Front Page Titles (by Subject) to my worthy friend , MASTER THOMAS HAMMON, of gray\'s inn , &c. - The Works of Christopher Marlowe, vol. 2
to my worthy friend , MASTER THOMAS HAMMON, of gray's inn , &c. - Christopher Marlowe, The Works of Christopher Marlowe, vol. 2 
The Works of Christopher Marlowe, ed. A.H. Bullen (London: John C. Nimmo, 1885). Vol. 2.
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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; 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 JEW OF MALTA.
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 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.
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 in that age
- The Malta Jew had being, and was made;
- And he, then by the best of actors 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 him 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 Apells; doutless 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.