The Jew of Malta Act I.
by Christopher Marlowe

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Act I.

Act I. 16

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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...

(The entire section is 5,364 words.)