Let me start off this submission by telling you how lovely Chasqui is. I am honestly so happy that this website introduced me to her! She ALWAYS has something positive to say, and will often drop me an email just to say hi. Often times its the highlight of my day! I’m so happy to be able to post ANOTHER submission by her, and we must all encourage her to continue writing her novel, so we can all read it!
A word from the author,
You may have seen my mini biography on Christopher (Kit) Marlowe which appeared
in ATWC on 13 th April:
As a result of this, I have decided to try my hand at writing a novel based on his life.
However, ahead of Chapter 1, I have written an Introduction, supposedly in Kit’s own
words, which I hope will pave the way for my historical fiction which is based on as
much information as I have on Mr Marlowe, with a liberal sprinkling from my
imagination where details are non-existent.
Christopher Marlowe – The Muses’ Darling
It’s the final day of February 1634 and last week I celebrated my 70 th birthday. In
many ways it was a sad occasion as I am about the last survivor of my once wide
circle of friends, and yet history will have recorded that I was the one who lived fast
and died young, back in 1593. However, the reality is quite different and now, in my
twilight years, I decided to write my life story or, to be more exact, collaborate with a
good friend who is the author of a book she assures me will come to be known as a
“biography”. She is the person best placed to impart details of my life as she has
taken a keen interest in all I have done, sharing much of it with me, and has been
more determined than I that my story should be recorded. Of course, you may never
have heard of me, so please allow me to introduce myself. I am Christopher Marlowe
– playwright, poet and Latin translator – known to family, friends and foes alike as
Kit. During my younger years I also acquired a series of other nicknames: Machiavel,
Mercury, the Morning Star and, my favourite, The Muses’ Darling (all, coincidentally,
beginning with M to match my surname!). I’m the man whose plays took London
theatre by storm in the late 1580s before I disappeared altogether. Or did I?
If you are at all familiar with my writing, you will know that I am considered a leading
exponent of blank verse, combined with iambic pentameter, but I promise that the
book will be in prose with the situations and conversations as accurate as my
memory allows. My author friend has reminded me of events and then the details
have come flooding back to me, but if there are any inaccuracies these are due to
my memory playing tricks on me and not to my biographer’s failure to present them
as they happened.
Since I could form words from the alphabet I so eagerly learned at an early age, I
have lived to write, often agonising over phrases or single words, striving for that
unattainable goal “perfection”, while constantly seeking knowledge and wisdom. I’m
told my mind is as sharp as it ever was, so consider that a great compensation for my bodily decline – knees and wrists aching at times, my hair, though still in
abundance, has turned grey and my constant obsession with wielding a quill by
candlelight for decades has dimmed my eyesight. And to think that in my youth and
middle age I could write plays and poems, in addition to tackling translations, at a
speed with which I often surprised myself. However, old age does bring benefits in
the form of experience and memories and so I hope to share these with you in the
following chapters before, to quote my old friend Will Shakespeare, I am “sans teeth,
sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”.
My life has been filled with assorted events, many highs and lows, travel and
excitement mixed with fear and tragedy. I’ve mingled with all, from the highest in the
land to the groundlings who paid out their hard-earned wages to see my plays. I
know there have been rumours, together with downright slanderous and libellous
statements, circulating about me and my lifestyle, so before the final curtain I’d like to
set the record straight and hope the lasting impression will be of The Real Kit
Marlowe and not the one invented by those who, through jealousy or desperation,
have sought to burden me a with bad reputation.
I hope you will find my biography interesting but let it be said now that many of my
actions were forced upon me and, in the late Elizabethan era, it was so easy to put a
foot wrong and find yourself awaiting execution. Mistakes were easy to make but
impossible to reverse. Therefore, I learned the hard way to toe the line, not only
wanting to keep in with those who controlled me but also in gratitude for sparing my
life when it was endangered. Thankfully, in these more enlightened Stuart times, a
greater degree of tolerance exists and long may this last and increase.