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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.





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,

Tuissimus :


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).



GRACIOUS and Great, that we so boldly dare,
('Mongst other plays that now in fashion are)
To present this, writ many years agone,
And in that age thought second unto none,
We humbly crave your pardon: We pursue
The story of a rich and famous Jew
Who lived in Malta: you shall find him still,
In all his projects, a sound Machiavill;
And that's his character. He that hath past
So many censures, is now come at last

To have your princely ears: grace you him; then
You crown the action, and renown the pen.


It is our fear (dread sovereign) we have bin
Too tedious; neither can't be less than sin
To wrong your princely patience: If we have,
(Thus low dejected) we your pardon crave:
And if aught here offend your ear or sight,
We only act and speak what others write.



We know not how our play may pass this stage,
But by the best of poets1 in that age

The Malta Jew had being, and was made;
And he, then by the best of actors 2 played ;

In Hero and Leander, one did gain

A lasting memory: in Tamburlaine,
This Jew, with others many, th' other wan
The attribute of peerless, being a man
Whom we may rank with (doing no one wrong)
Proteus for shapes, and Roscius for a tongue,
So could he speak, so vary; nor is't hate
To merit, in him3 who doth personate
Our Jew this day; nor is it his ambition
To exceed or equal, being of condition
More modest: this is all that he intends,
(And that too, at the urgence of some friends)
To prove his best, and, if none here gainsay it,
The part he hath studied, and intends to play it.

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;
Or painting, with Apelles; doubtless the end
Must be disgrace : our actor did not so,
He only aimed to go, but not out-go.

Nor think that this day any prize1 was played ;
Here were no bets at all, no wagers laid;"
All the ambition that his mind doth swell,

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."

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