The first law for every creature is that of self-preservation.
You sow hemlock, and expect to see ripening ears of corn!
Well, do it bravely, and be secret.
(Lightborn, Edward II)
IN the middle of 1585, on leave from Corpus Christi College, Marlowe took a long ride south, and then he must have pressed eastward below the Thames estuary, which had low meadows on either side, as he made his way to Canterbury. At 21, he was a cobbler's son with a BA degree and might have seemed remarkable anywhere. After due consideration, he had taken a new step in his dance. Although enrolled in an Arts programme for his final degee, his magistratus or the goal of 'Master of Arts', he was obliged to take up some theology, and this enabled him to draw renewed aid from Archbishop Parker's funds.
Also, there is reason to think that he had made contact with a petty functionary or minor secretary in the government, and had begun secret work: this began well before he took the magistratus. He had extra money in his pocket, and Corpus's records show that he was spending in excess of his grant. To judge from his finances and the vigour of Tamburlaine, written in the next twenty-four months, he was full of nervous energy and confidence. He would have had good opportunities in view, or a consciousness of new possibilities for himself as a part-time employee of the Queen's Privy Council and also as an independent playwright. Outside