Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Marlowe's-eye view of a mysterious poem in the Bodleian First Folio

Award-winning novelist and Marlovian scholar par excellence, Dr. Ros Barber has written an analyis of a unique poem contained in the Bodleian Shakespeare First Folio employing a "Marlowe-shaped lens" and the result is ... Marlovian gold! Whoever wrote the poem (sometime between 1668-1700 Barber reasons) carefully removed Ben Jonson's verses on the Folio engraving of Shakespeare and replaced them with the verses you see here.

Dr. Barber interprets the poem line-by-line, concluding it's about Marlowe—his leap from life to death and back again—and how he surpassed his own famous (pre-1593) achievements in later life, using the pen-name Shakespeare! Read Ros Barber's persuasive essay available now on her website.


  1. T hou art hid now, tho' not for danger's sake,
    O nly because so many will not see.
    C aught up in broider'd follies that they make,
    H id well in mask'd respectability.
    R emove the veilings from thine eye and look--
    I n comes the light so brilliant from the East!
    S imple is the truth within the book:
    M artext is the one and onlie Priest.
    A round about the garland-scholars dance,
    R evolving antic planets 'round false sun.
    L ies then, lies now in academic trance--
    O stop the heaped dirt of words! Be done!
    W e who truly know and take his part
    E ver hear Kit, whisper-close to heart.

    I sign myself

    Thalassa Atlantis,
    Wandering Poetess and Muse (Part-time)

  2. A fine acrostic sonnet! Thanks for sharing it here.

    1. Thank you! It is definitely from the heart. I think there are a lot of people out there who will clearly get the building strengths supporting the Marlowe-as-true-author case (and the corresponding Shakespearian case weakness) once they are exposed to the evidence.

      From a medical/forensic point of view (I have a couple of relatives who had careers in the medical professions), the supposed-fatal wound above the eye would likely not have been instantly fatal. It would have rather been a sort of "botched lobotomy", and while the recipient would probably have died in a matter of days (painfully!) from septic and other complications, the wound would not be immediately death-dealing. I believe Blumenfeld mentions this in his book, and I think it is more evidence that the body the wound was inflicted on was already dead at the time. A post-mortem injury to the corpse's face/head might also prove useful in further disfiguring the corpse and disguising facial features. The whole story of how the fatality came about stinks to high heaven anyway-- I also have a couple of cousins who work in law enforcement who concur that the whole thing reeks of a cover-up, so I think the question-mark on the Marlowe memorial window in Poet's Corner is highly appropriate.

      At any rate, fine blog! I will be visiting often!

      Thanks again,


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