It is still my error that I never assisted him it was my error to have shut my

It is still my error that i never assisted him it was

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It is still my error that I never assisted him: it was my error to have shut my mind: there are many I could have helped as I went along. But to pass by someone great—that is great misfortune. I hear him telling about how he burned the town of San José; I hear him telling about the treachery of the Tarawa Indians; his terrible thirst when his ship ran out of water at sea; 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 Tower Write to me, lad, before thought’s relicts utterly obsess me and the ghouls remove me in their stinking chains. I have seen and heard them, ghouls and ghosts of this town and tower, 490
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S HAKESPEARE S J OURNAL seen and heard them cringe and bully, nightlong. Stones multiply their menace. There’s an old seadog from Dublin crumpled in a cell here, a grumbling bag: he claims he used to sail with me; by his own confession he is the murderer of his crippled father. He is to be freed in the Spring. Freed? Free—are we ever free, my lad? When I sniff the brined air I am hard put not to cast myself off the Tower—I still hope to see the sails double-reefed and porpoises rising off the bow... Later he wrote bread—bread—bread. “Time drives the flocks,” he said: “I am reading the Amoretti... have you read Spenser recently? “None can call again the passed time,” he wrote. I repeated those seven words. I repeat his bread...bread...bread...it is not bread we want. I did not care. Who cares now? 491
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V OICES FROM THE P AST Henley Street August 1, ’15 What times we had, Raleigh, Marlowe, Jonson, and I, Marlowe and his wit, Raleigh and his tales of the sea, Jonson and his satirical pomposities in Latin or Greek. Then, then...Marlowe’s murder crept through our veins and left us dumb or feverish, our very gatherings viewed with disapproval. H AIL DRUBBED OUR WINDOWS , THE CHILL OF COMPLICITY AND DUPLICITY SPREAD OVER COBBLES , THE CLATTER OF HORSES HOOVES MEANT TORTURE ON THE SPIT OF TOMORROW : THESE WERE HITCHED TO OUR BEADS OF SWEAT . We had seen our share of slings and arrows. Was it important who killed Marlowe? We weren’t sure. All threads of evidence were thin threads! We praised Marlowe, shuffled through our worn pockets to bury him—Raleigh at sea now. We excused, blamed, made our exodus. A NN SAID , WITH SCORN : “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! Listen to what people say about Raleigh! He’ll have a bad end!” So they prophesied over sour beer. Chris Marlowe was squat, dark, tousle-headed, many- freckled, with wretched teeth and poor eyes. He weighed far too much for a small man—his clothes were sacks at times— his body lost inside for all its bulk. He had character and a voice that conveyed character—his speech superior to many actors. He could memorize lines quickly, and speak them sincerely, interpreting with sound thinking behind them.
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