Black Skin on the Jacobean Stage

William Shakespeare, Othello (1604), in The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J. J. M. Tobin, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997):

  Iago.  'Zounds, sir, you're robb'd; for shame, put on your gown;
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul;
Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe. Arise, arise;
Awake the snorting citizens with the bell,
Or else the devil will make a grandsire of you:
Arise, I say. (1.1.86-92)

John Marston, The Wonder of Women or The Tragedie of Sophonisba (London: John Windet, 1606):

Vangue. An Ethiopian slaue. (“Interlocutores”)

Ben Jonson, The Masque of Blacknesse (1605), in The Characters of Two Royall Masques (London: G. Eld for Thomas Thorp, 1608):

PLINIE, SOLINVS, PTOLOMAEE, and of late LEO the African, remember vnto vs a riuer in Aethiopia, famous by the name of Niger; of which the people were called Nigritae, now Negro's: & are the blackest nation of the world. This riuer taketh spring out of a certain Lake, east-ward; & after a long race, falleth into the westerne Ocean. Hence (because it was her Maiesties will, to haue them Black-mores at first) the inuention was deriued by me, & presented thus.

NIGER, in forme and colour of an Aethiope; his haire, and rare beard curled, shadowed with a blew, and bright mantle: his front, neck, and wrists adorned with Pearle, and crowned, with an artificiall wreath of Cane, and Paper-rush.

For were the World, with all his wealth, a Ring,
BRITANIA (whose new name makes all tongues sing)
Might be a Diamant worthy to inchase it,
Rul'd by a SVNNE, that to this height doth grace it:
Whose Beames shine day, and night, and are of force
To blanche an AETHIOPE, and reuiue a Cor's.
His light scientiall is, and (past mere nature)
Can salue the rude defects of euery creature. 

Ben Jonson, The Masque of Beauty (1608), in The Characters of Two Royall Masques (London: G. Eld for Thomas Thorp, 1608):

Two yeares being now past, that her Maiesty had intermitted these delights, and the third almost come; it was her Highnesse plea|sure againe to glorifie the Court, & command that I should thinke on some fit presentment, which should answere the former, still keeping them the same persons, the Daughters of NIGER, but their beauties varied, according to promise.

Ben Jonson, The Gypsies Metamorphosed (1621), in vol. 2 of The Workes of Benjamin Jonson, ed. Kenelm Digby (London: John Beale, James Dawson, Bernard Alsop and Thomas Fawcet for Richard Meighen and Thomas Walkley, 1641):

  Pat.  Is this worth your wonder!
Nay then you shall under-
Stand more of my skill
I can (for I will)
Here at Burley o' the Hill
Give you all your fill.
Each Jack with his Gill,
And shew you the king,
The prince too, and bring
The gipsies were here,
Like lords to appear,
With such their attenders,
As you thought offenders,
Who now become new men,
You'll know them for true men;
For he we call chief,
I'll tell't ye in brief,
Is so far from a thief.
As he gives ye relief
With his bread, beer, and beef.
And 'tis not long sin'e
Ye drank of his wine,
And it made you fine.

William Rowley, All's Lost by Lust (1618-20), anonymous ed. (London: Thomas Harper, 1633):

Enter Mully Mumen King of the Moores.
  Mull.  Descend thy spheare, thou burning Diety,
Haste from our shame, go blushing to thy bed,
Thy sonnes we are, thou ouerlasting bll,
Yet never shamde these our impressive brows
Till now; we that are stampt with thine owne seale,
Which the whole ocean cannot wash away
Shall those cold ague cheeks that nature moulds
Within her winter shop, those smoothe white kins,
That with a plsey hand she paint the limbes,
Make us recoyle. (2.3)

  [Mo.]  Vpon this stayre we do ascend our throne,
Give us our title.
  O.  Long live Mullimumen King of Spaine….
  [Mo.]  Let Chroniclers write, here we begin our raigne,
The first of Moores that ere was King of Spaine. (5.5)