Imagens das páginas

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 novelist, who had saved him the trouble of working up the two stories into one. TYRWHITT.

This comedy, I believe, was written in the beginning of the year 1594. Meres's book was not published till the end of that year.





Duke of VENICE.
Prince of MOROCCO,

suitors to PORTIA.
Prince of ARRAGON,
ANTONIO, the Merchant of VENICE:
BASSANIO, his friend.
LORENZO, in love with JESSICA.
SHYLOCK, a Jew :
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, STEPHANO,


PORTIA, a rich heiress.
NERISSA, her waiting-maid.
JESSICA, daughter to SHYLOCK.

Magnificoes of VENICË, 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.

1 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.

? 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 Personæ Dramatis. The name appears in the first folio: the description is taken from the quarto. STEEVENS.

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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


the pageants Do overpeer the petty traffickers,

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of the sea,


-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 Policy, 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; but the word may have derived its origin from the famous ship Argo.

ti.e. The Venetians, who may well be said to live on the sea. Douce. Mr. Malone reads " the flood.”

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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.

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 3 dock'd in sand,
Vailing her high-top 4 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
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


· 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.

Andrew-] The name of the ship. 4 Vailing her high top-] i.e. lowering.

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Upon the fortune of this present year:
Therefore, my merchandize makes me not sad.

Salan. Why then you are in love.

Fye, fye!
Salan. Not in love neither ? Then let's say, you are sad,
Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy
For you to laugh, and leap, and say, you are merry,
Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed Janus,
Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:
Some that will evermore peep through their eyes,
And laugh, like parrots, at a bag-piper :
And other of such vinegar aspect,
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.


Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kins

man, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well; We leave you now with better company.

Salar. I would have staid till I had made you merry, 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.

Salar. Good-morrow, my good lords.
Bass. 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.

[Exeunt SALARINO and SALANIO. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found An

We two will leave you : but, at dinner time,
I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
Bass. I will not fail you.
Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio ;

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