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To take the flesh from such a place,
No: no quoth he; no: judgment here:
For I will have my pound of fleshe
It grieved all the companie
For neither friend nor foe could helpe
The bloudie Jew now ready is
With whetted blade in hand,*
And as he was about to strike
Sith needs thou wilt thy forfeit have;
For if thou doe, like murderer,
Thou here shalt hanged be:
The passage in Shakespeare bears so strong a resemblance to this, as to render it probable that the one suggested the other. See act iv. sc. 2.
"Bass. Why doest thou whet thy knife so earnestly?" &c.
For if thou take either more or lesse
Gernutus now waxt franticke mad,
And so I graunt to set him free.
The judge doth answere make; You shall not have a penny given; Your forfeyture now take.
At the last he doth demaund
Either take your pound of flesh, quoth he,
O cruell judge, then quoth the Jew,
And so with griping grieved mind
'Then' all the people prays'd the Lord, That ever this heard tell.
Good people, that doe heare this song,
That many a wretch as ill as hee
That seeketh nothing but the spoyle
Ver. 61. griped, Ashmol. copy.
And for to trap the innocent
From whome the Lord deliver me,
And send to them like sentence eke
THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS
HIS beautiful sonnet is quoted in the Merry Wives of Windsor, act iii. sc. 1, and hath been usually ascribed (together with the Reply) to Shakespeare himself by the modern editors of his smaller poems. A copy of this madrigal, containing only four stanzas (the 4th and 6th being wanting), accompanied with the first stanza of the answer, being printed in "The Passionate Pilgrime, and Sonnets to sundry notes of Musicke, by Mr. William Shakespeare, Lond. printed for W. Jaggard, 1599." Thus was this sonnet, &c. published as Shakespeare's in his life-time.
And yet there is good reason to believe that (not Shakespeare, but) Christopher Marlow wrote the song, and Sir Walter Raleigh the Nymph's Reply: For so we are positively assured by Isaac Walton, a writer of some credit, who has inserted them both in his Compleat Angler,* under the character of "that smooth song, which was made by Kit. Marlow, now at least fifty years ago; and... an Answer to it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days.... Old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good."It also passed for Marlow's in the opinion of his contemporaries; for in the old poetical miscellany, intitled England's Helicon, it is printed with the name of Chr. Marlow subjoined to it; and the Reply is subscribed Ignoto, which is known to have been a signature of Sir Walter Raleigh. With the same signature Ignoto, in that collection, is an imitation of Marlow's beginning thus:
* First printed in the year 1653, but probably written some time before.
"Come live with me, and be my dear,
Upon the whole I am inclined to attribute them to Marlow, and Raleigh; notwithstanding the authority of Shakespeare's Book of Sonnets. For it is well known that as he took no care of his own compositions, so was he utterly regardless what spurious things were fathered upon him. Sir John Oldcastle, The London Prodigal, and The Yorkshire Tragedy, were printed with his name at full length in the title-pages, while he was living, which yet were afterwards rejected by his first editors Heminge and Condell, who were his intimate friends (as he mentions both in his will), and therefore no doubt had good authority for setting them aside.*
The following sonnet appears to have been (as it deserved) a great favourite with our earlier poets: for, besides the imitation above-mentioned, another is to be found among Donne's Poems, intitled The Bait, beginning thus:
"Come live with me, and be my love,
As for Chr. Marlow, who was in high repute for his dramatic writings, he lost his life by a stab received in a brothel, before the year 1593. See A. Wood, i. 138.
[These exquisite poems by Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh at once became popular favourites, and were often reprinted. The earliest appearance of the first was in Marlowe's Jew of Malta. An imperfect copy was printed by W. Jaggard with the Passionate Pilgrim in 1599, and the first stanza of the Reply was then added to it. In the following year both poems were correctly printed in England's Helicon, the first being signed "Chr. Marlow" and the second "Ignoto." When Walton introduced the poems into his Angler he attributed the Reply to Raleigh, and printed an additional stanza to each as follows:
Passionate Shepherd (after verse 20).
"Thy silver dishes for thy meat
Since the above was written, Mr. Malone, with his usual discernment, hath rejected the stanzas in question from the other sonnets, &c. of Shakespeare, in his correct edition of the Passionate Pilgrim, &c. See his Shakesp. vol. x. p. 340.
Nymph's Reply (after verse 20).
"What should we talk of dainties then
In the Roxburghe Collection of Ballads (i. 205) is a street ballad in which these two songs are united and entitled A most excellent ditty of the Lover's promises to his beloved, with the Lady's prudent answer to her Love. The verses referred to above as added by Walton are here printed, but they take the place of verses 17 to 20 of each song respectively.
Mr. Chappell and Dr. Rimbault have both drawn attention to the proofs of the popularity of Marlowe's song to be found in out of the way places. In Choice, Chance, and Change, or Conceits in their Colours (1606), Tidero being invited to live with his friend, replies,
Why, how now? do you take me for a woman, that you come upon me with a ballad of Come live with me and be my love ?" In The World's Folly, 1609, there is the following passage: "But there sat he, hanging his head, lifting up the eyes, and with a deep sigh singing the ballad of Come live with me and be my love, to the tune of Adew my deere." Nicholas Breton refers to it in 1637 as "the old song," but Walton considered it fresh enough to insert in his Angler in 1653, although Marlowe had then been dead sixty years.]
OME live with me, and be my love,
There will I make thee beds of roses