Imagens das páginas

inveniet quod Deus disposuit. Ista tria ostendit puellæ, et dixit, Si unum ex istis elegeris in quo commodum, et proficuum est, filium meum habebis. Si vero elegeris quod nec tibi nec aliis est commodum, ipsum non habebis." The young lady, after mature consideration of the vessels and their inscriptions, chuses the leaden, which being opened, and found to be full of gold and precious stones, the emperor says: "Bona puella, bene elegisti-ideo filium meum habebis."

From this abstract of these two stories, I think it appears sufficiently plain that they are the remote originals of the two incidents in this play. That of the caskets, Shakspeare might take from the English Gesta Romanorum, as Dr. Farmer has observed; and that of the bond might come to him from the Pecorone; but upon the whole I am rather inclined to suspect, that he has followed some hitherto unknown novellist, who had saved him the trouble of working up the two stories into one, TYRWHITT.

This comedy, I believe, was written in the year 1594. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays. MALONE.

Duke of Venice.

Prince of Morocco,

Prince of Arragon,

Suitors to Portia.

ANTONIO, the merchant of Venice:

BASSANIO, his friend.


SALARINO, Friends to Antonio and Bassanio.


LORENZO, in love with Jessica.


TUBAL, a Jew, his friend.

LAUNCELOT GOBBO, a clown, servant to Shylock.

OLD GOBBO, father to Launcelot.

SALERIO, a messenger from Venice.

LEONARDO, servant to Bassanio.


Servants to Portia.


PORTIA, a rich heiress.

NERISSA, her waiting-maid.
JESSICA, daughter to Shylock.

Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice, Jailer, Servants, and other Attendants.

SCENE, partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont, the Seat of Portia, on the Continent.

In the old editions in quarto, for J. Roberts, 1600, and in the old folio, 1623, there is no enumeration of the persons. It was first made by Mr. Rowe. JOHNSON.

2 It is not easy to determine the orthography of this name. In the old editions the owner of it is called-Salanio, Salino, and Solanio. STEEVENS.

3 This character I have restored to the Persona Dramatis. The name appears in the first folio: the description is taken from the quarto. STEEVENS.



Venice. A Street.


ANT. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad ;
It wearies me; you say, it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn ;

And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.

SALAR. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
There, where your argosies with portly sail,—



argosies -] A name given in our author's time to ships of great burthen, probably galleons, such as the Spaniards now use in their West India trade. JOHNSON.

In Ricaut's Maxims of Turkish Polity, ch. xiv. it is said, "Those vast carracks called argosies, which are so much famed for the vastness of their burthen and bulk, were corruptly so denominated from Ragosies," i. e. ships of Ragusa, a city and territory on the gulf of Venice, tributary to the Porte. If my memory does not fail me, the Ragusans lent their last great ship to the King of Spain for the Armada, and it was lost on the coast of Ireland. Shakspeare, as Mr. Heath observes, has given the name of Ragozine to the pirate in Measure for Measure.


Argosies are properly defined to be "ships of great burthen," and so they are described almost wherever they are mentioned, Mr. Steevens has quoted Rycaut's Maxims of Turkish Polity, to shew that the term originated in a corruption of Ragosies, i. e. ships of Ragusa. However specious this may appear, it is to be observed that Rycaut, a writer at the end of the seventeenth

Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood",
Or, as it were the pageants of the sea,—
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curt'sy to them, do them reverence,

As they fly by them with their woven wings.

SALAN. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth, The better part of my affections would Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind; Peering' in maps, for ports, and piers, and roads; And every object that might make me fear Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt, Would make me sad.

century, only states it as a matter of report, not as a fact; and he seems to have followed the slight authority of Roberts's Marchant's Map of Commerce. If any instance shall be produced of the use of such a word as ragosie, the objection must be given up. In the mean time it may be permitted to hazard another opinion, which is, that the word in question derives its origin from the famous ship Argo; and indeed Shakspeare himself appears to have hinted as much; for the story of Jason is twice adverted to in the course of this play. On one of these occasions Gratiano certainly alludes to Antonio's argosie when he says:

"We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece." Act III. Sc. II. Gregory of Tours has more than once made use of Argis to express a ship generally. Douce.


burghers or the flood,] Both ancient and modern editors have hitherto been content to read-" burghers on the flood," though a parallel passage in As You Like It


native burghers of this desolate city," might have led to the present correction. STEEVENS.

The "signiors and rich burghers on the flood" are the Venetians, who may well be said to live on the sea.


6 Plucking the grass, &c.] By holding up the grass, or any light body that will bend by a gentle blast, the direction of the wind is found:

"This way I used in shooting. When I was in the mydde way betwixt the markes, which was an open place, there I toke a fethere, or a lyttle light grasse, and so learned how the wind stood." Ascham. JOHNSON.

7 Peering] Thus the old quarto printed by Hayes, that by Roberts, and the first folio. The quarto of 1637, a book of no authority, reads-prying. MALONE.

SALAR. My wind, cooling my broth, Would blow me to an ague, when I thought What harm a wind too great might do at sea. I should not see the sandy hour-glass run, But I should think of shallows and of flats; And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand, Vailing her high-top lower than her ribs ',


To kiss her burial. Should I go to church,
And see the holy edifice of stone,

And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks?
Which touching but my gentle vessel's side,
Would scatter all her spices on the stream;
Enrobe the roaring waters with my silks;
And, in a word, but even now worth this,

And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought To think on this; and shall I lack the thought, That such a thing, bechanc'd, would make me sad? But, tell not me; I know, Antonio


Andrew] The name of the ship. JOHNSON.


-DOCK'D in sand,] The old copies have-docks. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.

I VAILING her high top lower than her ribs,] In Bullokar's English Expositor, 1616, to vail, is thus explained: "It means to put off the hat, to strike sail, to give sign of submission." So, in Stephen Gosson's book, called Playes confuted in several Actions:


They might have valed and bended to the king's idol." It signifies also-to lower, to let down. Thus, in the ancient metrical romance of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 60:


'They avaled the brigge and lete them yn."

Again, (as Mr. Douce observes to me,) in Hardynge's Chronicle:

"And by th' even their sayles avaled were set." Again, in Middleton's Blurt Master Constable, 1602: "I'll vail my crest to death for her dear sake."

Again, in The Fair Maid of the West, 1613, by Heywood:

it did me good

"To see the Spanish carveil vail her top
"Unto my mayden flag."


A carvel is a small vessel. It is mentioned by Raleigh, and I often meet with the word in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607. STEEVENS.

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