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The ground besprinkled was with blood,
Tarquin began to yield;
And lowe did beare his shield.
This soone Sir Lancelot espyde,
He leapt upon him then,
And rushing off his helm,
Forthwith he strucke his necke in two;
And when he had soe done,
Delivered everye one.
Corydon's Farewell to Phillis is an attempt to paint a lover's irresolution, but so poorly executed, that it would not have been admitted into this collection, if it had not been quoted in Shakspeare's Twelfth Night, act ii. sc. 3.-It is found in a little ancient miscellany, entitled The Golden Garland of Princely Delights, 12mo, bl. let.
In the same scene of the Twelfth Night, Sir Toby sings a scrap of an old ballad, which is preserved in the Pepys Collection (vol. i. pp. 33, 496), but as it is not only a poor dull performance, but also very long, it will be sufficient here to give the first stanza :
THE BALLAD OF CONSTANT SUSANNA.
“ There dwelt a man in Babylon
Of reputation great by fame;
Susanna she was callde by name:
To live godly?”
If this song of Corydon, &c., has not more merit, it is at least an evil of less magnitude.
FAREWELL, dear love; since thou wilt needs be gone,
Nay I will never die, so long as I can spie
But I will seek elsewhere, if I may find love there.
10 Shall I bid her goe and spare not?
O no, no, no, I dare not.
I have no power to move. How now am I in love ?
Wilt thou needs be gone ? Oh, hie thee!
Nay stay, and do no more deny me.
20 But seeing I must lose thy love, which I did choose, Goe thy way for me, since that may not be.
Goe thy ways for me. But whither ?
Goe, oh, but where I may come thither.
She would not be intreated, with prayers oft repeated ;
If she come no more, what care I ?
Gernutus the Jew of Venice. In the Life of Pope Sixtus V., translated from the Italian of Greg. Leti, by the Rev. Mr. Farneworth, folio, is a remarkable passage to tie following effect:
"It was reported in Rome, that Drake had taken and plundered St. Domingo in Hispaniola, and carried off an immense booty. This account came in a private letter to Paul Secchi, a very considerable merchant in the city, who had large concerns in those parts, which he had insured. Upon receiving this news, he sent for the insurer, Sampson Ceneda, a Jew, and acquainted him with it. The Jew, whose interest it was to have such a report thought false, gave many reasons why it could not possibly be true, and at last worked himself into such a passion, that he said, I'll lay you a pound of my flesh it is a lye. Secchi, who was of a fiery hot temper, replied, I'll lay you a thousand crowns against a pound of your flesh that it is true. The Jew accepted the wager, and articles were immediately executed betwixt them, That if Secchi won, he should himself cut the flesh with a sharp knife from whatever part of the Jew's body he pleased. The truth of the account was soon confirmed; and the Jew was almost distracted, when he was informed that Secchi had solemnly sworn he would compel him to an exact performance of his contract. A report of this transaction was brought to the Pope, who sent for the parties, and being informed of the whole affair, said, When contracts are made, it is but just they should be fulfilled, as this shall : take a knife therefore, Secchi, and cut a pound of flesh from any part you please of the Jew's body. We advise you, however, to be very careful ; for if you cut but a scruple more or less than your due, you shall certainly be hanged.”
The editor of that book is of opinion, that the scene between Shylock and Antonio in the Merchant of Venice is taken from this incident. But Mr. Warton, in his ingenious Observations on the Faerie Queen, vol. i. p. 128, has referred it to the following ballad. Mr. Warton thinks this ballad was written before Shakspeare's play, as being not so circumstantial, and having more of the nakedness of an original. Besides, it differs from the play in many circumstances, which a mere copyist, such as we may suppose the ballad-maker to be, would hardly have given himself the trouble to alter. Indeed he expressly informs us, that he had his story from the Italian writers.-See the Connoisseur, vol. i. No. 16.
After all, one would be glad to know what authority Leti had for the foregoing fact, or at least for connecting it with the taking of St. Domingo by Drake; for this expedition did not happen till 1585, and it is very certain that a play of the Jewe, “representing the greedinesse of worldly chusers, and bloody minds of usurers," had been exhibited at the play-house, called The Bull, before the year 1579, being mentioned in Steph. Gosson's Schoole of Abuse, which was printed in that year.
As for Shakspeare's Merchant of Venice, the earliest edition known of it is in quarto, 1600; though it had been exhibited before the year 1598, being mentioned, together with eleven other of his plays, in Mere's Wits Treasury, &c., 1598, 12mo, fol. 282.-See Malone's Shakespeare.
i Warton, ubi supra.
The following is printed from an ancient black-letter copy in the Pepys Collection, entitled, “A new Song, shewing the crueltie of GERNUTUS, a JEWE, who lending to a merchant an hundred crowns, would have a pound of fleshe, because he could not pay him at the time appointed. To the tune of Black and Yellow.”
THE FIRST PART.
A cruel Jew did dwell,
As Italian writers tell.
Gernutus called was the Jew,
Which never thought to dye,
To them in streets that lie.
His life was like a barrow hogge,
That liveth many a day,
Until men will him slay.
Or like a filthy heap of dung,
That lieth in a whoard;
Till it be spread abroad.
He cannot sleep in rest,
To plucke him from his nest.
How to deceive the poore;
Yet still he gapes for more.
For every weeke a penny,
2 Compared with the Ashmole copy.
And see, likewise, you keepe your day,
Or else you loose it all:
Her cow she did it call.
A marchant of great fame,
Unto Gernutus came :
For twelve month and a day;
And he for it would pay
And pledges he should have :
“Sir, aske what you will have.
For one year you shall pay;
Before my dying day.
For to be talked long :
“That shall be large and strong:
Of your owne fleshe a pound :
And here is a hundred crownes.”
And so the bond was made.
60 Ver. 32, her cow, &c., seems to have suggested to Shakspeare Shylock's argument for usury taken from Jacob's management of Laban's sheep, act i., to which Antonio replies,
“ Was this inserted to make interest good ?
Shylock. I cannot tell, I make it breed as fast.”