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the same manner the mule would not stale where she ought, and where she ought not, there she staled. The king said upon this, If I have not rewarded you as I have many, do not entertain a thought that I was insensible to your great merit; it is Fortune who hindered me ; she is to blame, and not l; and I will shew you manifestly that I speak truth. My discontent, sir, proceeds not, answered Ruggieri, from a desire of being enriched, but from you not having given the smallest testimony to my deserts in your service : never-, theless, your excuse is valid, and I am ready to see the proof you mention, though I can easily believe you without it. The king conducted him to a hall, where he had already commanded two large caskets, shut close, to be placed : and before a large company, told Ruggieri, that in one of them was contained his crown, sceptre, and all his jewels, and that the other was full of earth : choose which of them you like best, and then you will see that it is not I, but your fortune that has been ungrateful. Ruggieri chose one. It was found to be the casket full of earth. The king said to him with a smile, Now you may see, Ruggieri, that what I told you of fortune is true ; but for your sake I will oppose her with all my strength. You have no intention, I am certain, to live in Spain, therefore I will offer you no preferment here ; but that casket which fortune denied you, shall be yours in despight of her : carry it with you into your own country, shew it to your friends, and neighbours, as my gift to you ; and you have my permission to boast, that it is a teward of your virtues.
Of The MERCHANT OF VENICE, the style is even and easy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction. The comick part raises laughter, and the serious
fixes expectation. The probability of either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two actions in one event is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his Spanish Friar, which yet, I believe, the critick will find excelled by this play. Johnson.
Friends to Anthonio and Bassania.
PORTIA,, an Heiress.
SCENE, partly at Venice, and partly at Belmont, the Seat
MERCHANT of VENICE.
ACT I. SCENE I.
A Street in Venice.' Enter ANTHONIO, SALARINO,
Sal. Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
Sala. Believe me, sir, had I such venture forth, The better part of my affections would
Be with my hopes abroad. I should be still
Sal. My wind, cooling my broth,
Anth. 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.
Sala. Why then you are in love.
Because you are not merry: and 'twere as easy 50 For you, fo laugh, and leap, and say, you are
merry, Because you are not sad. Now, by two-headed
Enter BASSANIO, LORENZO, and GRATIANO. Sal. Here comes Bassanio, your most noble kins.
man, Gratiano, and Lorenzo: Fare you well;
60 We leave you now with better company. Sala. I would have staid till I had made you
merry, If worthier friends had not prevented me.
Anth, Your worth is very dear in my regard. I take it, your own business calls on you,
embrace the occasion to depart. Sal. Good morrow, my good lords. Bass. Good signiors both, when shall we laugh?