Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

render it again palpable to the traveller who has actually gazed upon the seat of its departed glory; and, at the same time, to exhibit it to the student, who has never visited this once

pleasant place of all festivity,
“ The tevel of the earth, the masque of Italy."

The far-famed place of St. Mark, with its ancient Church, the Rialto and its Bridge, the Canals and Gondolas, the Historic Columns, the Ducal Palace, and the Council Chamber, are successively presented to the spectator. Venice is re-peopled with the past, affording truth to the eye, and reflection to the mind.

The introduction of the Princes of Morocco and Arragon at Belmont, hitherto omitted, is restored, for the purpose of more strictly adhering to the author's text, and of heightening the interest attached to the episode of the caskets.

The costumes and customs are represented as existing about the year 1600, when Shakespeare wrote the play. The dresses are chiefly selected from a work by Cesare Vecellio, entitled “Degli Habiti Antichi e Moderni di diverse Parti del Mondo. In Venetia, 1590;" as well as from other sources to be found in the British Museum, whence I derive my authority for the procession of the Doge in the first scene.

If the stage is to be considered and upheld as an institution from which instructive and intellectual enjoyment may be derived, it is to Shakespeare we must look as the principal teacher, to inculcate its most valuable lessons. It is, therefore, a cause of self-gratulation, that I have on many occasions been able, successfully, to present some of the works of the greatest dramatic genius the world has known, to more of my countrymen than have ever witnessed them within the same space of time; and let me hope it will not be deemed presumptuous to record the pride I feel at having been so fortunate a medium between our national poet and the people of England.

CHARLES KEAN.

THE MERCHANT OF

VENICE.

ACT I.

SCENE I.–VENICE.(A) SAINT MARK'S PLACE.(B) Various groups of Nobles, Citizens, Merchants, Foreigners,

Water-Carriers, Flower Girls, gc., pass and repass.
Procession of the Doge, in state, across the square.'

ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO come forward.
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,
Like signiors and rich burghers on the flood,
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curt'sy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.

Sal. 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;

* This procession is copied from a print in the British Museum, by Josse Amman, who died in 1591.

argosies). A name given, in our author's time, to ships of great burthen. The name is supposed by some to be derived from the classical ship, Argo, as a vessel eminently famous.

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

[ocr errors]

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.
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.
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
Is sad to think

upon

his merchandize.
Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it,
My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
Nor to one place; nor is my whole estate
Upon the fortune of this present year:
Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad.

Salar. Why, then, you are in love.
Ant.

Fie, fie!
Salar. Not in love, neither? Then let us say you are sad,
Because you are not merry: an 'twere as easy
For you to laugh and leap, and say you are merry,
Because you are not sad.

Sal. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare

you

well; We leave you now with better company. Salar. I would have staid till I had made

nerry, If worthier friends had not prevented me.

Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard.
I take it your own business calls on you,
And you embrace the occasion to depart.

my wealthy Andrew] The name of the ship. Vailing her high-top] To rail is “ to lower,” or “let fall."

Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATTANO. Salar. Good morrow, my good lords. Bas. Good signiors, both, when shall we laugh? Say,

when You grow exceeding strange: Must it be so? Salar. We'll make our leisures to attend on yours.

[E.ceunt SALARINO and SALANIO. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio, We two will leave you; but at dinner-time I pray you

have in mind where we must meet. Bas. I will not fail you.

Gra. You look not well, Si Antonio;
You have too much respect upon the world :
They lose it that do buy it with much care.
Believe me, you are marvellously chang'a.

Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Grà.

Let me play the fool.: 6
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come;
And let my liver rather heat with wine,
Than

my

heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire, cut in alabaster?
Sleep when he wakes ? and creep into the jaundice
By being peevish? I tell thee what, Antonio,
I love thee, and it is my love that speaks ;-
There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond :
And do a wilful stillness entertain,

6. Let me play the fool :] Alluding to the common comparison of human life to a stage-play. So that he desires his may be the fool's or buffoon's part, which was a constant character in the old farces ; from whence came the phrase, to play the fool.

WARBURTON. whose visages do cream). The poet here alludes to the manner in which the film extends itself over milk in scalding; and he had the same appearance in his eye when writing a foregoing line: "With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

HENLEY, a wilful stillness entertain,] id est, an obstinate silence.

8

« AnteriorContinuar »