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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 novellist, 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 1598. Meres's book was not published till the end of that year. MALONE.

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Duke of Venice.


Suitors to Portia.

Antonio, the Merchant of Venice:
Bassanio, his Friend.
Salarino, 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.
Leonardo, Servant to Bassanio.

Balthazar,} Servants to Portia.

Stephano; }

Portia, a rich Heiress.
Nerissa, her Waiting-maid.
Jessica, Daughter to Shylock.

Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Jus

tice, Jailer, Servants, and other Attendants.

SCENE, partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont, MERCHANT OF VENICE.

the Seat of Portia, on the Continent.

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,

9 This character I have restored to the Personæ Dramatis. The name appears in the first folio: the description is taken from the quarto. STEEVENS.


SCENE I. Venice. A Street.

Ant. In sooth, I know not why I am so sad;
It wearies me; you say, it wearies

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 were, the pageants of the sea,-
Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
That curt'sy to them, do them reverence,
As they fly by them with their woven wings.


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 term ritory on the gulf of Venice, tributary to the Porte.


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

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.

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


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 framod 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

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 inake our leisures to attend on yours.

. Eceunt SALARINO and SALANIO. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found

We two will leave you: but, at dinner time,
I pray you, have in mind where we must meet.

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