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The Jew of Malta

Dedication and Prologue
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,
Tuissimus, Tho. Heywood.[2]
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.
 
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