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Liar! slave! sla---- Kind Master Heywood, You will not see me die thus!--thus by the hand And maddening tongue of such a beast as that!
Haste, if you love me--fetch a leech to help me-- Here--Middleton--sweet friend--a bandage here-- I cannot die by such a hand--I will not-- I say I will not die by that vile hand!
Go bring Cecilia to me--bring the leech-- Close--close this wound--you know I did it myself-- Bring sweet Cecilia--haste--haste--instantly-- Bring life and time--bring heaven!--Oh, I am dying!-- Some water--stay beside me--maddening death, By such a hand! O villain! from the grave I constantly will rise--to curse! curse! curse thee!
(_Rises_--_and falls dead_.)
O G.o.d!--he is quite gone!
'Twas dreadful--'twas! Christ help us! and lull him to sleep in's grave.
I stand up for mine own nature none the less. (_Voices without_) What noise is that?
This is our man--ha! murder has been here! You are our prisoner--the gallows waits you!
What have I done to be hung up like a miracle? The hemp's not sown nor the ladder-wood grown, that shall help fools to finish me! He did it himself! He said so with his last words!--there stands his friends and brother players--put them to their Testament if he said not he did it himself?
Who is it lies here?--methinks that I should know him, But for the fierce distortion of his face!
He who erewhile wrote with a brand of fire, Now, in his pa.s.sionate blood, floats tow'rds the grave!
The present time is ever ignorant-- We lack clear vision in our self-love's maze; But Marlowe in the future will stand great, Whom this--the lowest caitiff in the world-- A nothing, save in grossness, hath destroy'd.
"Caitiff" back again in your throat! and "gross nothing" to boot--may you have it to live upon for a month, and die mad and starving! Would'st swear my life away so lightly? Tut! who was he? I could always find the soundings of a quart tankard, or empty a pasty in half his time, and swear as rare oaths between whiles--who was he? I too ha' write my odes and Pindar jigs with the twinkling of a bedpost, to the sound of the harp and hurdygurdy, while Capricornus wagged his fiery beard; I ha'
sung songs to the faint moon's echoes at daybreak and danced here away and there away, like the lightning through a forest! As to your sword and dagger play, I've got the trick o' the eye and wrist--who was he?
What's all his G.o.ds--his G.o.ddesses and lies?--the first a'nt worth a word; and for the two last, I was always a prince of both! "Caitiff!"
and "beast!" and "nothing!"--who was he?
You're ours, for sundry villanies committed, Sufficient each to bring your vice to an end; The law hath got you safely in its grasp!
JACCONOT (_after a pause_).
Then may Vice and I sit crown'd in heaven, while Law and Honesty stalk d.a.m.ned through h.e.l.l! Now do I see the thing very plain!--treachery--treachery, my masters! I know the jade that hath betrayed me--I know her. 'Slud! who cares? She was a fine woman, too--a rare person--and a good spirit; but there's an end of all now--she's turned foolish and virtuous, and a tell-tale, and I am to be turned to dust through it--long, long before my time: and these princely limbs must go make a dirt-pie--build up a mud hut--or fatten an alderman's garden! There! calf-heads--there's a lemon for your mouths! Heard'st ever such a last dying speech and confession! Write it in red ochre on a sheet of Irish, and send it to Mistress Cecily for a death-winder. I know what you've got against me--and I know you all deserve just the same yourselves--but lead on, my masters!
_Exeunt_ JACCONOT _and_ OFFICERS.
O Marlowe! canst thou rise with power no more?
Can greatness die thus?
HEYWOOD (_bending over the body.)_
(_A shriek outside the house_).
That cry!--what may that mean?
HEYWOOD (_as if awaking_).
I hear no cry.
What is't comes. .h.i.ther, like a gust of wind?
CECILIA _rushes in_.
Where--where? O, then, 'tis true--and he is dead!
All's over now--there's nothing in the world-- For he who raised my heart up from the dust, And show'd me n.o.ble lights in mine own soul, Has fled my grat.i.tude and growing love-- I never knew how deep it was till now!
Through me, too!--do not curse me!--I was the cause-- Yet do not curse me--No! no! not the cause, But that it happen'd so. This is the reward Of Marlowe's love!--why, why did I delay?
O, gentlemen, pray for me! I have been Lifted in heavenly air--and suddenly The arm that placed me, and with strength sustain'd me, Is s.n.a.t.c.h'd up, starward: I can neither follow, Nor can I touch the gross earth any more!
Pray for me, gentlemen!--but breathe no blessings-- Let not a blessing sweeten your dread prayers-- I wish no blessings--nor could bear their weight; For I am left, I know not where or how: But, pray for me--my soul is buried here.
(_Sinks down upon the body._)
"Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight, And burned is Apollo's laurel bough!"