Black Skin on the Elizabethan Stage

John Lyly, Sapho and Phao (London: Thomas Cadman, 1584):

  Molus.  Calipho, I will proue thee to bee the diuell.
  Caly.  Then will I sweare thee to bee a God.
  Molus.  The diuell is black.
  Caly.  What care I.
  Molus.  Thou art black.
  Caly.  What care you.
  Molus.  Therfore thou art the diuell.
  Caly.  I denie that.
  Molus.  It is the conclusion, thou must not denie it. (2.3)

Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine the Great, Part II (London: Richard Jones, 1590):

  Tech.  And, mighty Tamburlaine, our earthly God,
Whose looks make this inferior world to quake,
I here present thee with the crowne of Fesse,
And with an hoste of Moores trainde to the war,
Whose coleblacke faces make their foes retire,
And quake for feare, as if infernall Ioue,
Meaning to aid them in this Turkish armes,
Should pierce the blacke circumference of hell,
With vgly Furies bearing fiery flags,
And millions of his strong tormenting word. (1.6)

William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (1593-94), in The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J. J. M. Tobin, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997):

  [Aar.]  O how this villainy
Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!
Let fools do good, and fair men call for grace,
Aaron will have his soul black like his face. (3.1.202-05)

George Peele, The Battell of Alcazar (London: Edward Allde for Richard Bankworth, 1594):

Enter the Presenter.
  Honor the spurre that pricks the princely minde,
To followe rule and climbe the stately chaire,
With great desire inflames the Portingall,
An honorable and couragious king,
To vndertake a dangerous dreadfull warre,
And aide with christian armes the barbarous Moore,
The Negro Muly Hamet that with-holds
The kingdome from his vnkle Abdilmelec,
Whom proud Abdallas wrongd,
And in his throne instals his cruell sonne,
That now vsurps vpon this prince,
This braue Barbarian Lord Muly Molocco.
The passage to the crowne by murder made,
Abdallas dies, and deisnes this tyrant king,
Of whome we treate sprong from the Arabian moore
Blacke in his looke, and bloudie in his deeds,
And in his shirt staind with a cloud of gore,
Presents himselfe with naked sword in hand,
Accompanied as now you may behold,
With deuils coted in the shapes of men. (A2)

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (1596-97), in The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J. J. M. Tobin, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997):

  [Serv.]  There is a forerunner come from a fift, the Prince of Morocco, who brings word the Prince his master will be here to-night.
  Por.  If I could bid the fift welcome with so good heart as I bid the other four farewell, I should be glad of his approach. If he have the condition of a saint and the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me. (1.2.124-31)

George Chapman, The Blinde Begger of Alexandria (London: J. Roberts for William Iones, 1598):

Enter a messenger.
Arme arme my Lord, my Lords to instant armes,
Foure mightie kinges are landed in thy coast,
And threaten death and ruine to thy land,
Blacke Porus the Aethiopian king,
Comes marching first with twentie thousand men.

Attributed to Thomas Dekker, Lust’s Dominion (ca. 1600), ed. Francis Kirkman (London: Francis Kirkman, 1657):

  Eleaz.  I cannot ride through the Castilian streets
But thousand eies through windows, and through doors
Throw killing looks at me, and every flave
At Eleazar darts a finger out,
And every hissing tongue cries, There's the Moor,
That's he that makes a Cuckold of our King,
there go's the Minion of the Spanish Queen;
That's the black Prince of Divels. (1.1)

  King Port.  Poor Spain, how is the body of thy peace
Mangled and torn by an ambitious Moor! (4.1)

  Phil.  And for this Barbarous Moor, and his black train,
Let all the Moors be banished from Spain! (5.6)