Abby Smith and Georgia Dalton, two final year English Literature students, worked with Adam Hansen on editing his forthcoming book, Marlowe’s Elegies.

After both of us choosing to take Adam’s Christopher Marlowe: Sin, Sex and Violence module this year, (which we would wholeheartedly recommend to any future students), we were over the moon to be chosen for this internship. Adam Hansen’s forthcoming edited collection of Marlowe’s Elegies will bring these excellent poems to a wider audience, in an engaging and immersive manner. Our role involved helping Adam by assisting him in editing each section of his book. We both received five (from a total of ten) poems, and their respective notes and commentaries from Adam, to read and make any amendments and further suggestions. Both of us are keen readers and enthusiastic fans of Marlowe and his work, so this was highly enjoyable to do. We were able to use our own knowledge of Marlowe’s poetry and plays, as well as our knowledge of poetry in general (the course also has various modules on poetry, particularly in first and second year), to provide Adam with our own perspectives on the poems.

We also noted links between the poems and other texts, such as Marlowe’s Dido Queen of Carthage, and John Donne’s, ‘To His Mistress Going to Bed’, which Adam is incorporating and extending upon in his own commentaries. We also undertook the same process with Adam’s engaging and knowledgeable introduction to the text, as well as working on an annotated wider reading section together to be included in the book. Finally, we produced a social media strategy, which will hopefully be useful when it comes to the time of promoting the text.

We are both aspiring educators (Abby is embarking upon a PCGE in Secondary English at Newcastle in September and Georgia is staying on at Northumbria for the English Literature MRes course), so therefore this internship allowed us to develop academically and professionally. The opportunity to work with Adam proved to be highly valuable and engaging, as he provided us with both his own extensive knowledge of Marlowe, and with an opportunity to engage in professional academic conversations about our own ideas. We also gained knowledge in editing and formulating a book and the publishing process. We both can see how this internship will aid us on our journey from undergraduate to postgraduate life, and would urge any Northumbria students to take opportunities like this if they (hopefully) arise again.

For anyone reading this who isn’t familiar with Christopher Marlowe’s work, we’ve each chosen a favourite elegy we worked on below. Marlowe’s work and life is extremely interesting: he skilfully shapes language in every text of his, and was rumoured to be a spy for Sir Francis Walsingham, the advisor of Queen Elizabeth I. He is certainly a literary figure that should be studied more at pre-university level. If you’re looking for a place to start with Marlowe’s plays, we both would also recommend Edward I and Dido, Queen of Carthage.

Abby’s Favourite Elegy:

Elegy 1.13

Ad Auroram, ne properet

(To the dawn [Aurora], not to rise)

Now o’er the sea from her old love comes she

That draws the day from heaven’s cold axle-tree.

Aurora, whither slidest thou? down again,

And birds for Memnon yearly shall be slain.

Now in thy tender arms I sweetly bide,

If ever, now well lies she by my side.

The air is cold, and sleep is sweetest now,

And birds send forth shrill notes from every bough:

Whither runn’st thou, that men and women love not?

Hold in thy rosy horses that they move not.              

Ere thou rise, stars teach seamen where to sail,

But when thou comest, they of their courses fail.

Poor travellers, though tired, rise at they sight,

And soldiers make them ready to the fight.

The painful hind by thee to field is sent,

Slow oxen in the yoke are pent.

Thou coz’nest boys of sleep, and dost betray them

To pedants that with cruel lashes pay them.

Thou mak’st the surety to the lawyer run,

That with one word hath nigh himself undone.                     

The lawyer and the client hate thy view,

Both whom thou raisest up to toil anew.

By thy means women of their rest are barred,

Thou set’st their labouring hands to spin and card.

All could I bear; but that the wench should rise

Who can endure, save him with whom none lies?

How oft wished I night would not give thee place,

Nor morning stars shun thy uprising face.

How oft that either wind would break thy coach,

Or steeds might fall, forced with thick clouds’ approach.    

Whither goest thou, hateful nymph? Memnon the elf

Received his coal-black colour from thyself.

Say that thy love with Cephalus were not known,

Then thinkest thou thy loose life is not shown?

Would Tithon might but talk of thee awhile,

Not one in heaven should be more base and vile

Thou leav’st his bed because he’s faint through age,

And early mount’st thy hateful carriage;

But held’st thou in thine arms some Cephalus,

Then would’st thou cry, ‘Stay night, and run not thus.’        

Dost punish me, because years make him wane?

I did not bid thee wed an aged swain.

The moon sleeps with Endymion every day;

Thou art as fair as she, then kiss and play.

Jove, that thou shouldst not haste but wait his leisure,

Made two nights one to finish up his pleasure.

I chid no more; she blushed, and therefore heard me,

Yet lingered not the day, but morning scared me.

Georgia’s Favourite Elegy:

Elegy 1.1

Quemadmodum a Cupidine pro bellis amores scriber coactus sit

(Cupid compelled him to write of love not war.)

We which were Ovid’s five books now are three,

For these before the rest preferreth he;

If reading five thou plain’st of tediousness

Two ta’en away, thy labour will be less.

With Muse upreared I meant to sing of arms

Choosing a subject fit for fierce alarms.

Both verses were alike till Love (men say)

Began to smile and took one foot away.

Rash boy, who gave thee power to change a line?

We are the Muses’ prophets, none of thine.

What if thy mother take Diana’s bow?

Shall Dian fan when Love begins to glow?

In woody groves is’t meet that Ceres reign,

And quiver-bearing Dian till the plain?

Who’ll set the fair-tressed Sun in battle ray,

While Mars doth take the Aonian harp to play?

Great are thy kingdoms, over-strong and large,

Ambitious imp, why seek’st thou further charge?

Are all things thine? the Muses’ Tempe thine?

Then scarce can Phoebus say, ‘This harp is mine.’

When in this work’s first verse I trod aloft,

Love slacked my muse, and made my numbers soft.

I have no mistress nor no favourite,

Being fittest matter for a wanton wit.

Thus I complained, but Love unlocked his quiver,

Took out the shaft, ordained my heart to shiver,

And bent his sinewy bow upon his knee,

Saying, ‘Poet, here’s a work beseeming thee.’

O woe is me, he never shoots but hits;

I burn, Love in my idle bosom sits.

Let my first verse be six, my last five feet;

Farewell stern war, for blunter poets meet.

Elegian muse, that warblest amorous lays, Girt my shine brow with sea-bank myrtle sprays.

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