The Jew of Malta by Christopher Marlowe


Albeit the world think Machevill is dead,
Yet his soul but flown beyond the Alps;
And, now the guise 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 Machevill,
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?
Might first made kings, and laws were than most sure
When, like the Drac’s, they were writ in blood.
Hence comes it that a strong built citadel
Commands much had [but] Phalaris observ’d,
H’ad never bellow’d in a brazen bull
Of great ones’ envy, o’ poor pretty wights
Let me be envied and not pitied.
But whither am I bound! I come not, I,
To read a lecture here 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.

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