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THE MERCHANT OP l'enice,' like 'A Midsummer- | debtor is the Jew,—the revengeful creditor the Chris Night's Dream,' was first printed in 1600; and it had tian; and this incident is said to have happened a a further similarity to that play from the circumstance Rome in the time of Sir Francis Drake. This, no of two editions appearing in the same year—the one doubt, was a pure fiction of Leti, whose narratives are bearing the name of a publisher, Thomas Heyes, the by no means to be received as authorities; but it shows other that of a printer, J. Roberts. The play was not that he felt the intolerance of the old story, and endeareprinted till it appeared in the folio of 1623. In that voured to correct it, though in a very inartificial manedition there are a few variations from the quartos. ner. Shakspere took the story as he found it in those All these editions present the internal evidence of having narratives which represented the popular prejudice. If been printed from correct copies. «The Merchant of he had not before him the ballad of “Gernutus,' (upon Venice' is one of the plays of Shakspere mentioned by which point it is difficult to decide,) he had certainly Francis Meres in 1598, and it is the last mentioned in access to the tale of the Pecorone. If he had made his list.
the contest connected with the story of the bond between Stephen Gosson, who, in 1579, was moved to publish two of the same faith, he would have lost the most a tract called The School of Abuse, containing a plea- powerful hold which the subject possessed upon the sant invective against poets, pipers, players, jesters, and feelings of an audience two centuries and a balf ago. such like caterpillars of the commonwealth,' thus de- If he had gone directly counter to those feelings, (supscribes a play of his time :-" The Jew, shown at the posing that the story which Leti tells had been known Bull, representing the greedyness of worldly choosers, to him, as some have supposed,) his comedy would and the bloody minds of usurers." Whatever might have been hooted from the stage. have been the plot of “ The Jew' mentioned by Gosson, “The Prioress's Tale' of Chaucer belonged to the the story of the bond was ready to Shakspere's band, in period when the Jews were robbed, maimed, banished, a ballad to which Warton first drew attention. He and most foully vilified, with the universal consent of considers that the ballad was written before · The Mer- the powerful and the lowly, the learned and the ignochant of Venice.' But this ballad of 6 . Gernutus wants that remarkable feature of the play, the interven
“ There was in Asie, in a gret citre, tion of Portia to save the life of the Merchant; and
Amonges Cristen folk a Jewerle.
Sustened by a lord of that contree, this, to our minds, is the strongest confirmation that the
For foul usure, and lucre of vilanie, ballad preceded the comedy. Shakspere found that
Hateful to Crist, and to liis compagnie." incident in the source from which the ballad-writer It was scarcely to be avoided in those times that even professed to derive bis history :
Chaucer, the most genuive and natural of poets, should “ In Venice towne not long agoe,
lend his great powers to the support of the popular beA cruel Jew did dwell,
lief that Jews ought to be proscribed as-
“ Hateful to Crist, and to his compaguie." It was from an Italian writer, Ser Giovanni, the author But we ought to expect better things when we reach of a collection of tales called · Il Pecorone,' written in the times in which the principles of religious liberty the fourteenth century, and first published at Milan in were at least germinated. And yet what a play is 1558, that Shakspere unquestionably derived some of Marlowe's “Jew of Malta,'—undoubtedly one of the the incidents of his story, although he might be familiar most popular plays even of Shakspere's day, judging as with another version of the same tale.
we may from the pumber of performances recorded in “It is well known," says Mrs. Jameson, “that • The Henslowe's papers! That drama, as compared with Merchant of Venice' is founded on two different tales; The Merchant of Venice,' has been described by and in weaving together his double plot in so masterly Charles Lamb, with his usual felicity :-“ Marlowe's a manner, Shakspere has rejected altogether the cha- Jew does not approach so near to Shakspere's as his racter of the astutious lady of Belmont, with her magic Edward II. Shylock, in the midst of bis savage purpotions, who figures in the Italian novel. With yet pose, is a man. His motives, feelings, resentments, bare more refinement, he has thrown out all the licentious something human in them. If you wrong us, shall part of the story, which some of his contemporary dra- we not revenge?' Barabas is a mere monster, brought inatists would have seized on with avidity, and made in with a large painted nose, to please the rabble. He the best or the worst of it possible; and he has substi- kills in sport-poisons whole ruuneries-invents intuted the trial of the caskets from another source.' * fernal machines. He is just such an exhibition as, a That source is the “Gesta Romanorum.'
century or two earlier, might have been played before In dealing with the truly dramatic subject of the the Londoners, by the Royal command, when a general forfeiture of the bond, Shakspere had to choose between pillage and massacre of the Hebrews had been preone of two courses that lay open before him. The viously resolved on in the cabinet.” “The Jew of • Gesta Romanorum' did not surround the debtor and Malta' was written essentially upon an intolerant printhe creditor with any prejudices. We hear nothing of ciple. «The Merchant of Venice,' whilst it seized upon one being a Jew, the other a Christian. There is a re- the prejudices of the multitude, and dealt with them markable story told by Gregorio Leti, in his · Life of as a foregone conclusion by which the whole dramatic Pope Sixtus the Fifth,' in which the debtor and creditor action was to be governed, had the intention of making of The Merchant of Venice' change places. The those prejudices as hateful as the reaction of cruelty and • Characteristics of Women, vol. i. p. 72,
revenge of which they are the cause.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
DUKE OP VENICE.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 1.
Appears, Act II. sc. 9.
Appears, Aet II. sc. 1 ; sc. 7.
ANTONIO, the Merchant of Venice. Appears, Act I. sc. ! ; se. 3. Act II. sc. 6. Act III. se. 3.
Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1.
Bassanio, friend to Antonio. Appetrs, Aet I. sc. I; sc. 3. Act II. sc. 9. Act III. se, 2.
Act IV. sc. 1. Act V. sc. 1.
Act IV. sc. 1.
Act III. sc. 1; sc. 3. Act IV. sc. I.
Aet IV. se. 1; sc. 2. Act V. sc. I.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. ást II. sc. 4; se. 6. Act III. sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 5. Act V.sc. 1.
SHYLOCK, a Jew. Appears, Act I. *. 3. Act II. sc. 5. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 3.
Act IV. sc. I.
TUBAL, a Jer, friend to Shylock.
Appears, Act III. sc. 1. LAUNCELOT GOBBO, a clown, servant to Shylock. appears, Act II. sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 4; sc. 5. Act III. sc. 5.
Act V. sc. 1.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2.
Appears, Act III. sc. 4.
Azrears, Act V. sc. 1.
Portin, a rich heiress.
Nerissa, waiting-maid to Portia.
JESSICA, daughter to Shylock. Appears, Act II. sc. 3; sc. 5; sc. 6. Act III. sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 5
Act V. sc. 1.
Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Justice
Gaoler, Servants, and other Attendants.
SCENE, PARTLY AT VENICE; AND PARTLY AT BELUONT, THE SEAT op Porria, ON THE CONTINENT.
SCENE I.–Venice. A Street.
Saiar. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
Solan. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
My wind, cooling my broth, Would blow ine to an ague when I thought
What narm a wind too great might do at sea.
Ant. Believe me, no; I thank my fortune for it, My ventures are not in one bottom trusted,
a Wealthy Andrew. Johnson explains this (which is scarcely necessary) as “the name of the ship;" but he does not point ont the propriety of the name for a ship, in association with the great naval commander, Andrea Doria, famous through al! Italy:
'Vailing her high-top. To vail is to let down : the nigh-top was shattered-fallen--when the Andrew was on the shallows.
• My ventures, &c. This was no doubt proverbial-umething more elegant than "all the eggs in one basket."
Nor to oue place; nor is my whole estate
Gra. Well, keep me company but two years more, Upon the fortune of this present year:
Thou shalt not know the sound of thine own tongue. Therefore my merchandize makes me not sad.
Ant. Farewell : I'll grow a talker for this gear.* Salar. Why, then you are in love.
Gra. Thanks, i' faith; for silence is only commend. Ant.
able Salar. Not in love neither ? Then let us say, you In a neat's tongue dried, and a maid not vendible.
[Exeunt GRATIANO and LORENZO. Because you are not merry : and 't were as easy
Ant. Is that anything now ?6 For you to laugh, and leap, and say you are merry, Bass. Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing. Because you are not sail. Now, by two-headed Janus, more than any man in all Venice: His reasons are two Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time : grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff; you shal Some that will evermore peep through their eyes, seek all day ere you find them; and when you lavt And laugh, like parrots, at a bagpiper :
them they are not worth the search. And other of such vinegar aspect,
Ant. Well; tell me now, what lady is the same That they 'll not show their teeth in way of smile, To whom you swore a secret pilgrimage, Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.
That you to-day promis'd to tell me of?
Bass. 'T is not unknown to you, Antonio, Enter Bassanio, LORENZO, and GRATIANO.
How much I have disabled mine estate, Solan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kins- By something showing a more swelling port man,
Than my faint means would grant continuance: Gratiano, and Lorenzo : Fare you well;
Nor do I now make moan to be abridg'd We leave you now with better company:
From such a noble rate; but my chief care Salar. I would have stay'd till I had made you Is to come fairly off from the great debts merry,
Wherein my time, something too prodigal, If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Hath left me gag'd: To you, Antonio, Ant. Your worth is very dear in my regard. I owe the most in money and in love; I take it, your own business calls on you,
And from your love I have a warranty And you embrace the occasion to depart.
To unburthen all my plots and purposes, Salar. Good morrow, my good lords.
How to get clear of all the debts I owe. Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh? Ant. I pray you, good Bassanio, let me know it; Say, when ?
And, if it stand, as you yourself still do,
Within the eye of honour, be assurd
[Excunt SALARINO and SOLANIO. Lie all unlock'd to your occasions. Lor. My lord Bassanio, since you have found Antonio, Bass. In my school-days, when I had lost one snalt We two will leave you ; but at dinner-time
I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
To find the other forth ; and by adventuring both Gra. You look not well, signior Antonio ;
I oft found both : I urge this childhood proof, You have too much respect upon the world :
Because what follows is pure innocence. They lose it that do buy it with much care.
I owe you much; and, like a wilful youth,
That which I owe is lost : but if you please
Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt,
As I will watch the aim, or to find both
Or bring your latter hazard back again,
Ant. You know me well; and herein spend but time. Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
To wind about my love with circumstance;
In making question of my uttermost,
That in your knowledge may by me be done,
And I am prest d unto it: therefore speak. Do cream and mantle like a standing pond ;
Bass. In Belmont is a lady richly left, And do a wilful stillness entertain,
And she is fair, and, fairer than that word, With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wond'rous virtues. Sometimes from her eyes Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
I did receive fair speechless messages : As who should say, “ I am sir Oracle,
Her name is Portia ; nothing undervalued And when I ope my lips let no dog bark !"
To Cato's daughter, Brutus' Portia. O, my Antonio, I do know of these,
Nor is the wide world ignorant of her worth ; That therefore only are reputed wise
For the four winds blow in from every coast For saying nothing; who, I am very sure,
Renowned suitors : and her sunny locks If they should speak, would almost damn those ears Hang on her temples like a golden fleece; Which, hearing them, would call their brothers fools. Which makes her seat of Belmont, Colchos' strand, I 'll tell thee more of this another time:
And many Jasons come in quest of her. But fish not with this melancholy bait,
0, my Antonio! had I but the means For this fool gudgeon, this opinion.
# For this gear-a colloquial expression, meaning for this Come, good Lorenzo :-Fare ye well, a while; I'll end my exhortation after dinner.
Gratiano has made a commonplace attempt at wit; and Lor. Well, we will leave you then till dinner-time: Antonio gravely, but sarcastically, asks, " Is that anything ** I must be one of these same dumb wise men,
Bassanio replies, "Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of thing."
• Port-appearance, carriage. For Gratiano never lets me speak,
To hold a rival place with one of them,
sing he falls straight a capering; he will fence with his I have a mind presayes me such thrift,
own shadow : if I should marry him I should marry That I should questionless be fortunate.
twenty husbands : If he would despise me I would for. Aat. Thou know'st that all my fortunes are at sea; give him; for if he love me to madness I shall never Neither have I money, nor commodity
requite him. To raise a present sum: therefore go forth,
Ner. What say you then to Faulconbridge, the young Try what my credit can in Venice do;
baron of England X That shall be rack'd, even to the uttermost,
Por. You know I say nothing to him; for he underTo furnish thee to Belmont, to fair Portia.
stands not me, nor I him: he hath neither Latin, French, Goy presently inquire, and so will I,
nor Italian; and you will come into the court and Where money is; and I no question make,
swear that I have a poor pennyworth in the English. To have it of my trust, or for my sake. [Exeunt. He is a proper man's picture. But, alas! who can
converse with a dumb show? How oddly he is suited! SCENE II.-Belmont. A Room in Portia's House. I think he bought his doublet in Italy, his round hose
in France, his bonnet in Germany, and his behaviour Enter PORTIA and NERISSA.
everywhere. Por. By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is a-weary Ner. What think you of the Scottish lord, his neighof this great world.
bour? Ner. You would be, sweet madam, if your
miseries Por. That he hath a neighbourly charity in him; were in the same abundance as your good fortunes are : for he borrowed a box of the ear of the Englishman, and And yet, for aught I see, they are as sick that surfeit swore he would pay him again when he was able: I with too much, as they that starve with nothing : It is think the Frenchman became his surety, and sealed no small happiness, therefore, to be seated in the mean; under for another. superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency Ner. How like you the young German, the duke of lives longer.
Saxony's nephew ? Por. Good sentences, and well pronounced.
Por. Very vilely in the morning, when he is sober ; Ner. They would be better, if well followed. and most vilely in the afternoon, when he is drunk :
Per. If to do were as easy as to know what were when he is best he is a little worse than a man; and good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men's when he is worst he is little better than a beast : an the cottages princes' palaces. It is a good divine that fol- worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go lows his own instructions : I can easier teach twenty without him. what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty Ner. If he should offer to choose, and choose the to follow mine own teaching. The brain may devise right casket, you should refuse to perform your father's laws for the blood; but a hot temper leaps o'er a cold will if you should refuse to accept him. decree : such a hare is madness the youth, to skip o'er Por. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee set the meshes of good counsel the cripple. But this rea- a deep glass of Rhenish wine on the contrary casket : sming is not in the fashion to choose me a husband :- for, if the devil be within, and that temptation without, O me, the word choose! I may neither choose whom I I know he will choose it. I will do anything, Nerissa, Fald, nor refuse whom I dislike; so is the will of a ere I will be married to a sponge. living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father :- Ner. You need not fear, lady, the having any of Is it not hard, Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor these lords; they have acquainted me with their deterrefuse none !
minations : which is, indeed, to return to their home Ner. Your father was ever virtuous; and holy men and to trouble you with no more suit; unless you may at their death have good inspirations ; therefore, the lot be won by some other sort than your father's imposition, tery that he hath devised in these three chests, of gold, depending on the caskets. silver, and lead, (whereof who chooses his meaning Por. If I live to be as old as Sibylla I will die as chooses you,) will, no doubt, never be chosen by any chaste as Diana, unless I be obtained by the manner of rightly, but one who you shall rightly love. But what my father's will : I am glad this parcel of wooers are warmth is there in your affection towards any of these so reasonable; for there is not one among them but I princely suitors that are already come ?
dote on his very absence, and I wish them a fair dePor. I pray thee, overname them; and as thou parture. namest them I will describe them; and according to Ner. Do you not remember, lady, in your father's my description level at my affection.
time, a Venetian, a scholar, and a soldier, that came Ner. First, there is the Neapolitan prince.
hither in company of the marquis of Montferrat ? Por. Ay, that 's a colt, indeed, for he doth nothing Por. Yes, yes, it was Bassanio; as I think so was he but talk of his horse; and he makes it a great appro- called. priation to his own good parts that he can shoe him Ner. True, madam ; he, of all the men that ever my imself: I am much afraid my lady his mother played foolish eyes looked upon, was the best deserving a fair lady. false with a smith.
Por. I remember him well; and I remember him Ner. Then, is there the county Palatine.
worthy of thy praise. Por. He doth nothing but frown; as who should say, * An you will not have me, choose :" he hears merry
Enter a Servant. tales, and smiles not: I fear he will prove the weeping Sero. The four strangers seek you, madam, to take phalosopher when he grows old, being so full of unman- their leave : and there is a forerunner come from a fifth, terly sadness in his youth. I had rather to be married the prince of Morocco; who brings word the prince, his to a death's head with a bone in his mouth, than to master, will be here to-night. either of these. God defend me from these two!
Por. If I could bid the fifth welcome with so goou Ner. How say you by the French lord, monsieur le heart as I can bid the other four farewell, I should be
glad of his approach : if he have the condition of a Por. God made him, and therefore let him pass for saint, and the complexion of a devil, I had rather be a man. In truth, I know it is a sin to be a mocker. should shrive me than wive me. But he! why, he hath a horse better than the Neapoli- Come, Nerissa. Sirrah, go before. tan's; a better bad habit of frowning than the count | Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks Palatine: he is every man in no man; if a throstle
at the door.
SCENE III.-Venice. A public Place. Methought you said, you neither lend nor borrow,
I do never use it. Shy. Three thousand ducats,-well.
Shy. When Jacob graz'd his uncle Laban's sheep, Bass. Ay, sir, for three months.
This Jacob from our holy Abraham was Shy. For three months,-well.
(As his wise mother wrought in his behalf) Bass. For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be The third possessor ; ay, he was the third. bound.
Ant. And what of him? did he take interest? Shy. Antonio shall become bound,-well.
Shy. No, not take interest; not, as you would say Bass. May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Directly interest: mark what Jacob did. Shall I know your answer ?
When Laban and himself were compromis'd Shy: Three thousand ducats, for three months, and That all the eanlings a which were streak'd and pieu Antonio bound.
Should fall, as Jacob's hire; the ewes, being rank, Bass. Your answer to that.
In end of autumn turned to the rams : Shy. Antonio is a good man.
And when the work of generation was Bass. Have you heard any imputation to the con- Between these woolly breeders in the act, trary?
The skilful shepherd pill'd b me certain wands, Shy. Oh no, no, no, no ;-my meaning in saying he And, in the doing of the deed of kind, is a good man is, to have you understand me that he is He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes ; sufficient: yet his means are in supposition : he hath an Who, then conceiving, did in eaning-time argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies ; I un- Fall particolour'd lambs, and those were Jacob's. derstand moreover upon the Rialto, he hath a third at This was a way to thrive, and he was bless d ; Mexico, a fourth for England; and othe: ventures he And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not. hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, Ant. This was a venture, sir, that Jacob serv'd for; sailors but men : there be land-rats and water-rats, A thing not in his power to bring to pass, water-thieves and land-thieves; I mean, pirates ; and But sway'd and fashion d by the hand of Heaven. then, there is the peril of waters, winds, and rocks: The Was this inserted to make interest good ? man is, notwithstanding, sufficient;—three thousand Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams ? ducats ;-I think I may take his bond.
Shy. I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast : Bass. Be assured you may.
But note me, signior. Shy. I will be assured I may; and that I may be
Mark you this, Bassanio, assured I will bethink me: May I speak with Antonio? The devil can cite scripture for his purpose. Bass. If it please you to dine with us.
An evil soul producing holy witness Shy. Yes, to smell pork! to eat of the habitation Is like a villain with a smiling cheek ; which your prophet, the Nazarite, conjured the devil A goodly apple rotten at the heart; into! I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with o, what a goodly outside falsehood hath! you, walk with you, and so following; but I will not Shy. Three thousand ducats,—'t is a good round eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.— What news on the Rialto 1-Who is he comes here? Three months from twelve, then let me see the rate.
Ant. Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you? Enter ANTONIO.
Shy. Signior Antonio, many a time and oft Bass. This is signior Antonio.
In the Rialto you have rated me Shy. [Aside.] How like a fawning publican he looks! About my moneys, and my usances : I hate him for he is a Christian :
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug ; But more, for that, in low simplicity,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe : He lends out money gratis, and brings down
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog, The rate of usance here with us in Venice.
And spet d upon my Jewish gaberdine, If I can catch him once upon the hip,
And all for use of that which is mine own. I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
Well, then, it now appears you need my help: He hates our sacred nation; and he rails,
Go to then ; you come to me, and you say, Even there where merchants most do congregate,
“Shylock, we would have moneys;" You say so; On me, my bargains, and my well-won thrift,
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard, Which he calls interest : Cursed be my tribe
And foot me, as you spurn a stranger cur If I forgive him!
Over your threshold; moneys is your suit. Bass. Shylock, do you hear?
What should I say to you? Should I riot say, Shy. I am debating of my present store:
“Hath a dog money ? is it possible And, by the near guess of my memory,
A cur can lend three thousand ducats”? or I cannot instantly raise up the gross
Shall I bend low, and in a bondman's key, Of full three thousand ducats : What of that?
With 'bated breath, and whispering humbleness,
Ant. Shylock, albeit I neither lend nor borrow, I 'll lend you thus much moneys'?
Ant. I am as like to call thee so again, Yet, to supply the ripe wants of my friend,
To spet on thee again, to spurn thee too.
If thou wilt lend this money, lend it not
a Eanlings—lambs just dropped.
Pilld. This is usually printed peeld. The words are Ant. And for three months.
synonymous; but in the old and the present translations of the Shy. I had forgot,—three months, you told me so. Bible we find pill'd in the passage of Genesis to which Shylock Well then, your bond; and, let me see. But hear you :
• Fall-to let fall. • Squandered abroad. The meaning is simply scattered. 4 Spet was the more received orthography in Shakspere