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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

From ‘The Jew of Malta’

By Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593)

BARABAS—So that of thus much that return was made;

And of the third part of the Persian ships,

There was the venture summed and satisfied.

As for those Sabans, and the men of Uz,

That bought my Spanish oils and wines of Greece,

Here have I purst their paltry silverlings.

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 that which may maintain him all his life.

The needy groom that never fingered groat

Would make a miracle of thus much coin;

But he whose steel-barred coffers are crammed full,

And all his lifetime hath been tired,

Wearying his fingers’ ends with telling it,

Would in his age be loth to labor 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 mold;

The wealthy Moor, that in the eastern rocks

Without control can pick his riches up,

And in his house heap pearls 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 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….

These are the blessings promised to the Jews,

And herein was old Abram’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 seas their servants, and the winds

To drive their substance with successful blasts?

Who hateth me but for my happiness?

Or who is honored 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 scattered nation;

I cannot tell, but we have scambled 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 urged 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.