Tamburlaine the Great, Part 1 HTML version

[1] To the Gentlemen-readers, &c.] From the 8vo of 1592: in the
4tos this address is worded here and there differently. I have
not thought it necessary to mark the varioe lectiones of the
worthy printer's composition.
[2] histories] i.e. dramas so called,--plays founded on history.
[3] fond] i.e. foolish.--Concerning the omissions here alluded
to, some remarks will be found in the ACCOUNT OF MARLOWE AND
[The "Account of Marlowe and His Writings," is the
introduction to this book of 'The Works of Christopher
Marlowe.' That is, the book from which this play has been
transcribed. The following is from pages xvi and xvii of
that introduction.]
["This tragedy, which was entered in the Stationers' Books,
14th August, 1590,[a] and printed during the same year, has
not come down to us in its original fulness; and probably we
have no cause to lament the curtailments which it suffered
from the publisher of the first edition. "I have purposely,"
he says, "omitted and left out some fond and frivolous
gestures, digressing, and, in my poor opinion, far unmeet
for the matter, which I thought might seem more tedious unto
the wise than any way else to be regarded, though haply they
have been of some vain-conceited fondlings greatly gaped at,
what time they were shewed upon the stage in their graced
deformities: nevertheless now to be mixtured in print with
such matter of worth, it would prove a great disgrace to so
honourable and stately a history."[b] By the words, "fond
and frivolous gestures," we are to understand those of the
"clown;" who very frequently figured, with more or less
prominence, even in the most serious dramas of the time.
The introduction of such buffooneries into tragedy[c] is
censured by Hall towards the conclusion of a passage which,
as it mentions "the Turkish Tamberlaine," would seem to be
partly levelled at Marlowe:[d]
"One higher-pitch'd doth set his soaring thought
On crowned kings that Fortune hath low brought,
Or some vpreared high-aspiring swaine,