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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 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.
THE MERCHANT OF
SCENE I.–VENICE.(A) SAINT MARK'S PLACE.(B) Various groups of Nobles, Citizens, Merchants, Foreigners,
Water-Carriers, Flower Girls, gc., pass and repass.
ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO come forward.
Salar. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
Sal. Believe me, Sir, had I such venture forth,
* 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.
Peering in maps, for ports, and piers, and roads ;
My wind, cooling my broth,
Salar. Why, then, you are in love.
Sal. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare
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.
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;
Ant. I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano;
Let me play the fool.: 6
heart cool with mortifying groans.
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.