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The Jew of Malta (originally spelled The Ievv of Malta) is a play by Christopher Marlowe, probably written in 1589 or 1590. The plot is an original story of religious conflict, intrigue, and revenge, set against a backdrop of the struggle for supremacy between Spain and the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean that takes place on the island ofMalta. The title character, Barabas, dominates the play's action (font: Wikipedia)
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The Jew of MaltaChristopher Marlowe
THE PROLOGUE SPOKEN AT COURT.
EPILOGUE SPOKEN AT COURT.
THE PROLOGUE TO THE STAGE, AT THE COCK-PIT.
EPILOGUE TO THE STAGE, AT THE COCK-PIT.
THE JEW OF MALTA.
ACT I. 16
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.
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.
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.
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. JACOMO, | BARNARDINE, | friars. BARABAS, a wealthy Jew. ITHAMORE, a slave. PILIA-BORZA, a bully, attendant to BELLAMIRA. Two Merchants. Three Jews. Knights, Bassoes, Officers, Guard, Slaves, Messenger, and Carpenters KATHARINE, mother to MATHIAS. ABIGAIL, daughter to BARABAS. BELLAMIRA, a courtezan. Abbess. Nun. MACHIAVEL as Prologue speaker. Scene, Malta.
Enter MACHIAVEL. MACHIAVEL. Albeit the world think Machiavel is dead, Yet was his soul but flown beyond the Alps; And, now the Guise 11 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. Admir'd I am of those that hate me most: Though some speak openly against my books, Yet will they read me, and thereby attain To Peter's chair; and, when they cast me off, Are poison'd 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 asham'd to hear such fooleries. Many will talk of title to a crown: What right had Caesar to the empery? 12 Might first made kings, and laws were then most sure When, like the Draco's, 13 they were writ in blood. Hence comes it that a strong-built citadel Commands much more than letters can import: Which maxim had 14 Phalaris observ'd, H'ad never bellow'd, in a brazen bull, Of great ones' envy: o' the poor petty wights Let me be envied and not pitied. But whither am I bound? I come not, I, To read a lecture here 15 in Britain, But to present the tragedy of a Jew, Who smiles to see how full his bags are cramm'd; Which money was not got without my means. I crave but this,—grace him as he deserves, And let him not be entertain'd the worse Because he favours me. [Exit.]
BARABAS discovered in his counting-house, with heaps of gold before him. BARABAS. So that of thus much that return was made; And of the third part of the Persian ships There was the venture summ'd and satisfied. As for those Samnites, 17 and the men of Uz, That bought my Spanish oils and wines of Greece, Here have I purs'd their paltry silverlings. 18 Fie, what a trouble 'tis to count this trash! Well fare the Arabians, who so richly pay The things they traffic for with wedge of gold, Whereof a man may easily in a day Tell 19 that which may maintain him all his life. The needy groom, that never finger'd groat, Would make a miracle of thus much coin; But he whose steel-barr'd coffers are cramm'd full, And all his life-time hath been tired, Wearying his fingers' ends with telling it, Would in his age be loath to labour so, And for a pound to sweat himself to death. Give me the merchants of the Indian mines, That trade in metal of the purest mould; The wealthy Moor, that in the eastern rocks Without control can pick his riches up, And in his house heap pearl like pebble-stones, Receive them free, and sell them by the weight; Bags of fiery opals, sapphires, amethysts, Jacinths, hard topaz, grass-green emeralds, Beauteous rubies, sparkling diamonds, And seld-seen 20 costly stones of so great price, As one of them, indifferently rated, And of a carat of this quantity, May serve, in peril of calamity, To ransom great kings from captivity. This is the ware wherein consists my wealth; And thus methinks should men of judgment frame Their means of traffic from the vulgar trade, And, as their wealth increaseth, so inclose Infinite riches in a little room. But now how stands the wind? Into what corner peers my halcyon's bill? 21 Ha! to the east? yes. See how stand the vanes— East and by south: why, then, I hope my ships I sent for Egypt and the bordering isles Are gotten up by Nilus' winding banks; Mine argosy from Alexandria, Loaden with spice and silks, now under sail, Are smoothly gliding down by Candy-shore To Malta, through our Mediterranean sea.— But who comes here? Enter a MERCHANT. How now! MERCHANT. Barabas, thy ships are safe, Riding in Malta-road; and all the merchants With other merchandise are safe arriv'd, And have sent me to know whether yourself Will come and custom them. 22 BARABAS. The ships are safe thou say'st, and richly fraught? MERCHANT. They are. BARABAS. Why, then, go bid them come ashore, And bring with them their bills of entry: I hope our credit in the custom-house Will serve as well as I were present there. Go send 'em threescore camels, thirty mules, And twenty waggons, to bring up the ware. But art thou master in a ship of mine, And is thy credit not enough for that? MERCHANT. The very custom barely comes to more Than many merchants of the town are worth, And therefore far exceeds my credit, sir. BARABAS. Go tell 'em the Jew of Malta sent thee, man: Tush, who amongst 'em knows not Barabas? MERCHANT. I go. BARABAS. So, then, there's somewhat come.— Sirrah, which of my ships art thou master of? MERCHANT. Of the Speranza, sir. BARABAS. And saw'st thou not Mine argosy at Alexandria? Thou couldst not come from Egypt, or by Caire, But at the entry there into the sea, Where Nilus pays his tribute to the main, Thou needs must sail by Alexandria. MERCHANT. I neither saw them, nor inquir'd of them: But this we heard some of our seamen say, They wonder'd how you durst with so much wealth Trust such a crazed vessel, and so far. BARABAS. Tush, they are wise! I know her and her strength. But 23 go, go thou thy ways, discharge thy ship, And bid my factor bring his loading in. [Exit MERCHANT.] And yet I wonder at this argosy. Enter a Second MERCHANT. SECOND MERCHANT. Thine argosy from Alexandria, Know, Barabas, doth ride in Malta-road, Laden with riches, and exceeding store Of Persian silks, of gold, and orient pearl. BARABAS. How chance you came not with those other ships That sail'd by Egypt? SECOND MERCHANT. Sir, we saw 'em not. BARABAS. Belike they coasted round by Candy-shore About their oils or other businesses. But 'twas ill done of you to come so far Without the aid or conduct of their ships. SECOND MERCHANT. Sir, we were wafted by a Spanish fleet, That never left us till within a league, That had the galleys of the Turk in chase. BARABAS. O, they were going up to Sicily. Well, go, And bid the merchants and my men despatch, And come ashore, and see the fraught 24 discharg'd. SECOND MERCHANT. I go. [Exit.] BARABAS. Thus trolls our fortune in by land and sea, And thus are we on every side enrich'd: These are the blessings promis'd to the Jews, And herein was old Abraham's happiness: What more may heaven do for earthly man Than thus to pour out plenty in their laps, Ripping the bowels of the earth for them, Making the sea[s] their servants, and the winds To drive their substance with successful blasts? Who hateth me but for my happiness? Or who is honour'd now but for his wealth? Rather had I, a Jew, be hated thus, Than pitied in a Christian poverty; For I can see no fruits in all their faith, But malice, falsehood, and excessive pride, Which methinks fits not their profession. Haply some hapless man hath conscience, And for his conscience lives in beggary. They say we are a scatter'd nation: I cannot tell; but we have scambled 25 up More wealth by far than those that brag of faith: There's Kirriah Jairim, the great Jew of Greece, Obed in Bairseth, Nones in Portugal, Myself in Malta, some in Italy, Many in France, and wealthy every one; Ay, wealthier far than any Christian. I must confess we come not to be kings: That's not our fault: alas, our number's few! And crowns come either by succession, Or urg'd by force; and nothing violent, Oft have I heard tell, can be permanent. Give us a peaceful rule; make Christians kings, That thirst so much for principality. I have no charge, nor many children, But one sole daughter, whom I hold as dear As Agamemnon did his Iphigen; And all I have is hers.—But who comes here? Enter three JEWS. 26 FIRST JEW. Tush, tell not me; 'twas done of policy. SECOND JEW. Come, therefore, let us go to Barabas; For he can counsel best in these affairs: And here he comes. BARABAS. Why, how now, countrymen! Why flock you thus to me in multitudes? What accident's betided to the Jews? FIRST JEW. A fleet of warlike galleys, Barabas, Are come from Turkey, and lie in our road: And they this day sit in the council-house To entertain them and their embassy. BARABAS. Why, let 'em come, so they come not to war; Or let 'em war, so we be conquerors.— Nay, let 'em combat, conquer, and kill all, So they spare me, my daughter, and my wealth. [Aside.] FIRST JEW. Were it for confirmation of a league, They would not come in warlike manner thus. SECOND JEW. I fear their coming will afflict us all. BARABAS. Fond 27 men, what dream you of their multitudes? What need they treat of peace that are in league? The Turks and those of Malta are in league: Tut, tut, there is some other matter in't. FIRST JEW. Why, Barabas, they come for peace or war. BARABAS. Haply for neither, but to pass along, Towards Venice, by the Adriatic sea, With whom they have attempted many times, But never could effect their stratagem. THIRD JEW. And very wisely said; it may be so. SECOND JEW. But there's a meeting in the senate-house, And all the Jews in Malta must be there. BARABAS. Hum,—all the Jews in Malta must be there! Ay, like enough: why, then, let every man Provide him, and be there for fashion-sake. If any thing shall there concern our state, Assure yourselves I'll look—unto myself. [Aside.] 28 FIRST JEW. I know you will.—Well, brethren, let us go. SECOND JEW. Let's take our leaves.—Farewell, good Barabas. BARABAS. 29 Farewell, Zaareth; farewell, Temainte. [Exeunt JEWS.] And, Barabas, now search this secret out; Summon thy senses, call thy wits together: These silly men mistake the matter clean. Long to the Turk did Malta contribute; Which tribute all in policy, I fear, The Turk has 30 let increase to such a sum As all the wealth of Malta cannot pay; And now by that advantage thinks, belike, To seize upon the town; ay, that he seeks. Howe'er the world go, I'll make sure for one, And seek in time to intercept the worst, Warily guarding that which I ha' got: Ego mihimet sum semper proximus: 31 Why, let 'em enter, let 'em take the town. [Exit.] 32 Enter FERNEZE governor of Malta, KNIGHTS, and OFFICERS; met by CALYMATH, and BASSOES of the TURK. FERNEZE. Now, bassoes, 33 what demand you at our hands? FIRST BASSO. Know, knights of Malta, that we came from Rhodes, ]From Cyprus, Candy, and those other isles That lie betwixt the Mediterranean seas. FERNEZE. What's Cyprus, Candy, and those other isles To us or Malta? what at our hands demand ye? CALYMATH. The ten years' tribute that remains unpaid. FERNEZE. Alas, my lord, the sum is over-great! I hope your highness will consider us. CALYMATH. I wish, grave governor, 34 'twere in my power To favour you; but 'tis my father's cause, Wherein I may not, nay, I dare not dally. FERNEZE. Then give us leave, great Selim Calymath. CALYMATH. Stand all aside, 35 and let the knights determine; And send to keep our galleys under sail, For happily 36 we shall not tarry here.— Now, governor, how are you resolv'd? FERNEZE. Thus; since your hard conditions are such That you will needs have ten years' tribute past, We may have time to make collection Amongst the inhabitants of Malta for't. FIRST BASSO. That's more than is in our commission. CALYMATH. What, Callapine! a little courtesy: Let's know their time; perhaps it is not long; And 'tis more kingly to obtain by peace Than to enforce conditions by constraint.— What respite ask you, governor? FERNEZE. But a month. CALYMATH. We grant a month; but see you keep your promise. Now launch our galleys back again to sea, Where we'll attend the respite you have ta'en, And for the money send our messenger. Farewell, great governor, and brave knights of Malta. FERNEZE. And all good fortune wait on Calymath! [Exeunt CALYMATH and BASSOES.]
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