Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) is one of the
greatest English poets, and Shakespeare’s most
important predecessor in English drama
(Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1967).The following
lines belong to the first part of his work
“Tamburlaine the Great” and are reproduced in
accordance with “A Book of English Poetry”, collected
by G.B. Harrison, Penguin Books, 1937-1974, 416 pp., p. 58.
The fragment is useful as an object of meditation. Each
reader may examine what is the actual meaning, in his own
life, of the words “earthly crown” that conclude these lines.
Nature, that fram’d us of four elements
Warring within our breasts for regiment,
Doth teach us all to have aspiring minds:
Our souls, whose faculties can comprehend
The wondrous architecture of the world,
And measure every wandering planet’s course,
Still climbing after knowledge infinite,
And always moving as the restless spheres,
Will us to wear ourselves and never rest,
Until we reach the ripest fruit of all,
That perfect bliss and sole felicity,
The sweet fruition of an earthly crown.
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