The keen pleasures of sex
Ah, words that make me surfeit with delight:
What greater bliss can hap…
Than live and be the favourite of a king?
Sweet prince, I come! these, these, thy amorous lines,
Might have enforced me to have swum from France,
And, like Leander, gasp'd upon the sand,
So thou wouldst smile and take me in thy arms.
(Gaveston, Edward II)
NO spy or part-time agent who risks life and limb, and who then escapes from a dangerous, nerve-racking predicament is likely to be full of self-recrimination for long. And nothing suggests that Marlowe took pride in being a spy. His morale did not hinge on the technical failure of his stay on a Dutch island. After all, he had not really forfeited the Cecils' interest and protection. He had accustomed himself to duplicity, or the deception required in overseas work, or he could not have gone to Zeeland and survived. His nerve had not quite failed him, and after some weeks in London his optimism and self-esteem probably blotted out any sense of a lost chance. He was lucky to get back from Flushing without the loss of his ears: he had suffered no punishment after falling into the hands of the svelte, debonair, poetry-writing governor.
A dependency on secret work since his Cambridge days, though, had its drawback: he could not be sure of its continuance, or if he would ever be used again. No elegant, young, part-time spy had any such assurance; and there may have been difficulty in informing employers of