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It is still my error that I never assisted him: it was myerror to have shut my mind: there are many I could havehelped as I went along. But to pass by someone great—that isgreat misfortune.I hear him telling about how he burned the town of SanJosé; I hear him telling about the treachery of the TarawaIndians; his terrible thirst when his ship ran out of water atsea; he is boarding a Spanish frigate, raiding for guns...’Sblood, the Spanish are a cruel lot, chaining the caciques,scorching their naked bodies with hot bacon, beating them,starving them, decapitating them...The TowerWrite to me, lad, before thought’s relictsutterly obsess me and the ghouls remove me intheir stinking chains. I have seen and heardthem, ghouls and ghosts of this town and tower,490
SHAKESPEARE’SJOURNALseen and heard them cringe and bully,nightlong. Stones multiply their menace. There’san old seadog from Dublin crumpled in a cellhere, a grumbling bag: he claims he used to sailwith me; by his own confession he is themurderer of his crippled father. He is to be freedin the Spring. Freed? Free—are we ever free,my lad? When I sniff the brined air I am hardput not to cast myself off the Tower—I still hopeto see the sails double-reefed and porpoisesrising off the bow...Later he wrote bread—bread—bread. “Time drives theflocks,” he said: “I am reading the Amoretti... have you readSpenser recently?“None can call again the passed time,” he wrote. Irepeatedthosesevenwords.Irepeathisbread...bread...bread...it is not bread we want. I did not care.Who cares now?491
VOICESFROMTHEPASTHenley Street August 1, ’15What times we had, Raleigh, Marlowe, Jonson, and I,Marlowe and his wit, Raleigh and his tales of the sea, Jonsonand his satirical pomposities in Latin or Greek. Then,then...Marlowe’s murder crept through our veins and left usdumb or feverish, our very gatherings viewed withdisapproval.HAILDRUBBEDOURWINDOWS, THECHILLOFCOMPLICITYANDDUPLICITYSPREADOVERCOBBLES, THECLATTEROFHORSES’HOOVESMEANTTORTUREONTHESPITOFTOMORROW: THESEWEREHITCHEDTOOURBEADSOFSWEAT.We had seen our share of slings and arrows. Was itimportant who killed Marlowe? We weren’t sure. All threadsof evidence were thin threads! We praised Marlowe, shuffledthrough our worn pockets to bury him—Raleigh at sea now.We excused, blamed, made our exodus.ANNSAID, WITHSCORN:“It’s the company you keep! London! Always London!”As if our plays could be produced in Stratford!“It’s men who blaspheme God who find the gutter! Listento what people say about Raleigh! He’ll have a bad end!” Sothey prophesied over sour beer.Chris Marlowe was squat, dark, tousle-headed, many-freckled, with wretched teeth and poor eyes. He weighed fartoo much for a small man—his clothes were sacks at times—his body lost inside for all its bulk. He had character and avoice that conveyed character—his speech superior to manyactors. He could memorize lines quickly, and speak themsincerely, interpreting with sound thinking behind them.