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As it hath lately beene Acted on the Fortune-stage by the Prince
his Players.




Printed at London for Thomas Archer, and are to be sold at his
Shop in Popes head-pallace, neere the Royall
Exchange, 1611.

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MARY FRITH; or, Moll Cut-purse, the name by which she was usually distinguished, was, as Mr. Granger observes (see Supplement to his Biographical History, 4to. 256.) p. a woman of a masculine spirit "and make, who was commonly supposed to have "been an hermaphrodite, practised, or was instrumental "to almost every crime and wild frolick which is noto"rious in the most abandoned eccentric of both sexes. "She was infamous as a prostitute and a procuress, a "fortune-teller, a pick-pocket, a thief, and a receiver " of stolen goods: she was also concerned with a dex "trous scribe in forging hands. Her most signal ex

ploit was robbing General Fairfax upon Hounslow"Heath, for which she was sent to Newgate; but was,




by a proper application of a large sum of money, soon "set at liberty. She died of the dropsy, in the 75th year of her age; but would probably have died sooner, if she had not smoked tobacco, in the frequent use of which she had long indulged herself."* Mr. Steevens says (Note to Twelfth Night, A. 1. S. 3.), that on the Books of the Stationers Company, August 1610, is entered "A Booke called the Madde "Prancks of Merry Mall of the Bankside, with her walks "in man's apparel, and to what purpose. Written by "John Day."-Nathaniel Field, in his Amends for Ladies, a Comedy, 1639 [1618], gives the following character of her:





- Hence, lewd impudent!

"I know not what to term thee, man or woman,


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For nature, shaming to acknowledge thee

"For either, hath produc'd thee to the world
"Without a sex: some say that thou art woman,

* Mrs. Mary Frith, alias Moll Cut-purse, born in Barbican, the daughter of a shoemaker, died at her house in Fleet-street, next the Globe Tavern, July 26, 1659, and was buried in the church of Saint Bridget's. She left twenty pounds by her will, for the conduit to run with wine when King Charles the Second returned, which happened in a short time after. From a MS. in the British Museum. N.




"Others, a man; to many thou art both
"Woman and man; but I think rather neither;
"Or man, or horse, as Centaurs old was feign'd."

"A life of this woman was likewise published in "12mo. in 1662, with her portrait before it in a male "habit; an ape, a lion, and an eagle by him."*

It is probable she died about the time of this second publication of her life. In the play of The Feign'd Astrologer, 1668, p. 62. she is mentioned as being then dead:

"We cannot do that neither in quiet,

"So many have found his lodging out:

"And now, Moll Cut-purse, that oracle of felonie
"Is dead, there's not a pocket pickt,
"But hee's acquainted with it.”

The following Epigram on her is taken from an ancient collection, intitled "Runne and a great Cast." The second Bowle, by Thomas Freeman, 4to. 1614.

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They say Mol's honest, and it may bee so,
"But yet it is a shrewd presumption, no:
"To touch but pitch, 'tis knowne it will defile,
"Moll weares the breech, what may she be the while;
"Sure shee that doth the shadow so much grace,
"What will shee when the substance comes in place."

* She did open penance on the 11th Feb. 1611-12. mer's Supp. Apol. 445. O. G.

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THE fashion of play-making I can properly compare to nothing so naturally as the alteration in apparel; for in the time of the Great-crop-doublet, your huge bombasted plays, quilted with mighty words to lean purpose, was only then in fashion. And as the doublet fell, neater inventions began to set up. Now in the time of spruceness, our plays follow the niceness of our Garments; single plots, quaint conceits, lecherous jests, drest up in hanging sleeves, and those are fit for the Times, and the 'Termers: such a kind of lightcolour Summer stuff, mingled with divers colours, you shall find this published Comedy, good to keep you in an afternoon from dice at home in your chambers: and for venery you shall find enough for six-pence, but

1 Termers:] This word was formerly applied to persons of ill repute, both male and female. See Note 13 to The Goblins, vol X. Dekker in The Belman of London, 1616, Sign H 3, speaking of the practises of the cheats in his time, says, "they allot such countries "to this Band of Foists, such townes to those, and such a Citty to "so many Nips: whereupon some of these BooTHALERS are called "TERMERS and they ply Westminster-hall: Michaelmas Terme is their "harvest, and they sweat in it harder than reapers or haymakers "doe at their works in the heat of summer."


2 for six-pence,] The price of a Play at this time, as will appear from the following instances: Law Tricks, by John Day, 1608, Address from the Book to the Reader, concludes: "Thine or any "man's for a testar."

Verses by W. B. (probably William Browne) prefixed to The Bondman:

""Tis granted for your Twelve-pence you did sit,
"And see and hear, and understood not yet;
"The Author in a Christian Pity takes

"Care of your good, and prints it for your sakes,
"That such as will but venture Six-pence more,


May know what they but saw and heard before."

Randolph's Address to the Reader prefixed to The Jealous Lovers,

4to. 1632:"Courteous Reader, I beg thy pardon, if I put thee to "the expence of a six-pence, and the loss of an hour."

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