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ELIZABETHAN PLAYS:

THE JEW OF MALTA, by Marlowe ;
THE ALCHEMIST, by Jonson ;
PHILASTER, by Beaumont and Fletcher;
THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN,

by Fletcher and Shakespeare ;
THE DUCHESS OF MALFI, by Webster.

EDITED BY

WILLIAM ROSCOE THAYER,

AUTHOR OF
“ The CONFESSIONS OF HERMES, AND OTHER Poems”; “Hesper:

AN AMERICAN DRAMA,” ETC.

BOSTON, U.S.A.:
GINN & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS.

1895.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1890, by:

WILLIAM ROSCOE THAYER, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

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TYPOGRAPHY BY J. S. CUSHING & Co., BOSTON, U.S.A.

PRESSWORK BY GINN & COMPANY, Boston, U.S.A

GIFT

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PREFACE.

My object in this volume is to present specimens of the

Y object in this volume is to

best work of the five Elizabethan dramatists who stand highest among Shakespeare's contemporaries. Collections of separate scenes and special editions of single plays have frequently been made, and they have their value; but it seemed to me that in binding together the masterpieces which follow, I should enable not only the general reader but also the college student to taste the quality of Shakespeare's rivals, and thereby to esteem the more adequately Shakespeare himself. Few persons possess the fifteen or twenty large volumes in which the Elizabethan drama is published, and fewer still have the time or the patience to plod through many tedious or dirty pages in order to come upon the treasures they contain. For, just as a traveller in an Oriental city is often obliged to turn his eyes from some mosque or graceful minaret to the ground beneath his feet so as to avoid ordure and garbage, so the reader of the Elizabethan plays has his attention often distracted, and his sense of decency shocked by the vulgarity of many passages in them. This coarseness was due in part to the habit of the time, when men spoke openly to each other and even to women on subjects about which we are, if not ignorant, at least reticent, and in part to the deliberate effort of the playwright to please the vulgarest persons in the audience. But as filth is always filth, though it be

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