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Adapted from the Text of the Cambridge Editors, with Introductory Remarks, &c.,

BY HENRY L. HINTON.

NEW YORK:

PUBLISHED BY HURD & HOUGHTON,

459 BROOME STREET.

OF THE

WORKS OF J. FENIMORE COOPER.

Printed on tinted paper from clear and handsome type. Each volume contains two engravings on steel, from drawings by F. O. C. DARLEY, engraved in pure line and etching, and several sketches on wood. In thirty-two volumes, crown 8vo.

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HOUSEHOLD EDITION.

Printed on fine white paper, and handsomely bound. In thirty-two volumes,

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The Leather-Stocking Tales, five volumes, comprising:

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HURD AND HOUGHTON, Publishers,

459 Broome Street, New York.

SHAKESPEARE'S

COMEDY OF

THE MERCHANT OF

VENICE

AS PRODUCED BY

EDWIN BOOTH.

Adapted from the Text of the Cambridge Editors, with Introductory Remarks, &c.,

BY HENRY L. HINTON.

NEW YORK:

PUBLISHED BY HURD & HOUGHTON,

459 BROOME STREET.

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In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.

INTRODUCTION.

THE Merchant of Venice was the first of those greater dramas of Shakespeare which were written in what has been termed the middle period of the poet's career. The materials from which Shakespeare prepared the plot, or, more properly speaking, the plots, of this play, seem to have been derived from various sources. But they receive all their interest from the heightening touch of the poetic artist.

This play was one of those of our author's productions which were severely handled by the improvers' of the latter part of the seventeenth century. Indeed, it was not until Macklin restored the original text, in 1741, that the presumptuous improvements' of this play were banished from the stage. Macklin's adaptation is the one familiar to the theatre of

to-day.

Some may ask: Why make an adaptation at all? why not give the play as Shakespeare composed it? Such should remember, that Shakespeare wrote in a primitive day of stage machinery. His auditors did not demand completeness in scenic effects, properties, and costumes, as do those of our time. A compliance with these modern demands, sometimes necessitates a transposition of scenes, and often a new division of acts and scenes.

Of the performance of this play prior to the restoration of the monarchy, there appear to be no detailed accounts. Richard Burbage, one of the company of which Shakespeare was a member, was the original representative of Shylock. He is spoken of as playing the part in a red beard and wig, a garb adopted, no doubt, to make him the more odious, and to suit the popular appetite of the time.

The

In 1663, Charles II. granted patents for two theatres in London. drama again rose and flourished. But what of Shylock? The Jew's

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