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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.
Prince of Arragon,
Suitors to Portia.
Antonio, the Merchant of Venice:
Bassanio, his Friend.
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.
Salerio, a Messenger from Venice.
Leonardo, Servant to Bassanio.
Magnificoes of Venice, Officers of the Court of Jus tice, 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.
Ant. 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;
That curt'sy to them, do them reverence,
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.
Salan. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth,
Misfortune to my ventures, out of doubt,
And not bethink me straight of dangerous rocks?
And now worth nothing? Shall I have the thought
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 makes 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.
Salan. Why then you are in love.
Salan. Not in love neither? Then let's say, you are sad,
Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy
Nature hath fram'd strange fellows in her time:
That they'll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO.
Salan. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kinsman,
Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well;
We leave you now with better company.
If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh?
You grow exceeding strange: Must it be so?
We two will leave you: but, at dinner time,