Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: Journeys through the Elizabethan Underground

By Roy Kendall | Go to book overview

17

"The Fatal Labyrinth of Misbelief”

1

IT APPEARS THAT HAVING GIVEN THOMAS DRURY A "COMMAND . . . TO stay one mr Bayns” the authorities neatly sidestepped the issue of Drury's reward after he had completed his commission. He complains that there was "not a peny parfermed and a fine evasion mad.” Perhaps they hinted that it was the least he could do in return for his past misdemeanors (or crimes). Perhaps they did not want him going around London bragging of his success, particularly as a portion of that success could be connected (whether justly or not) with the death of a popular dramatist.

At all events, in his letter of August 1, Drury asks Anthony Bacon to "recommend our servysis to the lord Tresurer as we may receyve sum reward and fauor in his syght.” Yet he cannot have been holding out much hope of this or he would not have gone to the opposing faction. Of course, he would not have said no to the reward from Burghley—but that, for some unexplained reason, was not forthcoming. At the same time, Drury had to cover himself, I think, in the event of Bacon handing the letter over to Burghley (which, since it is in the Anthony Bacon collection of letters at Lambeth, he presumably did not). However, my reading of the letter is that although on the face of it his feet are in Burghley's camp, he is attempting to put at least one of them into Essex's. Why otherwise does he offer to tell Bacon (Essex's head of intelligence in all but name) "who did wryght the bocke and thay to howe it was delyvered as allso who red the lecture and wher and when with dyverse such other secrytes as the state wold spend a thousand poundes to know?”


2

Although Drury did not receive his reward seemingly promised to him by Lord Burghley for having obtained the "desyered secrit

-282-

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