Act I.

Act I. 16

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?


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?


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.
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.


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.

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!
Go one and call those Jews of Malta hither:
Were they not summon'd to appear to-day?

FIRST OFFICER. They were, my lord; and here they come.

Enter BARABAS and three JEWS.

FIRST KNIGHT. Have you determin'd what to say to them?

FERNEZE. Yes; give me leave:--and, Hebrews, now come near.
]From the Emperor of Turkey is arriv'd
Great Selim Calymath, his highness' son,
To levy of us ten years' tribute past:
Now, then, here know that it concerneth us.

BARABAS. Then, good my lord, to keep your quiet still,
Your lordship shall do well to let them have it.

FERNEZE. Soft, Barabas! there's more 'longs to't than so.
To what this ten years' tribute will amount,
That we have cast, but cannot compass it
By reason of the wars, that robb'd our store;
And therefore are we to request your aid.

BARABAS. Alas, my lord, we are no soldiers!
And what's our aid against so great a prince?

FIRST KNIGHT. Tut, Jew, we know thou art no soldier:
Thou art a merchant and a money'd man,
And 'tis thy money, Barabas, we seek.

BARABAS. How, my lord! my money!

FERNEZE. Thine and the rest;
For, to be short, amongst you't must be had.

FIRST JEW. Alas, my lord, the most of us are poor!

FERNEZE. Then let the rich increase your portions.

BARABAS. Are strangers with your tribute to be tax'd?

SECOND KNIGHT. Have strangers leave with us to get their wealth?
Then let them with us contribute.

BARABAS. How! equally?

FERNEZE. No, Jew, like infidels;
For through our sufferance of your hateful lives,
Who stand accursed in the sight of heaven,
These taxes and afflictions are befall'n,
And therefore thus we are determined.--
Read there the articles of our decrees.


BARABAS. How! half his estate!--I hope you mean not mine.

FERNEZE. Read on.


BARABAS. How! a Christian!--Hum,--what's here to do?


THREE JEWS. O my lord, we will give half!

BARABAS. O earth-mettled villains, and no Hebrews born!
And will you basely thus submit yourselves
To leave your goods to their arbitrement?

FERNEZE. Why, Barabas, wilt thou be christened?

BARABAS. No, governor, I will be no convertite. 39

FERNEZE. Then pay thy half.

BARABAS. Why, know you what you did by this device?
Half of my substance is a city's wealth.
Governor, it was not got so easily;
Nor will I part so slightly therewithal.

FERNEZE. Sir, half is the penalty of our decree;
Either pay that, or we will seize on all.

BARABAS. Corpo di Dio! stay: you shall have half;
Let me be us'd but as my brethren are.

FERNEZE. No, Jew, thou hast denied the articles,
And now it cannot be recall'd.
[Exeunt OFFICERS, on a sign from FERNEZE]

BARABAS. Will you, then, steal my goods?
Is theft the ground of your religion?

FERNEZE. No, Jew; we take particularly thine,
To save the ruin of a multitude:
And better one want for a common good,
Than many perish for a private man:
Yet, Barabas, we will not banish thee,
But here in Malta, where thou gott'st thy wealth,
Live still; and, if thou canst, get more.

BARABAS. Christians, what or how can I multiply?
Of naught is nothing made.

FIRST KNIGHT. From naught at first thou cam'st to little wealth,
]From little unto more, from more to most:
If your first curse fall heavy on thy head,
And make thee poor and scorn'd of all the world,
'Tis not our fault, but thy inherent sin.

BARABAS. What, bring you Scripture to confirm your wrongs?
Preach me not out of my possessions.
Some Jews are wicked, as all Christians are:
But say the tribe that I descended of
Were all in general cast away for sin,
Shall I be tried by their transgression?
The man that dealeth righteously shall live;
And which of you can charge me otherwise?

FERNEZE. Out, wretched Barabas!
Sham'st thou not thus to justify thyself,
As if we knew not thy profession?
If thou rely upon thy righteousness,
Be patient, and thy riches will increase.
Excess of wealth is cause of covetousness;
And covetousness, O, 'tis a monstrous sin!

BARABAS. Ay, but theft is worse: tush! take not from me, then,
For that is theft; and, if you rob me thus,
I must be forc'd to steal, and compass more.

FIRST KNIGHT. Grave governor, list not to his exclaims:
Convert his mansion to a nunnery;
His house will harbour many holy nuns.

FERNEZE. It shall be so.

Re-enter OFFICERS.

Now, officers, have you done?

FIRST OFFICER. Ay, my lord, we have seiz'd upon the goods
And wares of Barabas, which, being valu'd,
Amount to more than all the wealth in Malta:
And of the other we have seized half.

FERNEZE. Then we'll take 40 order for the residue.

BARABAS. Well, then, my lord, say, are you satisfied?
You have my goods, my money, and my wealth,
My ships, my store, and all that I enjoy'd;
And, having all, you can request no more,
Unless your unrelenting flinty hearts
Suppress all pity in your stony breasts,
And now shall move you to bereave my life.

FERNEZE. No, Barabas; to stain our hands with blood
Is far from us and our profession.

BARABAS. Why, I esteem the injury far less,
To take the lives of miserable men
Than be the causers of their misery.
You have my wealth, the labour of my life,
The comfort of mine age, my children's hope;
And therefore ne'er distinguish of the wrong.

FERNEZE. Content thee, Barabas; thou hast naught but right.

BARABAS. Your extreme right does me exceeding wrong:
But take it to you, i'the devil's name!

FERNEZE. Come, let us in, and gather of these goods
The money for this tribute of the Turk.

FIRST KNIGHT. 'Tis necessary that be look'd unto;
For, if we break our day, we break the league,
And that will prove but simple policy.
[Exeunt all except BARABAS and the three JEWS.]

BARABAS. Ay, policy! that's their profession,
And not simplicity, as they suggest.--
The plagues of Egypt, and the curse of heaven,
Earth's barrenness, and all men's hatred,
Inflict upon them, thou great Primus Motor!
And here upon my knees, striking the earth,
I ban their souls to everlasting pains,
And extreme tortures of the fiery deep,
That thus have dealt with me in my distress!

FIRST JEW. O, yet be patient, gentle Barabas!

BARABAS. O silly brethren, born to see this day,
Why stand you thus unmov'd with my laments?
Why weep you not to think upon my wrongs?
Why pine not I, and die in this distress?

FIRST JEW. Why, Barabas, as hardly can we brook
The cruel handling of ourselves in this:
Thou seest they have taken half our goods.

BARABAS. Why did you yield to their extortion?
You were a multitude, and I but one;
And of me only have they taken all.

FIRST JEW. Yet, brother Barabas, remember Job.

BARABAS. What tell you me of Job? I wot his wealth
Was written thus; he had seven thousand sheep,
Three thousand camels, and two hundred yoke
Of labouring oxen, and five hundred
She-asses: but for every one of those,
Had they been valu'd at indifferent rate,
I had at home, and in mine argosy,
And other ships that came from Egypt last,
As much as would have bought his beasts and him,
And yet have kept enough to live upon;
So that not he, but I, may curse the day,
Thy fatal birth-day, forlorn Barabas;
And henceforth wish for an eternal night,
That clouds of darkness may inclose my flesh,
And hide these extreme sorrows from mine eyes;
For only I have toil'd to inherit here
The months of vanity, and loss of time,
And painful nights, have been appointed me.

SECOND JEW. Good Barabas, be patient.

BARABAS. Ay, I pray, leave me in my patience. You, that
Were ne'er possess'd of wealth, are pleas'd with want;
But give him liberty at least to mourn,
That in a field, amidst his enemies,
Doth see his soldiers slain, himself disarm'd,
And knows no means of his recovery:
Ay, let me sorrow for this sudden chance;
'Tis in the trouble of my spirit I speak:
Great injuries are not so soon forgot.

FIRST JEW. Come, let us leave him; in his ireful mood
Our words will but increase his ecstasy. 41

SECOND JEW. On, then: but, trust me, 'tis a misery
To see a man in such affliction.--
Farewell, Barabas.

BARABAS. Ay, fare you well.
[Exeunt three JEWS.] 42
See the simplicity of these base slaves,
Who, for the villains have no wit themselves,
Think me to be a senseless lump of clay,
That will with every water wash to dirt!
No, Barabas is born to better chance,
And fram'd of finer mould than common men,
That measure naught but by the present time.
A reaching thought will search his deepest wits,
And cast with cunning for the time to come;
For evils are apt to happen every day.


But whither wends my beauteous Abigail?
O, what has made my lovely daughter sad?
What, woman! moan not for a little loss;
Thy father has enough in store for thee.

ABIGAIL. Nor for myself, but aged Barabas,
Father, for thee lamenteth Abigail:
But I will learn to leave these fruitless tears;
And, urg'd thereto with my afflictions,
With fierce exclaims run to the senate-house,
And in the senate reprehend them all,
And rent their hearts with tearing of my hair,
Till they reduce 43 the wrongs done to my father.

BARABAS. No, Abigail; things past recovery
Are hardly cur'd with exclamations:
Be silent, daughter; sufferance breeds ease,
And time may yield us an occasion,
Which on the sudden cannot serve the turn.
Besides, my girl, think me not all so fond 44
As negligently to forgo so much
Without provision for thyself and me:
Ten thousand portagues, 45 besides great pearls,
Rich costly jewels, and stones infinite,
Fearing the worst of this before it fell,
I closely hid.

ABIGAIL. Where, father?

BARABAS. In my house, my girl.

ABIGAIL. Then shall they ne'er be seen of Barabas;
For they have seiz'd upon thy house and wares.

BARABAS. But they will give me leave once more, I trow,
To go into my house.

ABIGAIL. That may they not;
For there I left the governor placing nuns,
Displacing me; and of thy house they mean
To make a nunnery, where none but their own sect 46
Must enter in; men generally barr'd.

BARABAS. My gold, my gold, and all my wealth is gone!--
You partial heavens, have I deserv'd this plague?
What, will you thus oppose me, luckless stars,
To make me desperate in my poverty?
And, knowing me impatient in distress,
Think me so mad as I will hang myself,
That I may vanish o'er the earth in air,
And leave no memory that e'er I was?
No, I will live; nor loathe I this my life:
And, since you leave me in the ocean thus
To sink or swim, and put me to my shifts,
I'll rouse my senses, and awake myself.--
Daughter, I have it: thou perceiv'st the plight
Wherein these Christians have oppressed me:
Be rul'd by me, for in extremity
We ought to make bar of no policy.

ABIGAIL. Father, whate'er it be, to injure them
That have so manifestly wronged us,
What will not Abigail attempt?

BARABAS. Why, so.
Then thus: thou told'st me they have turn'd my house
Into a nunnery, and some nuns are there?


BARABAS. Then, Abigail, there must my girl
Entreat the abbess to be entertain'd.

ABIGAIL. How! as a nun?

BARABAS. Ay, daughter; for religion
Hides many mischiefs from suspicion.

ABIGAIL. Ay, but, father, they will suspect me there.

BARABAS. Let 'em suspect; but be thou so precise
As they may think it done of holiness:
Entreat 'em fair, and give them friendly speech,
And seem to them as if thy sins were great,
Till thou hast gotten to be entertain'd.

ABIGAIL. Thus, father, shall I much dissemble.

As good dissemble that thou never mean'st,
As first mean truth and then dissemble it:
A counterfeit profession is better
Than unseen hypocrisy.

ABIGAIL. Well, father, say I be entertain'd,
What then shall follow?

BARABAS. This shall follow then.
There have I hid, close underneath the plank
That runs along the upper-chamber floor,
The gold and jewels which I kept for thee:--
But here they come: be cunning, Abigail.

ABIGAIL. Then, father, go with me.

BARABAS. No, Abigail, in this
It is not necessary I be seen;
For I will seem offended with thee for't:
Be close, my girl, for this must fetch my gold.
[They retire.]


We now are almost at the new-made nunnery.

ABBESS. 48 The better; for we love not to be seen:
'Tis thirty winters long since some of us
Did stray so far amongst the multitude.

FRIAR JACOMO. But, madam, this house
And waters of this new-made nunnery
Will much delight you.

ABBESS. It may be so.--But who comes here?

[ABIGAIL comes forward.]

ABIGAIL. Grave abbess, and you happy virgins' guide,
Pity the state of a distressed maid!

ABBESS. What art thou, daughter?

ABIGAIL. The hopeless daughter of a hapless Jew,
The Jew of Malta, wretched Barabas,
Sometimes 49 the owner of a goodly house,
Which they have now turn'd to a nunnery.

ABBESS. Well, daughter, say, what is thy suit with us?

ABIGAIL. Fearing the afflictions which my father feels
Proceed from sin or want of faith in us,
I'd pass away my life in penitence,
And be a novice in your nunnery,
To make atonement for my labouring soul.

FRIAR JACOMO. No doubt, brother, but this proceedeth of
the spirit.

Ay, and of a moving spirit too, brother: but come,
Let us entreat she may be entertain'd.

ABBESS. Well, daughter, we admit you for a nun.

ABIGAIL. First let me as a novice learn to frame
My solitary life to your strait laws,
And let me lodge where I was wont to lie:
I do not doubt, by your divine precepts
And mine own industry, but to profit much.

BARABAS. As much, I hope, as all I hid is worth.

ABBESS. Come, daughter, follow us.

BARABAS. [coming forward] Why, how now, Abigail!
What mak'st thou 'mongst these hateful Christians?

FRIAR JACOMO. Hinder her not, thou man of little faith,
For she has mortified herself.

BARABAS. How! mortified!

FRIAR JACOMO. And is admitted to the sisterhood.

BARABAS. Child of perdition, and thy father's shame!
What wilt thou do among these hateful fiends?
I charge thee on my blessing that thou leave
These devils and their damned heresy!

ABIGAIL. Father, forgive me-- 50

BARABAS. Nay, back, Abigail,
And think upon the jewels and the gold;
The board is marked thus that covers it.--
[Aside to ABIGAIL in a whisper.]
Away, accursed, from thy father's sight!

FRIAR JACOMO. Barabas, although thou art in misbelief,
And wilt not see thine own afflictions,
Yet let thy daughter be no longer blind.

BARABAS. Blind friar, I reck not thy persuasions,--
The board is marked thus 51 that covers it--
[Aside to ABIGAIL in a whisper.]
For I had rather die than see her thus.--
Wilt thou forsake me too in my distress,
Seduced daughter?--Go, forget not.- 52
[Aside to her in a whisper.]
Becomes it Jews to be so credulous?--
To-morrow early I'll be at the door.--
[Aside to her in a whisper.]
No, come not at me; if thou wilt be damn'd,
Forget me, see me not; and so, be gone!--
Farewell; remember to-morrow morning.--
[Aside to her in a whisper.]
Out, out, thou wretch!
[Exit, on one side, BARABAS. Exeunt, on the other side,
FRIARS, ABBESS, NUN, and ABIGAIL: and, as they are going


MATHIAS. Who's this? fair Abigail, the rich Jew's daughter,
Become a nun! her father's sudden fall
Has humbled her, and brought her down to this:
Tut, she were fitter for a tale of love,
Than to be tired out with orisons;
And better would she far become a bed,
Embraced in a friendly lover's arms,
Than rise at midnight to a solemn mass.


LODOWICK. Why, how now, Don Mathias! in a dump?

MATHIAS. Believe me, noble Lodowick, I have seen
The strangest sight, in my opinion,
That ever I beheld.

LODOWICK. What was't, I prithee?

MATHIAS. A fair young maid, scarce fourteen years of age,
The sweetest flower in Cytherea's field,
Cropt from the pleasures of the fruitful earth,
And strangely metamorphos'd [to a] nun.

LODOWICK. But say, what was she?

MATHIAS. Why, the rich Jew's daughter.

LODOWICK. What, Barabas, whose goods were lately seiz'd?
Is she so fair?

MATHIAS. And matchless beautiful,
As, had you seen her, 'twould have mov'd your heart,
Though countermin'd with walls of brass, to love,
Or, at the least, to pity.

LODOWICK. An if she be so fair as you report,
'Twere time well spent to go and visit her:
How say you? shall we?

MATHIAS. I must and will, sir; there's no remedy.

LODOWICK. And so will I too, or it shall go hard.
Farewell, Mathias.

MATHIAS. Farewell, Lodowick.
[Exeunt severally.]


  1. Act I.: The Scenes of this play are not marked in the old ed.; nor in the present edition,--because occasionally (where the audience were to SUPPOSE a change of place, it was impossible to mark them.
  2. Samnites: Old ed. "Samintes."
  3. silverlings: When Steevens (apud Dodsley's O. P.) called this "a diminutive, to express the Jew's contempt of a metal inferior in value to gold," he did not know that the word occurs in Scripture: "a thousand vines at a thousand SILVERLINGS." ISAIAH, vii. 23.--Old ed. "siluerbings."
  4. Tell: i.e. count.
  5. seld-seen: i.e. seldom-seen.
  6. Into what corner peers my halcyon's bill?: "It was anciently believed that this bird (the king-fisher), if hung up, would vary with the wind, and by that means shew from what quarter it blew." STEEVENS (apud Dodsley's O. P.),--who refers to the note on the following passage of Shakespeare's KING LEAR, act ii. sc. 2; "Renege, affirm, and turn their HALCYON BEAKS With every gale and vary of their masters," &c.
  7. custom them: "i.e. enter the goods they contain at the Custom-house." STEEVENS (apud Dodsley's O. P.).
  8. But: Old ed. "By."
  9. fraught: i.e. freight.
  10. scambled: i.e. scrambled. (Coles gives in his DICT. "To SCAMBLE, certatim arripere"; and afterwards renders "To scramble" by the very same Latin words.)
  11. Enter three JEWS: A change of scene is supposed here, --to a street or to the Exchange.
  12. Fond: i.e. Foolish.
  13. Aside: Mr. Collier (apud Dodsley's O. P.), mistaking the purport of this stage-direction (which, of course, applies only to the words "UNTO MYSELF"), proposed an alteration of the text.
  14. BARABAS. Farewell, Zaareth, &c.: Old ed. "Iew. DOE SO; Farewell Zaareth," &c. But "Doe so" is evidently a stage- direction which has crept into the text, and which was intended to signify that the Jews DO "take their leaves" of Barabas: --here the old ed. has no "EXEUNT."
  15. Turk has: So the Editor of 1826.--Old ed. "Turkes haue": but see what follows.
  16. Ego mihimet sum semper proximus: The words of Terence are "Proximus sum egomet mihi." ANDRIA, iv. 1. 12.
  17. Exit: The scene is now supposed to be changed to the interior of the Council-house.
  18. bassoes: i.e. bashaws.
  19. governor: Old ed. "Gouernours" here, and several times after in this scene.
  20. CALYMATH. Stand all aside, &c.: "The Governor and the Maltese knights here consult apart, while Calymath gives these directions." COLLIER (apud Dodsley's O. P.).
  21. happily: i.e. haply.
  22. Officer: Old ed. "Reader."
  23. denies: i.e. refuses.
  24. convertite: "i.e. convert, as in Shakespeare's KING JOHN, act v. sc. 1." STEEVENS (apud Dodsley's O. P.).
  25. Then we'll take, &c.: In the old ed. this line forms a portion of the preceding speech.
  26. ecstasy: Equivalent here to--violent emotion. "The word was anciently used to signify some degree of alienation of mind." COLLIER (apud Dodsley's O. P.).
  27. Exeunt three Jews: On their departure, the scene is supposed to be changed to a street near the house of Barabas.
  28. reduce: If the right reading, is equivalent to--repair. But qy. "redress"?
  29. fond: "i.e. foolish." REED (apud Dodsley's O. P.).
  30. portagues: Portuguese gold coins, so called.
  31. sect: "i.e. sex. SECT and SEX were, in our ancient dramatic writers, used synonymously." REED (apud Dodsley's O. P.).
  32. Enter FRIAR JACOMO, &c.: Old ed. "Enter three Fryars and two Nuns:" but assuredly only TWO Friars figure in this play.
  33. Abb.: In the old ed. the prefix to this speech is "1 Nun," and to the next speech but one "Nun." That both speeches belong to the Abbess is quite evident.
  34. Sometimes: Equivalent here (as frequently in our early writers) to--Sometime.
  35. forgive me--: Old ed. "GIUE me--"
  36. thus: After this word the old ed. has "†",--to signify, perhaps, the motion which Barabas was to make here with his hand.
  37. forget not: Qy. "forget IT not"