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THE PROLOGUE TO THE STAGE.
AT THE COCK-PIT.
We know not how our play may pass this stage,
1 “Marlo." Marginal note in the old copy.
2 “Allin." Marginal note in the old copy. In the (old) Shakespeare Society's publications there is a memoir by J. P. Collier of the celebrated actor, the founder of Dulwich College, Edward Alleyn.
3 “Perkins." Marginal note in the old copy. Richard Perkins was an actor of great ability. At the end of the White Devil Webster speaks of the "wellapproved industry of my friend Master Perkins," and adds that "the worth of his action did crown both the beginning and end." He took the part of Capt. Goodlack in Heywood's Fair Maid of the West, of Sir John Belfare in Shirley's Wedding, of Hanno in Nabbes' Hannibal and Scipio, and of Fitzwater in Davenport's King John and Matilda. From Wright's Historia Histrionica we learn that he died “some years before the Restoration."
In graving, with Pygmalion to contend ;
1 “A metaphor borrowed from the fencing-school, prizes being played for certain degrees in the schools where the Art of Defence was taught,-degrees, it
appears, of Master, Provost, and Scholar.”—Dyce's Shakespeare Glossary.
9 A friend of Alleyn's backed him for a wager to excel George Peele in acting any part that had been sustained by Knell or Bentley. See Dyce's Greene and Peele (ed. 1861, PP. 330, 331). In the Introduction to the Knight of the Burning Pestle the Citizen says that his prentice Ralph “ should have played Jeronimo with a shoemaker for a wager."
FERNEZE, Governor of Malta.
THE JEW OF MALTA.
Machiavel. Albeit the world thinks Machiavel is dead, Yet was his soul but flown beyond the Alps ; And now the Guise 1 is dead, is come from France, To view this land, and frolic with his friends. To some perhaps my name is odious, But such as love me guard me from their tongues ; And let them know that I am Machiavel, And weigh not men, and therefore not men's words. Admired I am of those that hate me most. Though some speak openly against my books, Yet they will read me, and thereby attain To Peter's chair : and when they cast me off, Are poisoned by my climbing followers. I count religion but a childish toy, And hold there is no sin but ignorance. Birds of the air will tell of murders past ! I am ashamed to hear such fooleries. Many will talk of title to a crown:
i The Duc de Guise, who organised the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. He was assassinated in 1588.
What right had Cæsar to the empery?1
1 This is Dyce's correction for "empire." 2 Old ed. “the Drancus."
3 As a word is required to complete the verse, I have followed Cunning. ham in inserting “but."
4 All the editions give “Britain." For the sake of the metre I read " Britainy”-a form found in Edward II., ii, 2, 1. 42.