Physical Deformity on the Jacobean Stage

Thomas Heywood, The Fayre Mayde of the Exchange (London: Valentine Simmes for Henry Rockit, 1607):

  Phil. & Vrsu.  Helpe, helpe.
  Crip.  Marry and will, knew I but where, and how.
What do I see?
Theeues full of lust beset virginitie!
Now stirre thee cripple, and of thy foure legs
Make vse of one, to doe a virgin good:
Hence rauening curres: what, are you at a prey?
Will nothing satisfie your greedy chappes
But virgins flesh? Ile teach you prey on carrion,
Packe damned rauishers, hence villaines.
Fight & beat them away. (B2)

  [Crip.]  Knowing my vnworthy selfe
Too foule for such a beautie, and too base
To match in brightnesse with that sacred comet.
That shines like Phaebus in Londons Element;
From whence inferior starres deriue their light:
Wherefore I will immediatly you take
My crooked habite, and in that disguise
Court her, yea win her, for she will be wonne,
This will I doe, to pleasure you my friend.
  Frank.  For which my loue to thee shall neuer end.
  Crip.  About it then, assume this shape of mine. (H3)

[Fran.]  Am I not like my selfe in this disguise,
Crooked in shape, and crooked in my thoughts
Then am I a Cripple right. (H3-H4)

  [Fran.]  Now would the substance of this borrowed shape
Were here in presence, and see where he comes,
Enter the Cripple.
Poore in the well framd limbes of nature, but
Rich in kindnesse beyond comparison.
Welcome deere friend, the kindest soule aliue,
Here I resigne thy habite backe againe. (I2) 

William Shakespeare, The Tempest (1611), in The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J. J. M. Tobin, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997):

  Pros.  This misshapen knave –
His mother was a witch, and one so strong
That could control the moon, make flows and ebs,
And deal in her command without her power,
These three have robb’d me, and this demi-devil
(For he’s a bastard one) had plotted with them
To take my life. Two of these fellows you
Must know and own, this thing of darkness I
Acknowledge mine. (5.1.268-76)

Thomas Heywood, The Brazen Age (London: Nicholas Okes for Samuel Rand, 1613):

  Pyrag.  I heard her once mocke that polt-foote of yours
How came it pray?
  Vulcan.  I'le tell thee man, I was when I was borne
A pretty smug knaue, and my father Ioue
Delighted much to dance me in his lap.
Vpon a time as hee was toying with mee
In his high house aboue, that Phaeton
Had at that instant set the world a fire,
My father when he saw heauens bases smoake,
Th'earth burne, and Neptunes broth to seeth with heate;
But startles vp to thunder-strike the lad,
And lets me fall: downe tumbled I towards the earth:
I fell through all the Planets by degrees,
From Saturne first, so by the Moone at last:
And from the Moone downe into Lemnos Isle
Where I still liue, and halt vpon my fall,
No maruell if't lam'd mee, for, Pyragmon.
How high I tumbled, who can gesse aright,
Falling a Summers day from morne to night? (I1)

John Fletcher, Cupids Reuenge (London: Thomas Creede for Josias  Harison, 1615):

  [Cl.]  Zoylus your Brothers Dwarfe went out but now.
  Hidas.  I thinke twas he: how brauely he past by:
Is he not growne a goodly Gentleman?
  Cleo.  A goodly Gentleman Madame?
He is the most deformed fellow i'the Land.
  Hidas.  O blasphemy! he may perhaps to thee
Appeare deform'd, for he is indeed
Vnlike a man: his shape and colours are
Beyond the Art of Painting; he is like
Nothing that we haue seene, yet doth resemble
Apollo, as I oft haue fancied him,
When rising from his bedde he sturres himselfe,
And shakes day from his hayre.
  Cleo.  He resembles Apollos Recorder….
  Cleo.  Zoylus is heere Madame.
  Hida.  Hee's there indeed.
Now be thine owne Iudge; see thou worse then mad,
Is he  deformed? looke vpon those eyes,
That let all pleasure out into the world,
Vnhappy that they cannot see themselues.
Looke on his hayre, that like so many beames,
Streaking the East, shoore light ore halfe the world.
Looke on him all together, who is made
As if two Natures had contention
About their skill, and one had brought foorth him.
  Zoyl.  Ha, ha, ha: Madame, though Nature
Hath not giuen mee so much
As others in my outward shew;
I beare a heart as loyall vnto you
In this vnsightly body (which you please
To make your myrth) as many others doe
That are farre more be friended in their births:
Yet I could wish my selfe much more deformed
Then yet I am, so I might make your Grace
More merry then you are, ha, ha, ha. (C2) 

Thomas Heywood, The Iron Age (London: Nicholas Okes, 1632):

  [Ther]  What if Thersites sprucely smug'd himselfe,
And striu'd to hide his hutch-backe: No not I.
Tis held a rule, whom Nature markes in show
And most deformes, they are best arm'd below. (1.3.1)

Courtier? tush, I from
My first discretion haue abhor'd that name,
Still suiting my conditions with my shape. (1.3.1)
  [Achi]  Deformed slaue. (1.3.1)

  Ther.  And I Thersites, lame and impotent,
What honour canst thou get by killing mee? (1.4.1)

  Syn.  Sure there is something
Aboue a common man in yon same fellow,
Whom nature hath so markt, and were his mind
As crooked as his body, hee were one
I could bee much in loue with….
Thou haft a face like mine, that feares no weather·
A shape that warre it selfe cannot deforme:
I best loue such complexions.
  Ther.  By the gods
Wee haue two meeting soules: be my sweete Vrchin·
  Syn.  I will,
An thou shalt bee mine vgly Toade. (Part 2.1.1) 

Thomas Heywood, Loves Maistresse: or, The Queens Masque (London: Robert Raworth for John Crowch, 1636):

  [Ven.]  For thee,
As crooked in thy manners as thy shape;
I thought, great foole, you durst not harbor him.
  Vul.  No more I did, sweete wife. (I1)