The Tamburlaine phenomenon
Tamerlane oft a lusty Herdsman, a most valiant
& invincible Prince.
(Gabriel Harvey's notes at Cambridge, 1576)
If you are putting something untried on the stage and
venturing to shape a new character, let it be maintained to the
end and be true to itself.
(Horace, Ars Poetica)
THE road south from Cambridge was better in the green spring than in the winter, and many poets had taken the route, but the capital was not always kind to them. There was a glut of talent in London, a surfeit of those hoping to justify their fine rhetorical training, and Marlowe in the spring and early summer had no obvious means of support: there is no sign that the Privy Council as yet had further use for him. His MA, of course, enhanced his status, but in intervening to get him his degree, the Council had blown his cover: he had no guarantee of being used again; and, having failed to take holy orders, he could expect no further help from Cambridge.
It was normal for recent graduates to live together, as Thomas Watson had done with Mr Beale at Westminster. Marlowe was later to share rooms with the poet Kyd, who was not a graduate though he knew Latin well enough. Some theatre men were at St Helen's, Bishopsgate, within the city, and many others were in the suburbs, north of the urban walls, at Norton Folgate or Shoreditch. The latter was a bohemian, sleazy, 'red