I suggest an emendation of some verses in Marlowe’s Hero and Leander published in 1598 as an “unfinished Tragedy”.

I suggest an emendation to Leander’s reaction to Hero is in order so that the reader may see Leander’s reaction to Hero’s “this false morne” includes the event Shakespeare speaks about unto Henry in Sonnet 117:

But as her naked feet were whipping out,
He on the suddaine cling’d her so about,
That Meremaid-like unto the floore she slid,
One halfe appear’d, the other halfe was hid.
So Heroes ruddie cheeke, Hero betrayd,
And her all naked to his sight displayd.
Whence his admiring eyes more pleasure tooke,
Than Dis, on heapes of gold fixing his looke.
Thus neere the bed she blushing stood upright,
And from her countenance behold ye might,
A kind of twilight breake, which through the heare,
As from an orient cloud, glymse here and there.
And round about the chamber this false morne,
Brought foorth the day before the day was borne.
By this Apollos golden harpe began,
To sound foorth musicke to the Ocean,
Which watchfull Hesperus no sooner heard,
But he the days bright-bearing Car prepar’d.
And ran before, as Harbenger of light,
And with his flaring beames mockt ougly night,
Till she o’recome with anguish, shame, and rage,
Dang’d downe to hell her loathsome carriage.

“Desunt nonnulla”. (Some things are omitted)

Note: See Sestiad One of “Hero and Leander, An Amorous Poem”, The Six Sestiads by Marlowe and Chapman dedicated to Lady Audrey Walsingham.

Shakespeare tells Henry in Sonnet 117 something that was omitted from Marlowe’s “Hero and Leander” when published in 1598, but that is there in Marlowe’s verses, in May of 1593. Evidently this something that is omitted in 1598 is the cause why Marlowe’s death sentence is commanded: “prosecute it to the full”.
And it is the thing that roasts Sir Walter Raleigh’s spin on Hero as his “ever fair” Hero of Sestos in his elegy of praise of Elizabeth I in “The Ocean, to Cynthia”:

“She is gone, she is lost, she is found, she is ever fair”

In Marlowe’s spin on “Hero and Leander” we may learn why Raleigh’s “ever fair” is just vain flattery crafted by Raleigh to mitigate his Queen’s anger at Raleigh upon her discovery of his secret marriage to Elizabeth Throgmorton. And learning this relies upon an understanding of Marlowe’s country rustic, in his “Hero and Leander”, and her thirst for “immortal beauty” that is not unlike what Jupiter in “Dido Queen of Carthage” gives unto Ganymede, the Prince of Troy.

The tragedy of Leander includes a revelation that unmasks Hero the fair as she makes “this false morne” before the day was born. Leander reacts to Hero’s “false morne”, as Shakespeare says in Sonnet 117, when Shakespeare tells Henry, patron to both Shakespeare and Marlowe, “Bring me within the level of your frown, But shoot not at me in your waken’d hate, Since my appeal says I did strive to prove the constancy and virtue of your love.”

Unlike Shakespeare, Marlowe speaks of an image of Leander filled with Mars who in his “waken’d hate” shoots Hero with “a force” in his “murderer’s eyes” that is not unlike the force that Ophelia sees in the eyes of Hamlet when he scorns Ophelia in the tragedy of the Prince of Denmark.

The question becomes where does Marlowe’s great account of the “reckoning” of Hero, (to borrow the word from Shakespeare’s Touchstone in “As You Like It” breathed abroad), fit into the emended verses cited above. Evidently an approach to an answer may remind us that Hero makes “this false morne” before “the day was born”.

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