Christopher Marlowe and the Age of Reason

 

Cynthia Morgan

 

 

 

 

 

The Age of Reason began with Descarte’s 1637 statement, “I think, therefore I am.” But historical time periods don’t arrive fully grown like Venus on the half shell onto the shores of Italy. The birth pangs of the Age of Reason began in the Sixteenth Century with Europe’s Reformation. In England the height of these birth contractions were reached during the late 16th century with Archbishop John Whitgift’s inquisition of the clergy, Separatists, and freethinkers who were a threat to his conservative hold on the Protestant Church. The resistance to traditional thinking by men like Marlowe, Raleigh, Hariot, Penry, Barrow and Greenwood was the early percolation of ideas that would culminate in the Age of Reason, which would undermine the authority of monarchy and church, and pave the way for the democratic revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

History shows bearers of the new are often dehumanized and killed by those clinging to the old.This is why tumultuous change in repressive societies generates pseudonyms and purposefully ambiguous written material that protects writers from being pinned down to specific meanings. An example of this is the ambiguous epitaph on the monument above the grave of William Shakspeare (as spelled in the epitaph). We are to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt this monument is direct evidence of the Stratford Shakspeare’s authorship, but for those who believe Marlowe did not die at Deptford and went on writing under the pseudonym “Shakespeare” this monument exists the way a flat earth exists to the naked eye.

Although the monument seems like direct evidence for the authorship of the Stratford Shakspeare, it is actually indirect, or circumstantial evidence because we have no eye witness testimony proving it beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone involved in erecting a monument to a great writer is going to want recognition for their work, yet we do not have any testament for who consigned this monument, who created it, when it was placed there, why the name on the monument is not spelled as it is on the first folio “Shakespeare”, but “Shakspeare”, who wrote the epitaph inscribed on it and why the epitaph of the world’s greatest writer reads like nonsense.

Normally, these things wouldn’t be a problem because most court cases are not won on direct evidence, they are won on circumstantial evidence: fingerprints, video footage, tape recordings, coincidences, and documents such as emails, letters, or diary entries when they contain confirmation of a crime. The problem with the monument near the Stratford Shakspeare’s grave is that there is no collaborative circumstantial evidence showing beyond a reasonable doubt this man wrote the Shakespeare plays and sonnets. Lack of evidence is also circumstantial evidence –in this case for non-authorship. Referring to the first folio, Diana Price wrote, “If Shakespeare was the dramatist the title-pages claim him to be, then he was, by definition, a writer, and there should be some evidence to support that professional activity. Yet out of 70+ documents left behind during his lifetime, none support his alleged literary activities. So his name could be on all those title-pages for another reason, and no conspiracy theory is necessary to explain why.”

All the Stratford Shakespeare biographies fill the evidentiary gaps with airy ifs, must haves, would haves, and presumables, which have no weight in a court of law. Opening at random Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World, we find on page 97 an example of these assumptions strung out of necessity throughout the book. This particular one is attempting to fill in the lack of evidence that he had an education. Italics mine: 

Thomas Jenkins taught in Stratford for four years, from 1575 to 1579, and hence must have been, together with Simon Junt, a significant schoolteacher in Will's life. Then, at about the time Will would have left the King's New School, Jenkins resigned his post and was succeeded by another Oxford graduate, John Cottam. Like Simon Hunt, a native of Lancashire, Cottam, who presumably taught Shakespeare's younger brother and whom Will certainly came to know, had strong Catholic connections.

 

The discrepancy between the Shakespeare name on the first folio’s title page and the life of Shakspeare buried near the monument offering no evidence of a literary career leaves Diana Price’s conclusion “no conspiracy theory is necessary to explain why" hanging mid-air. This is especially true when we consider the mystery of the monument’s creation. In a science lab such an incongruity would be taken as error and the scientist would begin testing various hypotheses to resolve it. We can apply this hypothetical method to the authorship debate by giving Christopher Marlowe one of the Ifs that so generously salt the Stratford Shakespeare biographies: If Marlowe wrote under the pseudonym “Shakespeare” because he had been wrongfully impeached as a heretic by an informer in collusion with the ecclesiastical faction of the government, any monument erected to him by those in the know would have been placed near the grave of the man who had capitalized on the Shakespeare pseudonym by brokering plays and putting his similar name on them.

Courts accept diary entries as circumstantial evidence when they contain confirmation of a crime. We begin the search for evidence supporting every aspect of the premise Marlowe was the man behind the Shakespeare works by looking at these sonnets and plays just as we would a diary to see if they contain confirmation of anything that circumstantially supports it.  Do any of the Shakespeare sonnets address a monument? 

Sonnet 81

 

Or I shall live your epitaph to make,
Or you survive when I in earth am rotten,
From hence your memory death cannot take,
Although in me each part will be forgotten.
Your name from hence immortal life shall have,
Though I, once gone, to all the world must die:
The earth can yield me but a common grave,
When you entombed in men's eyes shall lie.
Your monument shall be my gentle verse,
Which eyes not yet created shall o'er-read;
And tongues to be your being shall rehearse,
When all the breathers of this world are dead;
You still shall live, such virtue hath my pen,
Where breath most breathes, even in the mouths of men.

 

The title on the first edition of the sonnets was Shake-speare’s Sonnets. The hyphen indicated this was a pseudonym resonant with meaning.  Sonnet 81 also indicates “Shakespeare” is a pseudonym because it tells us someone else is taking credit for “Shakespeare’s” works: Whoever “Shakespeare” was, he will be forgotten while this other person will have immortal life through his work, “Shakespeare” may live to write the epitaph for the person who is taking credit for his works, and this other person’s monument shall be “Shakespeare’s” gentle verse.

            Who wrote the epitaph’s verse inscribed on the Shakespeare monument? No one knows. There are few monuments with epitaphs as cryptic as this one. Most Shakespeare biographers are so perplexed by the epitaph they rarely attempt an interpretation. Peter Farey hypothesizes the epitaph is a riddle to be solved, just as the first two lines seem to imply:  

Stay passenger why goest thou by so fast,
Read, if thou canst whom envious Death hath plast 

Obviously, the person reading the epitaph can read, so “read if thou canst” tells us the epitaph is a riddle. Riddles demand would-be solvers wade through ambiguities so they often leave out punctuation that points to meaning. But the monument was vandalized in 1974, and during its restoration careless changes were made to the epitaph’s punctuation. Thankfully, in 1634 Sir William Dugdale made a sketch of the epitaph. It is clear from the sketch that the later restoration included adding punctuation to the original lines. Notice that the original epitaph’s punctuation was more minimal than today; it only had three commas, one after “Fast”, “Read”, and “Cost”, and one period at the end of the verse.

The Original (punctuation magnified)

Stay passenger why goest thou by so fast,
Read, if thou canst whom envious Death hath plast
Wth in this monument Shakspeare with whome
Quick nature dyed whose name doth deck the tombe
Far more then cost, Sieh all that he hath writ
Leaves living art but page to serve his witt.


After the 1974 careless remodeling, the epitaph had more punctuation, lost the commas after “Read” and “Cost”, the archaic use of “with” was removed and the word spelled out, and “Canst” appears to have been changed to “Ganst”, which is not a word. The changes are in bold.

Stay Passenger, why goest thou by so fast,
Read if thou Ganst, whom envious Death hath plast
With in this monument Shakspeare: with whome,
Quick nature dide whose name doth deck Y Tombe,
Far more, then cost: Sieh all Y He hath writt,
Leaves living art, but page, to serve his witt.

Here is Peter Farey’s translation of the epitaph. He has placed his own punctuation pointers within it:

STAY PASSENGER, WHY GOEST THOV BY SO FAST?
          Stay, traveller, why go by so fast?
READ IF THOV CANST, WHOM ENVIOVS
 DEATH HATH PLAST 
          Work out, if you can, whom envious Death has placed
WITH IN THIS MONVMENT
 SHAKSPEARE: WITH WHOME, 
          with, in this monument, Shakespeare - with whom
QVICK NATVRE DIDE: WHOSE NAME, DOTH DECK Y
S TOMBE, 
          living capacity died. 'Christ-
FAR MORE, THEN COST: SIEH ALL, YT HE HATH WRITT, 
          ofer Marley'. He is returned, nevertheless. That he did the writing
LEAVES LIVING ART, BVT PAGE, TO SERVE HIS WITT.
          leaves Art alive, without a 'page' to dish up his wit. 

The riddle is asking us to discover whom envious death has placed with Shakspeare in this monument. The only clue we are given is that this person’s name is on Shakspeare’s tomb. A tomb is not a monument; a tomb is a grave. The epitaph has already named the monument “monument” in the third line, which affirms we are not to take “tombe” as a mistake intended to mean the monument which has Shakspeare’s name on it, we are to look at Shakspeare’s tomb/grave to see the name of the person whose quick nature died when Shakspeare died. While the rest of Shakspeare’s family had their names engraved on their tombs, and his wife Anne’s tomb has an epitaph in Latin, his grave doesn’t even have his name on it, nor a quote from any of the plays or sonnets, just one stanza of superstitious doggerel certainly not befitting the Shakespeare who wrote Sonnet 81.

GOOD FREND FOR IESVS SAKE FORBEARE,
TO DIGG THE DVST ENCLOASED HEARE:
BLESTE BE YE MAN YT SPARES THES STONES,
AND CVRST BE HE YT MOVES MY BONES. 

Whose name doth deck Shakspeare’s tomb? The only name we see is “Jesus”, in the first line. Farey says, So whose name is 'Jesus'? There can be only one possible answer - it is the name of 'the anointed one', Jesus CHRIST.” He goes on to say there is no reason for such an answer to the riddle to be hidden, so we should take CHRIST as only part of the name, the rest should be found in the words that follow:  

            . . .   whose name doth deck the tombe

Far more then cost, Sieh all that He hath writt,

Leaves living art, but page, to serve his witt.

It is to the original version of the epitaph we should look for the riddle’s answer, not the revision that took place in 1974. The original put a comma after “cost”, and because there were only three commas in the epitaph originally, we look to see if this comma can guide us to the answer. This means the rest of the name will be found directly after “whose name doth deck the tombe”, as if that is a question to be immediately answered and we will discover the name contained in the words before the comma that comes after “cost”.  So, the most obscure part of the epitaph, “Far more then cost”, will contain the name we are looking for.

Approaching the riddle like an anagram, Farey moved the letters around to see if he could form a name that has CHRIST in it. The words FAR MORE contain the letters O, F, E and R: CHRIST+OFER=Christofer. This is how Marlowe signed his name on Katherine Benchkin’s Will. The three letters remaining are A,M, and R, which can be rearranged into “Mar”. So, now we have CHRIST+OFER=Christofer+MAR.

As Farey says, ambiguity is what makes a riddle a riddle. He looked to see if the last two words “then costwould give the final syllable of Marlowe's name. Since the name on the tomb has for a synonym “Christ”, Peter looked for a synonym for “cost” that might spell the final syllable. He found it in the Oxford English Dictionary:  Lay: An impost, assessment, rate, tax. Ley: obs. Form of Lay. As Farey says, an impost or tax is a COST. The answer to the riddle is CHRIST+OFER MAR+LEY. His record of baptism shows him as “Christofer”, his father signed his surname as “Marley, and, as Farey notes, the Privy Council referred to him as "Christofer Marley of London, gentleman" when he appeared before them ten days before his “death” at Deptford.

 

WHOSE NAME DOTH DECK THE TOMBE
CHRISTOPHER MARLEY, SIEH ALL THAT HE HATH WRIT
LEAVES LIVING ART BUT PAGE TO SERVE HIS WITT.

Most monument interpreters have taken the “Sieh” as a mistake because there is no such word. When the epitaph is approached as a riddle, the Sieh can be taken as an anagram for: He Is.

WHOSE NAME DOTH DECK THE TOMBE
CHRISTOPHER MARLEY, HE IS ALL THAT HE [Shakspeare] HATH WRIT
LEAVES LIVING ART BUT PAGE TO SERVE HIS WITT.

Farey says, “ "The word 'but' is used in the sense of 'without, apart from, unprovided with' (O.E.D.  A.2), and the word 'serve' in the sense of 'dish up' or 'deliver' E.D. IV.42). He interprets this line as: That 'Art' is still alive, but now without a page (O.E.D. I.3.b) to dish up his wit for him.

WHOSE NAME DOTH DECK THE TOMBE
CHRISTOPHER MARLEY, HE IS ALL THAT HE (Shakspeare) HATH WRIT
LEAVES ART ALIVE, WITHOUT A PAGE TO DISH UP HIS WIT. 

What are the odds that the name on the tomb has for a synonym Christ, and when you take “cost” as a synonym for “ley” every letter of “Far more then cost” spells Marlowe’s baptismal name? This must be why it is the most obscure part of the epitaph; the line had a limited number of letters to work with. It is easier to argue against ideas than against numbers or alphabetical letters that align themselves with an idea. If Peter Farey’s interpretation of the epitaph is correct, it is the first hand testament we have not yet found for the monument’s creation, it is the only direct evidence we have of the authorship, and it tells us this is Christopher Marlowe’s monument.

 Is it mere coincidence that Ben Jonson wrote the following lines at the front of the first collected works of Shakespeare?

Thou art a Monument, without a tomb,
And art alive still, while thy Book doth live

 
The Stratford Shakspeare had a tomb/grave, yet Jonson is telling us the Shakespeare who wrote the first folio did not (as Marlowe did not). Jonson says the Shakespeare who wrote the first folio does, however, have a monument. Peter Farey has found Marlowe’s name embedded in the epitaph’s riddle etched in the monument. To be explored later are Ben Jonson’s poem “On Poet Ape”, which seems to be alluding to Shakspeare as a broker of plays, his play Every Man out of His Humor, which most Shakespeare biographers think alludes to the Stratford Shakspeare, and his poem “Inviting a Friend to Supper”, which has strong allusions to the Coroner’s Report on Marlowe’s “death”.

Would the epitaph of a great writer mock his sensibly written words with an ambiguous riddle to be solved unless there was no other way to do it? If Marlowe wrote under the pseudonym “Shakespeare” and the Stratford man was used as a cover because Marlowe had been impeached by an informer as a heretic, we have the answer to that question. 

 The Informer

Is there any circumstantial evidence in the sonnets that tells us Shakespeare was impeached by an informer? Sonnet 125 tells us a “suborned informer” impeached the character of the man who wrote it.  

Sonnet 125 

Were't aught to me I bore the canopy,
With my extern the outward honouring,
Or laid great bases for eternity,
Which provfes more short than waste or ruining?
Have I not seen dwellers on form and favour
Lose all and more by paying too much rent
For compound sweet, forgoing simple savour,
Pitiful thrivers, in their gazing spent?
No; let me be obsequious in thy heart,
And take thou my oblation, poor but free,
Which is not mixed with seconds, knows no art,
But mutual render, only me for thee.
Hence, thou suborned informer! a true soul
When most impeached stands least in thy control. 

           

       “Suborned” means bought, paid to bear false witness. To “impeach” is to accuse. To have been suborned is to have been asked to lie for money. In the sixteenth century careers were made gathering and creating libelous information for money. There is no evidence the Stratford Shakespeare was "vile esteemed" or "impeached" by a paid informer. The evidence Marlowe was accused of heresy is contained in the well-known Baines Note. If the name Shakespeare is a pseudonym for Marlowe, here he is telling us he is a true soul and the man who impeached his character was a paid informant.

The suborned informer’s sudden appearance in the couplet has mystified sonnet editors because it seems out of context with the rest of the sonnet, a non sequitur. Sonnet analyst Stephen Booth says of the couplet, “Although the informer’s sudden presence in 125’s couplet can be explained, his suddenness feels unrelated to the argument of the first twelve lines.” But when Sonnet 125 is read in the Marlowe context, the couplet is a clear summarization of the preceding quatrains: the suborned informer’s impeachment of the poet has set him free from time-wasting public rituals to lay great bases for eternity through his writing without fear of censorship.

Keeping to the Marlowe premise, after the informer Richard Baines impeached Marlowe’s character with his Note accusing him of heretical ideas, thus exposing him to torture and a Star Chamber inquisition, he was forced into exile and set free to write under a pseudonym without the same fear of censorship. This gives a literal reading to 125’s couplet where the poet tells the suborned informer:

. . . a true soul,
When most impeached stands least in thy control.

Let us compare the above Marlovian interpretation of this sonnet to the traditional “Stratfordian” hyperbolic interpretation, which has no reason to take the last two lines literally. Katherine Duncan-Jones defines suborned informer as “bribed false witness, hired spy” and impeached as “challenged, accused of treason or other major crime”.91 After giving this definition that so aptly fits Marlowe’s case, she concludes the suborned informer is an abstract reference to Time. The jury of readers are allowed to draw reasonable inferences within the context of the circumstantial evidence presented.

If Marlowe used the pseudonym Shakespeare in exile, we have so far learned two things from the primary source of Sonnet 125. First, Marlowe/Shakespeare is a true soul who is now free to lay great bases for eternity because in exile he is able to write as he wants to without fear of impeachment/censorship. Second, the cause for his impeachment was an informer who was paid by someone.

 

Who Was the Paid Informer?

The events that led to Marlowe’s arrest and eventual “death” began with the posting of The Dutch Church Libel, which was an incitation to rebellion. The references to Marlowe’s plays in the post and the signature “Tamburlaine” tell us that the one man in England who didn’t write it was Marlowe, nor would it have been any of his friends.

Charles Nicholl speculates the Dutch Church Libel might have been a frame job to get Marlowe from the beginning, and that it might have been written by Thomas Drury’s former friend Richard Cholmeley because he was practiced at writing libels, many of them for Robert Cecil against Catholics. If Drury’s Remembrances of Richard Cholmeley are true, then Cholmeley was a friend of Marlowe’s, therefore, it would have been unlikely he would have written the Dutch Church Libel (although, there is no evidence of any dealings Marlowe had with Cholmeley other than what the notoriously unreliable informer Drury stated in the Remembrances. We cannot take the Remembrances as fact because all the information we have about Drury, including the letter from his uncle, tells us he devised plots for money.)

       The Dutch Church Libel was posted May 5, 1593. On May 10 the City of London posted a proclamation offering a reward of 100 Crowns for the identity of the person who posted it. Although the chances are slim a friend of Marlowe’s would have written the Dutch Church libel, only two days later his former roommate, Thomas Kyd, was arrested for the posting. Who gave Kyd’s name to the authorities? Thomas Drury’s letter to Anthony Bacon, dated three months later, tells us that he was the man who gave Kyd’s name to the authorities, that he got Kyd’s name from Richard Baines, and that he was never given the reward money:

 There was a command laid on me lately to stay one Mr. Baines, which did used to resort unto me, which I did pursue in time although then I did not so much as imagine where he was. I found him out and got the desired secret at his hand for which the city of london promised as also by proclaimation was promised a hundred crowns but not a penny performed and a fine evasion made.

Drury’s letter to Bacon is an important primary source that invokes several questions. Who commanded Drury to go to Baines in order to obtain the name of the Dutch Church Libeler? If Baines knew the name, why did this person need Drury to go to Baines to discover it when he could have had Baines give the name himself? Of more interest, just how was it that Baines knew who posted the Dutch Church Libel?

Five months before the Dutch Church Libel was posted, Lord Buckhurst, commissioner for Ecclesiastical Causes and Archbishop John Whitgift’s heretic hunter, was writing to the new Lord Keeper of the Great Seal and Court of the Star Chamber President, Sir John Puckering, with regard to the release of the spy and informant Thomas Drury from the Marshalsea Prison, in order that Drury might do the state "some servis.”

From this letter it is clear that it was Puckering who first asked Buckhurst to contact Drury while he was still in prison. Puckering’s reason for this can only be implied by what Buckhurst tells him of his later meeting with Drury, “I pressed him to set doune in writing such matter as might either be available to the State.” Buckhurst repeats this idea in the last sentence when he writes, “he will adventure him self some way to do some servis.” What kind of service was this? Buckhurst suggest two services, one specific and one general: the use of Drury as an informant to get something on a man named Fisher and the use of Drury to do “some servis”.

In a court of law coincidence evidence is used to show a person has acted in a particular way on another or other occasions. Drury’s letter to Bacon tells us he was used by these men as an informant before this time, and again at this time because later in the letter he is describing the kind of service informers perform when he says that he brought to Buckhurst and Puckering the most notable and vilest articles of Atheism:

Then after all this ther was by my only means sett doun vnto the Lord Keper the Lord of Bucurst the notablyst and vyldist artyckeles of Athemisme that I suppose the lyke was never known or red of in eny age all which I can show vnto you they were delyvered to her hynes and command geven by her selfe to prosecut it to the fule but no recompense no not of a peny.

 

       Drury’s letter to Bacon also tells us it was likely heretic hunter Buckhurst or both Buckhurst and Star Chamber President Puckering, the two men interested in hiring Drury to do the state some service, who sent Drury to Baines to obtain “the secret” i.e., the identity of the man who posted the Dutch Church Libel. The letter tells us that when they sent Drury to Baines, they did not tell Drury where Baines could be found. We know this because Drury says in the letter, “I did not so much as imagine where he was.” While Kuriyama has concluded Baines was the rector at Waltham from 1587 to at least 1607, the letter Drury wrote Bacon dated August 1, 1593 seems to bear evidence to the contrary. If Baines was the rector at Waltham, it seems likely both Buckhurst and Puckering would have known it and been able to direct Drury to him. This gives more weight to the idea Baines was the Richard Baines hung at Tyburn the following year, which is backed up by the historians of Chislehurst.

       Drury also states in the letter that he “got the desired secret at his hand for which the city of london promised as also by proclamation was promised a hundred crowns.” Yet, he says he was not given the 100 Crown reward. Referring again to the primary evidence of Sonnet 125, Suborned means “bought, paid to bear false witness”. From Drury’s letter to Anthony Bacon we know he was not paid for his work because he was still trying in August to get paid for giving the name he had received from Baines to Buckhurst and Puckering. Taken together, Sonnet 125 and Drury’s letter to Bacon tell us by process of elimination Baines was the suborned (paid) informer and Drury was merely a necessary pawn.

 

Who Paid the Informer?

 

What began as a search for the person who posted a call to civil unrest at the Dutch Church turned into Baines’s charges of heresy against Marlowe. Again, no one was ever found guilty of the Dutch Church Libel posting. We have just learned that Buckhurst and Puckering sent Drury to Baines because they knew that he knew the name of the Dutch Church Libeler. This means that Baines had told Buckhurst and Puckering he knew the name of the man who posted it. Imagine the scene: Baines tells Buckhurst, “Sir, I know who posted the Dutch Church Libel.” What would be Buckhurst’s reasonable response to this important information from Baines? Would it be, “That is wonderful, Mr. Baines. Who posted it?” Or, would Buckhurst have said to Baines, “Wait! Don’t tell me. Let me bring that ex con informant Drury here to my chambers and I will tell him to go find you, without even telling him where you are, and you can tell him who posted the Dutch Church Libel.”

       The jury of readers can draw reasonable inferences within the context of the circumstantial evidence presented. Which of the two responses above sounds the most reasonable? If it is the first response, the jury of readers might want to ask themselves, what need was there for Drury to go to Baines to obtain the name? Even more interesting, after receiving the name of Marlowe’s former roommate Thomas Kyd, would Buckhurst not have asked Baines, “How is it you know this? Did you see him post it? Did he tell you he posted it? Did someone else tell you he posted it?” We can fairly assume Baines was not there to see the actual posting, and Kyd did not tell Baines that he had posted it (Kyd was never indicted for the posting), and someone else did not tell Baines that Kyd had posted it –unless that “someone else” didn’t care about receiving the 100 Crown reward. It seems more likely Baines was working for the ecclesiastical faction and himself wrote the Dutch Church Libel, which would have been the first step in securing a judgement of heresy against Marlowe.

       For several years Archbishop Whitgift had been pouncing on England’s people: Separatists, Barrowists, Puritans, and “freethinkers”. His inquisitorial practices had caused a schism on the privy council between Church and State. On the State side among those who thought of themselves as Puritans were the Queen’s favorite Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester and Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State, head of secret intelligence, and second cousin to Marlowe’s friend and patron, Thomas Walsingham. Lord Burghley gave the Puritans much support and is said to have helped hundreds of them. As early as 1584 we find Burghley using a “prey” allusion in a letter he wrote to Whitgift that year regarding the Archbishop’s practices employing the clergy:

 

I think the Inquisitors of Spain use not so many questions to comprehend and to trap their prey  . . . this kind of proceeding is too much savouring of the Roman inquisition, and is rather a device to seek for offenders than to reform any. This is not the charitable instruction that I thought was intended by you when employing the clergy we so need to fortify our church. Therefore I have willed them not to answer these articles except their conscience may suffer them.

 

The Brownists worshipped at the home of Roger Rippon who was thrown into prison and died there of the plague. On February 17, 1593, three months before the posting of the Dutch Church libel, protestors carried Roger Rippon’s casket, crying, “Great enemy of god Whitgift murdered him”. On March 23, 1593, a month and a half before the posting of the Dutch Church libel and two months before Marlowe’s “death” at Deptford, Henry Barrow and John Greenwood were sentenced to death. They were tried under the Act of 1581 against the writers of seditious books, and executed on April 6th. Their offence had been advocating and trying to set up a church separate from the established Anglican church. Taking the New Testament as a guide, their ideal church made no distinction between clergy and laity and stressed the autonomy of each congregation. A month before Marlowe’s arrest, on April 7th, 1593, Thomas Phelippes wrote that the reprieve of Barrow and Greenwood had been due to Burghley, who "spoke sharply to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was very peremptory, and also to the Bishop of Worcester, and wished to speak to the Queen but none seconded him. The executions proceeded through the malice of the bishops to the Lower House." 64 

       It is no far reach to suggest that the real threat Marlowe posed to the Church were his plays, which, like the writings of Barrow and Greenwood, were considered “seditious” by Whitgift. It is not difficult to imagine Whitgift doubly resenting Marlowe, the son of a cobbler in Canterbury, because he had been given two Divinity scholarships by the Church: the first at age fifteen for King’s School and the second for Cambridge. After the church had bequeathed this free education on Marlowe, instead of becoming a church cleric he decided to become a writer of plays that at times derided Christian religious hypocrisy. England’s people were now flocking in crowds to hear Marlowe’s words being broadcast from the stage, words like:

 

Doctor Faustus Act I, Scene 1

 

Philosophy is odious and obscure;

Both law and physic are for petty wits;

Divinity is basest of the three,

Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vild . . . [vile]

 

Alex Jack, the author of As You Like It by Marlowe and Hamlet by Marlowe, says:

 

According to William Empsom in Faustus and the Censor, ‘the bad blood between the poet and the prelate went back about a decade. On linguistic grounds, Empson concludes that the archbishop objected to the original ending of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, the play that introduced the black arts to the London stage. Though theologically impeccable, it could be viewed as a sophisticated satire on the church, with Mephistopheles and his minions mimicking the role of the archbishop and the hierarchy.’ ”

 

Jack also mentions that in Tamburlaine, Marlowe parodies Christ’s crucifixion, Pilate’s hand washing, and the Last Judgment.” (Jack footnote 33, ch 1)

Keeping to the Marlowe premise, from Sonnet 125 we learned that after the paid informer had impeached him, Marlowe was able to write as he wanted without fear of impeachment/punishment. Who would have wanted to punish Marlowe for his writing? His censor, Archbishop John Whitgift, who six years later had Marlowe’s Ovid’s Elegies burned in the Bishops’ Bonfire. Do any of the sonnets address this issue? Let us turn to Sonnet 33.

Sonnet 33

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:
Even so my sun one early morn did shine,
With all triumphant splendour on my brow;
But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.       

Each stanza translated in the Marlowe context:

Full many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;

The first stanza speaks of the sun lighting up the world using two metaphors, sovereign eye and heavenly alchemy. Queen Elizabeth was England’s sovereign eye and supreme head of the Church of England, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift, was the senior cleric.

Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly rack on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:

This stanza tells us the sovereign eye permits the basest clouds to ride with ugly rack on the sun’s celestial face. The words to question here are “ugly”, and “rack”. These basest clouds ride on the sun’s face with (in possession of or along side of) an “ugly rack”. What is a rack? While “rack” can mean a shelf, clouds driven before the wind (c,1300 middle English), or torture device, it cannot mean the first two because “shelf” does not fit the context and “clouds driven before the wind” is redundant:

Anon permit the basest clouds to ride
With ugly clouds driven before the wind on his celestial face,

So, we are left with “torture device”. The adjective “ugly” for “rack” points to this meaning because a torture device is an ugly thing. We can now choose “vile” for “basest”. These vile clouds have been permitted to ride on the celestial face (relating to heaven, holy, godly) “with” (in possession of) an ugly torture device. The “sovereign” sun has permitted itself to be hidden from the forlorn world by these vile clouds that are in the possession of a torture device. Having lost the light of the “sovereign” sun, it is not a dark world the poet chooses to describe, it is a “forlorn world” which means abandoned, despairing, sorrowful. Queen Elizabeth was Marlowe’s sovereign. Her people were being hunted down by the ecclesiastical faction during Marlowe’s time and tortured on a rack.

The last line of this stanza tells us the sun is not merely moving toward the west unseen behind these vile clouds, it is stealing unseen with this disgrace. This disgrace is being covered by vile clouds that are in the possession of a torture device. Stealing implies a movement that is covert, secretive. The sun is Stealing unseen which seems to double up on this meaning of Stealing: The sun that has been identified as sovereign and celestial (heavenly) is now covertly moving across the sky attempting to avoid detection of this disgrace.

       Are these the correct meanings for the words in the first two stanzas? Perhaps the poet himself will tell us in the third stanza.  

Even so my sun one early morn did shine,

With all triumphant splendour on my brow;

But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,

The region cloud hath mask'd him from me now.

 

The third stanza moves to the personal, now it is the poet’s “sun”. The time of day the poet chooses is “early morn” suggesting early in his life or at the beginning of his career. This stanza follows on the heels of the sun covertly moving unseen with this disgrace, and begins “Even so” (i.e., “in spite of this”) so we know there is a direct relationship between the poet and the sun that has permitted itself to be hidden by these vile clouds that are in the possession of a torture device. The next line tells us the triumphant splendor on the poet’s brow did not last long, and the following line tells us the reason for this: the region cloud has come between his early triumph and himself.

What began in the first stanza as plural basest clouds has become singular the region cloud in the last stanza. The poet is speaking of his personal situation now, so the question should be asked, “Who or what is the region cloud that has taken the poet’s triumphant splendor from him?” The answer should be found in the summarizing couplet.

Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;

Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.

 

Here we find how the poet lost his triumphant splendor, which points to who took it. This stanza is speaking of the poet’s personal sun, therefore, “Suns of the world” is probably “Sons of the world”. That these sons of the world “may stain” means they may cause dirty marks that are not easily removed. When we change “sun” to “son” in the last line, we getwhen heaven's son staineth”: When heaven’s son causes dirty marks that are not easily removed.

Sons of the world may cause dirty marks that are not easily removed

When heaven’s son causes dirty marks that are not easily removed.

 

Who was “heaven’s son” during Marlowe’s time? Archbishop John Whitgift. Therefore, Whitgift is “the region cloud” that has masked the poet’s early triumph from him when he caused the dirty marks that are not easily removed, i.e. the informant Baines’s charges of heresy that caused Marlowe’s friends to fake his death and remove him from the country. How did Whitgift stain Marlowe? He commandeered the ecclesiastical faction that used the informants Baines and Drury to get heretical charges on Marlowe through Baines Note and the Remembrances, and had Marlowe’s former roommate Thomas Kyd tortured on the rack to aid them.

 The couplet’s “sons of the world may stain when heaven’s son staineth” are not sons of the Church or State, they are sons of the world, i.e. commoners. In order to save Marlowe’s life, which was in jeopardy after heaven’s son stained him, the three men at Deptford staged Marlowe’s death in a manner that disgraced him as being the culprit so that Frizer could get off on murder in self-defense. These sons of the world, Thomas Walsingham’s men Poley, Skeres, and Frizer were directed to play the parts that put another stain on Marlowe, the stain of cowardly striking Frizer from behind. If they had not given this story to Coroner Danby, Frizer would have been convicted of murder instead of getting off by using the plea of murder in self-defense. When he writes “Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth” Marlowe is saying he understands why Frizer had been directed to fake his death in such a manner that it brought further disgrace to him. He is stating he understands Frizer had to do it because of the heretical charges Baines’s Note had stained him with, which would have led to his own torture and actual death.

Keeping to the Marlowe premise, we have just learned from Sonnet 33 that it was “heaven’s son”, i.e. Archbishop John Whitgift, who caused Marlowe’s “dirty marks that are not easily removed”, i.e. the heresy accusations in Baines’s Note and Drury’s Remembrances. The fact that the ecclesiastical faction sent Drury to Baines to obtain the name of the Dutch Church libeler is the smoking gun that tells us the Dutch Church Libel was part of a set up to get Marlowe all along. If this were not true, there would have been no need for middleman Drury, and Baines would have himself collected the 100 Crowns offered by the City of London. If Baines didn’t write the Dutch Church libel as part of this ruse, he would have left himself too vulnerable when giving Kyd’s name to the authorities; for all he knew someone else could have come forward with real evidence that pointed to another person as the libeler. If Baines did write the Dutch Church Libel that so obviously incriminated Marlowe, then gave Drury the name of Thomas Kyd as the author, he would have had no worries someone else would come forward with evidence to the contrary (and, indeed, no one ever did).

         Two witnesses were needed to secure a judgement of heresy. What other need would Buckhurst, Whitgift’s heresy hunter, have for Drury? It seems the only reason Buckhurst needed Drury was to do what he was adept at, as expressed in his nephew Sir Robert Drury’s letter to their uncle, “He is a mischievous tale-bearer making capital out of “others” speeches . . .  nothing but Tom Drury’s plots that he deviseth to get money with.” The Remembrances has come down to us as Drury’s work. Could it be that Drury’s real purpose was not to bring the identity of the Dutch Church Libeler to Buckhurst, who would have already “known” the name if Baines “knew” it, but to provide more material for a judgement of heresy against Marlowe? We have no documents that tell us how it was Baines knew the identity. For all we know there was no one but Baines involved in the posting. Most commentators have not asked the question, “If someone other than Baines wrote the Dutch Church Libel, how is it possible Baines would have known his identity?”

         In Drury’s letter to Anthony Bacon three months later, we learn that the first thing Drury did was obtain the “secret” from Baines, the identity of the Dutch Church Libeler.

There was a command laid on me lately to stay one Mr. Baines . . . I found him out and got the desired secret at his hand . . .

Immediately following the above excerpt, we learn the next thing Drury did was write the Remembrances, probably with help from Baines, because he says:

“After [obtaining the secret] there was a libel by my means found out and delivered, a vile book also by my deciphering taken and a notable villain or two which are close prisoners and bad matters against them of an exceeding nature and it no reward but all the credit puled ought of my mouth and I robbed of all.”

We know this refers to the Remembrances because it begins with Cholmeley’s libelous verses, and speaks of taking the banned book An Epistle of Comfort into 'Custody'. The “notable villain or two which are close prisoners” are alluding to Cholmeley and Henry Young who were arrested a month after the delivery of the Remembrances.

            Drury says in this letter to Bacon that after delivering the Remembrances he received “no reward but all the credit puled ought of my mouth and I robbed of all.” This implies that someone had likely lured Drury to write the Remembrances with the promise of a reward. It also leaves for speculation whether or not Drury actually wrote down the Remembrances himself. When he writes “all the credit puled ought of my mouth and I robbed of all”, is he saying that someone else prompted him to give the Cholmeley information, pulled it from him?  This would have been the real reason they sent Drury to Baines in the first place, it was the work they wanted Baines to do with Drury. Did Baines pull these Remembrances out of Drury’s mouth? Did Baines “guide” Drury, knowing all the while, just as Buckhurst and Puckering knew, that Drury would say anything against this Cholmeley who had caused him to go to prison two years earlier. Was it Baines who inserted, or directed Drury to insert the part that targeted both Marlowe and Raleigh?

That he saieth & verely beleveth that one Marlowe is able to showe more

 sounde reasons for Atheisme then any devine in Englande is able to geve to

 prove devinitie & that Marloe tolde him that hee hath read the Atheist lecture

 to Sir walter Raliegh & others.

         Some commentators parrot each other around all this, and doubt not at all that Baines and Drury were truth tellers. They easily accept the story that has come down to us from two informers,  cavalierly writing things like, “Cholmeley, who was a friend of Marlowe’s”, when there is no evidence Marlowe had anything to do with this man.  

Circumstantial Evidence in Two Shakespeare Plays

Keeping to the premise Marlowe wrote under the pseudonym “Shakespeare” and the Stratford man was used as a cover because Marlowe had been impeached by an informer as a heretic, we look for more circumstantial evidence in the Shakespeare plays that tells us Whitgift was commandeering the effort to get Marlowe.

       Alex Jack’s observation of the wordplay on Archbishop John Whitgift’s name made by the Ghost in Hamlet supports the idea that it was the ecclesiastical faction of the privy council that suborned Baines.

     Ghost: Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,

     With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,                                           

     O wicked wit and gifts that have the power

     So to seduce! Won to his shameful lust

     The will of my most seeming-virtuous Queen 79

 

       Jack says, “The first Quarto of Hamlet contains a version of this passage, but the word play regarding Whitgift’s name did not appear until after the archbishop’s death and the publication of the Second Quarto. The First Folio’s capitalization makes the pun even bolder: ‘Oh wicked Wit and Gifts’.”80 Here is the First Folio’s version of this passage with “Wit” and “Gift” capitalized as they would be in a proper name:

     GHOST. I that incestuous, that adulterate Beast
     With witchcraft of his wits, hath Traitorous gifts,
     Oh wicked Wit, and Gifts, that have the power
     So to seduce? Won to this shamefull Lust
     The will of my most seeming virtuous Queene:81 (bold mine)

       In As You Like It “Shakespeare” has the character Touchstone tell us that his plays were the cause for the church going after him. A touchstone is a small tablet of dark stone such as fieldstone, slate, or lydite used to test the truth of metals; soft metals such as gold will leave a visible trace when swiped on it. As a metaphor, a touchstone refers to any physical or intellectual measure by which the validity of a concept can be tested.

       Touchstone finds himself exiled, just as Marlowe would have been after the faking of his death. Touchstone announces he is representing the writer of As You Like It in his first scene, when he says:

 

Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat;

though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.

      

Scrip = the paper this play was written on, scrippage = the script, the dialogue. Touchstone is lifting the veil of character for this brief moment, telling us he needs no luggage on this trip into exile because he is really the writer behind the scene, the one who puts the lines of dialogue onto the page. Should we miss this intention, the dramatist backs it up in scene 3, when Touchstone says to Audrey “doth my simple feature content you?” Marlowe has Audrey (i.e. audience) respond not in the singular “feature” as he spoke it, but in the plural “features”, thinking he must have meant his physical appearance. Touchstone (Marlowe) is telling us for the second time that he, Touchstone, is the author of this play, which is “my simple feature”. In the following scene Touchstone tells us he represents the play’s author, that he is exiled, and gives us the reason why he is exiled.

SCENE III. The forest.

TOUCHSTONE

Come apace, good Audrey: I will fetch up your
goats, Audrey. And how, Audrey? am I the man yet?
doth my simple feature content you?

AUDREY

Your features! Lord warrant us! what features!

TOUCHSTONE

I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most
capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.

JAQUES

[Aside] O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove
In a thatched house!

TOUCHSTONE

When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a
man's good wit seconded with the forward child
Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a
great reckoning in a little room. Truly, I would
the gods had made thee poetical.

 

Touchstone (Marlowe) is exiled the way that Ovid was exiled among the Goths. In Ovid’s own words, he was banished by Emperor Augustus because of a poem and a mistake. Through the mouth of Touchstone we learn why Marlowe was “struck dead” in that little room at Deptford, it is because his verses were not understood. The Coroner’s Report on Christophe Marlowe’s death tells us it was in a little room at Eleanor Bull's home that, “after supper Ingram & Christopher Morley uttered one to the other malicious words they could not agree about the payment, that is, le recknynge [the reckoning].” Most Shakespeare scholars interpret “a great reckoning in a little room” as alluding to Marlowe’s death at Deptford, but they do not see Marlowe as having written the play. It does not strike them that for any writer but Marlowe it would be a rather melodramatic allusion awkwardly misplaced within the context of this dialogue taking place between Touchstone and Audrey. There was no public access to the Coroner’s Report on Marlowe’s death during his time; only those closest to the event would have known the “death” occurred over the reckoning of a dinner bill. Rumors flew about Marlowe’s death by Thomas Beard, Vaughan, and others, but not one of them stated his death occurred because of the reckoning of a dinner bill.

        What is it to be poetical? A poet is one who has expanded powers of imagination and dynamically expresses ideas that are still half-lit thoughts in others. The great poet, like Shakespeare, is the interpreter for truths that the majority have not yet grasped in full consciousness. ">Were Whitgift and others of the ecclesiastical faction not poetical, like Audrey, and did they not understand Marlowe’s intentions in the plays? Even current day interpretations vary concerning Marlowe’s intentions in Dr. Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward the Second.

       If the Shakespeare name is a pseudonym for Marlowe, we see in these plays the dramatist’s early beginning toward that Shakespearean quality of negative capability. "According to the English poet John Keats, who coined the term in 1817, negative capability is the writer’s ability to accept “uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Before Marlowe, English drama opposed in a propagandist, black and white fashion Christians to pagans and Protestants to Catholics.Marlowe’s plays were more like a Rorschach blot in which one saw what one was psychologically inclined to see. Instead of becoming a cleric for the Church, Marlowe used his Divinity Scholarship to present not black and white moral tales, but religious conflicts on the stage. Without arriving at any definitive conclusions, Marlowe evaluated the assertions of pagans, Christians, Muslims, and atheists by contrasting them to each other.

Marlowe's heresy was to utilize his education by taking dialectic to the streets and putting it on the stage, where Dr. Faustus begged the question whether or not Faustus's will acted freely if everything was done with prior consent and volition by God, and where Faustus asserts that 'hell's a fable'. David Riggs has pointed out that as a Cambridge student, Marlowe was taught to argue for and against ideas such as the following: The will acts freely/The will does not act freely, There is a place of hell/There is no place of hell, The style of sacred Scripture is barbarous/The style of sacred Scripture is not barbarous, God wants everyone to be saved/God does not want everyone to be saved, Nothing is done with prior consent and volition by God/Nothing is done without prior consent and volition by God.* 

By Their Rank Thoughts, My Deeds Must Not Be Shown

 

The circumstantial evidence in Drury’s letter to Anthony Bacon points to Richard Baines being the likeliest candidate for the writing and posting of the Dutch Church Libel. As Peter Farey has pointed out, Baines was connected with every stage of the “campaign” to get Marlowe. 

 

1. He was the person who, allegedly, knew the author of the Dutch Church libel - the style, content and signature of which all implicated Christopher Marlowe.

2. He provided the reason for Kyd to be arrested and, thereby, for the 'vile hereticall conceipts', apparently from Marlowe, to be found, and Kyd's accusations about Marlowe to be recorded.
3. He was the author of the famous ‘Note’ directly accusing Marlowe of several appalling crimes.
4. This 'Note' provided a model for the letter accompanying the 'Remembrances' about Richard Cholmeley, in which Marlowe is accused of inciting others to atheism.

 

       The name Baines gave Drury was not the name of the Dutch Church libeler, it was the name of Thomas Kyd who was never indicted for the crime, but who was a former roommate of Marlowe’s. Why, of all the people in London, did Baines finger a former roommate of Marlowe’s as the author of the Dutch Church Libel? Kyd’s letter to John Puckering, after he had been tortured and released from prison, ends with his addressing the Dutch Church Libel charge Baines made against him. I have used Peter Farey’s English translation:

 

As for the libel I have been charged with I am resolved to receive the Sacrament to satisfy your Lords of the Privy Seal and the world that I was neither agent nor consenting the runto. [He was neither the one who wrote or posted it.] However, if some outcast Ismael for want of money or because of his own disposition toward lewdness, has with a pretense of duty or pretence of religion, or to reduce himself so that he was not borne unto by any way incensed your Lords of the Privy Seal to suspect me, I shall besech in all humillitie an& in the feare of god that it will please your Lords of the Privy Seal but to censure me as I shall prove myself,  and to repute them as they are in deed With all injustice none is more deadly than that of those who, when they most deeply deceive, would seem to be good men.

 

Kyd is speaking of one man as “some outcast Ismael”, and brings up the notion this man could be a paid informant (“for want of money”).  Ishmael has come to symbolize social outcasts. According to the angel of the LORD in Genesis 16:12: he shall be a wild ass of a man: his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren. It sounds like Kyd, shortly after being tortured on the rack, is speaking of an immoral individual who turned him in to the authorities, an informer who would say anything about anyone for cash. It also sounds like Kyd might have had direct contact with this “outcast Ismael” (“because of his own disposition toward lewdness, has with a pretense of duty or pretence of religion, or to reduce himself so that he was not borne unto by any way incensed your Lords of the Privy Seal to suspect me”).

Compare the following fragment of Kyd’s description, above, to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 121:

'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,
When not to be receives reproach of being;
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed
Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing:
For why should others' false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
At my abuses reckon up their own:
I may be straight though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts, my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad and in their badness reign.

 

When we take “Shakespeare” to be Marlowe's pseudonym, we discover Sonnet 121 tells us there was more than one immoral man involved in the events leading to his arrest, and that, although he may have had unorthodox religious ideas, he was not the man described in Baines Note:

 

Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,

When not to be receives reproach of being.

 

       Although some commentators have attempted to link Marlowe as a friend of these informants, indeed, as one who performed similarly to men like Baines and Drury in the Elizabethan underground, Line 14 tells us he is being defined by frailer spies (Baines and Drury) who have false adulterate eyes and rank thoughts. If Marlowe was behind the pseudonym Shakespeare, then Shakespeare himself is telling us Baines has “false adulterate eyes and rank thoughts”, and we ought to take the accusations in his Note with a grain of salt.  

       We have documented evidence of the spy-informer Baines "rank thoughts" in the form of his atheistic confession at Rheims. The excerpts below reveal an interesting parallel to Baines’s Note accusing Marlowe of atheistic heresy:

 

I most delited in prophane writers and the worst sort of them, such as ether wrot against the truth or had least tast of religion . . . through nouelties of wordes ioyned with pretty prouerbs, termes and mocking taunts, wherevnto by natural inclination and by my said prophane usage I was much giuen . . . I began to mocke at the lesser points of religion, which is the high way to Heresie, Infidelitie & Athisme . . . to vtter diuers horrible blasphemies in plaine termes against the principal points of religion . . .

            This certainly fits Kyd’s view of the informer who turned him in, the “outcast Ismael” who “because of his own disposition toward lewdness, has with a pretense of duty or pretence of religion”.

       In late sixteenth century England two witnesses were needed to secure a judgment of heresy. After the “heretical” papers were found in Kyd’s room and Marlowe was arrested, the search for the Dutch Church Libeler seems to have been forgotten. Enter Baines with his Note of Atheistic charges against Marlowe, and Drury’s Remembrances which linked Marlowe with that other freethinker, Raleigh. Was the need for Drury’s presence actually as a second witness to secure a judgment of heresy against Marlowe? We can get some idea of the kind of work the ecclesiastical faction wanted from Drury, and Drury’s “rank thoughts” through the letter Charles Nicholl presents written by Thomas Drury’s nephew, Sir Robert Drury, in about 1599:

Uncle Parker, I perceive by your letters how you are crossed by the follies of Mynne and the boys, and by that degenerate rouge Tom Drury they are published, and by his practices much trouble like to ensure unto you, as also great disgrace to me . . . Let Mynne be forewarned of that rogue’s company . . . I marvel he was not arrested. You shall find that, at one time or another, in his drunken ale-pots his tongue shall walk. You did very ill to spare him. It will rather hurt than otherwise, for if he had spoken upon his arrest any matter it would have received small credit, and you and I know many ways to discredit his testimony . . . I perceive there had been some old sueing and plotting, it seemeth my Lord of Essex is possessed mightly so by some letters, therefore desire mine uncle [Sir Edward] Stafford to write unto his Lordship that it is nothing but Tom Drury’s plots that he deviseth to beg and get money with . . . I have shown him [Essex] my uncle [Tom’s] letters and yours; he hath addressed his whole mind to my Lord Chief Justice, which will serve the turn, and seeing it is but matters deposed of others’ speeches, and not by the parties themselves, it will not much hurt us.

 

Because so much depends upon the characters of Baines and Drury, Nicholl’s explanation of this letter is important. Nicholl says:

Drury “has published -that is, made public- something detrimental to Mynne and also it seems to Sir Robert Drury and the Earl of Essex. He is a mischievous tale-bearer making capital out of ‘others’ speeches. He is a rogue and a drunkard whose tongue ‘walks’ when he is ‘in his alepots’. Above all one notes Sir Robert’s weary tone of familiarity: it is ‘old sueing and plotting’; it is ‘nothing but Tom Drury’s plots that he deviseth to get money with’. This is Tom Drury’s métier, the letter seems to say. It is precisely the métier I have argued for him in the Marlowe case of 1593 –the manipulator of other mens’ misfortunes; ‘by his practices much trouble like to ensue unto you’.

 

At this point it becomes necessary to explain why Puckering and Buckhurst got Drury out of prison in order to do them “service”.  Two years previously a ">Council warrant was issued for Drury and his “companion” Cholmeley.  Cholmeley avoided his own arrest by getting paid for informing on Drury and helping the authorities arrest him. Now Drury was the perfect candidate to take his revenge upon Cholmeley by informing on him. This revenge was served cold in Drury’s Remembrances, which also became the necessary second witness indictment against Marlowe. Did it matter if anything in the Remembrances was true? For many informers lying was a way of making a living. Testaments to the dishonest character of both these men are found in the letter of Thomas Drury’s nephew, Kyd’s letter to Puckering, and, keeping to the Marlowe premise, Shakespeare’s Sonnets 121 and 125.

Another smoking gun is that the name Baines gave Drury was Marlowe’s former roommate. As mentioned earlier, just how was it Baines would have “known” Kyd wrote the Dutch Church Libel, especially when it turns out Kyd was never indicted for the posting? The only effect of Kyd’s arrest was the discovery of “heretical” papers in Kyd’s room, which led to Marlowe’s arrest. In Kyd’s later letter to Puckering, he wrote:

When I was first suspected for that Libell that concernd the State, amongst those waste and idle papers (which I carde not for) & which vnaskt I did deliuer vp, were founde some fragments of  a disputation toching that opinion, affirmed by Marlowe to be his, and shufld with some of myne vnknown to me by some occasion of our wrytinge in one
chamber twoe years synce.

       Writers always have piles of papers related to the work they do collected over time. We learn from Kyd’s letter that he was not asked to give the authorities this bundle of “waste and idle papers”, he offered this pile of papers to these men himself. Referring to the “heretical” papers that were evidently within this bundle, Kyd says they had been, “shufld with some of myne vnknown to me.” Obviously Kyd did not know he had these “heretical” papers, otherwise he would not have offered them up to the authorities. He is implying that he had not known the papers were there (“unknown to me”), so they must have been shuffled in with his own during the time he and Marlowe shared a room. How many writers find their own papers get shuffled in with another writer’s papers? Could it be that these were planted later, after Kyd freely gave the bundle to the authorities? Then again, Kyd could have been lying. He could have known he had the papers, he just hadn’t known such papers would later be labeled “heretical”. Commentators and biographers parrot “heretical papers” when the reality is these papers were copied from a few pages of The Fal of the Late Arrian. Many others had copied these pages, they had been circulating among England’s educated for years. Possession of a copy had never before attracted the attention of the authorities, but this “evidence of atheism” was used at this time to arrest Marlowe and compose the damning heresy accusation letter now known as Baines Note.

       Fourteen months earlier, Baines had also roomed with Marlowe. English spies normally roomed together in foreign cities as did Marlowe and Baines in Flushing. When people room together they tell each other from whence they have come. Had Marlowe told Baines he had been rooming with Kyd? Was this why Baines chose Kyd as the poster of the Dutch Church Libel? Had this made Kyd vulnerable to Baines’s method of attack?

       It is not unlikely Marlowe told Baines he had been rooming with Thomas Kyd and writing a play with him before he’d come to Flushing. Possibly they were writing the anonymous play Arden of Faversham, which was entered in the Stationers' Register on April 3, 1592, barely two months after Marlowe was deported from Flushing. H. C. Oliphant suggested this drama was a joint collaboration by Kyd and Marlowe, pointing out that it uses Marlowe's favorite expletive of "tush,” and that there are a number of references to poisoning, counterfeiting, and stolen plate in the play. It is of interest that Black Will's last line before departing the stage is "Farewell, England; I'll go to Flushing now.”

 

Flushing

Alas! 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
And made my self a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear . . .  Sonnet 110 

If Marlowe wrote under the pseudonym Shakespeare, does Sonnet 110 refer to his work as a projector in secret intelligence? A projector pretends to be whatever his employer in secret intelligence wants him to be, and this can make him a motley to the view. Marlowe’s biographers and commentators often come to conclusions regarding his actions in Flushing based only on Baines’s accusations of him, just as they come to conclusions about his character based on Baines’s Note –as if the word of this informant were good as gold. The only primary sources we have concerning Flushing are Sidney’s letter to Burghley and Baines’s later accusation of coining in his Note. This section will, therefore, provide speculative questions concerning Flushing. While speculation is immediate cause for objection in a court of law, it plays a positive role in scholarship by providing new avenues for exploration.

       In 1591 the Winchester Cathedral was robbed of gold plate. Soon after the robbery Marlowe was sent to Flushing (Robert Sidney’s letter to Burghley is dated 26 January 1591/92). It was in Flushing Baines made his first allegations against Marlowe by accusing him of counterfeit coining and voicing a desire to go over to the Catholic side. Marlowe countered these accusations by accusing Baines of the same. We know that Lord Burghley did nothing about Baines’s accusations, and we know that Baines’s later accusation of coining in his Note was scratched out by someone on the State side. It seems most likely Marlowe’s Flushing mission was to masquerade as a projector in order to infiltrate the Catholic Stanley’s operation that needed coiners, and might have been behind the gold plate robbery of the Winchester Cathedral.

       Do we have any circumstantial evidence that backs up the idea Marlowe was a projector in Flushing? We have coincidental evidence he was used in this fashion while still a student at Cambridge because of the rumors he was going over to the Catholic side, which were preventing him from obtaining his Master’s Degree. The evidence Marlowe was acting as a projector at Cambridge to root out pro-catholic students is found in the rumor itself. Why else would others at the University think he was a Catholic sympathizer? That he was not a Catholic sympathizer is backed up by the letter signed by members of the Privy Council sent by Lord Burghley to the Cambridge authorities stating Marlowe had done the state “good service”, which finally allowed Marlowe to get his Master’s Degree.

       Nicholl thinks it likely the Flushing episode belongs to the “pro-Strange plotting” by the William Stanley faction that wanted Lord Strange to become King. He suggests the reason Marlowe was dealt with so lightly by Burghley is that he was counterfeiting with the tacit approval of the Cecils in order to infiltrate himself into the Catholic Stanley faction on the Continent with the eventual aim of attempting to undermine them. Of Nicholl’s theory, Roy Kendall says, “Although this is the most convincing theory that has been put forward to date, it raises almost as many questions as it answers. If this was the intention of the Cecils, why should Baines, to use Nicholl's phrase, have ‘stuck a spanner in the works?'”

       It is quite possible that, as Kendall later suggested when answering his own question, “Marlowe and Baines had a brief in common and a brief not in common.” The evidence of the later letters from Buckhurst to Puckering and from Drury to Anthony Bacon point to Baines working for the ecclesiastical faction in 1593 around the Dutch Church libel, which would be in alignment with the suggestion he had begun working for the Church even earlier as an informant/spy. The circumstantial evidence thus far presented makes this idea worth exploring.

       If Marlowe’s mission for the State was to infiltrate the Stanley forces through a pretense of counterfeit coining, and Baines had been sent by the State with the same brief as Marlowe, Baines couldn’t sabotage the mission without threatening his own position with his employers back in England. It is this act of sabotage that sends the signal Baines knew little about Marlowe’s mission, and that they had a brief not in common. Why would they have different briefs? Perhaps Marlowe had been sent by the State (Lord Burghley) while Baines had been sent by the ecclesiastic faction (Buckhurst and Puckering, who, a year later would reveal their connection to Baines by sending Drury to him in order to find out the identity of the person who posted The Dutch Church Libel.)

       The growing rift on the Privy Council between the ecclesiastical faction and the State had created competing sides for the Queen’s ear, competing sides for power. In light of this, it is not unthinkable that they would not have shared the whole of their briefs with each other. Taking into account what occurred only a year later around The Dutch Church Libel, Baines’s brief at Flushing might have included trying to get something on Marlowe. Since the only result of the Dutch Church Libel was Baines Note accusing Marlowe of heresy, it cannot be ruled out that Marlowe had been targeted by Baines both in 1592 at Flushing and in 1593 after the posting of The Dutch Church Libel.

       Many of Marlowe’s biographers have speculated Baines had a personal interest in bringing Marlowe down for having portrayed his threat to poison the well at Rheims in The Jew of Malta.

Barabas. As for myself, I walk abroad o’ nights,
And kill sick people groaning under walls:
Sometimes I go about and poison wells;

While this could be true, after all “To walk abroad” means to walk into foreign countries, and Rheims was in a foreign country, it is also true that anti-semitism was thick at that time and English folklore told of Jews poisoning wells. The play’s first recorded performance was at the Rose in February of 1592. The date of Robert Sidney’s February 26th letter of 1592 sent back to London with the two men seems to show it was unlikely Baines saw the play before he went to Flushing.

       There is another option for speculation. We have no evidence Baines worked under Sir Francis Walsingham as a secret agent after his release from Rheims. Considering Baines had threatened to poison the well at Rheims, a prudent man like Walsingham might have considered it a suspicious release and/or not have trusted a loose cannon like Baines. Baines telling another student he wanted to poison the well is so obviously foolhardy that it could have been part of a ploy on the Catholic side to get the English government to trust Baines for future work as a double agent. Even Persons denouncing Baines later in his propaganda pieces could have been part of that ploy. If Baines had been under suspicion by Sir Francis Walsingham, his younger second cousin, Thomas Walsingham, probably knew it, therefore, Marlowe would likely have known it. It does not necessarily follow that the ecclesiastical faction would have known Sir Francis Walsingham was suspicious of Baines. Walsingham died two years before the incident at Flushing when Baines had suddenly reappeared after almost a decade of absence from the scene. If Baines was under a cloud of suspicion on the State side, Marlowe could have found himself working as a projector not only to infiltrate Stanley’s men, but to discover more about Baines’s sympathies once he found himself rooming with him.

         In the role of projector, Marlowe would have acted as if he wanted to join Stanley’s men and was going learn how to coin in order to help them. This perspective alters our interpretation of Baines’s accusation that Marlowe was going to go to Rome and that Marlowe told him he had as good a right to coin as the Queen of England.         

         Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear . . .

         Evidence for Marlowe acting as a projector with Baines is in Sidney’s letter to Burghley, when he writes that Marlowe told him he was acquainted with Northumberland and Lord Strange, Stanley’s brother. Why would Marlowe cite only Catholics, especially Lord Strange, as his friends to Sidney, who he must have known was strongly anti papist, unless it was to keep the masquerade going? Sidney was a poet, his older brother Philip had been a renowned poet, his sister Mary was a poet and the wife of Lord Pembroke. It was Lord Pembroke’s Men who staged Marlowe’s play Edward the Second. As evidenced in Greene’s Groatsworth a few months later, Marlowe was well known as, “that famous gracer of tragedians”. These are the reasons Sidney’s letter to Burghley sounds contrived. Sidney had to have known who Marlowe was before writing it:

The men being examined apart never denied anything, onely protesting that what was done was onely to se the Goldsmiths conning: and truly I ame of opinion that the poore man was onely browght in under that couler, what ever intent the other twoe had at that time . . . And indeed they do one accuse another to have bin the inducers of him, and to have intended to practis yt heerafter: and have as it were iustified him unto me. . . The scholer [Marlowe] sais himself to be very wel known both to the Earle of Northumberland and my lord Strange. Bains and he do also accuse one another of intent to goe to the Ennemy or to Rome, both as they say of malice one to another.

 

       All the “political coining” people led to Northumberland’s and Lord Strange’s Catholic households, both men held under suspicion by the Crown, yet these were the very two men Marlowe told Sidney he knew. Why, out of all the men in England that he knew would he give the names of these two Catholics as his friends? If he were truly guilty of what Baines told Sidney, this would have been as self-defeating as himself writing the Dutch Church libel and signing it Tamburlaine. When this statement to Sidney is coupled with Baines’s accusation that Marlowe wanted to go to Rome, it gives more weight to the idea Marlowe was a projector with Baines. He never would have given these two men’s names to Sidney if he was seriously considering going to Rome, but he would have given these two names so as not to blow his cover as a projector.

       Do we believe this man who was creating a new kind of verse form that enabled the birth of dramatic tragedy in England (now known as Shakespearean blank verse), a man whose good friend and patron Thomas Walsingham was the second cousin to Sir Francis Walsingham, really wanted to go to Rome and that he would risk everything for counterfeiting coin? Or, is it more reasonable Marlowe said these things in his role as a projector attempting to discover Baines own sympathies? The “heretical” papers found in Kyd’s room were expressing a non-belief in the Trinity. In his letter to Puckering, Kyd states these papers were, “fragments of a disputation toching that opinion, affirmed by Marlowe to be his”. Do we believe the man who did not believe in the Trinity really wanted to go to Rome?

            If we can find evidence Marlowe was a patriot, it backs up the idea he was acting as a projector with Baines. Other than the Cambridge letter stating Marlowe had done the state good service, what evidence do we have that Marlowe was a true patriot and did not want to go to Rome, as Baines told Sidney?

Watson’s “Meliboeus”

Sir Francis Walsingham was patron to Marlowe’s friend and poet Thomas Watson. It is to Watson’s Meliboeus, written in honor of Sir Francis Walsingham after his death, and dedicated to another good friend of Marlowe’s, Thomas Walsingham, we now turn. 59 Watson gives Latin names to the real people he writes about in Meliboeus: Sir Francis Walsingham is Meliboeus, Thomas Walsingham is Tityrus, and Thomas Watson is Corydon. The long poem is framed as a dialogue between Tityrus (Thomas Walsingham) and Corydon (Watson). When Tityrus asks Corydon to help him complain of Meliboeus’s death, Corydon replies: I now beginne: Apollo guide my sound, and weepe yee sisters of the learned hill: That your Paegafean springs may leap their bound.60

At one point Tityrus (Thomas Walsingham) says of Francis Walsingham’s death:

And Venus weepe, as if Adonis dide.
And Stilbon with thy hat cloude Phoebus face 61

Watson ends the long poem speaking of Damon (Lord Burghley) who is still alive to protect England, Aegon (Howard) who is still alive to defend her coast, and finishes his part of the dialogue between himself and Tityrus, saying:

            Name Mopfus, Daphnis, Faustus, and the rest,

            Whose feurall gifts thy singing can express:

            When thou shalt tell how he in them is blest,

            Their very names will comfort her [England’s] distress.62      

       Marlowe wrote Dr. Faustus a year or so before Meliboeus was written, so it is a fair assumption that he bore that nickname among his friends and associates. While some critics tend to negate Marlowe’s importance to the aristocracy as part of the argument that Thomas Walsingham would not have risked saving him at Deptford, the inclusion of this reference to Faustus suggests otherwise. This implies that Marlowe’s dramas were intended as a positive force for England.

Watson is known as the Father of the English Sonnet and Shakespeare is often spoken of as “Watson’s Heir”. We have no evidence that the man from Stratford knew Watson. We do have evidence that Watson and Marlowe were not only friends, they were both under the patronage of the Walsinghams. It is well known that Watson may have saved Marlowe’s life in the “Bradley duel” in 1589. When Watson died in 1592 his Latin epic Amintae Gaudia was seen through the press by Marlowe, and he dedicated it to Lady Mary Pembroke, Robert Sidney’s sister.

       The name comes up again in an epigram by John Davies, the other author of Epigrammes and Elegies by I.D. and C.M., the book that contained Marlowe’s Ovid’s Elegies, and was later burned at Whitgift’s orders in the Bishops’ Bonfire:

            Faustus, not lord nor knight, nor wise nor old,
            To every place about the town doth ride;
            He rides into the fields, plays to behold,
            He rides to take boat at the water side:
            He rides to Pauls, he rides to th’Ordinary
            He rides unto the house of bawdry too,
            Thither his horse doth him so often carry,
            That shortly he will quite forget to go.63

 

Edward the Third is a moral tale about how to be a good king. Tucker Brooke says the author of Edward the Third, whoever he may have been, was “one of the truest poets and most ardent patriots, certainly, of his generation.” The only primary evidence we have from the time when Edward the Third was performed tells us Christopher Marlowe was the author. As A.D. Wraight says, Robert Greene’s comments in his 1590 novel Francescos Fortunes precisely match up the author with the play: 

Why Roscius, art thou proud with Esops Crow, being pract with the glorie of others feathers? Of thy selfe thou canst say nothing, and if the Cobler hath taught thee to say Ave Caesar, disdain not thy tutor because thou pratest in a kings Chamber.

Greene’s readers knew he was alluding to the great actor Edward Alleyn (Roscius) and the dramatist Marlowe, the son of a Canterbury cobbler. So, it was the “Cobler” who wrote the words "Ave Caesar" spoken in the "kings Chamber” during the first act of the patriotic play Edward the Third. Shakespeare’s biographers want to give this anonymous play to the Stratford man, and so they have ignored this evidence. There is a sensible reason to see Shakespeare’s hand in the play because it uses a direct quote from Sonnet 94: "lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds” and it uses the phrase “scarlet ornaments” from Sonnet 142. But when you couple Greene’s statement with these, the quotes from the sonnets in Edward the Third become more circumstantial evidence in favor of Marlowe being “Shakespeare”.

Marlowe’s play Edward the Second is about a homosexual king and this is one of the reasons some commentators think Marlowe was homosexual. There are two reasons to disagree with that view. First, the agonizing death from a hot fire poker Marlowe gives King Edward in the play, and, second, the following information that reveals this play to be in the State’s interest.

In 1583 Sir Francis Walsingham made the journey to Scotland where he conferred privately with the young King James in order to countercheck the influence of Spain on him. Walsingham’s foremost concern was James’ relationship with his second cousin Esme Stuart who was the king’s strongest political influence. Stuart had been sent to Scotland by the Duke of Guise in order to restore French (Catholic) interests. Walsingham later wrote a report for the Queen detailing his communication with James, the theme of which is echoed in Marlowe's play Edward II. I’ve put part of what Francis Walsingham said to the King here:

That therefore divers princes . . . have been deposed, for that being advised to remove the said counselors from them rather than to yield to them, have been content to run any hazard or adventure, whereof both the histories of England and Scotland did give sufficient precedents . . . That as subjects are bound to obey dutifully so were princes bound to command justly; which reason and ground of government was set down the deposition of Edward the Second, as by ancient record thereof doth appear.100

 

Sir Francis Walsingham’s “said counselors” that might induce a “young prince” to “run any hazard or adventure” refers to James’ close relationship with Stuart. James was in the line of succession to the English crown; therefore, his attitude about governance was of extreme importance to all the men Marlowe worked for in the secret service. The above excerpt, with its, “which reason and ground of government was set down the deposition of Edward the Second” suggests the purpose of Marlowe’s play Edward II was Sir Francis Walsingham’s. As for Walsingham’s warning to James that princes have been deposed for showing too much favor to “said counselors”, in the play Marlowe has Lancaster tell Edward, “Look for rebellion, look to be deposed . . .”101 One of Walsingham’s chief concerns was that King James had showered Stuart with gifts and political power; he’d been made a member of the Privy Council, Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and governor of Dumbarton Castle. In Act I of Edward II we find King Edward saying the following lines that reveal Francis Walsingham’s concern with the giving away of the body politic:

Edward: I here create thee Lord High Chamberlain,
Chief Secretary to the state and me,
Earl of Cornwall, King and Lord of Man . . .
I’ll give thee more; for but to honor thee
Is Edward pleased with kingly regiment.
Fearst thou thy person? Thou shalt have a guard.
Wantst thou gold? Go to my treasury.
Wouldst thou be loved and feared? Receive my seal.102

Sir Francis Walsingham was England’s Ambassador to France when eleven year-old Thomas Walsingham came to live with him after his father died. Together they saw the massacre of Protestant Huguenots in Paris streets on Saint Bartholomew's Day. Marlowe wrote Massacre at Paris in 1592, the year before he was arrested at Thomas Walsingham’s home. In The World of Christopher Marlowe, David Riggs says of his sources for this play:

“He had an intimate, firsthand knowledge of the feud between King Henri III and the Guise. Much of the factual material in the latter part of The Massacre can only be verified by recourse to confidential sources in the State Papers. Marlowe obtained this information by word of mouth from men who had been witness to these events. In contrast to the Partisian accounts of protestant and Catholic pamphleteers, he gives an even-handed, densely factual report on the feud. The brief documentary scenes that succeed one another in The Massacre at Paris resemble diplomatic dispatches; these were the raw materials of intelligence field work.”103

 

The Heretical Papers Found in Kyd’s Room

It is necessary to widen the contextual lens so the jury of readers’ decision is unbiased by 400 years of petrified uneducated ideas that inhibit Marlowe from being taken seriously as the man behind the pseudonym “Shakespeare”.

The idea that the papers found in Kyd’s room were “heretical” has solidified over time as being atheistical. The primary evidence of the papers themselves tell us they were neither heretical nor atheistical. These papers came from a small book written by the devout Roman Catholic John Proctor, titled The Fal of the Late Arrian. Its contents contrasted the anti-trinitarian ideas of John Assheton with Proctor’s orthodox Roman Catholic views. The Fal of the Late Arrian had been circulating among England’s educated for years. There was even a copy of this book in the library of John Gresshop, headmaster at Canterbury’s Kings School, which Marlowe attended at age fifteen on his first scholarship.

In the sixteenth century “atheist” and “heretic” were labels put on all who defied orthodox religious ideas: Galileo (born the same year and month as Marlowe), Copernicus, Martin Luther, Michael Servetus, Giorgio Bruno, and Queen Elizabeth herself by the Catholic Church. The word "atheist" comes from the Greek, "A" meaning "without" and "Theist" meaning "belief in deities". It has been passed down to us that Christopher Marlowe had been accused of possessing heretical papers of atheistic, or "Aryan" belief. Actually, the equation is wrong because Arius, the man “Aryan” represents, did believe in the deity of God the Father. He did not believe in the Divinity of Christ or the Trinity, which was an idea created not by Jesus, but by the Catholic Church Bishops 325 years after Jesus died in order to settle disagreements within the Christian Church as to the nature of the relationship between Jesus and God.

In 1549 three people in England were charged with Arianism: Michael Thombe, Joan Bocher (Joan of Kent) and John Assheton. Thombe was a London trader who had denied the Trinity and disbelieved in the effectiveness of baptizing infants. He recanted his beliefs. The peasant Joan Bocher would not recant and Cranmer had her burned at the stake. John Assheton was a parish priest who put his opinions in writing, and finally recanted (perhaps after Joan was burned at the stake). On the heels of Assheton’s recantation, the Roman Catholic historian John Proctor contrasted his own orthodox Trinitarian views to Assheton’s statements and printed them under the title The Fal of the Late Arrian. Proctor never gives the name of his “Arrian”, probably because, as he tells us, his “Arrian” had recanted. It is most likely Assheton who is the “Arrian” referred to in Proctor’s title because he was the only person arrested who is known to have written anything.

The “heretical” papers found in Thomas Kyd’s room were not those of an atheist, they were the recantation of Anglican priest John Assheton’s Socinian beliefs detailing his former objection to the Trinity, to the person and personality of the Holy Spirit, and to the pre-existence of Christ, but not to the virgin birth. Archbishop Cranmer made John Assheton write a statement of his reasons for doubting the divinity of Christ. In John Strype’s Memorials of Cranmer we find a condensed version of Assheton’s recantation:

I, John Assheton, priest, of my pure heart, free-will, voluntary and sincere knowledge, confess and openly recognize, that in times past I thought, believed, said, held, and presumptuously affirmed by subscription of my proper handwriting, these errors, heresies, and damnable opinions following; that is to say, 1. That the Trinity of Persons was established by the confession of athanasius, declared by a psalm, qinque vult, &; and that the Holy Ghost is not God, but only a certain power of the Father. 2. That Jesus Christ, that was conceived of the Virgin Mary, was a holy prophet, and especially beloved of God the Father; but that He was not the true and living God; forasmuch as He was seen, and lived, hungered, and thirsted. 3. That this only is the fruit of Jesus Christ’s passion; that whereas we were strangers from god, and had no knowledge of His testament, it pleased God by Christ to bring us to the acknowledging of His holy power by the testament.

In The Fal of the Late Arrian Proctor divided Assheton’s Socinian ideas into the main points and put the quoted material at the beginning of each chapter, his refutations of these Socinian ideas below it. When Assheton’s quoted material is excerpted from Proctor’s book it becomes an exact match for the papers found in Kyd’s room; each section had been kept in the same chronological order they were in Proctor’s book.

       Assheton’s Socinianism is a form of non-trinitarianism that was developed around the same time as the Protestant Reformation (1517-1648). Its adherents held to a rationalistic approach to Scripture and to faith. This philosophical approach declares that theological matters pertaining to the nature of God cannot be beyond the finite understanding of the human mind, and that all religious matters must be fully reconcilable with human reason.

Birth Pangs Preceding the Age of Reason
 

"The Age of Reason would have been impossible without Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1440, which created a radical change in consciousness over the following centuries. The invention of the printing press one hundred and twenty-four years before Marlowe was born enabled humankind to read for the first time not only the Christian Bible, but pagan Greek and Roman democratic ideas. This change of consciousness began with removal of ">control over all written material from the Catholic Church, which ">to inhibit the spread of what it regarded as heretical ideas.

 The printing press enabled the bible to be translated into all languages, so mankind no longer needed an education in Latin to read it. Until people read the Christian Bible for themselves they had to depend upon the interpretations of Catholic Priests and Bishops who read passages from it to their congregations, usually in Latin; understanding, communication, and debate were absent from the Catholic Church. Once men and women began to read the Bible for themselves, new interpretations arose and there was a slow pulling away from the Catholic Church in Europe. There was also a slow pulling away from what had been taken as fact in the bible. After more than a thousand years of Catholic rule, sixteenth century Europe began to form various religious ideologies, and this was an outgrowth of the self-education the printing press enabled.

Was Marlowe an Atheist or a Questioner who believed religious matters must be reconcilable with human reason? The Prologue to Marlowe's Jew of Malta proclaims:

I count religion but a childish toy,
And hold there is no sin but ignorance.

Cambridge University students of Marlowe’s time had been born of a culture steeped in bloody religious strife. England had been Catholic for hundreds of years until King Henry VIII broke with Rome, seized the Catholic church's assets in England, and declared the Church of England as the established church with himself as its head. After his daughter Mary took the throne, England was told to be Catholic again. Not long after that, his younger daughter Elizabeth took the throne and England was told it was to be Protestant. Is it any wonder seeds of sarcasm were sown about the correctness of any religion?

       Cambridge students were studying pagan Latin poets, dramatists, philosophers, and historians. Questions were beginning to be asked by the educated, divinity scholar Marlowe among them. Other than David Riggs, Marlowe’s biographers tend to leave out the full context of his education and how it might have affected his dramas. This tendency has caused generations of students to see him as standing alone in his religious questioning. It is only because Marlowe put his questions about religion into plays popular on the London stage that he now represents the thinking of many of his peers. The "monstrous opinions" that the informer Baines attributed to Marlowe came directly from the dramatist's Cambridge textbooks. Baines claimed Marlowe had said, "the first beginning of Religion was only to keep men in awe" and that one ought "not to be afeared of bugbears and hobgoblins". These ideas came from Marlowe’s Cambridge education which taught him the concepts of Ovid, Lucretius, Polybious and Livy. After a thousand years of Catholic rule, these ideas would emerge full blown in the Age of Reason.

       Riggs says, "The ancient historians Polybius, Plutarch and Livy further revealed that Roman statesmen had introduced the fear of the gods in order to fashion law-abiding subjects: The only resource is to keep them in check by mysterious terrors and scenic effects of this sort." He goes on to say:

Pythagoras introduced Renaissance under-graduates to the ancient (un)belief system of Epicurus and his disciple Lucretius: hell is a fable, and belief in hell a craven superstition; the body metamorphoses into the elements after death; poets and rulers invented divine retribution to keep men in awe of authority. *

 

       As Riggs says, many atheists emerged from within the Oxford and Cambridge college walls. “Atheism came readily enough to undergraduates who had studied the ancient prototypes of modern unbelief.” He says, “The philosopher John Case encountered clouds of these unbelieving 'scorpions and locusts' at Oxford. Laurence Chaderton, the Master of Emmanuel College Cambridge, wondered 'Whence come such swarms of atheists?' " *

Marlowe has been isolated from his peers to stand alone as an atheist, instead of interpreted as representing forward looking ideas of many others of his time. The purpose of Marlowe's Divinity Scholarship was to produce an educated conformist who would fill a position in the church or in civil service, but it inadvertently bequeathed to him and other University students an education in skepticism and contrary to those of the Church of England, ideas that pitted Marlowe dangerously against his ecclesiastic benefactors.

        

Lord Burghley’s Letter

 

Charles Nicholl suggests that around 1585 Thomas Walsingham began to play an intermediary role between Sir Francis Walsingham and many of those under his employment in secret intelligence.18 After Sir Francis died, and during Marlowe’s crisis, Thomas was working with Lord Burghley, Robert Cecil, and Essex to form a new co-operational intelligence network. The Coroner’s Report of Christopher Marlowe’s death states that Thomas Walsingham’s personal employee was Marlowe’s “killer”, and the other two men in the room, Poley and Skeres, were fellow secret agents who had worked with Thomas Walsingham capturing the conspirators involved in the plan to kill Queen Elizabeth known as the Babington Plot. When these facts are linked to Walsingham’s role as Marlowe’s patron and his powerful position between the Burghley/Cecil/Essex factions at that time, it is fair to suggest that he would have been the prime mover in the faking of Marlowe’s death.

 Many commentators have found the circumstances in the Coroner’s Report suspicious. In The Reckoning Charles Nicholl concludes the Coroner’s Report was a blind, and it is more likely Marlowe was assassinated in that room:

I am not the first to doubt the ‘official story’ of Marlowe’s death. Most of his biographers have expressed some unease with it, but they have ended up accepting it for lack of any provable alternative . . . The witnesses are untrustworthy, the story unsatisfactory, the circumstances shady . . .20

 

Nicholl’s conclusion leaves an even bigger question than that of a faked death. If Marlowe was assassinated, why was it necessary to insert secret agents into a Coroner’s Inquest when the most expedient method would have been to simply poison him in a tavern or knife him on the street and leave his body for others to find? On the other hand, if the purpose was not to assassinate Marlowe, but merely to convince others he was dead by producing a “legitimate” Coroner’s Report, these secret agents would have been necessary to witness his “death”.

            It is difficult to imagine Thomas Walsingham using his own employee Frizer, and the two secret intelligence agents Poley and Skeres to take part in such a scheme without the go ahead from Lord Burghley. If Marlowe’s death was faked on May 30, 1593 it could have been Burghley who suggested the court’s coroner, William Danby, make a legal report of his death. The two had been contemporaries at the Inns of Court fifty years earlier, Danby worked under Burghley and had most likely worked with secret intelligence for years. This would insure control over the situation, and, indeed, as Farey says, “William Danby did not perform the inquest with the local coroner, which he should have done, whether it was within the verge or not. He actually replaced him, thus rendering the whole inquest legally null and void unless he had also been coroner for the county of Kent.”

       Three pieces of circumstantial evidence point to Lord Burghley’s participation in the event that occurred at Deptford May 30th: (1) The records show Robert Poley was supposed to be in the Netherlands working for Lord Burghley at the very time the Coroner’s Report has him witnessing Marlowe’s death at Deptford.21 (2) It was an illegal inquest, therefore it is unlikely Coroner Danby would have acquiesced without orders from Lord Burghley. (3) Although many commentators have speculated about what occurred that day, and most agree that if the death had been faked Lord Burghley was probably involved in some way, no one has yet mentioned that Lord Burghley was ill at home on May 28th, two days before the event at Deptford, yet he appeared to sit at the Star Chamber the very day before Marlowe’s alleged death on the 30th.  Richard Baines’ damning accusations of heresy against Marlowe were put into Cecil’s hands sometime between May 25th and 28th. On May 28th Lord Burghley, quite ill at his home in London, responded to a letter he had received from his son Robert Cecil that day:

I have received your letter of this 28th. Hereupon, though I am weak and uncertain how I shall come to the Court, with opinion that after one or two days her Majesty will license me to return to seek my amendment or to take my journey to follow univerrsam viam carnis [the way of all flesh]. And to this latter journey I am most disposed with persuasion that if souls have sense of earthly things, I shall be in God’s sight an intercessor for the prosperity of His church here and for her Majesty as His governor thereof to His Glory. You must allow me to be in this humour, for I find no other taste of any other thing. If I shall be able by coach or litter (for I provide both) I will be with you tomorrow.23

 

Is it mere coincidence that, although Lord Burghley felt he was at death’s door, he returned to court May 29th, the very day plans for Marlowe’s fictional death on May 30th would have had to be formalized with Coroner Danby?

Whitgift’s “inquisition” had picked up after Sir Francis Walsingham’s death in 1590, and culminated with the arrest of Marlowe. Lord Burghley’s stance against Archbishop Whitgift’s inquisitorial practices toward England’s Separatists and Freethinkers is well known. We know that he attempted to intervene against the Archbishop many times. Conyers Read writes of his stance against Whitgift:

More than once he had broken a lance with Whitgift on behalf of Puritan preachers. . . . He had befriended Thomas Cartwright, the recognized leader of the Presbyterian movement, and would befriend him again. Morice and Beale, the two leaders of the fight against the ex officio oath, both looked to him. So did Peter Wentworth. So did the separatists, Barrow and Greenwood, and the Puritan John Penry.24

 

Lord Burghley’s involvement in the faked death would have derived from three factors: (1) His disagreement with the Inquisitorial policies and actions of Archbishop Whitgift (2) The threat that under torture Marlowe might have revealed Burghley and Cecil’s undercover work around King James’ Succession to the English throne, and (3) The State’s use of Marlowe’s unique talent as a dramatist.  

More Sonnets Confirming Marlowe’s Arrest, Faked Death, and Exile 

Keeping to the Marlowe context, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 74 tells us Marlowe’s body was dead due to the coward conquest of a wretch’s knife. Do we find any other sonnets alluding to Marlowe’s arrest, the faking of his death, or his exile? Sonnet 29 tells us that his name has been disgraced and he has gone into exile:

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state, [exiled from the State of England]
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate . . . 

       Sonnet 34 gives the general background for the faking of his death, and keeps to Sonnet 33’s theme, speaking of the disgrace Marlowe suffered because of the way they faked his death. We find Sonnet 33’s “basest clouds” in Sonnet 34 as “base clouds”. Both sonnets are speaking of the same event. It is most likely these sonnets were being written to his patron Thomas Walsingham, at whose home he was staying when the Sherriff arrested him. He went before the Privy Council on May 20 and was given ten days’ bail. Is it mere coincidence that it would have been on the last day of his bail his death was faked on May 30th?

Sonnet 34                                           

Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o'ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
'Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak,
That heals the wound, and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
The offender's sorrow lends but weak relief
To him that bears the strong offence's cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.     

The first two lines of 34 tell us that Thomas Walsingham told Marlowe all would be well in the future, but for now he had to get out of the country, “travel forth”, and “without my cloak”. Did they use Marlowe’s cloak on the body at Deptford? Or, does this merely refer to the English proverbial “Although the sun shines, leave not thy cloak at home”?

       This sonnet tells us Marlowe was not present at Deptford the day they faked his death, and he didn’t take part in framing the story. Perhaps when Thomas Walsingham sent Marlowe to the continent plans had not congealed to the point where the necessary plea of self-defense had been scripted for his employee Frizer, and he had promised Marlowe a beauteous day because he had another scenario in mind, but at the last hour they (Lord Burghley) decided they needed to contrive a “legal” report of the “death” to ward off any further suspicion.

            Here the base clouds are Frizer, Poley, and Skeres who gave the story of Marlowe’s “death” to the coroner. This story that made Marlowe out to be a coward who grabbed another man’s dagger from behind and struck him on the head with it is the rotten smoke that hides Walsingham’s bravery to have dared stage this faking of Marlowe’s death. This interpretation is backed up by these lines:

For no man well of such a salve can speak,
That heals the wound, and cures not the disgrace:

Baines Note disgraced Marlowe with its accusations of heresy, and he would likely have been hung after an unfair trial, as all trials were unfair at the Court of Star Chamber (overseen by Puckering). This is why they got him out of the country on the last day of his bail. The faking of his death was intended to be the “salve” that would heal the wound that would have occurred to his body if they hadn’t faked his death, but this salve added more disgrace to his name because now he would be seen as a coward who grabbed Frizer’s dagger from behind and struck him on the head with it. Coincidental circumstantial evidence for this interpretation is found in Sonnet 74, where we find allusions to his arrest and his death from Frizer’s knife.

But be contented when that fell arrest [deadly arrest, faked death]
Without all bail shall carry me away, [carry him into exile]
My life hath in this line some interest, [look at what I am saying here]

. . . my body being dead;
The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
Too base of thee to be remembered.

Again, in Sonnet 74, Marlowe is telling Thomas the way in which his death was staged was vile, using the same word “base” he used in 34 and 33. He makes it clear that Thomas’s shame and repentance for having staged the death in a manner that made him look like he had cowardly taken Frizer’s knife gives little relief to himself, who will now have to bear that “strong offence's cross”. And, indeed, Marlowe has born that cross for more than four hundred years. Even the intentions in his plays are interpreted through a lens that pictures him a violent man.

Most readers of this sonnet have not read the Coroner's Report on Marlowe's death, and so they do not know that the killer, Ingram Frizer, stated Marlowe had grabbed his dagger from its sheath behind his back (a cowardly act) and struck him on the head with it. The report states that Frizer then grabbed his dagger from Marlowe's hand and struck him through the eye, killing him instantly. It is important to know this in order to understand how unlikely it is any other man would have written that his body is dead due to the coward conquest of a wretch's knife. That Thomas Walsingham contrived this scene for Marlowe's "death" is hinted at in the last line, above.

Studies of Christopher Marlowe are often shaped by the strongest of cultural biases, the unconscious established religion’s imperative to demonize the other. The result is not logical inferences, but perpetuation and embellishment of a myth that began with the Puritans in the sixteenth century and was solidified by the Victorians long before Leslie Hotson discovered the Coroner’s Report on his death in 1925. The Queen had ordered the Coroner’s Report remain in her jurisdiction, it was suppressed. If it had been known during Marlowe’s time that the man who “killed” him was his own patron’s employee, that the other two men in the room not only worked for secret intelligence but had worked under Marlowe’s patron in this service, doubt about his “death” would have surfaced long ago - but time has petrified the story so that the new 20th Century information in the Coroner’s Report has not been seriously considered by the universities.             

What Is the Soul?

The only legitimate circumstantial evidence we have tells us that Marlowe’s friends were not the lowlifes Drury, Cholmely, and Baines. His friends were what we call today “progressives”, the educated men who gave birth to the Age of Reason. Many of them were aristocrats, and that would be how “Shakespeare” knew how to portray the aristocratic life in the plays. Thomas Walsingham, at whose estate in Scadbury Marlowe was staying when he was arrested, was the younger second cousin to Sir Francis Walsingham, England’s Ambassador to France, then Secretary of State and creator of its secret intelligence agency. Thomas Watson, who may have saved Marlowe’s life in the Bradley Duel and is now known as the Father of the English Sonnet, was under the patronage of both Sir Francis Walsingham and Thomas Walsingham. Sir Walter Raleigh, who had written “The Nymph’s Reply” to Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd”, and was also suspected of atheistic thinking by the Whitgift faction. Henry Percy, the 9th Earl of Northumberland was likely part of Marlowe's circle. His interest in science led to the nickname "The Wizard Earl". He was patron to Thomas Harriot, the English astronomer, mathematician, ethnographer, and translator. Harriot travelled to the Americas, accompanying the 1585 expedition to Roanoke Island funded by Sir Walter Raleigh. Harriot learned the Carolina Algonquian language from two Native Americans, Wanchese and Manteo. On his return to England, at the Earl's house, he became a prolific mathematician and astronomer to whom the theory of refraction is attributed. Hariot made a drawing of the Moon’s face through a telescope four months before Galileo.

       The chronological reach of humanist scholarship made it increasingly difficult to argue that the events recounted in Genesis had occurred at the beginning of mankind. It was from Hariot Marlowe learned what Baines attributed to him in the Note:

That the Indians and many Authors of antiquity haue

assuredly writen aboue 16 thousand yeares agone wher

as Adam is proued to haue lived within 6 thowsand yeares.
 

Hariot himself is in one of the Note’s accusations:           

He affirmeth that Moyses was but a Juggler and that

one Heriots can do more then hee.
           

Marlowe’s plays did not glorify atheism, they portrayed human hypocrisy when it comes to religion. One example of this is in Tamburlaine when military challenges between Orcanes, the Muslim King of Natolia, and Sigismund, the Christian King of Hungary ends in a truce because Tamburlaine is quickly advancing on them. They must fight him together or both of their troops will certainly die. This passage has been supposed by many commentators to illustrate Marlowe's "atheistic" leanings, when it clearly reveals only the hypocrisy of the Christian King Sigismund.

       The accusations against Marlowe (Baines Note, Drury’s Remembrances) implicitly connected Sir Walter Raleigh and the 9th Earl of Northumberland with heresy. Did Marlowe and Raleigh think religious matters must be fully reconcilable with human reason as did Assheton and his fellow Socinians?  Two months after Marlowe’s alleged death and ten months before Whitgift would have Raleigh investigated, a conversation took place at a supper party given by the Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, which Sir Walter Raleigh and his brother Carew attended. For the preservation of this supper conversation we are indebted to Reverend Ralph Ironside, minister of Winterbottom, who was so disturbed by the supper talk between the three of them that he wrote “a full record of this dangerous conversation” afterward.

       During the course of conversation at the table Sir Ralph Horsey reproached Carew for his “loose talk”, saying the Latin equivalent of “Evil talk corrupts good manners”.

       Carew asked the Reverend Ironside what he meant, and Ironside replied, “The wages of sin is death.” Carew pointed out that death is common to all, saint or sinner, to which Ironside responded that life which is properly the gift of God through Jesus Christ is life eternal, “So that death which is properly the wages of sin is death eternal, both of the body and soul also.”

At this point, Carew said, “Soul. What is that?” Ironside replied, “Better it were that we would be careful how the souls might be saved than to be curious about finding out their essence.”

Sir Walter Raleigh now joined in, saying that Ironside should answer his brother’s question, and continued, “I have been a scholar some time at Oxford, I have answered under a Bachelor of Arts, and had talk with divers; yet hitherto in this point [regarding what the soul of man is] have I not by any been resolved. They tell us it is primus motor, the first mover in a man.”

Ironside replied with a quote from Aristotle, which Ralegh rejected as “obscure and intricate.”

To this Ironside replied, “Plainly the reasonable soul is a spiritual and immortal substance breathed into man by God, whereby he lives and moves and understandeth, and so distinguished from other creatures.”

       “Yes,” said Ralegh, “But what is that spiritual and immortal substance?”
       “The soul,” replied Ironside.
       To this circular reasoning, Ralegh said, “Nay, then, you do not answer like a scholar.”
       Ironside concluded his part in the dialogue saying, “Nothing more certain in the world than that there is a God, yet being a spirit, to subject him to the sense otherwise than perfected it is impossible.”
       “Marry,” said Ralegh, “There two be alike, for neither could I learn hitherto what God is.”
       After writing down this dinner conversation, Reverend Ralph Ironside gave it to the Privy Council, at least this is how the story has come down to us. He might have given it directly to Buckhurst, Whitgift’s heresy hunter, who then brought it to the Privy Council of which he was a member. ">This prompted the charges of atheism ">against Raleigh, and in 1594, a year after Marlowe's "death", Whitgift had Raleigh and his friends at Cerne Abbas investigated. The charges ">were later dismissed. This coincides with the theory Whitgift used the two informers Baines and Drury to go after the freethinkers, and through torture was going to knock them down like dominoes: torture Kyd to get Marlowe, torture Marlowe to get Raleigh and others of his “circle” that had been stigmatized “atheists” and “freethinkers” because of their interest in science, their questioning of certain facts in the Christian Bible such as the Trinity and time of man’s creation, their questions about Christian statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy that had been set forth not by Christ, but in 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea with the intention of unifying the beliefs of the Christian church.

What were the circumstances surrounding the timing of Baines’s Note and Drury’s Remembrances?Baines first attack on Marlowe in Flushing coincided with the 1592 Catholic priest Robert Persons’ English publication Responsio ad Edictum Elizabethan out of which the fictional title “School of Night” was born and later adopted in scholastic circles as a legitimate description. In this satirical, propagandist piece Persons wrote of “Sir Walter Rawley’s school of atheism” and “the diligence used to get young gentlemen to this school, wherein both Moses and our Saviour, the Old and the New Testament, are jested at, and the scholars taught among other things to spell God backward.”94

In The Reckoning, Charles Nicholl writes of the similarities between this Catholic propaganda and the contents of Baines’s Note and Drury’s Remembrances, which were being written on the heels of its publication.95 When making the observation Baines’s Note was a typical informer’s indictment used in character assassination, A.D. Wraight wrote, “Not one of the obscene opinions accredited to Marlowe in Baines Note is original to Marlowe. Every single one of these specifically scurrilous anti-Christian statements has been lifted from some clerical authority. And not only were they available in print, but several of them were widely known and are even quoted in Elizabethan secular literature.”

            Many of the charges Baines and Drury made against Marlowe not only echo each other, they echo Persons’ article and elaborate on Persons’s accusation against Raleigh’s “school of atheism”, a school that, for lack of evidence as having existed, seems to have lived only in the Catholic Persons’s mind. Both Baines’s and Drury’s accusations seem to have the intent of legitimizing what began with Persons’s Catholic propaganda several months previously. It was Persons who wrote that Raleigh wanted to create an “atheist commonwealth” in which atheism would become the ‘law of the land’.96 The purpose of Persons’s article seems to have been to drive a wedge further between the already strained Whitgift and Burghley factions on the Privy Council, and to fracture England’s aristocracy. 

Why Is Marlowe’s Monument in Stratford?

 Thou art a Monument, without a tomb
And art alive still, while thy Book doth live . . .  

Keeping to the Marlowe premise, Ben Jonson seems to have been part of a small group of men who knew he was behind the “Shakespeare” pseudonym. His “art alive” at the front of the first collected works of Shakespeare reverses the epitaph’s last line’s “Living Art”: Leaves living art, bvt page, to serve his witt. Peter Farey’s interpretation of the epitaph’s riddle reverses the “living art”, putting it into exact alignment with Jonson’s words: leaves Art alive, without a 'page' to dish up his wit. If Marlowe wrote under the pseudonym “Shakespeare”, did he write the epitaph as was stated in Sonnet 81, or did Jonson write the epitaph?

            From the Marlowe perspective, the monument was placed in Stratford by William Shakspeare’s grave because Shakspeare had taken advantage of the Shakespeare pseudonym by putting his name on plays he purchased. The evidence for this is borne out by the fact that there are other plays with the William Shakespeare name or initials on them, to name a few:  a revised version of Locrine, Thomas Lord Cromwell, The London Prodigal, A Yorkshire Tragedy, The Puritan, or the Widow of Watling Street. It seems as if his profit-making tendency included the theater. As a shareholder, it is reasonable to think that William Shakspeare’s various business dealings would include purchasing plays. He would have gotten about 30 shillings a play from Henslowe, a good night’s box office takings at The Rose.

            Ben Jonson’s poem “On Poet Ape” seems to be alluding to Shakspeare in particular as a broker of plays. This is born out in the first line where he writes that this “Poet-Ape” would be thought our chief. The man behind the Shakespeare pseudonym is England’s chief writer. The man who had a similar name “aped” the pseudonym by capitalizing on it, putting his name, or the initials of his name “WS” on plays he’d purchased from others.

On Poet Ape

Poor Poet-Ape, that would be thought our chief,
Whose works are e'en the frippery of wit,
From brokage is become so bold a thief,
As we, the robb'd, leave rage, and pity it.
At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,
Buy the reversion of old plays;  now grown
To a little wealth, and credit in the scene …

The general agreement among Shakespeare biographers is that Jonson was alluding to the Stratford Shakspeare in Every Man out of His Humor.Maurice Hunt, author of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, says, "The combination of the bright yellow coloring of Shakespeare’s coat of arms along with the similarity of the phrasing of its motto ‘Not Without Right’ increases the likelihood that Jonson in the motto 'Not without mustard’ is mocking his fellow dramatist’s coat of arms as well as his motives in spending money to acquire one.”

In 1596 the Stratford Shakespeare purchased a coat of arms which would give him the title “Gentleman”. The motto he had inscribed on this coat of arms was “Non Sanz Droict”, which means “Not Without Right”. The following year, he bought the second largest home in Stratford. He purchased and stored grain, malt and barley for fifteen years so he could sell them at inflated prices to his neighbors and local tradesmen. In 1598 he was prosecuted for hoarding grain during a time of famine. He used the profits from these staples for his money-lending, and those who could or would not pay him in full, he pursued in court. In the play Jonson was alluding to the Stratford Shakespeare not only through the character of Sogliardo, but also Sordido, the grain hoarder. It is this double-barreled shot that cinches the identification.

Daryl Pinksen points out that Every Man out of His Humour begins and ends with the disgraced scholar Macilente: 

Macilente is an embodiment of persecuted poets, just as Sogliardo is an embodiment of pretentious businessmen. But Jonson seems to have gone further than this. He used Sogliardo to allude directly to Shakespeare and, I believe, he used Macilente to allude directly to Christopher Marlowe. It was 1599, and Jonson was portraying a Marlowe now at the mercy of the man whose name was on his work, William Shakespeare.
 

Macilente is walking in the countryside, reading a book. He is in a field owned by Sogliardo. When he sees Sogliardo and his friend Carlo Buffone coming toward him, he lies down to conceal himself. While Macilente listens to Sogliardo brag to Carlo Buffone about his quantity of land and money, Macilente, as Pinksen says, "becomes increasingly bitter over the fact that while he hides in disgrace, Sogliardo is blessed with good fortune”. 

Macilente: S'blood, why should such a prick-ear's hind as this
Be rich, ha? a fool! such a transparent full

That may be seen through! wherefore should he have land,
Houses, and lordships? O, I could eat my entrails,
And sink my soul into the earth with sorrow!

            “Sorrow” would be an extremely melodramatic expression on Macilente’s part, not to mention “I could eat my entrails” unless the source of his grievance were greater than mere jealousy of a business man’s holdings. Is Jonson portraying Marlowe despairing over Shakspeare profiting over his labors while he must remain dead to all the world?

            Jonson was not a man to praise others lightly. “Poor Poet-Ape, that would be thought our chief” implies there is an English writer Jonson holds in higher esteem than himself, his “chief”. Who else would this be, but the authentic Shakespeare? Was Jonson’s poem “Inviting a Friend to Supper” written to the exiled and dead to all the world Marlowe? And were there allusions in the poem o the reckoning at Deptford?

Inviting a Friend to Supper 

Tonight, grave sir, both my poor house, and I 
Do equally desire your company; 
Not that we think us worthy such a guest, 
But that your worth will dignify our feast 
With those that come, whose grace may make that seem
Something, which else could hope for no esteem . . . . 

And we will have no Pooley, or Parrot by, 
Nor shall our cups make any guilty men; 

But, at our parting we will be as when 
We innocently met. No simple word 
That shall be uttered at our mirthful board, 
Shall make us sad next morning or affright 
The liberty that we’ll enjoy tonight. (Bold mine)

The poem begins with Jonson addressing his esteemed dinner guest not as “sir”, but as “grave sir”. This is not normally how one would address a dinner guest. Was Jonson speaking tongue in cheek to the man who was dead to all the world, a man thought to be in his grave? Was he speaking to the man whose name is discovered in the monument’s riddle to be named in the epitaph, and the first part of his name “Christ” taken from the synonym “Jesus” on Shakspeare’s grave? The title uses the same word for the meal as was used in the Coroner’s Report, “Supper: after supper Ingram & Christopher Morley uttered one to the other malicious words they could not agree about the payment, that is, le recknynge [the reckoning]. The poem ends with Jonson saying there will be no “Pooley or Parrot” at the supper. Does “Pooley” allude to Robert Poley, the secret agent who was listed in the Coroner’s Report as one of the two witnesses at Marlowe’s “death”, and “Parrot” allude to William Shakspeare from Stratford, the poet-ape play broker? To “ape” also means to “parrot”. Keeping to the Marlowe premise, Jonson is alluding to the Coroner’s Report of the reckoning at Deptford where Marlowe’s death was faked. That was the dinner at which Marlowe “died”, but at this dinner their cups will not make any guilty men, nothing they say at this dinner will alter their lives the following morning by making them sad or affright (terrify) their liberty.

Shakespeare’s As You Like It was written on the heels of Jonson’s play Every Man out of His Humour. As mentioned earlier, a touchstone is a small stone that tests the truth of metals; gold will leave a visible trace when swiped on a touchstone, granite will not. This is why Touchstone tells William to give him his hand. 

Touchstone: Give me your hand. Art thou learned?
William: No, sir.
Touchstone: Then learn this of me: to have, is to have; for it
is a figure in rhetoric that drink, being poured out
of a cup into a glass, by filling the one doth empty
the other; for all your writers do consent that ipse
is he: now, you are not ipse, for I am he.       

For almost 400-years people have been watching this play without knowing the meaning of the Latin "ipse", which is “himself/herself/itself; the actual one”. As shown earlier, Touchstone represents Marlowe in the play. Touchstone (Marlowe) is telling William (the Stratford Shakspeare) that himself is the actual William Shakespeare who has written this play, "now, you are not ipse [himself], for I am he." Translating this in the Marlowe context, we get "all your writers agree that himself, William Shakespeare, is he. You are not himself, for I am he." Notice that Touchstone doesn't use the singular "your writer", meaning the man who penned the character William for the play, instead he uses the plural "all your writers", which implies more than two writers. This backs up the idea that William Shakspeare from Stratford was taking advantage of Marlowe’s pseudonym “William Shakespeare” by brokering other writers plays and putting his name on them.
 

Summary of the Evidence

 

       This essay has shown the events that would prove it necessary for Marlowe to use the pseudonym William Shakespeare and later a front man for his monument. It has provided an answer for why it is no one knows who commissioned the Shakespeare Monument, who wrote the epitaph, and why the epitaph is so cryptic; Peter Farey’s interpretation of the epitaph proves it to be Marlowe’s monument. The premise has been supported by Thomas Drury’s letters, the Shakespeare Sonnets and plays, and Ben Jonson’s Every Man out of His Humour, “Poet Ape”, and “Inviting a Friend to Supper”.

In his book Ada, Vladimir Nabokov said, “Some law of logic should fix the number of coincidences, in a given domain, after which they cease to be coincidences, and form, instead, the living organism of a new truth.”  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. A single sonnet cannot stand alone as primary evidence without the support of more primary sources that, taken together, form the pattern upholding the premise. In courts of law accumulation of coincidences add to the weight of circumstantial evidence from which juries draw conclusions beyond a reasonable doubt. The question becomes, what is the weight of value we give to each piece of circumstantial evidence we use and how many pieces of circumstantial evidence does it take to make a case beyond a reasonable doubt?

In order to prove the case for Marlowe it is necessary to disprove the case for the Stratford man. Lack of evidence is also circumstantial evidence –in this instance for the Stratford Shakspeare’s non-authorship. ">Out of more than seventy documents left behind during his lifetime, none support his alleged literary activities. The Shakespeare Sonnets themselves do not support this businessman as being the poet who wrote them, they are testaments to Christopher Marlowe’s story. There is no biography of the Stratford Shakespeare that would be accepted in a court of law because it is unreasonable to accept imagined truths as evidence. But the Shakespeare Sonnets and plays are not imagined truths. In them we find Marlowe giving us his side of the story that was decided otherwise long ago by scholars on the limited evidence of two informers, decided long before the Coroner’s Report on his death was discovered by Leslie Hotson in 1925. Rather than see Marlowe’s hand in these sonnets by taking them literally, interpreters who can’t find the Stratford Shakespeare’s life in them prefer to label their meanings hyperbolic. Sonnet 74 is the extreme example of this:

The prey of worms, my body being dead,
           The coward conquest of a wretches knife . . . 

What circumstantial evidence have we found to support the premise Marlowe wrote under the pseudonym “Shakespeare” and the Stratford man’s grave was used as a cover for his monument because Marlowe had been impeached by an informer as a heretic and fled into exile before judgement could be executed by The Court of Star Chamber?

1. Of the 70+ documents on the Stratford Shakspeare’s life none show him to have been a writer.

2. The title on the first edition of the sonnets was Shake-speare’s Sonnets. The hyphen indicated this was a pseudonym.names in the 16th  century were often used as pseudonyms with intended meaning. Pseudonyms were more common then than now because of a repressive society.

3. Sonnet 81 also tells us “Shakespeare” was a pseudonym and that someone else was taking credit for “Shakespeare’s” works. Sonnet 81 tells us this other person’s monument shall be “Shakespeare’s” “gentle verse”.  

4. If there were nothing to hide, why does no one know who erected the world’s greatest writer’s monument, who commissioned it, and who ">wrote the epitaph inscribed on it? Common sense tells us the people who did these things would want recognition, unless there is something to hide.

5. If the Stratford Shakespeare was the great writer, why doesn’t his grave have his name on it? Why is there no quote from any of the plays or sonnets, just one stanza of superstitious doggerel, certainly not befitting a great writer.

6. What are the odds that the name on the tomb has for a synonym Christ, and when you take “cost” as a synonym for “ley” every letter of “Far more then cost” spells Marlowe’s baptismal name”?

7. At the front of the first collected works of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson wrote the following lines: Thou art a Monument, without a tomb, And art alive still, while thy Book doth live. Marlowe has no tomb that we have found. The Stratford Shakspeare has a tomb, yet Jonson says Shakespere did not. Jonson says he does, however, have a monument. Peter Farey has found Marlowe’s name etched into this monument. 

8. Why would the epitaph on the monument of the world’s greatest writer be so difficult to understand, unless there was something to hide?” A man who labored over his words so they would make sense is not going to be mocked with a memorial plaque that reads like nonsense.

9. The premise is that Marlowe used the pseudonym Shakespeare because he was impeached by an informer as a heretic. Sonnet 125 tells us a suborned informer’s impeachment of the poet has set him free from time-wasting public rituals to lay great bases for eternity through his writing without fear of censorship. There is no evidence the Stratford Shakespeare was "vile esteemed" or "impeached" (accused) by any paid informer. The evidence Marlowe was accused of heresy is contained in the well-known Baines Note.

10. Drury’s letter to Bacon tells us it was heretic hunter Buckhurst or both Buckhurst and Star Chamber President Puckering, the two men interested in hiring Drury to do the state some service, who sent Drury to Baines to obtain “the secret” i.e., the identity of the man who posted the Dutch Church Libel. This is backed up later in Kyd’s letter to Puckering. Coincidence evidence tells us it was most likely Drury was again being used as an informer, not merely to get the name of the libeler, because they never gave him the reward money for that.

 

11. Referring again to the primary evidence of Sonnet 125, Suborned means “bought, paid to bear false witness”. From Drury’s letter to Anthony Bacon we know he was not paid for his work because he was still trying in August to get paid for giving Thomas Kyd’s name to Buckhurst and Puckering, the name he had received from Baines. Taken together, Sonnet 125 and Drury’s letter to Bacon tell us by process of elimination Baines was the suborned (paid) informer and Drury was merely a necessary pawn in the game.

12. The fact that Drury was sent to Baines to obtain the name of the Dutch Church libeler is the smoking gun that tells us the Dutch Church Libel was part of a set up to get Marlowe all along, and that the real need for Drury was as a second witness to secure a judgement of heresy against Marlowe. This set up included collusion between Baines, Buckhurst, and Puckering. If this were not true, Buckhurst and Puckering would have asked Baines himself to tell them the name of the person who posted this incitation to rebellion. There would have been no need for middleman Drury.

13. It is most likely Baines wrote the Dutch Church Libel targeting Marlowe. If Baines didn’t write the Dutch Church libel, he would have left himself too vulnerable when giving Kyd’s name to the authorities because for all he knew someone else could have come forward with real evidence that pointed to another person as the libeler. If Baines did write the Dutch Church Libel that so obviously incriminated Marlowe, then gave Drury the name of Thomas Kyd as the author, he would have had no worries someone else would come forward with evidence to the contrary (and, indeed, no one ever did).

14. Let us probe the possibilities of Baines’s circumstance. First of all, how did Baines find out the name of the libeler? How did Buckhurst and Puckering find out that Baines “knew” the name of the man who posted it? There were channels commoners, or informant/spies had to go through to speak to important men. Had Baines worked as a spy/informer for these men previously, so the channel was already set up? And when he told them he knew the identity, why didn’t he give them the identity at that time? Either he did give them the identity at that time, or they already knew he was going to target Kyd, it was part of their plan.

15. Motive: Marlowe was seen by Whitgift and others of the ecclesiastic faction as a seditious writer like Martin Marprelate, Barrow, and Greenwood. It did not escape them that Marlowe had been given two Divinity scholarships by the Church: the first at age fifteen for King’s School and the second for Cambridge. After the church had bequeathed this free education on Marlowe, instead of becoming a church cleric he decided to become a writer of plays that at times derided Christian religious hypocrisy. Doctor Faustus introduced the black arts to the London stage. The play could be viewed as a sophisticated satire on the church, with Mephistopheles mimicking the role of the archbishop and the hierarchy.’

 

16. From Sonnet 125 we learned that after the paid informer had impeached him, Marlowe was able to write as he wanted without fear of impeachment/punishment. This means without fear of censorship. Archbishop John Whitgift was his censor. He had Marlowe’s Ovid’s Elegies burned in the Bishop’s Bonfire

 

17. The ecclesiastics had Marlowe’s friend Thomas Kyd arrested and tortured, he died a year later.

Sonnet 33 tells us Queen Elizabeth, the “sovereign” sun, has permitted herself to be hidden from the forlorn world by vile clouds that are in the possession of a torture device. Her people were being hunted down by the ecclesiastical faction during Marlowe’s time and tortured on a rack.

The third stanza moves to the personal, now it is the poet’s “sun”. The time of day the poet chooses is “early morn” suggesting early in his life, or at the beginning of his career. What began in the first stanza as plural basest clouds has become singular the region cloud in the last stanza. The poet is speaking of his personal situation now, so the question should be asked, “Who or what is the region cloud that has taken the poet’s triumphant splendor from him?”

The answer should be found in the summarizing couplet.

Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;

Suns of the world may stain when heaven's sun staineth.

 

Here we find how the poet lost his triumphant splendor, which points to who took it. This stanza is speaking of the poet’s personal sun, therefore, “Suns of the world” is probably “Sons of the world”. That these sons of the world “may stain” means they may cause ">dirty marks that are not easily removed. When we change “sun” to “son” in the last line, we getwhen heaven's son staineth”: when heaven’s son causes dirty marks that are not easily removed.

Sons of the world may cause dirty marks that are not easily removed

When heaven’s son causes dirty marks that are not easily removed.

Who was “heaven’s son” during Marlowe’s time? Archbishop John Whitgift. Therefore, Whitgift is “the region cloud” that has masked the poet’s early triumph from him when he caused the dirty marks that are not easily removed, i.e. the informant Baines’s charges of heresy. How did Whitgift stain Marlowe? He commandeered the ecclesiastical faction that used the informants Baines and Drury to get heretical charges on Marlowe through Baines Note and the Remembrances, and had Marlowe’s former roommate Thomas Kyd tortured on the rack to aid them.

       The couplet’s sons of the world that may stain when heaven’s son staineth are not sons of the Church or State, they are sons of the world, i.e. commoners: Frizer, Poley, and Skeres. In order to save Marlowe’s life, which was in jeopardy after heaven’s son stained him, these three men at Deptford staged Marlowe’s death in a manner that disgraced him as being the culprit so that Frizer could get off on murder in self-defense. Of course, they were directed to do this by Frizer’s employer Thomas Walsingham, who was most likely working with Lord Burghley and his son Robert Cecil.

 

18. Coincidental circumstantial evidence for the interpretation of Sonnet 33 is found in Sonnet 34:

For no man well of such a salve can speak,
That heals the wound, and cures not the disgrace:

Baines Note disgraced Marlowe with its accusations of heresy, and he would have been hung after an unfair trial, as all trials were unfair at the Court of Star Chamber (overseen by Puckering). This is why they got him out of the country on the last day of his bail. The faking of his death was intended to be the “salve” that would heal the wound that would have occurred to his body if they hadn’t faked his death, but this salve added more disgrace to his name because now he would be seen as a coward who grabbed Frizer’s dagger from behind and struck him on the head with it.

 

19. Coincidental circumstantial evidence for this interpretation of Sonnet 33 and 34 is found in Sonnet 74, where we find allusions to Marlowe’s arrest and death from Frizer’s knife.

But be contented when that fell arrest
Without all bail shall carry me away,
My life hath in this line some interest,

. . . my body being dead;
The coward conquest of a wretch's knife,
Too base of thee to be remembered.

 

Again, in Sonnet 74, Marlowe is telling Thomas the way in which his death was staged was vile, using the same word “base” he used in 34 and 33. He makes it clear that Thomas’s shame and repentance for having staged the death in a manner that made him look like he had cowardly taken Frizer’s knife from behind Frizer’s back gives little relief to himself, who will now have to bear that “strong offence's cross”.

 

20. Coincidental circumstantial evidence for the faking of Marlowe’s death is the fact that the men in the room with Marlowe when he “died” were secret agents who had worked under Marlowe’s patron and friend Thomas Walsingham to take down the Babington plotters, and his “killer” was Walsingham’s personal employee.

 

21. It is difficult to imagine Thomas Walsingham using his own employee Frizer, and the two secret intelligence agents Poley and Skeres without the go ahead from Lord Burghley. Richard Baines’s damning accusations of heresy against Marlowe were put into Cecil’s hands sometime between May 25th and 28th. Coincidental evidence is found in the fact that, although Lord Burghley felt he was at death’s door, after three months’ in bed he returned to court May 29th to sit at the Star Chamber, the very day plans for Marlowe’s fictional death on May 30th would have had to be formalized with Coroner Danby.

22. Two Shakespeare plays bear evidence Whitgift was commandeering the effort to get Marlowe.

In As You Like It, Touchstone (truth-teller) tells us why Marlowe was “struck dead” in that little room at Deptford, it was because his verses were not understood. The Coroner’s Report on Christophe Marlowe’s death tells us it was in a little room at Eleanor Bull's home that, “after supper Ingram & Christopher Morley uttered one to the other malicious words they could not agree about the payment, that is, le recknynge [the reckoning].” The context within which Touchstone refers to a man's verses not being understood striking him more dead than a great reckoning in a little room is during a conversation in which he proclaims he is exiled like Ovid. Ovid’s exile was a form of censorship, just as Whitgift wanted to censor the writers of seditious books. He had Marlowe’s Ovid’s Elegies burned in the Bishop’s Bonfire the same year As You Like It was written.

Alex Jack’s observation of the wordplay on Archbishop John Whitgift’s name made by the Ghost in Hamlet supports the idea that it was the ecclesiastical faction of the privy council that suborned Baines.

     Ghost: Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,

     With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,                                           

     O wicked wit and gifts that have the power

     So to seduce! Won to his shameful lust

     The will of my most seeming-virtuous Queen 79

Jack says, “The first Quarto of Hamlet contains a version of this passage, but the word play regarding Whitgift’s name did not appear until after the archbishop’s death and the publication of the Second Quarto. The First Folio’s capitalization makes the pun even bolder: ‘Oh wicked Wit and Gifts’.”80 Here is the First Folio’s version of this passage with “Wit” and “Gift” capitalized as they would be in a proper name:

     GHOST. I that incestuous, that adulterate Beast
     With witchcraft of his wits, hath Traitorous gifts,
     Oh wicked Wit, and Gifts, that have the power
     So to seduce? Won to this shamefull Lust
     The will of my most seeming virtuous Queene:81 (bold mine)

23. Coincidental circumstantial evidence that backs up Sonnet 125’s “suborned informer” is found in Kyd’s letter to John Puckering, after he had been tortured and released from prison. This letter ends with his addressing the Dutch Church Libel charge Baines made against him, where he speaks of an immoral individual who turned him in to the authorities, an informer who would say anything about anyone for cash: “However, if some outcast Ismael for want of money or because of his own disposition toward lewdness, has with a pretense of duty or pretence of religion, or to reduce himself so that he was not borne unto by any way incensed your Lords of the Privy Seal to suspect me.” Kyd is using “borne” as a verb meaning penetrated, pierced, mined. When he gives the several reasons this informer gave Puckering his name, one of them is “to reduce himself so that he was not borne unto by any way”, he is saying the informer might have taken the suspicion away from himself by “incensing” the authorities to suspect himself.

 

24. Sonnet 121 tells us Marlowe, although he may have had unorthodox religious ideas, was not the man described in Baines Note: Baines Note and the Coroner’s Report are the two items by which many have judged Marlowe’s character. 

Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed,

When not to be receives reproach of being.

 

Although several scholars have attempted to link Marlowe as a friend of these informants, indeed, as one who performed similarly to men like Baines and Drury in the Elizabethan underground, Line 14 tells us he is being defined by frailer spies (Baines and Drury) who have false adulterate eyes and rank thoughts.

25. That we are not to put much store in Drury’s Remembrances is backed up by Sir Robert Drury’s letter to his Uncle Parker, from which we can get some idea of the kind of work the ecclesiastical faction wanted from Drury, and Drury’s “rank thoughts”: He is a rogue and a drunkard whose tongue ‘walks’ when he is ‘in his alepots’, he is a man who sues others to get money and devises plots for money.

26. The need for Drury’s presence was as a second witness to secure a judgment of heresy against Marlowe, which he (the man whose uncle’s wrote, “devises plots for money”) did in the Remembrances. In late sixteenth century England two witnesses were needed to secure a judgment of heresy. After the “heretical” papers were found in Kyd’s room and Marlowe was arrested, the search for the Dutch Church Libeler seems to have been forgotten. Enter Baines with his Note of Atheistic charges against Marlowe, and Drury’s Remembrances which linked Marlowe with that other freethinker, Raleigh.

 

27. Buckhurst and Puckering knew that Cholmeley had gotten paid for informing on Drury. Now Drury was the perfect candidate to take his revenge upon Cholmeley by informing on him. This revenge is encapsulated in Drury’s Remembrances, which became the necessary second witness indictment against Marlowe, and included Raleigh in its indictment.
 

28. Another smoking gun is Baines telling Drury it was Kyd who posted the libel that targeted Marlowe. Just how was it Baines would have “known” Kyd wrote the Dutch Church Libel, especially when it turns out Kyd was never indicted for the posting? It is more likely Marlowe had told Baines in Flushing that he’d roomed with Kyd, and this was then used as part of the ploy to secure a judgement of heresy against Marlowe. The only effect of Kyd’s arrest was the discovery of “heretical” papers in Kyd’s room, which led to Marlowe’s arrest.

29. The papers found in Kyd’s room were not “heretical”. They were merely interpreted as such by the ecclesiastical faction because they wanted to censor Marlowe. Kyd was not aware he had these papers, the idea they were planted into the pile after having been taken should not be overlooked.

30. The monument was placed in Stratford by William Shakspeare’s grave because Shakspeare had taken advantage of the Shakespeare pseudonym by brokering the plays of others and putting his name on them. At that time plays were rarely connected publically with their authors but with the theatre companies that owned them. The evidence for this is borne out by the fact that there are other plays with that name on them, to name a few:  a revised version of Locrine, Thomas Lord Cromwell, The London Prodigal, A Yorkshire Tragedy, The Puritan, or the Widow of Watling Street.

31. Ben Jonson’s poem “Poet Ape” tells us Shakspeare from Stratford was a play broker who put his name on plays he bought, likely taking advantage of the William Shakespeare pseudonym. This is supported in the first line where he writes that this “Poet-Ape” “would be thought our chief”. The man behind the Shakespeare pseudonym is England’s chief writer. The man putting that same name, or the initials of that name on plays he’d purchased from others is the poet-ape.

32. Ben Jonson’s poem “Inviting a Friend to Supper” ends with Jonson saying there will be no “Pooley or Parrot” at the dinner. “Pooley” could be alluding to Robert Poley, the secret agent who was listed in the Coroner’s Report as one of the two witnesses at Marlowe’s “death”, and “Parrot” probably alludes to William Shakspeare from Stratford, the poet-ape play broker. Keeping to the Marlowe premise, Jonson is alluding to the Coroner’s Report of the reckoning at Deptford where Marlowe’s death was faked. That was the dinner at which Marlowe “died”, but at this dinner their cups will not make any guilty men, nothing they say at this dinner will alter their lives the following morning by making them sad or affright (terrify) their liberty.

33. The general agreement among Shakespeare biographers is that Jonson was alluding to the Stratford Shakspeare in Every Man out of His Humor. In the play Jonson was alluding to the Stratford Shakespeare not only through the character of Sogliardo, but also Sordido, the grain hoarder. It is this double-barreled shot that cinches the identification.

Daryl Pinksen points out that Every Man out of His Humour begins and ends with the disgraced scholar Macilente: 

Macilente is an embodiment of persecuted poets, just as Sogliardo is an embodiment of pretentious businessmen. But Jonson seems to have gone further than this. He used Sogliardo to allude directly to Shakespeare and, I believe, he used Macilente to allude directly to Christopher Marlowe. It was 1599, and Jonson was portraying a Marlowe now at the mercy of the man whose name was on his work, William Shakespeare.
 

Macilente is walking in the countryside, reading a book. He is in a field owned by Sogliardo. When he sees Sogliardo and his friend Carlo Buffone coming toward him, he lies down to conceal himself. While Macilente listens to Sogliardo brag to Carlo Buffone about his quantity of land and money, Macilente, as Pinksen says, "becomes increasingly bitter over the fact that while he hides in disgrace, Sogliardo is blessed with good fortune”. 

Macilente: S'blood, why should such a prick-ear's hind as this
Be rich, ha? a fool! such a transparent full
That may be seen through! wherefore should he have land,
Houses, and lordships? O, I could eat my entrails,
And sink my soul into the earth with sorrow!

            “Sorrow” would be an extremely melodramatic expression on Macilente’s part, not to mention “I could eat my entrails” unless the source of his grievance were greater than mere jealousy of a business man’s holdings. Is Jonson portraying Marlowe despairing over Shakspeare profiting over his labors?

           

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