Perspectives on the great poet – from studenthood and maturity.
On re-reading Marlowe
First skimmed in study’s haste, his work yet wrought
Its deep effect, and lingered on with me
As – like him by youth’s idle passion caught –
I hastened out to nearby hostelry.
There, Tamburlaine bestriding continents
Reared in my mind: the tyrant’s golden words
Soaring high above conquered kings’ laments.
My thoughts now settle on this work, like birds
Roosting at eventide. Not just glory,
But loneliness, old age, and lover’s groan
Speak to me now. Ah Marlowe! Your story,
Had you lived, might have outshone Shakespeare’s own.
Riotous youth, ’compassing age and death,
Illume the lives of us who yet draw breath!
Copyright © Matthew Harrison, 2009