Gower Bibliography

'Cursed Hebenon' (or 'Hebona')

Bradley, Henry. "'Cursed Hebenon' (or 'Hebona')." Modern Language Review 15.1 (1920), pp. 85-87.


Bradley analyzes the influence of Gower's line "hebenus, that slepy tree" (CA 4.3017), itself borrowed from Ovid's Metamorphoses, on Marlowe and Shakespeare. In the Jew of Malta, Marlowe refers to the "juice of Hebon" as a deadly poison, likely because he remembered Gower's line out of context, and thought that the ebony tree had a narcotic juice. Shakespeare's "juice of Hebona" (in Hamlet) is influenced by a memory of Marlowe's line, although it appears that Shakespeare thought that "hebon" was the same as "henbane," considered a serious poison in the sixteenth century. [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:A reply to Bradley's note appeared in the same volume of the Modern Language Review (although Gower is not mentioned in it): Montgomery, Marshall. "'Cursed Hebenon' Or 'Hebona')." The Modern Language Review 15.3 (1920), pp. 304-306.
Subjects:Confessio Amantis
Influence and Later Allusion

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