prefer Skeres not to have the chance to do so again. The Star Chamber hearing was in April 1593 and the letter must have been written a year or two later, before Meyrick's knighthood in 1596 but after a sufficient time for the falling out to have happened "long since." And if this is so, then Skeres's presence at Deptford only a month later will have had nothing to do with Essex - even if he was brought back into the Essex fold later on, which his imprisonment following the executions of Essex and Meyrick might suggest.

We cannot say that this is certain, but it is undoubtedly very probable indeed, and enough for it to be no longer possible for people like Jonathan Bate to claim with any confidence that Poley and Skeres were with "rival factions" and therefore most unlikely to have collaborated on something like the faking of Marlowe's death.

Peter Farey

© Peter Farey, September 2009

Peter Farey, a founding member of the International Marlowe-Shakespeare Society, is the 2007 recipient of the Calvin & Rose G. Hoffman Prize, administered annually by The King's School in Canterbury for a "distinguished publication on Christopher Marlowe." He has been manning the Marlovian barricades on the internet for the past 11 years, with over 4000 posts to internet newsgroups in that time, mostly about the Marlovian theory. Click here to reach Peter's website.

1Hammer, Paul E.J. "A Reckoning Reframed: the 'Murder' of Christopher Marlowe Revisited." English Literary Renaissance 26.2, 1996, p.242.
2Nicholl, Charles. The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe. London: Vintage, 2002. p.32.
3Richard II. 1.4.46-51.
We will ourself in person to this war,
And for our coffers with too great a court
And lib'ral largess are grown somewhat light,
We are enforc'd to farm our royal realm,
The revenue whereof shall furnish us
For our affairs in hand.

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