The Jew of Malta/Act 3

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Scene 1[edit]

Enter Bellamira, a courtesan.


Since this town was besieged, my gain grows cold:

The time has been that, but for one bare night,

A hundred ducats have been freely given:

But now against my will I must be chaste;

And yet I know my beauty doth not fail.

From Venice merchants, and from Padua

Were wont to come rare-witted gentlemen,

Scholars I mean, learnèd and liberal;

And now, save Pilia-Borsa, comes there none,

And he is very seldom from my house;

And here he comes.

Enter Pilia-Borsa.


Hold thee, wench, there's something for thee to spend.


'Tis silver. I disdain it.


Ay, but the Jew has gold,

And I will have it, or it shall go hard.


Tell me, how cam'st thou by this?


'Faith, walking the back-lanes, through the gardens, I chanced to cast mine eye up to the Jew's counting-house, where I saw

some bags of money, and in the night I clambered up with my hooks, and, as I was taking my choice, I heard a rumbling in

the house; so I took only this, and run my way: but here's the Jew's man.


Hide the bag.

Enter Ithamore.


Look not towards him, let's away: zoon's, what a looking thou keep'st; thou'lt betray 's anon.

Exeunt Courtesan and Pilia-Borsa.


O the sweetest face that ever I beheld! I know she is a courtesan by her attire: now would I give a hundred of the Jew's

crowns that I had such a concubine. Well,

I have delivered the challenge in such sort,

As meet they will, and fighting die; brave sport.


Scene 2[edit]

Enter Mathias.


This is the place, now Abigail shall see Whether Mathias holds her dear or no.

Enter Lodowick.

What, dares the villain write in such base terms?

Reading a letter.


I did it; and revenge it if thou dar'st.

They fight.

Enter Barabas, above


O! bravely fought; and yet they thrust not home.

Now, Lodowick! now, Mathias! So—

Both fall.

So now they have showed themselves to be tall3 fellows.

Cries within. Part 'em, part 'em.


Ay, part 'em now they are dead. Farewell, farewell.


Enter Governor and Mathias' Mother.


What sight is this?—my Lodowick4 slain!

These arms of mine shall be thy sepulchre.


Who is this? my son Mathias slain!


O Lodowick! had'st thou perished by the Turk,

Wretched Ferneze might have 'venged thy death.


Thy son slew mine, and I'll revenge his death.


Look, Katherine, look!— thy son gave mine these wounds.


O leave to grieve me, I am grieved enough.


O! that my sighs could turn to lively breath;


And these my tears to blood, that he might live.


Who made them enemies?


I know not, and that grieves me most of all.


My son loved thine.


And so did Lodowick him.


Lend me that weapon that did kill my son,

And it shall murder me.


Nay, madam, stay; that weapon was my son's,

And on that rather should Ferneze die.


Hold, let's inquire the causers of their deaths,

That we may 'venge their blood upon their heads.


Then take them up, and let them be interred

Within one sacred monument of stone;

Upon which altar1 I will offer up

My daily sacrifice of sighs and tears,

And with my prayers pierce impartial2 heavens,

Till they [reveal] the causers of our smarts,

Which forced their hands divide united hearts:

Come, Katherine, our losses equal are,

Then of true grief let us take equal share.

Exeunt with the bodies.

Scene 3[edit]

Enter Ithamore.


Why, was there ever seen such villainy,

So neatly plotted, and so well performed?

Both held in hand, and flatly both beguiled?

Enter Abigail.


Why, how now, Ithamore, why laugh'st thou so?


O mistress, ha! ha! ha!


Why, what ail'st thou?


O my master!




O mistress! I have the bravest, gravest, secret, subtle, bottle-nosed knave to my master, that ever gentleman had.


Say, knave, why rail'st upon my father thus?


O, my master has the bravest policy.




Why, know you not?


Why, no.


Know you not of Mathia[s'] and Don Lodo-wick['s] disaster?


No, what was it?


Why, the devil invented a challenge, my master writ it, and I carried it, first to Lodowick, and imprimis to Mathia[s].

And then they met, [and,] as the story says,

In doleful wise they ended both their days.


And was my father furtherer of their deaths?


Am I Ithamore?




So sure did your father write, and I carry the challenge.


Well, Ithamore, let me request thee this,

Go to the new-made nunnery, and inquire

For any of the Friars of St. Jaques,

And say, I pray them come and speak with me.


I pray, mistress, will you answer me but one question?


Well, sirrah, what is't?


A very feeling one; have not the nuns fine sport with the friars now and then?


Go to, sirrah sauce, is this your question? get ye gone.


I will, forsooth, mistress.



Hard-hearted father, unkind Barabas!

Was this the pursuit of thy policy!

To make me show them favour severally,

That by my favour they should both be slain?

Admit thou lov'dst not Lodowick for his sire,2

Yet Don Mathias ne'er offended thee:

But thou wert set upon extreme revenge,

Because the Prior dispossessed thee once,

And could'st not 'venge it, but upon his son;

Nor on his son, but by Mathias' means;

Nor on Mathias, but by murdering me.

But I perceive there is no love on earth,

Pity in Jews, or piety in Turks.

But here comes cursed Ithamore, with the friar.

Enter Ithamore and Friar Jacomo.

F. Jac. Virgo, salve.


When! duck you!


Welcome, grave friar; Ithamore, begone.

Exit Ithamore.

Know, holy sir, I am bold to solicit thee.

F. Jac.



To get me be admitted for a nun.

F. Jac.

Why, Abigail, it is not yet long since

That I did labour thy admission,

And then thou did'st not like that holy life.


Then were my thoughts so frail and unconfirmed,

And I was chained to follies of the world:

But now experience, purchasèd with grief,

Has made me see the difference of things.

My sinful soul, alas, hath paced too long

The fatal labyrinth of misbelief,

Far from the sun that gives eternal life.

F. Jac.

Who taught thee this?


The abbess of the house,

Whose zealous admonition I embrace:

O, therefore, Jacomo, let me be one,

F. Jac.

Abigail, I will, but see thou change no more,

For that will be most heavy to thy soul.


That was my father's fault.

F. Jac.

Thy father's! how?


Nay, you shall pardon me.—O Barabas,

Though thou deservest hardly at my hands,

Yet never shall these lips bewray thy life.


F. Jac.

Come, shall we go?


My duty waits on you.


Scene 4[edit]

Enter Barabas, reading a letter.


What, Abigail become a nun again!

False and unkind; what, hast thou lost thy father?

And all unknown, and unconstrained of me,

Art thou again got to the nunnery?

Now here she writes, and wills me to repent.

Repentance! Spurca! what pretendeth2 this?

I fear she knows—'tis so—of my device

In Don Mathias' and Lodovico's deaths:

If so, 'tis time that it be seen into:

For she that varies from me in belief

Gives great presumption that she loves me not;

Or loving, doth dislike of something done.—

But who comes here?

Enter Ithamore.

O Ithamore, come near;

Come near, my love; come near, thy master's life,

My trusty servant, nay, my second self:1

For I have now no hope but even in thee,

And on that hope my happiness is built.

When saw'st thou Abigail?




With whom?


A friar.


A friar! false villain, he hath done the deed.


How, sir?


Why, made mine Abigail a nun.


That's no lie, for she sent me for him.


O unhappy day!

False, credulous, inconstant Abigail!

But let 'em go: and, Ithamore, from hence

Ne'er shall she grieve me more with her disgrace;

Ne'er shall she live to inherit aught of mine,

Be blest of me, nor come within my gates,

But perish underneath my bitter curse,

Like Cain by Adam for his brother's death.


O master!


Ithamore, entreat not for her, I am moved,

And she is hateful to my soul and me:

And 'less thou yield to this that I entreat,

I cannot think but that thou hat'st my life.


Who, I, master? Why, I'll run to some rock,

And throw myself headlong into the sea;


O trusty Ithamore, no servant, but my friend:

I here adopt thee for mine only heir,

All that I have is thine when I am dead,

And whilst I live use half; spend as myself;

Here take my keys, I'll give 'em thee anon:

Go buy thee garments: but thou shall not want:

Only know this, that thus thou art to do:

But first go fetch me in the pot of rice


I hold my head my master's hungry. I go, sir.



Thus every villain ambles after wealth,

Although he ne'er be richer than in hope:

But, husht!

Enter Ithamore with the pot.


Here 'tis, master.


Well said, Ithamore; what, hast thou brought

The ladle with thee too?


Yes, sir, the proverb says he that eats with the devil had need of a long spoon.1 I have brought you a ladle.


Very well, Ithamore, then now be secret;

And for thy sake, whom I so dearly love,

Now shalt thou see the death of Abigail,

That thou may'st freely live to be my heir.


Why, master, will you poison her with a mess of rice porridge? that will preserve life, make her round and plump, and batten

more than you are aware.


Ay, but, Ithamore, seest thou this?

It is a precious powder that I bought

Of an Italian, in Ancona, once,

Whose operation is to bind, infect,

And poison deeply, yet not appear

In forty hours after it is ta'en.


How, master?


Thus, Ithamore.

This even they use in Malta here,—'tis called

Saint Jacques' Even,—and then I say they use

To send their alms unto the nunneries:

Among the rest bear this, and set it there;

There's a dark entry where they take it in,

Where they must neither see the messenger,

Nor make inquiry who hath sent it them.


How so?


Belike there is some ceremony in't.

There, Ithamore, must thou go place this pot!1

Stay, let me spice it first.


Pray do, and let me help you, master. Pray let me taste first.


Prythee do: what say'st thou now?


Troth, master, I'm loth such a pot of pottage should be spoiled.


Peace, Ithamore, 'tis better so than spared.

Assure thyself thou shalt have broth by the eye,2

My purse, my coffer, and myself is thine.


Well, master, I go.


Stay, first let me stir it, Ithamore.

As fatal be it to her as the draught

Of which great Alexander drunk and died:

And with her let it work like Borgia's wine,

Whereof his sire, the Pope, was poisonèd.

In few, the blood of Hydra, Lerna's bane:

The juice of hebon, and Cocytus' breath,

And all the poisons of the Stygian pool

Break from the fiery kingdom; and in this

Vomit your venom and invenom her

That like a fiend hath left her father thus.

“Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole

With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial.”


What a blessing has he given't! was ever pot of rice porridge so sauced! What shall I do with it?


O, my sweet Ithamore, go set it down,

And come again so soon as thou hast done,

For I have other business for thee.


Here's a drench to poison a whole stable of Flanders mares: I'll carry 't to the nuns with a powder.


And the horse pestilence to boot; away!


I am gone.

Pay me my wages, for my work is done.



I'll pay thee with a vengeance, Ithamore.


Scene 5[edit]

Enter Governor, Del Bosco, Knights, Basso.


Welcome, great Basso; how fares Calymath,

What wind thus drives you into Malta Road?


The wind that bloweth all the world besides,

Desire of gold.


Desire of gold, great sir?

That's to be gotten in the Western Ind:

In Malta are no golden minerals.


To you of Malta thus saith Calymath:

The time you took for respite is at hand,

For the performance of your promise passed,

And for the tribute-money I am sent.


Basso, in brief, 'shalt have no tribute here,

Nor shall the heathens live upon our spoil:

First will we raze the city walls ourselves,

Lay waste the island, hew the temples down,

And, shipping off our goods to Sicily,

Open an entrance for the wasteful sea,

Whose billows beating the resistless banks,

Shall overflow it with their refluence.


Well, Governor, since thou hast broke the league

By flat denial of the promised tribute,

Talk not of razing down your city walls,

You shall not need trouble yourselves so far,

For Selim Calymath shall come himself,

And with brass bullets batter down your towers,

And turn proud Malta to a wilderness

For these intolerable wrongs of yours;

And so farewell.



And now, ye men of Malta, look about,

And let's provide to welcome Calymath:

Close your portcullis, charge your basilisks,

And as you profitably take up arms,

So now courageously encounter them;

For by this answer, broken is the league,

And naught is to be looked for now but wars,

And naught to us more welcome is than wars.


Scene 6[edit]

Enter Friar Jacomoand Friar Barnardine.


O brother, brother, all the nuns are sick,

And physic will not help them: they must die.

F. Barn.

The abbess sent for me to be confessed:

O, what a sad confession will there be!

F. Jac.

And so did fair Maria send for me:

I'll to her lodging: hereabouts she lies.


F. Barn.

What, all dead, save only Abigail?


And I shall die too, for I feel death coming.

Where is the friar that conversed with me?

F. Barn.

O, he is gone to see the other nuns.


I sent for him, but seeing you are come,

Be you my ghostly father: and first know,

That in this house I lived religiously,

Chaste, and devout, much sorrowing for my sins;

But ere I came—

F. Barn.

What then?


I did offend high Heaven so grievously,

As I am almost desperate for my sins:

And one offence torments me more than all.

You knew Mathias and Don Lodowick?

F. Barn.

Yes, what of them?


My father did contract me to 'em both:

First to Don Lodowick; him I never loved;

Mathias was the man that I held dear,

And for his sake did I become a nun.

F. Barn.

So, say how was their end?


Both jealous of my love, envied each other,

And by my father's practice, which is there

Gives a paper.

Set down at large, the gallants were both slain.

F. Barn.

O monstrous villainy!


To work my peace, this I confess to thee;

Reveal it not, for then my father dies.

F. Barn.

Know that confession must not be revealed,

The canon law forbids it, and the priest

That makes it known, being degraded first,


So I have heard; pray, therefore keep it close.

Death seizeth on my heart: ah gentle friar,

Convert my father that he may be saved,

And witness that I die a Christian.


F. Barn.

Ay, and a virgin too; that grieves me most:

But I must to the Jew and exclaim on him,

And make him stand in fear of me.

Enter Friar Jacomo.

F. Jac.

O brother, all the nuns are dead, let's bury them.

F. Barn.

First help to bury this, then go with me And help me to exclaim against the Jew.

F. Jac.

Why, what has he done?

F. Barn.

A thing that makes me tremble to unfold.

F. Jac.

What, has he crucified a child?

F. Barn.

No, but a worse thing: 'twas told me in shrift,

Thou know'st 'tis death an if it be revealed.

Come, let's away.