Hero and Leander

Christopher MARLOWE (1564 - 1593) and George CHAPMAN (c. 1559 - 1634)

“Who ever lov’d, that lov’d not at first sight?”

The wonder-decade of the English drama was suddenly interrupted in 1592, when serious plague broke out in London, forcing the closure of the theatres. Leading playwrights took to penning languorously erotic poetry to make ends meet: so we have Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece - and Marlowe’s blazing masterpiece, Hero and Leander.

Marlowe’s poem became more notorious than either of Shakespeare’s, due not only to its homophile provocations but also to the scandal attaching to every aspect of Marlowe’s brief life, violently ended in a mysterious brawl, leaving the poem in an unfinished state.

The edition read here includes the wonderful continuation by George Chapman, a versatile playwright: tragedian as well as author of Jonsonian metropolitan comedies: in short, an all-round literary craftsman, whose Homer translation was famously admired by Keats. Chapman excels in extended allegory, but also in pithiest epigram –

“Love is a golden bubble, full of dreams,
That waking breaks, and fills us with extremes.”

All these playwrights come from the generation of grammar-school alumni raised on the secular curriculum of Latin poetry: above all, Ovid – the source of the story of Hero and Leander, and their “love-death” in the Hellespont.
(Summary by Martin Geeson)

Genre(s): Myths, Legends & Fairy Tales, Poetry

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 00 - Printer's Dedication Martin Geeson
00:03:39
Play 01 01 - First Sestiad, part one Martin Geeson
00:15:37
Play 02 02 - First Sestiad, part two Martin Geeson
00:18:25
Play 03 03 - First Sestiad, part three Martin Geeson
00:08:57
Play 04 04 - Second Sestiad, part one Martin Geeson
00:17:32
Play 05 05 - Second Sestiad, part two Martin Geeson
00:12:46
Play 06 06 - Third Sestiad, part one Martin Geeson
00:17:58
Play 07 07 - Third Sestiad, part two Martin Geeson
00:19:20
Play 08 08 - Fourth Sestiad, part one Martin Geeson
00:19:32
Play 09 09 - Fourth Sestiad, part two Martin Geeson
00:12:08
Play 10 10 - Fifth Sestiad, part one Martin Geeson
00:11:14
Play 11 11 - Fifth Sestiad, part two Martin Geeson
00:12:44
Play 12 12 - Fifth Sestiad, part three Martin Geeson
00:06:57
Play 13 13 - Fifth Sestiad, part four Martin Geeson
00:12:27
Play 14 14 - Sixth Sestiad, part one Martin Geeson
00:14:20
Play 15 15 - Sixth Sestiad, part two Martin Geeson
00:13:31