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FERNEZE, Governor of Malta.
and Carpenters. KATHARINE, mother of Don MATTHIAS. ABIGAIL, the Jew's Daughter. Abbess. Two Nuns. BELLAMIRA, a Courtesan. MACHIAVEL, the Prologue.
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." ? Old ed. “the Drancus."
3 As a word is required to complete the verse, I have followed Cunningham 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.
ACT THE FIRST.
Enter BARABAs in his counting-house, with heaps of gold
i Old ed. "Samintes," for which the modern editors give "Samnites." Between the “Samnites " and the "men of Uz” there can be no possible connection. My emendation suits the context. We have Saba for Sabæa in Faustus, xii. 25, &c.
2 Old ed. "silverbings.” Dyce observes that the word "silverling" occurs in Isaiah (vii. 23) :-“A thousand vines at a thousand silverlings."
Would make a miracle of thus much coin :
į It was a common belief that a stuffed halcyon (i.e., kingfisher), sus. pended by the bill, showed from what quarter the wind blew. Shakespeare alludes to the superstition in Lear, ii. 2,