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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 Tew 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 1. 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,
It is our fear (dread sovereign) we have bin