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some adventures, which are nothing to the present pur. pose,) she is brought before the emperor ; who says to her, “ Puella, propter amorem filii mei multa adversa sustimisti. - Tamen si digna fueris ut uxor ejus sis cito probabo. Et fecit fieri tria vasa. PRIMUM fuit de auro purissimo & lapidibus pretiosis interius ex omni parte, & plenum ossibus mortuorum : & exterius erat subscriptio , Qui me elegerit, in me inveniet quod meruit. SECUNDUM vas erat de argento puro & gemmis pretiosis, plenum terra ; & exterius erat subscriptio ; Qui me elegerit, in me inveniet quod natura appetit. TERTIUM vas de plumbo plenum lapidibus pretiosis interius & gemmis nobilissimis; & exterius erat subscriptio talis : Qui me elegerit, in me inveniet quod deus disposuit. Ista tria ostendit puellæ, & dixit, si unum ex istis elegeris in quo commodum, & 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, Shakespeare 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 novelist, who had saved him the trouble of working up the two stories into one.


This comedy, I believe, was written in the beginning of the year 1598. Meres's book was not published till the end of that year.” See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakespeare's Plays, Vol. II.



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Duke of Venice.
Prince of Morocco,

suitors to Portia.
Prince of Arragon, S
Antonio, the merchant of Venice :
BASSANIO, his friend.
SALARINO, friends to Antonio and Bassanio.
LORENZO, in love with Jessica.
ShyLock, a Jew.
TUBAL, U Jew, his friend.
LAUNCELOT Gobbo, a clown, servani 10 Shylock.
Old Gobbo, father to Launcelot.
SALERIO, a messenger from Venice.
LEONARDO, servant to Bassanio.

servants to Portia. STEPHANO,

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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.

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SCENE I.--Venice. A Street. Enter ANTONIO, SALARI

No, and SALANIO.

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,
Like signiors and rich burghers of 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.

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.

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

.[2] 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. Betwixt the markes was an open place, there I take a fethere, or a lyllle light grasse, and so learned how the wind stood." Ascham. JOHNSON. 10 Vol. II


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