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Christopher Marlowe Famous Quotes

English tragedian and poet Christopher Marlowe was a rising star in Elizabethan drama and one of the most versatile writers of his time. He had a short but eventful life and had written several plays, poems, and would be especially remembered for his innumerable quotes that had made an everlasting mark in the history of English literature.

Christopher Marlowe
Christopher Marlowe

Some famous quotes of Christopher Marlowe

“Come live with me and be my love, and we will all the pleasures prove.”-The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love is one of the best examples of Marlowe’s poetic brilliance. These lines appear in the first stanza of the poem. The speaker here is a shepherd boy who pleads his love, a city dweller to come and live with him amidst the pastoral beauty of the mountains.

Here the shepherd promises his woman to give her all the materialistic pleasures that the valleys, groves, and hilly mountains can offer him. There is a strong hint of sexuality and the poem is quite bold unlike many other love poems of Marlowe.

The Passionate Shepherd To His Love
The Passionate Shepherd To His Love

“Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships” – Doctor Faustus

The poem ‘was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships’ belongs to Marlowe’s tragic drama ‘Doctor Faustus’.

Doctor Faustus who is about to die has one last wish. Faustus craves for Helen of Troy who is an embodiment of beauty and grace. He is mesmerized by her sheer beauty and thinks that it is completely justified to burn down the ‘topmost towers of Ilium’ for her sake. Here Faustus urges Helen for one last kiss that will make him immortal and wants Mephistophilis the devil to return back his soul because he feels that heaven lies in the lips of his beloved Helen and everything else seems useless to him.

Here Helen represents devil, a beauty beyond human reach and all that man desires for. Even Doctor Faustus in the final hours of his death cannot escape the clutches of Helen and is driven by a passion that destroys his one last chance of salvation.

The Face That Launched a thousand ships - Helen of Troy
The Face That Launched a thousand ships – Helen of Troy

The free PDF text document of the poem is available here: The Face That Launched A Thousand Ships

“What are kings, when regiment is gone, but perfect shadows in a sunshine day?” – Edward the Second

“What are kings, when regiment is gone, but perfect shadows in a sunshine day?” are one of the finest lines in English drama and is taken from his play Edward II. The interpretation of the quote suggests that King’s power is defined by his army of men. Once a king loses his regiment, he loses his power and has nothing left but simply live as shadows on a perfect sunny day.

What are Kings when regiment is gone!
What are Kings when regiment is gone!

“Whoever loved that loved not at first sight?” – Hero and Leander

This famous line is an extract from Marlowe’s classic love poem Hero and Leander. The poem is a classic example of how fate plays an important role in our lives. In the line “whoever loved that loved not at first sight”, the poet suggests that love is not a conscious decision or a matter of choice but an instinct that is driven by passion and human experience.

The words “love at first sight” implies the fact that lovers have no hand in whom they will fall in love with but is controlled by fate.

Click here for the free PDF text: whoever loved that loved not at first sight

“I count religion but a childish toy, and hold there is no sin but ignorance.” – Jew of Malta

This extract is taken from Marlowe’s epic play ‘The Jew of Malta’. This is a satirical to Machiavellian ideology and his political view. Here ‘religion’ is nothing but a toy in the hands of the priests and bureaucrats who use it for their own vested interests and that ‘ignorance’ is the only sin a man can commit.

'I count religion but a childish toy' by Christopher Marlowe
‘I count religion but a childish toy’ by Christopher Marlowe

“He that loves pleasure must for pleasure fall” – Doctor Faustus

This quotation appears in Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus. When the Bad angel appears to Faustus he offers him a vision of all the pleasures of life that knowledge and power can give him, but on one condition that he must also experience hell.

Faustus agrees as it is his only wish. Here the Bad angel symbolizes all that is evil and vile and the desire for infinite power. In the end, the sight of hell is too much for Faustus to consume and at this moment the Bad angel reminds him that “he that loves pleasure must for pleasure fall”.

“He that loves pleasure must for pleasure fall” by Christopher Marlowe
“He that loves pleasure must for pleasure fall” by Christopher Marlowe

Check out some of Marlowe’s famous monologues

Famous Plays by Christopher Marlowe

Famous poems by Christopher Marlowe

The Inevitable Day Poem by Christopher Marlowe

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Enter A Spy, The Double Life of Christopher Marlowe

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