TO MY WORTHY FRIEND, MASTER THOMAS HAMMON, of GRAY'S INN, ETC.
This play, composed by so worthy an author as Master Marlowe,
and the part of the Jew presented by so unimitable an actor as
Master 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 loath 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<1>
with your courteous patronage: 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,
THE PROLOGUE SPOKEN AT COURT.
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 liv'd 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<3> is now come at last
To have your princely ears: grace you him; then
You crown the action, and renown the pen.
EPILOGUE SPOKEN AT COURT.
It is our fear, dread sovereign, we have bin<4>
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.
THE PROLOGUE TO THE STAGE,
AT THE COCK-PIT.
We know not how our play may pass this stage,
But by the best of poets<5> in that age
THE MALTA-JEW had being and was made;
And he then by the best of actors<6> play'd:
In HERO AND LEANDER<7> 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 him<8> 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.
EPILOGUE TO THE STAGE,
AT THE COCK-PIT.
In graving with Pygmalion to contend,
Or painting with Apelles, doubtless the end
Must be disgrace: our actor did not so,--
He only aim'd to go, but not out-go.
Nor think that this day any prize was play'd;<9>
Here were no bets at all, no wagers laid:<10>
All the ambition that his mind doth swell,
Is but to hear from you (by me) 'twas well.
FERNEZE, governor of Malta.
LODOWICK, his son.
SELIM CALYMATH, son to the Grand Seignior.
MARTIN DEL BOSCO, vice-admiral of Spain.
MATHIAS, a gentleman.
BARNARDINE, > friars.
BARABAS, a wealthy Jew.
ITHAMORE, a slave.
PILIA-BORZA, a bully, attendant to BELLAMIRA.
Knights, Bassoes, Officers, Guard, Slaves, Messenger,
KATHARINE, mother to MATHIAS.
ABIGAIL, daughter to BARABAS.
BELLAMIRA, a courtezan.
MACHIAVEL as Prologue speaker.