‘Threatening the World with High Astounding Terms’

  • George L. Geckle
Part of the Text and Performance book series (TEPE)


One of the elements in Tamburlaine that led to such ‘general welcomes’ for Part I that Marlowe then produced a second part is, of course, the poetry itself. In an often quoted comment, T. S. Eliot in a 1919 essay on Marlowe said:

The verse accomplishments of Tamburlaine are notably two: Marlowe gets into blank verse the melody of Spenser, and he gets a new driving power by reinforcing the sentence period against the line period. The rapid long sentence, running line into line, as in the famous soliloquies ‘Nature compounded of four elements’ and ‘What is beauty, saith my sufferings, then?’ marks the certain escape of blank verse from the rhymed couplet, and from the elegiac or rather pastoral note of Surrey, to which Tennyson returned.

(Elizabethn Dramatists, London, 1963, p. 62)


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© George L. Geckle 1988

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  • George L. Geckle

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