Marmion, Shackerley (DNB00)

MARMION, SHACKERLEY (1603–1639), dramatist, apparently only son of Shackerley Marmion, owner of the chief portions of the manor of Aynho, near Brackley, Northamptonshire, was born there in January 1602-3. His mother was Mary, daughter of Bartrobe Lukyn of London, gentleman, and his parents' marriage was solemnised at the church of St. Dunstan's-in-the-West on 16 June 1600 (Nichols, Collectanea, v. 216). The father, eldest son of Thomas Marmion (d. 1583) of Lincoln's Inn (by his wife Mary, youngest daughter of Rowland Shakerley of Aynho, whom he married in 1577), studied at the Inner Temple, was appointed, 7 April 1607, a commissioner to inquire into any concealed land belonging to Sir Everard Digby and the other conspirators executed for their share in the Gunpowder plot, and in 1609-10 he was escheator of Northamptonshire and Rutland. He sold his interest in Aynho about 1620 to Richard Cartwright of the Inner Temple, and thus reduced his family to poverty (Bridges, Northamptonshire, i. 137). Shackerley, however, was educated at Thame free school under Richard Butcher, and in 1618 became a commoner of Wadham College, Oxford. Although he did not matriculate till 16 Feb. 1620-1, his caution money was received as early as 28 April 1616. He proceeded B.A. 1 March 1621-2, and M.A. 7 July 1624, and seems to have resided in college till October 1625. On leaving the university he tried his fortune as a soldier in the Low Countries, but soon settled in London as a man of letters. Ben Jonson patronised him, and he became one of the veteran dramatist's 'sons.' Heywood, Nabbes, and Richard Browne were among his associates. But he lived riotously and was familiar with the disreputable sides of London life. On 1 Sept. 1629 the grand jury at the Middlesex sessions returned a true bill against him for stabbing with a sword one Edward Moore in the highway of St. Giles's-in-the-Fields on the previous 11 July. He does not appear to have been captured (Middlesex County Records, ed. Jeaffreson, iii. 27-8).

He obtained some reputation as a playwright, but in 1638 he joined a troop of horse raised by Sir John Suckling, and accompanied it in the winter on the expedition to Scotland. Marmion fell ill at York, and Suckling removed him by easy stages to London. There he died in January 1639, and was buried in the church of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield. According to Wood he had squandered an estate worth 700l. a year, but there is possibly some confusion here between him and his father.

Marmion was author of an attractive poem (in heroic couplets) based on Apuleius's well-known story of 'Cupid and Psyche.' The title-page ran 'A Morall Poem intituled the Legend of Cupid and Psyche or Cupid and his Mistris. As it was lately presented to the Prince Elector. Written by Shackerley Marmion, Gent.,' London (by N. and I. Okes), 1637, 8vo. Commendatory verses are contributed by Richard Brome, Francis Tuckyr, Thomas Nabbes, and Thomas Heywood, who compares Marmion's effort to his own play on the same subject, 'Love's Mistress.' 'The Prince Elector' was Charles Lewis, son of Frederick by his wife Elizabeth, Charles I's sister. A second edition, entitled 'Cupid's Courtship, or the Celebration of the Marriage between the God of Love and Psyche,' appeared in 1666. A re-print, edited by S. W. Singer, was issued in 1820. Marmion also contributed poems to the 'Annalia Dubrensia' (1636), and to 'Jonsonus Virbius' (1638). In the latter collection his contribution (in heroic couplets) is entitled 'A Funeral Sacrifice to the Sacred Memory of his thrice-honoured Father Ben Jonson.' Commendatory verse by Marmion is prefixed to Heywood's 'Pleasant Dialogues and Dramas,' 1637.

As a playwright Marmion was a very humble follower of Ben Jonson, but his work was popular with Charles I's court. He writes in fluent blank verse, and portrays the vices of contemporary society with some vigour and freedom, but his plots are confused and deficient in point. The earliest piece, which was often acted by Prince Charles's servants at Salisbury Court in January 1632, was licensed for the press 26 Jan. 1632, and was published in the same year with the title, 'Hollands Leagver. An excellent Comedy as it hath bin lately and often acted with great applause by the high and mighty Prince Charles his Servants; at the Private House in Salisbury Court. Written by Shackerley Marmyon, Master of Arts, London, by J. B. for John Grove, dwelling in Swan Yard within Newgate,' 1632. Two distinct actions are pursued in alternate scenes. The tone is often licentious, and the fourth act takes place before a brothel in Blackfriars, generally known at the time as 'Hollands Leaguer,' whence the play derives its name. An anonymous prose tract called 'Hollands Leagver . . . wherein is detected the notorious Sinne of Pandarisme,' was published in the same year, but beyond treating of a similar topic the play has no relations with it. Marmion's second comedy, licensed for the press on 15 June 1633, was acted both at court and at the theatre in Salisbury Court. The title ran, 'A Fine Companion, acted before the King and Queene at White-Hall and sundrie times with great applause at the Private-House in Salisbury Court by the Prince his servants. Written by Shakerley Marmyon. London, by Aug. Mathewes for Richard Meighen, next to the Middle Temple gate in Fleet Street,' 1633. It was dedicated to Marmion's 'worthy kinsman, Sir Ralph Dutton,' son of William Dutton of Sherborne, Gloucestershire. D'Urfey is said to owe his Captain Porpuss in his 'Sar Barnaby Whig' to the Captain Whibble in this play. Marmion's third piece, acted by the queen's men at the Cockpit before 12 May 1536, was licensed for the press on 11 March 1640. It was published with the title: 'The Antiquary. A Comedy acted by Her Maiesties Servants at the Cock-Pit. Written by Shackerly Mermion, Gent. London, Printed by F. K. for J. W. and F. E., and are sold at the Crane in S. Pauls Churchyard,' 1641, 4to. The plot mainly turns on the credulity of an old collector of curioisities, Veterano, whose interests are wholly absorbed in the past. It is said to have been revived for two nights in 1718 on the re-establishment of the Society of Antiquaries. O'Keeffe's 'Modern Antiques' deals with the same subject, and in part is borrowed from it. Sir Walter Scott was sufficiently attracted by it to include it in his 'Ancient British Drama,' and it has figured in all editions of Dodsley's 'Old Plays.' These three plays, poorly edited by James Maidment and W. H. Logan, were reprinted together at Edinburgh in 1875. A fourth piece, 'The Crafty Merchant, or the Souldier'd Citizen,' was assigned to Marmion in the well-known list of plays burnt by Warburton's cook. 'The Merchant's Sacrifice,' a cancelled title in Warburton's list, was assumed by Halliwell to be the original name of the piece.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 647; Marmion's Dramatic Works, Edinburgh, 1875; Fleay's Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama; Hunter's Chorus Vatum (Addit. MS. 24487); Dodsley's Old English Plays, ed. Hazlitt, xiii. 411 seq.; Halliwell's Dict. of Plays; Gardiner's Register of Wadham Coll. Oxford; information kindly supplied by Gordon Goodwin, esq.]

S. L.