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deration 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 suffi. ciently plain that they are the remote originals of the two incidents 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. MALONE.
Duke of VENICE.
Suitors to PORTIA.
Friends to ANTONIO and BASSANIO.
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.
Servants to PORTIA.
PORTIA, a rich Heiress.
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.
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.
2 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 Persona Dramatis. The name appears in the first folio: the description is taken from the quarto. STEEVENS.
MERCHANT OF VENICE.
SCENE I-Venice. A Street.
Enter ANTONIO, SALARINO, and SALANIO.
IN sooth, I know not why I am so sad;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
Salar. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
1 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 Polity, 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 "on the flood."
That curt'sy to them, do them reverence,
Is sad to think upon his merchandize.
Ant. Believe me, no: I thank my fortune for it
2 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.
3 Andrew] The name of the ship. 4 Vailing her high top —] i. e. lowering.
Upon the fortune of this present year:
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO.
Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kins
Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well;
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,
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 Antonio,
We two will leave you: but, at dinner time,
I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.
Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio;