Hero and Leander

Read by Martin Geeson

(4.7 stars; 5 reviews)

“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) (3 hr 37 min)


00 - Printer's Dedication 3:39 Read by Martin Geeson
01 - First Sestiad, part one 15:37 Read by Martin Geeson
02 - First Sestiad, part two 18:25 Read by Martin Geeson
03 - First Sestiad, part three 8:57 Read by Martin Geeson
04 - Second Sestiad, part one 17:32 Read by Martin Geeson
05 - Second Sestiad, part two 12:46 Read by Martin Geeson
06 - Third Sestiad, part one 17:58 Read by Martin Geeson
07 - Third Sestiad, part two 19:20 Read by Martin Geeson
08 - Fourth Sestiad, part one 19:32 Read by Martin Geeson
09 - Fourth Sestiad, part two 12:08 Read by Martin Geeson
10 - Fifth Sestiad, part one 11:14 Read by Martin Geeson
11 - Fifth Sestiad, part two 12:44 Read by Martin Geeson
12 - Fifth Sestiad, part three 6:57 Read by Martin Geeson
13 - Fifth Sestiad, part four 12:27 Read by Martin Geeson
14 - Sixth Sestiad, part one 14:20 Read by Martin Geeson
15 - Sixth Sestiad, part two 13:31 Read by Martin Geeson


(4.5 stars)

Agreed with first review. Geeson is a master, we are so lucky to have these recordings. 5* for him. Likewise Marlowe. Chapman, less so. Average overall 4.5*

(5 stars)

amazing reading of course by this pro. When it was Marlowe the piece was lovely, when Chapman, loquacious and very meh.