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Of the Jew of Malta there is no earlier edition than the 4to. of 1633, which was published under the auspices of the well-known dramatist Thomas Heywood. The title is :-The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Iew of Malta. As it was playd before the King and Queene, in His Majesties Theatre at White-Hall, by her Majesties Servants at the Cock-pit. Written by Christopher Marlo. London: Printed by I. B. for Nicholas Vavasour, and are to be sold at his Shop in the Inner-Temple, neere the Church. 1633. No later 4to. appeared.
MY WORTHY FRIEND,
MASTER THOMAS HAMMON,
OF GRAY'S INN, &C.
THIS play, composed by so worthy an author as Mr. Marlowe, and the part of the Jew presented by so unimitable an actor as Mr. Alleyn, being in this later age commended to the stage; as I ushered it unto the Court, and presented it to the Cock-pit, with these prologues and epilogues here inserted, so now being newly brought to the press, I was loth it should be published without the ornament of an Epistle; making choice of you unto whom to devote it; than whom (of all those gentlemen and acquaintance, within the compass of my long knowledge) there is none more able to tax ignorance, or attribute right to merit. Sir, you have been pleased to grace some of mine own works with your courteous patronage;1 I hope this will not be the worse accepted, because commended by me; over whom, none can claim more power or privilege than yourself. I had no better a new-year's gift to present you with; receive it therefore as a continuance of that inviolable obligement, by which, he rests still engaged; who as he ever hath, shall always remain,
1 Heywood dedicated to Thomas Hammon the Second Part of the Fair Maid
of the West (1631), and the First Part of the Iron Age (1632).
THE JEW OF MALTA.
THE PROLOGUE SPOKEN AT COURT.
GRACIOUS and Great, that we so boldly dare,
To have your princely ears: grace you him; then
It is our fear (dread sovereign) we have bin
THE PROLOGUE TO THE STAGE.
AT THE COCK-PIT.
We know not how our play may pass this stage,
The Malta Jew had being, and was made;
In Hero and Leander, one did gain
A lasting memory: in Tamburlaine,
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;
Nor think that this day any prize1 was played ;
Is but to hear from you (by me) 'twas well.
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.
2 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."