"[I]ygging vaines" and "riming mother wits": Marlowe, Clowns and the Early Frameworks of Dramatic Authorship
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Kirk Melnikoff."'[I]ygging vaines' and 'riming mother wits': Marlowe, Clowns and the Early Frameworks of Dramatic Authorship". Early Modern Literary Studies Special Issue 16 (October, 2007) 8.1-37<URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/si-16/melnjygg.htm>.
Ham. [L]et those that play your clownes speake no more then is set downe for them, for there be of them that wil themselues laugh, to set on some quantitie of barraine spectators to laugh to, though in the meane time, some necessary question of the play be then to be considered, that's villanous, and shewes a most pittifull ambition in the foole that uses it.
From jygging vaines of riming mother wits,
And such conceits as clownage keepes in pay,
Weele lead you to the stately tent of War.
"The Prologue," Tamburlaine (1590)
Pil. Send for a hundred Crownes at least.Comically incapable of coming up with an effective requested sum, an effective tone, or even the necessary threat for his letter, Ithamore reveals himself to be bound by the present. He is, as Barabas says, one that "measure[s] nought but by the present time" (C3).
Ith. Ten hundred thousand crownes,--Mr. Barabas.
Pil. Write not so submissiuely, but threatning him.
Ith. Sirrah Barabas, send me a hundred crownes.
Pil. Put in two hundred at least.
Ith. I charge thee send me 300 by this bearer, and this
Shall be your warrant; if you doe not, no more but so. (H2)
Faith, Master, in setting Christian villages on fire,
Chaining of Eunuches, binding gally-slaues.
One time I was an Hostler in an Inne,
And in the night time secretly would I steale
To trauellers Chambers, and there cut their throats:
Once at Jerusalem, where the pilgrims kneel'd,
I strowed powder on the Marble stones,
And therewithal their knees would rankle, so
That I haue laugh'd agood to see the cripples
Goe limping home to Christendome on stilts. (E2v)
Abig.Why how now Ithimore, why laugh'st thou so?Ithamore's laughter runs at least from his entrance through the first nine lines of the scene. The success of this part of the scene entirely depends upon the skills of the clown actor and testifies to Marlowe's willingness to take advantage of them.
Ith. Oh, Mistresse, ha ha ha.
Abig. Why what ayl'st thou?
Ith. Oh my master.
Ith. Oh Mistris! I have the brauest, grauest, secret, subtil Bottle-nos'd knaue to my Master, that euer Gentleman had. (F2)
midst the silent rout,Such applause was a function both of the clown's popularity and of his liminality in the period's drama. In The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, the clown Dericke enters "rouing" with the cry "Who, who there, who there?" (A4). Bullithrumble in The First Part of the Tragicall Raigne of Selimus makes his entrance with similar noise: "Enter Bullithrumble, the shepheard running in hast, and laughing to himselfe" (H1). Like Adam in A Looking Glasse for London and Englande, the "Clowne" in Lodge's The Wounds of Civil War enters "drunke" (G3) and immediately is accosted by the other characters on stage. In The Lamentable Tragedy of Locrine, Strumbo enters alone and gives a long comic monologue to the audience. In some of these plays, the clown's entrance is more subdued but is still the focal point of the action. Simplicity's entrance in Robert Wilson's The Pleasant and Stately Morall, of the Three Lordes and Three Ladies of London is made silently "in bare blacke, like a poore Citizen" (B4), yet he is the immediate focus of attention for all the other characters on the stage. Miles in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay and Slipper in James IV make similarly obtrusive entrances.
Comes leaping in a self-misformed lout,
And laughs, and grins, and frames his mimic face,
And justles straight into the prince's place:
Then doth the theatre echo all aloud,
With gladsome noise of that applauding crowd. (1.3)
Ithamore's opening words are hardly comic and they cue Ithamore's drifting to the background for another twenty-five lines while Barabas interacts with Mathias and his mother. Even after Ithamore has his first real exchange with Barabas halfway through the scene, he is again silently drawn to the background for 150 lines while Barabas forwards his plot against Lodowicke and Mathias. That Ithamore is meant to be watching such plotting and not engaging in any extradramatic play is suggested by his next exchange with Barabas after Lodowicke, Mathias and Abigail have exited. When Barabas asks how he likes the plot, Ithamore shows that he has paid close attention throughout by replying, "Faith Master, I thinke by this / You purchase both their lives; is it not so?" (E4v).
1 Off. Here's a leaner, how like you him?
Bar. Where was thou borne?
Itha. In Trace; brought vp in Arabia.
Bar.So much the better, thou art for my turne.
An hundred Crownes, I'le haue him; there's the coyne. (E1v)
Oh my sweet and pigsney, the fecunditie of my ingenie is not so great, that may declare unto you the sorrowful sobs, and broken sleeps, that I suffer for your sake; and therefore I desire you to receive me into your familiaritie.
For your love doth lie,Overembellished at best, Strumbo's intermittently latinate wooing strongly clashes with his own and his beloved's humble origins. His poetry is not only verbally uneconomical in its language – "For your love doth lie, / As neare and as nigh:" – but indecorous (transcendent love does not mix well with "hose," legs, flesh and skin) and ultimately ironic (Strumbo's love is not in his heart). Boiled down, however, the social assumptions underlying this scene's comedy are contradictory. Even as the scene presumes and mocks lower-order social aspiration, it at the same time festively demystifies the forms of elite amorous discourse: "If any of you be in love," Strumbo says before exiting with Dorothie, "provide ye a capcase full of new coined wordes, and then shall you soone have the succado de labres, and something else" (C1v).
As neare and as nigh:
Unto my heart within,
As mine eye to my nose,
My legge unto my hose,
And my fleshe unto my skin. (C1v)
Content, but we will leave this paltry land,Though made awkward by its repetition of "to Greece" or ridiculous by its "Sugar Canes" and comparison of Bellamira to Jason's "golden Fleece," Ithamore's pastoral invitation to love nevertheless amounts to a unique effort by a clown, one on an entirely different plane than Strumbo's trimeter stanza. From its aptly-rhymed pentameter couplets, to its alliterative "goe in goodly greene," to its imagery of "painted Carpets" and costumed "Woods and Forrests," Ithamore's poem is nowhere near as jarring as the poetic efforts of his stage peers.
And saile from hence to Greece, to louely Greece,
I'le be thy Jason, thou my golden Fleece;
Where painted Carpets o're the meads are hurl'd,
And Bacchus vineyards ore-spread the world:
Where Woods and Forrests goe in goodly greene,
I'le be Adonis, thou shalt be Loues Queene.
The Meads, the Orchards, and the Primrose lanes,
Instead of Sedge and Reed, beare Sugar Canes:
Thou in those Groues, by Dis aboue,
Shalt live with me and be my love. (H2)
Not marching now in fields of Thracimene,Imagining its author's endeavours not in the past but in the future, Marlowe's choral speaker makes it clear not that the play's "muse" intended to turn to a less "daunt[ing]" subject but that he intends to do so in the coming two hours' traffic of the stage. The play, in other words, begins with the assumption that it does not exist outside of the immediate parameters of its performance. Surprisingly, this is very different from what is suggested in Henry V's famed prologue. There, Shakespeare's chorus imagines the play as existing outside of its theatrical enactment: "O pardon, since a crooked figure may / Attest in a little place a million, / And let us, ciphers to this great accompt, / On your imaginary forces work" (Prologue 15-18). Indeed, where Marlowe's chorus promises an unprecedented experience to its audience, Shakespeare's actor chorus humbly refers to a preexisting "great accompt," defining the cast – in a telling metaphor – as "[C]iphers."
Where Mars did mate the Carthaginians,
Nor sporting in the dalliance of loue,
In courts of Kings where state is ouerturnd,
Nor in the pompe of prowd audacious deedes,
Intends our Muse to daunt his heauenly verse:
Onely this (Gentlemen) we must performe,
The forme of Faustus fortunes good or bad. (A2)
[W]ho I sir, I am Gluttony, my parents are al dead, and the diuel a peny they haue left me, but a bare pention, and that is 30. meales a day, and tenne beauers, a small triflle to suffice nature, O I come of a royall parentage, my grandfather was a gammon of bacon, my grandmother a hogs head of Claret-wine: My godfathers were these, Peter Pickle-herring, and Martin Martlemas biefe, O but my godmother she was a iolly gentlewoman, and welbeloued in euery good towne and Citie, her name was mistresse Margery March-béere: now Faustus, thou hast heard all my Progeny, wilt thou bid me to supper? (C4)Gluttony's "Martin Martlemas biefe" and "Peter Pickle-herring" respectively invoke English holiday festivals and contemporary clown performers. "March-béere" and "Martlemas bief" were both associated with springtime and St. Martin's Day festive celebrations, and "Pickle-herring" was the stage-name of a famed English clown acting in Germany as late as the 1620s. Moreover, "Martin Martlemas" seems also to refer to the dissenting Protestant pamphleteer "Martin Marprelate," connecting Gluttony with the series of farcical and satiric shows surrounding the Marprelate controversy, and with Marprelate's playful, Tarlton-inspired clown persona.
Faustus custome is not to de[n]ie the iust requests of those that wish him well, you shall behold that pearelesse dame of Greece, no otherwaies for pompe and maiestie, then when sir Paris crost the seas with her, and brought the spoiles to rich Dardania. Be silent then, for danger is in words.
Musicke sounds, and Helen passeth ouer the Stage. (E3v-E4)Collapsing the difference between his representation of Helen and Helen herself – "no otherwaies for pompe and maiestie, then when sir Paris crost the seas with her" –Faustus for the first time endorses a theatre of illusion and suspended disbelief. That he also tells his peers to be "silent" reinforces this end in that it promotes a theatrical experience different from that available in the vociferous, interactive open-arena stages, one that will soon come to define the darkened private theatres. Suggestively, Faustus's passion for Helen is correlated with the stability of her representation – no gap between the performance and the performer opens up during the course of the scene. It is also related to her reproducibility. Unlike the play's other shows, Helen's appearance is twice staged, with the suggestion that her figure in her first appearance to the scholars is exactly that of her second appearance to Faustus.
Brighter art thou then flaming Iupiter,In comparing his "paramour['s]" brightness and loveliness to that of Jupiter, Faustus ultimately figures himself in the position not of the powerful male agents of Jupiter or the sun ("monarke of the skie") but instead in the position of female lovers that were variously transformed through experiences with their omnipotent lovers. After asking at Hera's bidding to see her supreme lover in all his glory, "haplesse Semele" was by set ablaze by brightness of Jupiter. Similarly, after bathing in the river god Alpheus's stream, "Arethusae" was pursued by the god only to be saved by Artemis by being transformed into a fountain.
When he appeard to haplesse Semele,
More louely then the monarke of the skie
In wanton Arethusaes azurd armes,
And none but thou shalt be my paramour. (F1)
 In 1597, Joseph Hall echoes Sidney's attack upon clowns in one of his verse satires: "Now, lest such frightful shows of Fortune's fall, / And bloody tyrant's rage, should chance appall / The dead-struck audience, midst the silent rout, / Comes leaping in a self-misformed lout, / And laugh, and grins, and frames his mimic face, / And justles straight into the prince's place: / Then doth the theatre echo all aloud, / With gladsome noise of the applauding crowd. / A goodly hodge-potch! When vile russetings / Are match'd with monarchs, and with mighty kings. / A goodly grace to sober Tragic Muse, / When each base clown his clumsy fist doth bruise, / And show his teeth in double rotten row, / For laughter at his self-resembled show" (Virgidemiarum 1.3).
 The pressure upon the performance practice of clowning at the end of the sixteenth century is comically suggested by the University play The Pilgrimage to Parnassus. Towards its conclusion, Dromo drags an unwilling "Clowne" onto the stage and reassures him that his presence on stage is a necessity: "Why, what an ass art thou? Dost thou not knowe a playe cannot be without a clowne? Clownes have bene thrust into playes by head & shoulders, euer since Kempe could make a scuruey face" (129). David Wiles sees the Elizabethan clown as a "synthesis" of the professional minstrel, the lord of misrule, and the Vice. For more on the performance practices of the 1570s and 1580s stage clown, see Wiles 11-23 and Weimann, Shakespeare 185-192.
 Wiles writes, "The style of clowning which Hamlet conjures up left its imprint upon the theatre of the 1590s, but belongs properly to an earlier generation" (viii). According to Wiles, Hamlet's speech reminds his Elizabethan audience that the Chamberlain's Men had recently lost the services of Will Kemp.
 Tarlton's date of birth is unknown; he died in September, 1588. Kemp's date of birth is also unknown. A member of Leicester's Men since at least 1580, Kemp joined Strange's Men in 1588 and the Chamberlain's Men in 1594. He left the latter company in Autumn, 1599. Kemp's Nine Day's Wonder (1600) records Kemp's infamous morris dance to Norwich in 1600. In 1601, Kemp took his morris dance across the Alps. He likely died in London's 1603 plague epidemic. See Wiles 24-42.
 For other accounts of the rise of vernacular drama as literature and the professional dramatist as "author," see Lowenstein, Ben Jonson and Possessive Authorship;Lowenstein, The Author's Due; Brooks; Masten, Weimann, and Johnson.
 Also discounted has been the 1590 preface to Tamburlaine where Marlowe's first publisher Richard Jones claims to have "(purposely) omitted and left out some fond and frivolous Iestures, digressing (and in my poore opinion) far unmeet for the matter" (A2). For more on Jones and his publication of Tamburlaine, see my "Jones's Pen and Marlowe's Socks." For more on the Queen's Men and their dramaturgy, see McMillian and MacLean. For readings of the prologue as a dramatic manifesto, see particularly Dawson xi, Leech 42 and Cheney 118-121. For a more nuanced argument about Marlowe's "textually determined purpose of playing," see Weimann, Author's Pen 56-62.
 Roma Gill, the editor of the New Mermaids A-text edition of Doctor Faustus, has embraced such readings of Tamburlaine's prologue. She writes, "[T]he comedy [of Doctor Faustus] does not seem to be that of the author of The Jew of Malta and The Massacre of Paris, whose humour is cool, witty, and even cruel. The Prologue to Part 1 of Tamburlaine was scornful of contemporary theatrical practice and the crude 'conceits that clownage keeps in pay'" (xiv). The well-known tradition of separating Marlowe from much of the farcical comedy in his plays was essentially inaugurated by A.H. Bullen, and bolstered by F.P. Wilson, Paul H. Kocher, W.W. Greg and most recently by Eric Rasmussen in his function-word testing of Doctor Faustus (62-75). For dissenting positions, see Kirschbaum (97) and Ormerod (xxvii). While David Bevington has allowed for the possibility that Marlowe was responsible for scenes of clowning in the earliest performed versions of Tamburlaine, he has suggested that Marlowe chose to dismiss such clowning in what was an added or revised prologue for the printed edition of the play (201-202).
 See Weimann, Author's Pen 56-62.
 The prologue's reference to the Duke of Guise's death (which occurred in December, 1588) suggests that the play was composed after the two parts of Tamburlaine, possibly between1589 and 1590. Although the first extant edition is a 1633 quarto, it was first entered in the Stationers' Register in May, 1594 by Nicholas Ling. Though some have suggested that the 1633 edition is some kind of revision, I will be assuming with Bawcutt and others that it provides a "good and reliable text" (40), "a foul papers text of high authority" (Bawcutt 44).
 James R. Siemon, in his introduction to his New Mermaid edition of the play, has drawn attention to this narrative pattern (xv).
 The extent to which Marlowe's construction of Ithamore is fully in dialogue with the presentational modes of earlier stages, though, has been almost unrecognized. Dale G. Priest is one of the few critics to have dedicated an article to Ithamore's significance to the play. Priest argues that Ithamore functions as a "zany" throughout and would have been recognized as such by Renaissance audiences.
 For accounts of the "Turk" in Marlowe's plays and Elizabethan culture, see Bartels 6-9 and Vitkus 163-198.
 See Weimann, Shakespeare.
 Asides in The Jew of Malta are rarely indicated; I follow Siemon's liberal identification of asides.
 Adam's wooing of the Smith's wife in A Looking Glasse for London and Englande is similarly overinflated and ridiculous.
 That Ithamore's comparison is not necessarily comic is suggested by the fact that a similar comparison can be found in The Merchant of Venice. In the first scene, Bassanio too compares his beloved to the golden fleece: "Nor is the wide world ignorant of [Portia's] worth, / For the four winds blow in every coast / Renowned suitors, and her sunny locks / Hang on her temples like a golden fleece, / Which makes her seat of Belmont Colchos' strond, / And many Jasons come in quest of her" (1.2.168-172).
 The earliest printed version of the poem comes from The Passionate Pilgrim (1599). This version, however, does not ascribe the poem to any author. England's Helicon (1600) is the first collection to ascribe the basic poem to Marlowe – at the bottom of the poem is printed "Chr. Marlow." This collection offers both slightly different versions of The Passionate Pilgrim's four stanzas and two more stanzas not found in the earlier poem. It also includes an anonymous reply to Marlowe's poem, "The Nimphs reply to the Sheepheard."
 I am indebted to Diana Henderson's approach to the poem. As she has pointed out, "Marlowe's rhetoric in this poem suggests the aesthetic appeal but also the fragility and self-deceit of lyric pleading" (122).
 Marlowe may have already been playing with the idea of making his popular drama presentable to the more restricted audience of manuscript culture. Richard Dutton has argued in "The Birth of the Author" that Marlowe had earlier made attributed copies of plays like Dido and Tamburlaine available as manuscripts to be read by the elite. Ithamore's overtly Marlovian rhetoric in his wooing of Bellamira might have been meant for a more restricted audience as moments of self-satire or burlesque just as Ithamore's invitation-to-love poem might have been.
 Henderson argues that Marlowe uses Ithamore's lines of love to satirize lyric poetry altogether: "That such characters should mouth 'sugared' (literally) poetry on the public stage says quite a lot. As Nashe and other commentators lamented, it seems that absolutely everyone could now babble a sonnet or a love song–albeit ineptly and at their own expense" (156). I am suggesting that Ithamore's poetry needs to be understood both within the complicated communicative terms of his festive performance mode and within the restricted textual tradition of manuscript poetry.
 I will be assuming with a number of recent critics and editors that the 1604 "A" text (as opposed to the 1616 "B" text) is the only version directly connected with Marlowe's pen. Rasmussen — in his attempt to establish that the play was collaboratively written – has convincingly argued that the A text of Doctor Faustus was printed from a foul-paper manuscript (8-39). Critics are divided as to the play's date of composition: some like Bevington and Rasmussen support an early date, sometime after the two Tamburlaines, perhaps as early as 1588; others like Keefer and Gill support a later date, claiming that the play was Marlowe's last before his death in 1593. The play's reference to the 1589-90 Marprelate controversy in the Pageant of the Seven Deadly Sins, the vogue for magic plays in the late 1580s, the possibility that the translated Faust book existed either in manuscript or in an earlier printed version than its edition of 1592, and the publication of a 1589 ballad about Faustus all support an earlier, possibly 1590 date.
 See Greg; Bowers; Gill, "'Such conceits'"; Gill, Doctor Faustus xiv-xv; and Rasmussen among others.
 Not arguing from the highly questionable evidence of style and artistic predilection, Rasmussen has contended that simultaneous compositing, contradictions between different scenes, and differing word-frequencies in different scenes together suggest that the A-text was set from an interleaved authorial manuscript composed by Marlowe and another dramatist. While Rasmussen's contention that the A-text of Faustus was printed from an authorial manuscript is convincing (12-24), his argument for a collaborative manuscript is for a number of reasons less compelling. For starters, he himself has admitted that "two compositors using two type-cases could conceivably have worked by turns" from one manuscript (Bevington and Rasmussen 69). Contradictions between various scenes are not only few but also could readily be explained as authorial oversight. Moreover, Rasmussen's word-frequency analysis does not use Marlowe's entire canon to establish standard function-word frequency figures (64-68). And in choosing only four tragic scenes from Faustus as his standards, Rasmussen essentially weighs Doctor Faustus's tragic language against its comic language. That there are differences in the word frequencies in these scene sets is unsurprising given their differing genres. Lastly, half of what Rasmussen concludes to be collaborator-written scenes vary from Marlowe's "standard" function-word frequencies only in one-quarter of their sampled words.
 Wagner's second-scene exchange with the scholars is similarly parodic, echoing Faustus's previous invocation and rejection of logic, medicine, law, and divinity in his own respective responses: "Yes I know, but that followes not" (logic); "For is not he corpus naturale?" (medicine); "I do not doubt to sée you both hang'd the next Sessions" (law); and "I will set my countnance like a precisian" (divinity) (B1-B1v).
 Of course, this argument alone does not eliminate either the possibility that Marlowe planned the whole and then farmed out the comic scenes (as Greg has surmised) or that Marlowe's incomplete version was supplemented with comic scenes after his death (as Gill among others believes). Each of these possibilities, however, could explain the play's sustained and complicated engagement with clowning, either as initially conceived by Marlowe or by a thoughtful collaborator.
 Something of the same ambiguity can be read in the chorus's open-ended promise that they will perform "Faustus fortunes good or bad."
 In suggesting this, I am putting myself at odds with a long tradition of scholarship which insists that Shakespeare was consistently a stage-oriented writer. This tradition, however, has recently been questioned by Dutton, Melchiori, and Erne.
 Compare Gluttony's monologue on his ancestors with Slipper's in James IV: "I tell thee, it is my neer kinsman, for I am Slipper, which hath his best grace in summer to bee suted in Iackass skins, Guidwife Clarke was my Grandmother, and Goodman Neatherleather mine Vnkle; but my mother good woman, Alas, she was a Spaniard, and being wel tande and drest by a good fellow, an Englishman, is growne to some wealth: as when I haue but my vpper parts, clad in her husbands costlie Spanish leather, I may bee bold to kisse the fayrest Ladies foote in this contrey" (1779-1789).
 See Bevington and Rasmussen 158n.
 See Coolidge 527.
 In Tarlton's Jests, the jest "Tarlton's Answer in Defence of his Flat Nose" records Tarlton's doggerel reply to a question from the audience at a "play in the country." To the question "how cam'st by thy flat nose" (28), Tarlton extemporally replies, "Friend or foe, if thou wilt needs know, / Marke me well: / With parting dogs and bears, then, by the ears, / This chance fell: / But what of that? / Though my nose be flat, / My credit to save, / Yet very well, I can by the smell, / Scent an honest man from a knave" (29).
 Doctor Faustus's Horse-courser scene offers a further case of this general pattern. Walking on a "faire and pleasant gréene" Faustus suddenly becomes melancholy, thinking that his "fatall time doth drawe to finall end" (E2). He then seemingly lays down to "rest,. . . quiet in conceit," but upon being accosted by the Horse-courser he again revels in "tricks," this time involving a fake leg.
 Critics such as Greg, Brooks, Levin and Cheney have usually seen Faustus's desire for Helen as the culminating moment on his road to damnation.
 It is important to remember that the regard of modern critics is not necessarily that of his Elizabethan peers. Even as many of his plays were huge theatrical successes, Marlowe's name did not appear upon any of his printed plays until 1594, a year after his death.
 Of course, such prologues were a conventional part of Tudor interlude tradition and 1590s professional drama (i.e. Romeo and Juliet). As many critics have pointed out, the moral interlude was a dramatic form to which many of Marlowe's plays owe a large debt.